Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Quickie: Where am I? Updates & So forth. . .

Hello Everyone!
"HI!". . . No, I didn't abandon Bloggerland, I've just had computer problems out the wazz-zoo! [might be a technical term...lol]. Still don't have it all sorted out yet, but there is now light at the end of the computer-tunnel! lol.
So, here's what I've been up to:
Knitting update:
First, thank to you everyone who has written me about the shawl I'm knitting. I didn't know there would be such interest, but now that I do, I'll post my progress.
Mistake! Watching a movie on TV while knitting a new-to-me lace pattern was probably not very smart. hehehe. I made too many mistakes to easily correct, so just yanked the circular needle out of all 288 stitches, pulled the knitting back about 10 rows or so and put them back on needle to resume knitting. Oh yeah, that was a lot of fun. lol. Not! All's well that ends well, though, and I'm clicking right along. Have almost finished the main lace pattern in the central third of the shawl -- a more recent picture to follow soon.
Friends, Vacations & Play Time:
Last Wednesday I met a friend and her family at Disneyland. They are visiting from Alberta, Canada. We've known each other through emails, photos, & a couple of phone calls for several years, but never met until now. Over time we have become good buddettes. It was so much fun to finally met! We spent the afternoon strolling through the Park, taking a few rides, and visiting the Blue Bayou Restaurant in the New Orleans Quarter for an early but sumptuous dinner. Their little boy got a real delight watching the boats from the Pirate's of the Caribbean ride floating through the water that runs through the restaurant. What fun! I love that place. They brought me a box of special Canadian cookies -- YUMMO! Wow, do I love these cookies, or biscuits as they are called on the box. I am sad to say the cookies didn't last long as DD and I ravaged the box! lol. It was hard to save ONE for the picture, but I plan on snacking it off this afternoon... wouldn't want it to get lonely just sitting in the box all by itself. You believe that. . . ya?! lol

A couple of weeks ago we began exploring some dyeing possibilities at my Tuesday afternoon quilt class. First we did scribbles with markers and the following week we did 'direct dyeing' using Procion Dyes. The pic above and below are two of my efforts. The assignment was to make something in USA patriotic colors to be later incorporated into a wall-hanging appropriate for July.
I still have a bit more piecing of bits and blocks, plus borders to add, but these are the two pieces of dyed fabric that I'm starting with. I'll post a pic of this quilt later when it is complete. I'm still fine-tuning my design and will probably add a silhouette as well.
Well, that's it for now. I sincerely hope that your summer [or winter for our Southern Hemi friends] is wonderful and that you've found some time to stitch or knit. . . thank you for stopping by,

Monday, July 6, 2009

PROJECTS: New & Ongoing... Knitted Shawl & Road Less Traveled quilt

This is the latest block for the Road Less Traveled quilt I've been working on. I'm still deciding on the final corner squares. . . I may just leave what I have and not change them [u/left corner]. . . not every block can be a star. . . ya?!

This is the beginning of a new shawl. It will be circular in shape -- I've always made them square before. Even though the shawl is knitted, it begins with a crochet hook. This is often called "Emily Ocker's" beginning: make a loop & put desired number of single crochets into the center of loop -- I'm using 9 stitches. Transfer to double point needles & begin to knit. It may feel a bit fidly in the beginning, but after a row or two everything will settle down. Later, the little 'tail' can be given a tug and the beginning circle will close -- no one will be the wiser as to how you began! Isn't that neat?!

This shawl will be made from unspun Icelandic wool that I get from here . Unspun Icelandic comes in several nice natural shades and a couple of 'dyed' ones, like this rose color. It comes on a "wheel" rather than a hank or skein. It is a delightful yarn to knit with. I'm using only one strand so the shawl will be very light, but this yarn will also make it quite warm!

Pic to the right is the beginning, which is now on four double point needles. I've decided to use size 10.5 US size. This will make the stitches large enough to be 'lacy'.

And to the left, it is moving to a 16" circular needle. I don't bother to 'transfer' the stitches, but simply begin knitting with the new needle. Soon it will be on a 24" circular which should see me clear through to completion. I'll post updates as the knitting progresses.
Oh, in case anyone's interested, I'm using the geometry of Pythagorus: the relationship of a circle's circumference to its radius will double in progressively doubling rows. What this means to us knitters is. . . begin with nine stitches and knit one row; next row double the stitches by YO, K1, repeat all around [18 stchs]; now knit 3 rows plain; double the stitches again [36 stchs] and knit SIX rounds plain; repeat same doubling & also double the number of plain rows of knitting in between the stitch increases... now knit 12 rows [72 stchs]... etcetera. I was reminded of this theory of Pi from high school days, by Elizabeth Zimmerman when her "Knitting Workshop" program aired on PBS back in the 1980's. BTW, if you never purchase any other knitting book, get her "Knitting Workshop" book as it will take you from a beginner to a master knitter in 12 lessons. In my view, EZ has been the most influential person in the knitting world. Her daughter Meg now carries on EZ's business, publishing & teaching.
This pi shawl is a good carry around project as the shawl creates its own 'knitting bag' once it's on the 24" circular needle... I just tuck it into my purse along with one wheel of yarn and I'm all set to knit anywhere, anytime. . . like today where I will be spending at least one hour waiting to have new tires put on my car.
Have you noticed the cost of new tires lately? OMGosh, the amount of yarn and fabric I could buy for what these tires are gonna cost just staggers the mind! lol.
All for now. . . thank you for stopping by,
Note: As always, just click on any picture to enlarge it. Also, the little blue 'pin' is used to mark the very first stitch. It's a good idea to place a marker at the beginning of the round and slip it on each successive round. . . use a coiless pin or yarn in another color, that way you always know where you are. *g*.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Purse: Knitted w/Cables & Bamboo Handles....

As so often happens, one of my DDs saw a picture of something and wanted one for herself. I saw a version of this purse on the Vogue Knitting website and showed it to DD#2 [first mistake]. She said, "ooooo, I'd LOVE one, but I really want it to be BLACK" . I said OK... [2nd mistake]. Then she cooed that she'd prefer not to have knitted handles; could I attach something else?! Oh, sure [3rd mistake]. I took her with me to the store to pick out her handles {major mistake!}.
So. . . now we are going to knit up a purse just like the pattern, only "different," with oval bamboo handles connected to top of a rectangular shape, and it will be black! Black is always harder for me to knit with... I don't see the stitches as clearly... oh well, black it is! lol.
Oh, and 'we' need it lined with pockets inside... I said I'd try [another mistake]. The yarn was purchased Mar2008; I knitted the 'body' over the weekend at the DJ Retreat in Shipshe in April2008, and finished adding the lining, crochet, & bamboo handles the evening of July 1st, 2009.... as things go, I guess that's not too bad! lol... at least it is no longer a UFO. DD loves it... I'm glad. ;-)
So, here it is... the completed purse. The pic is pretty bad and the scissors are just stuck in to show there are pockets inside. It looks grey in this pic, but trust me, it's b-l-a-c-k! The lining is grey, though.

That's all for now... thank you for stopping by,
PS: If the top edge looks a little different it's because I added two rows of single crochet [to firm up the edge] before I crocheted a 'gusset tube' [I don't know what else to call it] to secure the handles. Until I got the hang of what I was trying to 'invent,' I felt all thumbs holding the purse, handles, yarn and crochet hook. lol. Well, all's well that ends well... I guess...eh?!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Dyeing With Markers. . .

A week ago last Tuesday the lecture in quilt class was "What Now?" An interesting title. The instructor demonstrated using permanent markers -- such as 'Sharpies' -- on clean dry muslin, let dry [or not, artist's choice] and then apply Isopropyl [70% or higher] alcohol using a mister, sponge brush, or pouring.

After some alcohol. . . this will change the surface based on the application method. I used a combination of brushing and pouring. Let dry & 'cure' for several days; heat set with dry hot iron; rinse, dry, and iron again.

This flower reacted quite a bit differently than I expected, but then that's part of the fun of this technique.

The outside edge of the fushia color was applied using another 'permanent' marker I found at Michael's craft store. . . don't remember the brand name. This color really ran!

I think I may do some heavy free-motion thread painting over the top of this flower, cut it out and apply to one of the canvas tote bags I use when grocery shopping. I figure I can use this 'dye-goof' to increase my free-motion experience. I have nothing to lose but some thread. . . eh?! *g*

Later, I'll post some pictures of what these 'experiements' look like after putting them through a bath of Synthrapol -- it took almost ALL the red markers out and caused the blues n greens to migrate over the whole surface. Now that was unexpected! I learned NOT to put marker-dyed fabric in synthrapol-- just rinse & heat set. Well, live and learn! LOL

Last Tuesday we shared the results of our 'direct' dyeing experiments using soda ash & Procion dyes. These turned out somewhat better... pictures to follow...

That's all for now... thank you for stopping by,