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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another Fan Lace Scarf

This is a scan of my second fan lace scarf. This one was knit on my standard gauge with Brown Sheep Nature Spun, 100% wool, in white-white. Hardly ever does my husband comment on my knitting---in a positive way, anyway----but he liked this one. I used Jaquard Textile Paint on it and then heat set it. I really need to wash it in Synthropol to soften it and get the excess dye out, but I'm doing a presentation on the technique at our guild tonight and don't have time for it to dry, I don't think. Always doing things at the last minute. Hopefully, when I do get around to the Synthropol, the vibrant colors will stick around. I also want to sew on a button because this is cowl-sized, rather than scarf-sized like the red one I showed previously. I can't decide if I like the midgauge or standard gauge version better. I actually did block it exactly like the red one by pulling out points. When I painted it, the points disappeared and went back to their natural bent, which is a rounded edge rather than a pointy one. It's nifty how the 3 stitch edge curls a bit and looks finished. I guess both gauges are equally appealing, other than the midgauge produced a longer scarf faster, naturally.

For the guild, I'm bringing my midgauge because it's so portable. I'll crochet the first 3 rows the width of the cowl, which will be a repeat of 9 stitches plus 3 at the end. I'll do that at home to save time. I think this hand crocheted edge looks more finished than the end of the red one, which is just one row of stitches crocheted with the latch tool. Easy to do and I think it looks more sturdy and more decorative. I like how the edges fan out a bit too. Also easy to make both ends of the thing look absolutely identical, which isn't always so easily accomplished on knitted stuff.

I hope my guild likes it. It's hard to find things these seasoned knitters don't know about!!! If you missed the directions, see my previous post about it and you can watch Cheryl's You Tube videos to learn how.
Later...OK, now I added 3 blue buttons, buttoned up the thing then folded over the top and buttoned again. Added a little flair and give the chin some breathing room. Seems like you could button this in a number of ways. Now I'm ready for tonight, just have to pack up my machine and accessories.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Silk Scarf Painting Extraordinaire!

Even though I'm a rank beginner, I convinced some friends that they NEED to try silk painting too. We got together yesterday and spent all day at it. They loved it!!! One joked that she was going to sell her knitting machines and take up silk painting full time. I think she is hooked. There is such variety in color and technique. If you click on the picture, you'll be able to see the detail better. They tried stamping, twisting, plaid, free hand, salt, and outlining with gutta. You can't see the rust colored one very clearly, but it is interesting. She twisted the silk as though she were making a knitted cord, put rubber bands every few inches and painted stripes. The darker colors look like pine trees---or knit stitches! I think for first timers they all did a great job. Each scarf is beautiful and unique. They can't wait to get together to try it again.

Mine is the 4th from the left, with the Chinese red background and pink/orange flowers. I tried the PEBEO silver gutta for the first time. It's nice. I did the design free hand with the gutta while the scarf was stretched and was able to control the lines much better. I like how it gives the scarf a little bit of a dressy feel. Since it leaves a slight raised texture, I don't think you'd want to always use it, but experimenting is fun. I bought pearl white, black, copper and silver. So I've got some play time ahead.

I felt like I made some progress in some ways with my blending of color and there are some things I wish I had done differently. So much is dictated by the silk. It wants to be part of the creation and you can't control it. But all in all, I like my flowers.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama-icon-me !

What a historic day. I was so proud of our country and of Obama and his family. Not many in the world have that kind of charisma. It was awesome and moving to see that crowd of millions on the tv coverage.

I was reading some blogs tonight and came across this fun diversion. It's free.
This is our son, who just graduated from film school. We are really proud of him. I thought a study with his handsome face would be fun. (Not sure he's so crazy about it, though.) The icon maker seems to work best with a portrait, then you can adjust the blue, tan and red. Try it! It's fun!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fantasy Fish- Silk Painting

Here's my first scarf that is worth sharing. I encourage you to click on the pictures to get a larger view. This is actually scarf #3, but the others I'm not so proud of. These fish have been swimming around in my head for quite some time, my own design. Scary what is up there, I tell ya.

Actually came up with the fishies a few years ago and put them into DesignaKnit and knit a funky drought stopper thing with them out of outrageous colors. It's in use to this day coming in handy during our below zero seige, stuffed with odds and ends of ugly yarn and ugly swatches. The draft excluder is about 8" high and the width of the door. Yarn is a wonderful insulator for this drafty (droughty?) door that goes out to the attached garage.

Anyway, I digress. As I'm learning silk painting, I thought it would be a good idea to try a different technique on each fish, which I sort of accomplished. There is soooooo much to learn. A lot of silk painting seems to be comprised of happy and unhappy surprises. I think I lucked out in a way with the seaweed. It's very forgiving, as are the underwater reflections that lend themselves well to shadings of color. This time I was a little more successful blending my own colors---shades of green, blue and purple.

The first scarves I did had some mud shades resulting from over-zealous mixing of colors. For this one, I used habotai silk, 8mm with pre hemmed edges, 8" wide x 56" long. The resist is water soluble as are the Dye-na-flow paint dyes. I'm still getting the hang of that water soluble resist. It's tricky. There are some fat lines and some thinner lines. I prefer to file them under artistic license....

To stretch my silk, I used a highly sophisticated cardboard box reinforced with masking tape. I used push pins to stretch the scarf over the box's opening. If I keep up with the silk painting, I'll need to get a better frame for stretching the silk. I guess I wanted to get into this the cheapest way possible to see if I liked it or not. I know that's not the best approach, but...

I NEED to take an art class or two. Flying by the seat of one's pants seems to waste some time, although painful lessons sink in pretty good.

My knitting machines miss me. But right now, I am totally infatuated with this medium. I feel Paul watching over my shoulder and cheering me on.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

When a fur coat is not enough

Here's our Gertie keeping warm in this sub zero weather. She loves it outside, the colder the better. But she's not averse to snuggling in a nice wool blanket when she comes inside. Isn't she the cutest? Who could refuse that sweet face? It hasn't gotten above zero today. It truly is bitterly cold.

Working on another fan lace scarf, this time on my standard gauge machine with Brown Sheep Nature Spun. Can't decide yet which gauge I like better--the midgauge or standard. I plan to try to use Jaquard Textile Paints on the 3 stitch dividers in the design. We'll see. Could be a disaster. Will post pictures if it's presentable.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Out of the past

My niece just posted a pic on Facebook of her daughter wearing a sweater I designed for Knitwords several years ago. Maybe 4 years ago? Can't remember which issue. I had given it to Jessie for her older daughter, her firstborn. Is cute and fits this sweet child well. The back of the sweater has an upside down ice cream cone having fallen on the ground, with the word "Oops!" I had used several online translators to get the phrases for "I LOVE ICE CREAM", but I think some of them were slightly off. Oh well, most people don't speak that many languages and would be none the wiser. If they knew how to fix the spelling, they could do so when knitting it. Fun to see Liv wearing it and fun to remember this design.

The private snow plow companies in the Twin Cities must be hurting. We got about 3/4" overnight and the plow came this morning to do our long driveway. Grrrrrrrrrrr, it's $40 a crack or I wouldn't mind so much. I suppose now that I have publicly complained, it will snow again today and they'll come back for double the money.

Have been in a bit of a knitting slump lately. Always seems to happen to me in January. Too much knitting before Christmas, I suppose. Instead,I have gotten interested in painting on silk. Have purchased supplies and dyed two scarves so far. It's painful to be a beginner where you do not have really a clue as to what you are doing and you make a gazillion mistakes. It's fun anyway and I have already worn one of the scarves. Pics to follow if I get the camera fired up and the ensuing scarves aren't toooooooo horrible to look at. It's fascinating watching the dye spread out over the silk. Magical, really. I feel another addiction coming on. If you're interested in silk painting, You Tube has lots of examples and Dharma Trading Co. is a wonderful site for info.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Fan Lace

I was drooling over cherylsterling's Fan Lace that she showed on Ravelry. She figured out the technique from just studying a shawl that another Raveler, Corsica, had in her projects. She persisted until she got it. Then she did a tutorial and uploaded the video to You Tube. You can find it here:
It is a great tutorial, easy to understand and I was able to duplicate it without any problems. Here's a pic of part of my scarf stuck under the lid of my scanner. The top is the cast on, which I should probably do something about to make it more sturdy. Was concentrating on the technique, so will add a nicer edge next time. The left and right sides look identical. I used the midgauge machine because the standard wasn't available to me when I wanted to give it a try. I don't think it matters which gauge you use. I knit it with Mary Lou's Schuss Plus 100% wool, which I'm glad I used so that I could block it. Came off the machine looking like a poofy glob of yarn. I pinned out the points and steamed it pretty hard.
Isn't it yummy? I am anxious to try another yarn and see what it looks like. Oh, by the way, it turned out to be about 11" wide by 60" long using 6 groups of 3 in work/6 out of work needles, plus 3 at the end. I think it will be a nice size to wrap around my neck and tie once. Yea! Thanks Cheryl!!!