Posted in knitting

Friday – Out of Order

Those expecting to see a Finished Object today will be disappointed. No, I am out of sorts and out of sequence in writing this post. Instead, I will start with the above photo and move on to share a little design process for a knitted garment in progress.

During our travels over Thanksgiving week, I visited a new-to-me yarn store. It was little but crammed full of beautiful yarns. I was surprised and delighted to find a yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners. It is their Signature 4-ply fingering yarn spun with 35% Bluefaced Leicester wool. I had read about this British yarn maker in posts by my knitterly on-line friends. To find a source of this well-crafted fiber in the heart of the U S of A was unexpected. Even more so because of the price – only $13 US for a 100g ball. As you can see, I wasted no time in getting a swatch made.

The yarn will be made into a pair of socks for my husband. He highly approves of the color, which corresponds to one of his team’s colors. (He supports Westham United, “the Hammers,” who play in claret and blue.)

The design work I refer to is for the little green vest I started on October 17th.

Notice the stranded colorwork on the shoulders. The chart provided by the designer is perfectly fine, but I was not in the mood for snowflakes. Instead, I wanted something a little bit floral and seized on this opportunity to design my own chart.

The yarns I pulled from my stash were cream, lavender and deep pink. These will show up well against the dark cool green main color. My new design starts with a pattern called Michaelmas, which somewhat resembles a purple coneflower. This motif went into the center of the design. Next I needed a border. Working in the same number of rows as the one in the pattern, I drew a sort-of zig zag, worked in a few more flowers and then added some sprinkled stitches of cream.

Reasonably satisfied with my chart, I proceeded to swatch it. Ultimately there were a few modifications made to the design as I knitted along. Here is what I came up with:

The design was tweaked slightly as I worked it into the left shoulder.

You will see it soon. With that bit of knitting done, finishing the body of the vest won’t take long.

Posted in knitting

Friday Finish: Sock Challenge

The fourth and final pair of socks worked to fulfill my sock challenge posed in July is now complete. You see before you a triumphant stack of socks.

The final pair is second from the top in the photo. Made from Wisco sock yarn by Ewetopia in a colorway called Caterpillar, the pair are earmarked for my grandson. He participated in choosing color, yarn and pattern, so I will assume the gift will be welcomed by him. The question is, will they fit?

I know that his arch is slightly wider, and his foot is slightly longer than mine. At least that was true when I measured his foot last July.

These fit me nicely but have plenty of stretch left and a little more room in the toe.

I knit these socks using two 16-inch cable needles in size 1. They were made toe up, using the turkish cast-on. The bind off was Jeny’ surprisingly stretchy 1×1 rib bind off. I enjoyed using this method so much I will likely forsake my double-point sock needles for good.

Posted in collage, painting, quilting

Friday Finish: Badlands

The inspiration for this art quilt came to me during our trip to Roosevelt National Park in July of 2021. I was captivated by the sandwich layering of rock, running in parallel lines that eroded down over thousands of years. It suggested to me a string pieced quilt. For the next several months I thought about my concept and puzzled over how I could bring it to life in fabric.

Our photographs were disappointing. It was high noon, and pervasive smoke dulled the light. No shadows were in evidence and the colors were muted. I decided to rely on an internet image for my working reference photo,

Photo from vangorentalmn.com

To get from concept to finished art is a long process. I started by making a value sketch. Next, I drew a pattern to scale, identifying major segments and eliminating excessive detail.

Here’s the part all fiber artists (including myself) find extremely creative: choosing fabrics. Since I like to use watercolor, I painted my swatches. After assigning a hue and value to each segment on my pattern, I picked out the fabrics to best achieve my color scheme of orange, blue-purple and blue-green.

Here’s an aside about the fabric I chose. Ultimately, I couldn’t find fabrics that had the colors and textures that I needed. To get there, I painted on printed fabric for most parts of the quilt. I also selected a few batik prints that were close enough, with only minor adjustments to color.

With the design decisions made and fabric selected, I began to assemble the quilt. All of the techniques that I used in making this quilt I learned from two fiber artists: Annette Kennedy and Gloria Loughman.

http://annettekennedy.com/about

https://www.glorialoughman.com/about

I thank these artists for giving me the skills I needed at the time I needed them.

And here is Badlands in its final form:

The design is invigorated by lines running in parallel diagonally and horizontally. Where the diagonals meet, triangles are formed. These shapes lead the eye to the center where two focal points have a quiet conversation across the river valley.

As a final note, I want to acknowledge the influence on my style of pop artist David Hockney. A print of his painting, Garrowby Hill, hangs over our fireplace.

My imagination has traveled that blue road countless times over the past twenty years.