Saturday, April 30, 2016

Cleaner than clean

I will call it a learning experience and not be too disappointed. I have finished felting the piece from the previous post and mounted the three panels on a bamboo pole. It is not what I envisioned and it is too dark by half. I should have used a lighter sky and more yellow in general. And more flowers. More yellow flowers maybe. And what the hell is the stuff in the middle, behind the flowers? I don't know. It doesn't add anything and the brown horizon is too dark.

I tried to speed up the felting process. Note to self - Don't do that! Especially in the beginning! But my back was killing me from the previous several hours of laying out the merino roving. Note to self - Do not work at the dining room table! Not standing up! The bad thing that happened was an intractable crease in the middle of the sky of the central panel. It was not fixable. I thought about it for quite awhile, and in the end, I just cut the top part off of all the panels. The size is actually one of the best parts of the piece. I will hang it over the entryway into the dining room.

So a piece that began at 28" by 54" was reduced in the end to 12" by 36." And it's ok, barely, but it is not what I had in my head when I began. Note to self - Take your time and do not rush any part of the process!

After the first gentle felting.

What I ended up with.

I have entered it in the Art Council's Open Call with the theme of "In Bloom."

On a brighter note, I bought new shoes!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

In bloom.

The felting begins tomorrow. Right now, it is as long as the dining room table.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

And now, the larch.

So. There's this thing, a kind of new thing, called a knitting blog or vlog or podcast. Whatever. Knitters that video themselves talking about their finished objects, works in progress, stash enhancement, other people's podcasts, yarn shops, and so on.

I think I saw this one first, which just captivated me. I am charmed by Eleanor's manner, her aplomb, her honesty, and her yarn shop in Nottingham, England. How in the world did I come across Knit Nottingham? I can sit and watch her short videos and knit and she makes me feel good.

And so then I began watching other knitting podcasts. Some are ok, some are dreadful, and a handful are quite nice. My favorite by far is The Lone Larch. Every time I hear the word 'larch' I am reminded of one of the first Monty Python episodes I ever saw, back in '75. Yes, I am that old and older. But I digress. The Lone Larch is named Jennie and she is an arborist and lately, she has been having a little 'tree talk' amongst the knit talk. I like her because she is quirky and smart and is funny.

So there is my plug for two totally different podcasts, but I hope you listen to them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Stop calling me Fred

I love fleece. Dirty sheep fleece full of lanolin. I bought 2 fleeces at Greencastle this weekend.

I know that some people think I'm crazy to go to all the effort of soaking and cleaning something with poop and hay embedded in it, but I like doing it. I can afford to buy a nice and clean fleece and I have in the past, but there is a certain joy of taking a sow's ear and making the silk purse. There is also the pleasure of doing something that has been done for thousands of years and is rarely done anymore. I do not know how I will spin this or what I will knit (weave?) with it. It's just loovlee.


Before on the left, and after the second soak on the right.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Birds on a Wire Hat

Two colors of bulky yarn. Main Color - dark and solid, Contrast Color - bright and can be solid, variegated, or striped. The sample is shown using Lamb's Pride Bulky and 3-ply handspun merino. (Cable plied single)

16” circular and a set of double pointed needles size 9 or size for you to get gauge. 

stitch marker
large-eyed needle
tape measure or ruler

Gauge: 13 st = 4”

Size: adult medium 22" - 23" head


MC - main color
CC - contrast color
K - knit
P - purl
S1 - slip stitch from left to right needle, purlwise with yarn in back
K2T - knit 2 stitches together
DPNs - double-pointed needles

With MC, cast on 72 stitches loosely onto circular needle. Place marker to designate the beginning and join into a circle, being careful not to twist yarn. 

  1. MC: K 
  2. CC: (K 1, S1) around
  3. (P 1, S1) around
  4. MC: K
  5. P
  6. K
  7. CC: K
  8. MC: (K 2, S1) around

Repeat Rows 8 and 9 until hat measures 6” from the bottom.  

 10) CC: (K2T, K1) around  48 St
 11) MC: (K1, S1) around
 12) CC: K
 13) MC: (K1, S1) around, cut MC yarn

Repeat Rows 12 and 13 twice and begin using DPNs

 14) CC: K2T around  24 St
 15) K
 16) K
 17) K2T around  12 st

Cut yarn, leaving an 8” tail. Thread tail through needle and run through 12 stitches, removing them from needles, then run through again. Tighten and weave ends in on the inside of hat. 

Notes: If you use a long tail cast-on, the tail should be about 3 times the finished edge plus 12". For example, if the finished hat edge measures 22", then 22" X 3 = 66" + 12" = 72." Therefore, you should allow 72" for the tail. If you do this and end up with two feet of yarn left, you are casting on too tightly.

A handy tip for casting on is to divide the tail in half and mark with a slip knot. You should have cast on half your stitches just before the knot. If not, rip out and adjust your tightness or looseness. 

You do not need to twist yarn at the color changes on each row. 

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Active Ingredients

I meant to post this last week, but, you know, life.

Weird dreams!

Last night, I was Richard Feynmann’s lover! I ran away from my (first) husband on a train to be with him. He was very odd yet exciting, and I was sorry to wake up.

Night before last, though, I was back with the neglected rabbits. Their teeth had overgrown and some were cross-eyed. My therapist said that these sorts of dreams were about me neglecting my own self, and I can see that, but they must also represent anxiety.

Also that night, I dreamt I was in the big house in the country that I lived in as a kid. Lots of rebuilding and renovation going on. I often have this sort of dream, but it is usually about the house and/or barn in southern Indiana so I am not sure why this latest dream moved back in time. 

In dreams, houses generally represent one's body, so make of that what you will.  

So. Life. Went to a state conference of Missouri Art Councils on Monday. It was all fine, and lunch was ok. Finally had a fish taco. Ick. Not as bad as I feared but why do these things exist? The mid-afternoon speaker was a woman who spoke about fund-raising. At least that is what was in the program notes. What she actually talked about was how to get old rich people to give you money. Get to know them, she said. Walk their dog, she said. Buy them lunch, she said. Then, after a year or so, ask them for that half a million dollars and make them sign a pledge, she said. Get it in writing, she said. 

I said fuck this and left. It was horrible. 

I designed and knit this.