Monday, November 28, 2016

First Sweater in Two Years

Or perhaps more. My ability to knit has been so constrained.
And it took under two months to make.

l snagged a bunch of handspun hand painted yarns and started knitting mitred squares kinda willy-nilly without much of a plan. I just grabbed the next yarn when one ran out and while most of them looked pretty good together the sleeves which scraped the bottom just didn't blend that well.
The rest wasn't really fabulous either color-wise. In the back of my mind was always the thought that I might need to overdye but mostly I was thinking of a strong colour and couldn't settle on anything.
The wild collection of colours made me think of an "art" activity from when I was very young: cover a sheet of paper with all the Crayolas as thick as they'll go and then cover the whole with black as thick as it'll go. With something pointy scrape off lines or designs to reveal a rainbow under the black.

I grabbed rubber bands from the kitchen drawer and tied them around various bright spots on the sweater, crumpled it up and tossed it in a hot dyepot with a generous glug of black dye and let it exhaust without stirring.

The black reads as deep purple but it's dull enough that the circles of colour preserved by the rubber bands still pop - and it had the added benefit of relaxing the knit fabric to enhance the nature of the silk yarn.

I'm not unhappy although if I'd had more yarn I'd have made longer sleeves. But I'm back to making sweaters and that makes me really happy.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Not Rocket Science

I used to know someone who actually was a rocket scientist and so I was delighted when she was struggling in a dye class to be able to declare that dyeing was in no way, shape or form rocket science. She very graciously didn't groan, grimace or even roll her eyes at me.

This bangle too is not rocket science.
I had a vision for this bracelet (but honestly my ideas as often as not don't quite pan out exactly) and except for having to use a different size bead in one instance, it worked out pretty much as planned. I enjoy projects that allow you to use up the far too many of that really awful colour fire-polished bead you thought you'd cleverly buy in bulk (check), or use beads of different shapes (check), different colours (check), or different finishes (check).

It's a bangle which means I designed it to be stiff, and because I stitch tightly it wasn't that difficult to stiffen, but it would work equally well (for the more relaxed stitcher) as a close-fitting bracelet with a clasp.

I also think (and time may prove me wrong) that it will also work well much, much smaller (and with different seed beads to adjust the curvature) as a necklace enhancer on a beaded rope or string of fat beads, or as hoop earrings.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 13, 2016


I'm not even going to talk bout what happened last week because don't even get me started on how that could do with some improvement.

I know I always complain about deadlines but this time for real I've been set back close to a month what with Hawaii (yes, I know, and I'm not complaining, I'm just saying) and then my mother visiting which definitely cramped any creativity I might ordinarily be deploying to come up with new designs for the next batch of classes at Lady Bug Beads.

Students have suggested on more than one occasion that I simply haul out some old-to-me new-to-them designs and I suppose I could but truthfully my tastes have changed and some of those old ones should stay in the attic forever but there is one that I've been wanting to rework for ages.
 I don't absolutely hate it or anything, but it screams for more colours (not just two) and the focal is so puny you miss it unless you know it's there and even then it just looks like a mistake.  I like the pearls but you can't get nice pearls for the prices I used to pay back then so the price of the kits would skyrocket if I wanted to re-issue them and the rope motif is nice and all but it's spaced too widely and seems a bit spare to me.
So I fixed it.

More interesting focal, more colours, more dense, different beads.

Doesn't feel stale to me anymore.