Monday, January 5, 2015

Make Something Monday - Bryce Canyon Hat I

Bryce Canyon Hat, all done!
I finished the hat late Sunday night.  I used a sewing needle bind off so that the edge is nice and loose.  It's very warm; reflects heat back against my head.

Top View
I love the way the top came out with swirls.  One thought I had is to continue the swirls down the body of the hat using decreases after each yarn over.

Bryce Canyon Hat, Almost There
Here's a shot of the rib stitch.  My next one, I want to do something more interesting on the body of the hat.  The ribbing is boring; I'd like to try something more fun - maybe even patterned.

In process, large enough to go on the double-pointed needles.
It looks like a little bag at this stage.

Top View, in process
Here's the top before drawing all the stitches up.  A pom pom might look cute here, or even a bauble.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Make Something Monday: Craftsy Is My New Favorite Thing

I have discovered the joys of Craftsy, an online school for crafting. They have fiber arts, paper arts, photography, even woodshop. I'm having a ball!

The other day, I discovered one of their Halloween kits on sale for 80% off. Wowsers. It was the Halloween Decor Kit.  Not only did it come with supplies, it came with a class on how to make stuff with the supplies.  I decided to give it a shot!

My completed banner.  Is it Halloween yet?
We learned layering and creating interest with disconnected patterns of paper.  We used paper tape with a pattern so that everything would be tied together, and I even took a risk and let stuff come together asymmetrically!

Detail of Banner: The "S" and "P" panels
In this one, you can see the polka dotted paper tape that ties the panels together - and, incidentally, reinforces the paper at the holes we punch in to thread the cording through.  I used orange mercerized cotton from a recent weaving project.

Detail of Banner:  The "P" and first "O" panels - is that a design off the side?
I took a creative risk when I made these and actually had parts of the collage jut off the side of the panel.  Dare we take creative risks?

Detail of Banner:  The second "O" panel as well as "K" and "Y".
I became more daring as I progressed through the pieces.  I used a Permanent Glue Stick from Avery for gluing the pieces; it was a very low-stress, clean way to glue things together.

The completed banner with the mini pieces that will help add interest to the banner.
I love how all the colors go together and have a common theme!

All stacked up and ready to be put away, awaiting Halloween next year.  ~sad~
Okay, now I'm ready for Halloween to come right now!

If you haven't checked out Craftsy before, you should totally toddle on over there.  They have some really neat classes, even some for free so you can decide if you like the platform.  They have regular sales, too, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled.  And best of all?  You can post pictures of your projects to share with other crafters!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Stash Sunday: Introducing Aubergine

She has a name now!
I'm so excited - I settled on a name, and I'm nearly done with the scarf!  This picture is a little too heavily slanted toward blue, but you get the idea.  I've decided the name is Aubergine.  I should be done in another day or two.

This is a fun project because the stitch is much simpler than it looks.  It's just a four row repeat, and two of those rows is to Purl across.  What could be easier?  This would be suitable for a beginner, as long as they know how to cast on and bind off, knit, purl, and do yarn overs.

Pro-tip - keep your yarn untangled by moving the working skein around the waiting yarn on each color change.  Otherwise you'll have a wadded up mess before you go five or ten repeats.  No fun.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Work-In-Progress Wednesday

The Beginning
I received my first commission as Knoontime Knitting!  I am making a scarf for a friend in two colors of purple, Royal Purple and Lavender.  Here is the beginning as it sits on my design pad after the starting swatch.

The Middle
 Here it is after a bit of knitting.  It knits up quickly.  I am using 30 sts cast on for width.

Still the Middle
This is how far I got before I called it a night.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this shapes up.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Make Something Monday

What's In YOUR Wallet? or Bag?
Happy Monday, Dear Reader!  I've gotten some of my design mojo back and have been playing with some different knitting designs.  This morning, as I waited for the bus, I checked the Bus Tracker tool.  It said the next bus wouldn't be there for 27 minutes.  Aside from making me late for work, that meant I had time to get some knitting done.

Then, mid-row, what do I see but a bus? Holy crap.  Try stuffing size 10 needles in an already over-stuffed knitting bag and grabbing everything to get onto the bus.


This is what I'm making with my size 10 needles.  One of my books has an afghan on the cover that's made out of triangles.  I decided to take a twist on that idea and using a base of 35 stitches, make a sampler with leftover yarns and different textures.

This is a Turkish Stitch done in Lion Brand Homespun.  It's a boucle-type of yarn and difficult to see stitch definition; however, I like the less dense look of the fabric.  I find the juxtaposition of the bias pull of the stitch with the decreased edge for the triangle to be an interesting opposition.

What are you working on?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Eyes Have It

The Sun
Every year, I struggle with Christmas and the holidays and what they mean to me.  Much like my forays into 3-D, my forays into what the holidays "should" be like are colored by the past and by expectations.  I remember when my parents separated when I was ten, and I believed my mother "ruined" Christmas.  The magic was gone.  I couldn't understand why my father couldn't be there and we couldn't just celebrate like we had in years past.

Tolstoy said that every happy family is happy in the same way, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.  Melanie Beatty said that in alcoholic families, everyone's angry: Mom's angry, Dad's angry, even the dog is angry.  That last one stuck with me - even the dog?  She's right; my dog knew something was "up."

Why do I bring that up now?  As I learn how to make the holidays mine after all these years, I'm finding that the past is much with me.  Which brings me to the Ojos de Dios, or "Eyes of God."

The Huichol people believe that these amulets bring blessings and luck upon the person for whom they're made.  When a person is born, an ojo is made for them in the central temple.  Ojos are also made at the inception of new business projects, marriages, and other beginnings.  It's a way to attract the benevolent attention of the deities onto one's own life.

A friend of mine suggested some years ago to make the ojos using cinnamon sticks and embroidery floss.  The idea caught fire in my mind and I love the shiny effect of the weaving.  By varying the weaves, you can create more complex structures; but just by using a simple overdyed yarn you can achieve beautiful effects with relatively little effort.

I made these ojos for my office.  I wanted to bring blessings on our work, and to remember that it's the holidays.  I'm trying to capture some of that sense of magic they had when I was little.  I'm not sure what made it magical, which is part of the challenge; I don't know what I'm searching for.

One year, my cat Marina kept batting down all the ornaments I'd put on our tree.  She broke several of them and made a mess.  By end of the holiday, all the ornaments were grouped in the top 18 inches of the tree, leaving the rest to the lights.  The next year, I made ojos for the whole tree - a whole canister of them.  It made me incredibly happy to do.

That's part of the magic, then - making things.  I think that we humans are crafty creatures and that making things with our hands is part of what satisfies us.  So our holiday this year has centered around handmade things - from food to decorations.

What about you?  
What makes the holidays magical for you?

Friday, August 29, 2014


So, I've been on a major yarn hiatus.  I've been doing calligraphy like a madwoman; I'm filling notebooks with the stuff (and no, that's not a typo; yes, I mean more than one).  Let's just say I had to order a second set of practice markers because I used up the ink in the first set.  See what I mean?

But I'm feeling the bug again.  I'm beginning to see that this is part of my normal pattern (which only took me fourteen years to figure out, but let's not go there, kthxbi).  I seem to set knitting aside around May or June and pick it up around September or October.

We celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary this year - yay! - and went down to southern Illinois and St. Louis to poke around.  One of the shops had some lovely Lana de Oro and I had to get some.  I'm thinking socks.  50% wool, 50% alpaca.  Michael picked heather grey, I picked heather lavender:

The lavender has bits of other colors in it, more as shading than a true ombre.

The lighting is weird because I took these outside.  I tried to get a close-up and the camera changed the coloring.  Sigh.  Must.learn.Photoshop.

Can you tell I've been playing with the grey hank?  ~blush~  But this is the grey with the lavender; I'm thinking that I'll use a small mosaic in the cuff of each sock in the opposite color.

It's really not as pink as it seems in this picture.  But I'm excited.  I may even use the toe-up technique, though I think I should do the first set with practice yarn first.  We shall see.