Monday, December 17, 2012

Snowy Monday

I was so happy and filled with creative hope when I peaked behind my roll up shade after creaking out of bed this morning. Last night Jubal and I made the short walk to the Inn on Peaks for a cheese burger and fries which is very good I might add. The snow was just coming down and it was lovely and quiet outside. The snow didn't stop and left a lovely fresh carpet for the morning. I hear that some kiddos around the state had a snow day which always warms my heart. Since I moved out here at the end of August, I knew I would relish the day when snow fell, I had no plans to leave the island and I could create all day- with snow coming down. For some reason my creative senses feel especially saturated with snow or rain falling. It really means I don't have any reason to go out side. And now it feels extra specially good because we've gone for a walk around the block all ready and picked up eggnogg at the store. 

I enjoyed looking around at trees and berries pondering what I might be able to get away with foraging for dye. I've been thinking of collecting the rest of the good looking rose hips for a boil up and dye. I also pondered the bittersweet. Earlier last week we came across a bush of black berries that when squeezed with my fingers are actually purple. 

I made this hat about a months ago from a really fun and easy lace pattern that I found here which is the Foliage pattern by Emilee Mooney. I used Manos Del Uruguay Yarn in Oxygen and the rib in Spirulina. Beautiful color combination. Both of which I purchased at my favorite yarn shop, Knitwit.

This hat has been quite a work in progress for the last two weeks. After pouring over my new book, Super Sticthes, a knit stitch dictionary, I knew I wanted to create a hat using a stitch pattern I'd never done before. I decided on the Chevron pattern but having never translated a flat pattern to circular, it took many test runs, frogging, and explicits. I finally looked up what to do in this case and learned that in order to turn a flat pattern into a round pattern I must work backwards and opposite. I took the time to rewrite the pattern and then learned all I needed to do was knit each odd row twice as it was the same! It did make it more fun and not quite so frustrating. I was going cross eyed, sea sick and turning into a fox faced sailor (foul mouthed). The yarn however, though I enjoy using it a lot, may not show the pattern after all. Blocking will take place after I complete it then I'll know. The yarn is 100% alpaca and has been over dyed twice. It was originally a variegated denim. I wanted to add more fun to it so I splashed in some green and purple. It kind of only darkened it but I like it:) I'm not one to take my time to knit fine but I'm working on new skills. 

This will be my next project one that I have not been able to stop thinking about since I brought this sweet little loom home. I picked up some pearl cotton for the warp which I may to today. For the weft I'll be using my hand dyed silk hankies. 

I used to feel quite overwhelmed if I had an unfinished project hanging around and I wanted to start a new one. I felt like I had to finish the first one before I started the second one. I've gotten over it though and find it quite freeing to have a few to several floating around and going back and forth to weaving to sewing to knitting to spinning to felting like a bird collecting for her nest. It's felt good to come into my own natural process for creating. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Projects Abound

I quit my full time job 3 and half months so I could knit, make yarn, and sew full time. Not only have I loved every minute of it but it also feels very surreal. It's something I've dreamt about doing my entire life. Now when I wake up with a remnants of a dreamt up sweater, I can take the time needed to sketch it into my notebook instead of shrugging it off as something I can only dream of making. Needless to say, I got to a point with my creative self where not only could I not balance my creative energy but I it kind of felt like I had left it for dead with a little note saying, don't worry, I'll be back as soon as I can. In the mean time, here's some needles and yarn.. make something.  Now my creative self and I are two peas in a pod spending late nights together pulling apart over sized fugly mohair sweaters by the fire (to recycle the yarn of course), spinning first thing in the morning while watching entire series of Parenthood and Hart of Dixie. Yes, I like that show, it's cute and happy. I've had piles of bird shapes gaining on my and over taking my sewing table. And now I make more special trips to see fiber friends and buy their yarn. This past weekend my partner and I made the journey to visit Bill of Hope Spinnery and of course by some yarn! I bought two lovely skeins. One of orange the other multi colored with orange. It's sitting in the dream pot. Aka my basket waiting to tell me what they will be. The next day we just crossed the bay to attend Picnic and to of course... buy more yarn. I found Rachel of On The Round selling her lovely fiber and of course, I bought yarn. 3 skeins of this lovely pale variegated pink. I noticed not until I got home that the color way is called Lamb. I Really Really love this yarn and I am really looking forward to knitting something special and small with it.  

So with all this collecting and gathering, and creating, there is also listing. New batches of yarn and birds were added today.

Today I listed a few new items in my etsy shop. Fresh handspun Maine Island yarns dyed with various plant pigments.  

I also added a few special birds to make this holiday season a bit more festive. 

And a few upcoming projects working their way through my fingers are some knitting needle cases. I have 4 in the making. 

I've been working on a new fair isle inspired child's mitten made from plant dyed maine wool.

I've also got a fresh new batch of dyed wool to spin. The last of my Maine Island fleece. Consisting of madder, cutch and fustic.

A few other things that I'm still working on is a hand knit Christmas stocking for the sweetheart. A hand knit hat in a chevron design that I have frogged 3 times included numerous back picking. Next time, it ends up in the fire. But I'll show pictures if it makes it off my needles alive! 

Then waiting in the wings ever so patently is a what I hope will be a sweet, shiny, fluffy weaving project. I've recently inherited from a very nice lady a tiny metal table loom. After the holidays I imagine that things will get oiled and will be reinstated to a place of glory weaving silk rovings. I can only hope. 

Off for a walk now before the sun sets. 


Friday, November 23, 2012

To Start Anew

It has been far too long and I intend to make good on this long absence of posting. The thing is, I'm not a great writer. My grammer, spelling and lack of attention to detail is all wanting. I do have a lot to say on many things though. Like creating. Creating from textiles. And creating textiles in the most natural and long winded way possible. I love talking about natural dyes, how to extract them, where to get them, the quality of local fleeces, my most recent vintage linen find or gift, if it's from my grandmother. But there is always more to talk about too. Like how half and half is SOOO much better in my morning oatmeal then milk- though I love milk. How cream from my Dad's cows is like nothing else. That also goes for his maple syrup and honey too. Three things I feel eternally blessed to savor with each smidgen I manage to squeeze into some of my meals on a daily basis. And then there's living in my new home, on an island, with my sweetheart. I love talking about all these things and every thing in between.

The view at the end of our road a few weeks ago just after sunset. Looking at Portland and South Portland. 

A few months ago, one of my oldest friends commissioned me to make gifts for her family. This scarf was the beginning of a breakthrough with both my knitting and how I look at commissioned pieces. I probably started this scarf 4 different times and 4 different ways. I just wanted IT to be perfect but I had no idea what perfect was suppose to look like. I'd seen this idea of knitting scarves the long way about 8 years ago and always meant to try it. I'm so glad I did. It was so much fun to knit. I was able to incorporate all kinds of hues, but what I loved the best was reliving the story of each yarn and how it came to live with me. Some of it was hand dyed, some of it hand spun, some if it synthetic, and all of it was held on to because I loved it. While knitting this long river of a scarf, I thought a lot about the women it was for as I knew her well from another life. She was my mom's best friend when I was growing up. Our families spent a lot of time together and our mothers' spent a lot of time taking care of each others' kids. When they moved away (both times) it was heart breaking. Our family never connected with another family like this one. I am so happy I am still in contact with my good friend, Molly. No one could ever make me laugh like she did. I was honored to make her mother this gift. 

I also made these tiny socks for my friend's sister in law. They were great fun and very easy for me to do as I had already made a pair for Molly. Dyeing the wool is super easy and only takes a few things to be prepared. I used roving I had bought a long time ago from the Portland Fiber Gallery and Weaving Studio. It's a waste wool of alpaca and merino perhaps??? I really should keep track of what I purchase because I actually do forget easily. Anyway, because it was waste wool it was maybe.. .75c an ounce. I bought most of it. It's so wonderful, nubby and soft. I got into space dyeing a few years ago when I really wanted to figure out a way to make rainbow roving!! LOVE! See, I'm getting really excited:) I had done koolaid dyeing a lot with kids when I taught more often and they were always wowed and it's really fun watching others get wowed over colors:) I just filled each jar with a packet of the colors of the rainbow, except for yellow. For this I used yellow rit dye because lemonade does not dye well. It's so pale. I poured boiling water from the kettle into each jar half way, stirred it up and put in my pre soaked fiber. Then I filled it up the rest of the way. After a few minutes I shifted each section of wool over into the next jar so that the whole thing would be dyed. It's also great to set this outside on a warm day. However, I'm realizing, it's not the SUN that does the solar dyeing really- though it does help of course. It's the HEAT. However, to do this outside feels more fun to me.
If your interested in this process of space dyeing, let me know and I can post a tutorial. 

Peace to you and happy creating <3 div="div" nbsp="nbsp">