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Minnesota, United States

28.3.16

Sockinasock, weaving for a hat, and the Art Crawl

Sock knitting, something I do not typically knit, although I love handknit socks.  Jim even likes his handknit socks (which reminds me...he needs a new pair).  As a one-at-a-time sock knitter with double point needles it is easy to fall into second sock syndrome.  Knitting two socks at a time is the logical thing to do, but I am not a fan of the magic loop  method.  Over the years I have run across the technique of knitting two socks at the same time (double knitting) and the time has come to give it a go.
28.03.16 I used some sock yarn I dyed last year in the sock blank dye class and cast on 64 stitches for my usual plain vanilla socks.  At this time I decided to err on the side of caution and work the ribbing and join the socks for the stockinette stitching.  It took three tries, but I managed to join them and then commence to double knit.  My right hand is throwing English style for purling the outside sock and my left hand is picking continental style for knitting the inside sock.  It is easier to see the stitches and I check now and then to make sure the socks are separate.  So far, so good.
The outside sock cuff is flipped up to reveal the inside sock.  Right now it is fun, but we shall see how I feel when I come to the heel...

The next weaving project is on the loom for Weaving Wednesday at Anoka Fiber Works.  Last week I warped the loom with a variegated Trekking sock yarn and some pale gray Regia with flecks of color.  Weaving the weft with both yarns is coming out a nice windowpane check.

Pretty colors for spring.

The North Artists Studio Crawl is this weekend.  The note cards are printed and I had a limited run of another design in the process of printing.  I am happy Kathryn asked me to be one of her guests.  Robert (Rob) and I are new to the Art Crawl and it should be a fun time.  We will be at Anoka Fiber Works. Some of the vendors will also be there doing demos.  
This little fellow visited AFW one Saturday and was happily sitting on a pillow being admired by all.  He was the perfect subject for a very small painting.
Oil on canvas board, 4" x 2.75"

22.3.16

Woolly wool

Woolly wool is the term I use for my favorite type of knitting yarn.  It is also referred to as being sticky.  A close-up of my current project, the Croft Hoose Hat illustrates the wonderful characteristic of this type of yarn.  I am using Alice Stanmore's Hebridean 2-Ply given to me by a friend before she moved, thank you Becky!  If you look closely, you can see all the colors that make up the yarn.  The yarn is not soft until the project is blocked.  I find that when blocking a project made with this type of yarn the fabric gets better when worn and washed numerous times.  The stranded floats on the inside mesh together making the fabric warm by filling in the spaces.  Icelandic wool does the same thing.  I also love that the fabric develops a halo.  When I wet block my stranded knitting, I pull and stretch out the fabric before wet blocking.  The project goes into a tepid bath with wool wash for a soak for about 20-minutes, and then the water is squeezed out.  Depending upon the size of the project, I roll it in a towel and step on it to remove excess water or it goes into the washer's spin cycle.  I spread some towels in an out of the way spot and let the smoothed or pinned project air dry.   Beating the knitting with a yardstick (or I have been known to use a large wooden spoon) is another way to even out those stitches.  The first time I heard about beating the knitting I thought, "These people are nuts."  Later I learned that it is just another blocking process.  When knitting samples for a yarn company, it was in my contract how to block the project and beating the knitting was part of the process.  I have since purchased a "whapper," which is a large yardstick from Sheepy Yarn Shop.

The stash!
The colors appear warmer than in the photo above.
Each wisp of fiber is a different color and creates visual interest to the fabric.

Shook Hat, one of my favorites knit with Jamieson & Smith 2-ply jumper weight.  The fibers have meshed together to make the hat softer over time.  Below the inside of the hat, the floats are nicely matted down. 



A new sample project for Amazing Threads, is the Gretta Hat.  It is from Lux Adorna Yarns, and comes boxed with nine mini skeins.  The pattern is downloadable with a code on the inside.  The yarn is cashmere and while not my favorite type of yarn, I was pleasantly surprised at the result after wet blocking.  The hat is very lightweight, soft, and warm.  


A trendy slouch hat.

15.3.16

Doing what I love

I am a fortunate person.  I love working with fiber with all the beautiful fibers, yarn, spinning and knitting tools...but I did not start out doing those things.  I began as a studio artist, which I thoroughly enjoy.  Recently an opportunity arose for me to draw and paint again.  I confess that it was not easy to pick up and begin, but soon I felt comfortable and now it is flowing easily...I have missed this for some time.  It is easy to allow other things to monopolize time and as much as I love knitting, it was beginning to feel more like a chore than a passion.  It is still important to me, however, it is time for a change and a return to the studio.
Some of the paintings for an upcoming event in keeping with the furry theme.  The painting on the left is a grisaille I did for some black and white prints.  The center painting is an underpainting I started this afternoon.  I preferred the sheep in the photo on the iPad and the landscape from the photo I took before this on the same day.  The photo is from our drive around the Connemara loop on Valentine's Day.  It was a great place for a photo opportunity and a sheep encounter.  As I walked closer, one of the sheep looked up and posed nicely for me.  Thank you sheep.  The angora rabbit was visiting Anoka Fiber Works  and was a perfect model atop a pillow.  
Fortune smiled on me when I had my recent post-surgery check up with Dr. Parke.  Dealing with my dwindling vision from the eye surgery last May (Memorial Day weekend) has been a challenge.  A cataract formed quickly since the surgery and the doctor referred me to Dr. Conrad, a cataract surgeon.  The timing was perfect, as Dr. Conrad had a cancellation and I was able to go directly from one appointment to another.  Timing is indeed everything and surgery was scheduled.  That brings me to some happy news.  Last week I had cataract surgery on my left eye and now my vision is restored and even better than before.  None of my glasses--new or old are usable and I ordered a pair of non-prescription glasses to wear when I do not need "cheaters."  I do not mind wearing glasses and like the protection of glasses.  In four weeks I will have an eye exam for a new prescription.  I have a variety of frame from which to choose!