Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Knitting Police

Ever feel like you just have too many WIPs on your needles?  While most knitters will laugh and say "There's no knitting police!" or "There's never too many",  I still feel some days that maybe I'm overwhelming myself with projects.

Today is one of those days, as I sit back and look at all the projects I have started and realize that the odds of finishing them all by Christmas is a pretty lofty goal.

First on my list is the cowl that I am designing with my handdyed yarn in the colorway "Fallen Moon Drops".  Featuring staggered double-yarnover holes and a feather and fan border, this is coming a long nicely.  I'm hoping to write up and publish the pattern before my first festival showing. 


Something inside of me felt an impulse last week to knit some dishcloths for a friend who just moved, despite the overwhelming load of knitting/art/work things I already have on my plate.  Luckily, these are fast and I should be done with the set of three by tonight.


I need to return to my Breathing Space sweater soon also, as I would love to have it done in time to wear when it finally gets cooler here.  However, all these other WIPs seem to be calling me instead.  I do enjoy the beauty of the teal paired with the green though and will hopefully return to this come September.


Started at the beginning of the summer as a crochet tank top, I ran out of yarn after the first side and gave up.  And then a miracle happened and one of our Guild members had some of the same yarn she was destashing.  I grabbed that up and went to town, turning this tank into a tee that I can hopefully wear to work.  Right now I'm just starting the back side, crocheting it all in once piece and then folding it over to seam.


Last, but not least, is something I NEED to start, but haven't had time to.  The year of socks has come to a halt, as I haven't done any for August yet and even if I start them now, probably won't be able to catch up to 12 pairs.  However, I do know what my next pair will be! I participate in Big Brothers Big Sisters and my little turns 11 next month.  She always envies my knitting and I just know she'd love a pair of socks.  So if all goes according to plan, this yarn will become a new pair for her. ;)


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Whats on your needles right now? Too many or not enough? Has the knitting police found you yet!? 

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I'll see you on the flip side.

~Lisa





Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Drifting Off

Every time I turn around I have a new art project to share with you guys, it's a wonder I even sleep.

Remember the little woven paintings I discussed last month? While I enjoyed making them and thought they were a good solution to my "what is fiber art?" question, I ultimately decided I needed to try something that fit in better with my current paintings.

A trip to Houston and all the galleries that I love there got me back to thinking about making puddles again, but this time I came up with a better idea, partially due to seeing the works of Paul Flemming and Harumi Shimazu.  With Paul's works, while hard to see in the photos, he creates little ceramic basins that he then fills with a colored resin.  As for Harumi, her installation of the wax petals and floating orbs really made me want to try similar.

Paul Flemmings

Harumi Shimazu

My recent paintings have been branded (by me...) as "Tide Pools", despite the fact that are representative of more than just floating forms in water.  To me, they are a representation of thoughts, ideas and memories and how we are always gaining new ones while old ones just sink and float away.  But that's a discussion for another day.  Where am I going with this?  Well I decided I needed to push the envelope for that show here in town and propose a small installation.

Trying to achieve the idea of water before seemed hard, as creating free form puddles wasn't working with any material I tried.  But seeing Paul Flemmings' works reminded me that I don't have to have free-flowing puddles.  They can be contained.  Well, one thing led to another and the next thing I knew I had this:


Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present my first physical tide pool! Created using paper mache as a base and filled with a polyester (and really strong smelling) resin to represent the water, I think this could really be the installation step I've been needing.  While my other installations have been fun and simple, this really is unique and interesting.  


This project was a complete experiment for me.  While I have used paper mache before, this was a whole new realm of sculpture.  Building up the pool and filling it with resin got messy and smelly, not to mention expensive.  I wish I could have added more resin to fill it up, but I just couldn't afford it this time around.  Playing with the placement of the knitted forms within the pool was also an experience.   As usual for me, I left the whole thing white, so that I can shine colored lights on it and play around with the mood.  


Photographing these with random lights was so much fun.  I am sad to say, though, that the light is not this prominent in real life, or at least not in a daylight setting.  Can you imagine these at night?? 

The plan is to have this in a gallery setting, with more balls hanging from the ceiling at various heights to represent new forms falling in.  It was really hard to photograph that in my apartment, so I don't have that yet.  

I am really really proud of this and want to make more when my budget allows.  I really hope it gets into that fiber show!

I hope you all had a great week.  See you next time.  ;)

~Lisa


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Measuring Success

Well, I did it.  Last Friday I officially launched my hand-dyed yarn to the world...erm... local community.  

With 14 skeins total, I posted everything on Etsy and advertised to my local knitting groups, offering free shipping because I would deliver it the next time I saw them.   Let me just say, I love the community that I am a part of.

By the end of Monday night, I had sold all but 2 skeins! Which put me at enough revenue to order more yarn and do a second go. Of which I will of course be doing.  

I ended up with three colorways for my first run: "Mushroom Petal Bloom", "Fallen Moon Drops", and "Morning Garden Stream".  What I really enjoy about each of these is how they are all very different, yet would be perfect for a "fade" type project all together.




The yarn base itself is a gorgeous 2ply light fingering yarn, which dyes up really well.  As of right now I am using food dye and liquid watercolor.  I've had a lot of people question what I mean by liquid watercolor.  To clear the air, it's a dye based, highly concentrated painting material.  In the classroom we use it like regular watercolor, squirting it into a paint tray.  But I did some experimenting and it turns out you can use it like you would food dye to color yarn! I am loving the oranges and violets I am getting with it.


There has been some sceptism about using "safe" dye as opposed to acid dyes, most of which has been about fading.  I'm not sure if that's true or how it will all work out. I do know that I should switch over eventually, but my current situation doesn't really allow for it.  

What do you think? Would you buy yarn if it was made using something beside acid dyes?

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I'll be dying up more soon and posting it on Etsy for the whole world, not just my local friends, so keep an eye out! Also I'll be vending at a small local fiber festival in November.  The East Texas Fiber Fest should be a good chance to get my toes wet.

One step closer to owning a yarn shop/art gallery!

~Lisa