Saturday, February 23, 2019

Danger, Spinster at Work

Last evening and today were a learning curve in spinning. Totally rusty skills, coupled with undimmed ambition, not a great combo.

I noticed last night that my whole left hand kept freezing, it's like trigger finger, except all of them. I can work it back into use, but I had to stop. And I noticed the spindle was hardly spinning, just a lazy revolution or two. Hmm. Maybe we were both tired.

Took a look at all three spindles, realized that the whorl, the wide bit, had slid up the shaft a bit. Pushed it down half an inch, and today it's spinning merrily. So for once it wasn't user error. The center of gravity needed to be adjusted.

If you want a totally scholarly insight into the physics of spinning, go right to Abby Franquemont, Respect the Spindle.

There's a reason she's so respected herself. Knowledgeable, nondogmatic, great spinner and teacher. You can see her teaching on YouTube, too.

I tried spinning two colors together, not bad for starters.

Then tried plying them, and you see the hopeful little heaps in the pic. It was about spinning z and plying s, just for practice.  It looks humble but there's a good bit of learning since yesterday. And this lumpy, I mean artisanal, yarn, will work in weaving or maybe Tunisian crochet.

I also, to continue now that I'm back from signing a petition at the door to get my dems on the ballot again, watched a few videos last night about the Turkish spindle, and I really fancy a  try.

There are the classic wooden ones, works of art, and there are 3D printed ones in all sorts of colors.

And yes I am reading a book club choice, Spinster by Kate Bolick. Spinning doesn't come into it, but her female inspirational women do.

We all need a bit of inspiration now and then.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Tunisian handwarmers, done

Finished my latest Tunisian crochet caper, handwarmers.

Just a rectangle, suggested by Fearless Knitting Group Leader, Meg, cast-on measured against my hand, length likewise, openings for thumbs decided as I stitched.

Mainly using up yarn. The red stripes are from Shepherd Susie, hand dyed, the yellow ones largely my handspun, the mixed colors knitpicks gradient.

I spun some roving in colors like the ones I was using, and added it in right off the spindle. It seems to have worked okay.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Spinning, clockwise, that is

Spinning has worked its way back to my days, and yesterday for a change,  I tried using my left hand to spin, right hand  to hold the roving. Cramp ensued very fast, so I went back to my Tunisian crochet.

Being in a lazy frame of mind, not up to taking the yarn off the spindle, setting the twist, all that. So I crocheted straight off the spindle.

Today I resumed right handed spindling. But in the course of wandering about spinning blogs and tutorials, I realized I was doing the S counterclockwise twist, not the traditional Z clockwise twist.

Not wrong exactly, but the snap I was doing to spin the spindle was more laborious than the flick that spinners usually do. So I switched and the yarn likes it.

One small drawback is  forgetting the direction, and spinning counterclockwise, which causes a mass unraveling. Then a bit of cursing, then respinning.

I still have a supply of undyed merino roving to spin. And to dye.  So, further adventures are lurking.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The future crowds in on the current work

So, looking for a new project, at the knitting group, and Fearless Leader Meg suggested handwarmers, because I had a small amount of yarn, and a need to do more Tunisian crochet.

Started already, and was looking around for more yarn, found some handspun, then some roving in the same color family.

I've been wanting to spin a bit, so it seems to have inserted itself into the present.

Top of the pic, lying on the yarn is the started handwarmer. Foreground is the roving and a spindle  ready for action.

No pattern, just rectangles with thumb places left open when I do the finishing.

I'm also wanting to weave.  But that has to take its turn.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Good-bye to Lauragami

Laura Kruskal died a few days ago, famous origami artist and teacher, email lauragami.

She lived to 95 and was teaching up to recently. As she said to me a few years ago, "I always accept teaching invitations because if I don't people might not ask again!" She was about 90 at that time. She was on YouTube a couple of years ago doing a rap she wrote.

Google on her name for some lovely reading. Make origami in her honor.

I didn't know her through art, in fact, but through music. We both played with a local Recorder Society group and had a fine time. I should dust off my recorders and play a bit in her honor.

She was a force of nature!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Reveal, the neck gaiter

Just finished the third Dorset button, all different patterns, and thought I'd better stitch them on before the impulse left me.

So here's the finished item. I made it to allow for different ways of wearing it, depending on the weather.

Completely buttoned, it goes right up over your nose, very warm, then you can play with it, using two or one, whichever way you like. See the loops in the top pic I added at the end, to slip over the buttons.

Very pleased with the results, if I say it myself. Not only a warm item, but a toy, too!

If you fancy making one: 7x19 inches, size J Tunisian hook, two strands of fingering worked together, different shades for a heathery look, 37 stitches to allow for the lace stitch. It's a multiple of four plus one. The loops are regular crochet still using the same hook. I just worked random rows of the stitches I know, as the spirit moved me, lace, knit, purl, simple.

That's it. If you do try, be sure and let me know, complete with pix.

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Joy of Framing

Not. Least favorite of all art related requirements, framing.

Here in the throes. Or as my Twitter feeders sometimes say, the throws. Makes me wonder what they think it means. Throwing your energy into it? 

Anyway there's a juried show coming up, run by the Preserve. Theme NJ nature. Prizes,awards, one for Preserve related subject matter. Four pieces per artist, reasonable fee if you go for all four. Juried meaning competitive entrance. Mebbe you get in, mebbe you don't.

Soooo went through my framed and other items, moaning and polishing glass and spiffing up and reframing and generally having an awful time. Nearly done.

Of course it involved making more art for background, but I've managed to dodge the worst -- mat cutting. Just as well, because the mat cutter is at a friend's house. He's had it so long he probably thinks he owns it and is lending it to me.

Certainly different from wielding needles and hooks, though there's crochet and embroidery as well as dyeing and painting in the four selected.

And then there's The Filling of the Forms, bureaucracy collides with free spirit.

This too shall pass.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Lunar New year exhibit

This month at the Plainsboro Library Gallery is a world-class exhibit of watercolors by Jun Zhan, famous in China, not seen much in the USA.

It's dynamite. He understands watercolor, how to use space in the Chinese tradition, and is simply a master talent. Very glad this show is here in our little town.

Portraits of Uygher elders

The reflections were a challenge. Ceremonial lion and other figures from the Forbidden City.

Artists working today demonstrating paintings, calligraphy, woodburning

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Filet crochet phone purse

I used to make dishcloths or facecloths or potholders to try out new stitches, but now my default seems to be phone purses. The first filet crochet adventure is here unveiled in action. On the right is the granny square version.

Next,  on to the Dorset buttons, to finish my neck gaiter, before I make more adventurous filet. This was a simple checkerboard, to get the feel of the counting without referring to a tutorial. Next on to a finer thread, smaller hook and more ambitious design.

Filet crochet without tears

So last night, last thing, such timing, I decided to make a start on filet crochet. I'd watched a few tutorials, most of which were terminally confusing, and finally found a couple of lessons where the presenter didn't tie himself in knots over the math of it.

Turns out it's not so complicated after all, and I copied one row from a lesson, got the hang, and started to make a simple design. I used a fairly fine thread, not liking the yarn examples I saw online. But the teacher has to use a big enough fiber and hook to show up on video.

So here's where I am, a bit wobbly, but getting there.  I'm a bit counting challenged, those eleven meshes in row one first came out as nine, then twelve, then finally settled on the right number for the purpose.

I have some ideas for images, combining drawing and crochet. So this is step one on what might be a new obsession, I mean interest.

It has some aspects in common with printmaking, too, using additive or reductive techniques. Sounds pretty highfalutin coming from someone who's been doing it for about an hour, and who just learned to get the right numbers.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Neck gaiter almost done

Here's the latest in Ladies' Neckwear. The gaiter is almost done. It has two sides and I think both are fine.

I ended with three loops crocheted onto the body, ready for their Dorset buttons, to be worked in the same yarn.

Here are the rings for the buttons, showing how they'll slip through the loops.

The pattern is random stripes of my repertoire of stitches, seen vertically when worn. I expect we'll get more weather suitable for wearing it.

I think it's all an excuse to make more Dorset buttons, really.

And just when I thought it was safe, I find myself deep in choosing art to enter into an interesting juried show coming up soon. More framing. Oh, goody..

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Back to the stitching guild

For the first time in months, I didn't have another event in conflict with the Embroiderers' Guild, so I went to the membership meeting.

The project was a kit of a detail from the Bayeux Tapestry, which features the Bayeux stitch, a very cool mixture of long stitches, with anchoring stitches holding them in place. Outlined in stem stitch, it's a great filling for narrative embroidery.

Carol P taught the workshop, and brought in a wonderful stitching she had done of a segment from the Tapestry. She provided the kits and backup information, and created an engrossing program

And members showed other work; here's Florence K, with a beaded felt applique and

a special artwork finished since  I last saw her

Saasha showed me this amazing work in progress

The afternoon, during which I was crocheting, may have rekindled my interest in stitching!

Nice to be back in the group again.