Tuesday, August 21, 2012

All Wound Up

This past weekend I began as a large household improvement.  My office/studio had been vexing me for ever.  There wasn't enough space, enough storage or enough work space.  There was too much clutter, too much horizontal space which quickly became a magnet for junk and too much ambient clutter for me to really focus and work.  I'm still in the final stages of the transformation, but I thought I'd share a victory story.

For a long time winding yarn was problematic.  I never really had a space to leave my swift and ball winder out.  Winding bobbins for weaving was a headache.  Each time I wanted to wind yarn or bobbins, I would first need to find the equipment and then secure it for use.  No more.

The Winding Station

Swift, ball winder, weaving bobbin winder, and plenty of storage!

Puppy snips attached so I always have scissors handy to cut yarn, crochet cotton to tie off skeins, weaving bobbins in various sizes.

I used a wire shelf that we already had (plus an extra shelf that wasn't being used) and pipe brackets to secure a wooden board (covered in shelf liner) to the shelf.

I rigged up some casters on the shelf legs.  I can wheel the unit to position it where I need it.  Plus, I can take off the swift and winders should I ever need an additional work surface.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gearing Up!

This weeks has been a bit of a blur.  School starts next week and there is a lot to be done before then.  The other day I went to pick up textbooks and my excitement picked up tremendously!

A whole textbook on the history indigo, textile painting and many graphic design books!

I love the anticipation of the beginning of school - so many possibilities in the coming months.  I also like being tucked into the semester and in the thick of things. 

Until then, I have a text knit baby sweater to finish and many home projects that I'd like to put to rest. At some point, I'm going to have to unearth my school supplies and get myself ready!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Case for Baskets

Back here, here and here I wrote about my exploits with basketry.  Apparently last time I wrote about it, I didn't really enjoy the process.  I must have had an off day.

I don't know when I first noticed baskets.  I've always had them around and enjoyed their functional beauty.  I purchased this Cherokee Double Wall basket at the Red Earth Festival in Oklahoma City, OK back in the early 1990s.  It was made by Cherokee weaver Shirley Gewin.  The basket has been stained with black walnuts.    I was fascinated by the weaver that I saw at the festival and used my vacation allowance to bring a basket home.  It is in pristine condition all these years later.

 Here you can see the traditional Cherokee cross pattern.

It seems natural that I would go on to make them myself.  I love making things, figuring out how to put things together, to create dimension, strength and build upon ideas.  I started my learning with a market basket kit (below) and gained the very basics from it.  There is vocabulary, tools and materials to gain familiarity with.  I have made approximately five to six baskets.  Most of these have been market baskets of various improvised designs.  I'm ready to expand my horizons and learn new forms and types.

My first basket ever & my smallest basket
Last weekend I visited the Missouri Basketweavers' Guild convention to look around and get ideas.  Such an inspiring trip!  It was a bit overwhelming and disorienting.  I asked some questions and found a few people willing to show me around a bit.  Next year I plan on taking a class or two.

For the most part I have been solo on my baskets.  I've read a few books and watched a few YouTube tutorials.  I'm joining a few guilds this year to broaden my learning.  There is a lot to learn about a tradition that is so old and that was practiced by so many cultures.  I have a lot to learn and a lot to make.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sheep to Shawl

I finally blocked and photographed my Mystery shawl that knit out of Somemore's pound of fleece.

Somemore of Gleason's Fine Woolies in Colorado
This shawl was spun out of the pound of fleece that I purchased for the Ravelry GFW board challenge.  I still have six hundred yards of yarn remaining to knit something spectacular!

Pattern: Wendy Johnson's Summer Solstice Mystery Shawl KAL 2012 

I added four repeats length wise and an extra repeat where the pattern suggested it.  It was a fun knit, though I would have made different choices along the way knowing what I know now.  I'm not wild about the shape.  It is almost poncho like in circularness (is that a word?).  I wish it were more rectangular for more wearing possibilities.  Still, it is warm, lacy and with beads.


Have you seen the Yarn Harlot's blog today?  My yarn donation for her giveaway was featured today.  Check it out!