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I’m really happy at the way I’ve gone about learning to see color.  It was so practical and non-jargon loaded theory.  Not everyone likes the colors I put together, but that’s okay.  I like them.  I like that I try to push the envelop and use something surprising or new.  I like that I have learned some neat ways to cover up big mistakes.

I’m still working on my black, white and grey freeform vest.  It’s hard to not allow it to be drab.  One way I thought to fix that was to add one color, but what color?  I also thought about focusing on what color shirts I would wear under it.  Jewel tones obviously.  Anyway, I walked around the house and gathered some colors for a “study in the lab.”  See what you think.  Maybe learn something about what you like.  Hopefully, something surprising.

Jake's acrylic afghan

This almost works for me.  In Australia I found lots of black, white and lime quilts and coveted them all.  But if I put this color near my face, someone would call a medical examiner.

This chair is a bit brighter than the photo, but I like looking at the sort of sagey green with the pieces.  But dont’ add sage if you are worried about drab.  Still, there is something nice about this.

Cotton fleece vest

Well, I was looking for bright.  It isn’t the brightness that bothers me; it’s the “sweetness” of the color.  I did say I don’t have the jargon.  Some colors are sweet to me and some are dry, like the sage.  It may not make sense to you, but it works for my brain.  This says Get a different shade of blue.  Which I don’t have.

Plummy pink dishcloth--worn

I like this.  It isn’t bright, but it is fresh.  Another of my color words.  The drabness is cured without overwhelming color.  This was a surprise.  The shade–a real color word which indicates a grayed color of pink–works with the gray of the yarn.  Well, duh.

Back of throw pillow

If gray is what you want, this obviously works.  And I have a Tshirt this color.  It really pops the white pieces and some of them are really quite nice.  This holds potention for a future outfit.

Hot pink/fuschia t-shirt

I just happened to have a bright pink t-shirt—-or six.  This is the most likely combination for me and it is no surprise to anyone who knows me.  I’m thinking white pants with it for summer.  Hope this is enough incentive to finish this.  Prudence Mapstone will be in Greenville in September at the TKGA/CGOA convention and I’d like to be wearing something she inspired when I see her.  She’s from Brisbane and, therefore, dear to my heart.

If you are from NC or the Southeast, go to www.tkga.com to get the info on this conference in Greenville.  Big star teachers will be in our area.  Don’t miss this opportunity.  It is very different from Stitches South.  Much more education oriented; they don’t try to sell you the world.  Registration should open soon.


Bit by Bit finished

I finished this accidental project and I really like it.  Maybe what I like best is the serendipity of the whole thing.  It should be a complete mess and it isn’t.  Doesn’t that validate what I always say about knitting being forgiving?

No one was here to take a picture, so I used the mantle and did it myself.  Yes, the mess in the background is my living room.  I just wish I could say it was my studio.  Someday I will have an organized house.  Just for fun, check out the picture taking.

A pensive look

Second back view

1st back view in fresh wash pants--crop time!

eliminating the double chin

I give up--and here is the rest of the living room.

If I were the Yarn Harlot, I would discuss the idea that whenever I take a pic of me in a new knit piece, the photo suddenly becomes more about me than then garment.  I need a model.  My mother in law says that as she aged she was always shocked when she looked in the mirror.  Me, too.   I really don’t care—–until I look in the mirror.  I’m trying to focus on how much wiser and happier I am.

Speaking of happier. . . . Principles of Knitting is really being re-released.  Debbie Carlson sent me an email that says you can pre-order it at Amazon now.  I just did.  It is hardbound and under $30.  Free shipping applies.  This is the Bible of knitting, so I recommend you reserve a copy now.  Thanks, Debbie.

Finally–Something Finished

It isn’t much, but it is done.  It is a stethoscope cozy.  Why is it we knitters think everything needs a cozy?  Just an excuse to knit something small.

I’m rationalizing this because my nurse daughter works with folks who have just been diagnosed with diabetes.  I figure those clients are scared.  This gives them something to laugh at, I hope.  Starting a relationship with a laugh is a good thing.

Now to get her to use it.

Yarn:  Regia sock yarn; Hook–D; pattern–Stethoscope Cozy by Alexandria Walters; Changes–made it shorter and a more abbreviated flare so it wouldn’t get in her way.

Magic Friends Are Marvelous

All friends are treasures, but one with magic powers is WOW!  You mention a wish you’ve had for a bit and with a phone call, VOILA, your wish appears.

Thanks Linda.  I’m even sleeping in them.

Creative Quandaries

The rationalization:  I am ADD so it is constructive for me to have lots of projects underway at one time.  Then I can bounce from project to project as my attention wanes or a decision looms.  It seems to be working so I am owning it.

Sewing: Jake’s harness.  No pattern so I am winging it.  Dogs are shaped funny.  Dogs don’t like to do “try ons.”  Next:  Cut top off and make a new neckline.  Maybe a strap in a slot to make it more flexible.

Knitting: Bit by Bit summer jacket.  Sleeves weren’t working for me so I took them off.  I’ll put a different one on but I don’t know which yet.  Next:  Add a 3 inch border which also decreases the circumference at the side seams and at the normal vertical dart places on the front and back.  Stitch?

New Multiyarn Purse in Pink and Green:  Really a sweet look, but will it be boring as is?  Next:  Try a light blue, a greenish taupe, and a green Provence yarn and see what works.

Steve’s socks:  I’ve knit a few rows.  5 or 6.  But don’t they look great in the Knit Bag Jan Smiley gave me?  It is cute and very functional.  I knit with it on my wrist at Evan’s soccer games.  I’ll post details when I find the card that came with it.  The designer has an etsy site and it will be a great place to buy gifts.

Quilting: The Cabin on the Hill.  Find the right background.  All of the golds was too busy; one gold was a bit flat.  Trying pale green, blue and pink batiks.  Softer effect, but contrast may be too great.  Dragonfly beads show well on the light batik.  Gold is more dynamic and looks better on  the wall.  Next:  Fiddle some more.  Try a blend.  Maybe batiks just a bit darker.  Greens?

Crochet: Lace shawlette.  Love the yarn and the stitch pattern.  Am new to the shaping so am winging it.  I’ve made some errors in the increasing, but I learned from them.  The yarn is all cotton in a charcoal—bought it in Copenhagen years ago and knitter it into a shawl that I never wore.  Saw a shawlette in the new Knitscene (“Starboard Cape” by Courtney Kelley) which tacked the cape together under the arms and made a sleeve of sorts.  I may try this with this one, but with a longer piece to allow a bigger underarm room.    It’s going to require some short rows to make that work.  Never done short rows before in crochet.  Just like me to make the first ones in a lace pattern.  Next:  figure out how to do that.

Swatches in fine cotton: Playing ********

Interrupted for a bulletin.

I’m also watching an old Firefly while I write.  “Jaynesville”  River is wearing an adorable white lace crocheted vest.  Just sayin.

Swatches in fine cotton:  Playing with fine cotton.  Trying to determine open but stable st patterns for a vest.  Can’t be too open or I will catch it on things and rip it.  I don’t watch where I am going.  Also still learning what needle will give me the drape I want without looking to loose.  It would help a lot if I could remember to code or write down the hook I use with the swatches.

Crazy Lace: The humongus swatch I was knitting is finished.  I finished by doing a bit of Crochet Crazy Lace on it.  Next:  Block it and see what it looks like.

Embroidery:  White linen-cotton blend napkins.  I’ve done florals, cutwork, traditional stuff, but now—one just for me.

More later–

bits and pieces

So many projects.  So many techniques.  I move from knit to crochet to quilting to Zentangles to embroidery and embellishments.  Why am I not crazy?

Because of the One Great Commonality:  They all are done in bits and pieces.

Now with patchwork quilting, this is obvious.  Embroidery and embellishments are add-ons, so they easily fit this hypothesis.  Zentangles?  This is a meditative doodling technique where you randomly section off a square and then fill in each with a pattern.  Sort of patchwork with a pen.

Crochet?  For me, it’s usually freeform.  Make a bunch of pieces; arrange them in the shape you need; join them; fill in the holes with more pieces.  It’s a building process, and it is similar to quilting.  You can also embellish it, even with embroidery.

Knitters can also do freeform work, but my bits and pieces is more than that.

When I make a sweater, I build it.  I think of the parts as I work.  One neckline, one back, one -two fronts, etc.  And any of these parts can be more than one piece; think color blocking.

So, my latest project shouldn’t surprise me, but it did.

I want to make some very openwork,  let a breeze blow through vests.  These are for those of us who really want to cover our arms in the summer.  However, those of us who really want to cover our arms do not need anything to help us be warmer—not in the sunny South.

I started by looking for someone else’s pattern.  I found a modular shrug by Iris Schreier in  her Lacy Little Knits.  Now I know ladies with big “girls” do not look good in shrugs.  I also know that a bunch of triangles (as in this pattern) will not fit a curvy body.  Still, I started the pattern.  When I don’t really know what to do, I just do something and hope I don’t hurt myself.

I knit the back triangle of the pattern.  I looked at it.  It looked familiar.  I fiddled and folded and realized it looked like a sleeve.  A sleeve that falls in a point.

A fluttery point.  If I put it across my shoulder, the pointy end draped down my arm and covered the wobbly bits.  The straight section of the triangle that was knit to build height looked like an underarm seam.  Hmmmmmmmmmm.

I knit another one.

Then I knit a rectangle to join them and named it “Back.”  I just guessed at a size.  If it is too wide, I’ll gather it.  Summer vests need to be roomy to let in the cool air.  I basted them together and tried it on.

Then I drew.  I needed to discover what shapes would be necessary to make the other parts of the vest.  I didn’t bind off anything.  Just cut the yarn 6 inches long and added waste yarn to hold the stitches.  Makes it easier to add on (or take out) to continue.

I like V necks and the “sleeve” has some sloped sides to accommodate, so I lay out a triangle for the bodice.  I proceeded confidently even though I had no idea what I was doing.  Sometimes confidence is rewarded.  I measured gauge and computed how many sts I needed.  Five rows in, I knew I was wrong, so I pulled out and cast on a larger number.  I did the increases every four rows because that usually works, and it did.  When it was long enough, I stopped knitting.

Basted it to the shoulder and sleeve and tried it on.  This is crucial.  You have to temporarily assemble and try on in order to really know what you have.  Measurements lie.

I know I need some extra inches in the underarm so I continued the back with a cast on of 6 sts at the end of the next two rows.  I chose 6 because of gauge and trying not to screw up the st pattern.  If it isn’t enough, I’ll know when I try it on before  I start the fronts.  I’ll just add more there.

I’m a little worried about the pointy sleeves.  I can use a ribbon and cinch them up for a frill effect.

This is it so far.  How will I finish the back? Fronts? Sleeves? etc.

No idea, but I’ll let you know when I do.  And you thought designing was hard.

More later–

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