Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lake Glass

You've heard of "sea glass," right? Those opaque, random-shaped pieces of glass that people find washed up on the seashore. The glass has been buffeted, rounded, and glazed by the ocean waves. Jewelers and other artists love to use them in their creations.

Well, today I discovered the freshwater equivalent of sea glass: I call it "lake glass," and I think it's every bit as beautiful. I found these pieces on a shale beach along the shores of Keuka Lake, one of the Finger Lakes in upstate New York. Now, I just have to figure out what to do with them....

These pieces, above, could make earrings -- best for someone who loves Keuka Lake. And the pieces below could make a pendant, maybe. This was the only piece of blue glass I found all afternoon -- you might call it semi-precious glass?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Watercolor Coat in Aqua, Lavender, and Gold

This is the latest listing in my Etsy shop: a hand-dyed, hand-painted coat in a 55% linen/45% silk blend, using a wonderful informal pattern by Issey Miyake. ("I say, me like-y" is the way I always think of his name, but that's way too corny, don't you think?)

It's a size 10, medium, that would look great on someone taller than 5' 1" (me), as it falls about 6" above my ankles. The self-collar drapes around the neck so gracefully, just like a scarf, while the waist is gently shaped and the shoulders are more fitted and feminine.

I hand-dyed this using fiber-reactive dyes and then embellished the fabric using rubbings with gold-colored oil-based Shiva Paintstiks. They set permanently and add lots of shine and interest to any fabric.

A photo of the back shows how the coat is gently curved.

I hope to make more of these because the pattern has a lot of flair -- and the fabric is hand-washable. This is my ode to summer!

Monday, June 6, 2011

What a Knitter Does at the Lake

Yes, beautiful blue skies, clear, clear water, soft breezes, the warmth of the sun -- absolutely perfect conditions for knitting! I took my Golding drop spindle (see above) and my wonderful brand-new size 1 bamboo circular knitting needles, and proceeded to knit up some overtwisted handspun singles. Just to see what would happen.

This is probably why I am not making money hand over fist with my fiber work -- because I'm always trying something new, just to see what happens. And here is what is happening:

Can you see the Z twist in the photo above? (Click on the photo and it should enlarge.) I spun up a spindle full of lace-weight yarn in Z twist, and then I took my second Golding drop spindle and spun up the same weight in S twist. (Why do I have two Golding drop spindles? Because my sweet boxer, Bruno, stole the first one. I couldn't find it, so I bought a new one. Then I found the old one. Oh, and he chewed both spindles, so I had to send them back to Vermont to have them fixed, which Mr. Golding did, beautifully. So I have two, and it comes in handy.)

So as I began to knit with Z twist, it skewed in one direction, just as I had hoped.

My idea is to knit about 3/4 of an inch in Z twist, then  3/4 of an inch in S twist, and continue doing this to create a herringbone kind of pattern. For a hat, all in one color. The roving, by the way, is a combination Romney, Pygora, and llama that I bought from a wonderful place called Firefly Farm in Warsaw, New York. (You can contact the owner, Pat Gesler, at I don't think she'll mind my sharing her email.)

Here's how it's coming:

Very subtle and understated, maybe not for all tastes, but certainly for mine! The pattern just grabs me, for some reason. That's why we knit, yes?

What's on the Loom?

More accurately, what's going on the loom? At this writing, I'm in the process of winding on a painted warp for a Jin design on 28 ...