growing daisy and stash.

I'm halfway through Daisy: finished the first ball of yarn, started the second, made the two edges, and am going to knit until the second ball is through. This will end up being the first project I block. crazy! I'll be following Becky's directions on fluffa! very carefully.

In other news, my stash is growing. I got some Cherry Tree Hill potluck bulky in purples and oranges. mmmm. 1,200 yards of it. mmmm. I'm thinking of making some more felted kitty beds, and maybe a hat or two or three as well. Also got some Cherry Tree Hill Merino Boucle which I'm not sure how I'll use yet. I know, yarn diet till sheep and wool, but it was smiling at me. And, its my birthday!

Previous: Daisy in progress.


felting the furniture.

Presenting my first use of knitting as a substitute for furniture upholstering:

Yes, I did it again. I felted! This was actually knit in the round, even though it looks like a square. It was supposed to be a kitty bed, but for the past couple of months it has been an ottoman cozy, so after my fun felting experience this past week, I decided to felt this one too, and mold it directly to the ottoman:

The yarn I used felted at two different rates. The araucania wool felted nicely after the second hot cycle, but it took a couple more for the noro kureyon wool to felt. And even at that, it only slightly felted. Total hot/cold cycles: 5.

After laying a sheet of plastic over to top of the ottoman, I put down some miracle dry cloth, then stretched the felted knit over the top of it. After I was satisfied with the shape, I put it by the front window for some sun. In the pictures above, it was dry enough to remove the plastic and cloth, but I kept it by the window to dry it out a little more.

Look at the before pic! As you can tell, it started out huge. The hot/cold felting cycles really helped to shrink it to fit around the ottoman so perfectly!

Modeling credit: Kitty #1 shows you how the kitty bed I presented last week always has a kitty in it!

Pattern: This started out as Wendy's kitty bed, but then I added an extra increase and many, many more rows, and used twice as much yarn. As you can see in the before picture, it turned out huge! I like to think of it as an upside-down kitty bed.

Yarn used: Noro Kureyon, color 126, and
Araucania Nature Wool for the solid color edges (two strands held together).


go dada go.

If you're in DC, that is. The Dada show is up at the National Gallery through May 14. The designers who put the show together made great use of the space with huge lettering, fun colored walls, and architectural detailing.

As for the WaPo D is for Dada 'review', I'm glad I hadn't read it before I went.

I'm hoping to make it back a few more times before it closes. Go!


Illustration Friday: Song

Meet Elliot. Elliot loved pirates, pirate stories, patches, and more than anything else, he loved saying 'arrrrgh.' Every Sunday, Elliot dressed in his full gear and was pirate of the playground. One thing he didn't realise was that his favorite nursery rhyme was really pirate code. There came a Sunday where Blackbeard himself came and took little Elliot away.

Have you heard that 'Sing a song of sixpence, A pocket full of rye, Four and twenty blackbirds Baked in a pie....' dates to the early 1700s and was a coded pirate message? Apparently, pirates used this message to recruit crew members for pirate vessels while the ships were docked, specifically Blackbeard's! 'King' in the rhyme refers to Blackbeard, and 'Queen' refers to his ship! Crazy I say!

But then, I did some more searching and found out the whole pirate connection was a joke. Someone decided they wanted to see how fast 'false' information would spread on the net. Well, so much for a great story gone sour. Boo! But I'd like to believe its true!

Previous Illustration Friday entries : simple : chair [chair pt 2 in the works!] : glamour [color gocco print] : glamour : cats : e is for : sea : flavor : holiday : imagine


felting: mission complete.

Meet Tonka Mighty Backhoe, otherwise known as Gin & Tonka, kitty #2, or simply 'Tonka.' Now she will no longer have to spread my paperwork all over the floor for a soft spot to sit on. Well, at least I hope so. Felting is now officially complete, and Tonka is a happier kitty.

For felting, the cat bed went through two hot/cold cycles, then I made a 'mold' for it and set it out to dry. I folded down the top 1/2 inch to make the structure stronger. It dried in less than 24 hours with the help of the sun and some miracle cloth I bought at last year's DC Home & Garden show. A lady was showing us how great it was at cleaning up spills, but I bought it to dry out my wet knits faster.

She actually got a double treat: I knit her a matching mohair mouse! Yes, of course, I knit another one for kitty #1.

Did Tonka approve of this project? Of course....some catnip and a new mouse and she was out in 2 minutes. Here she is sleeping with her teeny orange mouse...awwwww...

If you want to make your own, click here for the pattern by Wendy at Wendy Knits. Now I'm looking forward to making a second one for kitty #1. Oh, and a felted hat for me, and a felted cozy for the ottoman.

Yarn used:
Lambs Pride Bulky in Brown Heather (15% mohair/85% wool mix),
Araucania Nature Wool in orange for the edges, and
Cascade Yarns 'Fabulash' (awesome name!) for the last few rows.


today i felted.

A couple of months ago I knit two cat beds but never got around to felting them. What made me snap and want to do it today? I couldn't see my kitty sitting in a floppy cat bed like this:

So sad.

The first cat bed I knit became an ottoman cozy. A neighbor joked that one day she would come over and find that I had knit cozies for everything in the house. I think that first one is going to remain an ottoman cozy, but now I might felt it too. It is really pretty: bright noro kureyon stripes in the center and araucania orange on the edges.

I wish I had tried felting sooner...I really had no idea how much fun it would be to stick something you knit in the washing machine with no idea of what might come out. Now I have ideas swimming in my head for all sorts of things I'd love to knit and then felt.

Also, I did learn this past week that the correct term is 'fulling,' but for this pattern I'm going to call it felting. cause thats what the pattern says.

As soon as it is dry, smothered in catnip, and has a kitty in it, I'll snap a pic and post it here.


gocco fun.

Here are two layers I made during yesterday's gocco play date. The one on the left was drawn with carbon pencils and the one on the right was made with carbon ink and a brush:

Tonight I'll be doing a first test print of the one on the right. The carbon ink layer made the cleanest lines when the screen was burned, so I'm looking foward to seeing the printed outcome.

I've decided to add a third layer because I'm not entirely happy with the way the colors inside the kitty 'frames' bleed onto the background. Also, I'd like the pattern of the faux painted wall background to be a different color than the paper. Oh, and I filled in the frames. So here is the design for the new screen to be burned:

I scanned in all the layers and fiddled with colors, and below is what I'd love it to end up as (note: background is the gocco test print from last night):

Indirectly this piece is inspired by the house in The Royal Tenenbaums. I really liked how every inch of wall space in most rooms was covered by artwork, and there always seemed to be patterns on the walls. Oh, and mice too!

In other news, I haven't had a chance to work on Illustration Friday yet. Theme is 'song.' I have some ideas, hope to have something up by Tuesday!


Daisy in progress.

I started on Daisy from Rowan 38 and here is my progress so far:

The yarn I'm using is Green Mountain Spinnery, from the 2005 Sheep & Wool festival. It didn't come with any tags, and I couldn't find any info about it on their website, but the receipt (yes, I'm one of those people that saves all my receipts...might have to do some collage work with them all one day) says 'handpainted tencel' on it. I'm guessing its a 50% merino 50% tencel blend. Its really silky and shiny. I love it!

The 'cluster 5' part of the pattern was confusing at first and took me many tries and then many internet searches to find out how to work it. I think I started it over 5 times. Thank you Lamp Light Writing for posting a step by step method with photos! Oh, and thanks for calling Rowan to ask them how its done!

Here are my Cluster 5 step by step notes in case you're trying to figure it out:
K1: With all of the 5 unravelled stitches on your left needle, and your yarn to the back ready to knit, slide the right needle through all 5 loops as if to knit them together. While the needle is through all 5 loops, wrap the yarn around the needle 3 times, then complete the knit action, keeping all 5 loops on the left needle.

P1: Next, move the yarn to the front ready to purl, stick the needle through the 5 loops as if to purl and keep the needle there! Wrap the yarn around the needle 3 times, then pull it through completing the purl action.

Then continue the same for the following K1,P1, etc... On the last K, slide the cluster over to your right needle, and make sure the connection is tight. The following K is a good time to pull the yarn to make the cluster ends tighter.

A lot going on here and my main advice is to move the yarn forward/back depending on whether its time to purl/knit the cluster. Gets a little awkward at times, but its fun when you see the pattern of swirls come through! If any of you have done this and have figured out a better way, please let me know!

Note: The yarn I'm using is actually lighter than in the photo above. You can see a more color acurate version of it in my Stash post below: its the ball of peachy colored yarn at top, center of the bottom case. mmm...peachy!


Knits. knits. etc...

Interesting week coming up! Monday night we'll be taking our collaborative Monday art night back to the Argonaut, and Thursday night will be a gocco play date with a friend! Its really amazing how much artwork you can get done when you set time aside and make it your only priority. Sean and I are thinking of making Thursdays a second 'art night' at our place to work on personal artwork.

Now, on to some recent cast-offs... The hat on the left was knit with Manos and was a Christmas present for my brother. He says its his best hat ever, so I'll be starting a second one for him pretty soon.

The purple swirly hat is not the same one I posted before. Notice in the detail how the thick/thin parts of the yarn happened to knit up together instead of randomly and how it created a spiral design all the way up. very fun. Its the same yarn from Asheville, NC (I've included details below in case you want to buy your own).

Speaking of Asheville, this coming weekend the Washington Glass School will be going on their annual glassblowing trip to the Penland School of Crafts. Have fun everyone! Maybe I'll join you again next year...

Back to knitting... Here we have another one of my umbilical cord hats paired with some booties. I bought the booties in Beirut (from Sarah's Bag) and wanted to make a hat to match using the blue sky cotton I already had. So, I knit some rowan kidsilk spray into the first few rounds, then again into the i-cord part of the hat. It gave it a fun and fuzzy feel, and made them a set! So much fun that I've already knit another hat, same color, but with some fuzzy green yarn instead. Here is some more eye candy: beads (mostly vintage, mostly glass) for my friend, the new mom:

Work in progress: Sean's first hat was a great hit, so I've started a 'lighter' version of it in black cashcotton knit on size 6 dpns, and I'm making up the pattern! Hey, I've made about 8 hats in the past 2 months, all based in some way on other patterns, so its about time I made my own one up, right?

I started a clapotis but have stopped work on it because I'm not entirely happy with the yarn, and I've heard the pattern takes way more yarn than it calls for. My decision to end seemed an even better idea when kitty#2 attacked one of the balls, split it into 7, and took it for a romp all over the house! Clapotis, twas fun while it lasted, dropping the stitches and all, but I'm gonna cast you aside and find a new scarf to work on. I'm thinking maybe the 'Daisy' scarf from the winter Rowan magazine. Hmmm...

Details promised above:
The purple/green yarn (similar to point 5 colinette but softer) 85% wool, 15% silk, from Mackey's Acres, mackeyacres@charter.com
The store where I bought it from was: Asheville NC Home Crafts in the Historic Grove Arcade, Tel: 828.350.7556.


Illustration Friday: Simple

Meet Becky. Becky can knit a sweater in 2 minutes and is one of my blog/knitting superheroes. This illustration was inspired by her fabulous 'Mystery Knit' Titania sweater she designed. Visit her site, fluffa!

Previous Illustration Friday entries : chair [chair pt 2 coming soon!] :
glamour [color gocco print] : glamour : cats : e is for : sea : flavor : holiday : imagine


Illustration Friday: Chair

Meet Alison. Alison doesn't understand some of the things big people say. And when she doesn't understand, she just giggles.

So, is Alison really going to fall? or will she gracefully rock back onto the four legs of her chair? You pick her destiny, and I'll illustrate the winning outcome.

Previous Illustration Friday entries : glamour [color gocco print] : glamour : cats : e is for : sea : flavor : holiday : imagine


Meet my stash.

Its my one year knitting anniversary! In celebration, I decided it was time to go through my stash and figure out what I had, what projects I wanted to work on next, and decide on what I wanted from the sunday morning super bowl sale at stitchdc.

All my yarn is neatly stored in four plastic cases. Every once in a while, I like to rearrange my stash. Sometimes by color, sometimes by yarn style. Sometimes just cause they look pretty together.

Today's sale was from 11-12 but it took 2 hours of waiting in line! argh! But it was all worth it. Oh, I should also mention that on Friday I did a clandestine walk-through of the shop to scope out what my options were. Want to take a peek at my latest acquisitions? My favorite purchase was the one I almost put back: the grey super chunky blue sky alpaca in the top left corner. truly scrumptious.


Meet Macy the Glamorous Gocco

Macy the colored bubble fashionista made it into full color!

Macy was printed using my Print Gocco CD press. It has a moveable printing bed, so I was able to adjust it in order for all the layers to register correctly. This is my first try at doing a multi-layer, multi-color gocco print, and for a first try, I'm quite happy with it!

Yes, print gocco everywhere, and I was so excited and thrilled to be doing it, I did some layers before they even dried! And I left the final black screen in the printer for hours and randomly printed on stuff. fun. My kitties were intrigued.

My favorite is the painted print (below). The ink is oil based, so it makes it really easy to paint within the lines. I can see an all-gocco coloring book in my future. Paint by number would be fun too!

Totals: 22 color prints, 5 small file prints, 1 painted small file print, 6 file folder prints, and some random prints on receipt paper. Oh, and one print on tissue paper for Scenic Artisan to do a faux finish experiment with it.

:: I ended up scanning the original illustration and resizing it to fit.

:: It was really easy to set up the three different layers in photoshop. I then printed the pages out and made some photocopies.

:: This print came out with a lot of texture in it because the paper stuck to the screens! Yes, unexpected, but I'm hoping that when I want this effect again I'll be able to recreate it. This might have happened because the density of of black on the photocopy was too intense. Next time I'll make the printouts in another color (like green/blue) so the photocopy doesn't come up so dark. I wonder if this wouldn't have happened if I had used the carbon inked version of the illustration, or even if I had just photocopied it onto heavier paper.

:: Printing on gold leafed-paper: not a good idea. Took me yet more time to pick off all the bits and pieces. yes, with my trusty xacto.

Thanks for coming back to see the results!