Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Girl in Town

I don't remember when Dolly moved in - years ago.  My husband brought her home from a junk store.  And she's the best, all cardboard and rusty wing nuts, that darling figure, and a great sense of humor.  She sways back and forth (due to a loose joint at her base) as soon as I point the camera at her.  I should have named her Eileen.  She has been my trusty model for my sweaters and for my ideas.

But alas,  her figure is not quite the same as mine.  I needed the help of another girl, and she went on sale recently.  Meet Penny. 

The girls are modelling my latest pattern obsession, Butterick 6085.   Dolly's shirt is waiting for the right buttons (oddly there were no vintage plastic kelly green buttons in my extensive button collection).  Penny's yellow shirt needs sleeves and side seams, and surely there are no perfect yellow buttons in that drawer.

My first time with this shirt yielded a jumbo collar, even though I trimmed the points and the width.  It might be great on another gal as written, but it makes me self conscious.  "Make way, make way for the average sized woman with the huge collar!"  I find if I crinkle and rumple it up it's acceptable.  I like the fit of the rest of the pattern.

Modifications:  I made the neck opening wider all around, trimming about a half inch from the pattern tissue.  I trimmed the collar way back too, and I added a facing in the back to make it more finished.  I rounded the points on the yellow one, my favorite so far.

The girls are wearing thrifted skirts.  They are merino, and came from the Salvation Army with the pleat tacking still in place.  I'm embarrassed to say they cost $4.50.  For the pair.  I'll be giving generously to the SA this season.  They were a little big for me, so I am taking them in - the light grey one is done and came out slick.  The charcoal one shows how much I'll be taking in (I'll hide the work in the side seam).

Dolly is wearing a half slip refashioned from a thrifted polyester floor length skirt.

I hope these girls will get along.  Wouldn't that be horrible if they didn't?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wear your Heart on your Sleeve

I see a trend happening lately that makes my heart sing.  Folks are making garments that truly appeal to them, with motifs that describe who they are, or what they love.  They're playing it unsafe, breaking the rules.  Telling all.  I'm listening.

Click here for a photo of Erin McKean's letters dress.  She loves to write. 

Here is Rachel Antonoff's First in Brass dress.

Kate Davies struck a nostalgic chord with her owls sweater.

Here are some ideas.  Click on the titles below to go to Spoonflower.  See if you ever make it back - it's addictive.

Measuring Cups by Heidi Kenney:

Godzilla by Anne Leukocyte and Gingham by Holli Zollinger:

Grey and Gold Chairs by 1Canoe2:

Ro-Coq-Au-Vin by Cynthia Frenette:

What would you wear on your sleeve?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dreams and Perspective

I'm supposed to be at the Town Hall registering our vehicles, but it seems to me drawing a picture would be way more fun and less expensive, and I have something on my mind that I need want to work out on paper the screen anyway. 

I am in need of some brainless knitting.  I have several pieces of knitting underway, but they are all at the pay-attention-or-you'll-screw-this-up phase of development.  I would like the woolen equivalent of a sweatshirt, but striped.  I have my dyeing procedure all figured out, and a simple raglan in my head.  Whether this project will happen is anyone's guess.

Here is Croquellen in her imaginary dress, inspired by this dress (sorry, the link to this has disappeared):  edit - found the link!

Fabric source here

Here is Croquellen in her dress and new imaginary woolen stripey sweatshirt.

(hideous boots)

Here is Croquellen as you might see her from your perspective, as you are likely four inches taller than she.

Here is Croquellen as you might see her from the seated position; you are in a bean bag chair.

Better go register the vehicles.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pompoms All Around

On the knitting/crochet front:  a finished cowl adorned with multicolor felted pompoms from Darn Good Yarn.  Pompom fringe speaks to me.  Hollers my name.  The knitting was done on my old Singer 360 knitting machine.  I would like to relearn all the ins and outs of the ole girl.

Also, a pair of Fried Chicken Mittens done from the top down.  I wanted to see if it could be done.  It can.  Then I ripped them out and made a cowl for my daughter because she's been cold.  Imagine if you will (because there is no photo) a lovely angora cowl with a ripple edge at the top.

 At home, my boys have finished their go cart and can be found screaming down our (muddy) wood roads.  The speed, adrenaline, and laundry have all increased around here.

Not at home, we are looking at colleges again for our high school senior.  I am a sucker for a beautiful campus.

University of New Brunswick, Fredericton

And in the spirit of following one's heart, a dear friend has recently purchased his own race car.  I spent yesterday in the pits, and then at the top of the stands.  During the caution laps he was able to spot us and wave.

I hope you are able to follow your heart's desire this week.  I am a lucky gal.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Knit Photography

Gale Zucker and Joan Tapper have a new book out called Craft Activism.  Their book is about promoting a more meaningful DIY lifestyle, featuring some inspiring crafters and projects.  I had the pleasure of a class taught by Gale at Fiber College, and while I was there I got a sneak peek at her book.  It's super.

Photos are of me at Fiber College, modeling my 'Sue' sweater, courtesy of my girlfriend Suzanne (puppylove on Ravelry).  Gale taught us about light and shadows, depth of field, and tons more.  As you can see, Suzanne was a quick learner.

My pal Elizabeth over at Dark Matter Knits has some other great photography resources as well.  I'm coming to the conclusion that there are some spectacular photographers out there - I think I would like to just have them shoot my work.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Barbara Walker's Double Increase #2

Barbara Walker's Knitting from the Top is a fantastic resource that I highly recommend.  On page 20 she outlines ten ways to make double increases, my favorite being #2.  It is a symmetrical stitch, making one stitch into three with a small eyelet at its base.  She describes it as (k1, yo, k1) in the seam stitch.  I call it a sdinc in my patterns, or symmetrical double increase.

Here is a series of photos showing how it is done, as if one were knitting Round 31 of my Eileen Mary sweater. It all happens between the markers.  Click on any photo to see larger, and do admire my dyer's manicure.

 1. insert right needle in next stitch as if to knit,
wrap yarn as usual
and bring loop to front, but do not slip new stitch off of left needle. (k1)

 2. bring yarn from right to left between needle tips,
bring loop to back as if purling,
but do not slip new stitch off of left needle. (yo)

 3. wrap yarn back around as if to knit
and bring loop to front (k1),
and slip the whole three stitch cluster off the left needle.

Completed sdinc

Rounds 31-36

Here is the final product.  If this technique were used without all the other decorative stitches, the result would be a series of stacked small eyelets, a "handsome increase" in Barbara Walker's words, indeed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fiber College 2011

 I'm home from Fiber College with lots to share, more than I can fit in one post.

I made this little cut out at my campsite at Fiber College.  I drove the 175 miles to Searsport in my family's 37 foot motorhome all by myself.  I'm pretty keen on myself right now.

This is where I was sitting while I made this little cut out at my campsite at Fiber College.  Yep. 

This is the class I taught at Fiber College.  We were working with our tricked out ball winders, winding yarn from recycled sweaters.
I have added a small cup hook to the top of each winder so that it can be used like a drop spindle.  Unthread the yarn from the eye, loop it onto the cup hook, hold two or more yarns at arm's length and crank the handle until the resulting plied yarn has the desired amount of twist.  Remove the loop from the cup hook, rethread it through the eye and wind it onto the ball winder in the usual fashion.  Repeat, many times. Many thanks to Knit Picks for donating two ball winders to our class.  Your generosity is kindly appreciated.

When I pulled into Searsport Shores Ocean Campground on Wednesday afternoon, Astrig and Steve were out on the porch waving and beaming.  And it just got better from there.  More to come ...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Surface Design

Fiber College is coming up quick, September 8 - 11!  If you have not taken a look, I think you should.  And if it does not fit in your schedule this year, please consider making time next year.

I am taking  Beth Berman's silkscreening class.  Surface design has been percolating in my head, including all the places that surface design can be used - clothing, furniture, freestanding art pieces, knitwear ...

Below are some examples of freeform machine embroidery I did a while back.  This is what we call "the asylum", a bedroom in our house up north.

beds from ikea

lamps from Brimfield

Hope to see you at Fiber College!