Thursday, July 13, 2017

June Knitting 2017: Tote Bags

I've been knitting up a storm this summer and neglecting recording the results here in my blog. So I'll try to remedy this in a series of postings. First are two tote bags I knitted, one for myself and one for my sister after she saw the first one.



The one on the left is knit from yarn I bought at Downtown Knits in Apex, NC, at the Spring Yarn Crawl. After my sister said she'd love one I went back for another cone. As you can see they're both black and white (the colorway is called "TV Static"), but due to the source of the yarn there are always variations. 

The yarn is Wool and the Gang's "Jersey Be Good" T-shirt yarn made from factory offcuts. 


The pattern is called "Zigzag Shopper" and is also from Wool and the Gang. It's knit on size 19 needles so it knits up very fast. The resulting piece is rather heavy so I don't think it would be comfortable in a garment. Years ago I knit my daughter a T-shirt out of T-shirt yarn and she found it much too bulky and heavy to wear. (It probably ended up as a charity shop donation.)

Because of the source for this yarn, it apparently does not have the uniformity of most yarns. One thing I noticed when I started the second bag was that the yarn on that cone was wider than the yarn on the first cone, making a much thicker fabric. I was concerned that I would run out of yarn because the cones are measured by weight, not yardage. Rather than risk having to buy yet another cone to finish what is supposed to be a one-cone project, I took scissors to the yarn and split it into two narrower bands. As a result, I have the equivalent of a third cone still in my stash for a later project.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Off the Needles: Eifelgold Shawl




One of my purchases at this year's Carolina Fiber Fest was a kit for knitting Eifelgold, a shawl that has been a popular knit-along project in this area.




The kit included the pattern and 2 skeins of fingering weight superwash merino yarn from The Fibre Studio, out of Charlotte, NC, The main color is 5 ounces in "Noir" and the contrasting color is 3 ounces of "Holly."

The pattern is made up of solid-color areas of garter stitch and two-color areas of a slip-stitch or mosaic stitch, easy knitting since mosaic stitch (unlike fair isle) requires only one color to be carried along a row. 

I did have a bit of trouble getting started: you begin by casting on 8 stitches and make increases on right-side rows. I kept messing up my count in the first 7 or 8 rows partly because the yarn plies split a little and partly because it was hard to see the stitches in the black yarn. I had just about given up hope of getting going with the project when I went to a film class where another knitter had brought her almost-finished Eifelgold shawl. I was dumbfounded at her progress since it was only a week after the Fiber Fest. But she told me that she didn't get the yarn at the festival; it was from a knit-along at one of the local yarn shops and she had been knitting it for several weeks. 

Inspired by her progress, I went home determined that before the end of our class I would have the shawl done and ready to show her my version. And 3 weeks later I had finished all but the blocking. I can't say there weren't still a lot of rows that I had to frog and reknit because of losing a stitch, but overall it was a very satisfying project. It has been a lot of years since I had done any mosaic knit patterns, so it was nice to know that they still give me knitting pleasure.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Blinging Shuttles Continued: Printing Your Own Decorative Paper

During the class on embellishing tatting shuttles and in discussions later with attendees, two ideas came up which I decided to explore.

Idea 1:  Shuttles decorated with Scottish tartan patterns were sold in the 1800s as souvenirs and are now highly collectible. I got into a discussion with my tatting friend Anitra about how it would be fun to find authentic tartan patterns and use them to make our own tartan shuttles.

Idea 2: So if we did find photos of tartans that we wanted to use and if we then printed them using an inkjet printer, would the printed result hold up to multiple coats of decoupage medium or would the ink run, thus ruining the pattern?

There are several books that provide illustrations of the clan tartans, and I suspected, rightly, that I could find many more from online sources. One of the sources I use to search for designs is Spoonflower, a company that is just down the road from me in Durham, NC. Spoonflower allows designers to submit their work and then prints on-demand custom textiles and papers for their customers.

You can search their database for designs by color or by topic. My search using the term "tartan" resulted in 35 screens of designs, probably more than I could possibly find in any book of patterns.

Using a program to capture an image from the computer screen, I saved a sample tartan to a file which I then printed on my inkjet printer at the highest resolution. Once I had the image on paper, I treated it just as I did the origami paper that I usually use. I am pleased to say that even with multiple coats of Mod Podge and Martha Stewart Crafts High Gloss finish, the printer ink did not run or smear.

Here's the final result, Royal Stewart tartan on a Clover tatting shuttle:



Thursday, April 6, 2017

More Shuttle "Blinging" Lessons

The tatters who signed up for my "Bling Your Shuttle" class this month were not the only ones who learned new things. I have been working on embellishing plastic shuttles with thicker plastic stickers but finding it tricky to get them to stay on. One of the scrapbookers in the class suggested I first apply a paper layer to the shuttle and then put the stickers onto the paper for firmer adhesion. I'm happy to say that her suggestion does work better when using these stickers. The pink shuttle is my first attemp at applying the stickers directly onto the shuttle, while I first applied purple origami paper to the shuttle on the left before putting on stickers.

For both shuttles I put many, many coats of Martha Stewart Crafts High Gloss Finish to get a nice finish. I'd like to experiment with other glossy finishes so I've been looking for other products in craft stores. It turns out that Mod Podge does make a finish that it says will give a glass-like finish to pieces. However, according to the directions on the bottle the drying/curing time is FOUR WEEKS! I think I'll stick with the Martha Stewart product for now.



Another suggestion I got from the class is to use washi tape instead of sheets of origami paper. Most of the washi tape I found in craft stores is too narrow to cover my shuttles, but I did find this decorative tape that is wide enough. Like the plastic stickers it has a tendency to peel off too easily, but coats of the MS gloss, especially around the edges, seemed to fix the problem. The proof, of course, will come after I use this shuttle for tatting projects.



Saturday, April 1, 2017

"Blinging" Shuttles Class a Great Success!

I'm so proud of how well everyone's shuttles turned out at the "Bling Your Shuttles" workshop that I taught at the North Carolina Regional Lacers Spring Lace Day held today on International Tatting Day. Everyone was able to get the 1st coats on 2 shuttles before the end of class. And I got some ideas for new things to try on shuttles from the scrapbookers in attendance.

Here are some of the beautiful results from the class:










Saturday, March 25, 2017

Tatting at the 2017 Carolina Fiber Fest

Another opportunity to promote our love of tatting! Today the Tri-Tatters group displayed and demonstrated tatting at the 2017 Carolina Fiber Fest in Raleigh, NC. We had a grand time meeting with other tatters and tatter wannabes. Many of the people we talked with signed up for our mailing list, and we hope to see some of them at our monthly meetings.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Carolina Fiber Fest 2017

Once again I had a display of fiber arts at the Carolina Fiber Fest in Raleigh, NC. For the past 3 years I've demonstrated using non-traditional materials in fiber crafts, but after so many years, I was ready to try something different. I volunteered to display and demo crocheting if no local guild was available to do it...and my offer was accepted. Here are some photos of the display I set up.


This is the giant crocheted LED rope light doily that I made a few years ago. It's always an attention-getter when I take it to demos.



Here are some more items I brought including several that won ribbons at the NC State Fair.


It was a lot of fun meeting and talking with crocheters during the day. Many feel left out or overlooked because of the popularity of knitting so they were pleased to see that crochet was represented at the event. I've been asked to participate at the Twisted Threads Guild booth next year as they would like people to see that crochet is one of the crafts that they promote. It will be nice to be part of a larger group after being a solo demonstrator for so many years.