Saturday, December 31, 2011

Roger Dean Inspired Beaded Pullover with Update

I'm so excited about this work in progress...I know, it looks finished but this is the beginning of a wonderful work of art that will be seen at Stitches South 2012 in April.

The next task to this shirt will be some beadwork along the neckline and some embroidery work with that.  

The inspiration for this project began by Yes's album release "Fly From Here" in July. Roger Dean once again designed the album cover. I was instantly drawn to the colors and set about finding the yarns to pull it all together. Yarnhouse Studios in Opelika, Alabama supplied the Malabrigo Silky Merino and then I found a perfectly matched handspun by WhorlingTide's Beth Dinoff. I began from the bottom up by casting on 192 stitches and knitting in the round with two strands of yarn. As I made my way along, I implemented a color shift. Then along the yoke, I shifted into a lattice stitch with beadwork. Beads were supplied by Kindred Spirit Weaver's Linda Dixon.

Updated March 10, 2012:
The pullover is finished at last. I added the beaded neckline. It is sewn in over the faux fur embroidery to have a 'nested' appearance.

Updated April 22, 2012:
Beaded pullover was one of 5 Editor's Choice winners at Stitches South.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Morrocon Wool Sampler Freeform

For the month of November, I received a ball of Morrocon Wool from a yarn shop in Huntsville to play with and talk about. The yarn is aran weight and a spun single. It's fabulous for scrumbling.

The ball of yarn is the Morrocon and in this freeform patch, I used it to test 3 techniques. I first crocheted with it using the bullion stitch in the spiral. This yarn is perfect for bullions because it doesn't split or snag, the yarn pulls through the hook smoothly. Knitting this yarn was just as smooth, and as you can see with the garter stitch, it provided wonderful stitch definition. It bound off nicely without any splitting. I left a long enough tail to test it in embroidery. Yep...this yarn is a keeper. This yarn will felt too for anyone looking for a yarn for a felting project.

This yarn is available at the Fiber Art Work yarn shop in Huntsville, Alabama.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kentuck 2011

My items in the West Alabama Fiber Guild booth.
 Jenny Gorman weaving scarves.

Deirdre weaving towels.

Sue Jones knitting.

Bobbin Lace.
It was a beautiful day for an art show. This blog entry is a photo gallery of this year's event.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Knitting with Exotic Yarns

This scarf  has knitted up to be probably one of the most touchable garments I've ever made. I had around 200 yards of this lovely handspun yarn from Moonwood Farms that I set aside for inspiration. Roo Kline spun this fuzzy peach with the fiber content of alpaca, tussah silk, and angora rabbit. I paired this yarn with 4 other yarns for the perfect marriage of softness and luxury.

The dark brown in the photo is a 100% alpaca from LaMotte, Iowa. The second is a greyish yarn (the photo shows it as a grey yarn) that is 70% mink 30% cashmere yarn from Great Northern Yarns. The light brown yarn is 100% baby camel from Etsy seller NorthcottWilson and the cream/light greyish yarn is also from the same source with the fiber content as a blend of white camel and yak.

The scarf will be finished for this weekend's Kentuck Art Show in Northport/Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Khatruavis Stellaris, A Scarf of Rarity and Beauty

To the common eye, the scarf may look like any other scarf....but to me, this one is not for sale. Before I start into the story of the Khatru, I must recognize the artisans and materials that went into this garment.

The colored yarn in the scarf came from a spinning artist in Nova Scotia (she formerly lived in Iowa). Claire Moxon has an Etsy shop The name of the yarn was 'Autumn Calling' spun in a navajo ply (3ply) 100% superwash yarn. The batt was dyed by Natalie Quist (Cloudlover69) from Chicago in a colorway called 'Decay'. When I received this yarn, I was so instantly in love with the color and craftsmanship of the skein, that I put it away with plans to use it only for myself. It had to be special. :)
The black yarn is 100% alpaca in 'True Black' from IrishMeadows in LaMotte, Iowa. You can get their yarn online through This alpaca black is beautiful! It is silky smooth to the hand and knits beautifully. The alpaca that yielded this yarn is a 3 time champion aptly named "Black Beauty".
Next is the cream colored yarn that has a grey companion yarn I knitted together. Both are very special as well. The cream yarn is 70% mink/30% cashmere from Great Northern Yarns. Craig Turner is the founder/owner of this small company in East Orleans, Massachusetts. The mink is humanely harvested removing the coarse guard hairs yielding this buttery soft down. It is then blended with the cashmere at the mill and spun into this soft DK weight yarn. You can get this yarn straight from the source at
Lastly, the grey yarn is 100% angora rabbit from FriendsinFiber, another Etsy shop. This yarn came to me as a beautiful handspun, navajo plied yarn. The grey so complimented the white mink/cashmere that they were a heavenly soft match.

Now for the story of the "Khatru". For those of you that plugged the word into your search engine and up popped this blog from some crazy fiber artist in Alabama, USA....well....I'm a fan of progressive rock. I listen to a lot of it and especially enjoy the creative talent of YES and Emerson Lake and Palmer. Funny how the leaders of progressive rock are from the it! Before the publishing of this blog, I googled the word 'khatru' wondering for myself just what in the heck it is. Most all of the hits came from the yesfans website bulletin board and my goodness are YES fans imaginative in their definition of this word. Out of all of them, I was quite fond of this explanation. (with slight embellishment from me!)

The Khatru, khatruavis stellaris, is a flightless Siberian bird that is only visible on nights when the moon is waxing and the temperature is below -32 degrees Fahrenheit. Those who have glimpsed in on rare occasions claim that it resembles a cross between a crane, an emu, and a hummingbird. The only documented sighting of the rare avian khatru came from Georg Stellar's researches in that area in the late 19th century. It has never been seen since that time and remains as much of an enigma as Stellar's White Raven and the Tarkus.

The only shred of truth in the last paragraph is Georg Stellar, a german zoologist, did travel to Siberian Russia to study and catalog the plants and animals in that region in the late 19th century. The rest is was how is that for fun?

The scarf was inspired by a song by Yes named "Siberian Khatru" from the album 'Close to the Edge'. If you listen to this song looking for meaning in the lyrics, don't do it, your head will explode. The lyrics make no sense at all. Now the music arrangement will carry you on a journey that lasts the length of the song.

So I found my 'khatru' in this knitted scarf...both for the love of fiber and music.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Freeform in Canyon Colors

Purple, gold, coppery oranges and rusty reds are the primary colors in my latest freeform. This piece is also heavier in knitting patches. My freeform knitting class was very helpful making crochet area even more interesting.
My friend Linda has generously supplied me with beads from her aquired stash. It's been nice getting back together with her again on Monday nights to play with fiber and all those pretty beads. I don't think this will be ready for the Kentuck Art show in 3 weeks, but I'll bring it along to show the fiber guild.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Thoughts on Freeform Textile Art and Progressive Rock

My latest freeform fun has been incorporating weaving with knitting, crochet, beadwork, and embroidery. Yes, it is a 'can do' thing and I'm excited about taking freeform down this avenue. Working without a pattern means no rules or possibly breaking rules. I'm all about breaking rules and working outside the box. After I finished the purple, gold, orange piece, I did run crochet cotton to catch the loops so I can crochet or knit from there. The pin weaving board is once again warped and ready to go. I think I'll weave colors of the sky.

Things in my finite little world inspire me create. The beauty and colors of the day outside to the imagination of other artists...they motivate me to push forward. Music motivates me, be it inspirational lyrics of contemporary praise and worship music to the creative talent of musicians.

Lately, it's been progressive rock that's inspired me to continue to color outside of the lines. Much of prog rock utilizes the whole talent of the band and pushes the listener forward on a musical journey. Not just the lyrics set the theme, but the instruments tell the story as well. I've been listening to a lot of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Yes, Genesis, Kansas, and Rush. Much of these musicians were classically trained and they took the leap of taking classical and rock music to an extraordinary level. I should also include other prog rock bands like Gentle Giant, Tangerine Dream, King Crimson, Moody Blues and Pink Floyd.

Do I ONLY listen to prog rock? Absolutely not! I love christian, jazz, classical, blues, R&B and some country. When I'm stuck in traffic and the world feels a little intense around me, I listen to Steely Dan which is a delightful infusion of rock and jazz.
So onwards and upwards, I'm tinkering around with weaving. This is my first pin weaving piece which will go into my scrumbling bag and worked in a future textile piece.

Keep creating! Keep it real!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Beautiful Bag from the Sari Silk Yarn from Hell

I started this bag 4 months ago with much fear and trepidation. Uncarded Sari Silk yarn is some of the awfullest stuff I have ever worked with...coarse silk ribbons from the saris, silk thrums and occasional straw spun together. This yarn is tough on the fingers, overspun and frustrating to work with.

AND contribute to my mental anguish....I made two of these bags!!

I tell myself, I'm not making anymore of these stupid bags...and everytime I go somewhere with one these bags, someone asks "do you make them to sell?"

 Well I'm selling both bags this fall at Kentuck. They'll be lined and come with a deer antler button closure. Will I be making more??......not anytime soon.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mitered Magic Pullover

It all started with tickets to see Yes and Styx next month in Gulf Shores, Alabama. I hate clothes shopping...yes....I hate clothes shopping. The idea of going to department stores, rifling through racks of clothes to find something to wear to the beach gives me an anxiety attack. Find me in a yarn shop buying yarn with visions of making clothes makes me feel...well...productive.

I very seldom make myself something to wear...I do wear my work but I either give it away or sell it. This one is not for sale, yep, I'm keeping this sucker!

This pattern is an easy knit. It's all in garter stitch so you can take it to knit night. If you're new to mitered knitting, this is a great pattern for first time newbies. Skills needed to create the piece are casting on, knitting, double decrease, pick up and knit (PUK), and casting off. I used Noro Chirimen (60% cotton, 24% silk, 16% wool) worsted weight. Other yarns that can be used Poems Worsted by Universal Yarns or Noro Silk Garden Worsted. Any other worsted that has long color changes will work well with this pattern.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Two-Color Syncopated Brioche

I bought 2 skeins of Cascade Eco Duo from my local yarn shop with the intention of knitting a One Stitch Below Scarf. When I swatched the pattern, I wasn't happy with the results so...I dug out my Knitting Brioche book and came up with this. This yarn is super yummy soft (70% alpaca and 30% merino) and it turned out spectacular. The syncopated brioche stitch yields a reversible garment with a fabulous color play. This brioched piece will be a neckwarmer for the Kentuck Art Show.

When I was on the Stitches South group on Ravelry, one of the topics was suggestions for classes for Stitches South 2012. I suggested a Brioche knitting class with Nancy Marchant. Maybe.....!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Tale of Provisional Cast Ons, Short Rows, Wrap & Turns, Reverse Knitting and Kitchner Stitch

Why do I do this to myself? I choose to work a pattern with the most challenging knitting skill sets for what?? For a hexagon shawl. OK, so the reverse knitting was my idea but geez...all those short rows!!

Really I'm not complaining, I'm finding this shape quite interesting to knit. This is the second project I've done where the provisional cast on is used...because you have to graft live stitches together for the hex shape. If you hate the Kitchner Stitch, stay away from this pattern (Poems Rising Suns Shawl)...or if you want to learn the Kitchner Stitch, you'll be one grafting fool after making 10-12 of these puppies. Short rows make me want to reverse knit...I hate constantly turning my work. I learned how to reverse knit from entrelacing, it cuts 1/3 of your time to finish a project. Reverse knitting is probably the most useful skill you can ever learn. Just ask Gwen Bortner.

These hex shapes sorta look roundish in the photo, I haven't blocked them yet. Thank goodness for that Rowenta Steamer I bought at Target. I was told that steamer would change my life. I'll find out once I have to whipstitch these hexagons together....all 98 of them.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fingerless Mitts for Kentuck 2011

Last fall I completely sold all my fingerless gloves at the Kentuck Art Show. Then I think I only had 5-8 pairs of them. Beings it was my first show, I didn't know what was going to sell. These flew off my table.

This year I have more colors, more luxury fibers, more ideas. So far 12 pairs made and more to come. I did find a cone of 100% camel hair from Etsy, 100% silk from the Stitches South 2011 conference plus additional novelty yarns. I can't forget the hand dyed lace weight silk I purchased from SilkandShine on Etsy. Dorith Kasper's specialty is silk and that's all she does. She sells dyed silk for spinning as well as commercial spun silk .

I'll blend the silk with alpaca, camel,angora rabbit, yak (oh did I mention yak from Bijou Basin?), and mink/cashmere from Great Northern Yarns. Not to forget the pop of lurex. I play with the colorway making them different and one of a kind. I don't like to duplicate (except for knitting the mate), I want each new owner to have a one of a kind pair. That's what makes hand knitted items so special.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Aquatic Nirvana Freeform Pillow

Thank goodness for finished projects! A few postings ago, I uploaded a photo of a scrumbled patch for this pillow. Here it is finished and embellished with beads and buttons. I did knit the back in a K1P1 rib in Cascade chunky baby alpaca in a beautiful cobalt blue.

There is lots more close ups of the pillow on Flickr.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Awhile back I went on a Noro yarn spending blitz. I buy Noro yarn differently than I buy my other yarns. I buy it with a project planned...and it's usually scarves.

Noro scarf projects are my portable projects that I take to my knitting group or when I have one of those lunch hours at work I just need to blow off steam. The Noro portable projects just work the best for me. The nice part about these yarns is you just knit along and the colors create the most one of a kind fabrics.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I've been working on these neckwarmers in luxury yarns. I discovered after finishing the first one on the left, this was missing another color that would give it a more gradual I started another one. The fibers starting with the dark purple is mink/cashmere from Great Northern Yarns in Orleans, Massachusetts. The varigated purple is a handspun Bluefaced Liecester yarn from WhorlingTides in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The dark grey is alpaca yarn from Irish Meadows Alpaca Farm in La Motte, Iowa. The light grey yarn is angora rabbit handspun from Tail Spin Farm in St. Johns, Michigan. The white is a merino/angora rabbit yarn from Raspberry Farm Angoras in Oregon. The missing color in the first neck warmer is the light grey but just as stunning as the work in progress on the right. As you can see, home grown luxury.