Sunday, April 22, 2012

Here We Go!

This is the first (of many) entries that will follow the process of my wall art felt piece that will be part of the Cultural Capital of Canada art project.
The inspiration for this piece is the photo below.  I taped it on my wall.  It is 18 inches wide and five feet tall.  This piece will be hung on a wall in the Region Office in St. Catharines, along with four other "fruit belt" photo inspired fibre and mixed media art pieces of the same size.  I am so excited to be part of this project!

The next photo shows the fun I had at The Fibre Garden last week.  I purchased mostly merino and corriedale rovings in blues and greens, and there is a citron silk that has stunning shine on top of the natural merino batting that will be the base of the wall hanging.  There are skeins of shrinkable wools in front and embroidery threads and vials of tiny glass beads!  All the supplies I need to "paint" this picture in wool!
The first thing I did was make a small sample.  It is about 12 inches by 15, and I wanted to see how the colours blend and how much the combination shrinks so that I can best calculate the finished size of the big piece.  I also did a bit of needle felting to accent the apples.

Notice the way the silk add shine and texture (because it shrinks at a lesser rate than the wool.  The tree branch will also have some texture when I add some boucle wool to the mix.

 for more felting blog entries go HERE
and HERE.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sarah's Cable Merino

This is my go-to pattern, it fits every time. The raglan always fits shoulders, especially when combined with the springy ribby small cables. I have mastered the technique of making 4 stitch cables without the cable needle, by knitting in the back of the third and fourth stitch, then without pulling those off the right needle, flip it around to the front and knit in the first and second needle. Then, pull all four off the left needle.... MAGIC! But, for most non-insane-extreme knitters, it is a very simple 4 stitch cable, always the same, always on the 6 row repeat. Easy. The feature of this design is leaving 4 stitches intact at the edge of the raglan for each piece, and perform the decreases on the inside of this band. It creates an 8 stitch wide band when sewn together and really defines the raglan. (photo below)

Pink Cable Raglan Sweater

**knowledge of cable knitting is very helpful here**

Yarn: Grignasco Merino-Gold, 15 balls, 50gms, 125 m. (Or DK weights Merino that Knits To Gauge!)

Needles: 4.0 mm (US 6), and medium cable needle. (or size to get correct gauge)

Gauge: 28 sts and 36 rows = 4 Inches ***IN CABLE PATTERN*** Knit your swatch in the cable pattern, then wet and block without ironing or flattening** important as the cables will relax a bit***

Size: Medium (37 inch bust, but very stretchy to a bit bigger or smaller should work)

Cable Pattern: Row 1: P2 [K4, P2] repeat across to end. (swatch and sweater have stitches that are a multiple of 6 plus two more stitches… ie: 6 times 21 = 126 plus 2 = 128 for the main body.

Row 2, 4, and 6, : K2 [P4, K2] across.

Row 3: same as row 1

Row 5: P2 [Cable 4 left, P2] across. ** Cable 4 left= put 2 sts on cable needle, hold to front of work, knit 2 sts, then knit 2 sts from cable needle**

Back: Cast on 118 sts. Work in K2, P2 ribbing for 2.5 inches. On the last row increase 10 sts across (128 sts)

Begin Cable Pattern (above), and work until length is 15 inches.

Raglan shaping: cast off 8 stitches at start of next two rows, keeping cable pattern as established.

Decrease row: (right side) knit 4 (even if this is a cable row 5), Purl 2 together, work stitches as expected in the cable pattern until 6 stitches are left on the needle, Purl 2 together, knit 4.

Wrong side: knit and purl what you see on the needles.

Continue these two rows, decreasing on the right side. If there are not enough knit stitches to create a cable, just knit those. This happens inside the 4 edge sts as the raglan progresses.

Work until you have 36 sts left, and add a few rows if needed until 9 inches since the raglan cast off. Cast off all remaining sts.

Front: Work same as back until 4 inches below top neck of back. Neckline: Cast off center 26 sts, join 2nd ball and work both sides at the same time. Continue to decrease the raglan edges on the right side and at the same time , decrease one stitch at each neck edge every right side row 5 times. Work only until the length is ONE inch below the back length, and cast off the few sts left on each needle.

Sleeves: Right sleeve: Cast on 54 sts, Work in k2, p2 ribbing for 2.5 inches, increasing 8 sts on last row.

Establish cable pattern on 62 sts, and work up sleeve, increasing one stitch on each side every 6th row. When the increases allow, incorporate the cable pattern into the new stitches.

Work until 104 stitches on needle, work even until 17 inches from start.

Raglan shaping: Cast off 8 stitches at start of next two rows, Work decreases same at back and front, every right side row, inside the framing 4 stitches.

Work this raglan, until Length of sleeve matches the front length (1 inch shorter than back). Cast off 3 at start of right side row, continue in raglan pattern on the left edge through to end. Next right side: cast off 2 at start. Next right side: cast off 2. Last right side, cast off rest.

Left sleeve, work same to 1 inch below back length: Working from the WRONG SIDE: cast off 3, then 2, then 2, then bind off all, while working the regular raglan shaping on the right side only at the right edge.

Neck Ribbing: Sew all the raglan seams except ONE at the back shoulder. (or sew all and use small length circulars to do the neck ribbing)

Pick up approx. 100 sts around the neck edge. Work in k2, p2 ribbing for 1.5 inches – OR you could continue up into a mock turtle or full turtle neck here!)

Sew last raglan seam.

Sew sleeve and side seams.

Wet in cold water, and lie flat shaping gently to air dry.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wine and Jelly Beans

OK, this post is not really about wine and jelly beans, although I am consuming exactly that while I write this...
My quick trip to California was fun. I went to celebrate a big birthday for my baby brother. My sister flew in from Winnipeg to be there too. You can imagine the fun we had. We did the redwood forest. Here I am in the burned out cave that is in the trunk of one of the massive redwoods.
My brother got lost in one of the tree trunks....

In San Francisco, we had lunch overlooking the waterfront, and spent an hour laughing at the street performance of "the bush-man". The guy in the red cap hid behind the branches and popped out with a boo, to unsuspecting tourists, making them jump back in fear. Often laughter followed and a crowd gathered to watch the passersby jump! The fellow does a good business judging from the number of tips dropped in his jar over the hour we watched.
Here is my sister and me (in the Tilley hat and Ray Bans) in the classic bridge pose. It was so crowded, we had to lean into a clear spot for the photos! They charge nothing to drive to this side of the bridge, but $6 to cross back. Obviously a high maintenance bridge indeed!
Note, I am wearing a fabulous orange mohair jacket, from many years ago. Knit with Fleece Artists' MO, it stands the test of time.
I am finally getting back to a normal routine and will post the pink sweater pattern tomorrow. In the meantime, I am almost finished another quick knit pattern, and will post that one too on the heals of the pink! Check in tomorrow..... Cheers

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pattern Pending...

It has been a crazy two weeks. We planned to go away to Myrtle Beach for ten days, but about one and a half weeks before flying Directair to a sunny vacation, the airline decided to pack it in and had a lovely message on their website and phone line.... we are closed, contact your credit card company for a refund! (I feel bad that VISA had to clean up the mess!). Needless to say a replacement last minute flight would cost us 4 to 5 times what we had lined up so... we drove. This added 14 hours of travel time to each end of the trip... but... it also added lots of knitting time! So I finished the cable sweater, and started the next project.
I will have to wait another week to post it however, as I am off to spend Easter with my baby brother in California! I would have preferred more than two days to unpack and repack, but that's the way it works out sometimes, so here I go again.
I also have very exciting news. I have been chosen to be one of the local artists in a huge art installation that will be part of the closing ceremonies for the CULTURAL CAPITAL OF CANADA 2012. Niagara Region won the honour this year (along with Calgary, Alberta) and many events are planned throughout the summer and fall. You can read about it HERE, and I will post more about my art piece, a combination of felting, fabric, beading and maybe a bit of knitting, to make a tall wall hanging 18 inches by 5 feet.