Monday, March 11, 2013
I've been making some progress on the previously mentioned UFO pile. I'm focusing on the sweaters, as I've got a few plans for FUTURE sweaters, and I'm not to start them until I get through the unfinished batch. So: PROGRESS! First up, this HY-SCF-SE combo handspun version of the Tourist Sweater. This was a super simple knit, and my main delay was that I was working the sleeves at the same time as the body in order to keep the progression true throughout. A couple of snow days, some wintry weather, and HUZZAH! Like that, a sweater is born. It's super comfy and warm and delightful. Next up: Sweet, Sweet Coventry. This is knit up in Quince&Co "Chickadee" and it's got a delightful drape. This being cables, I had to pay a bit more attention, and it featured a lot of scattered decreases. The scarf portion was nearly the death of me - I HATE knitting scarves, and rarely, if ever, finish them. The bell sleeves on this are wonderful, it's a great color, a great weight, and I think I'll be wearing it a ton. I'll likely run a ribbon band behind the buttons and along the button band so it will hold it's shape a bit better. And then there's this Caramel Sweater. It's tosh merino light and JDMS and it's fantastically light and airy. It was a pretty boring knit, but I like to have a simple knit for in the car and watching intense movies. The only problem with this one is that the yellow bled PROFUSELY during the soak and block (and re-soak. And re-soak. AND.......etc.) It's not so bad that I won't wear it, but it's sad and disappointing nonetheless. There are 2 more sweaters that are in need of completion, but they're on hold for another week while I take care of some contract knitting. Which is a nice break at this point :)
Thursday, March 7, 2013
I completed the stitching on my giant cross-stitch project (Silhouette Collage by Eva Rosenstand) just about a month ago. Since then, I've been gathering together the bits needed to frame and mat the piece. This has largely consisted of a 1. keeping the finished cross-stitch piece safe from harm, 2. getting a heavy mat board that is large enough, and 3. finding a decent frame. The finished piece is....in the realm of 16" x 19" if I recall, so I opted for a standard 20" x 24" frame which would allow a fairly even amount of space all around the stitching without being too large or small. Once I gathered all of these things, I carefully pressed the completed piece. Working on the back of the piece, I measured out from each edge to center it within the frame, and I marked each of the corners and sides with an air-erase marker. This let me place the cut mat on the back, lining up to the marks, and not have to worry about working both sides of the piece at the same time, checking and flipping in order to center. I then worked around and across the piece tacking the edge down with pins, right along the very edge of the mat, using straight pins. The whole process is very similar to stretching a canvas. I would work opposite sides, from the center out, then switch to the other 2 sides. I continued working around and across, adjusting and re-adjusting as I went along. This is the portion of the process that really takes the most time, and it's important that you get it right! Expect to use ~1200 pins. Once all the sides were pinned, I checked my work, making sure that I had not strained the grain of the cloth too much at any point, double-checking that it was straight and centered, all that little nuisancey stuff. Once I was happy with how things were situated, I flipped over to work on the back. With needle and sturdy thread, I did large whip-stitches across the back, catching the excess fabric from opposite edges. This is also worked from the center out, in either direction. I added thread as needed, and tightened as I went along (it is similar to lacing a corset, if that helps), and I stopped just shy of the corners. I made sure to do the lacing about an inch in from the edge of the cloth so it wouldn't rip out. This is all done quite messily and hastily. I laced a bit in the opposite direction (sorry, no pictures) and hooked under some of the initial threading to tighten things up a bit. Then I moved on to the corners. Many people will fold the corners down flat, but I prefer to work a mitered corner. I folded the excess cloth in and down, and (again, hastily) whipped together the mitered edges. I tied everything off however and wherever I could. Then I removed the pins.....and flipped it over to see how it worked! And it worked out just fine. All that was left was to plop it into a frame and hang it on the wall, and that took just 5 more minutes. Hooray! Completed, safe, and out for all to enjoy. I'm thrilled with how it turned out.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Wow, and here we are in 2013! A few things right away: THIS. My book is out! After many many editings and many many photoshoots, along with being told that the book was set for APRIL 2013 publication, the book that I wrote with Amy Lapidow came out a week before Christmas! I'm thrilled to hold it in my hands, though I will admit to not yet sitting down and really spending any time with it yet. (I was still exhausted from looking through the same pages so many times....) But I am THRILLED THRILLED THRILLED that it is out and very excited to see what people make from it! In 2013 news, I've decided to take on a few larger projects - one new, many old. First up, I've decided to do a sketch-a-day through the year. I'm already mildly anxious for warmer weather as all of my sketches so far are late night, in the house. But the thing I'm really looking forward to - I mean REALLY - is taking care of some unfinished projects. I've got a LOT of partially knit items floating around, and they need to be dealt with before I even consider starting anything else. (Yes, yes, I know I say this all the time, even while casting on......) But this time I'm serious - I called in a professional. The lovely Miss KBlake is The Best at assessing WIPs and deciding 1. if you are ever going to finish something, 2. if, once finished, you will ever wear/use/etc. said project, 3. putting all of these projects in an approachable order. So I called her in! So far THIS YEAR I have finished TWO things: These mittens, which needed.....ONE LINING. And these Mukluks, which needed...HALF A SLIPPER KNIT UP. I'm moving on to some of the larger sweateresque projects now. At this rate, if I can hold onto it, I should have an empty WIP basket by the end of February ;) Oh yeah, here's a 2012 round-up: ANNNNNNDDDDDDD my uncle looks like GrumpyCat:
Saturday, December 1, 2012
The ever-so-gracious and absolutely wonderful Stephen is once again hosting his Worlds AIDS Day Project, this year with funds raised going to the Lansing area AIDS network. It's for a great cause, and Stephen has gathered up a GREAT group of sponsors and prizes that you can win for contributing. And I'm one of them! This handmade album could be yours: Head on over here to read all about this great cause and how you can help.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Amy's MIL Connie is a big quilter. Due to failing eyesight and portability, she only works on hex quilts these days, and they are done completely by hand. She likes to test the limits of the hex while remaining true to the traditional quilting patterns and methods. I was visiting Connie the other day to do some finish work on her bookshelves. She's also in a state of divesting her quilt library. Welcome to MY new quilt book collection: While I was there, I chatted to her a bit about her quilts, and managed to get some pictures of her 3 most prized quilts, which are the main features of 2 bedrooms in her home. This first one is made from 2" hexes. Connie collected fabrics from all of her neighbors and students and parents and all the people in her life at the time, and made this fantastic traditional flower hex quilt. She said she enjoyed working on the hex quilts while her kids were young due to how easy it was it was to take along with her. The quilting itself took longer than the top - she couldn't take it with her, and had to work on it in spurts here and there. But she got it done! Connie decided to take the hexes a step further - this next quilt is constructed of hexes that end up being 1/2" once sewn. She says this is the smallest reasonable (HA!) size to work with and still have shape and pattern recognition in the finished quilt. This quilt is BANANAS. Due to the excess material behind each hex piece, the finished quilt has a slightly puffed-hex feel to it. She opted to maintain the hexagonal edges on this one. The finished piece is about 40" x 30". I got the impression from Connie that the quilt she is most proud of is her Bicentennial Quilt. It's a red-white-and-blue hex quilt that is chock full of fussy-cuts. In talking with her, she mentioned that many bicentennial quilts were constructed to include parts of ancestral centennial quilts that were never completed! Connie didn't have any of those on hand, but she also did not want to leave her children with an unfinished quilt. She opted to have the hand-quilting done by someone else, but maintained the traditional quilting patterns. She also "signed" it in 2 corners, with fussy cuts of her name. Connie's asked me to help her sign the back of these quilts by embroidering her signature on the back of each. Hooray! It will be great to get a better feel of how they're made. More Connie chronicles to come - she claims to have some unfinished quilt pieces to pass on to me, and I'm sure to be inspired by this bundle of books!
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
I just finished up a pretty interesting bookbinding project. A set of flashcards, printed on 2mm thick pressboard, flush to edge on one side, to be bound together in some way. The cards are just stunning - they are from B.Impressed, a wonderful letterpress shop in the Boston area. After thinking about this project for a looooong time, I decided the best way to handle this would be a hybrid accordion/flag binding. I could use the front of each card for attachment since the type/text did not go flush to edge. I chose a mid-weight Canson paper in a red to match the printed type. I created a small (5mm) accordion pleat to use as a hinge on each of the cards. I then wrapped the remaining paper around the outer (2mm) side of the board, working it tightly, before crafting the next hinge. Each fold was carefully measured and scored before being adhered to the next image. This added a little bit of bulk to the spine edge of the book, but not excessively - it allows the book to open quite nicely, it almost "rolls" open. I wanted to avoid any extra torque or pull on the paper hinges, so once the boards were all together I went in on the back of the spine and glued the back-hinges together as well. This served to stabilize the whole thing a bit more - it wasn't as Slinky®-esque. I finished the whole thing with slightly oversized black cloth-covered boards and adhered the frontispiece to the cover. You can see in that final image that the red on the spine does not go flush to edge. The original boards were not cut flush - the sizes varied by about a millimeter in any/all directions. Rather than trim them all down, I opted to use them as is, and bring the hinge mechanism in from the edge by a hair. I'm pleased with how it came out. I feared that doing it flush would show any inconsistency more than deliberately working with the inconsistencies. I'm satisfied with how this came out! I did a lot of thinking about exactly how to tackle this project - it was a great problem-solving project (which I love!) and it was nice to come up with a solution combining different bindings and solutions.