Wednesday, December 31, 2008

...sleet nor hail or is that sleet or hail...

Audition for USPS delivery position...

I had a mission to fulfill this morning and if I had opened the shades at 6:30 this morning I probably wouldn't have baked "gift" scones for delivery today. But I didn't open the shades and I did bake scones and there was a snowstorm brewing. I managed delivery----

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

perfect weather

Felled by tendonitis at the most inopportune time ...the weather is perfect for doing tendon-inflaming things like knitting (any weight yarn with any size needle), sewing (on the sewing machine) and finishing all those fiber gifts (YIKES!)!

But I can work the oven and the camera, so all is not lost. Behold winter wonderland.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Scarfarama WIP's

Santa's helper is working hard to get the scarfarama segment of the Christmas gifts knit, but her wrists and thumbs started to hurt, so she decided to practice "picturing" for awhile to change the thumb and wrist action. Noticing that typing is not helping the wrist and thumb situation, maybe I'll have to move to the kitchen segment next...

Two done---
This one is Lorna's Laces, wool and silk.

This yarn is from Fabulosity on etsy, one of my first purchases there.

Two to go---
Vintage Icelandic wool that I dyed with leftover acid dyes to put my outdoor dyeing studio in hibernation.

Don't know if I can give this one up though---liking the results. Hmmm.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Faux for the holidays!

I've started this post three times, until today I haven't gotten anywhere with it. I read other blogs sporadically and realize that they post every day or almost, which astounds me. I'm happy to know that these creative people make things and write about their process too, all on a daily basis. I aspire to that ability. Maybe it's the writing thing? Maybe I should "picture" each day, maybe that's the solution?

I wasn't when I started writing this post, but I am now....deep into Santa's workshop mode. Trust me, no one needs a sweeping view of every surface filled with something in the process, perhaps just a slice of the overflow...

It just doesn't look like a Martha Stewart environment. Who wouldn't love a dedicated room to wrap presents? Oh, just me? Well, in my parallel universe I have a Martha Stewart room set aside for just that task! Drawers, cubbies, scissors, a variety of adhesives, plenty of tables, nice flooring, good lighting, plenty of ribbon dispensers, shipping dept, regular UPS pick-up. As long as we're talking parallel universe, I'm adding a Martha Stewart kitchen equipped to make all those tasty holiday treats with an assistant who has just returned from the grocery store with the ingredients I forgot...ahhh!

Anyway. Have my knitting and dyeing mojo back! Yesss! Won't my brother and his family in New Mexico be happy (I'm sure they don't read this) when they open their box this year and find that each one has received a knitted ______ in my hand-dyed yarn? I'm knitting with each in mind, but it just occurred to me to put their four items in the box, wrapped and unmarked and let them decide who gets what! We'll be i-chatting on Christmas day and responses will be noted. (Aunt Susan is pretty scarey.)

On top of Santa's workshop activities, I'm slowly rolling out another store on etsy, "sewfaux", just for my chenille textiles---my studio samples, my prototypes! I won't imagine going into production on any one chenille item but there are on-going themes. Finishing and photographing these pieces for this new shop has been great for collecting my thoughts on this years work and clearing the slate for 2009.

Surely there will be plenty of whimsically-minded people out there in this economy needing cotton Buche Noel Logs this holiday! No matter that timing is everything. Gotta have a sense of humor these days or you're in trouble. Hoping to get it all online this week just Faux the holidays!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

local talent

Had to put away the knitting needles or at least tuck them under the table to turn on the sewing machine and finish up a group of chenille pillows, log bolsters, rugs and a stool for a local Holiday craft sale. Tucked in a few lavender sachets and delivered them.

Take a break from Black Friday at the big chains this Friday! Come out to the vineyard and farmlands at the East End of Long Island for a charming collection of artisan and craftspeoples creations for the holidays:

The 17th Annual Country Parlor Holiday Sale
The Grange Hall
Sound Ave at Church Lane

Nov 28 Fri- 9-3,
Nov 29 Sat 9-3,
Nov 30 Sun 10-2

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

November 4, 2008

Vote. Vote now!

Monday, November 3, 2008

re: Pumpkin altar

The pumpkin altar worked its magic yesterday!

There is a lot of crown moulding and trim that needs to be painted in our house. I had primed the bedroom trim on Saturday. Everything was going relatively white yesterday morning until I finished a coat of white paint on the kitchen/dining area trim and realized that the Master Sander had not sanded the doorway to the bedroom where I needed to go next with my white paint brush. So I started looking for the rosey brown paint I bought a couple of years ago for my kitchen counter/table top. It was nowhere to be found. The Master Sander must have thrown it out during one of his purges of what he thinks are too many cans of paint. (Thanks dear.)

I looked through my paint swatch file for the original rosey brown color but was overcome with the impulse to paint it Benjamin Moore's Jack-o-Lantern orange! The table top in it's new cheeto-cheese puff-cheezit- glowing orange incarnation last night.

Explain that! Pretty sure it was the pumpkin altar that caused this!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Altar

Fall is the best season in my book.

Having grown up on the West Coast where the change of seasons is barely noticeable in some locations, I'm always amazed (and delighted) as each Fall unfolds and the trees put on their colorful show up and down the East Coast.

Here on Long Island it's all falling leaves now and hordes of people filling our rural roads in search of the perfect pumpkin patch to pick pumpkins in or buy dried cornstalks or hay bales.

I set up my own little pumpkin altar near my work table hoping that it will continue to inspire my future projects colorwise until the Christmas thing takes over.

Pumpkin season doesn't come to an end Friday on Halloween...there's still pumpkin pie season and well, it can last into December, though the leaves will be long gone. It might just be to much to ask of my pumpkin altar.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Home from Rhinebeck

It was a chilly, crowded, woolly weekend in Dutchess County, NY at the Sheep and Wool Show! Knitware was not only appropriate this year but necessary. From my vantage point it's a parade of glorious wool that's been knitted, crocheted, woven, felted etc.

Thanks to all that dropped by A29---to sniff the lavender-emitting kits and sachets, hear the lavender wand explanation and view my embroidered wool button display. And a big shout out to my longtime friends Sue and Jamie for giving me a home away from home for the weekend!

Though I missed the ravelry action outside, I did find two authors whose books inspired my needles in the last year. In building 26 I found Linda Repasky aka Woolen Whimsies in her well-appointed stall displaying framed samples of her punchneedle work, wool threads, kits to make colorful "standing wool" mats, punch needle tools (the best ones!) and her wonderfully done vinegar grained frames (which I hope I can find when I unpack!). Her book, is an inspirational and helpful guide for your punchneedle ideas. On another break I passed by the book signing area as things were winding down to find Lynne Barr and thank her for her book, Knitting New Scarves, full of interesting knit constructions inspired by modern architecture!

The road home...leaves have peaked, I couldn't find my camera, but I did have my phone, so while driving the Taconic...

Ahhh, I miss the leaves already!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fiber Tribe

6 more days! Countdown mode to next weekend's show, October 18-19, at the Sheep and Wool festival in Rhinebeck, NY. It's a fabulous fiber event amidst the rolling hill and dale of Dutchess County awash in Fall color where breeders of sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, bunnies...) show their animals, their fleece and spun yarns, where spinners, dyers, mills and creators show their stuff and ply their services and yarns etc. I want to mention my talented boothmates--- The Paisley Studio and Thimble folk---here's my Thimblefolk sheep pincushion treasure from last year overseeing my work table. I'm hoping to snag a few hooked pumpkins from the Paisley Studio this year.

Working diligently to amass more lavender wands with the velvet

ribbon I dyed this summer and assembling lavender accessory kits, writing patterns, tagging and pricing. Still have lots more buttons to embroider with the wool I've been over-dyeing. The list goes on, the work continues up to the last moment!

Hope to see you there!

Flock and Fiber

So I was in Oregon on the weekend of the 28th for a family wedding (Yay! Jamie and Seth!).

I spent part of Saturday at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby, south of Portland. I arrived as it opened and took one picture of the quiet green---

it looks like no one was there...but it quickly filled as I spent my time inside the two halls wandering around the booths. I got my first skeins of Blue Moon Fiber's Socks that Rock early, as I was afraid if I waited it would look like the Fold's booth down the aisle from me at Rhinebeck---deluged with people and no way to see anything. I was so just thrilled to be a civilian and get to shop with interesting entrepeneurs and vendors. I did to get spend time in the Dicentra Hand Dyes booth admiring her great color sense and dyeing skill---only could decide on one lovely skein of Fall-y colored yarn and realized she's on etsy, so I can visit anytime! I quickly ran out of time to spend there and didn't get to try any spinning wheels out...another time and place.

It was a great day weatherwise --- really enjoyed the variety of regional vendors and talking to the sheep and mingling with the fiberholics. Hope I can go back next year and spend more time...we'll see.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

knitting The Shawl

More of the August report---

Months ago my mother and I were talking about about the variety of knitting and yarn today! She was once a knitting instructor when there the world of knitting was much smaller and there was no internet. I said the last thing I could imagine was lace knitting. And she said it would be nice to have a lace shawl, not to be contrary, of course. Hmmm...perfect idea for her upcoming birthday. How hard would it be? She sent me a pattern clipped from a vintage Vogue knitting magazine--- written instructions for a leaf-patterned stole...except there was a error in the pattern.

You don't really want to read the details of my indecision and false starts, so let's just say four yarn selections later and a change of patterns I have finished The Shawl. I probably would have abandoned this project without my knitting pals, Jean and Karen who on a weekly basis solved problems and cajoled me to finish it, or Ravelry where I found many lace-knitting questions answered or without Shannon's scrumptious hand-dyed yarns, first in Teal then in Raspberry Jam. Countless mornings and evenings of knitting and unknitting ended last weekend when I blocked it on my bedroom floor. (I think I love blocking! It's such a revelation!)

Here's a peek at The Shawl, Mom's belated birthday present...don't worry she's already gotten a preview.

Friday, September 12, 2008

bark-quet on the wall

This blogging thing is not happening as frequently as I'm making things so, I'll try to catch up now!

My work table was piled high with chenille-making debris throughout August as I completed a piece to submit for a "call for entry".

It started with a scribble that I kept pinned up at eye level when I was sewing.

To begin yet another log-themed piece I stacked up my collection of natural colored fabrics. As I did more sewing I got more bold and added pinks, oranges, purple and greens to broaden the palette. I would have used more outrageous colors but I didn't have time to make two pieces, one for this world and one for Susan's parallel universe. It came together over the month and I got it photograped and mailed to meet the entry deadline, now we wait to hear it's status. You may see it here, and only here in it's 27" x 36" glory.

I may have to start my own exhibition in order to find the perfect category for my hybrid work...

Monday, August 11, 2008

one summer project

I was introduced to the punchneedle process last spring, by my friend Sarah, an accomplished rug-hooker. She got me started with the tools and a fistful of wool thread. Until then I was not a wool lover in any big way, knitting with wool only occasionally. Though I was curious about Punchneedle process it was not love at first sight, that is, until I threw my punchneedle supplies into my suitcase and took it with me on a trip West last summer.

It started to gel for me then. I found myself making lots of circular swatches to find a comfort level with the subdued colors of the wool DMC Medici thread. A growing mountain of puffy, wooly circles ended up becoming buttons. More on buttons later...

I've come to love and appreciate wool through the dyeing process. I love the way wool takes up the dyes and the depths you can get (or some people can get with the dyeing process). I spent some time this weekend transforming a pile of pale pastel skeins of DMC wool into a pile of intense vibrant skeins. I'm not methodical about this dyeing process yet, but I have a good time in a mad scientist kinda way creating colors and dipping skeins in one jar and another. I'm sure there'll come a time when I want to duplicate and control the process better.

I did have a plan though for the specific colors I needed to round out my palette and I'm happy with the weekend results. A new collection of buttons for the Fall are in the making!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

lavender tender or urban girl meets her own backyard

I usually have my lavender processed by the first week in July. What happened this year? I was not paying close attention to the garden or the calender. So now I'm scrambling to cut the deep purple 'Grosso' and pale lavender 'Provence' stems before all the buds are open and dropping to the ground! Keeping in mind the perils in my untended garden, umm, those blood-sucking ticks on the swaying weeds, I'm compelled to overdress for the occasion. Long pants, rubber knee boots, garden chapeau, bug spray and clippers...urban girl meets her own backyard. Darn! There was no one to capture this vision digitally, or at least I don't think there was.

I grew up in the suburbs of San Francisco, moved to the city or rather, to Los Angeles for college, then to Manhattan and up to the Hudson Valley, never really touching the earth until I moved to the East End of Long Island 16 years ago. The passion for gardening was fleeting, as there was too much nature to contend with. (I dream of caring for a tickless rooftop patio! This coming from our household's best tick magnet!) Anyway, the lavender remains without too much help from me...hey, I did weed! This year the younger plants have matured and are yielding more lavender than ever. So the cut stems become lavender wands...drying out and then woven with my hand-dyed velvet...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Outta Town

I'm out in California celebrating my mom's 80th birthday and looking forward to Fathers' Day tomorrow. Though I filled my suitcase with yarn projects (enough for 9 days away from home), I don't seem to have made any progress on them. But we have re-organized my dad's office to accomodate his watercolor work. At least someone will be making something soon.

I took a break on Friday and went to Berkeley to visit my longtime friend Sheila. I rely on her to guide me to the most interesting spots in the Bay Area. Breakfast is my favorite meal so starting at Cafe Fanny, Alice Waters' tiny cafe always makes me happy. Mmmm! Cafe au lait and a cinnamon twist from Acme Baking next door and a sculptural epi loaf for pictures.

Next stop, across the Bay in Sausalito. I have been wanting to stop in at the Heath factory for several years and finally we made it there. (I grew up eating off Heathware dishes and when my parents lived in Sausalito I could easily visit the factory seconds pile.) The company was purchased a few years ago and now has a new generation of fans. The factory store is manned by helpful Heath enablers. Thoroughly enjoyed that stop.

A quick bite in the shopping center in Strawberry, I don't know what they call the shopping center now but it's an upscale enclave of lovely stores and tasty restaurants. As we were eating our petite lunch, Bonnie Raitt walked past wearing a black straw cowboy hat unsuccessfully disguising her theatrical red hair. (Didn't even think of pulling out the camera!)

We doubled back to Berkeley and Fourth Street.

Had enough time before I had to get back on the road to take a ritual turn through the Gardener, cross the street to charming Castle in the Air (stationary/pen/ephemera heaven), to sketCh for tasty ice cream and granita treats (mmmm), into Builders Booksource to examine their copies of 500 Chairs and finishing off with a tour of Paper Source. There is so much more to look at on Fourth Street but one must have priorities!

What a great day Sheila! Thanks.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

dyeing to be or not to be...

This April I took a wool dyeing class at Webs in Northampton, MA. It was great fun, I posted pictures of the class activity then and an array of colorful skeinlets that were a result of the class exercise. What I didn't post were pictures of the sock yarn I dyed at the end of the day with the leftover dye solutions. A little canary, a touch of peacock and some cherry, that was all I had left.

I wanted to continue dyeing at home, but lacked an area to do it in. Over the course of the next few weeks I gathered supplies and more dyes and cleared a counter in my garage for mixing dye stocks and painting. Finally, Thursday I mixed the dye stocks and on Friday I was able to do my first dyeing project, finishing the sock yarn from class! I re-skeined it into a larger hank and did some over-dyeing inspired by the new leaf growth colors in the backyard!

Ready to knit into a pair of leafy Spring socks--- should I call it garden camouflage?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

1 out of 500 Chairs, page 83

I got a nice surprise in the mail on Friday. My copy of the recently published 500 Chairs arrived and inside on Page 83 is a chair that I submitted to Lark Publications on their call for entries last spring. I'm very happy to have my work included.

I suspected going in that wood and metal and hard surfaced entries would be the norm, I gave it a shot anyway. I'm also relieved that my photography of the chair is passable. Ppphew! So here's a similar angle of the chair, if not the same shot that's in the book and a view of the back and an detail shot.

I'm a penny rug fan and wanted to relate to them with my chenille stitching. So this is one example of the penny rug effect on my work.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Washing instructions

Where did April go? Not that I haven’t been making anything…I have lots of projects going but nothing completed. Sewing chenille pieces, designing knitted pieces unsuccessfully, putting together lavender sachet kits for my etsy shop, setting up a wool dyeing studio in my crowded garage…and well, life.

This morning as I was on my way to the washer with a stack of chenille pieces (logs to be exact), I was thinking about how much I like them before they're washed. So I set up the camera and took some shots. Once they're washed and dried all you want to do is snuggle with them.

I also really like the backs...if I intended to draw with thread it would look like this.

Anyway, I'm having a very capable seamstress install a zipper in a guinea pig log to see how feasible it is. My dream come true---that all future logs will have that option and some overlock too. Oh, the little things!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Dasi's bootees

When I signed up to get on Ravelry, a great beta website for knitters, wool dyers, crocheters and any other aspect of yarn you can think of, I had no idea it would be such a great resource. You can document projects you knit, see what others are knitting, look for yarns for patterns, patterns for yarns and more. Everyone on Ravelry, it seemed, had knit a pair of the cutest, tiniest Mary Jane bootees with buttoned crossing straps. After I knit my first pair of socks (and only, so far) I had enough hand-painted merino sock yarn left over to knit baby bootees! I sewed the first one up to see just how cute it was when the second bootee was in progress----

Until I sewed up the second one I had no idea how much they differed in size. Same needles, but different tension? I knitted a third bootee---and came up with a matching pair. Pphew!

These were for Dasi who arrived last week. Congratulations to my friends Deborah and Andrew!

If you need to knit a pair or three of Saartje's bootees, the pattern is available online.