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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 machineknittingtodyefor.com 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 city...so 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 paint...here 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 home...in my kitchen.





I'm working on my pair of socks.....next 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 road...so 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 planning....how 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 understood...as 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 https://cckittenknits.wordpress.com/2011/05/28/slanted-pocket-on-the-passap/ 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 wool...it'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 say..watch 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, fluids...in 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 chaos....it 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!
 http://theartofwool.blogspot.ca/2013/01/a-day-in-life.html



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!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My Garter Carriage Love/Hate Relationship!

I waited years until I chanced upon an opportunity to buy a Brother knitting machine and a much anticipated Garter Carriage. I'd been a Singer knitter (they don't have garter carriages) for about 25 years when this happened and I was so excited and looked forward to working garter stitches into my designs.

This pink and periwinkle jacket has garter stitch as the lower half and cuffs on the sleeves.

I've made jackets like this and also scarves (fun and easy to make for Christmastime shows). I love experimenting with different yarns that I can't used for jackets but work well for scarves.

It took a while to get it going and sometimes I need to sit in front of the machine to make decreases/increases, short rowing, check patterning and so on. I've sent one of my carriages across the country into the US to have it fixed, spending another $400 or so over the $250 purchase price (used - a bargain!) They need to be babied and I keep each of my two carefully tucked away and protected when not using them.

Anyway....today, as I work on an order which is partially worked on the garter carriage, I am endeavouring to complete some web work, updating web sites and so on, and am sitting in my studio to do this. The garment needs a decrease every 8 - 10 rows so when the GC stops I jump up, make the decrease and reset the row counter.



After a few hours I realize I MUST GET OUT!!!!! My head is going to explode or turn to mush....the steady noise is not bad, endurable but you need to take breaks....that's why when the GC stops I sometimes am absorbed in what I'm doing elsewhere in my studio...am comfortable in the quiet (OK it means I can actually hear what they're saying on General Hospital!) and forget to go to decrease and reset....

Then, I head over, sit down and find there's a dropped stitch or it's off patterned for some (probably simple) reason and I need to pull the work off the machine, rip back and rehang. It can take a bit to get the garter carriage going on the right row of the pattern...two purl rows one after the other are NOT GOOD on a garter stitch piece....sigh!

....and so, it takes for ever sometimes for me to make a garter stitched item which needs shaping. BUT...I will keep going because I love the garter carriage pieces and accents in my work.

Garter Stitch Hems.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Travel for Work & Play...Roaming & Roving.

Who'd a thunk it. On vacation and I didn't pack my sock knitting stuff...on purpose. First...there are too many ball of yarn to pack as I knit my socks from about a dozen different self patterning balls each. Second, thought I'd give my left thumb and wrist a rest.

Anyway, I've got to spend time browsing and 'Pinning' on Pinterest, 'sock'ing away ideas for when I get back into the studio.

On my way to getting away I found (31 days before departure) my passport would expire the day before we returned so off I went to Service Canada to renew mine. I was told that through the Service Canada office the turn around time was 20 days...I though that would leave 10 days to get it back by registered mail....oh no...I might not get it back until the day of our flight on February 23rd. Sheesh!

OK so I had to drive to Whitby (closest...2+ hours on the 401 highway)  - January 27 or 28th, with my old passport in my hot little hand to the actual Passport Office there...the turn around time there being 10 days...surely I'd get it back in time. When my number was called I popped up with my forms all filled out, old passport ready to have holes punched in it and $120CAD.....and found they no longer take cash!!!! Paid up and was told it would be mailed out on February 4th.

Warkworth Penitentiary


Well, I got it done in a flash and headed out on my way home, but not to make this a long single mission I had planned a stop at Dreamspin Fibres...way out in the country at Campellford, to pick up some roving for a workshop I was doing a couple of weeks later. That was a lovely side jaunt as it was a beautifully day with the sun shining on the snow.



Driving past the Warkworth penitentiary...way out in the country reminded me of the day back in the '70's when my ex husband's band played a gig at both Warkworth and Kingston Pens. I wasn't cleared to enter so I hung out in the countryside for the duration of this gig, taking pictures in the brilliant snowy sunshine....anyway, I digress.



Maureen and her husband were at home and I had a marvelous visit with them both and it's just so much more fun to stick your head and hands in roving than ordering it online. Also, I love exploring other artists studios and getting inspired and energized by their work and creativity. I picked up some more prefelt which I will dye for new jackets or vests and some bright roving for my workshop...with 5 year olds!



Well, I was happy with both aspects of my sudden trip as it was comforting to know that I'd be able to leave Canada again soon - you can't go anywhere with a passport with holes in it...even if it hasn't reached it's expiry date....it means it's been invalidated for you.

Not even 10 days later I got a card from the post office about a registered package....hmmm, I hadn't ordered anything. It was my passport and it was February 4th...19 days to spare!!! I have a feeling I needn't have made the drive and spent the gas...but I did have a lovely afternoon out....and now they let me out of the country to come somewhere sunny!