Friday, June 30, 2006

Quick Fix

Oddly enough, given recent warm temperatures around here, it is cool in the studio of a morning. Yesterday, I tossed on the new shawl and tried to get down to work, and found it falling off, falling into things and generally being annoying.

So I made a shawl pin to hold it all together:

shawl pin

Construction notes: copper wire, probably 14 ga., annealed, and bent into S-shape (also useful as a jewelry clasp), then a spiral-twisted stickpin to hold it. All hammered, to work harden the wire, then the ends filed and sanded, so they won't catch on the yarn.

Then, I got right back to work. We're closing in, seeing the finish line.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Deb and Nancy called from Michigan last night: they were at the opening of the fiber show at the Grand Gallery for Convergence. It sounded like a fun party, and I got to share a bit in the excitement. As Nancy said, *these are my people* and it's hard to miss it all.

Me? I've been home, working away. It's hot, I'm tired and I have a list to get through still, even, yet.

But in the mail and off my list:


Charming, eh? The holes were drilled last, and it became an interesting game of *guess the personality type* of recipients I do not know: Center hole for the orderly among us, side hole for the off beat. But which side: left or right? and does it matter? There are cues in this culture of which I am blissfully ignorant, so if you know of any, tell! The things we can worry about, or imagine, working alone in the studio, are legion.

Me? I would have chosen an off-center hole, drilled on the left. Perhaps that tells you something about me, but what it might be, I have no clue.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Moving On

Whew! I'm exhausted (but probably not as tired as Claudia, bike marathoner extraordinaire!). I finished one shawl, and started the next this weekend.

The problem with being an SPP (single project person) is that by the time the end is near, one is anxious to begin the next project. I have finished the knitting, woven in the ends, and blocked the Fir Cone shawl:

fir cone blocking

The edging, of course, took forever, and for some reason I could not get the pattern into my head until the last side of the square. That's a lot of *looking at the pattern*, which became annoying. It took a long stretch of just knitting, knitting, knitting on the edge for me to get the pattern memorized. Then, suddenly, it was done.

The whole thing is too big to get a good full shot photo anywhere in my house: it is 85" to a side. That is one Big Square. Details? Fir Cone shawl pattern from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawl book, Silky Wool yarn from Elizabeth Lavold, size 6 needles. Here is a detail of the corner being blocked:

fir cone corner

I used stainless steel TIG rods as blocking wires, then pinned those down to hold the shawl under tension. Here's the whole thing folded up and ready to . . . what?

fir cone folded

Not being a shawl wearing person, I imagine this will get taken on trips as a blanket, wrap, and pillow. But it's BIG, too big to pack on some trips.

Fortunately, the next planned adventure is a car trip, and to high elevations, so despite summer, and the heat, oh dear, the heat, lately, I will take this along for hoped-for cool evenings.

What was I so anxious to get started? This:

kerry blue start

The beginnings of Kerry Blue Shawl, from Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls, by Martha Waterman. I wanted to get this started before heading out for summer travel, because shawls, knitted as triangles, or in the round (or square, as in this case) are ideal travel projects. They make a neat bundle when I'm not working on them, are easy to pull out and work a few rounds, and fold up with the yarn inside when they need to be put away. There's no gauge or measuring, they don't need to fit anything. They are just pure knitting pleasure.

This one seems to be puttering along smoothly. The yarn is handspun Blue Faced Leicester from this post, dyed long ago (see this post). The beginning of the pattern is easy to follow, and I have great needles:

blue needles

Local guild member Jackie passed on several vintage nylon circulars. She seemed happy to be rid of them, and I am pleased to have them. These are a 6, one piece, smooth (no joins) and tippy tips. I may have to trade for a longer circ as the shawl progresses, and the good news? There is a longer nylon one in this size, yay!

I'm off to knit, while it is still cool this morning. This is at the perfect stage for hot weather knitting: too small to fill a lap. We'll see how enthusiastic I am in a few weeks, with a big bundle of hot red wool in my lap. Until then: knit on!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Just Right

sky fabric2

I am co-hosting an event in a few weeks time, for which I have been planning the decorations. The room is a mix of contemporary and rustic, odd I know, but there are rough pine paneled walls, chrome fixtures, large expanses of glass, and a solid mirror wall above the mantel.

The one time I saw the room in person, it was being decorated for a wedding. The center pieces were sweet and cute, not at all fitting the room itself, I thought. I knew then that I wanted something more in keeping with the site, and started planning this fabric at that time.

Now that it is on the loom, it is just right. This fabric will be perfect, with the chrome, glass, stones (yes, actual rocks!), and flowers that will be added to it, for the table and mantel decorations.

I had a few struggles:

sky fabric

Before I started weaving, I thought the weft would be gold, but I liked the black yarn better (I did not like the white *at all*). I like the way the black weft makes the black and white stripes so crisp. The table cloths will be black, with white napkins and a white undercloth. The overall look of this additional fabric is very contemporary rustic, just like the room it will grace.

Now I could have shopped for, and bought fabric that would suit. But I didn't. Just like we could all buy sweaters, socks, and yarn in *just the right color*, but sometimes we don't. We make them instead. We like seeing our own ideas, our own version, our own little refinements on what is available in the world. It's a further comment on the ideas in this post: that we do what we do for the love of it.

In a recent email exchange with Karen at Curiousweaver, she said: it's exciting being able to weave, don't you think? Yes, it is. And this is one of those times when the ability to make just what I want is very gratifying. I think that is another basic reason why many of us do all of this spinning, weaving, dyeing and knitting: to make something that is just what we want, something that is just right.

Friday, June 16, 2006

All Color, All the Time (Or Not)

Things can get a little peripatetic around here, when there is much to do. I'm still dyeing samples:


And more samples:


All this dyeing means watching pots, so in the interim, I painted a warp:

copper warps2

This is one of my favorite colors (90 gold, 10 violet for those of you who might want a strong copper). I'm leaving some blank white spaces:

copper warps3

This is Cibacron F dye, which does not wick nearly as much as MX. It may wick some as it dries, and you'll notice I was too lazy to tie off and resist those areas. We'll see.

Also while watching pots, I can spin a bit:

grafton fibers yarn

Sorry, no dime shot. These are fingering wieght, 3 ply. The skeins are from Grafton Fibers wool (see this post). You might notice the purple skein is bigger. That was the first batt I spun, and I divided it to spin a two ply. I decided mid-spin that I wanted a three ply, for knitting, so I needed to come up with something for the third element. I used some blue from the Morro Bay roving, from this post. The other two GF batts were divided into three sections, thus the smaller skeins.

I decided this wool would be very nice for mittens, gloves, or fingerless gloves, and once I lined the skeins all up, of course, I needed more colors(!), so I have placed an order. I'll have enough yarns for several gloves, mittens, whatever, but hey, who has enough yarn? I'm quite sure I can think of something to do with it.

After the dyeing, I can focus on the not-so-colorful:


The silk shawl, hemstitched. And:

hemstitching with beads

The silk shawl hemstitched and now in the process being beaded. You'll notice the white cloth under the shawl? Trying to keep this white fabric white is a challenge, in my *looks like a tornado came through* studio.

Housecleaning, and responses: the group KIP Day photos from the last post were taken by Ginger, not me. I neglected to give her credit. And Marie? no snap yet, I'm using the other bag for a while. Birdsong? I'm still winding around the shawl on the edging: not finished yet! And Charleen? No, I can't talk, drink and knit at the same time! and Kim? You're right. The interlude was intentional! That's it, intentional.

Monday, June 12, 2006

At Last

Herewith, following up on the Inkle 101 post of how to weave a band, is how to make the bag from the band. You might remember that the bag was to be for my cell phone, and the band was woven out of crochet cotton.

Start by cutting a length, long enough to accommodate the cell phone:

inkle bag1

Then cut another, approximately the same length. They will be folded and sewn like this:

inkle bag2

Then sew them:

inkle bag3

That was the hold up, I got to *then sew them* and nothing happened for a week. These are sewn by hand, using a baseball stitch (maybe also called a figure 8 stitch?). It doesn't take long, maybe an hour to do.

The next step is to cover the raw edge (with blue linen, which will also be the lining). Also in the photo is a sample of the batting I use with the lining, called punch cloth (?) I think. It's just thin quilt batting used often for clothing, etc:

inkle bag4

So next we sew on the handle, again with the same stitch:

inkle bag5

It is folded under the bottom of the bag, and tucked in, then sewn to both the front and back of the bag:

inkle bag6

Next, we make a lining sandwich:

inkle bag7

which is a piece of lining material and the batting, folded over and stitched on the machine. It gets tucked into the bag, and stitched down around the opening.

The last step is a snap closure (and a test to make sure the cell phone fits):

inkle bag9

And (ta-da!):

inkle bag8

Inkle band cell phone bag. That wasn't so hard, was it?

Now, close your eyes and remember back to this post, and you'll see the same bag, except in silk pickup, with a cardwoven handle, that will most likely be the bag I use:

inkle bag10

See? the cell phone fits here too:

inkle bag11

(but I do need to sew on the snap closure. Wonder how long that will take to get done??)

To answer a few questions: Kim? First I use the Damascus edge to finish the warp ends (look in your handout, or Finishes in the Ethnic Tradition by Baizerman and Searle). Then the tops of the hats are sewn with the same stitch I used here: baseball stitch is what I call it (see? I'm really a one-note Sally, just different instruments!). And Cheryl? (welcome to the WeaveRing, by the way): the hats and quiver are my own design, but are a universal shape, I think. They are woven to shape on the loom, and look like a crown. Then the points get folded in, the sides are sewn, and the hat takes shape. I have a few more photos of the quiver, but none that show any more detail (dumb, I know. I should've taken more). And Birdsong and Charleen? Oh ye of little faith: the lace knitting went fine for WWKIP Day, no frogging necessary. It is a short edging, and each row has a different stitch count, so if I forget where I am, I just need to count. Here is a parting shot or two, with a few errant spinners:



Whew! Today, it was all about the photos.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Around The Bend

Admidst all the weaving, finishing, dyeing and packing I have continued to knit:

around the bend

The Fir Cone shawl has made it to the edging, and around the first corner. Timely, in that tomorrow is WWKIPD. This will be coming with me to the gathering at the Nevada County Library, 10 to noon (morphing into our regular Spinning Saturday, noon to 4 pm). Bring your knitting, your chair and a bag lunch and join us, or have your own gathering, large or small.

My tote bag is ready, Hide No More:

tote bag

Speaking of morphing, remember Lindsey's socks from this post? They have become a scarf:

Lindsey's scarf3

Very nice eh? This is the knit-dye-reknit yarn from Nancy's dye day here a while ago. Nancy and Deb will have a booth at Convergence, called Color To Dye For (#436) with lots of tempting things (sniff! I wish I could go!).

Oops! While my back was turned, the shawl became a rug:

Mojo shawl


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Drive By Post

I'm on my way out the door to the photo shop: I will make sure the slides of these pieces are OK before I send the work off tomorrow. But a quick peek:

three hats

The hats. You were all very sharp in picking out the hangers, and knowing they were for some sort of choice-related piece. Marie: no, they are not swans, but hey, all art is open to interpretation, right? The other hat says Dona Nobis Pacem. Both of these wool hats have a sort of *bishop's miter* look to them, a happy (and perhaps appropriate) accident.

Two of the bags:

two bags

I don't expect the gallery to display these together (neither the hats, I would think silk with silk, and wool with wool), but I won't be there to see. These shots are set-up photos, so they can see how the stands work/go together, and so I can label each piece.

My favorite:


the knitting quiver. A few months ago, there was much discussion about the colors in the band: will they match/coordinate with the bag? I think they do, but then I may be overtired, and tired of looking at these things:

quiver back2

The quiver is the perfect size for a knitting project, and the handle is attached so that the bag hangs nicely, sort of like those *back-saver* bags.

I will not be there to see the show at Convergence. If you are going, check out the Grand Gallery, in the lobby of the Amway Grand Hotel. And please send me a review!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Weaving Marathon

It's been a hectic week, trying to get things done for deadlines. I get myself into these corners, and the nose to the grindstone gets me out.

This week, three things came off the loom, and are now ready for finishing. Finishing often takes as long as weaving, but this week it won't/can't because it all has to be in the mail by Friday.

But for blog's sake, a quick glimpse of the three new pieces:

knitting quiver

dona nobis pacem2


Now to finishing the warps, washing, sewing, lining and making stands for each of the pieces for the show. More complete pictures then, and a heads up on when and where they will be on display (Grand Gallery, Amway Grand Plaza, Grand Rapids, MI).

Also, still dyeing! Deadlines. Gotta love 'em.

Until then, I'm under the watchful eye of the Commander:

mojo sleeps2

My new best friend.