25 September 2011

A Long Time Coming: Charlotte's Web Shawl Variation

 2005 marks the year when my fascination with shawls began. I become fixated on making a Charlotte's Web shawl with Koigu KPPM Yarn from Maia Landra. I think I started the shawl and ripped it out at least 50 times before I packed it all away and decided I needed more learning time before I could attempt making this shawl again. Along the way I picked up my shawl 'bible', "Folk Shawls", by Cheryl Oberle and have been gradually working my way though the patterns. As I worked on my first lace pattern from the book , "The Heartland Shawl" I thought I had hit the same snag. I kept starting and ripping again. I thought I was doomed to never be ale to try a lace pattern!
 I posted a plea for help on Ravelry and, surprise, Cheryl Oberle herself, answered my query. Such a simple thing - use markers! Ah! The Heartland shawl was a success (and I want to make another one) thanks to that one, most important tip. Earlier this summer I decided I would tackle the Charlotte's Web shawl once again - this time with success! The shawl is supposed to have long fringe all the way 'round and, quite honestly, fringe is not my favorite thing since I always seem to get it caught in car doors or something equally silly. I decided I wanted to add a slightly ruffled edge instead. Once again I turned to the pages of Ravely for help. 'Pamelatoo' came to my aid with perfect, succinct instruction about how to add a ruffled edge.
I am so happy with this new shawl. I think I will use it a lot - and I am happy that I changed the edge too.  This is lightweight 'summery' shawl - smaller than the big winter snugglie shawls that I love so well. I can see using this a lot during the winter at work - when a sweater is too much but I still need just a bit of extra warmth. Hooray ! I conquered my lace phobia and love t now thanks to the helpful people on Ravelry. On my needles now? The Stora Dimun shawl from, where else, "Folk Shawls" !

23 September 2011

So Much To Tell - How Fast Time Flies

I had a wonderful bit of vacation time. I spent the bulk it home home - having fun trying some new ideas and 'just being'. For a part of my time off my gal pals and I went on out second annual retreat to Roslyn, Washington. Home to the late, great television show "Northern Exposure". I came home and returned to the work - exhausted every day by the time I got home. Hopefully I'll be able to share some of our adventures and photos with you this weekend.

I fell in love with both this old building and the clock that graces it's face. Since I am always bemoaning how fast time flies the quote by Jim Bishop just seemed to fit well. More soon. Happy weekend! Enjoy creating something wonderful!

12 September 2011

Vacation Images

This photo was taken at a really unique interactive street art installation near the Tacoma Art Museum. It really was fun to see it morph each day as the words were changed around.

My favorite place in Tacoma to go to for a sweet treat is "Hello Cupcake". My fried Maria and I discovered it a few years ago and then Janet and I happily revisited it to enjoy one of their fabulous cupcakes. They sell only cupcakes (tea, coffee and beverages) - an they are the best!

10 September 2011

Glinter Beads from Elephant Eye Beads

I noticed these beads in some online article from Beading Daily. Since they were advertised as a silver substitute I had to have a look. Silver has gotten so expensive!  The bead designs were lovely and the cost was modest. I decided I had to give a few of the beads a try.

The Beading Daily article highlighted a photograph of a strand of multi-colored Glinter beads and, when I couldn't find them on the web site I wrote to Elephant Eye and asked about. They were kind enough to tell me that the beads shown in the article had been an experiment made by soaking the beads in Liver of Sulphur. I had some on hand and so I tried it out. Unfortunately, I left them out too long to get the variety of gentle colors I wanted but I did achieve a nice patina effect. The strand on the top began life looking like the brushed Glinter beads below. Leaving them in the Liver of Sulphur too long gave them a nice aged brass color. Yes, I am going to try again and keep a closer eye on the time !

I think these beds are indeed a great substitute for the more expensive silver beads. I can see them made as earring or jewelry of course - but I also envision them on a spectacular quilt or quilted item. They are worth having a look at. I am not affiliated with Glinter or Elephant Eye - I'm just an always curious consumer of pretty things!

Elephant Eye Beads describes Glinter Silver Substitute as:

Glinter™-Silver Substitute is an almost care-free metal product that can be made into beads, clasps, earrings, headpins, charms, chain, and wire - as well as other items normally made with sterling silver. It doesn't tarnish like silver and it's not a plate so there is nothing to rub off. Glinter™ is a solid metal made of zinc and copper with a little silver added. When worn for a long time, as with all metals, it may possibly turn slightly dull. Glinter™ can be brightened by cleaning it with a polishing cloth or giving it a quick trip through an ultrasonic cleaner. It's a wonderful product as it wears so well and looks so good for an extremely long time. 

Glinter™ should be wearable by the majority of the population as it is lead, nickel and cadmium SAFE. It cannot be labeled nickel free but it has four times LESS nickel than most surgical steel jewelry, the most commonly used ear piercing material in the U.S. At the time of this writing no U.S. standard exists for nickel content in jewelry components.

Glinter™ is also considered lead SAFE as it exceeds the U.S. standard for lead content in jewelry.

Glinter™ is intended for use by adult consumers. Glinter™ is not intended for children under the age of 12....."

06 September 2011

Michelle Ward's Crusade #54: Mind Games

 I feel as though time is is going in hyper drive. The month's spin by before I know it, but one thing that makes the turning of the month easier is that I look forward to Michelle Ward's monthly "Crusade" projects. Without fail I have a good time working through the challenge and, also without fail, I learn something.  I'm a little late this month but I had fun with the concept of of choosing a word and then developing a color to match the mood of the word.

I used a lot of interference mixtures on this page which, unfortunately, you really can't see at all. The interference colors just added a bit of zing - or a dash of spring - to the colors. I had fun coming up with names and even more fun matching colors to the words!  Thanks Michelle for another round of play time.

05 September 2011

Color Hue Dye

This is a silk scarf 14" X 72" pleated, 'marbeled' (yes, those are marbles), presoaked & wrapped
My friend Janet gave me a wonderful gift of Color Hue dyes a while ago and, after seeing a scarf that she made I was totally inspired to get them out and play. First, I ordered a small assortment of silk scarves from Dharma in order to see how the dyes will react on a variety of silk surfaces.  Some of you may remember that I used to make and sell hand dyed fabric - but the space needed (and the warmer temperatures needed) were more than I wanted to juggle. These dyes are ridiculously easy to use - the simple directions suggest a 1:3 ratio using plain water as the diluent. There is no prep or mordants for silk and wool, no heat setting required and the resultant colors are brilliant and rich. They aren't available in a slew of colors but color mixing is easy enough if you know the basics.What more cold a person ask of dye?
This is the same bundle with the dye added. I added a piece of silk organza to catch any excess dye. For this scarf I used green, turquoise and goldenrod.
Next on my audition list is a silk charmeuse scarf that I'm pleating and folding now. The combination of sewing and dying is simply magic for me. I love not knowing what the piece will look like until it is unwrapped. I could become seriously addicted to making these. That might be a good thing since I am auditioning ways to be able to supplement my "Bowery bag lady" Social Security stipend when the time comes.
The result. I am so totally jazzed about these dyes!

04 September 2011

Sidewalk Fascination

 All of the photos can be double clicked for a larger image

It's been awhile since I posted and it is not for lack of doing fun things this time - it's more a matter of there were so many fun things that I just don't know where to begin. I haven't even posted about our wonderful County Fair yet. Last week my friend Janet and I went to Tacoma Washington for the Association of Pacific West Quilters show. This is a new venue for the show which has previously been a bi-annual show that was held in the Seattle Convention Center. This was the first year its been held in Tacoma. The hotel, a Marriott Courtyard, is, quite literally , about 50 feet away from the show which a real blessing for me because my back issues make me need lie down rest breaks now and again. 
As we walked back to the hotel one evening Janet noticed the light on these beautiful grasses. I had to hop across the street to take some photos. Brilliant light!
Don't these look Art Deco? I love the lines - and the sky was screamin' blue!
The show itself was excellent - not too many vendors but I suspect that they were all wondering how the change of venue would affect attendance and also I think the economy is making vendors be perhaps a bit more selective of their travels. This post will not be about the show, but rather about my love for the newly refurbished down town Tacoma area. We had time to go the the Chihuly glass museum, the Tacoma art museum and a few other points of interest. As a kid who grew up in New York City I have never been much of a city lover but I was utterly captivated by the beauty that was underfoot in Tacoma. Janet was very patient and stopped as I simply had to take this photo or another of the amazingly beautiful iron works that surrounded the trees. The photo above is our shadows and it makes me think of the Guardians I have been fortunate enough to have in my life. Those few friends who are always there for me - and go along with my whims and help me to organize my life. Thank you Janet!
Inside of the former Union Station which is now home to the Federal Courts. That's a Chihuly chandelier hanging under to the occulus.
Another from inside Union Station - and more magical Chihiuly glass work in the windows. Notice the w yin-yang symbol in the center?
A beautiful man hole cover
This is were my attention was really focused on the sidewalk. So many beautiful iron worked pieced! The next two photos are of some the iron works that were around the trees. Similar but different. the first one really was two very different colors - the left side was very rusted while the left side was still fairly intact. I have lots more images - but I want to savor them and use them over time.
 Similar but different
 This little element caught my eye. So much beauty in such everyday objects!
 Another beautiful piece of patterned iron. There is some of this in Seattle in the downtown area and I've wondered if the same person or crew worked at both places. It's so beautiful!
We had a really good time and I got so excited about the incredible every day beauty that can become so thoroughly ignored when you see it everyday. It's natural to do that I guess. I would love to be able to return to New York City again and revisit my old haunts with more mature eyes and my camera. That would be a real treat. Oh! and while I'm at it I want to return to Ireland, Italy and Britain to do the same thing. Lottery dreaming again!

Next post will be more textile oriented I promise - the actual, wonderful quilt show! SO much inspiration! I swear our textile artists just get better and better ! The word is that there will now be annual APWQ shows - but Janet and I have decided to continue on our bi-annual visits.