Archive for the ‘Jewelry’ Category

Romans & Grannies & Dogs – Oh My!

Whoa, it’s been almost two months since I checked in here. From where I left off last time:

I got the 45″ wide warp for the window shade fabric on the loom – not without some glitches (of which I’m just going to stop reporting all the details; since I’m afraid I’m beginning to sound incompetent). I wove a  62″ sample and cut it off the loom to show the clients. Why 62,” you might ask? Why not weave a 12″ sample and not risk wasting that much of my materials? 62″ is long enough to be a shade if it wants to be, and it gives the clients a fuller picture of what the fabric will look like. It can be difficult for non-weavers & non-fiber-people to visualize something that doesn’t exist. I threaded the loom with a 3 yard leader warp. My warp is 8 yards, of which there will be very little waste at the back end. The project requires about 4 yards, finished, for the two 42″ wide shades. If I don’t use the first 62″ sample, I’ll still have plenty of warp; and the finished fabric should have plenty of extra for wiggle room. 

first sample

Anyway, the clients put the sample up in their living room and they love it. Now all I need to do is to dye another two pounds of the cotton flake weft yarn, and 2000 more yards of fabric strips.

Oh, and weave the remaining 6+ yards of 45″ wide fabric, then tie on the 36″ wide warp and weave 16 yards of fabric.

Piece of cake.

At the same time, I have been participating in Yarn Bombing Los Angeles’ Grannies Squared project to cover the Craft and Folk Art Museum with granny squares.

Definitely check it out on YBLA’s Facebook page.

At some point a couple of months ago, I was at one of the Stitch & Bitch session at the museum. Someone mentioned that they were looking for some kind of crochet-related pin to give to their 100 Club, the people who had crocheted 100 or more squares. The solution was obvious to me instantly, and the wire grannies were born. They only needed 50 of them.

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Wire grannies for the 100 Club.

I have made pins, necklaces, and I’m in the process of making earrings for the CAFAM gift shop.  My wire granny jewelry will be there late next week, along with other granny square themed merchandise, in time for the opening on Saturday, May 25th, at 7 pm. YBLA will be having a Photo Op across the street in the park at 5 pm. I will be there with the wire grannies for the 100+ granny contributors. 

AND. . . somewhere in between my last post and this one, I did something really stupid. I must have had a stroke or other mental defect, because we got a

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stinky dog.

I’ve got to go crochet wire granny squares. Hopefully I’ll see you on Wilshire Boulevard, next Saturday.

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Spring Forward

Spring is three days away. The smell of flowers blooming is in the air. We have already set the clocks ahead, and went around all last week feeling like we lost an hour somewhere. Today is St. Patrick’s Day, the LA Marathon was run this morning,  and it’s another one of those perfect days in LA. Of course, true to our wonderful weather: yesterday it was foggy in the Valley in the morning; then it was sunny and almost hot Downtown at noon, and by the time I left the Yarnbombing Granny Squares sewing party at the Craft and Folk Art Museum at 5, it was completely overcast and cool. As I wound my way up Laurel Canyon, over Mulholland, and dropped back down into the Valley, I drove into a hazy sunshine. The morning fog had never really lifted. I think it created an inversion layer, keeping it slightly hazy all day. As I headed west on the 101, I could see over the top of the hills, the heavy cloud cover sitting in the Basin.

DTLA, Saturday afternoon

DTLA, Saturday afternoon

But that was yesterday. Today it’s windy, clear and warm. Our orange tree, which wasn’t blooming three days ago, is in full bloom today.

Since returning from Stitches, progress on the window shade fabric has been slow. I had one week where I had four medical appointments over at UCLA and in Santa Monica – this was all follow-up on my thyroid surgery three years ago; and all the tests came out fine. But each trip over there takes a huge chunk out of the day.

I lead a twill weaving workshop for my guild, Southern California Handweavers. it was a great group, and we all had a wonderful time.

Weavers from L to R: Melissa, Elbert, Pat, 7 Myrna.

Weavers from L to R: Melissa, Elbert, Pat, & Myrna.

Carolyn Sell weaving on Elbert's loom in the Twill workshop.

Carolyn Sell weaving on Elbert’s loom in the twill workshop.

During these past few weeks I have been beginning to dye the 5/2 Perle cotton for the warp of the window shades and some to the fabric strips for the weft.

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But now, I’ve got to start cranking on this project if I ever want to get it done in this lifetime. The picture shows a small portion of the yarn and fabric strips I’ll need to dye.

Coming up: I’m going to Vogue Knitting Live in Bellevue, Washington April 5-7. I’ll be in the Art Gallery portion of the Marketplace with my smaller coiled baskets and jewelry for sale.

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I’m working on a new group of jewelry designs involving wire granny squares.

grannies1 The time has come for me to take over Michael’s bedroom – all of it, not just the half that serves as my photography studio. It is also time to pack up Samantha’s things and turn her bedroom into a guest room – so Michael has some place to sleep when he comes home from school.

Stay tuned.

Dying Time Again

Since my last post, the window shade project has taken a turn. We went over to Candy & Adam’s house with the samples and had a long discussion of what they liked and didn’t. I came home with some notes and plans to refine the patterns and make some new samples. I had left some of the sample warp on the loom so I could do further samples.

I left the samples taped to the windows at the house. I told Candy & Adam that they needed see them in different lights, at different times of the day. I got a call a few days later: the white fabric didn’t work at night. It looked washed out and boring. In hindsight I realized, of course, there’s a reason no one puts white drapes on white walls. Door Sample

We discussed the color palette and I decided to dye the yarn and fabric strips I already have. This way I’ll be able to use the yarns I’ve already acquired for the project, and get the palette exactly as I want it. So I ordered some fiber reactive dyes from Dharma and now I’m in the process of doing color tests.

I have started with each color straight from the jar. I like the soda soak & cold batch method for dying. I’ll be painting the dye onto the yarn and fabric strips, so this method is appropriate. I prepared small samples of the yarns and fabric strips, and mixed all of the colors the same strength. I want to be very systematic about it, so I can recreate the results when I get the palette I like. I’ll need to dye a couple thousand yards of yarn and fabric strips.

The first group of samples came out very dark, too dark. Yesterday I mixed the dyes at half and quarter strength. Cold batch means that you leave the dyed material wet for 24 – 48 hours to set the dye. Since I left the first round of sample setting for 48 hours, I will leave all the second set for the same amount of time. I was tempted to take out the quarter strength samples after 24 hours because I’m trying to get some pale shades, but then decided against it in order to keep my tests consistent.  If you only change one variable with each test, then you know what caused the results. Tomorrow I’ll rinse out the samples, then wash and dry them. After that, I’ll move on to adjusting the colors.DyeTests

Of course, I have other projects going at the same time. I have an 8 harness point twill warp on my 24″ Dorothy table loom that I’m weaving off. The results will be additional samples to help inform my Exploring Twills workshop for the Southern California Handweavers Guild, coming up next month, March 9 & 10. I have decided to de-acquire my 24″ wide, 8 harness Dorothy table loom. As soon as I get this warp woven off , I will list it on Craig’s List or something.

Next Monday, February 11, I’m speaking at the Palomar Handweavers Guild and leading a half-day workshop on using recycled materials in fiber art.

TopDownTI’m about ready to finish a knitted t-shirt for myself.  This is a rather unusual occurrence. As much as I love to knit, I have made very few garments over the years, only three things for myself. This is a top-down t-shirt I started almost a year ago. It’s an original pattern developed by Suzanne at Unwind in Burbank. I bought the yarn and signed up for the class to learn the pattern during last year’s LA Yarn Crawl.

I pitched in a donation and made some granny squares for Yarnbombing Los Angeles’s latest project to cover the Craft and Folk Art Museum with crochet.

I haven’t touched my Designing Weavers annual project for a couple of months. The past few years it’s been a Springtime mystery whether I will or won’t get my project done by May. Stay tuned to see what happens with that.

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