Category Archives: Other craftiness

Studios are springing up…

It’s spring, and my crafty compadres are creating great studio spaces. Knitted Wit has just moved into her new studio/dye space. I visited her there yesterday and helped label some yarn, but didn’t think to take pictures. Here’s her pic from the outside, with her spiffy yarn ball curtains.

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There’s still time to help launch her studio via her Indiegogo Community Supported Yarn campaign. She’s offering lots of cool perks as thanks.

Lavender Sheep has just moved and is creating her new studio space, with both a wet studio and a dry studio.

My turn! I’ve been using one of the boy’s bedrooms here as an office (most recently it was CollegeBoy2′s bedroom). I’ve been purging it and finally got it patched, painted, and organized. Let’s see, it’s only been three years since he left for school…although to be fair he has lived at home the past two summers.

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Here’s the view from the door. Very inviting. There’s a comfortable futon sofa/bed. I write from this desk overlooking the back yard. The shelves to the right of the desk have my printer and my very handy swift and winder. The light from these south and east facing windows is beautiful. And yes, that’s a Darth Vader bank on the dresser. He’s still menacing, all these years later.

My beloved IKEA Expedit shelves are now right where they belong instead of in our bedroom, and I re-organized them, too.

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My sewing machine will move in, once I’m finished moving a few more things out.

It’s been a very productive week. And I finished a pattern, which goes live on Tuesday. In the meantime, I’m knitting Jami Brynildson’s Rock Creek Shawlette before working on more new designs. It’s pretty relaxing knitting someone else’s design once in a while! I’m using Juno Fibre Arts’ Alice, which is 70/20/10 Baby Alpaca/Silk/Cashmere and very luscious. The color is Campion.

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My new studio rug makes a great backdrop!

How was your week?

Never too late…

to learn a new thing! This is my first ever granny square. Crocheted!

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I used to crochet a long time ago, but my only project was a ripple afghan I made for DH when we were dating, back in the Dark Ages. All acrylic, shades of cream and brown.

I’ve been reading the Rose City Yarn Crawl threads on Ravelry, and Laurinda Reddig, designer of the Crochet-ALong shawlette, says that if you can crochet a granny square, you can crochet her shawlette.

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I’m still not convinced. The granny square was easy to figure out. I clearly don’t know which way I’m going with the shawlette. Lucky for me, I’ll see her Friday at For Yarn’s Sake in Beaverton at their KAL/CAL group, 4:30 to 6 p.m. Knitted Wit (Lorajean, dyer of my project yarn and so much more) will be there, too. Come see us!

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I had a great time at the Knitting Bee last Sunday. It’s really fun to knit with other knitters (and crocheters), and the most inspiring and intimidating thing? Seeing all these people knitting MY PATTERN. So far, they seem to like it! I really love seeing all the different color combinations, too. Check them out on Ravelry!

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Other knitting? The office peeps from Lantern Moon came over last night to cast on for the Thrumbelina KAL. We have new thrummers! I finished my first slipper, and have just started the second. It’s not too late to join us. And the pattern is still on sale for 25% off through the end of January. That’s tomorrow!

What’s on your needles? You know what’s on mine!

Arm Knitting?

I guess it’s a thing. You use your arms as knitting needles. Really big gauge, suitable for a chunky accessory. Check out the video here, and then let me know if you think it’s worth trying. I’m not convinced yet…

I’m being pretty slow about getting ready for Christmas, but here’s the next little step. This is the poinsettia tree at my church; we’ve been using the frame for the past three years or so. I always help set it up. I think we may need to scoot it back a little bit; the light isn’t falling quite right on it. I’m probably the only person who is that particular about it, though.

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You can see the first two advent candle banners on the right side of the picture. When it’s all up, it will look like this.

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We made these last year, and I love them. If you want to know more about the technique (salt and dye on silk), you can read about it here. It’s really fun, but you don’t really know how it’s going to turn out until it does. Hard for a control freak like me, but a good lesson in letting go!

Are you knitting/making gifts this year? I have one thing I want to make for a friend, but it won’t get done before Christmas. I’m planning on the box of yarn with a card explaining what it’s going to be method. Have you ever done that? I’m thinking it counts!

One holiday at a time…

That’s my motto. No Christmas before Thanksgiving. Heck, no Christmas before Halloween!

A couple weekends ago, it couldn’t be helped. Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincided, so we had to do both at the same time. My sister-in-law made a menurkey. I can’t find the picture of her with it, so here’s DH.

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We came home and celebrated the rest of Hanukkah.

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(Playing with depth of field and my menorah collection)

Now I’m ready to prepare for Christmas.

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We had a little snow here to put me in the right frame of mind.
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I found Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans for a reasonable price at Costco, so I’m making some vanilla extracts. Two are made with vodka, and two are made with bourbon. I gues that would make the latter…Bourbon Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract! A week later, the vodka version is nearly as dark as the bourbon version. But don’t let that fool you; it won’t be ready to use for about a month or so. Here’s a recipe; it’s crazy simple. I love these flip top bottles, but I wish they came in a smaller version! These are 8 ounces, which is a lot of vanilla extract.

More merry-making: Here’s a group from Westlake High School singing at the Rotunda in the Texas Capitol in Austin Texas.

Yes, Austin! We had a quick getaway this week. Here’s a better view up into the dome. The star up there measures 8 feet across.

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This is a beautiful building. So much detail!

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Even the door hinges are beautiful.

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Texas State Representatives meet here.

We also toured the LBJ Library and Museum, and saw lots of bands play. Favorite meal: breakfast tacos at Torchy’s Tacos. Cheap hipster slacker breakfast.

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We got around via Car2Go. Very cool!

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Cheaper than a cab, and pretty convenient. You only pay for the time you drive, 41 cents/minute, and you can park in any legal parking lot in their service area. We have these in Portland, too, and use them occasionally when we need a second car. Do you have Car2Go where you live?

Are you ready for Christmas? Not me, not yet!

Linocuts!

Lino-whats? Linocuts!

I went to a printmaking party at a friend’s house on Sunday. It was a new crafty thing for me. We traced images, transferred them to linoleum blocks, and then carved the blocks so we could print with them. (Cool carving tools, no picture though.) This block is about 3 inches square.

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I used a knit snowflake motif, because, hey, it’s me.

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I love how my prints turned out. The gold on black paper didn’t have as much pop as I expected; the silver was better. I like the gold on the cream paper, though. The blue print is the first one I made. I’d love to try this again. I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but it wasn’t nearly as intimidating or complicated as I thought it would be! I’ll cut these prints out and mount them on cards for stationery.

Knitting continues, and I picked up some new yarn for no reason.

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The one on the left was purchased in Ellensburg when I was there at the beginning of the month, because I wanted to support the LYS there. It’s Ella Rae Lace Merino, but really more of a light fingering weight than lace weight, 460 yards/100g. The one on the right is KnittedWit’s CSY offering for November. It’s Bling, colorway is Solstice, 438 yards/100g. I saw it when I was labeling yarn for Lorajean, and had to have a skein. “It followed me home, can I keep it?”

Hope you’re having a great week! Happy Thanksgiving, to all who celebrate. We’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and the beginning of Advent this week. Bring on the holidays!

Tempus fugit

Time flies! I’m a little buried under right now, in a good way. I have two design projects in the works, but I can’t show them to you yet. And I’m prepping for classes at Stash in Corvallis this weekend and Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival next weekend. There is nothing so inspiring as a deadline. Git ‘er done!

I did take a little time out last week to celebrate a friend’s significant birthday. We were in Pacific City, home of the other Haystack Rock on the Oregon Coast. (There may be one more, but this one and the one in Cannon Beach are the most well known.)

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Yes, there are surfers here! Full wetsuit required; it’s cold out there.

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Our house was high on the hill (out of the tsunami zone!) overlooking the town and the beach, perfect for sunset viewing.

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Click on the photo for a closer view; the sunset is echoed in the stem. Bonus!

We went down to Lincoln City to Jennifer Sears Art Glass Studio, and played with glass. I made a paperweight, and my friends blew glass floats. Very cool to learn about the process, and do our own…with lots of help.

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Stretching molten glass so I can twist it in a knot. Even in glass, I wanted something yarny…

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Swirled float before blowing…

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And after.

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My paperweight.

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The bubbles are caused by a sprinkling of baking soda. There’s no place for the air to go when it’s dipped in the last layer of molten glass, so it makes bubbles. I love this. And I’m dreaming up ways to do it again. So many possibilities!

I did take a little time with graph paper and pencil to chart out my new project, and math out the underpinnings. Now I’m home, knitting it, and I think I love it. Looking forward to showing it to you, later.

What are you working on? It’s definitely fall here, so I need to get back to my cardigan…eventually. Deadlines first!

monogamous knitting

I’m back! I was traveling last week. I took two knitting projects with me. One was my Garland shawl, and the other was the beginning of a Filigree shawl.

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I guess I really am a monogamous knitter at heart. I only worked on the Garland shawl; I never even looked at the Filigree. I had been worried about trying to knit with beads on this trip, because we were spending a week on this 65 foot catamaran.

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(The Ouvea V)

Surprisingly, bead knitting wasn’t a problem, as long as I wasn’t knitting while we were actively sailing. Which is no time to be knitting, anyway.

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(hanging out at Monkey Point, Guana Island, a great snorkeling spot)

We were celebrating my mother-in-law’s significant birthday, and it was a blast. Our family of 10 spent a week in the British Virgin Islands on a crewed charter (captain, chef, hostess). It was a blissful week of sailing, snorkeling, and beaches.

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(The Baths at Virgin Gorda)

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(Above the Bubbly Pool at Diamond Cay, Jost Van Dyke)

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(DH getting away from it all, Benures Bay, Norman Island)

And sunsets…

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I found a couple of these little shells on the last beach of the trip (Benures Bay, Norman Island). So cute!

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It’s a coffeebean trivia (false cowrie). They’re about a centimeter long. They look like smiles on the other side.

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I brought them home and turned them into the centerpieces of a little keepsake project. Ankle bracelets, one for me and one for sis-in-law. These remind me of sand and the color of the sea when the sun is shining on shallow waters. (I had to drill holes in them to string them; I did that with a bead reamer.)

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The instructions for these beaded bracelets (or necklace, or whatever) are in my free Victoriana Bracelet pattern. They’re made with a crochet chain with a few beads worked in. Pick some beads and make one for yourself, and one for a friend!

Back to my Garland, and real life…

Silk, dye, salt: magic!

I’ve been playing around with painting/dyeing silk scarves. I learned the basic technique at a workshop last year, and we’ve been using it for banners at church. The basic ingredients are liquid fabric paint/dye (Dye-Na-Flow from Dharma Trading), silk scarves, and coarse salt. You can use table salt, but it’s messier and is harder to get off the scarf at the end of the process.

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This one was done with the basic technique. You’ll want to cover your table with plastic to protect it. Wet the scarf, squeeze it out, crumple it into a ball and drop dye on it. You can use an eyedropper or a straw. The more you handle it, the more the colors will blend, which may or may not be what you want. Spread the scarf out on your protected table, and sprinkle it with salt.

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The salt draws the dye, and makes very cool patterns in the color. After the silk is completely dry, brush off the salt and iron the scarf to set the dye.

We tried a different method to create these Advent candle banners last December. We wet the silk and laid it out on the table, then used sponge brushes to create candles before salting the “painted” scarves.

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Here’s a closeup of the salted dye.

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I was really happy with how my candle flames turned out!

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We explored color at our Women’s Retreat last month. Twenty women participated, so there wasn’t a lot of table space. We had to use the crumpled ball method. I have a hard time with the randomness of the outcome with these. I wish I had handled it less, so that the colors were more distinct from each other. (Me, a control freak? Go figure. I’m sure there are life lessons in there somewhere.)

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Everyone got to make their own scarf.

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A little inspiration?

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And then we dyed some banners for Pentecost. We wanted flames, but these turned out a bit more pastel than we anticipated. That color blending thing again!

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We made a few more last week. I really like how these turned out. I laid out the damp silk and dripped dye on it with a straw. No handling, so no blending. Coarse salt as usual. I could see using this technique for a scarf to wear. They were a little subtle against the big glass screen. You can see these on the far left of the two bottom rows in the next picture.

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The finished display.

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I want to play more with this technique. I learn something new every time I try it. Do you want to try it, too?