Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Birthday Knitting

I have to tell about my birthday party. I wasn't going to mention my birthday, but I haven't had a 'girls' birthday party for years and years. I decided that since my church knitting group meets on the 2nd and 4th Mondays, and my birthday was on the 5th Monday, I would just invite them over for Birthday Knitting.

We are a small group, and there were only 4 of us last night, and it was all pretty low key, but we had a really good time. The highlights were Pretzel M&Ms and Ghirardelli Brownies. There was also a tour of my home. I don't know about you, but I love seeing other people's homes, and the best way to get to see theirs is to show them yours. It's also a good way to make oneself do the housework.

So I would suggest that you all have a Textile Party, whether it's a birthday or not. It's just fun to get together and talk while you work on your project.

Hunting Socks & A Trip

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Paton's Kroy Multi Sock Yarn and Premier Merit 100%Wool Worsted Yarn

I used the pattern for Heavy Socks from the Spin-Off Socks book to make two pairs of hunting socks for my brother. I had never thought of knitting socks for him, but I happened to ask him the other day if he thought his wife, my darling sister-in-law, might want some socks. She's always cold, and there's nothing nicer than wool socks if that's the case. He said he didn't know, but sadly said that he would like some. I felt terrible that I'd never even thought of it.

I've used the Socks book a lot, and all of the patterns in it have been good ones. This is a really fast knitting pattern. The hardest thing for me was that it calls for Bulky yarn, and I didn't really have anything suitable for a man's socks. The pair at the top is the second pair I made, and I like them best. I added a sock weight yarn to a worsted weight wool yarn for a prettier look. The pair below are a bulky yarn alone, and while they're okay, I find them a little thin for 'heavy' socks. He's planning to wear another pair under them with his boots for elk hunting in October.

Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick&Quick

The pattern calls for size 10 needles, but I'm using size 9, and you cast on 32 stitches, so you can see why they work up so quickly. Apparently a lot of people use leftover Lopi yarn for this pattern, but I've never knitted with Lopi, so no leftovers here.

I'm going to visit my sister for 2 weeks tomorrow, so I'm not sure if I'll be blogging. Maybe so, as she has lots of nice things planned. She's in Southern California, where Pearle and I used to spend the winters, so I'm looking forward to seeing how things have changed in 10 years or so, and to seeing some favorite places again. I have The Huntington and The Getty high on my list, along with the L.A. Arboretum and Descanso Gardens. Naturally we'll be heading for a few fabric and yarn shops as well. Her LYS is Yarn Lady in Laguna Hills, and I'm looking forward to it. I should say that when I was last there, the Getty Museum was only in Malibu, so it will be interesting to see the new one. Big plans, and I'm hoping we'll be able to do at least some of the things on my list, personal energy permitting. Perhaps we'll just end up doing a lot of basking in the sun instead. Either way, I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Textiles and Settlement: From Plains Space to Cyber Space

Above: Robert Hillestad's work in the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery in the Department of Textiles, Clothing & Design at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Photograph courtesy of the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery

I'm the Asst. Volunteer Coordinator for the Textile Society of America's Biennial Symposium which is being held here in Lincoln, Nebraska, Oct. 6-9. We are looking for volunteers to fill a time slot of anywhere from a few hours to all day. Mostly, it's being available (either at the Cornhusker Hotel or another venue, or on a bus going between) to help the attendees know where they should be, or if they are on the right bus, etc. Also registration, or handing out box lunches. It varies, and you can choose.

What do you get for doing this? You get to attend the session/class of your choice FREE. Since the cost of the registration to be able to attend even one class as a regular attendee is several hundred dollars, this is quite a nice deal, if you are interested in any of the offerings.

For the schedule and description of classes download Preliminary Program PDF so you can see what it's all about. Please let me know ASAP if you are interested, as when slots and classes fill, they are full.

Here's the Welcome page of the Schedule and description to give you a small taste of what you're likely to find at the Symposium.

Once again, I am only the Asst. Volunteer Coordinator, and if you want to attend the Symposium as a regular attendee, you must register at the Textile Society's site. It would be a wonderful opportunity for some truly wide-ranging, yet very specialized textile learning, and worth every penny, so go for it if you can.

A dedicated steering committee of local planners and national TSA board members have been working since August 2008 to insure that the wealth of resources located in this central region will be accessible to you. Our pre and post symposium tours and workshops will entice you to arrive on Tuesday and depart on Monday so you can take advantage of at least one tour and one workshop.

In Omaha, plan to see the outstanding exhibitions mounted at the University
of Nebraska-Omaha Weber Fine Arts Building Gallery and travel downtown to the historic Old Market district to visit the Hot Shops 1301 Gallery, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and the Jun Kaneko studio and Kaneko: Open Space For Your Mind. We have included these exhibitions in the pre-symposium art tour, as well as an extraordinary private collection in Lincoln. In the textile conservation tour you have an opportunity to see some of the breathtaking Nebraska landscape as you travel to DeSoto Bend National Wildlife Refuge to see the Steamboat Bertrand exhibition. Native Prairie distinguishes the history tour, which will include a visit to Homestead National Monument.

Following the symposium participate in a guided tour of the Winnebago
and Omaha communities. Our Saturday plenary session speaker, Judi M. gaiashkibos, has graciously agreed to journey with you for this tour. But, if you have been reading Willa Cather since your childhood, you will not want to miss this opportunity to get to her home in Red Cloud on the arts and letters tour.

We offer four hands-on workshops, all held on the University of Nebraska-
Lincoln campus. Explore natural dyes with Dominique Cardon and Elena Phipps; digital Jacquard design with Julie Holyoke of Lisio in Florence; felt making with Janice Arnold and Christine Martens; and ralli quilt practice with Tricia Stoddard.

In partnership with the Sheldon Museum of Art, Saturday night we are offering a free screening of The Desert of Forbidden Art, an exciting new documentary about the rescue of 40,000 artworks sheltered at a remote desert museum in Uzbekistan narrated by Ben Kingsley and Sally Field.

Sunday offers a full day of post symposium activities.

Use our Facebook page to help plan your trip and hook-up with room-mates, investigate restaurants, and link to maps we have designed to help you get acquainted with Lincoln destinations.

Wendy Weiss and Diane Vigna, co-chairs


Friday, August 13, 2010

Cosmos Knit/Crochet Shell

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I finished the knitting and crocheting on this shell earlier this summer, but needed to do a fix on the armholes which were showing too much of me in the front. I like armholes which are pretty trimly fitted around the shoulder joint, and when they're not, it's just unattractive. I've had this happen on tanks/shells before, and the easiest fix is to just crochet a few rows where you need it. On this shell, since there are crocheted motifs in front, and all the edges are crocheted, that's no problem. I started about halfway between the side and shoulder seams on the back, and went to the same height in the front, then back to the side seam, so basically I added a wider 'slice' in the front than the back. It seems to fit in a much nicer way now, and I really like it.

The yarn is Cosmos by S. Charles Collezione, and the pattern is theirs as well. I got both the yarn and pattern from elann.com.

You crochet the 3 square motifs, then knit 2 side fronts and the back, stitch them all together, then crochet in the round at the bottom, making a 'beading' row to run your belt through. Very simple really, but I think it's cute.

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Friday, August 06, 2010

Marfy #1128 Roses & Caramel Finished

Photo Link (The link will take you to the first photo in the group, then you can click through on Next to see all of them, larger if you'd like.)

I finished the Roses & Caramel dress last night, and I have to say, I'm very pleased with it, and especially with the fit. I've never had any luck with this style of dress, until this pattern, and it's fun to have one actually fit me, and my shape. I do begin to think that perhaps this style is not my most flattering though, as it clearly reveals my very short-waisted figure, rather than disguising it a little bit, as I usually try to do. I do have one excuse though. I still am not able to stand up completely straight, and so I'm bent over at the waist enough that it shortens that area even more than usual. That's my story anyway. I can't wait until I can really stretch again.

Thank you Mardel, for the fantastic fabric! I really love it.

I used Roberta Carr's instructions for Bias Facings on this dress, and since the matelassé is fairly thick, I used a silk crepe de chine for the bias strips. I thought the colors went together fairly well, and it was scrap I had left from the contrast for my first Marfy suit, so that was fun too. Carr says that this kind of facing is very soft, and gives very little support. I would agree, but in this case, the fabric has plenty of body, it seemed like a good choice, and I have to say I like the finished effect. It's a lot of hand sewing, but I like handwork, and it didn't really take too long. Here's a shot of the facing inside the front neckline, and a close-up.

You turn your edge over, hand baste near the fold, then measure the edge, and attach a same size bias strip near the fold, RSU, with the edge turned under. Then press and shape carefully so the other edge fits, and stitch it, turning the edge under. Remove your basting, and you're done. Very soft and flexible, and very comfortable against the body.

I had to include a photo of my invisible zipper. You can see the front dart on the left.

And of course, most important of all, The Shoes.

It's going to be a very hot day tomorrow (93, with high humidity) and I don't know if the wedding is in an air conditioned church, so a cotton dress will be perfect. Now to go wrap the gift.

I'm really pleased with how this dress turned out, and this is the kind of dress I could imagine wearing all day with perfect comfort, which is always a plus. I can hardly wait to do another one, and summer is moving right along, so I'd better hurry,or it will be back to sleeves, which I guess would be okay anyway.

I want to thank everyone for the very kind hair comments. I'm really thrilled with the new 'do', and it's nice to know you like it too.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Dress in Progress

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Here's an early view of Marfy #1128, Roses&Caramel. I got the zipper put in this morning, and thought I'd better check the fit once again. I think it's going to be fine, especially when I don't have all the post-surgical underpinnings around my middle. I'm getting really tired of that, I can tell you! But the dress looks like it should be fine. The neckline will be folded over artistically, I hope, and there will be a finish on all the raw edges. I'm leaning more toward a belt out of the jute ribbon rather than a bow at the back neck, but there's time to decide yet.

My sister is staying with me helping me while I'm recovering, and she took the photos. Here's a back view.

The hem is just pinned, with a guess at the length. I have a tendency to go a little too long, so I'm trying to avoid that, and am now thinking it's maybe a little too short. That's a decision I can make a few days from now, I guess.

I was right that the 20" zipper made a world of difference in the ease with which I can get the dress on, and was a very good change. It's an invisible zipper, and it went in so beautifully that I just have to crow a bit. Even with my lovely ne, modern, computerized sewing machine, I still use the pink and blue plastic foot my Mom bought years ago when invisibles first came out, and it works better than anything, IMO. It looks like this, except mine's old enough that it's pale pink and blue.

I'm planning on wearing the dress next Saturday, so I need to hop to it, and I didn't get anything done yesterday. They were putting a new sliding glass door in my house, and I didn't want to go work in the basement while they were upstairs in my bedroom, as the running up and down 2 flights of stairs numerous times a day is a problem right now. So, a day 'wasted', although I'm glad the door is in, or mostly in anyway. The trim has gone to be stained, and they'll stain the inside of the door once it's cooler out, and we are able to open the windows to let the smell out without letting in 90 degree air with 50% humidity. I've been waiting on this since winter, and there have been so many hang-ups, I'm really glad we're on the home stretch.