Saturday, June 21, 2008

Against All, Um, Some Odds

So my brag for today is that out of 485 applications for 68 slots at Bead Fest Santa Fe in March next year, I was offered two of them for these classes:

They tried to talk the leafy one into a half-day class, but I persuaded them that there were too many components of the piece that I'd have to simply not teach (there's the clasp, and the way the chain splits and rejoins to get the fullness at the front), although of course they'd be in the handouts - but then what's the point of personal instruction if the bulk of the material isn't covered while you're there?

I haven't been to Santa Fe since the last century when I was dating someone out there, but what I remember most is the little gallery where I saw an incredible hand-knotted rug made from handspun, natural-dyed yarns WHICH I DIDN'T BUY and which I obviously still regret more than ten years later.

I'm psyched, needless to say, though I guess I said it anyway.

In other news, I'm working on my BFAC project, the title of which will be something like "Armful", since my plan is to make an armful of bangles, only one of which is so far finished:

I've been through a few iterations of planning for this one, but this was the first idea that actually inspired me to get started, rather than putting endless rough sketches with incomprehensible notes (I have awful handwriting which sometimes even I can't decipher) on multiple scraps of paper. What I found challenging about coming up with something is the fact that there are so few size 11 seed beads (which is the bulk of what I use for almost everything) and so many larger (size 6 and 8) and shaped (hex and bugle and cube and drop) seed beads.

The larger seed beads are good for shaping instead of using increases, or for accents sometimes, but I never use bugles, and have a hard time with hexes, and only rarely use cubes, though I do use drops as accents fairly regularly. The problem was finding something that used them all, and the only thing that worked for me was a coordinating set of bangles.

I also made another little pair of earrings, because I need distractions apparently:

I also relearned how difficult it is to photograph white.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Just Fickle, I Guess

Even though I'm famous (in my own mind) for being The Queen of Sludge, it doesn't mean that I'm completely monogamous when it comes to colour. Witness this:

I love modular knitting because (as long as you know what size needles to use) you just start knitting WITHOUT SWATCHING, and then when you have enough, you measure, figure out gauge and work on refining your vague idea into an actual design. Super fun, really!

So this is part of the front (or possibly the back) of a vee-neck summer top which will probably end up being sleeveless, since I don't have a whole lot of the variegated yarn, and even though I'm using a solid turquoise to extend it, the turquoise is ever so slightly finer which doesn't matter when you interleave rows, but will definitely cause a raised eyebrow (metaphorically speaking, most likely; in reality I'd be more likely to say words which parents don't want their children to learn, and then start ripping it out) when used in great swathes at not quite the same gauge as the rest of the sweater. So I'm thinking: not enough for sleeves, even short ones.

The straight line slanting north-west to south-east on the picture above is the bottom edge, which may well get extended if the whole turns out to be too short, which could happen, since I guessed at length and fit. The only slightly slanted line across the top of the picture will in Real Life run from chest centre diagonally down to the side seam, and the almost perfectly vertical edge is its mirror-image, or will be when it's complete. I plan to pick up stitches along these edges, working the two sides of the top of the sweater at an angle. The armholes will be a breeze to shape - the trick will be starting them at the appropriate point.

I haven't done a whole lot of beading lately, just little odds and ends.

Like earrings.

I had two of the lampworked beads left over from this necklace which Amy snagged, and so I made earrings to match. Nice and swingy.

Monday, June 9, 2008

And I Meant It

... when I said I needed a break and had some cubes to clear out. I have another summer bangle, even if they aren't very summery colours, but what do I care?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

One Down, Three to Go

This took a while - I'd forgotten just how many hours go into these - but as before, I so enjoyed the colour play involved (I kept buying more beads, more colours, more more more). Even so, I'll probably take a break (i.e. bead something different) before starting the next one. Possibly one of these:

since there's something so appealing about bangles on summer-bare arms. Besides, I keep buying cube beads and not quite knowing what to do with them.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Seventeen Million Billion Stitches

I swear, I've done enough knitting on this stupid sock to have completed an entire sock wardrobe, and still it's not perfect, but it'll do. 

Except for the stitch pattern, which turns out not to have been the best choice in the world, it's pretty much by-the-numbers from that book whose precise name I have forgotten, and the sock design which I have even more completely forgotten. Foxglove perhaps, but that seems silly and illogical, which given the way the book is written, makes perfect sense.

I was so miffed at the Coriolis version of this sock, and I still maintain that it's a flawed pattern, even after fondling John's version that even though I decided to try this shaping configuration I was convinced that I could do better in the decorative department, so I consulted my extremely old book of stitch patterns, the tall skinny striped book which I seem to think is Canadian, or perhaps French, but most likely French-Canadian as that would resolve all my memory issues. Anyway, it's older than my daughter who just graduated from high school, but more useful, though I think she has more potential. A LOT more.

So this pattern (The Candles or somesuch) is certainly pretty, but because you shape the top end of the diamond motif with double decreases stacked along its vertical axis, something ugly happens in the way of seersucker - not that seersucker is ugly, just that it has no place in my sock - and that's why my toes are prettily pointed in both pictures, so as to stretch the fabric and hide the puckers. 

Still, I do have one sock and a toe of another, and I'm going to try removing the decreases to the outside edges in an attempt to mitigate The Seersucker Effect.

This particular sock was knitted in the Coriolis style until halfway up the leg at which point I gave in to my fear and actually tried it on to the realisation that it was a hideousness whose only fate was to be ripped out. I switched to whatever this shaping configuration is (increase every 3rd row along the edges of the burgeoning vee on the top of the foot) and knitted happily until past the heel, at which point over-confidence went into overdrive and I messed up the pattern on the leg. Lather, rinse, repeat a few times.  

The last repetition of this waste of time I did something foolish with stitch counts, causing the leg of the sock to get narrower in synch with my leg getting wider, not a well-reasoned pairing. Actually, it wasn't reasoned at all: I simply avoided all consultation of the stitch pattern, either on the sock or on the paper, instead preferring to concentrate on listening to the speech given by the person who was not the valedictorian, since it was so very mature and entertaining ("I base my attitude on Stephen Colbert's presidential campaign" - what's not to love?) Unfortunately this hedonistic preference for being entertained rather than attending to form and function resulted in about three inches less of sock than before, but hey, I HAVE A SOCK NOW.

And I've been making cute little earrings.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Not Hot Stuff

When I missed the Call to Arms sent out by my local bead store for their "Bead Art and Jewelry Show", I was saved by being offered space at the bead society booth if I worked a couple of hours.

No problem.

I'm glad I finished this, even if I was fifteen minutes late, and even if no one bought it.

This is a Russian/regular netting hybrid, and by adjusting the bead counts in the choker, I was able to get a nice spiralling texture. This was one of my more successful experiments, worked first time.

"Working" the booth involved sitting on a lawn chair under the awning, chatting to the others manning (womanning?) the booth and the occasional passer-by/potential customer, the bulk of whom never realised their potentiality, knitting socks. Not so onerous, but not even slightly useful, as I sold only a single pair of earrings (which puts me on a rather short list in terms of bead society members making an actual sale) the entire time. I suppose there's an outside chance that something sold after I left, an hour before closing time.

I doubt it though, as the crowd is mostly neighbourhood families on the lookout for insulting bargains, or so it seems.

On the other hand, I did manage to snag some rather nice and foolishly inexpensive lampwork, a good case of the hot'n'sweaty and badly sunburned shoulders. 

I didn't quite break even.