Monday, July 23, 2012

The girl with kaleidoscope eyes

I started with 2 skeins of natural Cascade 220. I knitted a rectangle of stockinette with garter borders. 

Then I used these tools...

Food dye pens.
Icing colors and stencil brushes

Paper cups, water and measuring spoons. Teeny tiny measuring spoons.

Did I mention paper cups?
I drew the outline of the girl and her rainbow hair with charcoal and then painted on each color using the stencil brush. She is floating in the sky...
After painting, the knitting was covered up in plastic wrap - top and bottom.
It was rolled up and steamed.
Then it cooled.

After drying, the details of the girl were added. I used buttons for her eyes, black and red and yellow yarn for her features. I was going to paint them in but the buttons made her look bug-eyed without some other texture. She has some braids and some loose hair.

I used a food writer pen to add a chin and some neck shading. Also, give a little shadow to her nose. French knots make up her nostrils and she has stem stitched eyes and eyebrows.

And there she is.. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds!
Remember the buttons I showed you a few weeks ago? They turned into her kaleidoscope eyes.
Swarovski crystals scattered over her hair and then sewn down represent the diamonds.

After looking at her for a few days, I felt she looked rather thin-lipped so I got out some Ultra Alpaca and gave her more voluptuous lips with satin stitch around the original lips.
 And there is she is in all her glory - floating in the sky...

for those who are wondering what this is all about - the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" features John Lennon singing about a hallucinatory state in a monotonic, slow, mesmerizing tone. The title is supposed to stand for LSD. Hence: Knitting Under the Influence.

Sadly, many of the younger members at Camp had no clue about the song and so only half the attendees laughed when I told my story about how my knitting flowed in multi-colors from my needles as I played the song on my iPhone.

I won this lovely kit. The shawl is pretty but
 the yarn is even prettier!
 I also get a nice zippered case. I think this laceweight will be a nice shawl.

I hope you enjoyed my Knitting Under the Influence! It was a fun adventure, a grand experiment. I had never used stencil brushes to paint on colors, much less use the food writer pens. I didn't set the dye after I used those so I don't know if they will last.

The entire project is recyclable except for the bits of yarn. The hair will come right out, the crystals and beads can be removed and once I snip out the embroidery out, I have a dyed blank which can be used to make a cowl or a hat or mittens.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Knitting Camp 2012

I was at Meg Swansen's Retreat 2.75 last weekend. What a feast for the eyes, the brain, and the spirit! It is like a giant family reunion because many of us have been coming for so long. Of course not everyone is there every year and there are always new people to welcome into the family but that is exactly the way family reunions work.

I took a lot of pictures this year, which is very unlike me. Usually I forget to take my camera out, and just sit there drinking it all in with my eyes. I am going to do this in stages. Today's stage is the Camp contest. We have a contest every year. We vote on the theme the year before.

This year's theme was Knitting Under the Influence, which can be intepreted in many different ways. Some of those will be visible here. I am not telling the entire story of each entry as that would be a) long and b) incorrect as my memory isn't that good. The post-it notes with the numbers indicate that entry's voting number. That is how we vote for each one. Mine is not here as that will be the subject of next week's blog post.

 This is a necklace made from yarn from many of the attendees as well as from Meg and Elizabeth Zimmerman. The person who made this was very clever in acquiring those pieces.
 One of our attendees has not interacted with her home town in decades. She found a group on Ravelry and did a KAL with them.
 Here was a knitter who thought she was creating a lovely sweater out of all her leftovers, only to realize that she was copying the color scheme in her rug!
 A token of a huge yarnbombing effort that took many moons to plan and execute
 A sweater representing influences in color, pattern and design
 A gorgeous Armenian knitted vest representing the influence Joyce Williams had on the knitter.
 A fair isle purse that also represents the influence of Joyce Williams.
 A cotton vest representing the influence of marketing on the knitter.
 The winner! A vest with an illusion-knitted Elvis who was influential to this knitter.
 This two-piece garment (a dress and a shrug) showcases what happens when a knitter gives in to influences that she's been fighting against for years.
 A beautiful pair of dolls representing the influence of hungry and destitute children in the world.
 Sheep have had a tremendous influence on this knitter, from childhood. The knitted items are from descendents of a family flock.
 An 'angel' shawl (the name has angel in it) that represents the angel on this knitter's shoulder during a scary health crisis.
 Fair-isle and garter st have influenced this knitter. I wonder who introduced those into her world? wink
 A very clever entry that came in second, I believe. It is a yarn fume enhancer since we knitters do so much under the influence of yarn fumes. You put your yarn in the container on the seat and the fumes come through the long hose and out through the yellow dispenser (also on the seat). The scarf on the back of the chair helps hold the dispenser so the fumes can be inhaled.
 This one is very cute but I don't remember the story. this is why this post is first in the series...
 Yarn from a knitting mentor who had an influence on this knitter
 This vest did not need a pattern written for it. It represents the freedom of not having to work out multiple sizes and write up all the details.
 A hoodie that represents the influence of the people who have inspired and supported this knitter. We all took turns knitting a little on it.
 This knitter appears to be under the influence of a pink elephant! Or maybe a woolly mammoth?
 another one whose story escapes me... but a gorgeous piece of knitting..
 This knitter was also influenced by Joyce Williams.
 A knitter who is influenced by her friends to make something unusual and rather lovely.
 A mushroom hat. What influence was the knitter under? hmmm...
A gorgeous shawl representing the Roses in this knitter's life. Many of the people she loves can be represented by roses. I think there is more to this than I am remembering...

I hope you enjoyed our little contest. It made us laugh, it made us cry and it made us grateful for all the influences in our lives, be they people, places or things.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A lovely summer day!

Unlike last week, when it was very hot here, today is perfect - not as warm but sunny and breezy. To celebrate, I went for a walk on the Walkway over the Hudson this morning.
 Here is a view looking south from the bridge. You can see the Mid-Hudson bridge that carries road traffic over the Hudson.
And this is the view looking north. I love the calming effect of water and hills. Being summer, everything is green. But it was a lovely day for walking.

I have not been spinning much. I spent the weekend cleaning and tidying and visiting. I ripped out the sock and have started working it top down. It is looking much better. But I will give it its own post some day.

Today I just wanted to celebrate what I think is perfect weather.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tour de Fleece Day 6

Today I needed a break from spindling so I spun some lovely pink Blue-Faced Leicester from Miss Babs.
On another note, I think I am going to rip out the sock I started. It will be easier for the class to do it top down and the instructions are rather terse. So I will have to rewrite portions of it anyway.

Fortunately it is only an evening or two's worth of effort that will have to be redone.

I also took advantage of my day off to do some dyeing. I am not done with this skein. I want to tie off the brightly colored sections with cotton twine and then dye it with a grey or a black. The cotton twine will act as a resist and prevent the colored sections from being overdyed by the grey or black dye.
 The colors make me happy... Some more than others.

Also, to answer a question on one of the comments: No, I don't have a shawl picked out for the Polwarth. Any ideas? I have about 800 yards.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tour de Fleece Day 5

I have only been spinning a little every day. There are lots of other things to work on and this is all I can manage. But that is the objective of the Tour. I am working on building the largest cop I can build. I want it to get to the width of the arms before I wind off.

I am also knitting these socks. The pattern is called Vellamo and the yarn is Cascade Heritage, a nice sock yarn.

 That is all for now...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tour de Fleece Day 3

First the bragging. There's the Briar Rose Polwarth, in all its glory.... The splotches of color have turned into subtle shading..

 Now the obligatory photo with the quarter to show off how thin and nice it is. The skein feels soft and squishy. There are about 750 yds there so enough to make a nice shawl.
 And last, but not least, today's TdF spinning. I'm trying to spin this soft and bulky for a nice hat or a pair of mittens.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tour de Fleece 2012 Day 1 and 2

 First of all, here is the Briar Rose Polwarth all plied up. It is a lot of yardage as that is a big bobbin and it is a 2-ply laceweight. I am excited about this. I think I will enough for a decent-sized shawl.

Now on to the Tour...

 This is a better picture of the braid. I took the other ones at dusk and the colors didn't come out right.
 I am going to spin this from the fold and fractally. I divided the braid in half and then one of the halves into quarters. All the division was done length-wise.
 Here is the beginning. I am also going to build up this cop very precisely and see how much I can get on.

I hope to be blogging more during the Tour but we will see how it goes.