Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Inspiration - Liz Cooksey

As someone who enjoys working in many different forms of fiber art, I'm always looking for ways to combine them.  UK artist Liz Cooksey creates collages on metal that do this wonderfully!  

Weaving, embroidery, crochet, knitting, dyeing ... she seems to have it all!  See many more of her pieces on her website here.

I'll be spending next week playing with Henry - see you in March!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lace Knitting and the Tornved Shawl

In keeping with my resolution this year to expand my knitting skills, I've been working on lace knitting!  And after a little bit of three steps forward, two steps back, I think I've got it down.  I've been working on a simple lace scarf that uses teeny, tiny yarn that causes me to have to take breaks, but one was a lot more complicated and necessitated some new strategies!

The pattern is Tornved by Karina Westermann and is on Ravelry here.  I love this shawl!  There are several more in my future!  As far as being a good beginning lace project .... sort of.  I did fine with most of it, searched for YouTube videos for the few terms I wasn't sure of, and just used trial and error on a few steps that I couldn't quite visualize.  It worked!

So what are the strategies I used?  The first was the use of "life lines" - and believe me, I used these several times!  A life line is basically a safety line so that when you get confused or lose your place (happens easily in a lace chart), you can frog back to the life line (a place you know where you are) instead of starting entirely over.  After the first time of using this, I began putting in life lines every few rows!  I used size 10 crochet thread and a darning needle to place it under the stitches on my needle - leave large tails hanging out the ends as it tends to pull into the knitted piece.  JLYarnworks has some good pictures of the process - including one of what happens if you put the life line through the stitch marker.  I should've found this site before I used my first life line - that's exactly what I did and found it causes large pains later!

A couple more strategies I found helped are sticky notes, stitch markers, and counting.  I used the sticky note under the repeat of the row I was currently on to help me keep my place.  The stitch markers were to help me make sure I had knitted the correct stitches - I placed one after each repeat (rotating with two of them) and then both counted the stitches and checked to make sure they were the correct stitches.  Yes, this took a little more time, but saved me from having to take out a couple of rows of knitting several times.  Counting served the same purpose.  I counted at the end of each half row - and several times found that something had happened to a yarn over.  Much easier to tink (unknitting) back to that spot than wait and discover it a couple of rows later.  You can see on my instruction sheet how I kept track of how many stitches should be in a half row!

And here's the wonderful finished shawl!!  I used Dream in Color Smooshy in Raspberry Blaze.  My photos don't really show how beautiful this yarn is - here's a photo from Eat.Sleep.Knit where I ordered it from online.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Inspiration - Year of the Sheep

Happy Year of the Sheep!!  I've been getting inspired by so many sheep designs!  Here are some of the free patterns I've been looking at:

For knitters, there's this darling Shaun the Sheep by Magni Flyum,

a gorgeous sheep yoke baby cardigan by Jennifer Little,

and this cute sheep backpack by Tatyana Fedorova.

For those who prefer crochet, these little sheep are too precious!  Designed by Kristi Randmaa, they are found here.

There's also these warm little coffee cosies by Denise de Lelys

and a counting sheep afghan from Lion Brand's site.

If you're still looking for inspiration, check out my sheep design that I used for a silk painted scarf

and sheep embroidered kitchen towels.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Inspiration - Heart Time!

Happy Valentine's Day!  I was too crazy busy this year to make anything new for the holiday, but am thinking I should find ways to incorporate hearts year long.  Here are some inspirations I found:

Lori Kennedy's heart motif she uses in free motion quilting would be fun on several of the quilting projects I have in mind.  More information (and some other very inspiring motifs) are on her blog here.

Debbie Henry has a good article on creating a crazy heart applique that would look great as a patch.  The free tutorial is here on Craftsy.

Maxine Miller's gorgeous crocheted heart doily works nicely for year round decor - or will in my house!  The free pattern is here.

And this fun felt tic tac toe game was designed by Camilla and can be found on her First Lady of the House blog here.

Happy Creating!  Deborah