Saturday, 29 December 2007

Between Christmas and New Year

I hope everyone had a joyous Christmas full of family, friends, love and hope.

Now we have that lovely time between holidays, when even if we have to work, there's a certain quietness that means we can relax and enjoy ourselves. I've been to the Boxing Day test (day 2), eaten leftovers, sorted out some files and, made some more scarves.

The first has been quite a trial - I was wanting a chequerboard effect with drop stitches in between. Unfortunately, this required too much casting off and on and the drop stitches sort of got lost. Maybe blocking would have helped, but it still wasn't working. I settled for casting on lengthwise, knitting a 3x3 rib then dropping stitches in a Fiobonacci pattern (is that how you spell it?).

I started the second last night and picked a pattern from the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary, the Daisy chain stitch. I've used much larger needles and made everything garter stitch. I quite like the effect and will make a long thin scarf.

Next week will be blocking everything! and getting them ready to sell.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

In my image

I've now put a picture of 'me' on my blog. Courtesy of Elaine, one of the HWSG Spinning Certificate students. For her final project she made a series of dolls, each based on a different person involved in the course, to highlight her spinning skills. She did one of me and I'm highly delighted. As I'm usually reluctant to have my picture taken, this is the obvious alternative, navel ring and all!

Friday, 21 December 2007

Inspiration strikes at last

I think I've finally come up with the design for the next scarf. A mixture of dropped stitches and cabling. I quite like it, however, I'm a bit concerned that I won't really know if it has worked until I block it.
Yes, I know, should do a test swatch first, but these are my test swatches!
I also like the handspun, as it changes from cream through to a dusty pink.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Inspiration required

Less a week before Christmas and plans, cleaning, card writing and present buying all in full swing. I'm still in need of inspiration. I'm trying to make a 'pasta' scarf and not having much success. On a long drive today and I think I've got an idea about knitting long strands and at times knitting them together whilst also wrapping around each other. Will try tonight.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Another scarf.

Yes, I've finished yet another scarf. I actually like how this turned out. I was using Cleckheaton Country Silk, which I won as the Patons fastest knitter 2007. I have alot of it!

I have been keeping a work journal to record both times and patterns and general information. This is proving helpful, especially in the area of pricing. However, it is opening a can of worms as it becomes obvious that I need to raise the price of my scarves. I am however, reluctant to go over the $100 mark. It seems like a barrier. I think what I need to do is make one, which I couldn't possibly justify for less and see what happens. Then, if that is successful, slowly creep the prices up. I think this is an ongoing issue for everyone.

Friday, 14 December 2007

A good book from the library

Yesterday was mostly taken up with costuming (Hollywood) my oldest for a party - he's going as a 'Blues Brother' and the 9x5 market planning session. All very interesting, I did, however, have to leave the meeting early, so I will be looking forward to the outcome. It's starting to get really serious, as we realise that we're off to a really good start, but that to make the market work we need to become more professional in the approach and organisation. I am looking forward to working out how I can contribute.

I did however, have a look through a book I finally borrowed from our local library. Aren't libraries wonderful. This particular book has been sitting on the shelf waiting.....I finally decided I'd better have a good look. It is quite beautiful with fabrics that cover different fibres such as silk, linen and synthetics. There's a handmade feel to the fabrics, even though they are commercial. The pictures are beautiful and full of ideas.

I must start another weaving project!

NOTE: 'Fabric' by Suzanne Trocme. Published by Mitchell Beazley, London, 2002.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Another scarf on big needles

I finished another scarf last night. Just using up purple yarn from the stash. Big needles, knit lengthwise. People really like these bright and quick to make scarves.

The next one will be a bit slower, as I'm going to use the camel and wool yarn that I've spun. I want an open overall lace and insert a few areas of folds. That will need some sampling before I get it right, but it should be quite effective.

I have a steering committee meeting for the 9x5 market, where we'll be discussing a marketing strategy. This should be interesting and more importantly, useful. The next step in the development of the market is to get more people there.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

A folding red scarf

Just finished knitting the first scarf off the rack! Well it's not quite finished. Went looking for my button tin (a beautiful old tin filled with all sorts of buttons - I love boxes!) and couldn't find it. I want to add a stack of red buttons at each end.
The scarf is knitted lengthwise using some red slubby yarn I had spun. Then I knit three folds - st. st. for a number of rows, then pick up at the beginning - it folds. If you graft the last fold on to the first fold then there's no cast off to spoil the look. This is quick to knit and a nightmare to both pick up the stitches and graft.
I've also taken down the surplus loom, waiting for it to be sold, and now can get to my shelves to start the tidying process. It feels better already, I can at least walk around a bit more. Still an absolute mess!!

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

'Pasta'...the pictures

I've finally finished the textile pictures inspired by our pasta making day. Probably should make pasta as well! I think they've turned out quite well. In particular the soft felted, machine knit, handspun background.

It's also wonderful to sit in a cafe eating a lovely lunch with a good coffee and play around with ideas. I like to write a journal which is just random thoughts as they occur. Often they help to solve all sorts of problems. Perhaps not quite life changing problems, but usually about everything up to that point! A couple of lovely designs for scarves, and I've started one late last night.
Oh! and there's a book! More later!

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Successful market day

At last a really good day at the market. But would you believe, I sold lots of scarves. I've come to the conclusion that to sell the art work, people need to get to know me. I've sold two pieces, one at the market and another to the owner of Woolybutt, both people I know well. So I've just got to perservere. And I sold some yarn!

So for the next month I'll be knitting scarves!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Vogue knitting

Sitting all afternoon in a very quiet gallery surrounded by sculpture, I managed to finish off my wall hangings and do some more of my knitting for myself. Maybe the jumper will be ready for next winter, only the sleeves to go......and fix the mistake in the front panels..... Anyway, I was looking at the old Vogue magazine I was working from and I thought that I should share with you the current issue and one of my favourite pieces.

The asymmetry is great, the fringing is very interesting, though it is added after the knitting is done. The one on the opposite page only has one sleeve and the rest is thrown over the shoulder and pinned to hold.

This would look good over a skirt and perhaps something more interesting with the sleeves. Such a lot to play with.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Knitting pasta!

It's an interesting process taking an unrelated idea - pasta - and turning it into a textile work, but everything has shape, form, colour and texture. It's also fun talking about knitting fettucine, tomato sauce and planning to add in pesto sauce and spiral pasta for the third textile picture.

Being small and simple, I hope they have an impact. I'm almost sad we didn't have a December 3D5S meeting so I can create some more over the Summer. However, I will have to do a 10cm x 10cm challenge for the first meeting of 3D5S next year.
Today I'll be sitting the CSA exhibition 'Bonanza'. Very quiet and I might even take my knitting.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

A blast from the past!

I thought I'd just do a slight detour today. In the packing up of our house for floor polishing and painting activities, I came across, yet again, a piece of embroidery which is very important in my development as a textile artist. It is the first time that I designed something all by myself! I must have been in my twenties, yes, I am a late bloomer, and, along with the first jumper, I designed, were the first time that I realised that I could do design.
From there, I joined the Handweavers and Spinners Guild, learnt to spin and found a Certificate in Studio Textiles at the Melbourne College of Textiles, in which I enrolled. This all took place in just a few years. It still took me another 14 years to finish the Certificate which turned into a Diploma of Art at RMIT, but it was the start of the journey.
I still like it and I'm going to finally get this framed and hung in my newly painted and bare walled house.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Fibre Sandwich yarn

I finished my fibre sandwich yarn, started on Saturday. I plyed it with the English Leicester single I had on my bobbin, overtwisting so that I could ply back with another yarn, which turned out to be some white cotton, as I couldn't be bothered spinning some 'S' yarn.
I've still got some more on the bobbin which I think I'll ply with a fine black yarn, handspun this time, and make the black 'knot' over the coloured. I hope this works.
Now I've got to work on getting ready for the certificate presentation for the Spinning Course, and get ready for the market on Sunday. Too much to do!

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Fibre Sandwich

Yesterday was a lovely day with the opening of the HWSG Spinning Certificate exhibition. It was great to see the students enjoy the morning and see their work displayed, hopefully well (I helped set it up on Thursday) and celebrate with their family and friends.

The afternoon was spent making a fibre sandwich - salad! We laid out a layer of 'bread' fibre, then a really crazy layer of 'filling', then another layer of 'bread'. This was then divided amongst us and we started spinning it up. I've actually now finished - a first for me at Experimental Spinning. I intend to ply it with my left over English Leicester, but I think I'll spiral it and even then add a binder yarn to really bulk it out.

Today is about trying to finish this and also finishing the painting of my stall installation, black coathangers and all.