Sunday, July 12, 2020

Inside job

Here's the gang, cosy inside the inner envelope, ten Izzies ready to leave.

 At the post office I'll get a padded envelope to slide this into, and they'll be on their way.

The address on the inside is insurance in case anything happens to the outer envelope.  And there's a letter of good wishes inside. 

So we're good.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Let salon est ouvert

The Salon Zabette opened this morning after a long break. It's located on my dining table, and was the scene of designing, cutting and thinking about the top I'm making from my artisan woven bamboo and cotton fabric from the Atelier Joanne.

It was like being 12 again and remembering how to make a pattern for a top in school. We had a first class sewing  teacher who taught us how to make the basic paper block from which you created the pattern to fit yourself and then make the garment. And how from there you could make whatever you wanted to.

 We were young kids, getting the foundation of dress design. We also learned all the hand stitches used in sewing and tailoring, including fancy ones. We had to hand stitch everything for two years before getting near a sewing machine. I still do things Miss Harris taught us in 1952! And I remember her explaining the difference between handmade (quality work) and homemade (did her best but oh well). 

Anyway back to today and I made a simple design which, depending on how the fabric hangs, will either be a vest or a top. 

First time in I dunamany years. I've used a French curve to shape a neckline. 

Here's the designer deep in thought shortly before whacking a bit off the hem. You'll notice I curved in the side a bit from the underarm to the hem, to add a bit of shape to an otherwise bald and unconvincing, no, no, that's Gilbert and Sullivan, sorry, to an otherwise boxy design.

And I made use of the handy selvedges, since this is narrow fabric. There'll be a seam down the back, and either a seam or an opening down the front. I treated it like a one way design, cutting the backs then the fronts vertically one above the other. 

And here's two backs, two fronts, seam allowances cut by eye, likewise the curve for the front neck.

And the resulting debris, known in the trade, according to Bernadette Banner, who should know, as cabbage. French curve lying northeast of the scissors.

Now for a pot of tea and a corn oat walnut muffin.

Madame Zabette has pencilled me in for a first basting and fitting tomorrow, when she gets around to it. And we'll see whether the results are handmade, yay, or homemade, boo.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Doll Ten and other capers

So I seem to have committed a Christmas in July red and white doll. Playing candy canes.  Still in search of a shipping package

And here's the next caper, a draft of an idea for a top made from the lovely fabric from Joanne. 

Light not so good, but you can get the gist.

Watch this space. With any luck, a following wind, and the creek don't git up, this may become something. Note all the disclaimers.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Nearly ten

While I look around for something to ship the Izzies in, I've made a couple more, using the drive-by yarn and some lovely hand dyed red variegated.

Here's the next Iz in progress. As you see the shape is a simple rectangle. There's a bit of shaping for the hat, but the structure of the body is done after stitching.

And here's his predecessor, next to Iz #8

Friday, July 3, 2020

Blueberries fir the Fourth, and a discovery

Handsome Son is coming over later today, working the Fourth, so I'm seizing the day and the cake. Original recipe used strawberries, but I went for blueberries. See my valuable handwritten notes, now lodged in the Big Binder

This is from YouTube, make it in five minutes they said. Not counting the hour to bake it. Nor the fifteen minutes looking up grams to cups. But it did come out looking good. Later I'll cut into it. I want him to see it before it's cut. There's an extra pleasure in seeing it then.

And in the course of reading a Joanne Fluke mystery, I saw what probably everyone but me knew: you don't have to buy thousand island dressing. She studs her mysteries with recipes because her detective is in food. So I tried this today.

Ketchup, mayonnaise, sweet relish. Mixed up. Applied to hot dog. Really good

So this is another thing I don't have to buy, added to the list of buttermilk, brown sugar, curry powder, crumpets, crackers. That list is longer than I realized. It includes sweater racks, garden sprinklers, heddles and other things starting to come to mind now I'm thinking about the category.

Well, happy Fourth to everyone celebrating it, pleasant Saturday to everyone else!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

One more Izzy. Now we are eight

Finished yesterday.

Here with his new friends

And today a friend is supplying reinforcements of yarn, so I can continue. I've disinterrred the Izzy doll address, so this group can go off as soon as I find a box. Or, if all else fails, get one at the post office. There's no set number for sending. I just like to get a round number then go from there.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Seven Izzy friends

One more to finish, meanwhile here are seven happy guys waiting to go to new homes, and pockets and backpacks.

Top center is the latest addition.

If you want the history of this effort, Google on Izzy doll. It's a moving story. I'm glad to be part of it.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Duplicate dolls

I've been disorganized and not very productive lately. So I thought a bit of knitting would be good, and found I have practically no yarn other than small quantities of homespun, and might need to buy some. 

Meanwhile I sorted out the doll-knitting bag and found that what happens when you get disorganized but have plenty of needles is that you accidentally get to work on two dolls at a time. Is what happens.

So until I organize some plans and supplies I may as well knit on with dolls. And remember to stuff and finish them, with any luck. And not start a third one by accident.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Constellation, inspiration and a flutter of butterflies

The plain stitching, the hemming of the towels, is done, and they are deployed and in use. No pictures, because in laundry or in use, not scenic.

So now I can return to fancy stuff, waiting here.

 I thought you might like to see some of my sources of encouragement. 

Reading clockwise from the top, The Royal School of Needleworks, Respect the Spindle, Butterflies, English paper piecing, Black work, Goldwork, The Unicorn Tapestries. In the middle, Weaving without a loom.

And a flutter of butterflies, stumpwork I created and exhibited a couple of years ago.

The biggest is about 5" wingspan.
 These were part of a big wallhanging, named Sanctuary, made long before issues of  sanctuary cities came about.

 I removed the butterflies from the piece for safety when there were workmen carrying apppliances up and downstairs past them. 

Then I thought I might frame them separately, so I kept them off.  I still need to frame them..and I long ago used the base hanging, a complicated affair of knitting, crocheting and dyeing, for other artworks. I'm not exactly a conservator.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Plain and Fancy

If you're familiar with that classic book of stitching history, by Susan Swan, doyenne of American stitching history, and late of Winterthur

you'll know what I'm about. If you're not familiar with it,check it out.

The constellation piece, aka Fancy, is  resting today, while I have a change of pace, doing some Plain work. 

You may remember in the winter I got terry towelling and cut it into towel-sized pieces to hand-hem and replace old tattered seen-better-days ones.

 The idea being each new one instantly displaces an old one, which can go to animal rescue or vet's office, wherever useful. Things have changed and I don't think that will work just now. 

However I thought I could still get on with it. And here's today's work. It's very calming hand stitching something useful. I'm a great devotee of doing with your hands even if machines exist for the same purpose. I don't need the speed of a machine here. 

On the left, newly hemmed towel, on the right, the ancient one it's replacing.

I add that I'm very glad people are using machines to make masks and gowns, desperately needed right now. I don't own a machine, gave mine away years ago, so I handmade a couple of masks for my own use only. 

This plain work also keeps your skills sharp for the fancy stuff, an added bonus.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Constellation continued

I'm still experimenting with the hexies, how to prepare them for the reverse applique. The first overstitched ones were a bit stretched and I had to deal with that when I appliqued. The next ones were a bit unruly in the stitching, and now I'm trying a new thing. 

Before cutting, I'm split stitching round the hexies to reinforce the edges. The idea is that they will keep their shape better in the appliqueing. That's the plan, anyway. Also I love to do split stitch anyway, so why not.

After cutting, all the little wings will be folded under, such that (phrase stolen from math friends) the stitching will form a readymade edge to support the appliqueing.

After I finish stitching around this group, I'll try the cutting and then the moment of trrrruth, Madame!

To the onlooker there's practically no difference in how these are done, but the stitcher always knows. 

And thanks to MAJ, I have some general plans at the conclusion of this whole thing, about a trailing path of whipped stitch. Stay tuned.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Mourning dove nest

Here's the pin in action. A mourning dove's nest with the usual clutch of two eggs.

There's leftover material which may end up in another destination! 

Back to weaving hats and stitching constellations.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Constellation piece

The first part of the constellation is completed, with windows of organdie inserted by reverse applique.

Not sure if the drawn-on hexies of the next section show up.  They're a bit faint. It that vanishing pen which will disappear when it's pressed.

But I'm getting quite pleased with this.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Cashmere and silk pin components

The long piece,  5-stitch Icord, soaked and rolled by hand, now hanging with a weight on the end to stabilize the length.  Other pieces stitched with silk thread, seems appropriate.

Tomorrow I'll assemble these doings. There's still a bit of yarn left over. And with any luck, better light and better pix.

This bit of work today pulled me out of a bit of despond.    A slough, you might say.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

PostScript, wonderful blog for you

This is a lyrical and poetic blog. He posts infrequently, but it's worth the wait. Today there's a new post.

Just go there!

Reverse applique

So here are the first few of the constellation of hexies, reverse appliqued using organdie from a wedding sari.

 They work like windows, and I'm feeling hopeful about the progress of this one.  Selecting the exact part and direction of the fabric that shows through is like moving matboard around to shape an artwork. And each hexie is a separate artwork, but carries on the movement of the last one.

When I pick up needle and thread to work on these, tricky bits, a great sense of peace and continuity comes down.

 I stitched  for a little while last evening on these. Accompanied by audiobook Venetia by Georgette Heyer. Quite a good combo.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Current state of cashmere play

So here's where we are. All the cashmere fluff dizzed and spun, with some nubs discarded, and hair and bits of grasses and seeds picked out.

And I've been knitting it. My smallest needle is a size 2, bamboo, very good material for this purpose. A size one would have been even better but I didn't have one.

And here's what's up. I knit and think, knit and think.. and what, you ask, is this going to BE? You see the pinback there ready to be stitched on when the knitting is done and played with a bit? That's a clue.

Beyond that, don't ask me, I only work here!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Cashmere fluff is now yarn

Here's the result of the dizzing and picking and spinning

The tools: fine crochet hook to draw the fiber through the diz, here a button, before setting the hook aside to continue with fingers, smallest spindle I have, though there are smaller ones in existence, and the resulting two cards of laceweight cashmere yarn

That was a great interlude. I realized a bit late that it would have been good to wear a mask, since the fibers were making me cough a bit. But it didn't affect my eyes at all, unlike spinning sheep fiber.

I learned such a lot about estimating the draw, getting a fairly consistent yarn, and remembering that you can't actually feel the fiber passing through your hand when you diz, unlike sheep fiber which is  coarser.

All in all an adventure. Thank you, goats and goatherder.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Knitting is programming

In the course of a convo on Twitter about women programming while knitting, someone posted a scrap of pattern*

And I thought I'd try it. Old motifs didn't always keep to the same number of stitches bper row, and this one, following the pattern meticulously, went from 12 to 8 in the course of the 18 row motif. Every row fitted the pattern, no extra nor missing stitches.

 It creates a wedge shape, but I think this would fit into a bigger work, with tge lines traveling more or less diagonally,  in a series of wedges. This might have been a pattern panel, too, with stockinette around it. Anyway, I thought it was fun to try.

If you want to, cast on 12 and go!

I have one quibble with this line of argument, which is that programmers are not following instructions, they're creating them for the computer to follow.  I'd say that knitting designers are programmers. The rest of us are more data entry people.

*Terrible photo quality, because I was following Twitter on tablet, had to take pic of pic on tablet via phone, which refused to upload to blogger,  which meant I had to take the pic on the phone with the tablet, then upload. The condition of the camera operator not much better than pic at this point, but I mean well!

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Cashmere Caper Two

I wound off the spinning from yesterday, and measured the wpi, that's wraps per inch, the way you measure various yarn weights.  This is 24 wpi, laceweight, I told you it was fine.

Then I went on to the darker fleece, slightly different texture, and harder to see dark guard hairs on dark fiber.  I dizzed this then spun from the fiber bunched up in my hand, i expect there's a technical term for this that I don't know. Dizzing dealt with a lot of hairs, but there are still a few. I can pull them as I go.

And I will soon have a tiny quantity of laceweight cashmere yarn and a question to self about what to make with it. Eggcosy? Dolliver scarf? Pin for self? Suggestions warmly received.

The Goat and I

So here's yesterday's foray into working with goat cashmere.

It was so good to handle, and, a bonus, since I never touched goat cashmere before, I found I'm not allergic to it. You never know. What a pleasure to handle. I had wondered about carding then decided it might be too harsh, so I just dizzed. See the tiny button, even tinier hole to pass the fiber through.

It worked fine, fibers going into place, easy to remove the few remaining guard hairs and bits of grass as I went. And it made the best spinning evah. This is my smallest spindle, but the fibers don't tend to separate anyway, so I could probably have gone heavier. The spinning motion is very good with this fiber, much less resistance than with other fibers I've used. So you can keep drafting, trusting that the spin is still happening.

Here's it's making a visit to local plant life, cameo appearance

It's five star. I'll diz more today if my fingers are agreeable, and spin, then we'll see what to make next with the resulting yarn.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

State of play in three acts

Since like most people, my concentration is shorter these days, I'm working on these three fronts more or less in turn:

The Dolliver Hat Project

Two done. The second is a bit different, the point flattened in to make a different shape, same procedure

This weaving, a lot of firm pulling in the process, is quite hard on your fingers, so it needs to switch to this

I've changed from the bright green fabric behind the yellow, too shouty, and replaced it with fussycut Indian sari organdy. Fussy cut is a silly term meaning cut so that a specific part of the fabric design is shown. Much happier with this, though it's a good bit harder to work with.  There may be beading, too.

And here's the latest arrival on the fiber front, with a portrait of the source

Cashmere, raw fiber, combed off a goat, wonderful surprise present, and ready to make its acquaintance with the diz. This is so soft you pick it up and have to check there's something in your hand. It smells very subtle, different from sheep fiber. You need to enjoy handling and smelling and knowing the source to really get the most from this experience. Which I plan to.

So that's  the current state of play around here. Play being the operative word.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Hats beta version

So CallMeMichelle and NameMe modeled the beta testing hats. And they turned out a bit small, too fragile, too ready to fray. So more thinking needed.

And I concluded that several changes had to happen: different weft material, tougher, more vivid colors, springtime after all, different, bigger, loom, different warping so as to achieve fringeless finish. I learned all this from Hats One and Two. Sounds like Dr Seuss.

And the result was this setup

Ribbons, same warp thread, cotton, and a round loom that allows for warping with loops at warp ends. Yes, it's a circular saw blade, donated along with a couple of others to the studio by my contractor who thought they might work in mixed media. They're a bit heavy for that, but they're great looms. I made my entire Planet Series on them, most of which lives in collections now.

Anyway, back to hats.

This is the new weaving under way, with a section left unworked as before. I should explain this -- it's so that the two sides can be drawn and stitched together, to form a cone, which you can then manipulate further to a hat shape.

Here's the back of the loom, showing you the loops, the tape being what holds the warp ends im place until you're ready to remove the weaving.

Then the last band of color. This is really for CallMeMichelle because it's her sorority colors, the pink and green, but she's holding on to the test hat for now. You see the first loop released, ready to be drawn through till it snugs into the center.

So Blondie Firstborn generously (!) offered to model Hat Three.


And I'm now instructed to make four more, all different. So this little idea to whip up a few hats has now become seven hats, two looms, all the ribbon, tape, tiny tools.

But first I'm going for a walk.