22 May 2017

Busy, Busy Yarny Months

First, I did miss the monthly "Cooking From History" post, because while I planned to do it, I got very busy with work and deadlines and didn't take the time to cook.  So I am going to double up either this month or next, and in the meantime you can read about someone else's cooking adventure here.

I participated in both the opening reception and the meet-the-artists talks (and following potluck) for the Paper Possibilities 2017 exhibit, and really like how my entries are exhibited:
The colours of the hanging piece really pop against
the colours of the wall.
I've also been working madly on the annual Knitting for Grads at orphanages in Kazahkstan by the Mittens for Akkol knitters, adding a number of from-stash scarves and hats to the shipment in addition to what I committed to make for various graduates:
Extra grad set - a sweater I made for me but didn't wear,
added hat and scarf.  Yes, the body is entrelac.
This boy asked for red, and the "mom" making his accessories asked if I
would add a bit of blue because she added some, so I added a bit.
Closeup of the stitches - crocheted with knitted ribbing
Several people thought of doing "RAAM" from Berroco -
here's mine, in Patons Classic Wool red.  Not a great photo.

At the end, I did have one failure, when it was clear that I would not finish the final sweater.  However, I found one online that the store promised to ship by deadline, and it arrived in time, so - whew!  I saw a lot of cute sweaters but they need to be all-wool (or other animal fiber - mine include wool-alpaca or wool-mohair blends) and those are in slim supply this time of year.  I'll finish the other sweater eventually, and either a grad next year will want the colour and be about the right size, or it will be an extra.

Now I am enjoying knitting for me.  I joined a KAL (Knit A-Long) and am doing two shawls: one following the pattern except in a lighter yarn with a smaller-sized needle, partly because the finished shawl looks huge and I am not.  I am using stash yarn, of course, and happily found one by the hosting yarn company in a really pretty blue:

The other uses some yarn of theirs in three colours (the third will be in Section 4) and some from another company in a very pretty silver, and follows the pattern except for making a closed spine.  I'd envisioned using these yarns to make a shawl to wear to summer concerts in the park, with stripes of reflective yarn to add safety when I walk home from the bus at night.

The KAL is up to Section 3 of the pattern and a lot of people are knitting ahead.  I made sure to get a photo after each stage.  After this I'll get back to finishing some WIP/UFO shawls.

I'm also doing a couple of "idiot scarves" (plain garter stitch in non-plain yarns) to donate to a collection or other for shelters.  These are handy carry-around items.  I finished one this weekend - they do go fast! - and it is pretty long, almost seven feet!  I'm going to do more with the yarn and now I know I can make them wider; this one is about 5½" but thick (I used the yarn doubled) so it should be plenty warm for someone.  More using up of stash, in addition to what I am donating to charity and selling on eBay.

I do have one baby blanket to finish, but the baby isn't born yet so I have ..... about three weeks.  I guess I should get that one started, eh?

01 May 2017

Another UFO Blog Hop

A couple months ago, the UFO group I joined this year did a blog hop so that people could post about progress on their items.  Although I have not made much progress on the shawls that I announced as my UFOs for the year, I did finish two other items.

At MakeHartford we have a Paper Artist Gathering group which I am part of mostly because I was part of the original Geometric Origami Club that grew into the current group.  And somehow, I was talked into contributing to a group exhibit that opens on May 6th at the Farmington Valley Art Center.  Titled "Paper Possibilities 2017: Exploring a Modest Medium" it shows all different types of art created from paper.

When people were talking about the exhibit, I mentioned some UFOs I had from a workshop on creating altered books from the lamentably gone (the artist moved to Virginia!) from Hartford, Studio N111.  In this workshop, we took books and learned about cutting and rearranging and folding and all kinds of options to decorate them.

Although I did a little work after the workshop, this is where they were, and had been for quite a long time:

The open book at the left, "A Road to Hope", is about a couple who helped to create a home for families near a cancer treatment center.  I ended up not doing more to it this time (if it doesn't sell, and I don't expect it to, I may do more and enter V1.2 in next year's exhibit) and didn't take pictures of the little that I did do, but I did more work on the other item.

That book was a young adult paperback, rather battered.  I removed (and recycled) the cover, and began to fold the pages into the same three-fold pattern, but alternating which corner I used to start.  So the shape formed as shown.

When I went back to it to finish the piece for the exhibit, I envisioned something mostly painted white and pale yellow, with maybe a touch of pink, and some deeper blue and purple circling it at angles.  I found a crystal dangle in a shape that echoes the one that is forming, and wanted to add it to add some interest to what I thought would be an unimpressive piece, especially compared to other artworks in the exhibit.  To attach a hanging loop and the crystal, I envisioned satin cord monkey's fist knots at each end, coordinating with the blue or purple or even both.

Of course that didn't happen.  As I mentioned in yesterday's post about randomness, a friend had counseled that sometimes art takes its own direction and doesn't end up as planned.  Without a lot of time to struggle, I wasn't going to fight the art.

First, I finished folding all the pages, and I noticed that the pages that had been exposed were slightly but noticeably yellowed.  This happens with the type of cheap paper often used in paperback books, and I realized that not only would it require a lot of paint to cover to get the white background I was envisioning, but the pages were going to continue to yellow as time passes.  So I decided to make that part of the art.

I'd obtained a set of pearlescent watercolours, and used them to add tints to the piece, focusing on yellow, orange, rust, and two shades of green:
You can see very clearly the newly-folded pages below, and the sun-tinted ones above.
I did more than one pass, some more watery and others drier, to get different depth of colour.  Then I decided that the monkey's fist knots wouldn't quite work, in addition to not having any beads or balls at home large enough to act as a base, and not having time to shop for any before the piece needed to be delivered.  So I took some wool yarn that seemed to coordinate with the paper colour and two buttons scrounged from my stash (I wanted two of the ceramic one, which seemed to coordinate best without adding more colour to the piece, but only had one, and so relaxed my stress of symmetry) to create a tasseled hanger.
Sorry it's not focused.  JHB Collection on left, something artsy on the right.
The darker, thinner button went on the top with the idea that it would be less visible when the piece is hung.  I didn't fasten the cord into the paper piece; it's held by tension and the curve of the spine caused by the folding.

Here are a couple quick pictures taken when I dropped off the piece:

Although it's not what I had envisioned, I like the end result.  The colours are much more visible to the naked eye than they photograph.  You still see that it was a book (one of the other artists wanted assurance that I would not obliterate the words, and I told her that was why I selected watercolours) but it has turned into something almost organic.  The tassel is at the top, slightly off-center from where the hanging occurs, and not visible in these photos.  I'll try to get one at the opening on Saturday and add it or link to another post.

Now that you've read the story of my UFO, check out what some of the other artists in this month's blogroll have been finishing:

Karen Williams, Baublicious
Francie Broadie,  FAB
Christine Van Dyke Altmiller, One Kiss Creations
Kim Dworak, CianciBlue
Liz Hart, Treetop Life
Amy Severino, Amy Beads
Cynthia Machata, Antiquity Travelers
Hope Smitherman, Crafty Hope
Christi Carter, Sweetpea Path
Bobbie Rafferty, Beadsong Jewelry