Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another Madrona sample finished

It didn't turn out quite like I had planned, but I learned so much while knitting this sample.  I had wanted it to be more rounded, so I should have done short rows that began and ended on both sides of the knit rows, instead of only short rows on the outside.  Although the outer edge curled under as it should have, it is much flatter.  I bet a smaller version of this would look like a flower if it was used as an embellishment with a button in the center.

Live and learn...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cathy's Basket Class

Cathy brought  plenty of supplies and the students were able to choose other colors or make up a different weaving pattern if they wanted to, so everyone picked their favorite colors and customized their basket.  We had lots of fun helping the students and they all went home with a beautiful basket!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Classes usually require preparation before and finishing up afterwards, no matter whether it's a class I'm teaching or taking, and the Madrona classes were no different, although they are much smaller, because most were either very small sample projects or technique samples.  

I learned so much in the Spinning for Arans class with Carol Rhodes!  It was the first time I've used hand cards to card wool and make rolags to spin.  While I still need a lot of practice, I was able to spin some yarn and finish the sampler.  The light colored part is knit with the yarn I spun in class, which was a blend of Coopworth and Cheviot wool.  Its more lumpy and bumpy because my rolags weren't the best (definitely more practice needed).  The upper, darker yarn was spun from roving that I was given, and I really like both the yarn and knit sample better.  It has more stitch definition and I was able to spin a better yarn from the roving.  All samples are 3-ply.

The next day, I took a Jazzknitting class from Ilisha Helfman, and ended up purchasing her book Jazzknitting An Introduction so that I'd be able to bring all the techniques and inspirational pictures of her work home with me. She works with hand dyed yarns, isolating certain colors in areas of the knitting, instead of knitting a pattern and ignoring the color change in the yarn.  If you'd like to see her work, her website is here.

Our first project was a Ginko leaf.  We used short rows to create the shape and texture of a leaf, and everyone's leaves came out beautifully different, due to differences in our yarn and knitting.  My first leaf was knit with Koigu KPPN yarn:

As you can probably guess, some in the class were very fast knitters and knit more than one, but I was happy to have started a second leaf with a different yarn, so I could see the difference with it.  This leaf is being knit with leftover sock yarn from Blue Moon Fiberarts, and I enjoyed both the color repeats in the yarn as well as the feel, so plan to finish this sample soon.

She called the next shape an Echinus shape and I should have asked the spelling, as it is not in her book, but   is supposed to be included in the next one.  All of her designs have infinite possibilities, are very organic and beautiful!  She had some samples that looked like sea urchins, so I thought I'd try to head in that direction, but won't really know how it will work out until I sew the ends together and see how I did.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Tote Basket

This past weekend was spent at Madrona Fiber Arts in Tacoma, WA.  It's an awesome event that offers workshops and a vendor mall, with lots of knitters, spinners and other fiber people getting together and spending time together.  The lunch area isn't what you'd usually expect, as the tables are full of fibers and surrounded by people playing with their yarn and fiber, or sharing their projects with others.  I'll talk about the classes I took in another post, but now I want to show you the basket I finished just in time to use to tote the supplies needed for one of the classes.

The pattern is called a New England (Penobscot - style) Tote Basket.  I love the way it came out, although I had to make a tiny change in the rim, binding it with waxed linen, instead of reed as the pattern stated, because there wasn't enough space to get reed between the stakes.  I should have let the stakes spread apart more as I started up the sides, as it would have made the basket a bit larger and there would have been enough space for the reed.  I love it just the way it is!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

More Watercolor Experiments

I started another watercolor that looks like collage, but am not sure I like it's direction (although now that I'm writing this post, looking at it in a smaller form, it's not so bad, and I'll have to go back and finish it).

So, I set it aside and began another, this time working in multi-color, and was much happier!

(This one may end up getting a bit more shading when I get back to it.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Watercolor Excercise

I've been playing with my watercolors again.  This time I'm working from a lesson in Watercolor Magazine, working in an improvisational way to make a watercolor painting that looks like it might have been a collage.  It's all free-form, adding shapes as I went and shading to create depth.  I used a screen shaped window, saved from bags of fall bulbs to stencil the grids of squares and rubber stamps to create the complex designs.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Gathering Basket Class

My friend Cathy is teaching her Gardening Basket and my friend Ellen and I will be her helpers. This beautiful basket is suitable for beginners, so come take a look at the basket at Gathering Fabric quilt shop and sign up for the class and make one!  (Class info. below.)

Here it is with my quilts in the background:

And another shot of the basket, showing the interior:

Here's the class information that was sent out:

(Links added for your convenience.)

A basket weaving class is scheduled for Friday, February 24th at the Grange in Woodinville from 9:30 am - 4:00 pm. If you have always wanted to learn how to weave, this is a great beginners basket to start with, called a Gathering Basket. You will go home with a completed basket. For more information and to see the basket go to Gathering Fabric. Susan is taking sign-ups at this time. The cost is $40.00 which pays for the Grange rental and supplies. You'll be able to use this basket to tote your projects, gather flowers, or use for crafting. We will have a potluck lunch so we ask everyone to bring a dish to share. You might want to bring an apron or wear old clothes.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Green Beaded Bangle

Even though I started with more planning for this bracelet, I wasn't very happy with it until it was nearly finished.  Once I decided to add the flowers, it finally came together. 

Here's my green beaded bangle:

top of bracelet


side A

side B

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Blue Beaded Bangle

This bracelet (and another) have been UFOs for too long, but now this one is finished, and soon the other! 

It all started with an online class at Joggles, where we were taught the necessary skills, and then we needed to design our own cuff, and although I started with a plan, I let it evolve as I went.  Being worried it might not come out, I decided to make two, just in case one didn't turn out, I would be able to toss it and finish the other using lessons learned on the first (back-up plan / escape hatch...).  Having two in progress was great for a while, but then they had to be set aside while I worked on other things, and I kept moving them every time they were in the way.  Well, I finally decided I'd better get them finished so I could the beads away, and here's the blue one:

top of bracelet

side A

side B

Thursday, February 02, 2012

In Season Socks in Progress

In 2009, I took part in the Rockin' Sock Club at Blue Moon Fiber Arts.  At the time I joined the group, I was hoping I'd be able to keep up with the group, beginning the first sock as soon as the kit arrived, and then getting behind the first month (yes, it's still a UFO, but now it's back in the "active" pile),  Now I have kits that I can grab when I would like to start a new pair, which came in handy a couple weeks ago.  I had taken the red socks with me to work on, but the car got stranded because of ice and we only dared to carry our necessary items and groceries from the car.  The nice thing about that, was that it made me grab a bag and start these socks:

I'm not that fast a knitter, but these are a relatively quick knit for me, as the first sock was finished in a little over a week!  Now I don't want to go back to the red socks until they're finished, so I try to work on them at least a little every day.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Ginko Leaves - Ready to Quilt

This design is from Pacific Rim Quilt Company.  I purchased a kit from them at the Block Party Quilt Show in 2010, but never started working on it until this past summer.  I used the traditional Hawaiian quilt techniques from the pattern and hand appliqued the design, cutting away the unnecessary fabric as I went.  It has been worked on and set aside many times, but is finally pin-basted and ready for quilting.  Traditionally, the Hawaiian style quilts are hand quilted, but I'm thinking of machine quilting it, so now it waits for my decision...