Thursday, December 25, 2014

Lizard Ridge Infinity Scarf

I pinned this gorgeous afghan on Pinterest and have been obsessing over it ever since I started knitting. I'm a color fiend. And when I start something new, I tend to mix loads of colors together. Seeing this afghan made me want to try it. This is Laura Aylor's Lizard Ridge Afghan. Laura is a beautiful knitwear designer. 

The yarns used in this pattern are also part of what make this pattern so spectacular. This is Noro Kureyon yarn. Eisako Noro is a true artist with the colors and Laura maximized the impact of these colors with this design. The yarn appeals to me because of it's organic nature. The mixes and graduations between colors, plus the inconsistency and organic thickness of the yarn. It knits up into a piece of art.

 Lizard Ridge Afghan by Laura Aylor


Here is my first piece. I used three different skeins of the Noro Kureyon and knitted them into an infinity scarf. Here it is posing on a piece of coquina at Marineland Beach in Florida. Don't you want to be the scarf?


I got loads of compliments in the first wearing. It is most definitely a conversation starter. I always test my pieces for feedback. And this one is a big winner. 

And while yesterday in Florida was 83 degrees F (with a tornado!), today it was in the 60's. Gotta take advantage of the coolish days to wear the pretty knits. 

 

I make my infinity scarves long enough to wrap around twice. 




Self-Imposed Knitting Apprenticeship

Since I'm in OCD mode on knitting, I've been buying yarn, supplies, patterns, and Pinning anything I love on my new Knitting and Crochet Pinterest board. I love the free-from crocheting, too. But, I'm restraining myself from exploring that until I get more basic skills under my belt with knitting. 

I got the idea to consider this deep dive into knitting an "apprenticeship" from Barbara Walker's book,  A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. I found this bit of information particularly interesting, "During the Middle Ages the famous 'knitter's guilds' -- which were, of course, composed entirely of men -- brought the art of knitting to a very high degree of refinement. A young man who wished to become a member of such a guild had to serve as an apprentice to a Master Knitter for a minimum of three years, and spend another three years year in travel, learning foreign techniques and patterns. After this, he had to pass a grueling examination, knitting a number of original 'masterpieces' of his own in a very short time, and then was admitted to the guild as a Master in his own right. The men of these guilds made exquisite garments that were worn by kings and princes, and every member of the nobility had his or her favorite Master Knitter, as well as a favorite tailor or dressmaker."

The internet makes this much easier in so many ways. If I get stuck on something, I can look it up and/or watch a video. I switched from English to Continental style knitting simply through watching a video. So cool. While I started with English knitting when I learned on my own, and I have taught this to my nieces because it's the easiest way to get started, I switched to Continental to ease the strain on my wrists. It has been much easier on my hands. 

Lizard Ridge Pattern - Skill Development Notes
  • Knitting backward - I'm noticing that while technically it's possible to knit backwards continental, it's more efficient for me to knit backwards English. I'm still slow, but I'm starting to get a better rhythm with it. I just couldn't get the proper tension with the Continental hold. It's still slower for me than knitting forward.
  • Steam blocking - I have the HomeRight Steam Machine. I used the hand-held with the squeegee attachment with the fabric cover. Works like a dream.
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QsOD56-HN4 
  • Reading the knitting (knowing where I did the wrap and turn without using a stitch marker). I'm not a big fan of the wrap and turn method. When I pick up the wrap, you can still see the stitch. I found some other methods to try to see if I can make that short row resolution more invisible.
  • Learning to adjust to mistakes. I tended to add a stitch. I think I figured it out with the wrap and turn I would accidentally turn it into 2 stitches. But, I learned how to just adapt and roll with the flow. The yarn and the pattern are very forgiving to mistakes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Current obsession... knitting

After 30 years of knitting scarves, I have finally graduated.

To blankets.

I'm a restless creative and must always be doing something with my hands. While traveling to New Zealand, when I got to the more relaxing part of the trip, we picked up yarn and I made an infinity scarf and three neck-warmers for my friends.

And as I do not do anything by half measure, I am now swimming deeply in the knitting pool.

Purl Soho

I've recently discovered Purl Soho and their beautiful yarns. I wanted to make a thank you gift for one of my friends. This beautiful merino was like knitting with a cloud. I love the graphic designer elegance to their patterns. I selected two of the Winterberry kits am knitting this into a bigger lap blanket.




I used the double seed stitch and did a variegated striped pattern.



This is still a work in progress. I'm waiting for the second kit to arrive to make the blanket longer.



You can't capture the luster and glow this yarn gives, but it's dreamy.


The colors they've chosen are flawless. I just love knitting with them.




I've also made some capes in chunky yarn. And 12-14 scarves. And 2 more blankets. Yep. I've been a knitting fool.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Trip of a Lifetime - Australia and New Zealand

I returned two weeks ago from a trip of a lifetime to the other side of the world - Australia and New Zealand. I would have loved to spend a lot more time there and traveled around the country more. This graphic is cool to put into perspective how big Australia is compared to the continental US. My travel was limited to Melbourne and Sydney for approximately 10 days. I also spent 10 days in New Zealand in Whakatane. 

Melbourne, Australia, Yarra Valley

These first two photos were snapped through the bus window.





I'm so happy I signed up for this coach tour. Seeing the animals that are unique to Australia was a big treat. 



I have to say, the platypus was my favorite. They are actually much smaller than I thought. (I love small animals, so cute.) This is Yammy, a female platypus. The males are venomous. (I didn't know that!) I have a video I'll post later.


A wallaby.



A wombat.



Sydney Opera House



A free cockatoo flying around Watson's Bay in Sydney. I've only seen captive Cockatoo's as pets. Made me happy to see them free.



This pelican hammed it up for the camera.


City of Sydney from Darling Harbour.



Moutuhura Island



Kerosene Creek

I didn't bring a swimming suit, but was wearing flip-flops. I waded into the heated waters. So inviting and relaxing.



Wairakei Dam near Taupo



Waikato River flowing from Lake Taupo



Moutuhura Island from Port Ohope, Bay of Plenty. Ocean Road, Seaview Road & Kohi Point Scenic Track.








Whakatane



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Polymer experiments

I have been monkeying around with polymer and getting my groove back. I'm in the wildly experimental stage. I usually keep my mistakes and ugly pieces, but I'm beginning to edit and toss stuff I don't like. I should probably try harder to keep ugly pieces. But, some of these are still in the ugly enough stage. I would consider them prototypes. Still working through kinks in composition. The big thing I'm missing is professional finish. Cute enough for giving away to friends, but not good enough for selling yet.


Chalk Experiments

Ever since I saw Margit Boehmer's tinted chalk polymer on Polymer Clay Daily, I've been intrigued. I love the beautiful depth and interest you get by including chalks.

This first picture is using chalks on white. It provides a really pretty watercolor-ish type of feel. I want to experiment with this more.


These are custom mixed colors with additional tinting to provide some natural depth. I think I plan to explore this a bit more. I'm really digging the results here.



Free-Form Seed Beading

I'm also a really big fan of Beverly Ash Gilbert's free-form seed beading. I've bought some of her  deep and complex seed bead soups. I'm experimenting with combining them with polymer. I got one toggle done, but I kept breaking the needle on the other one. I'll have to drill some holes to complete this set. I really love the richness of her soups. She includes up to 50 beads of various colors, shapes, and sizes in some of her soups!



Tropical Huts

This year I've seen a a bunch of beach huts as beads. In 2012, I created a small polymer house very similar to the ones below. I can't find it right now, but I've been continuing to experiment in the bright beachy designs. They actually remind me of the simple Dominican Republic wooden houses that were a popular subject of paintings there. I have two gorgeous paintings that have graced my walls (all over the world!) since 2000.



That's it for me for now. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Florida Cloud Formations




I'm smitten. 

I'm smitten with the vapor oceans that spiral to lofty heights in the atmospheric heavens.

Crafted by current
Sculpted by rip tides
Textured by wind
Colored by light
Folding
Crashing
Sweeping waves




I've lived all over the place and I love clouds. But there is something about the clouds in Florida. I guess it's the summer rainy season and the storms we get every afternoon. Storm clouds have a reputation for being spectacular. And we have spectacular storms. 



And the light! Oh, the evening and morning light...



Of course, I'm always running somewhere while enjoying these daily art displays. So, I snap photos on my iPhone in my car. 


I thought it was just me. But one of my friends told me the first thing some of their friends noticed when moving into Jacksonville were the clouds. So, it's not just me. They are a dose of daily art!