Monday, 28 February 2011

Double moss stitch

As if I haven't got enough to do, to use up the cheap double knit wool I've got left I decided to make a sampler blanket of lots of stitches that I like, so I got the book Knit and Purl Stitches: 250 to knit by Erika Knight from the library and set to.  Unfortunately the book doesn't give any tensions so I'm just using size 7 needles, double knit wool and casting on 35 stitches and hoping for the best...  The swatches give me a nice break, I can do one in a few hours depending on complexity.  The multiples number is self explanatory, the plus number is the number of balancing stitches I needed to add on, so 34 is a multiple of 2 plus 1 is 35, great.  Sure it won't always be so easy!
 Double Moss Stich
Multiple of 2 + 1
1st row: k1, *p1, k1; rep from * to end
2nd row: p1, *k1, p1; rep from * to end
3rd row: As 2nd row
4th row: As 1st row
Rep these 4 rows

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Oil pastels first time

I had oil pastels as a child but never could really use them, so I sat down with Karen, who uses them a lot, and started this Orkney landscape.  She showed me how to measure, measure and measure again to create an accurate drawing, how to blend using both fingers and other pastels, and how to match my colours more accurately, not depending on the eye but actually bringing the photo up to drawing to check colour, darkness and contrast.  Finished this off on lazy Sunday and am happy with the effect.  The pastels themselves were a bit of a trial, on a visit to my dad in Manchester I made a pilgrimage to the wonderful Fred Aldous on Lever Street and bought a lovely box of 36 oil pastels, but I must have left them behind because I can't find them.  So it was a sharpish visit to WH Smiths running in the door 10 minutes before closing to get some more.  Sweet daughter said she was delighted to try out her trainers, and incidentally we found that Lidl were selling fabulous pads of coloured paper at only £1.49 each, so that was good!

DUFC hat #2

Skull flap hat by Carolyn
Finally sat down in my kitchen and finished off my second attempt at a hat in Dundee United colours, it's big but really comfy.  Another lovely pattern from Ravelry. My only real issue was keeping the stitches on my dpns, much swearing while picking up lost stitches and recounting how many I had on each needle.  Sat down on a Sunday morning while my husband and child were busy beating each other up and got some peace.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Measure, measure and measure again. And anatomy

For the first time a life class I felt completely satisfied with, deep thanks to Karen the previous night teaching me to measure and remeasure, and to both her and Lesley for buying me Sarah Simblet's Anatomy for the Artist which I have been slowly reading.  I didn't think any of it was going in to my rather dull brain but I am beginning to be able to pick out the antomy under the skin which will also apparently make my drawing more accurate, rather than focusing on surface level details.  This model's hands were beautifully large and I was happily able to lose myself in details of beard, trousers and shoes.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Coloured pencils and pen and ink

This was a restless art class, I couldn't get settled, I started doing a large scale pen and ink with ink washes but kept spilling red ink over myself and wasn't happy with the colours of the model's shirt darkening too quickly.  So towards the end I did a couple of drawings in my sketch book.  I'm very happy with the pencil drawing which follows the contours of the model's face.  The pen and ink drawing was an interesting error, both the head and body are correctly drawn from quite an odd perspective, I really enjoy the challenge of odd perspectives, but they are out of proportion with each other.  I'm fascinated by the relative importance of our senses and the idea of drawing elements out of proportion with reference to their salinity to us interests me, for me the head would be larger than the body because I pay too much attention to cerebral matters and am doing mindfulness to redress the balance.  It would be interesting to empahsise the eyes and minimise the ears, as the senses we tend to prejudice one over the other.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

DUFC hat #1

Well, I encountered my first catastrophic failure, I'm sure it was me not the pattern but I did a fantastic ear flap hat in orange and black, the colours of my husband and daughter's favourite football team, and by proxy mine, Dundee United, my English team being Cambridge United...  It had these great mad skulls on the side that were really my kind of thing. I don't know what I did wrong, but it was too small for any of us, and wouldn't even fit my daughter's doll.  Oh well, now starting another, you live and learn...

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Pen and ink, and drawing pencil

Two sketches of the same model done at class, I do like drawing folds and creases in clothes, though proportion was better on the pen and ink drawings than the pencil drawing.

And a by the way, I'm thanking my small amount of common sense that I have photographed and uploaded pictures of my drawings.  The big sketches are on A2 paper and I'd put them under the sofa to keep flat and safe, and the cat weed on them.  Aargh!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

And finally ... catching up with the Sampler Quilt

9. Clamshell
Ironing fabric onto freezer paper as with Inner City, but this time the pieces are curved, technically more challenging but looks good, and they are appliqued down like roof tiles rather than pieced.  This gave me a chance to use a nice colour changing piece of ikat as the background and some of the smaller scraps of the Naturescapes fabric used carefully to complement the changing colours of the ikat as well as a new toning fabric.  Looked lovely when I created it as it was and then even better when it was quilted and the shells really stand out.

10. Folded Flying Geese
I really liked this way of forming the flying geese units, preferred it to the more wasteful method used on the Mystery Quilt but it does have its drawbacks, the points aren't quite so accurate and it leaves flaps which can catch, although I solved this by quilting each triangle down.  I really liked using a range of the remaining fabrics to create the graduated effect of each 'flock', I decided right away that since I have more of the yellow left than anything else this would be my background colour and many of them are created from selective cutting from an ikat piece.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Knitting: turning a necessity into a pleasure

Knit1 Slip1's Boyfriend Hat
Christmas with my husband's parents was lovely, nothing like taking the edge off an overexcited 7 year old like being able to hand her over to her grandparents, however, I left my lovingly knitted glittens (gloves that have a mitten bit that flips over) and my hat in Turriff so got busy knitted two gloves from the wonderful Ravelry site which offers thousands of great free patterns that do really work.  So I made a slouchy hat which will match with the gloves when I get them back, knitted in Creative Yarns DK Rainbow Multi #0343 Jumping Castle from HCS Crafts.
Eyelet Arm Warmers

I had previously made these wristies in the same wool but colour #345 River Rafting, both change colour to look like Fair Isle when knitted up but I wasn't as impressed with Jumping Castle, the colour changes were less frequent and interesting.  This lovely pattern with eyelets is from Stitch Style's Mittens and Gloves: Twenty Fashion Knit and Crochet Styles which I got from my local library. I like working circular knitting on double ended pins, no seams!  I'm going to try and make some knitting presents for Christmas, if I start now I might be fine.  I've ordered some nice looking James Brett DK Woodlander in L5 Bark, L3 Bracken and L4 Ash from Readicut which always has great value offers on craft stuff, I felt it in the knitting shop in Dundee and it felt fine.  I found that one of the DKs I ordered online, Sirdar's Crofter, and it didn't seem to be DK thickness, more like 4 ply.  Well, I learned that lesson.
Witch cats hat by Christine de Savoie
And this is the second hat I made, which was a bit fiddly but enjoyable, in general I prefer something that challenges me and this really did.  I made it with cheap DK just to see how it knitted up and I think I wouldn't do all the top cat rows next time, but it does look rather good. I had to learn how to carry the colours across the back, called stranding, where you catch the colour you're carrying across in the back of the knitted stitches, and end up in a horrible tangle at several points if you're me.

Blackwork sampler

I love the purity and simplicity of blackwork, and the sense of tradition, dating back as it does to Elizabethan times when real lace was prohibitively expensive and thrifty housewives came up with an alternative.  The sources for this sampler are from a number of sources, mainly Lesley Wilkes' excellent Beginner's Guide to Blackwork but also online sources, and I can add to it as time goes on.  It's a rememberance as well of the true origins of the sampler, not as something just beautiful in and of itself but as a aide memoire to the needleworker as to how to create a stitch.