Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Fine Art of Dressing

Cristina, when dreaming up a garment, the first thing I do is pick the shape. My favorite book for this is The Fine Art of Dressing by Margaux Tartarotti.

Six body types are outlined based on the shapes of women in paintings by Modigliani (pear shapes), Renoir (diamond shapes), Rubens (round shapes), the pop artists (hourglass shapes), Gauguin (inverted triangle), and Picasso (straight shape).

My Modigliani shape is enhanced by empire waists, maxi vests and cropped tops! It makes you think.

What shape are you?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Cable process halted

I am pausing at this point on Anne Boleyn (name courtesy Cristina). I have put the sleeves on strings and done 4 rounds of purling around the middle. I need to rip that back, maybe rip that last bit of the center cable. When I re-knit it I will decrease a little more. But then what? I was planning on st st for the rest, but that seems too plain now. I could continue the cables and decrease the seed stitch on the sides. I could stuff this entire thing back into the armoire. Transition points are dangerous places for my knitting.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Another round of cables

We all have colds and are living on toasted cheese and tea, but the knitting is going very quickly. I'm beginning to think about denim versions for the little Lears. They've outgrown the last ones I knit. I'd like to use some of those B Walker pod-looking stitches or maybe her 3D turtle? I like the idea of crocheting some trailing seaweed across the surface in a bleached out color or dark navy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cable swatch scans

Here's one idea. I scanned my swatches, duplicated them, and pieced together a sweater picture.

I can see I will have to come up with a border to separate the cables from the stocking stitch. And I want to do a funky cable thing on the sides.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Giles plus Patrington and Withernsea

On the left is the Giles olive wool cardigan with a gauge of about 0.3 stitches to an inch. On the right is a Patrington and Withernsea pattern documented by Gladys Thompson in Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys and Arans with a gauge of 8-9 stitches to an inch.

If I mix these two I should come up with something for my olive Jo Sharp Ultra at 3.5 stitches to an inch. Not quite Twinkle Big City Knits, more Twinkle Withernsea Knits! I'm thinking of splitting the yoke between the two ropes and adding a few stitches under the bust so it looks smock-ish. I can't see the shoulders or sleeves yet. I'm going to let it stew.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Pringle discontinued

You may remember that my first version of Pringle's cabled yoke sweater looked too schlumpy on me - and so I tried it with the large cable as a horizontal band, above. This isn't going to work. From here on out I am discontinuing large horizontal cables. This isn't going to be Pringle anymore. It's somewhere between the Rowan Scottish Tweed Chunky patterns and Twinkle and it has an empire waist.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Pendants and tiles and crochet

This terracotta tile of St. Thomas Becket being led away by knights hangs in our hallway. It's from the Black Dog of Wells - they make hundreds of different tiles. We have several from a stop at Salisbury Cathedral. I've been playing with the idea of knitting them into a curtain - like large beads in a macrame piece.

Emily Murphy's pottery blog has lovely pictures of the pendants she took to Burning Man posted on September 17. The way the cord is attached reminds me of the pull tab crochet in Craftzine. I'm thinking about a crocheted lace bag using small tiles or small dancing ladies, or a kitchen window of terracotta rings joined with freestyle hemp crochet. There are great opportunities combining large and small pieces of terracotta with knitted/crocheted lace! Imagine an outdoor piece that creates a lace and tile wall in the garden!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Cattle brands and hieroglyphs

I like the little marks potters put on the bottom of ceramics. This has me thinking of cattle brands.

I'm also smitten with the idea of carving a design into the foot of a piece - like Valeria Miglioli and Barnaby Barford did here. Do you see? You never leave behind a ring - instead your tablecloths and tabletops are covered in coffee brands - initials, pictures, symbols, secret codes, Egyptian hieroglyphs!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Heating pad covers

I don't know why people aren't talking about heating pad covers more. I've decided I'll need several to arrange on all the furniture where I find myself after an afternoon in the studio. I went through the armoire and found two possibilities.

One is a pattern from Eleanor Kent named Tan Diamond which I did up in a nice strong red. Originally I thought this would become a pizza cozy - because I hate a luscious pizza going cold on the walk home. The design reminds me of the potters' wheel radiating warmth into my shoulders.

The other piece is a swatch from a Gee's Bend blanket. It's tranquil and soft, but those black stripes mean business.

I'm also thinking about those long pillows filled with rice that go in the microwave and wrap around your neck. I wonder how long they stay warm?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Words and Clay

Studio Pottery has a great Summer/Fall issue on the long history of writing and pottery. It's full of stories about ancient histories written on clay tablets preserved in library fires and every-day grocery lists found on pot shards and contracts recorded on bowls.

I am going to make some knitted swatches and press them into tiles. I wonder if I'll be able to press some colored slip into the spaces to make stitches. Wouldn't some knitted tiles be nice? I've been thinking of those written languages which evolved from pictographs and how a piece of knitting represents a code as well. Somehow I have to combine some knitting stitches and some poem or code.

I've also been looking through pottery books and have fallen in love with these squarish pots for cooking oil and batter jugs. They have wire handles and tin lids. They remind me of hobo tea pots - masculine and slap-dash. I have long been in a Planet of the Apes phase - but I am segwaying into a Mackintosh (think Glasgow School of Art) mood. A dark glossy Mackintosh, wire-handled, cork-lidded tea pot - but the cups will all be tin cans!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cat's paw shrug

It's been foggy here in the mornings and warm in the afternoons. I wish this Hempathy shrug was finished. I did a little cat's paw down the center of the sleeve.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Blue Tile 6

The lamp light is throwing the colors off a bit. This is my favorite scarf tile so far. The heathered blue is from an old stash of Jamieson & Smith jumperweight from School House Press. I just read on their site that the mill is discontinuing 70 of its colors, but a US distributor will pick those up. I feel a slight pang as I type this, like I should order all the heathered blues and grays right away. This is also my favorite yellow - something from Alchemy that lost its label.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday evening sweets

I did not bake anything today and now it is evening and there is nothing to nibble on. There is not even any butter or flour in the house. Am I desperate enough to bake some meringues and eat them with bits of almond paste straight from the tube? We have some Elephant Heart pluots - those will have to do.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Siemens pottery idea from Vienna

This is perhaps Siemens' greatest technological innovation: the crosswalk key. After pushing the button on the bottom, you run your fingers across this gold panel and discover that in the next 15 seconds you will cross a bike lane, 3 lanes of traffic coming from your left, 3 lanes of traffic coming from your right, 1 more bike lane and finally, sidewalk.

Last week in "Beginning Pottery", our teacher showed us how to take wet clay and squirt decorations from a mustard bottle, a great boon to my list of flat projects: tiles, hot plates, buttons, and belt buckles.

I am thinking of a hot plate based on the traffic patterns of DuPont Circle, or our walk to school, any memorable or every-day walk. It's time to use some of that Google Maps technology!

Friday, September 14, 2007

A 28 by 42 inch opportunity

This frame presents a wonderful opportunity for our wall - a portrait, a landscape, a homescape! I'm not good with large surfaces. I like sharp thin felt tips and tiny scratchy writing. I draw from the wrist.

I think this calls for some photoshop, some of that cool sewers' "carbon" paper, and a great portrait that does not include a nose.

I saw a 1940s lady's portrait in a Country Home article once - they managed to work it into 3 different shots of the house. If I can find that page I think I'll make her my great aunt and attribute the bottlecapping equipment in the laundry to her.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Neiman, Enid, and Charleston

I adore the new Knitty pattern Neiman by Weaverknits! I love the silky blue against the warm brown. The wonky circles remind me of the marbles along the edge of my Charleston cushion. I am also reminded of the Veronik Avery "Enid Cardigan" from last winter's Interweave that I never made. She uses some purl stitches in her circles. I like these circles. I'm going to throw it all into the runcible bin with my Knitting from the Top and see what comes out. It can stew while I work on the other arm of my shrug.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Boy Mechanic interior designer

I know this is tiny and 72dpi, but in real life it's a fascinating page from The Boy Mechanic - Best Projects from the Classic Series by the Popular Mechanics Company. They've recently re-issued a bunch of these. These plans for a bedroom and museum are wonderful. They have given my nursery plans new energy. I love the pictures pasted into the door panels and the glass-fronted drawers surrounding the window. It reminds me of the Natural History Museum in Vienna.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Night Baking

I'm baking birthday cake tonight. I'll have to wrap up the layers and put them in the runcible bin. Hopefully in the morning I'll have some decorating ideas. We take our cakes very seriously around here - sometimes buying them at the bakery, and sometimes whipping them up ourselves. Above is a Katamari Damacy cake, skillfully put together by the young Lears, probably my favorite.

To the left is a Noguchi-esque Star Trek cake that Masse's put together from some images in the Star Trek Technical Manual. I think adding fire to any dessert makes it ten times better.

To the right are flowerpot cakes from an old Martha Stewart. We substituted shortbread crumbs to give them a sandy look and used rosemary sprigs from our yard. These pots are a little larger than those used in the original. I will have to try to throw some very tiny seedling pots - like those fancy French ones. Imagine a dessert table set up with all different sized pots with saucers beneath them - and one of those beautiful ceramic watering cans for the lemonade (another item for pottery class!)

We also used an old Martha for this garden cake. The vegetables are made from almond paste and the lettuces from pistachio paste. The Playmobil gardner here is horrified to find half his garden sliced away.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The gold tile pillow

The gold tiles became a pillow cover. But after pottery and working on the quilts, I may throw it on my heating pad instead.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Blue Tile 5

The blue tiles are coming along. For a 60" scarf I'll need about a dozen, although I would really like it to be twice as long. I'll connect them all with some knitted "grout" and back the whole thing with velvet blocks.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Vera Neumann dreams and plans

There was a blurb in one of the home magazines about the Vera Neumann company reissuing some of her designs. I am such a fan of the linen napkins and aprons and the graphic scarves, the ones that look like Sonia Delaunay silks. Vera Textiles by Jeanette and Katherine Michalets documents many of her designs for collectors.

I had the idea that I would knit this scarf in segments, and I did knit the first 40 pieces. I just haven't gotten around to the yards of navy blue rectangles. This could be felted into the nicest-sized pillow. A little backing on the scarf itself would make it pillow-ready. Add a Japanese indigo quilted version and there's a whole couch.

Next, I'd throw a "paint your own silk scarf" party with the secret objective of collecting and editing everyone's practice scraps into a crazy quilt. For this party I would wear a long Vera wrap skirt and serve drinks with Vera cocktail napkins - which I would have to make since they have gotten so popular on ebay. I'll just add that to my list.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Miss Pickerell's Knitting Bag

"Well, I'll have to do something while I'm waiting," she reasoned, trying to be practical. She sat down at the table again and opened her knitting bag. The green-and-white skirt she was crocheting for Rosemary was in there and so was a pair of socks with a diamond pattern that she was making for Euphus."

Miss Pickerell to the Earthquake Rescue by Ellen MacGregor and Dora Pantell, illustrated by Charles Geer
This book came home with us from the library. In this chapter Miss Pickerell has been locked inside an office within a mysterious research facility while searching for two missing scientists. That's her knitting bag on the table at the left, but it's the coffee pot on the warmer that keeps pulling my eye - as well as Miss Pickerell's shirtdress with dark tights and heels!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Watches, Clocks and Bells

I ripped a little blurb from the paper about an antique watch auction house that recently fired its founder. I did not throw it into the runcible bin, so of course I've lost it, but I've been thinking of wearing little working pieces of history on your wrist.

W's article on the revitalization of Dent & Co. mentions the Royal Observatory clock in Greenwich, chronometers once used by Darwin, the fluid compass, and their mid-C19 patent on the key-less watch as well as their new commission for St. Pancras station.

Both of these stories remind me of the Oranges and Lemons rhyme summarized beautifully in The Annotated Mother Goose by the Baring-Goulds. I like how the bells chant a relay about the markets - oranges and lemons, brickbats and tiles, two sticks and an apple. I need to start a file on this watches, clocks and bells business!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

First Wednesday Homesick Drill and Beginning Pottery

The emergency sirens tested on the first Wednesday of the month sound exactly like the tornado sirens in St. Louis, and it makes me homesick. On this first Wednesday homesick drill, I would like to ask, "What the heck happened with Bissingers?" My friend Eleni tells me they moved, but she didn't have a chance to go in. Did they bring the little desk in the corner? Where else will customers get out a calling card and draw a line through their name and write a little message, before enclosing it in a tiny envelope and attaching it to the chocolates?

Today was also Beginning Pottery. I have 10 lbs of clay, a set of tools, a cubby, clay spatters on my jeans, and a huge shoulder ache.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The last sandcastle

I don't know how a sandcastle fits into our first day of school celebration - except that we have the pan and love to use it. We crushed some shortbread cookies and added a little sugar to the edges. This mold is so versatile: vanilla sandcastle, chocolate dark knight castle in the powdered-sugar snow, underwater jello Atlantis castle, strawberry sorbet castle in the meringue clouds, abandoned castle or castle under siege when a tower falls off, cherry pink faerie castle with sprinkles, castle buried in the geranium leaf jungle...cornbread castle served with chicken soup, ice mold castle with flowers and mint leaves inside!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The end of summer

I'm making the Nani Iro Fuccra into quilted bedspreads that just cover the mattresses with a flap on the end to cover the pillow out of the black with white polka dots. I may use the cream Fuccra for the opposite side to make them reversible with a little bit of dark pink piping running 'round the edge. I will turn them to the black side on Labor Day and the cream side on Easter.

I'm redoing the entire nursery. The bunk bed needs a gypsy wagon paint job. The wingback needs a hand-painted painters' cloth slipcover. I am thinking about fabric shutters with tree branch shadows for the window.

I have visions of a curiosity cabinet like the ones we saw in Vienna filled with all the treasures the little Lears bring home and two miniature Lincoln desks for writing homework essays. I would like to redecorate the mantle, but there is no fireplace.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Carrel for September

My final semester I was given a key to a library carrel with one whole wall of glass overlooking the river. All semester I cheated on my thesis with books I picked up in the stacks. I remember thinking: this is all I ever want to do.

There is a walled-up hallway in the corner of my bedroom and it is stuffed with boxes of books and toys I do not want to hear from again, and it is all held back by an armoire of yarn. This sounds very grand, but it is only 3 feet by 3 feet, enough room for half a desk and a chair. Now that September has come round again, I think it is time to excavate my carrel.