A ‘Week’ of 11 days.

In which not much progress was made.

Thing A. morphed into Thing B.

And Thing C. into Thing D, which is my favourite of all these odd things with beads/buttons/shells added.

A lot of ICADs have been made. I’m not sure if they are all there or in the right order.

And the pulled back red sweater has reached this stage. I’ve found a different pattern which is knitted bottom up, unlike the previous attempt which was top down. Hence the separate sleeves. I prefer the other way but I was fed up with struggling with that numbers in that pattern.

Behind the sweater you can see the new carpet, which, despite appearances, is not grey but blue. And so much better than its baby nappy coloured predecessor.

This is slightly more accurate. There is more furniture to move back in, but we’re awaiting the fitting of blinds before replacing it.

A Week in Which Progress was Made.

These spider-like things have gained a backing, and one of them has even been sewn down. With added buttons.

I think they would look better on black but I’m still playing around with tone on tone.

Another before and after. After a failed attempt to sun print on an ICAD, using silk paints and without any sun, I used up the left overs of paint to paint some of the silk paper – the darker piece on the right.

In the course of looking for the silk paints I found something called lace dye, which I had forgotten I had, and have never used. The instructions said it could be used, well diluted on fabric, so I tried it on another piece of silk paper, in which I had embedded physalis husks. As you do.

I have no idea what to do with either of these, but an idea may come to me.

This is another thing which seemed like a good idea at the time. Years ago someone gave me a Perfect Pleater, because she had never used it. Neither had I. Till yesterday. No idea what I’ll do with that either, but they are very nice pleats.

I was very doubtful that this would work, but it has. In the second and third photos, the only thing holding all those springy fibres together is random Cretan stitch, worked on both sides. I poked holes in it to make it look like it was disintegrating more than it really is, and will add some stitch to emphasise the holes.

These are this week’s ICADs. The blue one is the unsuccessful sun print – the leaf shapes should be lighter, not darker! From left to right, the prompts were root (In this case, carrots), rainbow, cyanotype, Rubies cube, Pictogram and found.

And finally, a complete disaster. This was machine stitch, worked on painted paper with a layer of soluble fabric to stiffen it. The idea is that when you rinse the soluble away, it partly disintegrates the paper. I’ve done it before, with success. Not this time.

Has it really been three weeks?

Things got worse before they got better, but they have got better and I am feeling more energetic. We have a car again so we can go places – but this week we have school holidays, public holidays, and for a few days, some warm weather, so it was a good time to stay at home and avoid the traffic.

So plenty of time for embroidery. Looking back I’m surprised how much I’ve achieved.

This month’s Jean Draper pattern is breaking and separating: the examples she gives are of marble and other patterned stones. I’m struggling a bit with this one, and things aren’t helped by the fact that the embroidery examples she gives are both made using machine embroidery. And I don’t have a working machine…

So I’ve allowed myself to be sidetracked into exploring hand stitch on soluble fabric, based on suggestions in Draper’s other book, Stitch and Structure.

A mention in Stitch and Structure of working with silk threads lead to s looking for silk fibres left over from long ago silk paper making. Which led to silk paper making, the sort you use gummed cocoon strippings for. I was just going to make a couple of sheets but I kept thinking of new things to sandwich in the the middle.

And one thing I have learned was that you should not handle soluble fabric with damp hands. I ended up very sticky, as did the ironing board I was working on. Fortunately the cover is removable and washable.

Another thing I have learned is that I should work a tension square before starting to knit a new sweater. I got nearly to the end of the red one, and realised that it was two sizes too small, even for my post Weight Watchers self. So that’s having to be pulled back.

A Fortnight to Forget

In which things happened, to others and to us, which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Well, I would, it’s what they deserve. But we have survived, and the worst is over, or it will be, when we get the car back from its lengthy stay in the body shop recovering from the hit and run.

The loan car we had has had to go home, so we can’t get out much, unless we walk or get a taxi. Now I have no excuse for not being productive. Now things have settled down a bit, I’ve got back into the groove: this is some of what has been happening.

These were inspired by last month’s Jean Draper inspired topic, cracking and packing patterns. The two on the left may seem a long way from bubbles, but that’s where they started. The one on the right is based on tree bark. I’d forgotten how much I like doing drawn thread embroidery, especially when it gets a bit anarchic.

This month’s theme is angular patterns. The strange yellow thing is the card frame I made a while ago, some cord from my cord making bonanza, and some tapestry wool and dyed lolly sticks from my stash. Yes, I have strange things in my stash. The others are more drawn thread work, and, unusually for me, some machine work.

The latter met a lot of my intentions for this year. It’s angular, it includes some relatively unusual techniques for me, and it uses up some stash.

There were layers of four different scraps of fabric. I started with 2 layers of fabric painted with chalk paint, one with added ink, the other dry brushed with gold paint. Then I added a piece of cream Lutradur, and topped it with Tyvek painted gold on one side and turquoise on the other. It was machine stitched with metallic thread and ironed. At which point the Tyvek almost disappeared, leaving just a dusting of greeny gold on the cream Lutradur. I cut back through some of the layers, and because the Oblique Strategies app came up with ‘Accretions’ I added some beads and sloppy French knots, which I rather regret now.

These are my collected knitting samples, all different colours because I was using up remnants. I enjoyed myself trying out new-to-me cast ons, stitch patterns and cast offs. some of these will make their way into new SKOs, some of them won’t. (Strange versions of Icord, I’m looking at you.) They were fun to knit, and I think I’ll do some more when I’ve finished the red sweater.

I’ve only had to pull it back twice, once just after I started when I decided it needed bigger needles, and once after I’d got most of the way down the first sleeve and decided I’d started decreasing too soon.

When it’s finished I’ll be able to lie on the floor and be camouflaged. Or maybe not.

Sun and Sewing.

It’s been a much better week than last week, I’m glad to say, And quite productive, despite feeling a bit uninspired at the beginning of the week.

I occasionally use an app called Oblique Strategies, when I need a kick in the creatives. Last week the prompt was ‘Go to an extreme, come part way back’. Given that this month’s design theme is ‘packing and cracking’ my first idea was to break something and put it together again, like Japanese Kintsugi. But that seemed a bit too extreme.

Then I cracked my phone screen. I wasn’t up to repairing it with gold lacquer, but I could draw the pattern of cracks, and play around with them for my 100 day project. So I did. These and a lot more.

Then I got a bit more violent, and attacked a plastic pot with a lump hammer. As you do. And reassembled it like this, following ideas from Jean Draper’s Stitch and Structure.

After that I began to have a few other ideas. This is my fallback technique, needlepoint, so not very experimental as far as I’m concerned, although I’m only using tent stitch, which is rare for me. The design was based on an image of cracked tarmac.

It looks a mess because of all the away knots but those will gradually vanish.

To try to get a bit more experimental in my sketchbook, I’ve started working through a book called Fast Art. One of the suggestions is to make your own Tape Art, which was something new to me. The book’s version is simpler and more portable than the wonderful examples I’ve found on line, but it was still fun to do.

And one thing led on to another. I had some left over card and tape, and I remembered I’d thought about doing some weaving over a card frame…

That’s some of the miles of cord I made last month.

And finally, a completed SKO, and the start of another one, must be around the 10th one?

I am getting a bit bored with the SKOs, and I have a sweater’s worth of red wool waiting, so I may take a break in their production. After what happened with the last sweater, I may need an entire summer to finish it.

It was All Going so Well…

It’s been a pretty productive week, until the end. Which has been destructive…

Despite being out quite a lot, I managed to finish this, and added it to APONGS, together with that undisciplined coil of cords.

Getting the allegedly ‘heat soluble’ stabilizer out turned out to be a nightmare, so much so that I threw the rest of the packet away. However, the residue of the stabilizer, and/or the thin wire I wrapped round the cord, made it quite firm, and I could probably have got it to stand up if I’d wanted to. But by then I’d had enough, so I tacked it down and added a few beads.

This is almost everything I made in March, apart from a lot of cords, so it was quite a productive month altogether, by my standards anyway.

I washed both the latest SKOs, but only one shrank as much as I wanted it to. The second is waiting to revisit the washing machine to see if that improves things.

365 Somethings continues. I’m beginning to get more experimental, both with apps I don’t normally use, and with functions in favourite apps that I’ve not seen the point of before, like circle masking. As you can see…

The delay over finishing the couched cording has meant that I’ve been late starting this months pattern, from the list in Jean Draper’s book Stitch and Pattern. April is ‘packing and cracking’ patterns, which inspired the drawings above, and this, below, from an image of a piece by Draper in the book.

Hers was much more interesting, though this got better with a few beads. (I don’t add beads to everything, honest.)

But I couldn’t think of anything to do next, the cracking and packing just wasn’t inspiring me. When in doubt over creative ideas, I sometimes use an app called Joey’s Oblique Strategies, and it came up with ‘Go to an extreme, come part way back.’

Well, if you’re thinking about cracking, the extreme is probably cracking something, but at first I drew the line at making deliberate cracks in something. Then the chef emptied one of these.

So I hit it with a lump hammer. Several times. It was quite therapeutic. I had a handful of cracked and broken shards of plastic. What to do next?

I have another book by Jean Draper, ‘Stitch and Structure’ in which she describes enclosing scraps of fabric between two layers of stabilizer, before sewing them together. I had to punch holes in the plastic shards before I could sew them together, and layering them in the stabilizer was, shall we say, challenging, but it was done. At the moment it looks like this.

I shall work more lines of stitch vertically and horizontally, knotting them to each other before washing away the stabilizer. I have no idea it it will work, but it is outside my comfort zone, which is a major motivation for this exercise. And it’s used up a bit of stash.

But – when I started thinking about cracking things, the Fates were listening. After I photographed the SKOs, I dropped my phone.

A Week of Two Halves

It started off quietly but reached a non-needlework related crescendo at the end.

We were out quite a lot, which meant I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped. This, for example, is taking quite a long time, probably because I’m bored with it.

The shininess is the stabilizer it’s mounted on, the wispy thread is the tacking that’s holding it on there. I’m certain it’s going to go pear shaped when I remove the stabilizer, but I think I might wrap it in copper wire before I do, which might help it stand up for itself. And add a few beads. Possibly even beaded wire.

I was so bored with it, I took time out to do this.

As I suspected, working machine satin stitch on the Kozo was more successful than the hand stitch, and a lot quicker. Then I sewed it to APONGS, with a few beads.

The knitting has pottered along gently, although the cold weather we’ve been having means knitting tightly can be challenging to my arthritic hands.

The smaller one is the one I was working on last week. That’s how big it got before the shrinkable wool ran out. I found some more in a slightly darker shade, which I used for the bigger one. That ran out last night so I shall cast it off tonight, and shrink them next week.

I still have quite a lot of the recycled sweater yarn left, so is time to test some of my other left overs and charity shop purchases to see if they shrink.

And 365 Somethings/100 days continues, because it’s easy to do over coffee. I’m still trying to use colours I don’t like, but it’s really difficult! Brown looks drab and purple looks brash!

The crescendo? There’s some very good news I’m not at liberty to reveal yet. And there was this. Another one. That’s three in three weeks.

A Quiet Week

Which was just what we needed.

I made more cords, which has made a tiny reduction in my stash of threads. Of course, I now have a bigger stash of cords…

The blue one did get some additional beads, which I think improved it.

Other things got beads as well, which marginally improved them.

The pulled work was a lot of fiddly work for not much effect. I’m thinking of trying machine satin stitch on another piece of Kozo, to see if that’s more effective. And maybe a few beads…

This was something I started a couple of weeks ago, and then abandoned before I didn’t have the right sort of stabilizer. The idea is that the stabilizer holds the cords in place until I’ve added enough stitch to hold them together without the backing. Will it work? Watch this space.

I’ve washed the last two SKOs. The recycled sweater yarn, as expected, do not shrink, resulting in a somewhat droopy vessel when it was on its own. (It would make a good hat if it wasn’t too big.)

However, the oddment of undyed natural sheep colour wool shrank nicely, making a firm sided SKO with nice clear ridges. This is definitely an idea to follow up. I have most of a sweaters worth of the non shrink stuff left, but not much of the shrinking one, so it’s time to see what I can find in the stash.

This is all the natural I have left, so this one will be ‘knit on till the wool runs out’. The stripes are random numbers of rounds, decided by rolling a die.

And the 100 days project is morphing into Daisy Yellow’s 365 Somethings.

And finally, just so our week wasn’t too dull, the early evening excitement of a grandstand view of a big yellow ball drifting past our window.

Not a Good Week

For reasons I have described on my other Blog, Cheshire Cheese. Which is not about cheese.

What with the time taken up by dealing with the aftermath of the accident, and of an unexpected filling, I don’t seem to have achieved very much this week. There was some stash reduction – I found some Kozo fibre I must have had for at least 10 years, and never used. A pity, because it’s interesting stuff.

The dried form looked a lot like branches, so, inspired by Jean Draper, I added a bit of wrapping and made a tree, to which I will add a few beads. The orange fabric is a piece of hand dye which is probably even older than the Kozo.

The bits on the right were soaked in warm water and then gently teased out. I can see branching forms in there, too. I’m going to try mounting one of them on a temporary stabilizer, also inspired by Jean Draper, and try pulled work, to bring out those forms. I’m not sure if it will work, but it’s ‘just a sample’.

This is also ‘just a sample’, but not a successful one. I haven’t used my embellisher for years, and it shows. And it has a couple of broken needles, and I can’t find my spares.

I’m still playing with cords, probably because they don’t need much thought. I thought this one was finished, until I photographed it, but then I decided it needed some beads between the branches. The only beads I have with big enough holes (well, I think they are big enough) are multicoloured, and I’m not sure they’ll work. I shall deconstruct the branches, not difficult because they are only knotted on, and try threading on the beads, which may be more difficult.

This is just an assembly of cords I made earlier. Probably about 15 years ago when I was making samples for City and Guilds, or possibly in one of my later cord making binges. I like making cords.

Knitting, and my 100 days project have continued, albeit slowly in the case of the knitting.

So we’re hoping this week is better than the last. I’ve just ordered a garden table so we can sit outside for our elevenses and fourses, so that guarantees the weather’s going to change for the worse.

A Week of Flowers, Gin & Knitting Needles

All birthday presents, which perhaps says a lot about me. I was going to photograph them all together but then I started on the gin, and cast on on the needles.

So here are the flowers.

And the knitting

Yes, it’s another SKO from repurposed wool. This is the one I’ve just finished, made from the same old cardigan, together with the previous three. I decided to replace the cream stitching that held them together with a contrast yarn. Because I’m trying to avoid my go-to contrast colours of black or red, and use up stash, I used some turquoise cotton, which I think was also once a cardigan.

The new SKO needs to meet the washing machine, but I don’t think it will shrink, because the cardigan never did.

When I last posted, I was planning on adding some couching to this.

As you can see, I didn’t. or rather, I did, but then I took it off again, and replaced it with fly stitch, worked on waste canvas (stash reduction!) in sort of branches. It fades in and out of the background, but that was intentional, it’s an effect I’m fond of.

The couching yarn was not wasted however, it is becoming this.

I’m rereading Jean Drapers Stitch and Structure, alongside her Stitch and Pattern, and I’ve just got to the section in the former on making cords. I like making cords, so I made a few more, and found some others. All orange, as part of my attempt to move out of my comfort zone and use colours I wouldn’t usually choose.

Cords seem to fit well with the theme of branches, hence the blue one above, and this one. It’s also stash reduction, with hand dyed knitting ribbon (10+ years old) and some tapestry wool I inherited from my mother (20+ years old?).

There’s an outbreak of branching forms in my 100 days project too, though the latest couple are based on road maps rather than trees.

We have a quiet week this week, because both grands have coronavirus, so provided we don’t get it, I should be able to keep on exploring these patterns.