Saturday, March 31, 2012

Weaving Away

It’s been a while… It seems I can’t get the computer away from The Artist in the evenings. But as he says, “It keeps me out of the bars!” (Note to public: The only time he ever hung out in bars was in his early 20’s when he played in Rock and Roll bands in them, long before we knew each other. He was actually in a very popular local area band at the time … a man of many talents.)

So anyway, I started weaving. I’ve always wanted to weave. So, I finally took an all day class at an area knitting show. I used a 12” wide Ashford Knitter’s Loom in the class, which I subsequently purchased. The teacher was really fantastic.

It’s so much fun! Little scarves go so much faster than knitting and I can make up one for everyone that I owe something to in their favorite color.

But there’s one problem. You’re supposed to use up your stash and the ends of balls from other knitting projects. I do that, but I also keep buying new yarn! I guess ‘twas ever the life of any craft enthusiast.

Here’s the first one I made, 6” wide in blues, and the second one, also 6” in reds. The reds really are ends, for the most part. Some of the blues I picked up for projects, and (ahem) repurposed a bit ofthem, others are ends.

First two weavings 1

And here’s the third one, made for my good friend (who called it very ecclesiastical-looking):

Kathy Scarf-3-24-12

This one is actually a bamboo and silk warp and a silk weft. It took a while to figure out how to do the weft just right, because the silk was so slippery, so it ended up being a little shorter than I planned.

The Ashford Knitter’s loom is a great little rigid heddle loom, meaning, in layman’s terms, that it doesn’t take up much space, doesn’t have a complicated set up and folds away in a bag. It’s made to use against a table edge, comes with a carrying bag and will fold up with your project on it.

I plan to start a new one this weekend. The Artist has been really helpful to me in setting up the warp. He says it’s because he likes mechanical things. What a guy!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Snowball for Christmas

I've been knitting away a couple rows at a time for the last few days making a Christmas ornament. The pattern is from a new book I bought called 55 Christmas Balls to Knit by Arne & Carlos, two Norwegian guys who are apparently very big in knitting in Europe. All the patterns they present are based on old Norwegian patterns that they have collected.

I did this one with some angora that a friend bought at a street fair in NYC and sent to me. I just love it. It's quite fast to make and a great introduction to the Fair Isle technique.

I had to get some red yarn today so I could make more!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Knit and Sew, part 2

Since I had so many compliments on my pillow, I thought I'd show off the back.

From the back, you can see much better the wild crochet stitch that I did, alternating blue, red and gold.

Great challenge, great fun, and I think I'll do it again. Maybe this winter.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Knit and Sew

At long last, I have a work that combines knitting and sewing.

Above, a pillow cover that I knitted: sari silk yarn, cotton crochet yarn, rayon and wool yarn, chenille yarn and some special yarn from a shop in San Francisco.

What you can’t see is the cover itself, a royal purple silk and cotton blend, and the invisible zipper. The hardest part? Not the knitting. Learning the new crochet stitches to do six rows of crochet for the flange was a challenge.

But doing the last part, making the full pillow undercover and back cover itself, was probably the most challenging… Not that I can’t sew. It was just that in my mind, the pillow was done and making the case was just cleanup work. Silk. It slid. I had to baste. I had to sew. I had to remove the basting. I had to resew a couple parts.

But, it was worth it. It looks gorgeous. And what a great stash buster!

And the Artist? He’s busy getting ready for the annual Open Studios event. Be sure to see his museum show if you’re in the area. It has received rave reviews.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Quilt 20 Years in the Making

I’m extremely proud that a little quilt I started at least 20 years ago has been finished.

Until about a month ago, only the center, with the grey and the blue and pink flying geese was almost completed. (It’s my own design, for what it’s worth.) The unfinished quilt top sat in my stash of fabric for years. Once in a while, I’d take it out and look at it longingly, wondering if I’d ever complete it.

20 year quilt -1 - 72

What happened? Why didn’t I finish it? It wasn't that big. Quite simply, I never made space for myself to sew (although I thought I had), I never knew how to put on the binding (this was true), and I never had any real motive to finish it (this was also true).

Why did I finish it? Several reasons. About seven years ago, I joined a fiber art group that meets once a month. Meeting once a month encourages you to complete things to show off, so I knitted, for which I have developed a passion. I completed a large “quilt” and an advertising banner. I knit three sweaters. I knit a pillow top. But, I never finished my little quilt.

One day, a wonderful member of our group named ellen edith called me up and said, “Come on over, I’ll show you how to do the binding.” You bet I took her up on it. She made a sample for me to take home to refer to. I made a “cheater” quilt of fabric I recently designed. I made a set of placemats. I made another set of placemats and some napkins (also 20-year-old projects!).  I still knit.

ellen edith passed away. The threat of mortality struck me. I decided it was time to finish all the projects I have hanging around.

I had only one more excuse. No space. I had a room, it was just poorly arranged with the wrong equipment. I bought a new sewing table. What a present to myself! Why didn’t I do it years earlier? Forget the cost. Look at the reward!

So, now I have no excuse to finish the rest of my 20- and 15- and even 25-year-old sewing projects. It feels so good!

Thank you ellen, thank you CCTA, thank you my dear, sweet husband, thank you everyone who’s given me encouragement through the years.

You, too, can finish things, all you procrastinators. Just be persistent. And be very kind and giving to your fiber friends. Actually, be kind and giving to all your friends. You never know...

20 year quilt - 2 - 72

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Incredibly Busy Time for The Artist and Me

The Artist and I have been so busy we can barely remember what’s coming next! For The Artist, his museum show, Studio Made: The Santa Cruz Woodworkers, at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, has been up for two weekends and is showing to huge groups of people and rave reviews. Before he can take a breath and pat himself on the back, it’s off to the American Craft Council Show this weekend, August 12,13 and 14 at Fort Mason in San Francisco.

This is the only large out-of-town show he is doing this year and since some of his work is in the museum show, he’s been madly trying to finish up some new work for the ACC show.

I, of course, am at the start of a new accounting year and all its new spreadsheets with updated budgets, our time compromised by our yearly audit, with its batch of fresh, young auditors, never quite seeming to understand our business like we do. We pay to train them so that they can sign off that our books are clean. What an interesting concept.

But - the interesting stuff. Let’s see some shots of the museum show!

Ron entrance - 72

The Artist showing off his work, the Medieval installation, work of other woodworkers:

Ron - chandelier - 72
Ron and Penny - 72

Installation - 72

Ron-Award3_edited-1 72

The Artist receives a thank you from his fellow woodworkers for his time and effort in creating the graphic and media material. As one of "the guys" said, "How ironic that the guy who makes reproductions of ancient instruments is our go-to guy for the latest technology."

Ron with MAH show sign - 72

Rather tired after First Friday, where a record number of people passed through the exhibit.