Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Knitting Project: My Little Secret Crop

I was talking to my friend Sarah and she mentioned this cute crop top pattern on Ravelry.  I looked up My Little Secret Crop by Jessie Maed Designs and loved how versatile the pattern is and how she encourages you to use stash yarn. As much as my initial thought was that I have no business wearing a crop top at my age, I decided to ignore that and try my hand at knitting this top. 

I have recently purchased a pair of Levis that are flared "ribcage" jeans which I would just describe as super high-waisted stove-pipes so they allow me to wear a crop top without any unsightly bulges sticking out. I've always loved the vintage 70's look and I think this top, the yarn choices and the pants all make it come together for me. 

I was so proud of myself, I sampled ahead of time and ended up using 3 strands of yarn at the same time to get the correct gauge. The rust colored yarn is a bit scratchy so it took me about a month of knitting in the evenings to finish this without rubbing my fingers raw. I haven't done a burn test on this yarn to see what the content is. I was a little worried that it would be too uncomfortable to wear at the end of the day, but as I used to say "fashion over function."  After washing it I've found that it is comfortable to wear and I love it! 

About this stash yarn. I met Sally through Reach's Not So Silent Night holiday fundraiser a few years back. She has some of my beadwork and I've done some repairs on antique bead pieces for her. She told me she had nice yarn from her mom's estate that she wanted me to have. Last year we finally had a good time to meet when she was in town for me to come pick it up.  I'm still sorting through it, much of it is a little thicker than what I use for my regular (double weave) weaving but I use anything and everything when I tapestry weave.  When I decided to make this crop top, I found this wonderful rust speckled yarn that may actually be from the 70's to use as the base of this top. It has the turquoise and pinks in it so using them as accent stripes made sense. The images of the various top combinations on Ravelry were inspiring and I definitely liked the striped ones over the tops with just one color.

2020 and 2021 is really the first time in my life I've spent a lot of time knitting other people's patterns. From the beginning of my knitting career in elementary school I always preferred to figure out how to make something on my own. Most things were very blocky because I didn't know how to do much. This past year I have been knitting more of other people's patterns and I'm finding it more relaxing (it's all figured out for me), and I'm learning a lot more. The straps to this top are double knit, which has recently come up as a thing I thought I should learn. It's double knit on a small scale but with the pattern showing me how to do so it was a quicker learning process and now I'm letting it roll around in my head as to how else I could use this (and how can I knit it like I do double weave pick up). I also learned how to do a three needle bind off. Mind. Blown. Which I actually needed to do for my next knitted top's bottom hem. It looks lovely and no stitching anything together afterwards. 

I've already worn this top twice and I have a sneaking suspicion I'll be making more of these.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Cat Collars


I've toyed with the idea of making collars for the cats for a while. We have discussed at length how much Clark loves watching Bryan play Mario on the TV and how we should find him a Mario collar. Well, JoAnn's finally had some Mario fabric that we liked and I ordered break-away buckles and D rings for the project off of Amazon.



I didn't feel like getting too fancy, I just folded, pressed and stitched once seam.  Clark gets Mario/Luigi fabric.



I used the orange Star Wars themed fabric for Morgan's collar. (The cats did not want to model for photos)



And I used purple leopard print for Lois.  The break-away collars do work, Morgan managed to get attached to something at some point and tear his off. these seem to hold up as far as staying nicer looking on them. Collars usually get all fuzzy from the claws scratching on them, but the cotton fabric is holding up well. 


I haven't been blogging as much, work has been busy and I've been sinking into my knitting when I'm at home, or preparing for spring yard work and projects (I ordered windows to install in my garage! Woo!). I have 2 seminars coming up with the Michigan League of Handweavers Virtual Conference in May which I need to update and flush out those presentations/workshops. I'm getting the hang of this Zoom presentation thing, I was the Speaker for the Weaver's Guild of Kalamazoo's April meeting and had a little demo to go with it.  I'm finding that while we are doing these Zoom meetings I should take advantage of presenting from my studio by showing off the processes I'm using at the moment.  It's something that I rarely get to show or share live on these larger works, and I can talk and stitch or weave while answering questions or describing what I'm doing.  I think and hope that Zoom presentations of this magnitude will continue even beyond when we start to meet in person again.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Preparing the Extra Fabric from Leaf Me Alone (large) to make more Leaves


 I am continuing to attempt to follow the social media trend of posting video. It's much easier these days with the smartphones becoming higher quality and basic editing tools (ok, just cropping for me if I'm editing anything). Most of what I have for video is process work, so above (and on my YouTube Channel) is almost 20 minutes of me getting ready, sewing and cutting handwoven fabric to prepare to make stitched leaves for the second panel on my large version of Leaf Me Alone.


In the video I also rattle on about where and what I've learned about sewing with handwovens. Mary Sue Fenner is still the instructor that I think I learned the most from in only a 3-day period for sewing and how to take care of my sewing machine (which I also talk about in the video).  


My next post will be the stitching of leaves! I am also preparing to present at the Weaver's Guild of Kalamazoo Zoom meeting on April 12, 2021. The meeting starts at 6:30 (you can contact them if you'd like to join, I can email you the info if needed) and I start presenting at 7pm. I will be talking about my work which combines the many fiber techniques that I blend together for my artwork. There will be a heavy focus on the St. Petersburg Chain Stitch since I will be teaching a workshop with them in June. I will also do a demo of me working on this leaf panel as part of my presentation.  I can answer questions as I describe what I'm doing/stitching.  One of the cool things about presenting on Zoom is showing my process up close and live while members can ask questions about what I'm doing.  It worked out really well for the Fiberside Chat that I did in February!

Retro Fade Earrings and Bracelet, 2 versions

I picked up a new dress for Brian and Rion's 20th anniversary party so, as usual, I decided to make something to go with it. I was plann...