Friday, October 25, 2013

Transit and following orders

Here again, today's post is brought to you from windy Wellington, the Capital city of New Zealand. Work brings me here, for two days. A day of listening to people talk about how they see the future in the area I work, and a day of working with others to see if we can make a plan to do something ... thatwill benefit someone and the economy. This is the scary side of education, the side where the outside world wants to see that you are of use, that what you know and what you do is relevant and useful. Scary, but good, and I was so glad that today was preceded by a day of listening to those who have gone before talk about what works.
Wee cubs cardigan goes well, the original pattern had ribbing at the hem and cuffs, and lace around the front band. Little Cub asked if there could be lace at the hem and cuffs too, well she also asked for beads, but I don't have any to hand that feel right. I've switched to a needle size smaller and so far the lace looks good. I am planning for a wide, 10 cm hem, something with enough weight to fall nicely, both visually and physically.
Here is the body all laid out, I'm on the fence about the marl of the pinks, the evidence of yarn dying ... But then again I love the pink, and know little cub does as well. This project travels well at this stage, the lace is repeatable, easy to remember, and the project fits into a sock project bag.
I've left my larger body of work at home, the tambour work.Tambour work is just less portable ....
There has been some frogging, the lines of dark chocolate sequins have been removed ...pending a redo. I amuse myself in that I now go out of my way to fix things that could be done better. There were places where there were do Double sequins instead of singles, an easy rookie mistake when working blind under the fabric. After I frogged the chocolate sequins I realized a simpler fix was simply to cut and remove the doubled sequins ...oh well, this way I get more practice. I also had fun placing bugle beads, and playing with tension and spacing, and working with 3mm seqins. Oh boy, those were too small for me to work blind, and I ended up cheating and using my sight to ensure each sequins was separate before stitching. I guess like with knitting, and forming a stitch, at some point I will be able to do this work by feel, and that will only come through practice.
Home tonight, and back to my own pillow and family ....
Take care, na Stella

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hello, my name is ...

I feel like I do need to reintroduce myself as I have been absent for so long. No real reason, just life being busy and messy and full, coupled with feeling I have nothing interesting, knit worthy or blog worthy to show. Recently my weekends have been snaffled by things and events out of my control - but through it all I have knit, and stitched and even added a bow to my arsenal of crafting.
First up knitting, I am still on the fence about what to cardigan to knit for moi, so cast on something in pink for little cub. I am knitting schools out by Katya Frankel in a very pretty pink Vintage Purls sock. The pattern is sized up to just below little cub, but as it is a fairly straightforward raglan for the body I am knitting to fit as I go. To avoid issues of colour shifts I am working two strands alternately. Body is about half done ... And so far so good.
I am still working on improving my skills with the tambour hook, and when I stitch the thread flows smoother and the stitches are less frustrating to form so practice is the key. I have since received the other two frames, and switched the work over to the ITA frame, a 'proper' slate frame. This time I tensioned the sides with pinned tape as I have seen done in photos. I liked the tambour trade from lacis but the slate frame is easier to set up square, and tends to hold the fabric tanker with no slip. There has been some stitching and redoing - but with tqmbour the chain stitch makes that so easy. Akin to frogging knitting, and almost as satisfying to see mistakes and 'could do betters' disolve before ones eyes. In keeping with the sampler notion I am now working vermacilli chain to fill in a circle, and then I plan to try keeping rows of bugle beads straight.
Lastly I spend a few days at a laser cutting course. That is my new craft bow - and I am excited to think of potential uses. Unfortunately there were problems with the laser cutters associated with the course, one wasn't working at all and the other wasn't working well. The thcnicla term was 'to much scatter'. End result is much of what I cut ended up toasted and charred around the edges. But as I learn best from making mistakes and working out solutions I feel like I learnd lots even if my results were not pretty. One of the important aspects was more fully mastering adobe illustrator as a design development tool. This is a program I teach but I teach its use for illustrating final finished designs - so it was interesting to approach a blank file and develope idea's in a totally digital space. Another was scale. Illustrator is a vector program which means simply that what is drawn is recorded mathematically so can be scaled easily without loosing form or proportion. The good news is the program hides the mathes fro. The user so they only worry about what it looks like. That is the programs strength - so at some point I had to realize the sock blockers and bag tags I were developing needed to be scaled. I had a vision getting it wrong and my bag tags being as large or larger than the suitcase they were affixed to. The sock bloker vision was equally bizzare - and all I could think was they might be good as shop displays if too large. With the whole toasted edges ... The end result was only my bag tags made the final cut - in scrap thick clear plastic.
I startd with the coffee cup (it was time for coffee and I am easily distracted), then I decided to develope paisley and argyle, - and on to using the magic of vector scale feature to shift and move and change the size and orientation. I failed on the blank tag, my argyle pattern was to intricate for the tag - and material so just before cutting I deleted it. I love the precision of the laser, one of the paisley shapes is made from teeny tiny hearts, the other from a edge like broidery anglaise. The long rectangle is my scale, I drew it to be 25cm - with the intention of seeing how large it was cut - it was 26cm ... So some room for fine tuning wher size matters,
And Yoyo came to see but left as soo. As she found no knitting was involved.
Take care, more soon, Stella.