Sunday, January 27, 2019

Boxy Chevrons by the Sea

Happy to report that the colds are gone and we have assumed our positions down on the deck at the Beach Club by the sea.

And after having already finished four books, I brought my Boxy Chevrons knitting with me to my chaise on the deck.  I am slowly making progress. I picked up all the stitches (360) from the remainder of the sleeves (after they were seamed) and did the short row shaping for front and back, and am now happily knitting a TON of rows in the round.

Here's a picture of the first day by the sea.


And since today was our first really rainy morning, I worked a bit more in the apartment and here is a shot that shows the sleeves and a bit of the body - kinds of orients you to seeing what it will look like after I finish a gazillion hours of knitting in the round.




The cakes of the speckled yarn are very different, so I am alternating rows as I approach the end of the first skein. Hopefully, the transition will be smooth.

The thing about knitting on the deck is that it attracts fellow knitters. Everyone was coming over to see what I was working on, and a couple of people sent a link to the pattern on Ravelry home to their friends and relatives.

I love that fibre people are everywhere around, and you can't always pick them out in a crowd - or on a deck.

More pics to come as I add onto the length.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Knitting in Paradise


Every year when we come to Barbados, I pack a knitting project or two. Usually socks to knit on the plane and something to take to the beach club for when I am tired of reading. 

This year, thanks to the crazy-ass cold I caught from my dear "grands" just before New Year's, I have been hanging around the apartment. Why, when I could be in the sea? The cough that came with this one is so wicked that I would get big "stink eye" from everyone around me. And I wouldn't blame them, I would curse anyone who came into public sounding like me.

I am just grateful that we are here for more than a week. This would totally suck if that were the case.

Anyway, about the knitting. This is a pattern called Boxy Chevrons that I favourited (don't you just love nouns that have become verbs thanks to the internet) on Ravelry many moons ago.  I picked out my yarn at The Purple Purl - my LYS when I visit the kids and the "grands" in TO. 

It seemed like a good project to bring with me, maybe the colours in the confetti-like body colour called to be knit here. And so far, it has been a fun knit. You knit the sleeves first - they are the chevrons - and the pattern of ridges and stockinette is interesting. And, thankfully, do-able no matter how much cold medication you have taken. lol. My head would not tolerate anything more complicated when I am pumping it full of cold and sinus meds.

When the cold is gone, and we resume our normal daily rhythm - and location - down by the sea, this will be the perfect project to work on. I think at some point, the knitting will become pretty mindless for a good portion of the body. And we will see how long it takes to get it done. There is some German short-row action that will keep it interesting. That is a whole new technique for me, but thanks to YouTube, I watched a couple of videos yesterday and feel ready to take it on. 

If you have read my somewhat-erratic blog, you will know that I knit and blogged about a sweater here year before last. When I started knitting on the deck, I discovered two things: firstly, the breeze by the sea means it is always cool enough to knit. Secondly, there are a number of fellow sock knitters among the folks I have met. They just seem to come out of the woodwork.

I will post updates as I make progress. And hopefully when I do, this cold will be long gone!!!

Oh - BTW, I also brought some hooking with me. Will share that when I get it out.



Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Maker in December is a force to be reckoned with.

I am a maker. I make all manner of things throughout the year, but December is like my Olympics for making. I have a list of things I know I am going to make. And then there are all the little surprises that bump into the "to make" list.

This year, the interrupters ended up being the most "fun" part of the making. When I heard that my grandson's list included a "bow tie", I decided "I can make that." But I also think that a bow tie needs a vest, so now there was a vest on the list.

Let me take a moment to say how incredible the sharing is among makers on the internet. I found a free pattern from Melly Sews. along with a super step-by-step tutorial to make this vest.


Is it perfect? No. But is it perfect for a 5-year old. Yup.

Then came the bow ties - another wonderful tutorial I found online. I can't find the one I used right now, but suffice to say there are many. I made one for the holidays out of taffeta - and then a second one with leftover fabric from a Spiderman quilt.



I think I know which one will be the fave.

Making the taffeta bow tie triggered a need for a Christmas dress for little sister "Evvie", which resulted in this little number.


So much fun to make little people clothes. So fast. And good, because they will seriously only wear them once or twice. (But I do see that little vest getting a good workout with the Spidey tie and a t-shirt.)

Because this little lady needs some sun clothes for her upcoming trip to Barbados to visit Grandma and Grandpa with Mom, Dad and Jackson, I went through my stash and found fabric that was toddler-friendly and after picking up a little companion fabric, am creating some very cute outfits that will be the hit of Holetown in February.

Here are two reversible pinafores with matching "bloomers", a word that makes many folks giggle, including Evvie's mom. 



One more set to sew, with fabric on hand. Hope she is happy to wear these. I have a feeling that my years of being able to sew for her may be short. So I will have fun while I can.

Normally, this is when I post about what I am making for me, but this year I really don't need a thing. Maybe one dress for the brain injury fundraiser we attend while we are "on island". And the knit pattern that I hoped would be done - one of the projects that got interrupted by this other making - may need to be replaced by a little jersey dress. Stay tuned.

The last, and maybe best, thing to share is a rug hooking project that I have been working on since being there last year. I think I posted about being "gifted" an incredible portrait of a model named Chanda by my friend Vishni Gopwani. She and I have been virtual friends for a few years, since I first saw her art at the Gallery of Caribbean Art.  Last year, we met in the real world and she gave me this incredible painting.


I told her that I could only accept this gift if I reciprocated with a fibre interpretation. That way, we would each have a Chanda in our lives. I love hooking portraits - it may be my favourite thing to hook, but adapting a painting of a friend is another story. And I probably fussed more than I would have it were Van Gogh or one of the Group of Seven. In the end, I am pretty pleased with it.


Here is my fibre Chanda. I am pretty sure that Vishni will love it. I'm sure she will be amazed at the loops needed to recreate a single brush stroke. I loved being able to take a painting I loved and interpret it into the fibre medium. Although there is no "blending" as there is in painting, it is an exercise in values - which is a common denominator in all art interpretation.

Hopefully the wool will be as happy in that wonderful tropical climate as I am every year.

Back to more making today. Another sunsuit and a pair of bloomers. And then maybe that little jersey dress for me.





Thursday, November 29, 2018

I washed a rug! And I liked it!!

Ha ha - little nod to Katy Perry, because this is something I had never attempted before.

This is the mat that I hooked nearly 10 years ago. It was hooked specifically to go in front of the sink, which many people thought was just plain "crazy".  What if it gets wet? What if it gets spilled on? Yeah, yeah, yeah...


It's my own design, which I call "veggie chopsticks" and for those of you who ever played it in your early piano days, the lyrics for this rug would be, starting from the centre:

Carrot, carrot, carrot, carrot,
Asparagus, asparagus, asparagus, asparagus
Celery, celery, celery, celery,
Corn, corn, corn, celery, asparagus

back to
carrot, carrot ...........................

I know. I know. Hopelessly corny, but that is the song that came into my head as I was designing it. All the vertical veggies are in the centre, with the rounder veggies creating the border.

I hooked (not punched) this whole rug in yarn on rug warp, believing that I would be able to wash it at some point. That point came last weekend after a spill of ham broth on the corn cob on the right. Up til then, I spot cleaned it occasionally when things look a bit spotty. This spill called for more drastic measures.

So, I took it upstairs to the tub, added some baby shampoo and cold water and let it soak for a while. Then I scrubbed the lighter bits with a toothbrush and some more baby shampoo. Followed that with a LOT of rinsing and then came the task of getting water out.

A few towels later, I was ready to set it in the furnace room to dry. First, I hung it on a drying rack, but after one "sleepover", I could see the whipped edges starting to go a bit wonky. So I moved it to my foam blocks I use to block my sweaters and used pins to straighten out the curly bits.

Two more days on those and it was dry enough to be turned over, to let the back dry. One more sleepover next to the furnace and it was ready to go back into its rightful place in front of the sink.

I am very pleased with this whole endeavour. I was a little nervous that some of the darker yarns might run, but luckily, none did.

If your rug has been hooked on a water-friendly backing, you should be able to do the same thing.

Thanks for reading.

Be back soon to update the Christmas tree rugs. My students were here again last night, and the progress they made was fantastic. The rugs are so different - a true reflection on each of them.



Tuesday, November 20, 2018

WOW - two months gone.

And they have been busy months. With hooking. With knitting. With a little road trip to Florida. With the "grands". With life!!!

So what do I have to share? A few updates. Fillippa Flamingo is still languishing on the love seat in the basement. She nearly got put on plywood a few weeks ago while I was in TO, but that didn't happen. Not sure of timing now, but in the meantime, she seems content to lie around, watching Netflix and reading from Rick's extensive library lol.


I have three lovely students who come to my studio on Wednesday nights. I tempted them with a Christmas project and they were all keen. So last week, I had many options to share with them. Ornaments, trees, cone Santas, 3-D snowmen and on and on. They opted for a tree pattern that I designed - and then the studio went black!!! A big power failure that covered much of the Peterborough area.  Class was over. Power didn't come back on till well after midnight. But we re-booked for this week to try again.

In the meantime, I enlarged the pattern and hand drew it four times - one for each of us - and got started on mine. Here's the design. It is 8" wide by 28" high and will be fun to hang in tall, skinny spot - or on a door. Lots of possibilities in here and a fun project to hook.


And here is my version of the tree segments hooked. I love how much fun it is to choose colours for each of the segments. I did the buffalo-check part first. Love lining up the wool to re-create the checks. A simple background and a colourful whipped edge and this will be done.


On the needles? My Boxy sweater is now ready for seaming and sleeves. I had a "duh" moment when I realized that I had knit the front and back on different-sized needles. Even the most energetic blocking wasn't going to solve the problem, so I frogged and re-knit the back. Yikes. A giant rectangle on 3.5 mm needles and sock yarn is not a quick fix. But I am much happier with the result.

Here is a picture - this is not mine - but isn't that a fabulous necklace. Want to try to replicate someday.


Also on the needles - a dress!! I fell in love with a picture of this in an ad for a not-so-local yarn shop. After calling to find out about the pattern, I ordered the yarn and it is now in progress. It is light-weight linen and I am hoping to wear it to the annual brain injury fundraiser we go to in Barbados. Nearly finished the front - still lots of pieces to get done.


And of course, the annual pair of socks for hubby. He LOVES homemade socks and doesn't need anything else for Christmas. The pair in progress is being knit using the Gros Morne yarn I bought in Gros Morne, Newfoundland. This was one of the National Park yarns created by Fleece Artist. They did one for each province.


Off the needles, hats for the "grands". Jackson requested a Ninja Turtle hat - and gloves!! What almost-five-year-old wants gloves!! Anyway, the hat is a success - the gloves not so much. Apparently, they don't quite fit. I will make a pair of mitts with the leftover yarn as a fall-back option.


And then the challenge of a hat for Everleigh who won't keep anything on her head. I chose a pattern with braids that also serve as ties. And an enormous pom pom. Turns out it was a hit! Let's see how long that love affair lasts.


So yes, things have been a tad busy around here. I will try to be more timely in my posts, and share the socks and Boxy when they are done. But you never know what life has in store to disrupt the best-laid plans.



Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Hooking is all done!

After an incredibly busy August and beginning of September, day before yesterday I pulled the last loop on Fillippa Flamingo. And the next day, I zig-zagged around the outside of the hooking to trim her down for turning under.

Here she is. After I finished the prodded wing, I hooked some row on her back behind the wing and then finished her underside.


Once I turn the bit of backing under, it will be on with the challenge of finishing her into a dummy board. For those who don't know what a dummy board is, here is a link to a few painted ones on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.ca/susiehart64/dummy-boards/?lp=true

I actually painted one many years ago for my sister and she used it in front of her fireplace when there wasn't a fire. I decided to try to create one out of this hooked bird, so that I didn't have to make her 3-D, just 2-D.

I know she will be mounted on a piece of plywood that will be cut out in the same shape, and I have a volunteer to help me with that. Then comes the challenge of getting her to stand up - and still look like a flamingo. For legs, I am thinking I will use rebar and put a large piece of wood behind her to secure those. My back up plan is PVC plumbing pipe.

And some kind of base for her to stand on. Not quite sure what that will be, and hoping to find a sturdy solution where she will remain upright. lol. She is a pretty tall gal.

Stay tuned.



Saturday, July 28, 2018

Winging it.

When you are working on a bird this big, you know it is two things: a big time commitment and a big material commitment.

Fillippa got so big that I moved her to my cheticamp frame the other day, figuring I could isolate just the wing area while I was prodding it with all the fun fibres. It was a good decision and much easier to work on on this frame.  I was hoping I was half way through the wing when I moved her.


After this morning's session, I think I am probably two-thirds done the wing. And would have finished but ran out of some of the wool I was using. So back into the dye pot for more flamingo pinks. I mixed a few different textures to create slightly different values of the same colour.

I am calling this the 2/3 mark. Optimistic? Maybe.

And here is some more pink to go to the finish line. Well, not really the finish line - I still have to hook the body under the wing. But getting closer.


I will surely have had my share of "pink" when she is done. Hopefully, I can get lots more done this week before the "grandson" returns on the 6th. There is NO hooking when he is here. lol.

Lots of fun, but NO hooking.











Sunday, July 15, 2018

Big Bird is Coming Along Nicely

First of all, welcome to another "theme" for my blog. The last one was just too hard to navigate - as an author or a visitor. This one is very simple "what you see is what you get".

So, after spending a week with our Grandson here, I got back to Fillippa Flamingo. I actually had posted a progress shot on Instagram last week, which I will share here.  Knew right away that the "hit or miss" was a much better way to go, for many reasons.


I did get more done on the neck before Jackson arrived, but pulled nary a loop while he was here. By the time he was ready for bed at night, so was I.

But back on track today and reminded about just HOW BIG this bird is. I took a "selfie" with me and Fillippa, just to show the scale. I am standing right in front of her - this is not one of the fake fishing shots. lol  (I am definitely NOT a selfie expert, but figured this was a good reason to take one - or half one.)


With this much hooking done on the neck, I decided to do a little playing with the wing. I have collected some fun fabrics to create lots of texture. And got enough done this afternoon to show you a bit of a preview.

I took a close up shot so you can see all the fun tulle, bathing suit fabric and other proddy wool bits.


And here's a shot that shows the height of the "fun feathers" next to the hooked parts. 


Fun, right?

Trying now to figure out how to move all the fun stuff around the wing surface, so have had to do a count of strips of the fun stuff and then fill in with the other stuff. It's time consuming, but a nice break from the hooking. 

Will update with progress as I go.







Friday, July 6, 2018

The Beginnings of Big Big Bird

Here are the first pictures of Fillippa Flamingo.

You can see from the very first image, with the hook and scissors in for scale, that she is HUGE. I think she will probably stand over 5 feet tall when she is finished, not counting the block she will be inserted into.

After transferring the pattern (thanks to Judy K in Fort Frances) onto backing and making a few modifications, it was time to figure out what to do with her. So I started with her beak.


Next step was to try to figure out HOW to hook her body. And my first attempt is not working for me. She just looks too stripe-y. Sure I want her to be wild and crazy - but in a flamingo way, not a clown. I think I will back up and start again with some feather-like shapes that I can hook hit or miss with all the textures and colours that I have. I am sharing this first experiment anyway. Hopefully, I will get started on the alternative approach tomorrow and can share that result.



So, why am I hooking a giant flalmingo anyway??? Fillippa will be a mascot/ambassador bird at the OHCG 2019 Annual in London Ontario, the theme for which is "BIRDS OF A FEATHER".

She will be a multi-fibre bird, using just about anything in the pink-ish range that I have in my stash or can find. And her wing will be WILD.  I have crazy yarn and pink feathers and I am thinking of adding some taffeta too - should be fun.

Once she is hooked (which I think will take quite a while), she will become a "dummy board" - or in this case a "dummy bird". What does that mean? She will be mounted on a plywood cut out of herself, given some rebar legs, which will be inserted into a block to enable her to stand up.

So stay tuned. I am hoping to give progress shots as she develops. Hopefully she will be as spectacular as I imagine.

Her motto:  BE A FLAMINGO IN A FLOCK OF PIGEONS.
I saw this saying on Pinterest and might just have to order a t-shirt with that on the front. Perfect, I think, to wear to the Annual.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

When Inspiration Strikes.....

For more than a year, I have been pondering a hooked headboard for one of the guest rooms in our house. I've had lots of thoughts, but nothing drove me to dive in - until this morning.

Over coffee, an idea hit and I did a very quick sketch in a nearby notebook. I decided this was it, and went downstairs and quickly drew it onto a piece of backing I had previously gridded. It has different proportions from the sketch, but I like the flow.


I should also say that while I have been ruminating over this "headboard rug",  I have also amassed quite a stash of bulky yarn, since I decided that would feel better against your head than wool strips. And then a couple of weeks ago, I found this yarn at Michael's.


I loved the colour combination and there are all kinds of interesting textures in the ball. I figured it would be great for hooking and would be soft against your head, if you leaned against it.

While I was still feeing the inspiration, I got started. And within a short time, since the yarn is quite thick, I had three swirls hooked. And I am loving the look of it. I also think it will be interesting hooked in straight lines for the "wave".


I think I may move it onto my Cheticamp frame so that it is always out and ready for a few loops. As usual, I have many competing projects. But I think that this might go quickly if I just don't run out of enthusiasm.  The finished size will be 2 feet by 6 feet. And I guess when it is finished being a headboard, it can be used as a rug.

Speaking of finishing, I am just sewing tape on the back of the "8 little dresses" rug, so it will be done in time for the One Motif, Many Ways class at Trent on the 17th.  This really was a fun project, from inspiration to completion.





Monday, May 14, 2018

Not just eight dresses. Eight backgrounds too.

Once again, more than a month has skipped by since my last post. Life just seems to get busier. A couple of stints looking after the "grands" since the last post. And a Wedding!! Our son Matt married Theo, the love of his life, in a fun-filled weekend of festivities last weekend in Chatham, Ontario, which is her home town. No pictures yet, but I will do a post when I get some.

In the meantime, progress continued slowly on the Eight Little Dresses mat. I am definitely in the home stretch, but didn't get it finished in time for my teaching gig tomorrow at Niagara College.

Here are a few progress shots. I realize that I didn't take a photo of all 8 dresses hooked, before I got onto the background. And what a journey that has been. I was originally going to do a grey textured background, but decided that since these dresses were a staple in Barbados, they deserved a background that was more suitable to their wear. They needed something tropical. And instead of just doing ONE background for all, I decided to create a different background for each one. And so the journey began.

Here is a picture of the original greens that I was going to use. WRONG!! The brighter greens were in conflict with the bright colours in the dress.


So, I decided to dull them down and make sure that they stayed "in the background". You can see the difference between the greens on the left and the greens on the right. I figured it was a good lesson.


Here you can see both sides done the same, and it really worked - no conflict with the "star" of the study.


So now the exercise became finding a different background to go behind each one, using the same colours and trying to not fight with the patterns in the dresses. It was a fun, albeit challenging, exercise.

Here is background 1 completed.


Here is background 2.


Background 3

Background 4


Background 5  (My finger is there to remind me I didn't quite finish this one. lol. )



Background 6  (I will re-do these quillies - they are too high for the hooking.)



Background 7 (Thumb here is just to old it flat.)


And I'm not quite finished yet. Background 8 yet to be hooked, as you can see.


It's very interesting to see that 8 different backgrounds can co-exist in the same piece, as long as they are all the same colours.  In the individual shots, the greens all looked quite different, but here you can see that they are all the same.

In fact, they are kind of a unifying element that brings all the dresses together.  In hindsight, I might have done them the same way that I did the cats - individually, and they would have made a fun installation. But I like to see how they do all live together in this one piece. And I think it will be a good "teaching " tool, in lots of different ways.

As a rug hooker who is constantly asking "What if....", this was another exercise that I loved doing. Repeating the same motif and hooking it 8 different ways was fun in itself. But challenging myself to come up with 8 different backgrounds - all inspired by Huntes Gardens in beautiful Barbados was another layer added on.

(Oh, in case anyone doesn't know what the black and white fabric is for, it is added to the backing so that it is large enough to fit in my gripper frame - I eked it out of a too-small piece and cheated.)

Boxy Chevrons by the Sea

Happy to report that the colds are gone and we have assumed our positions down on the deck at the Beach Club by the sea. And after having ...