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V-Handwork Circle 9/11/20 and 9/18/20

19 Sep 2020 10:18 AM | Susette Shiver (Administrator)

I've been a bit underwhelmed the last few weeks for obvious (the covid coaster) and other personal challenges, but I can always count on our V-circle buddies to cheer me up with new projects and ideas and those ever-valuable tips on where to...  how to... why to....  The V-circle activity also allows me the opportunity to drop stitches, knit inches beyond where I should have bound off for the neck and so-on: just a commentary on how distracted I become by the great conversation!

Another valuable sewing resource from Kathleen our professional sewist, go-to, V-circler: sewing.net, Sewing Studio Fabric Superstore with stores in Florida.


Look at what Judy is working on. It is a break from a more complicated knitting project, one that goes faster and has bright colors. 

 

K nitting isn't just knitting.  Knitting has many subtle nuances of pleasure: texture, lanolin sometimes, wooly smell, color joy for the eyes, special wooden knitting needles, big needles (easy to see, goes fast), small needles (nice fabric, knitting in the round but makes the right hand sore sometimes) needles in the round, circular needles.  Oh, and then the pleasure when the garment fits, or the afghan fits into the decor on the sofa or bed like a glove.  Your eyes flit from one color to another piece with similar color bits, to the pieces hung on the wall, and back to your new piece in your lap. You know just where you want it to be.  Or, lo!  Without realizing it, a new sweater also goes with another dress and that skirt, and what about those pants too? 

Knitting is knitting and crocheting is crocheting, and the fashionistas better get it straight!!! Case in point: New York Times article today, "Breezy, Colorful Pieces to Make Summer Feel Longer", link here. Note the beautiful sweater at #5.  Only it is not a crocheted piece, it is one knitted on very large needles with very bulky sized yarn, wish I could command $395 per sweater!  All the 10 pieces shown are fun to look at,  Ah, to be young, energetic, all over social media, designing sweaters with your uncertain revenue ahead of you (half full, me). 

Sorry about the blurry iPhone shot of the screen with so-so internet, but Paula has finished a project started long ago by her mother.  Her mother's tiny 1" squares were the start of this finished quilt. 

Katya is changing up projects, alternating between knitting a sweater, finishing quilting a project of individually designed squares (see previous blogs for pictures of her quilt pieces), and working on a new doll.  Some weeks back we saw the basic body constructed, then the hands. This past Friday, we saw the finished hands, feet, and a stunning face!!!  Katya promised to send good pictures since I was lazy with the camera and knitted instead during the handwork circle (!!).

Here is a picture of a hat Katya is working on, but it escaped my memory as to whether this is for a doll for a grandchild.  It looks too big to be for her smaller art doll. 

I recently over-dyed some wool that was knitted double stranded (orange and cream colored strands).  That was after I frogged a sweater I had already knitted (ha ha rip-it, rip-it).

I had even made a button for this sweater.

This sweater is no more (not practical to wear since the sleeves were stylishly way too wide.  Now it looks like this partway into my over-dyeing experiment:

So for over-dyeing, I knitted all the yarn up loosely in a seed stitch on large needles, still double stranded.  Then one skein I left as a loose skein with ties to hold it together as per the traditional method.  Then I dyed them using Aztec gold, a Jacquard acid dye in a large rice cooker. The difference in dyeing the multiple seed stitch pieces and the single skein became apparent after knitting in stockinette using smaller needles.

You can see that I started with one skein (the loose tied one), then switched to one of the pre-knitted pieces (about mid way up the image). 

 I had placed them in the steamer all together with dye liquid mostly covering them, but without intermittent stirring because I was afraid to felt the yarn.  So, the skein might have settled to the bottom and taken up the dye first and longest, or, the knitted seed stitch might have acted as a mild resist to the dye. I will find out in future by dyeing one skein at a time, using equal volumes and the same volume of dye stock. 

From this experience I did learn that using this giant rice cooker, the liquid boils if on the "cook" setting, but stays at 190 oF on the "warm" setting. The latter setting is perfect for acid dyeing.  I wonder about using the steamer for indigo?  Would that be too hot?  Can anybody tell me?


This past week we talked about indigo and shared past workshop experiences (years ago in the case of Kathleen, last year or so for me).  Local Cloth has an Indigo interest group that meets regularly (at least pre-covid).  I attended when Eileen Hallman led a group.  She had gotten hold of a ??? 100 gallons container filled with old indigo.  While we were there, she/we scrapped out the indigo that remained stuck to the bottom and sides of the container in order to recycle it.  Eileen used part of it to create a new, much smaller indigo vat for us to experiment with.  This involved lowering the pH (I use soda ash, but I believe she was using lye) and adding reducing agent (Thiox I believe).  We did some shibori/tie dyeing experimentation on cotton.  Lots to learn. Using those notes and the notes posted on Dharma and Earth Guild websites  has informed all of my subsequent indigo work.  There are two basic flavors of indigo to start dyeing with: pre-reduced indigo or naturally reduced (fermented) indigo.

By the way, Joyce Tromba will be leading a natural dyeing, virtual class soon for Local Cloth.  Check out the Workshops page.

Other noteworthy points of discussion and interest:

  • Sassy Jacks Stitchery, N. Main and Fl. in Weaverville for fabric and other items. During covid, they will bring your pre-ordered items to your car out front.
  • Helen Gibson has taught woodcarving of figures at John C. Campbell, a course that Judy has taken.  She showed us some of her figures and I am sorry I didn't get a screen shot of them!  Judy has gone on to carve wooden masks starting with wood she collects and splits.
  • An unfortunate women had a major anxiety attack in Walmarts after three separate people came us to her and abused her about wearing a mask.  Judy was there and spoke to her and helped her calm down, whereas everyone else steered clear.  Judy advised the women (and us all) to maintain direct eye contact, with an upright and confident posture when nasty people come at you to bully. Give the bully pause by using a confident stance.

See you next Friday!! Send me picture of your work in progress or finished to include.  We all love pictures. Me especially.  


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