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Friday, April 07, 2017

Talking of Socks.....

As my recent flight from San Diego to San Francisco was cancelled due to the awful weather I went with my lovely hostess, Nancy, to her group of women as a school who came to class to learn machine knitting. It was a hoot! What a great bunch of ladies...some of whom I had been with over the weekend.

I did some demonstration....buttonholes I think I did...anyway, I came away with a box of See's chocolates and a lovely pair of machine knit socks!
The yarn used in these is Madelinetosh Tosh Sock....or so the label I found inside said. It's 100% Merino so I'll have to wear and wash them carefully.

What a lovely memento.

On New Year's Day we entered the party to which we had been invited and found I and my socks were being talked about. Two friends (we didn't know they were going too) were there wearing their socks...I made Ron's especially as he has big feet!
More socks...are these wonderful or not?! My friend Sonja Fijn has got into knitting socks. She bought a pair of mine to give to her sister but the legs were to narrow for her...and for Sonja. Well! She pulled apart my socks and created another pair...making two pair out of my one.

Her tale is that she knit socks when she was 6 in school back in the Netherlands with nuns in charge. She finished her socks and saw that other girls were knitting cables and lace...well, not to be outdone she picked up stitches and made cables to decorate her socks. When the nun was looking at the socks she held these up and Sonja felt so proud...until the nun asked whose they were, said something awful about the decorations and took a huge pair of scissors and cut them off. Sonja vowed she'd not knit socks ever again and kept her promise...until now!

The ones pictured were knit without a pattern, from the toe up...and making then left and right!!!

Last but my no means least, I found these the other day in my studio....a pair of socks knit by my Mum. They were probably one of the last pair she knit as, ravaged by Alzheimer's, she forgot how to knit.

She used to make socks for me to sell in my booth!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Dyeing Differently - Part 2

My recent trip to San Francisco and stay with Nancy Roberts  netted me a lesson in painting knitted pieces and then two pieces for me to knit up into socks.

I love the idea of knitting up pieces and dyeing as opposed to dyeing skeins...more controlled and creative I think.

Here, Nancy is checking my red/gold piece, the other was lime green/blue.

Here are my two finished swatches drying after the colours are set. I didn't know what I was going to do with them until to integrate the colours. It took a cup of tea and going looking at Nancy's stash of swatches to give me an idea...I thought stripes would be the best way to see the colour changes.

I decided that two row stripes would be the best way to I started at the top of the blanks which were red on one and lime green on the other.

I ended on the ends that were blue and gold.

As I thought I would not have enough to finish the socks so I inserted grey sock yarn for the heels....turns out I did have enough, but I can use some of the left overs in other socks.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Dyeing Differently and Fibre Fun

Nancy Davis & me in San Diego
I recently was invited to travel to California by two wonderful Machine Knitting Guilds (San Diego & San Francisco) and it was Nancy Roberts of the San Francisco guild and of who got this ball rolling. My last port of call was San Francisco and a few days staying with Nancy.

My first port of call was San Diego and a stay with Nancy Davis in her lovely bungalow home. I loved that I could see mountains from every window even though we were in a she drove me up Mount Helix to look at the views!!!!

Nancy picking fresh lemons.

Nancy is 80 and when I mentioned I wanted to do a zip line on my upcoming vacation she said 'Oh, I've done that four times in different places...'! I think one was in Alaska! I was suffering from a rotten cold and Nancy picked a bunch of lemons from her tree and I had lots of hot lemon! The San Diego gang was a great group of women.

Nancy Roberts in something she dyed.

OK now on to Nancy Roberts in San Francisco, she's my new BFF (Best Fibre Friend), especially as we spent an afternoon painting knitting and then pouring over her giant stash of samples and swatches!

Imagine a sunny afternoon after a long walk along the Embarcadero and a ride on a cable car...sitting in Nancy's kitchen over cups of tea and pouring over these amazing machine knit swatches.

Nancy knit two pieces of sock yarn in it's 'natural' state for me to she is pinning it out on a board for me.

This is a selfie of me painting one of the pieces...we spent time looking at colours and I chose four: two for one piece and two for the other and I would go from one end to the other blending from one colour to the other. I think I chose Gold/Blue and Red/Yellow....and that's kinda how they turned out.

I found something black to wear while splashing around with dye and the brush. This tank top went with a pair of shorts...neither were worn as the weather was rain, rain, rain. The four best and sunny days was when I was indoors...but then my last day (this day) was perfect for a long walk and being outdoors.

Here Nancy is checking my two pieces which had been wrapped and put in a steam table pot to set...I'll have to figure out how I'll work that at my kitchen.

I'm working on my pair of post!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Snowy MK Club afternoon.

Well, mild but blustery, I  made it over to Karen’s yesterday and we spent nearly three hours together. We had planned to meet at another member's house out in the country but the snow and wind were so bad no one dared take a car out on that we decided on meeting in town at Karen's house.

When I arrived Karen announced she had problems which needed solving so we got right to it. First a commercial sweater which needed remodelling…we solved that. The question was whether to pull apart the part that needed remodelling (a hood into a collar)....we decided cut and sew was best. Karen will get to that another time.

Then a pocket design. When I dropped in last Karen had sweater borrowed to look at and make a pattern. That afternoon we made a pattern using Garment Designer.  As the jacket had pockets we had to think about how that would work...I left Karen with that problem, so when I got there yesterday she'd worked through but had run into a problem...she had done a right and a left but they didn't look like mirror images of each other.

I didn't take pics of the first effort but I said we needed to sit in front of the machine and 'just do it'. I had in my head how this would work from our conversations over the last two visits...I just needed to execute it.

Here's the back swatches (no we didn't press them) with a pseudo 'pocket' worked into the back of the left one. It was a matter of many stitches away from the side seam, how long the slanted slit need to be to get a hand in and look nice and in proportion. 

Here's the 'right' side with the pocket slit shut (I had to be oh so careful typing that!) so we could see where and how we'd work a band or welt. Karen needs to work a ribbed welt...I might do a band...knowing me...a different colour!

Now I have to work up a hand out for teaching this so it's easily it was easy. The problem was working left and right, Karen's left handed and the left side worked out great...but transposing it to the right side (mirroring) got a bit confusing. I've been working with half patterns for so long I'm pretty good at working with a half pattern and making the 'other' side.

This is what we were going for and I found this at using the Passap...which neither of us use.

Anyway....we'll keep you posted!


Thursday, November 17, 2016

East Coast Explorations

I can't believe I haven't posted anything since early Summer! It's not like I've been away from the computer...I've spent a lot of time on my laptop....teaching myself WordPress to rebuild my web sites (my former platform providers have closed shop after 20 years) and build new sites. My web builder name it Two Hats Simple Sites, as being a fibre artist and building web sites gives me my 'two hats'.

 Anyway, I did take a break, driving to the East Coast of Canada with my husband following his ancestry. To Montmagny, East of Quebec city where we stayed in this tiny town on the St Lawrence River and walked around the old town revelling in the architecture and history. Of course I found a yarn shop and the proprietor didn't speak English so I dragged out my ragged French and bought some sock yarn...gotta knit while riding in the car. She said I wasn't bad!

We stayed in Miramachi then on to PEI and Anitgonish to visit relatives and graveyards. We ended up in the museum in Anitgonish which had a lovely collection of knit and woven items from the local women mad in the past...I love looking at what folk have created out of necessity. I love's necessary here in Canada and especially in the east as it can be cold and damp.

 Standfield's underwear was started in PEI but carried on at the Truro Woollen Mills. Yes woollen underwear, folk weren't as wimpy back then before microfibre. Wool is still warm when wet.

Here I am with Jocelyn who runs the museum.

Hooked rug from an exhibition in St. Andrews by the Sea.

This great installation was across the street from the school of art in Portland, Maine.

 I had to take photos of the veg in the market in Portland...I loved the colours and I'll try replicating them when I am dying some more prefelt for a jacket or a vest.

We were lucky that the day we were in Portland happened to be there one day a week market day.

I love these colours, I wonder if I can get some similar gradation! As they this space!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Show Food - Good Eatin'

Whew! Well, June is over and so are the three shows I did last month. Long ago I set it up so I would be doing one show per month, that gave me time to get more stock done, some new designs, rework new designs which had already sold etc.

Though they were local (sleeping in my own bed) and not too big the last one was Artfest Kingston in City Park with 150 artisans + food trucks, children's art workshops, Purlin' J's yarn truck, the Kingston Handspinners and Weavers.....well, you can imagine...and it was three days long. 

Gathering my food items for the day.
The new times meant we were 'open' from 10 - 8 on July 1st...that means you are in the park from - oh, 8:30am until 9pm by the time you have packed everything away safely for overnight. That means making sure you have enough to eat over those hours...not just enough but quality, supplying energy, roughage, a day's diet of packed food.

My Ikea lunch box, salad and the dressing in it's little container.
With a couple camping in my garden and another friend in my spare room my kitchen was full of three women trying to put together their following day's food. The selection

was wonderful! Quinoa, kale, home grown lettuce, spinach with my home made oil & vinegar dressing, goat's cheese....the list goes on...and so did the was late but we were laughing as well as panicking.
I love Melton Mowbray pork pies from Loblaws so I picked one up and cut a quarter for each day, I had goat cheese and Baby Bell cheeses from Costco (better than eating candy or cookies...too much sugar).
My little Ikea lunch box has a knife and fork and room in the lid for extras like a sandwich.
 Just about ready, I've added lemon water (just lemon and water) some left over pizza from our first evening on the deck catching up. I made a tray of Black Bean brownies so took a couple for my chocolate hit. (coconut sugar into black beans, coconut oil, eggs, cocoa and a few chocolate chips).  There's my travel coffee mug ready for filling before I head out in the morning...nothing will be spilled on my display.

Ready to go....a yogurt and what I like to call 'freezie pops' to keep my cooler cold. I aways carry paper napkins, plastic forks, knives & spoons which I wash up and replenish.

I carry extra in case your friend a few tents down in the show texts you to see if you have an extra fork...hers is on the kitchen counter!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Felting - More Hats!

Yesterday I took a felted hat workshop with Chris Hall of Cake~Tin Hats and once again I learned so much from another master. The workshop took place at a fave haunt of mine in Picton ON...Rosehaven Yarn Shop.
My first foray in to felting a hat was using the directions in Uniquely Felt by Christie White...the 'bible' Andrea Graham made me buy when I took my first ever class with her years ago. My friend Sonja Fijn and I spent the afternoon in my studio with lots of roving, soap and water, putting plastic bags on our heads to fit and came through with two ace hats!

Chris first showed us choosing, weighing and laying out our roving...I chose the green for the outside of my hat and lavender for the lining. I've done this before but I intended to do better this time.

We watched her lay out her roving...lots of instruction, hints and tips and showing us what was important at that step of the hat.

Here's the template I used.  I kinda wanted to do a cloche shape with a small brim.

 Here I've laid out my first side and put some bits of silk roving for embellishment. At home I might do shapes of felt...dots, squares, spirals and so on.

Sonja used lots of silk...and three different colours.

I snuck in a pic of Sonja shaping her hat on a wooden hat form. This is after hour of rubbing, patting, wetting and rolling...and lots of fun chatter. It's hard to count when you are telling or listening to a story but somehow we managed!

My finished hat!