Friday, March 28, 2008

Grab Bag

I’ve kind of let things go since the big push to finish the Danish sweater. But I haven’t been idle. Here’s a pair of socks that I started quite a while ago and just picked up again. For some reason, I thought I’d made the sock too small and was going to have to rip out and start over. After a little investigation, however, I discovered that applied to a pair I was making with the Brown Sheep Wildfoote yarn, not these. These are made using Regia Silk – the first time I’ve ever used it. It’s been pretty nice to work with and is definitely very soft. I’m using solid yellow (color 022) and the variegated “Earth” colorway (color 0190), making stripes of 7 rounds alternating the colors (using my basic sock recipe). This is using size 1 needles (I think) and casting on 64 stitches. I’m carrying the yarn between each color, though I’m not sure I’d do that again. It was, I’m sure, an attempt to save working in the ends of the yarn but I’ll have to wait and see if it’s successful.

On the first one, I didn’t have the jogless jog down too well on the cuff but I think I started getting the hang of it once I got to the foot. In case you’ve never seen the jogless jog, it’s a way of changing colors when working in the round where the new color doesn’t ‘jump’ at the beginning of the round. It’s fairly simple, really, which is why it only took me most of a sock to master! When you knit the first round in the new color, go all the way around until you are back to the first stitch of the round. Instead of knitting the first stitch as it is, pull the stitch from the round below (the old color) up onto the needle. Now knit both the old color and first stitch of the new color together. This will draw the stitch down so that that jog is almost invisible.

The other thing I’ve been working on is something harking back to a
blog entry before I went on my UK trip talking about elements of designing a purse around an object. I found a nice piece of coral in my local bead shop and then I found some linen yarn in a celery color and a red color that matched the coral. At that time, I was thinking about the shape of the purse and how to use the piece of coral.

Here’s a big tip. Sometimes you can sit and work out something that pleases you but often, starting with an idea and then letting it marinate in the background can throw up some interesting things you never thought of to begin with. I’ve had the stuff for this purse laying around since the end of January when I started on this quest. I would notice it from time to time and just let my mind play over both the task and the characteristics of the yarn, the needles, the various things that I could do and then I would go on with what I was doing. The advantage, when you have the luxury of time to do this, is that sometimes it will just end up telling you what it wants to be.

The shape of the purse is going to be a basic shape I’ve used before (see the linen and beaded purse on the right hand bar here) and I’m going to use this same sort of technique of making the body out of the linen with knitted bead flap and the bracelet handle. This is much smaller than the one shown but I think it will work great as a little bag to carry the basics. I will probably just use the linen for the beaded section as it’s a very small gauge and will probably take the beads with no problem. I have some 10/0 beads that I think will work fine. They are an olive color but translucent so I think they’ll be fine with this color scheme. The only concern is whether I will need to line the purse part so it’s rigid enough to handle the weight of the coral. I’ll have to try that out later.

I’m also starting a new knitted doily from the books I got the other day from
Schoolhouse Press. This one is knit using size 0 needles and size 30 crochet cotton. It has a tulip sort of pattern on it that I’m really digging. The tulip pattern looks like the art nouveau that you see on glass work and furniture.

To fill up my spare time, I’ve started doing some work with polymer clay, playing with the milifiore type of beads and buttons. I am fascinated by the play of colors in some of these and I would like to see how they would stand up worked into a shawl pin of some sort.

I will be starting back into the watercolor class for the spring session at the Hogeland Center for the Arts. I took the class a couple of times last year but life stepped in and I’m just now getting ready to go back at it. This will mean, for eight weeks, focusing a little more on the painting than the knitting (yea, right – ha!). I loved this class last year and I’m looking forward to stepping into this again. We’ll see how I get on!

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