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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Machine Knitting Progress

Sorry, it's been a while I know but October brought an unhappy surprise - a broken foot in a split second while out traipsing after Goldenrod of all things!   So I did a lot of reading and knitting and then developed a trigger thumb from doing too much of that which although a bit painful, I thought was quite funny.  In any event, I viewed those incidents more of an inconvenience since we all have friends/family that are dealing with a lot more than that. But an inconvenience it was because I wasn't able to do a lot of things that involved standing for too long and it was exhausting carrying the weight of that 'moon' boot around.  Liberty feels good and makes me appreciate my good health so much more and makes me sad at the same time for those who can't rid themselves of their misfortune as easily.  Christmas decorating and baking was quite the challenge.

Just about everything in my life besides my most important thing of all - my husband and our family revolve around nature.  Working with wool, leaves, natural dyes, mulberry paper brings me unending joy that I can't see will ever end until I do!  The things that nature provides never cease to amaze - those little seeds; all that color, shape and form hidden in such a tiny space is really quite incredible when you take the time to think about it.  Trees, have roots that follow their canopy and the veins in their leaves follow the shape of their branches - just think about how amazing that is.  I've read studies where they have proven that tears can incorporate joy or pain and that water shows changes under a microscope once it has been blessed.  Oh yes! there is so much more to life than we know and I find that thought very interesting and exciting.  

Since October, there were things I couldn't do without further injuring my foot, so I reverted to learning my knitting machines which is a story all in itself.  I acquired these machines when we lived in Maryland and still working full time so learning a little as time permitted didn't really do them justice - the older grandchildren were young and they enjoyed making their own scarves and also fighting over using the Embellisher - it was like a sweet little sweatshop factory in my studio on Sundays and we all had fun and hopefully they learned something and we made some lasting memories together - my job as a nana as I was so fortunate to have a Nana and Grandma that left some great ones for me.

So back to the knitting machines - I have a Brother 260 and a Compuknit 940 (also a Brother) as well as a Garter carriage that truly knits on its own.  Don't think for a moment though that this comes at all easy; I really don't enjoy or have the ability for technical things - they frustrate me.  I'd much rather be felting or playing with color and texture but I am always up for a challenge!  I really have learned a lot and am coming close to meeting my goal of knitting fabric to cut and sew.

I knitted these panels on my Brother 260 which is a sturdy chunky machine.  Although there are limits as to what yarn can be used, you can, however, use any and all yarns for knit weaving but for these panels, I used a punch card using Berroco Aurora Borealis #8014 and coordinated with Pea Pods cotton green.  This created a really lofty fabric with cotton on the front and the mohair on the back - it will be very cozy.  The fun thing is that because the Berroco is variegated, the little designs are too.  When I began, I just knew I would be knitting panels but just wanted to see how the wool and pattern would knit but had no idea about what wearable design these panels would be.  So, I had one larger long panel, two thinner.  I didn't plan these very well because I would have been better off making two wide panels the same size and another for the sleeves. In any event, I bought up all in that colorway used it all up. Since there was no more of that colorway, I purchased another ball that I thought may be fun to coordinate with it in some manner (you can see the pink here), but they really didn't go well together with the violet/green/aqua hues so I used that for a lovely cozy cowl which is now at the Maye River Gallery.  Hoping some Northern visitor will want it to take home.

I looked at these pieces for a few days before deciding how to best use them and decided on a jacket.

So, I stitched a fine zigzag before cutting the pieces up.  One back panel, one panel cut in two for the fronts, and one panel cut in two for the sleeves.  I did a lot of reading trying to learn the best way to finish the inside of the cut edge and the hong kong seam seemed the way to go; however, after doing an okay job with this at the shoulders because of the high loft and the difficulty of having the silk covering the seam move too much, I ditched that idea and decided to hand stitch.  I can see a linker in my future if I keep on this path but I can't justify the expense at the moment.  The next issue I will have to deal with is the front panels are just to skinny for my liking - even for a small person.  I was just about to order more yarn when I had a bright idea - why not make some felt for the front edges which, if my idea works, will be a lot more interesting and I found the exact shade of merino wool that it needs in my stash - so wish me luck and keep tuned!

FYI and on top of all of that, I have become quite enamored with Fairisle Knitting and have ordered plant dyed wool in light and dark cochineal, logwood, weld and indigo which is coming all the way from the Shetland Isles to quench my thirst and I can't wait to get started.  I have dabbled in it before but didn't have the correct weight.  I have my graph all picked out and rather than practice on a scarf as was my first thought, I am going to make a cushion so that I can enjoy the  results of my labor (and maybe see my mistakes too!)

JUST in time to finish my post these came!


AND speaking of Fairisle, this is a small sample from the Compuknit 940 using Kaffe Fassett's Magic Ball technique - sooo many more possibilities!!!











Monday, September 10, 2018

OCEAN DREAMS

I always have so many projects going on at the same time and already my mind is conjuring up the next - for the past couple of evenings, I have been taking a little break from stitching my AC dress and began working on my 30 x 24 large felt piece 'Ocean Dreams' for an upcoming show at the Digital Corridor in Beaufort, SC, which will run from October through December - you cannot tell from the photographs but there are tiny clear glass beads stitched along the horizon (oh my poor eyes but it is so worth it!)  I plan on adding lots more beads/embroidery and have begun outlining some of the waves too.  I indulged myself by using some of my very special first cut kid mohair curls to add a frothy look.  Perhaps it is the weather forecast, but if I wanted to, I could see a storm brewing out in the Atlantic but I'm sticking to my dreams of willing the storm away as I am so looking forward to teaching at Coastal Art Supply this Friday and Saturday.

Friday, September 07, 2018

SO MANY CHOICES

Since I retired five years ago, I'm so fortunate to be able to focus on what I want.  The only thing is that I enjoy so many crafts that it is difficult to decide sometimes just what is the priority.  Somehow my creativity is given a push when I have a deadline such as a class or a show - the creative juices really get going then but the same problem exists (how fortunate to have this for a problem!) so I have resorted to 'mapping'  rather than just prioritizing.  Writing down my thought process helps clear my mind and helps me bring one or two projects to the surface.  I like to think of it is as cream rising to the top.

I met my friend Laura for lunch several months ago and mentioned that I wanted to start making my own clothes; she said she had thoughts along the same lines.  Maybe it is my age or knowing that so many beautiful textiles are discarded and are piling up all over the world.- so I have deemed myself a 'textile saver.'  In fact, there is a very special local resale shop and I talked to Beth, the owner, about my idea of forming a group to be associated with her lovely wares; she agreed that it was a good idea and I get to come up with a plan for her to approve!  so now to convince friends and determine exactly what we can proceed!  PS:  I am amazed that Laura has created many AC projects while I am still working on this one!  

So for the past few months, I have been taking several online workshops and also creating a dress from the Alabama Chanin books.  Before we moved to SC, while I still worked, I purchased a Natalie Chanin class (jacket pattern came with the class) which I never made;  AC wasn't so popular then and I was still trying to juggle work during the week and felting, dyeing and all the other things I love to do on the weekends, including our priority - being with the family.

In any event, I have been working on this Alabama Chanin dress and although it still has a way to go, I find it a lovely soothing way to end the day, watching a program with my husband while stitching.




The bottom layer is a medium weight cotton knit dipped in indigo, the top is lightweight cotton knit stenciled with pearlescent grey.  The pattern came from one of the AC books and I took it to have it enlarged.  I also had the stencil enlarged and cut it out of pennant felt - took me two weeks off and on, not my favorite thing to do!  My first attempt at stenciling was a disaster as the air gun kept getting clogged and the felt became saturated underneath - you can imagine the disappointing outcome.  Next, I had to dye another top layer and stencil all over again.   I used a sponge which worked much better.  So here we are at the point where all of the main stitching is complete and I am enjoying the embellishment.  The great thing is that when I need to move on to the next evening project, I can finish the dress and still work on it later!  Oh, forgot to mention that I am going to add a ruffle to the bottom.

The other workshops that I have been taking are from India Flint - the true guru of not only eco printing but of creative design. She has the most amazing creative ability and she has helped me think outside of the box. 

The first class was the Japanese bag and I was an eager participant.  This large bag was all hand stitched boro style and I loved it so much; however, at an event attended, someone fell in love with it and had to have it  - she was a very special talented musician and she loved it so I couldn't say no - so it went to a good home and I had all the fun of putting it together!


 


Next was the alchemist apron, created using a men's shirt - again, I never would have dared tackle this without direction.  At the moment I can't locate the full picture, but I expecially love the trinket line, the lace collar and the special hankie addition from my friend Becky Becker!

 The trinket line with some special words embroidered, a smocked pocket (smocked by me) I hope to put this to good use soon!
 The hemline with a little girl swinging all her troubles away!


This is the back.

The latest workshop is named Conscious Clothing and as time permits, I've been working along on that.  The idea is to use thrift clothing, cutting things up, redesigning according to India's gentle instruction bundling them and simmering in her 'magic' brew.  So far I have made a cardi and a dress made a dress recycling an eco dyed silk dress and a knit top which when dyed together helps the colors all meld together.

 The cardi was done first - top cut up the front and back, velvet stitched down the center back, avocado dyed Japanese silk panels added to the front, silk cowl from a blouse added as a collar and chiffon ties.
 During the dress designing process - hmmm not sure where we are going yet, but trusting in the instruction.
 After simmering with leaves in the magic brew - the pink ended up matching the Japanese silk front panels on the cardi


 The skirt wasn't quite full enough at the sides and a little boring in front, so the class gave me enough confidence to cut up the sides and add other silk panels as well as a V-shaped felted portion below the waist


Once it was all dyed, it was amazing how the colors all melded and came together.  So pleased!
























Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A FLYING FLOWER





The Butterfly is a flying flower. The flower a tethered butterfly.- Ponce Denis


PLEASE JOIN IN THE FUN AS WE CREATE FLYING FLOWERS!!!






Monday, July 30, 2018

FLY!!!




Butterflies abound - a new workshop to teach how to outline, shade and add details!  Once this technique is mastered, it can be used for any image you like.

Class will take place at Coastal Art Supply in Beaufort, SC, on September 14 & 15.  All materials including hand dyed silk chiffon will be provided and I will teach you an easy modern way to felt.  No bubble wrap, no noodle just enjoy the transformation to a gorgeous nuno felted scarf with little effort.  You will have plenty of time to design your butterfly and the surrounding flowers.

Snacks and lunch will be provided with perhaps with afternoon 'sip' and chocolate from the famous Beaufort Chocolate Tree!

Supply list will be provided upon registration.  Limited seating so make your reservation soon!

Cost for this two day experience including lunch:  150.

Contact me for more information:

email:  hermajestymargo@aol.com
cell:      301-325-3225



Planning Ahead

An experiment  that I'm in love with - it will be perfect in the cooler months as it will be quite warm!  I love the colors and how the rayon embroidery thread, stitched before felting, stands out and gives it a wonderful texture.  Post dyeing and little stitching was done after the fact, just because . . .  I do love to hand stitch!  I will try this again in a lighter weight!



Sunday, July 22, 2018

Catching Up

Trying to play catch up - so going to post pictures of news and work for these last few months.   First let me say that I have been searching ever since we moved to Beaufort, SC, for a happy place that is a good fit for me and my fiber work.  There really are a lot of galleries in Beaufort as well as Bluffon but mostly display painting, jewelry, wood turning and ceramics -  I have tried a couple of those, but although they are really wonderful places to display art, my work was not a good fit.  

The exciting thing, is that I was invited to be part of the Maye River Gallery in Bluffton on Calhoun Street directly across from Spartina.  If you know anything about Bluffton, you will know this is the prime location as there is a ton of foot traffic always and in winter there are a lot of tourists from up North so I am hoping that my work will appeal (and sell!)  I have been very fortunate so far and have made my rent and some to spare so I am encouraged.  Not only is the location great, but the 15 members who make up the artists in the gallery are among the MOST talented artists ever and they are so very kind and supportive of one another and of me, a new member who is is learning about all of the intricacies when I have to work (everyone works two days a month, it is a real blessing to be part of their family.    http//:www.mayerivergallery.com

I think fiber lovers want to see and touch the textile - I know I do to enjoy the color and texture; this is one reason that I haven't done much with etsy although my studio was beginning to be overwhelmed with my work!  I don't mind mailing things occasionally but I don't want to be making trips to the post office when I can be in my studio

In any event, I confess to posting pictures mostly to Facebook - they make it so easy and I love sharing information and techniques with worldwide friends and learning from them as well.

Now to what I have been working on: eco printing - always!, shibori, indigo, ice dyeing, joomchi still obsessed when I have the time and of course felt making.  I have also become enthralled with Alabama Chanin so have been working on my first hand stitched dress using hand dyed fabric - bottom layer indigo, top layer logwood that has been spent but still gave a lovely creamy color.  This top layer was stenciled using a huge stencil I cut out of pennant felt - ugh not a fun job (so I bought a Cricut for next time!) and used pearly grey for the paint.  Each leaf/flower is hand stitched and then the center cut away leaving a margin (reverse applique).  Yes, it is a lot of stitching but I love doing it for a couple of hours in the evening - find it very soothing.  Two and a half panels done - one and a half to go!

Another thing I have been doing is taking a few classes from Botanical wizard, India Flint; she does possess a certain charm and her ideas are helping me immensely to think outside the box; her voice is sooo soothing, I love listening to her talk as the wind whistles, the fire for the cauldron crackles and the ocean in the background as she works.  So all of these things involve hand stitching - no machine.  I'm loving the slow stitching which is quite a movement at the moment and since I consider myself a  textile saver, loving the thrift shop searching for just the right pieces to cut up and put together again in a different form before bundling - and then! there is always the great reveal

I have taken all three (so far) of her workshops - Japanese Bags, Alchemist Apron and now Conscious Clothing - all of which are hand stitched, bundled and dyed.

First the Japanese bags from India's Bagstories workshop using all sorts of fabrics and dyes.





Secondly India's Alchemist Apron workshop:

Created from linen shirts with embellishments from the heart




India's Consious Clothing workshop - great for a textile saver like me - this is just the workshop I wanted needed!  I LOVE being immersed in these delicious decisions as to what, how to combine since I had no clue otherwise!

The first picture is before the dye pot - a combination of all sorts of fabric and textures.


This is the dye pot - what will happen?


The reveal before being rinsed - I'm just thrilled with the outcome; have since rinsed and it is a bit lighter.  I will make a sleeveless dress next using the same techniques but all that work was so worth it!





In between all of this, we had some beach time at Harbor Isle, and our granddaughters visited from their farm near Gettysburg - they are grown now so they had a great time going to the dock and pool with some site-seeing and visiting thrown in as well.  We also had a dye day because I wanted them to give them some lessons on indigo as well as ice dyeing.

The girls at the Paris Market always a must visit in Savannah enjoying a lavender spritzer and macarons:

 Ice dyeing fun

Indigo - silly me forgot to take pictures and a huge box was shipped off to their home after they left!


More ice dyeing on thrift store linen shirts


Now for some willy nilly work accomplished over the past few months: