Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Not Your Grandma's Afghan

Sometimes I wonder if I share too much about my art on this blog, for fear of my ideas being 'stolen', but then I remember how much I love sharing my art with the world and that fear disappears.  Today was one of those days.

The first week back to classes we had an 'introduce yourself and your work' day in my adv. painting/drawing class and then a mini-crit.  Normally, I hate critiques and usually come out of them discouraged, but this time I left it with many many ideas for my upcoming Drawing BFA Show.  One common consensus among my peers? I need to include my knitting in my drawings somehow. And thus this idea was born.

Using a skein of Plymouth Yarn Naturespun Sport weight and my size 5 aluminum needles I set a time and started dipping. Huh? I choose my time intervals and than after that time is up I dip my needles in ink. The ink then runs onto the yarn as I knit, leaving a 'mark' behind.  Sometimes the ink on the tip lasts a few stitches, sometimes only one. That's the magic of it all!

I originally had the idea to knit a garment, like a hat or scarf or something. But then I woke up one morning and thought it would be cool to make an afghan of squares.  Each square in a different color and different time interval.  Color was a bit difficult; I didn't want to go buy colored inks, but watercolor didn't work out so well. Acrylics are working much better! The three squares above are all 30 second intervals, 5x5 inch squares.

My goal is to get 25 of these so I can have 5 rows of 5. 5 of each color and each color will have each square a different time limit/parameter.  So far I have only tried aluminum needles, but I would like to see if bamboo/wood/acrylic react differently. Now if only I could bare dipping my good needles in paint! As you can see above, it doesn't end well. I'm thinking about not ever cleaning these off and displaying them with the final product in my show. 

The best part of this project? I can log drawing time and also watch my shows online.  The worst part? Getting my hands covered in ink/paint.  It's not fun, believe me. Especially with the paint, because the fuzzies from the yarn also get stuck on there. And gloves just make it worse, not better. I guess I will just have to settle with blue hands for a semester!

Happy Wednesday everyone, I can't wait for the week to be over, just because it's already been so long. It's looking like I am going to be in full out art mode for a very long time! It's a good think I enjoy it so much.


And don't forget Tami's Amis :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Saturday Evening Book Review FINALLY

How long has it been since I did my knitting book reviews? I'm guess at least 9 weeks, if not more. How do I know that? I've re-checked these books twice, and each time for 3 weeks. They are due back this week, week 9. So I guess that means I need to get my butt in gear and review them.  Sorry it took so long guys, I've just been busy blogging about other things!

-The super cute intro about what is knitting
-The techniques section has great visuals for beginners
-The sections about how to choose yarns based on colors -- very cool!
-LOVELY photos! 
-The patterns really are simple

-There are A LOT of pillow patterns. I know that is probably the easiest thing to make for your home, but I still think there are other things to be made also.
-I know it's supposed to be 'simple knits' but I still wish there were some more detailed patterns in here.

Favorite Patterns:
-Stripe Cushion 
-Child's Blanket
-Color Block Throw

Overall, my first impression was that I would not like this book, but after actually reading and flipping through it, I think I would probably pick this as one of my first choices when I go tot knit things for home. I love the pillows and blankets and the sections about yarn choices.

Son of a Stitch 'n Bitch by Debbie Stoller

-One of few books I've seen dedicated to men's knits
-The upbeat nature of the patterns
-Discussions of history of men's knits, as well as shaping and such

-Some of the patterns are just gimicky, like the beer bottles
-I wish it had more basic techniques. I guess she expects you to have already read the first book

Favorite Patterns:

Overall, this is not my favorite Stitch 'n Bitch book, but I do like a lot of the sweater patterns, and if I was knitting something for my Dad, I'd probably look here. The Stitch 'n Bitch books are always a treat to pick up and leaf through :)

It's been one heck of a week guys, but I survived. Studio work is going to be rough, but I enjoy it. I spent over NINE hours today making work, and I feel great about it! I really hope this momentum can keep up as the semester progresses.

I've been doing some pretty awesome stuff with yarn and ink for my drawing class, I can't wait to share it all with you in the near future. I'm finally liking my drawing projects and I can visualize my senior show coming together for the first time in a long time. 

On the knitting front, I did finally finish those fingerless mitts, but I may submit them somewhere, so no photos yet. The Dragonflies sweater hasn't been touched in a few weeks, because of the mitts and some headband orders. Hopefully it will get picked back up this coming week-- I miss it!

Have a great weekend and a good week everyone!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WIP Wednesday: A Project I Finally Liked

Happy Wednesday everyone! Classes started back up yesterday, and I can tell it's going to be a busy semester. Based on the math, I should be spending 3 hours a day in studio to get the 'required' number of hours in for an 'A'. I have plenty of free time to do that, but that doesn't mean I'm going to...

Today I wanted to tell you all about the club I'm in through Wildflower.  Kennita (owner) calls it "The Knitting Monthly" and it's basically just that. Every month she posts a new pattern that teaches a new skill of some sort, as well as videos to help along the way.  We also meet up once a month to work on these projects. I knew I wanted to join, because I love knitting with many of her patrons and I also wanted an excuse to learn new things, but I  never imagined I'd get this busy.  So far I've only been to 2 of the 5 meet-ups and only finished one of the projects, which is what I wanted to share today.

I'll start with September.  When she first released the information for this one, I was a bit disappointed. The cowl just didn't appeal to me as something I'd wear. It's pretty and the yarn required is luscious, but I just couldn't get into it. I purchased the yarn anyways, and started it at the meet-up, but it has yet to be completed.  The skills taught for this project were slipped stitches and button holes, and I definitely would like to go back and learn the buttonhole when I get the chance.

Yarn used: GGH Bel Air
Photo courtesy Wildflower Knits

October came and the pattern was one I would actually enjoy making and wearing, a twisted rib hat. At the time, I didn't have the funds to buy the required yarn, so I took some yarn I had gotten in Scotland with me instead to the meet-up, but alas, I ended up ripping out the band more times then I could count and by the end of the 2 hours, I had nothing done. I'm pretty sure this one is hiding in my stash bin somewhere too. I do actually plan on making one of these hats, if I ever find the time. I already knew how to knit in the round, but if I can ever get past the twisted stitch band, I'd love to figure out how to pick up the stitches for the rest of the hat.

Photo courtesy Wildflower Knits

November's project looked like so much fun, that I was sad I missed the meet-up.  The moebiusb infinity scarf was created to use the scrap yarn geode skeins Kennita recently started selling.  I decided once again to use my own yarn and happy casted on following her video tutorial, only to find out my circulars weren't long enough. So this is yet another project I have yet to make from the monthly club :( Once I get longer cables for my needles though, I am sure to have one of these knitted up.

Photo courtesy Wildflower Knits

And then December. She knew everyone was busy with holiday madness, so the project was a simple coaster that involved picking up stitches. Once again, I was out of town, so I was unable to attend the meet up and have yet to actually make any of these. I already know how to pick up stitches and have no use for coasters right now, so who knows if I'll ever make these.

Photo courtesy Wildflower Knits

And that brings me to January. When she released this month's pattern, I got excited. I love ruffles! And have always wanted an excuse to learn to knit them. What better time then when I have a bit of extra free time on my hands? So even though I missed the meet-up, I purchased the yarn last week and went to town. I am proud to show off MY ruffled duo scarf!

Photo courtesy ME!
Knitted using 2 skeins of Soft Kid by GGH (I am starting to love this brand), the ruffled duo is a ruffled scarf that was cast on using a crocheted provisional cast on, that was later removed to add on the second ruffle (in grey). I am not 100% sure if I did this right, but I like it none the less.  The yarn is so fluffy, and I am going to remember it for the next time I have another fluffy project to make. It's not that expensive either.

I hope next month's project is a fun one also, I'm excited to see what she comes up with for the warmer months.  Although I may not be making every little project, or buying the yarn, I still feel like I'm learning a lot from this club, and I also get the videos for future use, so maybe someday I will make the others!

Friday, January 18, 2013

FO Friday: Feeling Blue?

Ok, so I'll admit, I could not think of a good title for this blog post at all. But that's besides the point.

Since it's Friday, I want to share with you the vest that I finally finished. It's actually been 'done' since about January 2nd, but I didn't get the button and block it until yesterday, since I wanted to get the button from Wildflower. And so, without further ado, I present to you my Blue Eco Vest.

Knitted using Cascade Eco + yarn, the Eco vest was a fairly quick knit for me, something I will blame solely on 3 weeks of winter vacation with nothing to do but work and knit (and watch How I Met Your Mother on Netflix....). Trust me, if this was during the school year, it'd take a whole semester.

I didn't really find any problems with this pattern, something I'm really glad about, but I wish there was a better way to fasten the front. I LOVE the button I picked, it's pewter with a little flower, but I think it would work better with a button hole and not a crochet loop. I also should have moved it down a bit....

The cables did get a bit tedious after awhile, but that is part of the drive that kept me going, wanting to just get them done.  Overall, it was a quick, easy knit that I highly recommend to anyone wanting to branch into garments with minimal shaping and work involved.

In other news, I have started some cabled wrist warmers. They started as gloves, and then I decided I hated doing fingers, so changed my mind and decided to do wrist warmers to wear over a pair of store bought gloves (the one knit garment I don't mind buying...). I'm knitting them in Encore Worsted, the same yarn I made my headband out of. I was seriously going to just go basic, but I am a cable fanatic so one thing led to another and now they have cables. I may submit these somewhere, so I am just going to give you a peek at them for now.

In the world of non-knitted things, I baked my first homemade bread on Wednesday, using a recipe from the amazing cookbook Ivy gave me. I think one of the two loaves is underbaked, but I may be able to fix it later. For now, I am enjoying every bite of this honey wheat bread, and I may seriously switch from store bought to homebaked for awhile.

I hope everyone is ready for the weekend like I am. It's been a busy week and I'm ready for a break, even though the coming weeks involve school....


Don't forget Tami's Amis!

Monday, January 14, 2013

2013: The Year of Socks?

Last night I got back to Manhattan, with one week left until school starts back up.  I had completely forgotten that I had checked out some knitting books from the library here to review on my blog...6 weeks ago. So, I am very overdue for a Saturday Evening Book Review. I apologize. You guys will get one this week for sure.

I don't have any novels I am working on right now, so before bed I decided to read through on of them to get myself back into the book review mood. And after reading through the whole book, I decided that I really need to knit more socks!

Toe-Up Socks for Every Body by Wendy D. Johnson

-This book is really comprehensive. It explains construction, technique and everything in between for both the novice and experienced sock knitter.
-Wendy is such a great writer!
-The photos are just lovely.
-She really explains her reasoning for what she does, such as why she recommends 2 needle sizes for cabled socks.

-I wish I liked more of the patterns.
-A couple of my favorites are designed for men's feet....
-Even though her first book (Socks from the toe-up) has plain vanilla socks, I wish this did too, so that newbies/designers could have that as a reference. 

Favorite Patterns:

Overall, I love this book, just as I do her previous one. The photos are gorgeous and there are so many stunning patterns. Plus, I love toe-up socks so this is perfect! She really explains everything so well and allows the knitter to do what they want with her patterns.


After putting this book down last night my brain started thinking about all the sock yarn I still have that I could be knitting socks with. Me and socks have a love hate relationship. I love to knit them and I love to wear handmade ones, but the process always drags on and on and usually after I finish one pair I just need a break from them before I can start another. Which is why my sock yarn stash isn't really going down. 

It also doesn't really help that some of my favorite bloggers are knitting socks right now:

Andi has some amazing striped socks going on right now, as always!
Pumpkin just finished the Belle Epoque Socks from the book I just reviewed, and boy are they lovely!
More stripes from Karen, man I love these!
Alicia has the cutest booties (and hat) on her needles right now. 
And who can resist Pinkundine's textured rainbow socks??

So... what does this mean for me? Well I really want to use up some of my sock yarn this year, and I really want to have more pairs of handknitted socks as well, especially since a couple of my pairs right now don't fit me the way I'd like anyways. That is one of my mini-goals for the year- figure out how to make socks fit my foot better. 

What's first on the list? I have no idea. There are so many yarns and socks I want to knit! But I do have a couple of designs in my head I want to experiment with also, so maybe that can be my jumping off point for the year of socks.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Muffins and Wine

Happy Wednesday everyone! My week is speeding by, which means that I will be back to classes in no time. I guess that's good, right?

Before I get to the knitting, I wanted to share a recipe I found in the amazing cookbook Ivy gifted me.

The More-With-Less cookbook is all about eating better with more nutrition and less ingredients. Besides recipes, it has tip and tricks on many different subjects that I have been passionate about lately and after leafing through it I have found many, many recipes I cannot wait to make! And the one I HAD to try first? Whole Wheat Pineapple Muffins!

Whole Wheat Pineapple Muffins:
Preheat oven to 400
Sift together and set aside: 1 c flour, 1 c whole wheat flour, 3 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt.
Cream together: 1/4 c sugar and 1/4 cup margarine.
add: 1 egg and beat well.
stir in: 1 c undrained, crushed pineapple.
Add dry ingredients and stir until flour is moistened. 
Fill muffin tins 3/4 way full and bake 15-20 min (min took 16 minutes to bake). 
Serve hot (but they're good cold too!)

I really like these, the pineapple adds a nice bit of sweet to the overall very dense muffin, and the ingredients are super simple!

And now onto my sweater. With school being out, all I've been doing is working (I decided to stay home an extra week and go back next week to paint) and therefore I've had plenty of time to start on my wine-colored Dragonflies Pullover. So far it's going really well. The yarn is knitting up nicely (a bit splitty, but I can deal with that) and it's making a great, dense fabric. I can tell this is going to be the perfect sweater for colder days. 

I had a few glitches towards the beginning, when I couldn't figure out the chart. The pattern had mentioned short rows and wraps and turns and at that point I was really confused, so I ripped it out and tried something else. And then I figured it out and realized I had it right the first time, so I ripped it out again. I hate having to do that as much as the next knitter, but if it means a cute, CORRECT sweater, than so be it.  Now that I have it figured out, I am only 7 rows away from finishing the raglans and working on the body. I really hope to get this done in time to still wear it in the coming months, but with Kansas weather being so finicky lately, who really knows. 

I hope you are all enjoying your January, and that the week goes by smoothly. Until next time :)


For more WIP's, check out Tami's Amis!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Welcoming 2013 with Dragonflies and Friends :)

Today I spent the afternoon with my amazing friend Ivy, of whom I have know a couple years now and thoroughly  love spending time with. Since she was visiting me in Salina, we absolutely had to visit the gem of a yarn shop, Yarns: Sold and Told.

This is one of those shops I hardly buy from but wish I could more. I love looking at all the amazing colors, yarns and brands they carry. The selection is far superior to the selection at the shop in my college town, Wildflower.  My budget has been really tight lately, but I knew when I was going to get the yarn for my first pullover (Dragonflies) eventually. So one thing led to another and I walked about with 7 skeins of Cascade Pacific

Cascade Pacific is 60% Acrylic, 40% Merino and super smooth and squishy. I picked out the most beautiful wine color and could not resist, despite my lack of a decent income.

I couldn't wait to get started, so I broke down and purchased the pattern when I got home and promptly started swatching. As it turns out this yarn is more a light worsted than DK, which brought me a bit of anguish when I started. Luckily, going down a needle size and blocking my swatch led to the perfect gauge and a very excited me. 

And now comes the fun part, casting on. I am a bit scared, the pattern looks pretty difficult to be honest. But I told myself I'd do it and I am bound and determined. This sweater is seriously calling my name. 

As I mentioned, me and Ivy had a chance to hang out today. We spent a good couple hours of stitch and bitch at the cutest coffee and book shop downtown. It was such a great way to just relax for a day and hang out with someone so like minded. 

And Ivy being amazing, she brought goodies with her. The cookbook is going to become one of my favorites and the yarn (Berroco Borealis) is going to make an amazing cowl when I get around to it. Ivy knows me so well! 

As soon as I finish this post I'm casting on my sweater .I cannot wait to share my progress with you all. Hopefully if all goes well I will be crossing something off my resolutions list pretty soon. 


Max getting Horny :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I Survived the End of the World...

So why not celebrate!?!?! 2013 is here and it's going to be awesome! I cannot wait to get started on my knitting and spinning resolutions and share all my progress with you all. I had such a great year, how can I even top it? Well, I sure plan on trying. :)

2013 Fiber Arts Resolutions:

  1. Knit a pullover/in the round type sweater: 2012 was the year of cardigans and vests, I want 2013 to be the year of pullovers! And I really want to start with this one: Dragonflies pullover
  2. Going off of the last one, I would love to knit a bulky yarns sweater, because there are so many pretty ones :)
  3. Last year I wanted to conquer lace and I feel like I did. Well this year I want to FINISH something lace, with very few mistakes. I have some amazing bison blend yarn that would make a lovely lace scarf!
  4. Felt something, anything. 
  5. Learn more cast-on's and bind-off's. Because I just didn't do it last year and I know it would be beneficial to know.
  6. Design another pair of worsted weight socks. They always seem to go over so well. It's my dream to publish a whole book of worsted socks!
  7. Design a pair of sock-weight socks. Just for the fun of it!
  8. Design and publish something other than socks and submit something to at least 2 publications. I didn't get into Knitty, but I got great response from the editor and I want to try again with them and others. 
  9. Spin something other than worsted/bulky. I would love to make a fingering weight yarn. 
  10. Learn to blend fibers through plying when spinning (like merino and nylon). This goes back to the above point. 
  11. Learn different types of drafts and how to know when to use which. I am still stuck in a rut of doing the same thing every time, whether it works for that roving or not.
  12. Learn how to properly dye with natural materials (flowers, roots etc)
The list is shorter this year :( But I think it's also tougher. I am really excited to start some of these things and I think I am going to hit up Wildflower as soon as I get back for the yarn for that pull-over. I need something to do with the last 2 weeks of my break.

As for life, I have a few resolutions as well.

-Keep up with the strides I made in my artwork, diet, exercise, and social life. I did so well this year and I really want it to just keep going up.
-Stop bugging my friends so much. I think I am addicted to my phone and texting people, and then I get frustrated when they don't reply. So that's something I want to work on this year. 
-Stop worrying about the little things and over obsessing. Especially about guy issues. 

I hope this year goes well, and I really hope I don't forget all the things I said I'd do. I really do want to keep my resolutions this year. 

What are your resolutions? Anything you really want to learn to do this year? I'd love to hear. :P

Happy 2013!