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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Colorway yarns

Colorway yarns
Originally uploaded by Fiberdabbler.

Tropical Sunrise/Festival Colorways

Colorway inspiration for Creature from the Coral Lagoon came from Knitpick's Landscape merino sock yarn called Tropical Sunrise. Last week I came upon a velvety
ribbon yarn in the same colorway by Moda Dea called Festival. Festival is really too chunky to use by itself, so I'll use it sparingly.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Flamingo Floozy and the Creature from the Coral Lagoon

Once again I jumped on a project bandwagon thanks to the enabling Amplistas. There was so much buzz about a knitalong group for Chris Belsma's Crayon Box Jacket, I couldn't resist the creative fun, knowing full well this perky, chanel type garment won't suit me at all. I've been merrily knitting modular squares for several weeks, but I've come to a crossroads with the Crayon Box Jacket. If I continue the project as a jacket, it will be nothing remotely like the original design. I opted not to use eyelash and other fluffy novelty yarns except for an occasional accent
-- like to hide a messy seam (what messy seams!) or as surface embellishment to keep a stretching square in line. I'd have to make the jacket longer to be flattering, and I'd add triangles to the hemline, which I think would also tame the stretching.

To make up for the fluffy squares, I'm substituting textural stitches, striping, half & halfs, and lots of different yarns and shades within the colorway. It's so much fun to do because it's like experimenting and the possibilities seem
endless -- even moreso if one thinks about surface embroidery, etc. I'm having a ball playing with the colors. I'm trying to keep the majority of squares in the darker shades of turquoise, teal and purple, but the accent coral just jumps out and grabs you -- in fact, I've named the jacket Creature from the Coral Lagoon. Naming our projects was part of the excitement of the Crayon Group.

I'm sure I would look ridiculous in such a jacket, very possibly
clownlike. So I'm at a crossroads: continue the fun and maybe come up with a jacket, maybe a vest (wait -- I've already done the sleeves!), or maybe I'll go for a really in-your-face scarf using all the novelties: fluff, spangles, squigglies, the works. I could become known as the Flamingo Floozy. :-O

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Fish of Prosperity

Number 3 of my targeted UFO bags. It needs additional embellishment and a design change with the straps. I never rush embellishment , so I'll take my time finishing.

The Fish of Prosperity
Originally uploaded by Fiberdabbler.
I've had a great time with this bag, a felted fish from the Interweave book
Folk Bags. I given it far more detail than the suggested embellishment. So
far I've used about 12 specialty threads and ribbon. The fish eyes (eye & gill only are repeated on the other side, which I wanted to keep smooth to minimize snagging)are vintage
The little "pouch" above the fish back is a pocket for the lining. I searched quite awhile for this fabric. I wanted something in orangey-red and obviously Oriental. I found this in a small quilt shop in Castro Valley, CA (my hometown!). The fish will have a zipper closure, and, naturally some kind of dangle for quick
I had the straps set up the way of the directions, bound them together at the top by wrapping with perle cotton. To
get the length right, where the fish
lay nicely above my hip, it meant there
were 3 I-cord ends hanging from either side of the wrap at my shoulder.

I undid it all because, first of all the wrap wasn't long enough and didn't feel comfortable on my shoulder; it had a tendency to curl. Secondly, what to do with the cord ends. Cutting them off never came into consideration because of the embellishment potential. At first I imagined a variety of fibers and ribbons to suggest seaweed, maybe add a few shells. But I liked this purse and thought maybe all that activity on my shoulder detract from the fish and place focus on me, the what-kind-of-woman-wears-something-like-THAT! person I'm really not.

I had decided all along the zipper pull would sport a Chinese coin. I realized a had a lot of these, so many I could use coins to dangle from the cord ends. But that's a lot of brass flapping around, and I didn't want to present the impression of self flaggelation. It's going to take me a while to think out the cord treatment.
Oh, I even considered beading caps for the ends. This is one of favorite parts, mulling over possibilities.

In the photo you'll see the fins, including the two tails, need embellishment. One of the reasons my
earlier progress stopped, was I ran out of a particular thread and couldn't find it in stock. The cords in the picture are shown in a braided experiment, the results not at all satisfactory both in appearance and in the awkward way the fish hung. Since the I-cords have been so overhandled, my next step is to re-felt them.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Lost in Space

Earlier this week I hit the transporter button, and instead of beaming to my blog, a technical difficulty sent my post to the outer limits of cyberspace oblivion. My post was entitled "Additional Sightings". The basic gist was that I was going to enumerate more UFO's like the High Mesa Cardigan I recently did as a knitalong with the Ample Knitters group. I decided listing would be boring and would only account for those unfinished projects I could remember. Often my husband says I'm lost in space.

Where was I when choosing handles for the recycled silk bag? I thought of a possible fix if I wanted to keep these handles, but when it came to content capacity -- I'd lose space. This was
#2 of 3 UfO's I thought I could quickly fire off when I began the blog. Here there is only a delay
until I get new handles.

I thought I'd take a break from knitting. I've so many active projects on the needles right now, I just wanted a little respite. I opted to begin a beaded rope necklace that uses both seed beads and gemstone chips. I acquired my materials months ago, but put off starting because, yes,
I have 2 UFO beadings. Actually my record of completed bead projects is pretty good, probably because most were worked under deadline. You can view these at a new photo site I'm trying .
As said, I already had the essentials, but it took me a day and a half to find the directions, which, of course, were where I thought they'd be and where I first looked. Sigh. Sometimes I have to agree with my husband. Anyway, below is a picture showing beginnings of the spiral rope. I experimented with a couple of other methods before going back to the original directions. I put together a soup of chips which will be worked in the same manner at the front of the necklace. There will be additional beads mixed in to add just a tiny accent of sparkle. My soup recipe uses turquoise, lapis, amethyst and pink quartz that will turn out to approximate a 60-30-10 blend, a successful color proportion used by decorators , quilters and others creating a colorway. I have always gone by what looked right to me, and I certainly wasn't thinking formula when I assembled ingredients for the stone soup.

Spiral Rope with seeds & chips Posted by Hello

Possible solution Posted by Hello

Oops! Posted by Hello

Monday, June 13, 2005

UFO emerging from shadows... Posted by Hello

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Knitting Tote Posted by Hello

Part of My Knitting Arsenal Posted by Hello

Aftermath: A Knitting Tote Posted by Hello

Patriotic Missile Launcher? Posted by Hello

Armed, But Not Dangerous

UFO's - 2
Nancilyn - 1
Reclaimed Space - 0 (finished objects require space, too)

I finished one of my bags, a knitting tote based on a pattern from Janet Scanlon's KnitKit.com
called Constant Companion. I chose my colors because I was of a patriotic mind, but of course
white would hardly be practical for a bag that sits on floors when not travelling. I plan to meet with other knitters and crocheters soon, and since so many are from Australia, New Zealand,
Canada and the UK, I thought my colors would reflect their flags, too. It was probably still snowing when I began the bag, so I was thinking of something warm and snuggly like a Hudson
Bay blanket, hence the stripes. I'm pleased with this sturdy bag. The knit-cord bind off makes
the top edge very stable so it doesn't collapse on itself. I might make the next one deeper, although this one is plenty roomy and shallow enough that I won't have to root around much to find things.

The bag took almost no time to knit up, and I couldn't run it through the washer and dryer for
fulling. I love the fuzzy look that resulted. In my stash I found two fat quarters of brushed cotton plaids. I used these for the lining. I tacked a piece of plastic canvas between the bottom of the bag and the lining. This helps keep the rectangular shape if the tote while ensuring a flat
surface. Tacking prevents the plastic from shifting.

I was in a hurry when it came to the outside pocket. Since it was attached separately, I wasn't worried; I could always knit and felt something suitable later. I did knit a big mitred square with some leftover yarn and threw it in the with bag for felting. Minds cannot imagine what it looked like -- a skewed potholder, maybe. I couldn't fathom using it as an embellishment, but
I really wanted to finish a UFO. I blocked it. Nice square, but still looking like a potholder.
I have a great collection of vintage and new buttons with a patriotic theme. I'd use these to
disguise the true nature of the square. Um, the various stars and bars combos just didn't
do it. Nor did little soldiers, eagles, anchors or liberty bells. Ah, stars. Assorted sizes of red,
white and blue stars. I tried myriad arrangements. The reds and blues just disappeared into
the fields. White would stand out, but as my helpful hubby pointed out, there is no white on my
bag. Eventually I gave up on a random strewing of stars, which more closely resembled the night sky of a galaxy far, far away. I decided on a circle of small white stars on the small blue
square in the upper left corner, and I would use 5 stars . I wasn't trying to replicate a flag.
I just wanted to suggest a theme of stripes and stars. Helpful Hubby indicated where my stars were out of alignment. Geesh. I repositioned them, sewing them down so thoroughly they'd never pull off. Still off. Reposition. Resew. Still not quite right. Finally I went with 6 little stars for a more symmetrical appeal. I guess. I usually try to avoid symmetry, as further evidenced in the widths and spacing of bands on this bag.

Red, white and blue potholder pocket not withstanding, the knitting tote is pretty much complete. There is another side to the bag! I'm thinking I could attach a scrumble pocket to
it. My mitered square could represent my modular efforts and the scrumble my love of freeform. I had an interesting post exchange with Joy Prescott after visiting her website.
http://www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/m/mickeyj/ I went there to look at scarves, but couldn't risist a look at her hats. All of her work is wonderful, but I was drawn to her Tglingit inspired hats. The Northwestern motifs are exceptional, and I wondered if it would be too copycatty of me to attempt a totem spirit of my own as part of my scrumble pocket. It would tie in with my Hudson Bay blankie thought and remind me of wonderful trips I've taken to the Northwest. This is still just a design afterthought. I may never do it. Of course it wouldn't become a UFO unless I actually started it at some point.

I did create an accessory for my knitting tote. It may look like fireworks, and in truth I built it as part of my knitting arsenal. By itself, it cannot take out a UFO. In my hands it's not even
dangerous. It is a quiver for knitting needles! Well, I had this fabric in my stash that went so well with... I covered a superstout mailing tube, too short to keep the needles from slipping out.
Of all things I found a cat treat container that provided the extra length and a suitable cover for the quiver. You have to look really, really close to read "POUNCE" on the endcap.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

When Does the Lily Turn to Gold?

Since my last post I have been diligent in my campaign against the UFO's. I thought I could knock out three of them in one day but was unsuccessful. Hopefully later today I'll have positive
battle statistics.

My mission seemed simple enough: line 3 bags I knit this Spring. Constructing the linings was the easy part -- well, after I deliberated, for the umpteenth time, which fabrics from my stash to use for two of them; I searched four stores on a recent trip to find just the right material for the third, so I was determined to use it. I made templates, cut out fabric for linings and pockets,
and sewed up the seams after restoring proper tension to my machine (I suspect a curious grandchild, but didn't want to waste time dusting for fingerprints.). All of the linings fit nicely; surely all that remained was to stitch them in place. Sigh. That would be nice if I just wanted quicky, ordinary projects. No, no, these are my bags, intended to be completely unique with my special touches.

So there it is. The crux of my procrastination suddenly revealed. Finishing details. Those extra steps that make a project special. Embellishment! I'm not always sure when to stop. When is the lily gilded? I've yet to hear a muse whisper, "Enough is enough, Nancilyn." I keep waiting to blink my eyes and let my creative vision perceive a stopping point. Unfortunately the vision is
too often blurry.

Or maybe I'm too indecisive. How long does it take to determine color, size and position of stars
on a 6 x 6 mitered square? Hours. What did I end up with? Two white stars. Is there anyone who truly believes the elegance of simplicity is without extensive calculation, contemplation?
Can there really be random placement without exhaustive trial and error? So when does the lily turn to gold? Perhaps the change should be imperceptible. Or perhaps the lily shouldn't be gilded at all.