Monday, September 17, 2018

Dyeing and felting made a dubious item into a lovely one

The dyeing ended yesterday morning after 12 hours cooling in the vat. Rinsed it thoroughly, dried and noted the improvement.

I used red onion dye I made last year and froze. A reddish color. The idea was to knock down the harsh green (opposite on the color wheel, color theory comes into play) and blunt the effect of the acid yellow and bitter mustard, both of which brought up a taste in my mouth. And they worked nicely. Partly it was the gentle dye change, partly the felting, just a bit, which created a nice fabric.

So we're set with this one. The second picture is a truer color.

 It's the same pattern as the one I knitted a few weeks ago.
A bit hot for modeling wool felt, but I expect days will come when I'll be glad to wrap up in it.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

New natural dyeing caper

Inherited a nicely knitted long tail shawly thing in colors I don't like at all, I'm trying a bit of dyeing.

Here's the dye bath with red onionskin dye, from the freezer, thawing gently, with mordant of alum and cream of tartar, and the shawl resting on it. I'd soaked it in water for a couple of hours, then moved to lukewarm water before squeezing it out and adding to the thawing dye. Gradual temperature change to avoid felting. It might be superwash, no way to know, but best to be cautious.

I'm baking bread in the oven, but all the dye ingredients and mordant are food safe, so no worries other than finding room for everything.

So I'm interested in seeing what shade I get from this experiment.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Socks done and ready for their new owner

Finished and pressed the socks today, very pleased they're done and the yarn juuust lasted long enough. I liked the idea of literally knitting them together alternately, so they matched, and both got finished. I'm going to do that again. I didn't Kitchener the toes, but sort of invented my own version which seems to work fine, looks neat enough. I really prefer toe up, but this was embarked on so I followed the pattern of top down.

Now I can return to my vests. They're much bigger yarn and needles, after the fineness of the sock yarn and size 2 needles. They'll feel Brobdingnagian by comparison.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Knitting group creative byways

Yesterday's meeting included the reveal of his first zine by Randy. He's a self taught crocheter,

gardener, working on cooking, going to college and doing delivery driving, creative guy. And here he us with his hilarious zine, and funny and sweet story of hat wars. We want him to write more exploits of his main characters, and maybe he will.

We passed it round the group

and gave it several stars.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Collaborative art! knitting style

This is how women's art works. We learn from women long gone, and once in a while we get to collaborate with a departed sister-in-knitting.

I've finished the first heel turn, and to say I'm pleased with it is putting it mildly. I think Jeanette's lending a hand. Now I'm on to the second, following her plan on doing both of them simultaneously. That way they match and get done together. See that cool seam effect up the back of the heel? And the lovely triangle as the shortrowing starts to work. Easy stitch pick up is guaranteed by the slipped stitches at row beginnings on the flap. Best work I've done to date, thanks to this design. It's worked on four needles,which I much prefer over five. I just like working around a triangle rather than a square.

Once finished they're promised to my friend, js sister.  And I've messaged the author via Ravelry to thank her, too. Wonderful instructions, clear and friendly. And another way women preserve their art, by retrieving and updating long ago patterns to share on. We have Nancy Bush to thank for reviving these nineteenth century treasures.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Knitting in three stages

I've been inundated with yarn, about ten bags, new, clean, cared for, as my friend empties her late sister's apartment, plus art supplies, books, a lot of very good items.

So I've started passing them along to various art and knitting friends, and seeing what I might use, since the sister had said firmly she wanted everything to be used, one way or another.

The latest batch came yesterday, and included a half made pair of socks, on size one dpns, probably knitted alternately to make sure the pair matched and got finished. In the trove was also this book, a collection of sock patterns from a nineteenth century magazine which went out of business in the late century.  So I'm thinking of doing some detective work since I think these socks are from the book. I may finish them and give them to my friend, to honor her sister.

Meanwhile I had knitted one half of a vest, seen here in blue wool, but there wasn't enough to complete it. Sent away for more yarn, meanwhile embarked on a cheerful cotton version seen here. The vest is fun to knit.

You see the piece in blue? That middle curve is the armhole. This bit goes from center front to center back. The second half does same for the other side. Then you button it up front and back. You only need join the shoulders. Then it's reversible, round or v neck at front.

Very inventive design. I will need ten buttons for each vest. Any suggestions? I'm thinking of making them myself, clay, or knitted, not sure. They need to be comfortable to lean back on, since there will be back buttons however you wear it.

It looks as if my fall and winter projects are upon me. Here was I thinking about trying my hand at spinning flax, but I think that's for later.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Ankle socks done!

Random stripey socks, ready for their debut.

Very comfortable to wear. Fun, too, always a good thing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Provisional cast on, aka story of our lives..

I like toe up socks because there's no pesky finishing to annoy your toes in use. But it does require that you use a provisional cast on. This is a fiendishly clever piece of engineering which enables you, once the toe cap is done, to pick up the half of the stitches which were waiting for the cap to meet them, with no evidence that they were ever apart.

It's brilliant. And seems simple. Like those squirrel proof feeders. I've made a few pairs of socks with varying success at the pco. One I invented which didn't work, ended up picking out the pco bit by bit. Then I tried the crocheted pco, following directions. When it came to the "just zip it out" bit, it didn't. Ended up picking out etc etc.

So here we are with another gallant try, following YouTube tutorial. She appears to be working nice and slowly until you try to work along. Several ditched attempts and now I think I have it. Not elegant, but the dark red yarn is supposed to slide out once I need those stitches again. We'll see if it results in another picking out bit by bit.. I am hopeful.

Aren't the stitch markers lovely? Gift from a Rav friend in an embroidered clamshell case.

So I learned this pco yesterday. It's a good day when you learn a new thing. And all the socks I've knitted look fine.

You'd never guess the ineptitude that went into the pcos.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Why I like toe up socks

You can try as you go. Here I'm using knitpicks fingering in two different gradients, and I'm changing up the colors as I want, rather than following the gradient as it comes. On the toe I did wrap and turn for the shortrowing, but didn't like it so much, and for the heel I'm doing the plain shortrowing. I like it better without the fussy wraps.

Duncan is still with me, sinking, but he  keeps reviving and postponing his end, and here he is checking the fit. He revived to the point of chasing the working needle and getting involved in the yarn.

Really liking these to date.

Another large stash of yarn is coming my way soon, from a friend who died a couple of days ago. Her sister wants me to deal with it, which I will. A bit for me, a lot to share around.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Finished and already in action

This is actually a yarn I bought. Can't remember ever buying yarn before. Either it's a gift or a rescue or a harvest or I spun it. I loved this gradient from knitpicks. Even to the point of using hated circulars, because of the large number of stitches.

And I'm knitting socks from another gradient, blue to yellow to white. On favorite bamboo dpns.

Despite the heat advisory today I'm wearing the shawly scarfy thing because AC at the libe is turned up to eleven.

The second one is nearer to the rl colors, and shows the drape in action. Really liking this. It's a very elongated triangle which is knitted across the length, very interesting but simple pattern. I'm not where my files are, but if anyone wants to know more let me know and I'll check when I get home.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Summer concert, Indian music on the santoor and tabla

This was an afternoon of virtuoso playing by the only woman teacher and performer of the santoor in the tri state, NJ, NY Conn, area. The santoor, aka hundred stringed lute, is a kind of hammer dulcimer, played by striking the strings with sticks. It's an amazingly intricate and complex sound, wonderful to be up close to see and hear. Westerners as well as Indians filled the hall to capacity.

If you Google on santoor beautiful Indian music, you can find similar recitals.

Deepal is also an acclaimed singer, though today was all about the santoor. And it was like being carried away from all your cares.

This post had a long delay since storms knocked out WiFi in the region since early yesterday afternoon. Restored now so I'm seizing the day in case it happens again.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Small doll poses in her new duds

Hot off the needles, little doll, in her garden party hat and dress. The Queen's not the only lady whose hat and dress match. Fiona Goble's pattern, size two bamboo needles, crochet thread.

Here she's swinging in her hammock, a handwoven Asian piece

And here she resting against a crystal, on her handwoven blanket, a wall hanging by moi.

This was interesting since a storm came up, lights went out and I went on knitting undeterred.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sunday summer afternoon of music and friends

No pix permitted during the performance, so I did a couple of quick ones before. Duet from the NJ Symphony playing a wide range of music for dance from all over the world. They inserted a lot of educational info about the music, its history, the instruments they played -- double bass and violin. They invited questions from the audience too, and were on top of all of it. The hall was packed with a crowd of all sorts of ages, nationalities, typical of the town.  Very receptive to the program.

 The players tuning up ahead of time.

Just a great time with professional players who enjoyed the performance, too. Met a couple of old friends there, showed them around the art exhibit a few yards away, introduced a couple to each other, just a good time. One of those events I wondered if I could be bothered and ended up very glad I went.

The event was part of an arts grant from the State arts council, I'm guessing to keep up interest in classical music by making it accessible and friendly.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

More Adventures with Picture books

More exploration of picture books, this time Inga Moore's interpretation of part of Wind in the Willows.

She twines the fantasy of animals dressed as humans and operating in a human society with references to real products, familiar to Brit children,Hovis bread, Sharp's toffee, Typhoo tea, and scenes like this one of a narrow street in a cathedral town, while elsewhere there's a reference to the white horse on the chalk Downs. It just seems very likely, as you get into her world, that Toad's adventures are historical fact.

Definitely recommended for children of any age.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

New doll needs a name

New doll has a face and a test run of hair, which may change

And her dress is in progress.

Here she is in the fitting room.

One thing I really like about this design is the way the feet are shaped as you go.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

A new character emerges

Not up to much at the moment, getting over a very unseasonal flu, but I've been able to complete the tiny doll. It's from Fiona Goble's Knit Your Own Royal wedding.

Clothes to follow.

Body parts layout showed me I'd forgotten the second side of the head, so I got that caught up.

Then stuffing, not my favorite, but done now. And even before she's assembled she's showing attitude.

I'm looking forward to knitting outfits.

And the drum cover designed by request of Handsome Son, shown here nearly complete, has gone to its destination. It fits fine, despite being done by guesswork, and the decreases I did to achieve a flat surface worked, too. I added handmade and semi precious beads to the drawstring and off it went

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Summer concert at the libe

Great afternoon of music by the Chinese American Music Ensemble chorus, drawn from all over the state. Songs ranged from a stunning soprano solo aria from a Peking opera, to American and Chinese folk and pop, and a piano solo of Debussy.

Here's the group

And here are the conductor and pianist

And their program in Chinese and English, with the flyer of the summer series

We're a multinational small town, 19 languages at last count, so the series reflects many parts of our heritage.

We're rich in people and talent.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Gift from the knitting group

Last meeting an old lady came, new member, keen sewer and crocheter, not sure what to make, so she started a little granny square. When I admired it she gave it to me, over protest. And I realized she'd made a scissor tag, at least that's how I could use it right away. I showed her my embroidery scissors with a chunk of yarn which has been waiting years to be replaced. And she promptly crocheted a chain, and attached it!  Lovely spontaneous gift.

The picture shows the creator, my new tag, and a bag she designed and made. Picture quality not very good, shot against the light, and she was ready to leave. But better than not seeing her work.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Playing with stamps and carving

A while back I talked about carving with wood.  And I did give it a try, whittling, and other carving.  But I found again that my hands just aren't up to it, and this didn't prosper.  So I took a break to think about this and get over it.  The same tools are equally good for other carving. And now I'm playing with carving again, but on a softer material.  It's fun to draw your design on large erasers, which make great blocks, and do a few stamping experiments. Over the years I've made a few carved stamps, and used them in artist books, and as part of bigger artworks, so this is a continuation of that strand.

I wanted to capitalize on my Chinese ink drawing from earlier, and drew a design with carpenter's pencil, to carve from.  I will do more of this, now that I've thought of combining the two forms.

Friday, June 1, 2018

June, white rabbits, and your assurance of privacy, read on

As you probably know, the EU GDP (General Data Protection) laws recently went into effect, and you have a right to know how and if they affect your participation in  my blogs.  Though the law applies only in the EU, it's important to know that my own policies have always respected personal information, and here's my assurance on that.

Your privacy is important to you,  so the statements below outline how I handle your personal information. First of all, thank you for visiting my blogs, following my blogs, and for leaving comments on my blog posts, all of which I so much appreciate.  
According to the new laws in effect regarding the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), there must be a disclaimer available on these blogs.  You have the right to know how your personal data is being processed, and particularly, that any information on you is handled respectfully and appropriately by me, as the only person with access to the navigation tools for these blogs. 

"Field and Fen" and "Art the Beautiful Metaphor" are independently operated blogs created, written and run by me (Liz Adams) and within which I share a range of subjects, including my creative work and process along with book reviews, art exhibit reviews, recipes of my own cooking, adventures with my character dolls, the Dollivers, and my forays into DIY, and my own photos of the work.  I am the owner, creator and only administrator of this blog. I do not have any advertising contracts for these blogs.

This blog is written by me and if I share a link to any other person's work/pictures/articles I clearly state the proper link to said work.  As you use the links, please respect the privacy and regulations of the websites you access.
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 Anyone within the blogging community knows how much we love comments and feedback.  If you  leave a comment, it will  be visible to anyone who reads the comment section.   For that reason, please do not share any detailed personal information in your comments.  I do reserve the right to remove inappropriate comments.  You can delete, if you choose, any comments you have written. All comments are also covered by the Google Privacy Policy.
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This blog is family friendly.  Even so, by law, if you are under 16 years of age, you must have parental permission before using this blog site.
My blogs are very small, friendly places, and I appreciate your knowing how I respect and care for your privacy. I don't photograph anyone without permission, I don't allow street names, auto plates, house numbers, etc to appear in my pix. Full names are only used when it's a writer, artist, ot other person who welcomes the exposure, not for private individuals.
So that's where we are!  Same as we always were, in fact.
Enjoy the weekend!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Stamping with bleach

Little experiment, a couple of my carved stamps, bleach instead of color, on colored paper. A few greeting cards emerged.

The link ones are Little Town, the green ones Waterside, the dark green is just hello from the studio. This was created for one recipient.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Polar express arrives chez Dollivers

Today, while the rest of the world watched meghan and Harry wed, he crying throughout, hope that a good sign, I finished the polar bear and introduced him to the Dollivers.

 Right side mugshot

 Left side mugshot

 Spreading alarm and despondency among the Dollivers and dogs.  The noise is amazing.

She or he needs a name. Please bring your good ideas.


Friday, May 18, 2018

Polar opposites

So the bear continues.

Only remains to stitch and stuff and embroider features including fearsome claws.

Here are the parts, front, back, underside, ears. The great number of ends, some to be woven in, some saved for stitching, reflect the different stages of shaping, keeping live stitches on a spare needle, rejoining and so on. It's really an act of faith, knitting this sort of item, because it's not always clear why some steps are needed. I've learned not to argue, just plunge in.

When I was small,  a famous polar bear was born at the London zoo, named Brumas. Many mementoes, including my little Brumas soap which I remember using till he was the size of a raisin. Anyway, this bear needs a name, suggestions after he's complete, please.

After this species-specific bear from the Knit Your Own Zoo book by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne. I think I'll knit small toy bears, with clothes. Small amounts of yarn, using up bits of stash. They may become presents for future PINOAP, people in need of a present.

Monday, May 14, 2018

About this polar bear

The polar bear, legs completed yesterday, is now developing a body and with it, a personality.

The back legs have a right and left, and the front are a different shape, also with a right and left. And if I'd thought ahead I'd have labeled them.

This would have saved a bit of unpicking the backward leg and reknitting. But I noticed before too long. 

See how the head shape is starting to emerge? This bear may be a bit bicolor since there will be a mohair side, this being the smoother yarn. Not enough of either. But who's counting. This bear won't go extinct. And might be a feature for my Christmas setup. 

 I expect the Dolliver Kennels dogs will be on high alert.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Luxury, cashmere socks on a cool rainy day

Photo taken about five minutes after I finished the toe up socks. Knitted from leftover cashmere yarn after I'd made two scarves, gifts for friends in need of a present.

See the rolled mohair tops? I'm thinking of making the polar bear from the Knit Your Own Zoo book. Because I now have to finish the white fluffy yarn. It's a bit like the hot dog and rolls endless quest.