Sunday, October 6, 2013

Butterfly Dreams Pullover

The 2012 Stitches South conference unveiled a design concept for a dolman pullover that caught my attention. The top has a front and back panel that you can knit or crochet (I chose to knit), but those panels have other design ideas for this fiber rebel. You could freeform the panel using a rectangle template and you could even weave those panels...change up stitch patterns and do a 3 yarn slip stitch pattern...oh the ideas! The beauty of this pullover is full of possibilities.

Then came the sleeves...only Myra Wood, the designer of this pattern, would create a sleeve using basic shawl construction with a creative twist. Knitting the sleeves became an adventure, not in a bad way, but in one of those ways where you're following the directions to a 't' and then you say !"Aha"! 'that's how it works!'

Butterfly Dreams is a published pattern in Knitter's Magazine K107 Summer 2012 (XRX Publishing). This pattern was easy to follow and steps very clear. The skill level indicates that it is for an experienced knitter but I suppose if you don't crochet, it may be a little more of a challenge. I never considered myself to be an experienced knitter....heck, I've never knitted a cardigan before!....but as long as I have instructions that are well written, I can pretty much grasp the process.

Then there is the fun part of the color symmetry. If you decide to knit/crochet this top for color symmetry, buy plenty extra yarn so you can achieve this. Myra does indicate in the pattern if you're trying to do this where you'll need to change yarns. You may find yourself pulling yarn out of a skein to get the color sequence. It is not necessary to buy a gradient yarn for this top to be beautiful. You can knit the panels in a gradient yarn and knit the sleeves in a semi-solid or vise versa. Or you can stash bust and crochet your granny squares that way. You can also add beads...this is what I love about this pattern!

My top is knitted in Cascade Casablanca in 'Rainbow', this is a light worsted yarn and the pattern calls for DK weight yarn. ALWAYS SWATCH to get your correct gauge. It would be insane to knit a garment with great yarn only to create an ill fitted garment BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T KNIT A SWATCH BEFORE STARTING YOUR PROJECT. Believe me, if you do swatch, the knitting experience is much more enjoyable in the end. I will probably knit this again using DK weight rayon yarn from Blue Heron Yarns and again, I will swatch before knitting because I want the peace of mind knowing that I will hit the right measurements for a finished garment. Another important thing you need to do is block your pieces before assembling them. That way the garment is laying right before you assemble and pick up and knit the ribbing. It's much more difficult to pick up and knit the bottom for the ribbing when your pieces are all wonky. Steam blocking is quick and a inexpensive garment steamer, it will change your life.

If you want to see more about this pattern, you can visit this link: Myra Wood's Butterfly Dreams

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Irish Crochet Clones Lace Workshop with Maire Treanor

Irish crochet has always been something I've admired but was a little intimidated to try. After learning from a master, I can admit that for the life of me, I don't know what I was afraid of!

lariat necklace with Clones knots and small Irish roses, a shamrock motif, and a wild Irish Rose surrounded by Clones knots in the center.

I attended a two day workshop this month to learn this time honored skill and will say it was definitely worth trip to Atlanta. The workshop was held at the Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance (SEFAA) Center and attended by 10 students. We all had a lot of fun learning about the history of Irish crochet and seeing examples of needle point lace and crochet pieces done by Maire and ladies in the Clones area of Ireland. She also had with her examples of what the Russian textile artists such as Olga Krivenko (Olgamini) and Antonina Kuznetsova are doing using Irish crochet and other techniques such as Romanian Point Lace cord in their creations. I've been a fan of these artists ever since I bought my first Zhurnal Mod/Duplet crochet magazines. To see their handiwork in person is stunning and inspiring! I hope to perhaps one day meet these wonderful artists and learn their skills.

I learned a lot from this workshop such as the structure of the rose motifs and making the Clones knot.  I also got the confidence I needed to plow through those Pricilla Irish Crochet books I bought off of Amazon. There are some beautiful motifs in them and the written directions are rather quirky.  I'm happily discovering how wonderful it is to learn these international interpretations in my ever expanding adventure in textile art.
Me and Maire Treanor

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Treelander: Autumn's Release

It is sooo hard for me to keep a project under wraps and this one was especially difficult because this turned out fabulous.

This Treelander incorporated more textile techniques than the previous pieces. Knit, crochet, crewel and silk ribbon embroidery, Romanian Point  Lace Crochet, Irish Crochet, Freestyle weaving and beadwork played together beautifully.

I couldn't keep this wall hanging hiding in my house so it has, so to speak, 'gone on tour' in a travelling exhibition in Australia with Prudence Mapstone. I truly hope they enjoy it.

UPDATE: Australian customs has finally released this Treelander piece and is traveling in Prudence's exhibition. If you've been to any of her events this year and seen the 'Hearts and  Flowers' exhibition, feel free to leave your comments and feedback on this blog. I would love to hear from you. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Montreaux Freeform Hat

My second installment of freeform hats. I found this scrumble patch in a big bag of patches and knew this had unique potential. The colors are a bit of an odd combination of purples, light blues to light turquoise, butter yellow and a touch of white.

As I was making this this wonderfully purple piece, I thought of the 60's band Deep Purple, the late Jon Lord and a song they wrote about the Montreaux Jazz Festival several years ago. The song of course became the well known rock & roll standard "Smoke On The Water".

The song is a timeless classic and I love to connect my love of music to the art of freeform fibre.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Update on the Morrocan Wool Freeform

I decided to revisit this freeform patch this week...and fit it to a round template. The patch had been tucked in a big plastic bag full of scrumbles and I really need to do something with these little gems.

The template is muslin about the size of a dinner plate and am trying my hand at making a scrumbled beret. So far so good. Once the template is filled in, I'll single crochet around the patch and then pick up and knit the headband.

ummm.....did I mention that I am trying to make a hat out of this?

4/26/2013, and the hat is finished. The name....'Happy Delirium'...and a very fine slouchie too!! I'll have more of these available this fall at the Kentuck Art Show.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

'Treelander: The Glorious Challenge' Home At Last!!

Today my freeform hanger came home after a year long exhibition in Australia. I'm so excited to see it!

Throughout the year the hanger was exhibited 11 times in Australia (twice each in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, plus in Perth, Launceston, Canberra, Newcastle and Townsville) and twice in New Zealand (in Auckland and Hamilton).

I will have the piece on exhibit at the March Fiber Festival in Montgomery, Alabama. Other dates to come I'm sure.