Friday, June 3, 2011

Henrietta Maria Cardigan KAL

I've started my first ever official KAL (knit-a-long) for the Henrietta Maria Cardigan.

I think it's going to be a blast and I'm kicking it off with a giveaway - sign up by replying to the first post in the KAL thread in my Ravelry group (located here) and if you are one of the first 10 to reply, you will relieve a free pattern, the next 10 will get a one time use 50% off coupon for the pattern

The KAL will run from June 3rd to July 22nd and is open to anyone who wants help, encouragement, to share photos, chat with me, and in general have a grand old time. 

Here is a unreleased photo of Shelby giving her best "blue steel" 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Henrietta Maria Cardigan

It really started with the stitch pattern, King Charles Brocade.  It's named after King Charles I of England who lost his head and, gruesomely enough,  the knitted waistcoat he was wearing at the time was saved. and it had a diamond brocade pattern that now carries his name.

It is a very fine and elegant pattern and I had been wanting to use it on something for a while. Having come across a photo of some 1940's cocktail sweaters with diamond patterns with embellishments inside the diamonds I had an aha! moment and produced this sketch.
 Having bought a skein of Weaver's Loft Gaia Worsted at a fiber festival, I decided to try a swatch of the pattern and embellish it with Lazy Daisy flowers.  I was really excited about it. 

I contacted the Weaver's Loft to see if they would be interested in providing yarn support for this project and they generously agreed.  To support my generous sponsor visit their website here

I got to work on a prototype and had some trouble coming up with a button band I liked.  So I invented one.  It's a double knit strip with that gets sewed to the cardigan with mattress stitch.  
I've made a couple of video's to give a tutorial for the technique. 

I also made a video tutorial on how to embroider the cardigan


And finally after weeks of terrible weather, I got to do a photo shoot with my friend Shelby as the model.  She was wonderful and we had an excellent time.  All the clothes except the cardigan were actually hers.  She's a stylish lady.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Abominable Weather and Fake Flowers

The weather here has been cold and rainy for 2 weeks without signs of letting up.  "Sigh"   I keep waiting for it to have an at least, dry-ish weekend so I can do the photoshoot of my latest pattern but no luck.  Dark, rainy, no sun, it's really starting to get to me, and everyone I know.  I can't wait to have one nice day.

So to keep myself from going crazy I've been trying out some new skills.  I got some watercolor supplies for my birthday and I've been working on learning how to work with those.  They are a lot of fun, I made a totally disproportionate painting of some silk flowers in a glass last night.  I really like playing with the colors.   

Today I decided to create some floral hair accessories.  I've been seeing really pretty ones on Etsy for a while, but cannot afford $50 for some silk flowers attached to a comb just for my hair.  Though they are very pretty.   A while back Hobby Lobby had a 50% off sale on their fake flowers so I bought a bunch and they've been sitting a too-small vase for a month or so.  I took the pink and green peony with a bud and made a nice little facinator out of it.  I'm pretty pleased.  I sewed the flowers and leaves to a piece of craft felt and then sewed the clip to the underside of that.  I suppose I could have used glue, but I really like sewing things together.  Also, if I decide I don't like the way something looks it's usually easy enough to snip some threads.  Anyway, here it is!  Don't mind my frizzy hair, the humidity is making it act up.

From the side.  You can see I kept the bud on it's stem.

The color on the flower was what really attracted me to it.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Sneak Peek!

I know I haven't posted in too long but I've just been swamped with work!   I thought I'd give you all a little sneak peek of what I've been working on.
King Charles brocade pattern, embellished with lazy daisy embroidered flowers.  What will it be?  Stay tuned! 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Old Rice Hotel

The Old Rice Hotel is the pretty, old, building where Eli works so when I designed this scarf and hat set for him it seemed the natural choice for inspiration.

Here is a photo of the building I took last winter when we had an amazing ice-fog.  Every plant had a delicate silvered appearance that made the landscape seem like it was enchanted.
And here is Eli with his new cold weather gear.

The scarf is a knit and purl herringbone pattern knitted up in Cascade Rustic in color 04 which is a really nice wool/linen blend.  It's very soft with an interesting texture and a good drape.  A bonus is that it can be bound off at any time to use up every last bit of the yarn.  I hate having tiny little leftover balls. 

The hat is a sort of stranded knitting pattern with the contrast color woven in-between alternating blocks of the stitches.  I used Brown Sheep's Lanaloft Sports Weight in Sandstone Cove and Cliff Rock.  That the hat is mostly ribbing allows it to fit almost anyone.  It fit me (22" head) and Eli (24" head) which really encompasses almost everyone.  It has a really sophisticated appearance and it's a bonus to me that his Highness has been wearing it every day.

Buy The Old Rice Hotel Stocking Cap $5.00 

Buy The Old Rice Hotel Scarf 3.00 

Buy the Old Rice Hotel Set $6.50  

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Linocut Prints Part 2

The knitting related prints are coming along well and I have one plate carved, a lot of good ideas and some test prints accomplished.  I've had to order some ink as none of the stores around here had the Gamblin ink I wanted to use.  I prefer using ink from a tub instead of a tube because you can scrape unused ink back into the jar and since I'm not mixing colors right now it works out well economy wise.  I bought a small tube of Speedball oil-based ink from the store to play with until the tub o' ink arrives but I don't like it much.  It doesn't have good coverage and isn't tacky enough for my taste. 

I've purchased some mulberry paper to print on, a 8" roller, a scraper, a glass palette, a glass scraper, a Japanese brayer, a box of blue shop towels and some "green" mineral spirits that said it was low odor and good for indoor use.  All this stuff adds up!

Anyway here is a picture of my set up.  On the right are all my tools, the glass palette is taped down to my table over a piece of white paper so it doesn't move.  It's pretty easy to clean I've discovered.  I have an old 3" roller for small areas or applying spot color or stamping.  It's quite useful.

I've been really attracted to hands and the textures of knitting and textiles so I've been working on some compositions that include those elements.  I've always loved borders and usually put them on all my work.  I wanted something that was evocative of textiles or yarn and I was going through my pattern reference books and found something I liked in Ornamental Design by Claude Humbert.  The book is reprinted by Dover in black and white but I tracked down quite a reasonably priced original in the lovely orange, black and white that is at once both retro and stylish.  The border design I decided on is based on this one from the book.
Torc Motif.  Luristan, Persia 

I traced the plate I was going to carve in my notebook and measured out a border of an inch or so.  Then I freehand drew the outlined shape.

I added the interior lines when I was carving.  I only do as much work as I need to!  I traced it onto a piece of tracing paper (to the right in the photo above) so I could easily transfer the drawing to the linoleum plate.

I'll add at this point I wasn't sure what the rest of the composition was going to be.  I work on the fly!   I wanted hands but wasn't sure if they would be too difficult for my 5 years rusty skills.   Here is a sketch of my hands I did knitting.  I loved this image but it's pretty complex and I was worried I wasn't up to it.

So then I drew this crappy uninspired sketch of yarn balls with needles.  YAWN.

So I went back to hands and decided that this was both interesting and not too complex to carve. 
 I used the tracing paper to get some of the details of the hand, but I just drew the outline of the sock and added more details to the hand and made the fingers more proportional. I transferred the image to the plate and carved it out.  I did the border first as I knew just what to do with it and it was simple.  Then I carved out the hand, then the whole background.  Then I did the texture on the sock.  I was very nervous about it and how to go about suggesting a knitted texture.  I think it came out quite fine and I was rather pleased with it in the end.  You can see a little texture experiment in the drawing above.  I didn't do something that detailed however.  It wasn't going to work out.  

I did a couple of test prints and decided that while I liked it on the plate, in the print the un-carved out portion of the wrist made it look like a very hairy arm!  So on the fly I just carved that bit out.  It was much better but still needs a little refinement. You can see the two different versions in this photo

I'll be posting more about this when I get my good ink!  I'm pretty excited for it to come.  I'll be working on another plate in the meantime.  I think it'll likely be some hands knitting, but we'll see what I come up with.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Knit related linocut prints

Why yes you did read that title correctly.  My knitting muse has flown for the moment so I figured I change tack for a week or two and work on making some prints.  They will be knitting related and I'll likely post some sketches when they come to me.  I'm feeling good about this, I've been wanting to do a little more drawing recently and I think some prints will do the trick.   If I write it here I'll have to do it because people will expect me to.  Yes yes.  A little peer pressure. 

And since this post doesn't have a related photo have this one of a sweater I recently completed.  It's beautiful.  This sweater is knitted in an old cone yarn with no brand name that was ostensibly some sort of blend of wool and alpaca.  It's incredibly warm and I wore it as a coat down in the city for record shopping a couple of weeks ago. 

The pattern is Howlite, by Heather Dixon.