Ready. Set. Go.

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The workshop is cleaned out, cleaned up and ready to go. Artwork has been selected, paper’s in, color choices are becoming clear, and a schedule is in place.  That last one is a first. I usually have so many ideas and then tend to get seduced by the latest sketch (which then sends me off course), that I thought I’d try implementing a schedule. Buckling down and charting a course that includes a select number of favorite ideas might lead to some interesting results. Or maybe just more results. That’s the thinking, of course.

Conversely, I’m trying to loosen up a bit more in terms of working method. I was a little too rigid in the spring and therefore was unable to get as many prints out as I would have liked. I’m going with more forgiving artwork and compositions than in seasons past and will adopt a more go-with-the-flow attitude—even it it requires some reminding now and again. Embracing the process and embracing more of the mistakes this time out.

I have one edition under my belt so far and the process seems to be working well. I’m very much looking forward to more. Here’s hoping you are too.

 

Yarn Love: Malabrigos’ Silky Merino

Fall is just around the corner, which means kicking the knitting into high gear for the Cherokee Heights Arts Festival and Holiday presents! When I started my stash busting/inventory building this summer I had a few skeins of Malabrigo’s Silky Merino that were perfect for making some fingerless gloves. I was knitting with size US5 needles and found that after blocking, I loved the lighter, looser fabric that the yarn creates, as well as the beautiful sheen and softness perfect for gloves. I fell in love with the combination and bought a number of other colors and can’t seem to stop!

The gloves above will mostly be given away as presents (except the teal pair which I made to match my fall sweater coat), but I’m making a few more pairs for the festival. I’ve found that I can get one and a half pairs of gloves from one skein, so I am combining the remnants of two colors to make a third pair. That’s a pretty good return for a moderately priced, but luxurious-feeling skein!

Fall Knits: Centripetal Sweater by Lauren Dahl

After knitting the cardigan for my mom, I wanted to knit a sweater for myself. I really like long, warm sweaters for the fall and winter that I can wear in the office kind of like a coat. I found the Centripetal Sweater by Lauren Dahl and fell in love with the simple design and beautiful detailing of the cables around the back and collar. It looked a little short for me, but found that by adding a stitch at the middle and end of each repeat of the circular body to the middle and then decreasing back up the other side, I was able to add length through the whole bottom section. I also decided to add a little color work to the innermost cables for a pop of color with a beautiful skein of Ella Rae Lace Merino Chunky I picked up on my trip to NYC (the body is Bernat Alpaca in Ebony, the better to hide kitty hair). Note that because the yarn I used was pretty fuzzy, the pattern isn’t as crisp as some of the examples knit by others on the project page. The cables are even more beautiful with a yarn that has better stitch definition.

I usually avoid knitting with chunky yarn, but it is perfect for the design and makes it a relatively quick project. I also found the directions to be pretty simple to follow and the description of the short row technique easy to pick up as I hadn’t done it before. I’d definitely recommend this design. 

Knit Gift: Hitofude Cardigan

Its been a while since I’ve posted any knits because I’ve been working on a larger piece as a gift for my mom: the Hitofude Cardigan. She was looking for a unique lace cardigan that she could wear in the fall and spring, so we hit Ravelry and started looking through the boundless pattern library. After narrowing it down to a few options, we decided on the pattern by Hiroki Fukatsu for its timeless elegance and simple lines. The beautiful pictures made it any easy choice and the recommendation of Madelinetosh Merino Light gave us a huge selection of beautiful colors to choose from. (I recommend taking a look in the projects gallery on ravelry to be inspired by the beautiful variety of colors.)

I would highly recommend this pattern to anyone wanting to make a lace cardigan. The pattern is well written and so beautiful in its simplicity. It is knit all in one piece with seaming under the arms. The lace pattern is very easy to memorize but gives the knitting process enough variety for a longer project. It was so easy to make I am considering putting it on the list to make one for myself in the future. 

Stash busting: even more Gloves

Much of this month has been spent stash-busting all the little partial skeins rolling around my bins and making up some different glove patterns. Above are most of the varieties that resulted. I’m currently working on a longer project, the Hitofude Cardigan, as a present. It is coming along nicely, but I kind of miss the much more instant gratification of fingerless gloves.

Things We Like: Richard Brendon’s “Reflect”

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Seeing troves of orphan saucers collecting dust in antique shops, British designer Richard Brendon designed a brilliant way to give these objects a second life.

Brendon designed a blank bone-china tea cup—a ghostly stand-in of the Georgian variety—that’s finished off with a reflective surface. Like a Chameleon, the cup replicates the look of it’s supporting cast—albeit with a slightly broken, melting aesthetic.

Reflect is one of those rare gems that fills a need by repurposing discarded materials while also building on a visual legacy with a whole new look. It’s cheeky and rational, clever and satisfying, and the perfect mix of form and function.

Things We Like: De Kooning – “Untitled VII” – 1985

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We love how this painting—one of Willem De Kooning’s last works—encapsulates all the best elements of his oeuvre. The overlapping swaths of color from his reckless 40’s and 50’s prime are beaten into submission according to his refined working methods of the 1980’s. It’s clean and simple, but not quite. There’s a tension there that keeps us looking.

What we find of particular interest is the painting’s resemblance to the bright, crisp product paintings of the Pop era. In some alternate reality, this could pass for a warped Rosenquist or a wrecked Wesselmann. Odd then that the sworn enemy of the rough-and-tumble, yet oh-so-sensitive Abstract Expressionists (i.e. Pop) ended up worming its way into the work.

Maybe it’s because he was the last AbExer standing or it’s his connection to Rauschenberg or his injection of  pop cultural or representational references, but somehow this just seems appropriate.