Separating and Sampling

So the Lenore Tawney project begins in earnest, I've separated a spool of dark green linen into 24 separate bobbins for my experimental cable knitting fiasco.  I tried to sketch my idea out but it just looked like a mess, so I'm hoping that keeping detailed measurements and notes will do the trick. Imagine a big, cabled tube of knitting separating out into multiple twists, then reconnecting, then fanning out again. I am hoping, with luck, it will recall Lenore Tawney's woven 'convergences' that appear in much of her work. 
Sample of two knit strands joining, cabling, then separating again. I do wish I had gotten something more suitable for this in my 'materials' grab bag though. The dark color means it's harder to see the cables, and it's linen, so there's no 'give,' which makes it harder to work with (especially for twisting the cables) But everything else I got was too fuzzy or thick to work. 

While waiting for my DPN to arrive to truly start the above project, I also whipped out some Dear Jane blocks. It's been a while since I focused on them, and it was a nice break. E-5 through E-9. And man, does E-9 (the gridded one) look crooked. Oh well, I'm not worrying about it too much. 

The Double pointed needles should arrive today, and then I'm banned from working on anything but the Lenore Tawney project and possibly an Xmas gift for Seamus's dad. 

New Friend and Experimental Knitting

In cute news, me and my boyfriend, after talking about it for months, finally adopted a kitty. Barry was being fostered just two doors down from us by some lovely people from PAWS. Seamus had seen him in the window, and knew Barry was the one. He's very affectionate but we've had to ban him from my studio for getting into everything!
In Lenore Tawney Project news, sketching became a little impossible--too many little strands and lines to draw! So I just jumped into making some samples. I'm pretty excited that it's working out so far, but I've realized that I'm going to need like 20 DPNs to continue, so it's on hold until my new needles (size 0 ugh) come in. It's going to continue to split, until, hopefully, it relates to the shape of Lenore Tawney converging woven pieces. 

More Dear Jane, E-5 is complete! Probably work on more blocks this week as I wait for the DPNs to come in. Came out a little warped but I think it will trim down okay.

And I've added a bit more to the rag-rug. Unfortunately, three whole shirts only make it around the oval once now, as it gets bigger, so progress feels a lot slower. 

Working, Not Showing

Sorry I haven't updated in a while. I've been working a lot, both in the studio and at my jobs, but it's been a lot more writing/sketching/planning than sewing/making.  

I did finish my Mick Jagger Halloween costume, unfortunately Hurricane Sandy made our party a little smaller than anticipated, and by Halloween itself I was partied out, so not many saw it. Always next year!

The Braid Coat is starting to come together. I'm trying desperately to finish this before getting fully involved in my Lenore Tawney piece but it looks like I may have to start that soon to get it done in time.  Next post I'll share some of my sketches for that. 

Made multiples of my jumpsuit pattern pieces for my class. I make them with a dashed 'sewing line' and an outer 'cut line' to make it easier for the kids.  I'm also teaching them to take these patterns and add volume in areas with the slash-and-spread technique. 

And with that comes my awkwardly drawn instruction pages. These are just a guideline for them, to show how the original garments would have gone together. Almost no-ones will look anything like this once they're done. 

Just fooling around with watercolors.  Starting to actually, for real outline a chunk of chapter from the comic I may or may not be working on, so trying to get back on the drawing.
Seamus's birthday card this year. He's now got my watching WWE (and, I'm not going to lie, i watch it even when he's not here) so he gets a pro-wrestling themed card with Team Hell No--the best tag-team champs!


There's been a break in my normal work habits to make up some Halloween costumes for me and my boyfriend. I changed my mind from Wesley Crusher (wearing a jumpsuit is not a good idea if you're going out and have to use the rest room) to Mick Jagger, specifically this outfit:

Along with this hat:

The hat is made of cardboard and masking tape, then covered in quilt batting and fabric. Not bad for a rush job, though I think I made it a bit too tall. 
And the shirt, belt, and scarf. I'll just be wearing some tight black jeans I already own, and I can't quite find a picture with his shoes visible, so I guess I'll just wear some black oxfords.

And for Seamus, he's going as 80's/90's wrestler 'Big Boss Man'

His shirt, I couldn't find a confederate flag patch, but otherwise not too shabby. Still need to find him a night stick and handcuffs. 

Also last week I taught a dying and shibori class, I always love all the different samples the kids make!

I also demoed ice-dying, but I tried it with organza this time. I think because organza absorbs dye so easily and doesn't really 'spread' the liquid throughout it like a thicker cotton, I got a very different effect. Still very pretty and painterly though. 


So you may notice the rag-rug is now in a different shape. The round shape was warping/turning into a cone, so I sucked it up, cut it all apart and started over. The oval shape seems to be working much better. I'm out of material now, it'll have to get put aside until I can find some more old shirts. 

Finally got around to finishing patching my cape. The lining (some kind of fake silk) had shredded around the armholes, and in a couple other spots, so I covered it with some scraps of silk I had lying around. 

And the red cable knit scarf is finally done! I really should have made it a little longer, but I was really, really sick of doing that cable pattern over and over. And I wanted to start quilting my Irish Chain quilt as my 'hand work' 

Still, it's long enough to wrap around a few times. I'm not totally sure I should block it--I've heard conflicting things about heavily cabled designs. But it does curl a little at the ends....
Very exciting things to be happening soon--Leonore Tawney's estate donated a large amount of materials to Uarts, and a bunch of students and alumns (myself included) have been invited to do work responding to hers. It's a bit of a challenge because my work is very different, but I'm in the pondering/sample making stages. This is a bunch of really lovely fine alpaca that unfortunately, makes my nose run something awful. 
And some spools of linen. The projects aren't due until January, so I have some time to figure it out. Watch for updates!

Also, I'm trying to keep on drawing, so have this little doodle--I scanned it in before I started working on color in case I messed up terribly. 

Using Things Up

Studio time this week has been scarce. The first cool weekend means the shoe store was insanely busy, and I'm getting ready to start teaching on Saturday. But I did manage to keep working on the braid-coat and use up some of the thrifted fabric I recently acquired.

I finally cut into the table cloth I bought a few weeks back. It's gotta be the nicest material for a table cloth I've ever seen, a nice thick soft cotton. Making a shirt/jacket was a good way to test out my new basic collared shirt pattern, and it was fun to use the border design like this. Don't have any buttons that I like with it, so that'll have to wait. There was also enough extra that I made a scarf for myself. No picture because it's just a big rectangle, nothing exciting. 

Braid coat continues to not look like I'm making progress at all, but I promise I am! Last double-ended braid finished, just two short ones left, although I'm re-thinking the shape a bit. 

And this one's a bit silly, but the cushion that I sit on in my studio was positively ragged, and ugly to boot. So I covered it with a bit of the weird animal mystery fabric, and added ties so it'll stop sliding off my chair as I work. 

Well Basted/Well Vested

I brought the Irish Chain quilt to school with me one evening, and managed to get it all basted on the 12' print tables. It actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Now I'm wishing that I'd gotten thicker battering, though. I'm sure this will quilt really nicely, but it's not going to be very warm. I'm thinking of buying a down comforter and just using this on top (for me, at least, my boyfriend is very hot blooded, I'm sure this will be the perfect weight for him. 
Also while I was at school getting my jump-suit patterns in order, I traced out a darted-vest pattern from a vest I own. It was a little bit of an oversized fit, which I liked. Last night I couldn't quite commit myself to one of my existing projects, so I made up a quick vest with some thrifted fabric to test it out.  

The back--I hate that weird silky stuff they normally use as the back on vests, so I just used the same fabric throughout. 
 And the lining, which is actually a scrap of hand-dyed fabric from one of my students this summer. Anything they didn't take with them joined my fabric stash. Most of it got cut up for seam samples, but I had a big chunk of this, and it matched nicely. 
Progress on the rag-rug, with my new shoes there for size-reference.  This is six shirt's worth so far. Slowly getting better at joining the braids together, it's a bit lumpy in the middle. 

Bedroom Essentials

It's occurred to me that the two projects I'm working on right now are both for my new bedroom. I've always been awful at decorating, I tend to just go for ugly utilitarian furniture. But I'm trying to make an effort to make our new apartment a little more homey and pleasant on the eyes. I finally bought a bedside table for the bedroom, and stopped using one of Seamus's old amps to put our alarm clock on. Baby steps! 

The backing and batting for the Irish Chain quilt finally arrived. I couldn't find an extra wide backing fabric I liked enough to justify the cost, so I bought 9 yards of a normal width fabric on sale. I think the busy multicolored floral is a good match for the busyness of the front. I'm now waiting for a chance to get to school to use the print tables to baste it together--I don't have enough floor space in my house for it. 

I've also wanted to get some rugs for the apartment, we have pretty rough wood floors, and I think they're going to be cold in the winter.  But any rugs I liked were too expensive, and any that were cheap were ugly and gross feeling, so I decide to make a braided rug. 
$9 from the thrift store for starting materials. I washed and dried them to get the 'thrift store smell' out. Then  I cut them apart and cut into 2" strips. 

Strips joined and wound into balls! The knit fabrics fold onto themselves really nicely and leave a clean edged tube. I went for florals, blues, and purples, and each braid has a light, medium, and dark tone. I figure it will go well with the new quilt, and I have a neat painting on the wall that's largely a periwinkle tone. 

So far I've got yards and yards of braid, but I'm only just starting to spiral it into a circle. 

Toting, Sketching

Row D is finished, Row E is just begun. At this rate, I'll be done with this quilt in 4 or 5 years, haha! But I keep on trucking, slowly. This is D-11 to E-2. Pretty straightforward blocks, I think the diamond-in-a-square might have been the easiest one yet. A lot of teal and purple in these blocks!

A quickie project. I was sick of carrying around ugly freebie totes that I've gotten from shoe companies, so I decided to make one myself. Super easy, and I quite like it, I might go to Jomar and get some more ribbon/tape for straps. It's a little hard to get in a photo, but the straps on this are a floro, safety orange. 

All nice and clean inside! I modeled it after one I got from Sofft shoes. It's about 3/4 of the size of that one though (the side pieces are 8"x16") I might make a full sized one too. 

Quite pleased! I know it a really simple thing, but I wonder if I could sell a few of them? Anyone interested?

I've also been taking a lot of time to sketch lately, trying to get back into drawing for the possible-comic-project I don't really want to talk about yet. I feel super, super rusty but it also feels good to work it out. 
Practicing with brush-and-ink. I searched 'lounging' on flickr, had a lot of fun drawing all the weird ways people 'lounge'

More brush and ink and watercolor. Trying to break the sort of anime-ish 'one-face' syndrome I had when I was younger--working on giving the characters very distinct body and face types. 

More watercolor sketching.
And even some creature creation, which is something I really have never done before. It's a Maid-Troll, a sort of low-level demon you can summon to clean your dorm room for you. Or something. Really I just wanted to try and draw a very ugly creature in a little maid outfit.