Archive for the ‘inspiration’ Category

Filling Space

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about space. How to fill and leave space. There is space in my life, space in my studio, space on my shelves, space on the warp beam, space in cloth. There is a balance needed, the right amount of stuff but not too much, so it is pleasing, not too crowded, still functional and useful. Allowing space for inovation and inspiration.imageimage

Reinvention

Dictionary.com says: To re·in·vent:

1.to invent again or anew, especially without knowing that the invention already exists.

2.to remake or make over, as in a different form: At 60, he reinvented himself as a volunteer. We have an opportunity to reinvent government.

3.to bring back; revive: to reinvent trust and accountability.

“Women’s lives are about redefinition”, excerpt paraphrased from Anna Quindlen’s book,  Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. How does reinvention differ from redefinition? Maybe they are variations on the same idea or theme. It seems to me like it is about making something old anew.

Are we reinventing or inventing or creating or borrowing ideas from others or just doing what we do when we make things? Here is what I’m working on; I have all of this swirling around in my head, mixing together ideas, colors and techniques that I’ve tried and seen before. It pours out it in all these forms and somehow its related and makes sense.

Double Two-Tie Twill Blanket

I’m getting down to my last few pounds (!) of Angora yarn. Years ago I raised Angora rabbits. (Before Handwerks was officially a business.) I was going to insert a picture here but it was before I had a digital camera, yes back in the dark ages… so you will have to imagine what they look like. I had 4 white Giant/German hybrids (Fluffernutter, Harvey, Marshmallow and Snowball), one dark grey French (Midnight) and one English (Einstein) Angora rabbit. They are great animals but require a lot of care and attention as they are prone to some breed specific health problems. The Giant/Germans are big commercial sized rabbits and I would shear them periodically and save their silky long white hair. The French and English rabbits shed seasonally so I harvested their hair by a combination of plucking and combing. Within a short period of time I had more pounds of  fur than rabbits! (and I also discovered that I had more rabbits on the way too…such as it is with rabbits) I soon found that my time was being taken up by tending the herd and I didn’t have enough time to spin up the fiber as well as take care of everything else. In 2002, I packaged up and sent off several large boxes of Angora fiber and merino fleeces to a wonderful business, http://www.fantasyfibers.com/ to have them process the fiber into yarn for me.  I’ve been using the yarns since then.

I just pulled out the last skeins from Midnight blended with natural black merino in a 1:3 ratio.

It’s a nice charcoal color and you can see the French Angora guard hairs poking out. Its soft and will full nicely when it’s washed. The yarn is 2 ply and about sport weight, 1220 yards/pound.  I’m going to use it for weft. I could have used it for warp but I thought it might fuzz too much and I didn’t want to fiddle with sticky sheds.

I warped the Gilmore, 46″ wide, 12 epi, with a commercial wool/alpaca DK weight yarn in a double two-tie threading.

and here it is close up:

and my progress so far,  just beginning:

The warp is 3 1/4 yards long and I’ve left 8″ at the beginning to tie on and make into fringe at the end. I’ll just weave it off and leave enough warp for fringe at the other end.

The rabbits are long gone but it will be nice to remember and enjoy the memory of them when I have this blanket finished and want to curl up on the couch next Fall and WInter with a good book ar a fun knitting project.  I’m enjoying weaving this and it’s exciting to have the bottom of the “Angora Yarn Box” in sight!

What do you get when…..(part 1)

What do you get when … you get carried away with heels and toes? Whimsy, a sock scarf. I used to demonstrate antique circular sock machines at fiber and knitting events. I found that like at most public demonstrations you get many of the same questions over and over from each group of people passing by. On a sock machine most people really want to see how you knit a heel or a toe. After many hours of knitting heels and toes you end up with a wonderful Dr Suess-ish scarf. I can’t tell you how many of these I have made over the years but I can share with you how I knit them. After repeated requests for a pattern, I’ve finally written it out so you can hand knit along with me. Whimsy  If you happen to have an antique circular sock machine, here’s my method: (written csm instructions in a pdf format will be available soon too!)

1. Make a cup of tea, choose carefully.

2. Set up your sock machine and cast on in the usual way. I’ve got my Money Maker A right here:

3. Knit 5-7 rows, turn a picot row, knit 5-7 more rows and rehang your hem.

4. Start knitting again. Knit as you would for the leg of a sock.  Then you are going to turn a heel.

5. Now after your heel, knit some more rounds for the foot of the sock. Make toe but don’t csat off.

That’s the basic idea. Heels and toes, toes and heels, on and on.  Stay tuned for part 2 for details and the finished results.

Finding inspiration

Where do you find inspiration? I’ve been dyeing a lot of yarn lately, restocking favorite colors as well as looking for new sources of inspiration. I saw this incredible cauliflower at the farmer’s market. I had to buy it because of the color. Instead of cooking it for dinner I spent time arranging it with various things in my kitchen. Then I began to see the bag of tangerines in a whole new light too. I love the way they look against the green/blue of the bowl. I had so much fun playing with the fruits and veggies I sent my husband out for take-out.

%d bloggers like this: