Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hello Again!

Wow - I really did not mean to be away for so long!  I totally underestimated how topsy-turvy the last couple of months would be.  In a good way, though!  After three years of living with one foot in the desert and the other on our Northwest Oregon farm, we've made the decision to move full time to the farm.  So this spring has been spent getting the house ready to sell .... sorting through 16 years of accumulation, deep cleaning, and finally finishing all those "gonna do someday" projects.  And after one day on the market, our house sold!!  

Add into this the wedding of my niece Carly, known to readers of this blog in the early days as "Big C!"  I volunteered to make Charlie's flower girl dress - if you've sewn lace over taffeta you know how gorgeous this is and how time consuming to cover all the seams and attach everything just right.  It turned out great and the wedding was gorgeous (and exciting with the entrance of a pre-monsoon thunderstorm).

Meanwhile, back at the farm .... the flowers are blooming, the studio is nearing the finishing stages, and the cats are, well - their usual sleepy selves!  

I'm getting ready to return to Phoenix for the final packing, cleaning, and moving process so I imagine that posting will be sporadic for awhile more!  However, having moved on from cowls to shawls, I do have some knitting to show you next week!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Irish Mesh Knit Cowl

At the Rose City Yarn Crawl this year, I was lucky enough to discover Thoroughly Thwacked yarns!  Stacey is the Oregon artist behind this indie line and what a palette of colors!!  If you haven't run across her yarn before, you have to take a look on her website at the gorgeous colorways and the hilariously entertaining names.  Like Pastry Bandit, Poison Apple, and Bruised Fairy.  Every name has a backstory - I got to visit with her for a short while and hear about the man on an overpass throwing chocolate frosted/rainbow sprinkled pastries onto the cars below and inspiring Pastry Bandit.  Seriously I could've listened to how they all were named - she needs to publish these!  It was hard to decide which one to buy, but since St. Patrick's Day is coming up and I seem to be short of green to wear, I chose Paddy Cake.

I designed this simple cowl using it.  It's long enough to be looped twice or you can just let it hang around your neck as an accent.  Mine is about 5 inches wide when blocked and used about 300 yards - if you'd like to make yours wider, there is plenty of yarn to do that with.  And if you'd rather make yours a shorter cowl, just make sure you cast on a multiple of three plus one.

1 skein fingering weight yarn.  I used Thoroughly Thwacked's Vixen, a super soft merino/silk blend.
Size 5 circular needles
Stitch marker

Cast on 301 stitches.  Join to form a circle, being careful not to twist into a moebius.  Or if that happens anyway, decide you wanted a moebius cowl afterall!  Place stitch marker and begin.

Set up rows:
Row 1:  knit all the way around
Row 2:  purl all the way around 
Row 3:  knit
Row 4:  purl

Mesh section:
Row 1:  Knit (k) 2, *yarn over (yo), slip 1, k2, pass slip stitch over both knit stitches.*  Repeat instructions between *'s until you have 1 stitch left - knit this stitch.
Row 2:  Purl
Row 3:  K1, *slip 1, k2, pass slip stitch over both knit stitches, yo*.  Repeat instructions between *'s until you have 2 stitches left - knit these stitches.
Row 4:  Purl

Repeat rows 1 - 4 of the mesh section until cowl is the desired width.  End by repeating the set up rows and then bind off.  Give the cowl a fairly aggressive blocking to open up the mesh.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday Inspiration - Anne Kelly's Fabric Collages

I've been fascinated by fabric collages for most of my life!  Third grade, in Mrs. Fiedler's class - what looked to my eight year old eyes like giant mountains of fabric scraps, bits of lace and ribbons, and buttons appeared on several tables when we returned from recess.  Our project for the rest of the afternoon was to create animals and their habitats.  I was hooked!  In my memory, my black velvet skunk with its white (lace?) stripe was the most amazing thing I'd ever created!  I don't work with collage as a technique nearly often enough, but my eye always stops on inspiring collage pieces when I come across them.

And I recently found the work of UK artist Anne Kelly, who stitches together recycled pieces of fabric, paper, and photographs using nature and her travels as inspiration.  I especially like the textures she creates and the many layered details - these are works you can come back to and see something new each time.  Here a few of my favorites:

Waistcoat Bird Tree

Lost and Found - Day

Around Midnight

Be sure to take a look at her website for a look at many more and information on her workshops and books!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Rose City Yarn Crawl 2016

I spent a wonderful three days last weekend on the Rose City Yarn Crawl - my first one!  Three days, fourteen yarn shops, ten new skeins of interesting yarn, and an armload of patterns!

Among the highlights, a gorgeous tencel yarn in a deep purple by Teresa Ruch (who I got to meet), a new Republic of Yarn colorway Marsh, a lupine inspired Blue for Ewe to knit a lupine inspired shawl (Blue Moon Fiber Arts), an undyed baby alpaca and silk yarn that shimmers like silver (Metalico by Blue Sky Alpacas), and an Ancient Arts yarn in calico cat colors - they have other cat inspired colorways and donate part of the proceeds to humane animal shelters.

I also got to talk with an indie dyer whose amazing yarns I'll introduce you to next week!

Oddly enough, it only rained a little on the first morning and after that it was sunshine and showers of cherry blossoms.  And there were also lambs to visit!

Remember the mystery knit-a-long I've been working on?  That was for the Yarn Crawl - a Velo Cowl that I finished with a few days spare!

Happy Creating!  Deborah