Experiments and a Q&A

experiments in leaves and wool and wax.jpg

Today I experimented with wet felting my coopworth fleece, real (pressed) leaves, and beeswax. Not a total failure, but nothing great either. I have an art piece due in a couple of weeks and hey, guess what, I don’t have one ready to hang. I might have to fall back on knitting, as it is the one medium I feel I have mastery over. I do still have time to knit something, but I am lacking a strong vision.

So how about a Q&A from nothingbutknit2?

What is the first actual craft you remember doing as a child? (Not coloring or finger painting. Something more special that you didn’t do regularly.)

Embroidery with my grandmother. I also remember some really great crafts at my hippy dippy primary school. We made those ice cube candles and sand candles, and batiked our own t-shirts. I made a Wild Cherry design on mine. (Enjoy.)

What is the craziest craft you’ve tried?

I can’t think of anything crazy. I made corn dollies for a short while. It was fun and easy and I was good at it. The hardest part was sourcing the dried wheat.

What craft would you like to try but you know you’d be bad at it?

I would love to try lost wax casting my own jewelry. I probably would be bad at it because I’ve never been a good sculptor. It was the one art class I didn’t take in college. Although, if I am being honest, I’m not sure that’s relevant. I did take painting, and I’m a horrible painter.

If you had to give up your crafting how would you spend your crafting time?

Probably still sitting on the couch watching horror movies but not knitting. I would like to spend more time hiking, though.

What craft isn’t your thing? Have you tried it or do you just know you wouldn’t like it?

Macrame. You would think it would be my thing, all fiber arty and really trendy right now. But I guess I have some old memories of the 70’s lurking in the back of my mind and some resistance to trying it. I have seen some beautiful jewelry made with macrame.

Anniversary Getaway

This week Bob and I went to Hocking Hills to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary. We went for our honeymoon, and we go back every October.

This year we went back to the cabin where we stayed for our honeymoon, Evergreen Place. I was ambitious and brought a lot of knitting.

I made a point to knit at least a little bit on each WIP. And I started a sock!

The yarn is really that blue, but the basket it is sitting on is not quite that dayglo orange. Pretty close, though. The yarn is Knitting Goddess and it is 85% Wensleydale and 15% Shetland, and it is wonderful and full of lanolin! I picked it because it is all wool but sturdy enough for socks. I think I blogged about this before.

In addition to my knitting, we did a lot of hiking on this trip. On our last day we hiked Jacob’s Ladder (a steep zig zag incline) to be rewarded with this view from Christmas Rocks.

It was breathtaking, or maybe that was all the climbing. But we were happy at last to have a crisp autumn day, even if there isn’t much color in the leaves yet.

I had to share this photo because these are little fungus spores. I touched one and it puffed which surprised me, and I accidentally breathed the spores in. I told Bob the fungus might take over my brain and I might become the first zombie in the zombie apocalypse, so to keep an eye on me.

What do you think about this fall display we happened upon? It is certainly striking. I may have edited the photo to make it a little more dramatic.

You can tell I’m in a Halloween mood.

This means “a hundred thousand welcomes” in Irish Gaelic.

Here’s a random pic of Bob to wrap up this random post. Also, this bear. I love this bear keeping watch on the porch.

October is for Horror Movie Knitting

Bob surprised me today by putting on Joe Bob Brigg’s Horror Marathon on Shudder. I love horror movies, even bad ones. Maybe especially the bad ones. I watch horror all year, but we seem to watch nothing else as Halloween approaches.

We just watched Tourist Trap. Spoiler alert: this movie is from 1979, but in case you haven’t seen it and are considering watching this gem from bygone days of yore, you might want to skip ahead one paragraph.

Chuck Connors is hamming it up as a deranged serial killer who chops up unsuspecting daytrippers and brings them back to life as mannequins. The surrealism of the mannequins made this film really fun to watch. Apparently the director trained with Luis Bunuel. It shows.

I am still plodding along on Harald’s plain gray sweater. I’m almost done with the back. I decided on set in sleeves. I’m going to knit mock cables on the front, gansey style. So I guess I can’t call it plain anymore.

What is your favorite thing to watch while knitting?

Knitting Q&A

You know I can’t resist a Q&A! This one is from nothingbutknit2.

Q. You’re given a magic yarn bag that will supply one skein at a time as needed. You reach inside and pull out a skein. What is this yarn? Be specific or not.

A. Cerulean Wool DK. It’s similar to a yarn I’m working with now. I almost said cashmere, but cashmere is too limp and floppy. I like my yarn to have some body. Also I prefer a local yarn. So maybe Targhee, although I don’t know that much about sheep. And maybe a tweed with some flecks of navy, olive green, and burnt orange.

Q. When you enter a yarn store how do you work the space? Does it vary if it’s your regular store or a new to you store?

A. I will head directly for the worsted. Then I will backtrack and go up and down the rows. If it is a new-to-me store I will stand in a place with a good view of everything for a minute to assess the layout, then do exactly the same.

Q. Have you ever knit or crocheted something that you swore you never would? What was it? Why did you never want to make it and why did you?

A. Yes, big knitting. It was that big knit ruff/cowl. I think that big yarn is absurd and not fun to knit with. But that particular yarn was so scrumptious I really wanted to make something with it. Also, I really wanted to knit something for my favorite then nine-year-old and I didn’t have much time.

Q. What is your next project going to be? Do you have a planned queue or do you make whatever strikes your fancy at the moment?

A. I’m going to cast on for that Carbeth in the red Targhee soon. I also have socks in blue Knitting Goddess yarn that I haven’t started. I was going to make them plain but now I think I’m going to use a pattern from this Hunter Hammersen book that feels like it was created specifically for me:

Knitting and plants and vintage botanical illustrations! I haven’t picked a pattern yet.

I’m also going to knit another Brassica hat out of the same yarn as before, but in green:

I over-edited this photo in Snapseed in an attempt to make you feel as in love with this color as I am.

As you can see, I mostly plan my projects, but sometimes I linger over the planning stage because the fortuitous unexpected will happen, like the Hunter Hammersen book. That’s fun to say! Hunter Hammersen.

A Back to Blogging Q&A

I’m still not knitting much right now, but I got my peas and greens seeds planted in the garden. Then it snowed. Mother Nature told me, in a sing-song voice, that this would be the last snow this year. Or I might have dreamt that. She looked like this:

MotherNature

I have more seeds coming, so there’s more planting to do, and some baby seedlings to get started. I’m not sure how I’ll do that this year, since my grow house was damaged over the winter. I guess I’ll wing it, my go to.

Here’s a pic of the only plant to survive my attempt at a fall garden. I wonder if I’ll get any brussel sprouts? I’ve never grown them before, so only time will tell.Ms. B Sprout

After getting back from Boulder, I worked very hard on an exercise to get promoted at work! And I did! So that’s some good news.

I thought a Q&A would be a good exercise to get me back in the swing of blogging. This is from compassionknit.

Have you knit with a gradient yarn?

Yes.

If so, was your motivation partly due to the fact that there are no ends to weave in?

Probably. Also, I like watching the colors unfold.

Do you forbid your cats to sit on the table?

I don’t, but Bob (SO) does.

If you could go anywhere in the world this week, where would you go and who would you go with?

I would take Bob to Scotland.

Many of you suggested great shawls for me to knit next.  Thanks!  Do you want a few more that I found?

Sure! Although, I’m not sure compassionknit will be over here to read my answer. And I’m not a shawl fan, as a rule. I’d rather knit and wear a sweater. So it’s okay.

If you could pick two things that would grow well in your yard /garden/patio this year what would they be?

I will be growing snap peas, arugula, some kind of lettuce, and sorrel. Those are all heirloom seeds that I collected from the plants in my garden last fall. I will also be planting kale, tomatoes, basil, cilantro, german chamomile, lemon balm, dill, parsley (because Bob likes it), greek oregano, and some birds eye peppers that I collected the seeds from the last plant I grew from the last seed I had last year. Bob really likes these, so I’m going to try to grow several plants.

Bob Bob Bob. That’s all I ever talk about!

img_3777

Date night selfie.

What’s your favorite positive affirmation that you rely on to encourage yourself?

I engage in a lot of self talk, but nothing that I would call an affirmation. Just real talk from my real self to my real self.

Bobbles and Tudors, Thistles and Sunflowers

West Highland Way the 5th (knitting pattern) arrived this week. It is covered in bobbles. I love it!

img_2799

(Photo credit: katedaviesdesigns.com)

Look at those perfect bobbles! My bobbles don’t look half so good. I downloaded the pattern and looked at how her bobbles are made. Of course they are made differently than the instructions I’ve been following.

I may have to knit this. It’s lovely. But I will probably wait it out a bit to see what other patterns are on the horizon. I have a pretty limited yarn allowance.

If I do knit this, what color? I love Campion (red.) But, as we all know, dark blue (Lochan) is my color. That will be a tough choice.

I also love the The Shieling. My husband is a (maternal) McLean, and wore his tartan on our wedding day. My boys also wore McLean tartan ties, and they all wore thistles in their boutonnieres. So the thistle is mighty close to my heart. This might replace the gansey bed cover I was planning for our tiny house.

bob with thistle boutonniere.jpg

It’s a Canada Thistle , and not a Scottish thistle, because we used a florist that sources from local farms and wildcrafters. (I’m not sure we could get Scottish Thistles here even if we tried.)

Anyway, the boys had thistles. The girls had sunflowers. It was a beautiful fall day. And I made my own dress. Lovely.

bob and alissa-30

The boys are standing on a log here. That’s why they tower over everyone.

Maybe I could knit some sunflower cushions that would work with the thistle blanket?

I have been reading Tudor: Passion, Manipulation, Murder. I love English history, and this book is well written but still manages to flesh out the bones. Did the Tudor princes read Machiavelli, or was The Prince written about them? It was published around the same time. Probably neither. Perhaps it simply reflected the times. But you could learn a lot from this book if you were an insecure monarch, or a ruthless entrepreneur.

While I was searching for names and images of some of the lesser known figures in the book, I came across this compilation of sketches by Hans Holbein the Younger. They are stunning. Almost photographic. They have a quickness and liveliness that is missing in formal paintings, like the past brought to life.

Of course I googled “Tudor knitting” and landed on “Tudor Roses,” a book by Alice Starmore. I reserved it from the library. I doubt I will knit anything from it, but I’m sure I will enjoy looking through it.

One of the things I love about this time period is the use of symbols, which is discussed lightly in the book. Tudors were great at Public Relations, masters of spin!

Red Rose for Lancaster. White Rose for York. Tudor Rose combines both and symbolizes rightful reign.

Thistle for Bob. Sunflower for Alissa…

Sunthistle, anyone?

Color Theory!

img_2797

I really enjoyed my Color Theory class at Yarn It and Haberdashery, Look at Esther! Can you imagine a better person to learn from about Color Theory?

The best tip of the evening was learning to use colors that are opposite (or almost) on the color wheel but also using cool tones against warm tones to really make them pop. I can’t wait to get my Milarrochy Tweed yarn to see how the palette works together!

In the meantime, I will make some black and white copies of my chart and color in some potential options.

I also purchased a new skein of yarn to start on Brassica, which I fell in love with while swiping through my Ravelry app. Although I would have loved to have used the Cascade called for, I found instead a skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Chunky in – guess what color? Grey.

Last night, I confessed to the fun and funky ladies at class that I’m a boring knitter. Esther corrected me and called me an “Over the Pond” knitter. Her shop is filled with bright and fun colors, and everyone is knitting speckled yarn. She says that’s what the Americans like. But not me. It’s true. I follow KnitBritish. I like natural fibers in neutral colors. I like cables and texture work, and if colors, then stranded Fair Isle or Nordic colorways. One time I took a “What kind of knitter are you?” quiz, and the answer was “Purist.”

I waxed rhapsodic about my navy stockinette pullover I will knit for myself one day. There were a lot of eye rolls.

I’m exaggerating a bit, but I do think it’s interesting. I like the history of knitting. I like the tradition. I want to hug sheep.

Speaking of, I have an exciting field trip this week which I can’t wait to blog about next weekend!

Will I blog tomorrow and make this a two-blog weekend? I guess we will find out tomorrow!

Life Is What Happens…

img_2590

It is Sunday, and it is time for my weekly blog post. This is my version of “Never Give Up! Never Surrender!”

A lot has happened in my life the last few weeks. All good things, to be sure, but they are getting in the way of my knitting progress and this blog. I don’t mind, but I need to readjust my expectations. I can’t blog about what is happening, but I hope to be able to soon.

I haven’t worked on my hat design. I haven’t knitted anything except Harald’s Plain Grey Sweater, so I give to you a photograph of beautiful ribbing and stockinette in Manos Maxima Kohl, being very close to getting divided for armholes. I still haven’t decided if we will go drop shoulders or raglan, so I guess I’d better make up my mind.

What do you do when life happens while you are busy making other plans? Do you power through with your plans and give the finger to life? I used to do this, and honestly, it was fine but didn’t really get me to where I wanted to be. This year I am practicing some turtle medicine: how to go with the flow. Downstream is looking pretty good from here.

Heavy on Design, Light on Knitting

I haven’t felt much like blogging this week. I didn’t get much knitting done so there is nothing to show off. But I did work on my design for the WHW hat contest.

After getting reacquainted with my eraser, I decided there had to be an app for that (charting designs) and of course there is!

img_2539

I used to have an entire software suite devoted to knitting design. I paid a pretty penny for it. I’ve lost it since, and it was so long ago, I think it may have come on floppy discs.

I still have to figure out how to continue the design along the decreasing at the top, so this will change. I did start on the colorwork, but color design is my weakness.

I went to a post-modern conceptual art school, where IF we talked about color, it was only in relation to how it made the viewer feel. It was never discussed in a design context.

I think I did take a class or read a book once about the color wheel and complementary colors, but I have to admit this is just not a strong suit. I have tried to observe and be inspired by the colors in nature for this project, and see if I can work them in together in some way. I feel really insecure about it, though, so I signed up to take a color theory class in February at Yarn It and Haberdashery. I guess I’ll muddle through until then.

img_2298

What else? I started a Serenity Stitch at Preserve, a local tea and herb shop. It’s like a Stitch and Bitch, but with a focus on mindfulness and relaxation. I’m not sure if we will do exercises or just sit and stitch and drink tea and enjoy each other’s company. I will wait until the first meeting to see what other people need in their lives.

I expect there will be some teaching of knitting, though, because that is what people keep asking me to do. Teach them to knit! And I’m TOTALLY JAZZED about it!