Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Somethin' Pumpkin

At the SCWSG guild meeting last week, in about an hour, I took these bits of fluff....

And needle felted it into this cute pumpkin...

It's about the size of a large orange. Super fun program. Thanks Robal!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Studio 49 Retreat 2017 Challenge part 5 Finale

The final end to this Polwarth fiber challenge. Lots of pictures below...

Two scarf ends that needed sewing together to make a loop.

I wanted to have a flat seamless invisible join instead of an overlapped hem. I chose to cross opposite ends and loop back to the same side.

Detail of crossed warp end with needle weaving end into fabric.

 Almost done.

Ends all crossed and ready to pull each loop closed flush against the fabric.

The join turned out a little more wonky than I thought it would. It's not as invisible as intended. Instead of pulling two ends in opposite directions at the same time, I should have pulled one side flush then the other side separately. Ah well, lesson learned.

I wasn't confident the crossed ends would be secure, so very lightly, I needle felted the seam.

Then I got to the fun part...beading the fringe.

I chose three tubes of the larger glass beads, put 3 little beads on each strand and started twisting. A bigger glass bead finished off the ends.

After hand washing and air dry, WALLAH! A finished challenge project.

I had lots of little cut ends left over from the warp. I couldn't bear to throw them away. The solution: a pom pom for a keepsake. Which I finished with beads as well.

Finally, I leave today to show off these items at the Studio 49 Retreat.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Studio 49 Retreat 2017 Challenge part 4

I finally wound my hand spun Polwarth yarn onto my 10" Cricket loom and started weaving. Post for part 3 here.

Scarf in progress on the loom. The thick grey line is the BFL hand spun yarn for the weft fringe.

A close up before I took it off the loom. Nice pleasing Fibonacci color sequence eh?!?

Off the loom ready for finishing and beading. I used every bit of the white Polwarth hand spun I had (part 2 post here).

My selection of glass beads to play with.

It only took me a week to weave the scarf. Duh! Now I just need to make time to do all the finishing. Sew in the yarn tails, connect the ends in to a loop, twist and add beads to the weft fringe, and finally wet finish. Doesn't seem like much but I know it'll take me longer than I think.

Lastly, here is a picture from my sister of the yarn I spun for her (see this part 1 post) and the beads she plans to knit into her piece. I can hardly wait to see her finished cowl.

The retreat is next weekend. Gotta finish!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Look What I Made! part 2

Part 2 of my ceramic birthday party. See this post for part 1.

We returned to Muddy's Studio a few weeks after the party to a table full of bisque ware. That means the clay pieces were air dried then kiln fired once, ready to glaze. 23 pieces in total.

All of our wet gray pots were now white. The pieces had shrunk about 20%. Which we were told about but were still surprised by.

Only 3 of us were able to make glazing night. We had to glaze all 23 pieces in two and a half hours. We decided to focus on our own pieces first then glaze the rest. I had 7 pots to glaze. My own four items and three bowls that were gifted to me by Stacy. She's a pro so her bowls actually look like bowls. She wasn't able to make it so I got to glaze them myself. Practice makes perfect!

By the end of the evening, we were frantically scraping and finishing the pots. A few got single dunks in the glazing bins. I was surprised how fast the glaze dried. Apparently the water in the glaze gets absorbed quickly by the very porous bisque ware. 

Me at the end, exhausted and slightly manic, trying to finish and pack up all the pieces. There was a class in the background glazing their pieces too. Unfortunately they left us to clean up after them. Oh well.

All the pots looked like this. Shades of beige, tan and brown. We couldn't tell what colors we had chosen or remember what we had done by the end of the night.

But the finale is this most beautiful collection of ceramic art from a group of mostly novices. We lost one piece in the kiln. Plus another 10% shrinkage. But look at all the pretty colors!

One of Stacy's pots glazed by her daughter.

My personal collection.

Close up of my gift bowls.

My very favorite piece. As I said in part 1, The Wave was supposed to be a big bowl. I made the clay a little thin and it started to twist in my hands when I tried to push it back. My bowl became art. I had fun with "painting" glaze on. I just love it.

Thanks again to Audrey for arranging this most wonderful event for my birthday!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Solar Eclipse

Kind of off topic but way too cool not to share.

Along with millions of other people all over the world, I watched the solar eclipse on Monday. In Southern CA we got about 60% coverage of the sun by the moon.

Here is where I started my day in Orange County. Pin holes in card stock on the sidewalk at my place.

Then I moved to my friend's house because she had solar glasses to share. Ian and his friend checking out the real eclipse.

My personal shot using my phone camera with the solar glasses snug against the lens. Sun is the tiny crescent on the upper right side.

More card stock viewing with extra crescents between my fingers holding the paper.

Then a flurry of photos from my family via text in Los Angeles County...

My mother's cardboard box with two little crescents.

My sister at my niece's elementary school.

Using her binoculars, a pair of crescents.

And on cardboard.

My brother's binocular shot.

My sister, in the Bay Area, found the crescent in the cloud cover there. The tiny spot in the center.

Many crescent shadows through the leaves of a tree. I feel like I could replicate this pattern using Shibori stitching and dyeing techniques on silk.

And the finale from the cousin of a friend in Oregon.

So amazing!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Quick Cowl

I spent a weekend with my sister in Pasadena a few weeks ago. Out of character, I did not bring a project with me. Most of the time I bring something with me to work on wherever I go but then never work on it. This time I decided I'd packed enough and did not think I would have time anyway. Well...

I stayed an extra night and suddenly I was desperate for some handwork. Skein is a shop nearby that I had not been to in many years. I checked to see if the shop was open and I had one hour to get there and buy something.

The proprietor was great. She showed me lots of easy one skein projects I could pick up quickly. I settled on a cotton yarn and a sample cowl in the shop that I could manage without a lot of thought. Of course I needed knitting needles too.

This yarn...

Became this cowl...

Here it is flat...

Super easy! Using size 9, 16" circular needles, cast on multiples of 8 plus 7 stitches. Join in the round. Knit 4, purl 4. Continue until you want to bind off or when you run out of yarn. I cast on 95 stitches to make a tall cowl. You could cast on 119 stitches for a longer loop that's narrower.

I used the whole ball of yarn. I had 47 inches left. Did I say super easy already?!?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Studio 49 Retreat 2017 Challenge part 3

I changed my mind.

It happens often when thinking about a project. I start with one idea and it morphs into something else until finally I start. Then it morphs again. This is what's going on now with my Retreat challenge project.

The hand spun yarn was going to be a hat. I made a gauge swatch to determine what size knitting needle I wanted to use. I started with size 7 at the bottom of the swatch. That's what the pattern calls for. The middle section is size 6 needle and then the top is size 5. I placed the swatch on a stitch holder because I didn't want to cut the yarn. I intend to use every bit.

The change of plan arose when I realized that I was not enjoying knitting this yarn. I like knitting with my hand spun yarn but this one didn't feel nice or fun. I don't know why. The yarn is soft and stretchy. Lovely to hold and touch, but not to knit with apparently.

My eyes lit upon my 10" Cricket rigid heddle loom and BOOM! I had a new idea.

I am going to weave a scarf. Having limited yardage presented some challenges; 232 yards of white, 155 yards of grey. Not a lot of yarn for weaving. So I set about trying to figure out what to make with what I had. I started with the 10 dent heddle and a Fibonacci sequence in the warp. I calculated a basic scarf at 8"x72" and discovered I did not have enough yarn. I want to feature the white Polwarth with a few grey BFL stripes.

I was inspired by the Biscuits and Jam Scarf by Sarah Jackson featured in the May/June issue of Handwoven Magazine. I'm lucky enough to be a fellow guild member of Sarah's and saw the beautiful scarf in person at the SCWSG June meeting. She wove hers in cotton with beaded weft fringes. Then sewed the ends together to make a circular scarf. I really liked the weft fringe idea.

I made drafts on paper first. Then I made a yarn wrap to see if I liked how the Fibonacci sequence looked.

I drew a scarf close to 1/8" scale and made more calculations. One set with 80 ends for an 8" wide scarf and one with 70 ends. I have just enough yarn (I think/hope) to make a scarf 7" wide with a weaving length of 60". There will be a small plaid section where I put another Fibonacci sequence in the weft at one end of the scarf.

If I run out of white weft then it will be a little shorter. But that's OK since I want to sew the ends together to make a loop and wear it like a cowl anyway.

I think I'm ready to start...