Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday Inspiration - Snowdrops

Our snowdrops are blooming!  Even in a winter like we're having this year that's mild with warmer, sunny days interspersed, it's still so heartening to see them pop up!  Spring will come!  For those of you going through a snowier, icier winter, I found some quilting inspiration - it just seemed like it should be quilting to keep us all warm and toasty.

This pillow cover from Textile Dreams would also make a good quilt block.  I like different fabrics that were used for the background - the orange really makes it all stand out!  I could definitely see this as the beginning of a spring flowers quilt that would feel fantastic in those final days of winter.

This design by UK artist Carol Arnold is actually a stained glass window, however wouldn't it look lovely as a tile quilt square?!  I can see the background being batik.  And again, what a perfect beginning to a spring flowers quilt.

Esther Aliu's snowdrop quilt square looks like our snowdrops did last year - popping up amidst snowflakes.  These are applique work - and be sure to look at her website here, there is an appliqued tulip square and tons of other amazing applique work!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday Inspiration - Ultraviolet

You may have seen that Pantone's color of year for 2018 is Ultraviolet.  The bluey violet is one of my favorite colors!  Pantone is a company that standardizes color matching and gives color forecasts.  You can read more about their reasons for choosing ultraviolet here.

Ultraviolet is one of those color names sometimes used with reddish purples, so just searching for "ultraviolet" yarns or fabrics doesn't necessarily get you the right color.  I've come up with some nice possibilities for fiber enthusiasts if you're excited about creating a color of the year project.

Sweet Georgia Brown has a new color, Lupine, that I'm definitely going to be making something with!  It's on their Superwash Worsted and Tough Love Sock here - Eat.Sleep.Knit also has a fun and very addictive yarn game going on!

For fabric, how about Moda's marbled purple

or this Kaffe Fassett flowered cotton.

DMC embroidery floss is widely available at chain craft stores and has color #333 looks like a great ultraviolet.

And for adding something extra to that yarn work or embroidery, how about this seed bead I found at Fire Mountain Gems.

I'll leave you for this week with an excerpt from the purple poem in Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O'Neill.

"Time is purple, just before night when most people turn on the light - but if you don't it's a beautiful sight. ..... the purple sound is the loveliest thing, it's a violet opening in the spring."  

That's how I interpret this year's color!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, January 5, 2018

Friday Inspiration - First Quarter Fiber Art Challenge

If you've been following this blog through the autumn and early winter months, you know I decided to push myself and participate in several bead/jewelry challenges each month.  I can't emphasize how much this has helped me get out of my usual box of how I approach my art work.  I wrote some about it here.  

When I was in art school, the ideas seemed to flow!  Every semester there were new assignments to work on, new techniques to push my art abilities, and people to share art making with.  People who were also working on the same assignments and with the same new techniques - and who showed me ways of approaching problems I'd never even considered.  I was scared to death of critiques when I first went back to school.  This is the culmination of each assignment where you present the piece you worked on and, hopefully, completed.  Everyone then talks about it - what went right, what went wrong, how they interpret what you've created.  These quickly became the classes I looked forward to most!  Sharing what I'd made and seeing what others created with the same parameters was not just educational, it was also lots of fun!

With all these things in mind, I've been looking for fiber art challenges.  I've found several that are specific to certain types of fiber art - such as quilting challenges.  I've found ones that are actually entering your artwork into shows.  What I would really like is a challenge that can be done with any type of fiber art, because I'm all over the board on what I like to work with.  And one that I don't feel the pressure of actually entering a show or gallery presentation.  Just something to work on that I'll be able to share with others who worked on the same challenge, talk about what we did, look at everyone's interpretations and inspirations .... have fun!

So I've decided to host fiber art challenges on this blog.  There are a LOT of people who read this blog - you can check out the always changing number of followers at the left.  And my analytics tell me that every month there are 20,000 to 30,000 page views.  I really, really, really hope that some of you out there will want to give it a try!

I'm going to try four a year.  There will be a photograph, painting, or piece of art that is not fiber art to work with.  Use any technique that is associated with fiber art - there's a lot to work with!  Make it big, small, somewhere in between.  Create something in a few hours or take all three months to work on it.  This can be the first time you've ever used this technique or something you've spent your life practicing.

At the end of March, I'll put up a link you can use to post a photo of your work and a link (if you wish) to a blog, Facebook page, or anywhere else you'd like to talk about what you created.  The rest of us can make positive comments about what we like best.  

Are you in??!!!  Great!!!  Let's get started with the first challenge!

The first quarter's challenge is a photograph I took on a frosty morning on our farm.  We get a lot of fog here and it often "freezes out" covering everything in sparkling diamonds.  I've been inspired by these wonderland creations for years and have always meant to create something based on them.  

Any way your inspiration leads you, go with it!  You might chose to work with the colors, or the theme of frost or winter, or something else that others would never even think of.  You might chose to copy the photo with fibers.  I'll post updates on my piece and cheer everyone on.  On your mark, get set, go!!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Snowy Owl Hat

Here's my first finished knit of the year!  I developed it from several hats and used the traditional owl cable pattern.  You can make it in different colors for different types of owls - snowy owls are my model Charlotte's favorite!  I used MadelineTosh DK in Birch Grey for this one and Cascade 220 Superwash in Pumpkin Spice for a brown barn owl hat (I unfortunately did not get a photo before the hat went home with its new owner).  The hat shown in the photo is the larger child size and I've also given directions for a smaller child size.  Because it's a loose, slouchy hat, it will also fit an adult (but tighter) by using the larger child size and adding additional length where indicated.

I have not knitted from this pattern yet - I typed it in from my notes, so if you think (or know) there's a mistake, please let me know!  I knitted the smaller child's size and found a mistake already!  On the decrease rows, there should be a round of straight knitting after Row 1 (the row with a 14 stitch decrease).  I've corrected this in the pattern below.

*1 skein DK weight yarn
*size 4 16" circular needle
*size 5 16" circular needle
*size 5 double pointed needles
*tapestry needle
*18 size 1/4" buttons - I made these ceramic ones
*black sewing thread and needle

Directions are for smaller child size with larger child size in the parentheses.  

Cable 2 back - slip two stitches onto the cable needle and hold in back.  Knit the next two stitches, then knit the two stitches from the cable needle.
Cable 2 front - slip two stitches onto the cable needle and hold in front.  Knit the next two stitches, then knit the two stitches from the cable needle.

Start with a tubular cast on using waste yarn.

Cast On - With about 3 yards of a contrasting color of yarn, cast on 63 (67) stitches on the size 4 needle.

Row 1 - knit 1, yarn over, repeating to the last stitch, which you knit.  You should have 125 (133) stitches.

Row 2 - slip the first stitch purlwise with yarn in front, move yarn to the back and knit in the previous row's yarn over.  Repeat this to the last stitch, which you slip purlwise with yarn in front.

Row 3 - knit 1, slip one purlwise with yarn in front.  Repeat to the last stitch, which you knit.

Row 4 - slip the first stitch purlwise with yarn in front, move yarn to the back and knit 1.  Repeat to the last stitch, which you slip purlwise with yarn in front.

Row 5 - Repeat Row 3.

Row 6 - purl 1, knit 1 to last stitch, which you purl.

Row 7 - you are now working on the right side of the hat.  Knit 1, purl 1 until you have one stitch left.  Place a marker and knit the next two stitches together, joining to knit in the round.  You should have 124 (132) stitches.

After joining, work in K1P1 rib for 1 1/2 inches - don't count the waste row in this measurement.

After you have 1 1/2 inches, remove the waste yarn.

Change to the size 5 needle on this row.  Increase 10 stitches in the next round as follows:
Smaller child size - *knit 12, increase 1*  repeat to last 4 stitches, which you will knit.  You should have 134 stitches.
Larger child size - *knit 13, increase 1*  repeat to the last 2 stitches, which you will knit.  You should have 142 stitches.

Knit the next round.

Owl Rounds:
Row 1 - knit 2, *purl 10, knit 5 (6)*, repeat and end with purl 10, knit 2.

Row 2 - knit across the round.

Row 3 - knit 3, *purl 8, knit 7 (8)*, repeat and end with purl 8, knit 3.

Row 4 - knit across the round.

Rows 5 and 6 - purl 3, *knit 8, purl 7 (8)*, repeat and end with knit 8, purl 3.

Row 7 (Cable Row) - purl 3, *cable 2 back, cable 2 front, purl 7 (8)* repeat and end with cable 2 back, cable 2 front, purl 3.

Rows 8 through 16 - repeat Row 5.

Row 17 - repeat a cable row.

Rows 18 through 22 - repeat Row 5.

Row 23 - repeat a cable row.

Row 24 - purl the round.

After you have finished the Owl Rounds, knit until the hat measures 5 (5 1/2) inches.  If making an adult sized hat, knit until the hat measures 7 1/2 inches.  You can adjust this number up if you like a slouchier hat.

Decrease rows:
Row 1 - Decrease 14 stitches as follows:
Smaller child size - *knit 7, knit two together, knit 8, knit 2 together*, repeat to the last stitch, which you will knit.  You should have 120 stitches.
Larger child size - *knit 8, knit two together*, repeat to the last 2 stitches, which you will knit.  You should have 128 stitches.

Row 2 - Knit

Row 3 - *Knit 6, knit 2 together*, repeat across round.

Row 4 - Knit

Row 5 - *Knit 5, knit 2 together*, repeat across round.

Row 6 - Knit

Row 7 - *Knit 4, knit 2 together*, repeat across round.

Row 8 - Knit

Row 9 - *Knit 3, knit 2 together*, repeat across round.

Row 10 - Knit

Row 11 - *Knit 2, knit 2 together*, repeat across round.

Row 12 - Switch to the double pointed needles in this row and knit

Row 13 - *Knit 1, knit 2 together*, repeat across round.

Row 14 - Knit

Row 15 - *Knit 2 together*, repeat across round.

Row 16 - Knit

Cut off the yarn leaving about 10 inches of tail.  Thread a tapestry needle and pull through all the stitches left on the needle.  Remove needle and pull tight.  Sew a few stitches across the pulled hole and work the yarn in.

Sew up the gap in the ribbing with the cast on tail.

Sew on buttons for the eyes.

Happy Creating!  Deborah