Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lace Scarf

This lace scarf is on the needles, and uses 2 skeins of Malabrigo Baby Silkpaca in the Frank Ochre color way. It is soft and featherweight, a dream to work with. The pattern is the "Airy Lace Scarf", from the book "Scarf Style 2". Also on the needles is the Pioneer Cuff, a kit by Laura Nelkin, in Anzula Cloud, which is a silk and cashmere blend in the charcoal color way. This is a beaded knitting project. Both are small, and great for summer travel, since they pack easily and don't take up much space. 

CVM Romeldale and Cheviot-Romney Lamb Fleece!

Two fabulous finds this spring at the Connecticut Wool Growers Festival--a beautiful washed Romney-Cheviot lamb, and a CVM Romeldale fleece in a silver gray color way. Both are very soft. In addition, I found a large Border Leicester fleece, perfect for core spinning or lock spinning, with  those lustrous curls. Can't wait to start experimenting with these! The dye pots will be full this summer.....


These tweed batts and the resulting hand spun yarns were so much fun to create. I started with a tweed mixture of silk Nepal that I had dyed to a mustard gold, and some in black, others were left natural cream. I added them as a sandwich, between layers of naturally colored wool fiber, cream, gray and deep brown, on the carding machine, to create the tweed batts. Then they were spun up to a light worsted weight yarn. I discovered that the yarn was too dense for a shawl that I had envisioned, even though I prepped and spun for a woolen yarn. The fiber is too course. It would, however, be great as a a sweater, or a tote bag or some item that does not need to be next to the skin soft and light as a feather. This project requires a finer fiber, perhaps BFL, or a merino wool. A fine cheviot would work, too. It is so important to sample, sample, sample. Next steps--look through the fiber stash to find something softer! 

Weaving Samples

I had many bobbins full of yarn, and this Mountain Loom Company table loom that belonged to my mother in law years ago. She was a also a handweaver, knitter and hand spinner. I decided to put it to use making samples up from Marguerite Davison's work "A Handweavers Pattern Book", with a pattern called "Jewell". It is a Rosepath pattern, with a number of variations. I'm using up yarn leftovers in assorted colors. This is so much fun, and not a huge time or money commitment! I've been spending the winter months playing with art quilting and surface design on textiles, which requires a lot of materials, and makes a mess (in other words, you really need a big space to work in, while creating! Not a bad thing, just a lot of prep/clean up...)---I love getting back to weaving, it is simple and repetitive (great when you don't have a lot of time, and once the brainwork is done, and the loom is warped, you can pick it up and work on it here and there, as time allows in the evening or on busy weekends at home. We are currently setting up this spring to continue painting our house, and that work will continue into the summer. Since I teach, I have the summers off, so I will hopefully have a sample chosen from this pattern set, that I will use to warp up my new Schacht Baby Wolf loom for some summer weaving! That is, in between house painting sessions! 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Art Before Breakfast

Danny Gregory's book is a fun read, with drawings, to kickstart the drawing process when you think you don't have time. With daily suggestions for sketching over coffee, and a myriad of other ways to fit sketching into your busy work a day schedule, it helps get your creativity going. Sketch booking is a way for me to document ideas, and save them for future reference and to spark finished artworks, whether drawings, paintings, art quilts or mixed media projects.

Sketching "Grab and Go" Tote

This is a perfect solution to my need to have art materials at the ready, whenever I want to draw or paint. This is my sketching tote. Everything is in here that I might need when working on location, or even here at home, out in the yard or indoors. There are no excuses now! It includes a mixed media sketchbook, a smaller sketchbook with 60 pound drawing paper, and a small canvas covered one with lightweight scratch paper. In addition to that, there is a small journal with lined paper, and a small pad of watercolor postcard sized paper. There is a roll of artists low tack tape, to mask off for borders, a box of water soluble sketching pencils in various colors and neutral tones (Stabilo Aquarellable, and Derwent Drawing Pencils and Wash Pencils), and a watercolor paintbox with a brush. Also included are 3 Tombow brush pens, felt tipped and water soluble, and several Pigma Micron waterproof ink pens in different sizes. Also, a Papermate Flair pen, and a regular ball point pen, 2 water rush pens,a mechanical pencil and stick eraser with refills. A calligraphy pen and a set of Tombow Professional drawing pencils rounds out the contents. Lastly, a pair of small scissors, a 6" ruler and a pencil sharpener. These items will give any serious artist plenty of options while on location or back in the studio. There is nothing worse than giving up when inspiration strikes, because it will take too long to gather the materials you need! I hope to get many years of service out of this tote bag, and lots of sketchbooks filled with drawings and paintings!

Happy 2016!

This sewing folder was made to use in my new "Hexie kit"! I am exploring hexagon quilting, and needed something that was extremely small and portable, to work on when traveling. This folder, and the Hexie supplies fit neatly into a small bag or box, and store efficiently in my duffle, backpack or tote bag, when out and about, or in our camper. And, it is always fun to find new fabric treasures while on the road, to add to the Hexie box. 
Began weaving this scarf on my 12" Ashford Rigid Heddle loom. Yarns, in sock weight, found in my stash, are in 2 color ways. The first, a soft baby blue, and the second, creating the windowpane plaid, in a self striping variegated. This is the resulting pattern. I like the way the variegated yarn breaks up the regularity of the check pattern. It appears more pronounced in the darker areas of the yarn, and less noticeable in the lighter blue and gray areas, that almost match the color of the solid yarn. It is set at 12-1/2 ends per inch, perfect for the sock weight yarn.