Monday, December 31, 2018

Looking back and forward with thanks

Last day, and blogpost, of the year.

I'm not big on looking back, more into forward movement. But I would like to thank everyone whose blogs I follow and enjoy and learn from. And everyone who has commented on my bligs. And e-mailed. And even, great excitement, put items in the mail!

Thank you all. You make a great difference in my life. You encourage me in more ways than you know.

Let's look forward to a good New Year.

Handsome Son is coming over at 8 our time to eat cake, from a surprise birthday dinner organized for me last night, and drink a prosecco toast to us. I'm aware that for some readers the year has already turned, but invite everyone at 8 pm your time, to raise a glass and shout Happy New year! Pix would be great too.

Cheers! See you next year.

Friday, December 28, 2018

From a mystery gift to a little caper

I'm still receiving material from the artist's studio and home. Yesterday was a bunch of art materials, and a box of knitting needles, some of which will be shared with friends. But among the needles were two mysterious items, which neither the donor nor I could identify.

So I took to Twitter with an appeal to experts. In no time at all Franklin Habit, brilliant teacher, designer and cartoonist responded, along with Kay from Mason-Dixon Knitting, gosh two stars of the fiber arts world advising!  The mystery items  are Clover pompom makers! To one who has been making pompoms using a cardboard circle since age about five, a step up to high tech.

So to YouTube to learn how, and all came clear. And now I know why there were two sizes.
It became clear that sharp scissors were required, and most of mine aren't really.

So I sort of backed into another experiment. I had read that you can sharpen scissors by cutting tinfoil. So here's the caper on the way to the caper. It seems to work at least a bit.

My immediate use for pompoms is to tag  my scissors, which vanish into the depths of workbags. And this is only a select few of them. Meaning the ones I can find.

So finally I got to make my maiden Clover pompom. As seen here. With scissors awaiting their accessory.

I think the birthday daily celebration includes learning a new skill. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Just playing with pencils

Colored pencil not a usual material for me, but someone stopped by today for a cup of tea and gave me an old vellum pad and an ancient box of pencils.

So I fooled about with them this evening, just getting my hand back into action after a long layoff.  I needed to loosen up after weeks of crochet and knitting.

Same piece, two ways up.This may or may not become anything, but I see I can still portray movement. So that's good enough for now. Not signed as you see, because not a complete work.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Crochet misfire

To see today's crochet caper, please go to

My techie entered the post in the wrong blog. Just can't get good help nowadays.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

My entire crochet repertoire to date

To those veteran crocheters who read this blog, this is probably sweet, oh, look what she's proud of! But in fact I am. Dark winter day, available light low, sorry.


New learning in the last few days, thanks to YouTube. Just trying my hook at a shell pattern now. This is about the sixth go at it,  learning a bit more each time. I count it learned once I can reliably do the stitch without referring back to the source. As for reading patterns, that's a future adventure.

One of the hazards of  crochet is that the terms are different in North America from the UK. So you have to know which continent your YouTube teacher is based on. The shell lady is a Brit, excellent teacher, Bella Coco, and she does explain at the outset. But then I forget to translate and when she says to do a double, I do, and later realize it's what I know as a single. Likewise her treble is my double. So thinking is involved, always a problem! Jayda Stitches, I think, is the Granny square lady, North American, and Arne and Carlos the circle guys. Carlos goes totally overboard constantly translating Brit and NA terms, while Arne, crocheting at the speed of light, interjects the Norwegian stitch names!

Just a shout out to the YouTube presenters, including the aforementioned,  who know how to use the camera so their hands are visible, who talk clearly and slowly, who have good lighting, and good resolution. They really deserve support.

As learners do, too!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Living is an artform, too!

Picked up on a thread today about bullet journaling, a newish trend, or frenzy, involving all sorts of planning on paper, requiring a video to

I like using nice notebooks including ones I've made, in fact I've given a few of them to people who like little books. And there have been times when I needed not to forget tasks that involved other people's medical care and wellbeing.

But life as an older woman living alone, sometimes not exchanging a word, can bring days when you wonder. You're no longer a traffic cop of your life, noting and prioritizing and advocating and fretting. And you wonder how valuable your days are.

So I write a little list each evening of things I've done that day, for better or worse. It's very calming seeing that I had a well rounded day after all, and I mostly do.

It's about tasks done, ideas on art to make, books I'm reading, food I've cooked, garden cleanup, give back box mailing, groups I've attended, all that and more, and includes time spent just being.

Doing is a very Western sort of pressure, and if you've done the all-encompassing work of caregiving, it takes years to remember how to enjoy free time.  You feel as if you should be on high alert at all times.

It's not about worries or concerns or complaints, just positive things I did or enabled.

So here's my lovely notebook, not made by me, scored years ago at the library book sale. which, full disclosure, I last used, as a garden diary, in 2006. Last entry was February of that year, noting snowdrops. see the binding, how beautiful the stitching, and how it lies flat.

It's on the bedside table, the one I painted faux copper a while back.

So I started up with this approach in November 2018. I thought you'd like to see the notebook, which is a pleasure to handle. The little drawing fell out of it when I set up  for a pic, so it's now a bookmark. I don't think the lemon motif is an omen..

Do you do bullet or any other sort of journaling? Some people do it all their lives, some make a couple of entries in the New Year, then by about Jan 4 it drops off..

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A day with no making really isn't one

I needed a change from the double knitting to something I could do while listening to a podcast, so I thought an improved granny square would fit the bill.


As you see, it has the approved number of corners and much straighter edges, now that I've found out the couple of things I was doing wrong. I would occasionally do a stitch that's more than a double but not a treble, when I was intending to do doubles. Hence the wavy edges in previous attempts, but at least  now I know how to get wavy edges on purpose if I want to. And I kept missing the corner hole because there's one exactly like it right next to it. This is how you add and subtract corners without meaning to.

Sorted, and my grannies look quite conventional now. I like a day when I've made something.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Double knitting continued, a pattern!!

I created a modest design for my double knitting adventure. I've finally started to get a feel for it, and I daringly added a little square to my stripes. There will be a few more, offset from this one, more interest there.

Can't count how many times I've reknitted parts of it, learning a bit each time. Some of it is just the technique of doing it, some has to do with the way the yarns lie, some involves how to physically hold all the moving parts. Some involves how tired you get when you forget to take breaks. And some slips can be fixed by adjusting the yarn from the other side, a blessing.

It's the most engrossing knitting I've ever done, and the slowest. And the least adept looking.

I have ideas for using gradient yarn, where the yarn does more of the work. But first I need to succeed with this. It may become a cowl, possibly a potholder if I run out of gumption.

I showed it to my knitting group on Friday, and one of them declared that she could not begin to understand this structure, since she was still grappling with the concept of garter stitch being stockinette when knitted in the round! Can't blame her. They were intrigued but clearly thought I was welcome to it!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

A few desultory Christmas doings

Christmas cards have started arriving, so I need to reciprocate. Thought briefly of making a shopping trip then decided nah, more fun to make them.

So here's Santa Boud's Card HQ. One if a kind, all folded differently, and there will be writing if I can get my gold pen working. Stars included. This is more fun than shopping.

Still haven't unearthed my decorations though, but anyway I need this table to make cards. After they're done, I can decorate it.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Great Leap Forward. Stripes!!

More double knitting. I have knitting circle tomorrow, but I don't know if I can talk and knit double at the same time.  I'll take in backup items.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

New learning, double sided knitting

So while all the other moving parts are going along, Icord, circles, Gsquares, thought I'd try out a new skill, double sided knitting. Each side is a mirror image of the other. I tried a checkerboard pattern and got so confused that I thought I'd better start with something plainer.

 The idea is that the checks in, say,  brown on one side are, the other color, here white,  on the other. Also that it's a very warm double fabric for hats, scarves, potholders, coasters that sort of thing. And having just come in from a perishing cold walk, I'm all the more eager to get into this.

Incidentally, I was wearing the long scarf from another knitter that I redyed and felted a while back. Felt is windproof.

So here's where we are. I watched Arne and Carlos, came away entertained but still in the dark, since they plunged into a pattern right away. Then I watched a couple of other videos, a bit more useful, except thst nobody explains why they're doing what they're doing, just demo'ing the doing..

Nobody seems to know how to convey the concept clearly enough for me to learn from. I decided I'd better figure it out as I went. As soon as I know how to explain it, I will. Unless you're all tutting and saying it's not HARD, why can't you just get it, the way I did, in which case, thank you, next!!

Anyway it's a wonder this yarn isn't worn out, been knitted and raveled several times. But it's finally working.  As you see:

After I get the hang of just why it's working, I'll take another shot at a pattern. It's one thing to find it works but another to see why, and  apply this info to a different way of doing it.

So that's what's up chez Boud.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Plainsboro library gallery, whiteline prints

Reception this afternoon for Ingrid Davis, printmaker, whose whiteline wood block prints are here this month.

She explained the carving and demonstrated the coloring technique, and I really wanted to rush home and try it.

I do have some woodblock carvings that I printed years ago using brayer and ink, but I think now I'll clean them up and try water color on them. Have to get printmaking paper though.

Nice afternoon with a bunch of artists, some of whom have studios where I used to.

This exhibit is very good indeed, worth your visiting if you're in the area.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Saturday morning in the studio..

Cold out there, frosty. So continuing with the granny square and circles caper, after breakfast in bed.

These bits may end up being parts of something, meanwhile they're a way to learn and relearn some crochet stuff. 

You'd be amazed at the numbers of corners I've managed to get into a square.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Crochet motif the second

It's quite fun trying to recall how to do crochet and figure out how to get an effect I want. Much trial and error. Here's Thing Two

Very nice pale green, but splitty yarn, and a bit soft for stitch definition. It's really knitting yarn, but was okay for an experiment.

I might even remember granny squares if I get out of the circle zone.

Change of pace. relearning crochet

Hands tired from Icord, brain needs rest from the fabric work, so I'm relearning crochet. I'm not interested in following patterns, so I plan to just try a few things in the form of these rounds. I can use up yarn scraps while I remember how to do it. So here's the first one.

There may eventually be a colorful pillow. Or throw. Or a couple of coasters..time will tell.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Art is what happens when you had a different thing in mind

I worked on the fabric piece again and decided I'd better be two flights up, in the studio where the light is better, the iron lives and the small stash of fabric and ribbon is to be found. This is the result of watching Arne and Carlos make a crazy quilt square and ironing each piece before stitching. Then again after stitching. This results, along with their massive talent, in a great finish. I developed partner envy, since one stitched, one ironed. Definitely speeds things up.

A good idea, it turned out, because in the studio I found a few interesting bits from old fiber artworks which I can up cycle, and I came across the rest of those silk printouts I made. These are images of my own artworks, scanned then printed on transparent silk.

I already started thinking about another work, quilt style, using them, and did incorporate a couple into the current artwork. But a couple of happy juxtapositions happened, looking at my own embroidery with a transparency. They go well, and they say something, always a good thing when art makes sense.

Here's the piece I'm officially working on, with a lot of bits of old artworks  appearing. Far to go yet.

And here's a  black stitched bird on white lawn, under a transparency of the collection of my Easter eggs, a few of which I paint every year, keep one, give away the rest.

 I like this statement.

And here's a drawing of a weed at the labyrinth I drew onsite then made again at home,  stitching freehand, using the drawing as a reference. It's overlaid with a  transparency of a mixed media piece, long gone to a collector, about tidepools. There's a small alternate version of this in the current piece.

Surprisingly productive day.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Transparency is back

So while I was looking at today's work, now that it's mounted on a linen base, I liked the areas of layers of transparency, much yet to do here, this is barely begun, and look what it made me do:

I remembered the silk transparencies I was working on a while back, with the idea of  working on them quilt style. I had framed and exhibited some, but here seemed to be the time to  work them up differently.

So. Wouldn't you know it, I'm working on both at once. These will be wall pieces, too fragile to be pillows.

Can't wait for my rotary blade to get here so I can act on the ideas. There will be goldwork.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Moving along there

This is a great visual adventure, as the shapes and colors start to make sense. That ragged bit looked at first like a ragged bit, but when muffled by the organza, turned into a distant mountain range. Or possibly the Cleveland Hills, from Yorkshire childhood, which insert themselves a lot into my work without notifying me first. Meanings keep coming and going, and I started adding on top, instead of waiting to embellish. The additions are part of the composition, can't just be stuck in at the end, I now realize.

This is probably where I depart from the tradition of crazy quilting. There's more of a Gee's Bend influence moving in. I say this with humble recognition of the high art of the GB  quilt artists. I know I'm making art because my brain gets tired, and about an hour is as long as I can work without setting it aside and resting my ability to actually see what's going on.

With crafting, making something already decided on, such as knitting to a pattern, I can go on till my hands inform me they're ready to stop.

And I had to break down and shop. For rotary cutter blades. Both my cutters are down to their last blade which is blunt, so I had to. It will be nice to have cutter action that's less like gnawing and more like clean cutting.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

New adventure in art under way

I started my foray into sort of crazy quilting, sort of applique abstract art in fabric by finding my  little stash of fabric bits. Almost all silk or linen, some embroidery, ready for a start.

I did start with the five sided center piece, the way several YouTube tutes told me to,  and after that drifted off into various other ideas. This is all hand stitching, and the seams I know I will cover are left raw, the others turned under. Quite a bit of the silk and linen I had hand dyed or stamped or both.

And there's silk from friends, (Cynthia, some from you), the center piece is Thai silk brought back by Carol P from Thailand, there are bits of organza from Girija's wedding sari, bits of my own discarded embroidery, some rescued petit point, a surprising array from someone who doesn't work with fabric..

and when I get the base done I'll use motifs from some of the crochet I have around the house, as well as motifs from my own embroidery, in need of a good home.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Wearable wall hanging getting there

The main body is done, with many kinds of stitch patterns, beading, yarnovers, traditional and made up by the knitter as she went. Here's the whole thing, really hard to get a pic of a long piece like this with a simple camera, and details reading top to bottom.

Still to come: a length of Icord, in progress, which will be snailtrailed all over it and maybe beyond.

Then what, I wonder..

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Curating, a rare event around here

I'm usually making, rarely looking back. But these favorite socks, Cabled Top Socks by Noreen Crome-Findlay, called for some care. Knitted ages ago with yarn given to me, which ran out, I ended up with toes in a different yarn. And wore one out. But since the worn out part was all the second yarn, it wasn't hard to pick up stitches and cut away the unwanted part.

It was triggered by seeing Arne and Carlos and their easiest sock in the world, where they knit a kind of tube up from the toe, but insert a row of scrap yarn where the heel will go. Then go back to pick up stitches on either side of the scrap yarn, to knit the heel

. Similar idea here. Picking up the stitches before removing the unwanted yarn.

The hard part was tracking down my pattern to see how to do it, and searching for a set of  size three dpns to do it. Then, nervous knitting over breakfast on election day, and here we are with the rebuild done. With another nonmatching yarn, but the other was long gone.

And, rainy cold day, these are the best socks for right now. I made and gave a couple of pairs of these socks for friends, years ago. Didn't do the cable top, but the spiral is really interesting to see as it develops. Since it molds to your foot, there's no heel turning. I made these socks a long time ago, when I was a bigger size and they were snugger then.

And the long knitting sampler idea is going on. Plus some Icord, which will decorate it once I get a lot more done. I've done several areas of beading, much to the interest of my knitting group who were unfamiliar with the process of beading using a crochet hook. I have a few of the very fine ones you need for this, and offered to give one to anyone wanting to try it out.

Let's hope we save the republic before the end of the day. If not, I will be out there working again. Actually, if so, I'll still be out there doing my bit. There's always need of some kind.

If you have the US vote and have not yet used it, please do. If you have, thank you, and maybe cast on a bit of knitting to get you through the evening of returns.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Knitting sampler blazing on

This might be the most fun I've had in a while, wrt making stuff. I have 36 stitches, fingering weight, self striping yarn. And it's great to just try whatever stitch or pattern you fancy as you go. This might be a scarf, or a wall hanging, depends. It could be both, hanging up till I want to wear it.

As you see, it's unblocked because still on the needles, but will be much more even across the width once pressed.

Part of the interest is in seeing just how different approaches change the width, which stitches do well in a fine gauge, and there's a bit of math involved in figuring out the multiples required of a pattern. Some fit fine, others you allow stitches at the edges and set the motif in the middle.  The cable worked this way, and the Crest of the Wave, in progress at the top.

Reading top to bottom: Crest of the Wave, a variation on good old feather and fan, Shaker stitch, a garter stitch variation, which I think worked better on a bulkier yarn, like the cowls I made, then comes checkerboard, then something I invented which involved ktogs and yarnovers, was listening to an exciting mystery and never wrote it down. Then cable, haven't done that in  years, and had to get a YouTube tutorial to remember the steps.

Then Lace Ladder, which I did in miniature back in atc days, in crochet thread. It will profit from blocking, so the ladder effect will show better. Then feather and fan. Then Kelp stitch as shown in the picture I have, which had typo problems. Below is what the wording gave, pretty but not the actual stitch. I had to figure that out, and was pleased with it.

Bands of garter to separate the designs. This could go on and on! There will be beading. Snd bobbles. And maybe that great 20 line no repeat challenge,  Field of Wheat.

In this series of artist's trading cards, ATCs, you see top left, Field of Wheat, a trial motif.

And here it features in a knitted and crocheted wall hanging, Ceres, daughter of Demeter, Greek myth figures.

 Here's a bigger image, from a long ago pre digi camera shot, of Strawberry, third row middle

 and Traveling Leaf, bottom left. And you see Lace Ladder there, second row right.

And while I'm wandering down memory lane, here's a mask I knitted from one length
 of yarn, long gone into someone's collection. It's about 8x10". This was knitted designing as I went.

And here's the back of the ATC sleeve, with references in case you want to follow up. Since the name side is flipped you need to note that top left becomes top right  and so on. The address is long defunct. Barbara Walker's collection of lace patterns is worth a visit, if you can get the book. You can probably track them down on-line too, and might find them with different names, very confusing!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Thrills and Spills with Sticks and String

All the buttons for the second vest done, needing only attachment. And the shoulders to be seamed, I've been eyeing some nice fingering in variegated color and wondering what to make next.

Also, leafing through Big Binder of stuff I've done, remembered I had a lot of pages of Barbara Walker's book of lace patterns. Found them after an exciting search during which I found a couple of ideas for future art projects, and thought, hm.

Then in line with my usual mantra of when in doubt, do everything at once, cast on 36 stitches on size three dpns, and studied lace patterns. I decided a long scarf as a lace sampler would be just the ticket.

So I picked out a few, noticed I'd done more of them than I realized, and I'll do panels of different patterns separated by areas of garter stitch.  This is interesting as a scarf and as a walking textbook of design. And the 36 stitches are enough to accommodate the patterns, some needing garter stitches to fill in the sides. Can you see feather and fan there, and bird's-eye? And there's ladder lace to come, too. Forthcoming attractions.

Started with kelp stitch, an old one from my big binder, which means I must have made it for someone, and found quite quickly that the picture and the words didn't match up.  As you see, the openings stagger nicely, but there's a panel of garter stitch which doesn't match the pic.  I studied and realized that the pattern omitted a vital clue: it said the motif was k2 (yo k2tog) k2. The alternating, jog row, was k1(yo k2tog) k 3. As you see, as written, it will give that intervening band of garter stitch. It looks quite nice, but it's not what I was going for.

Rethinking, I figured it should have said k2 *(yok2tog) to last 2 then k2. There was a missing asterisk.

So I did another panel like that and yay, that's the answer. I really like the pattern now. There will be more lacy bits as I go, but, being from Barbara Walker's collection, there won't be any pesky typos to deal with.

So I already have a reference with the pattern as written and as corrected. It's already working as a textbook.  Amazing what two different readings can do to the result.

This is fun.