Friday, August 17, 2007

Lion in Summer part 2

Today the cats helped me finish the main beading of the lion. They were a great help, and stayed with me the whole afternoon. I decided to go with my idea of a fanciful carousel animal, and put a green and blue "blanket" under the saddle. I had some orange beads already strung, so used them for the front shoulders, but then came to the end of my stash of pre-strung orange beads. I thought it might be a nice idea to do the rest of the body in a random texture of orange irridescent beads, and so covered the rest with those. The feet needed some booties, and some yellow socks, so those were glued on also. I like the whole effect, literal and pretty as it is. As I was glueing, I thought of the many other possibilities for decoration, political statements and other directions I could have gone, but an orange lion seemed right for this rainy day, so here he is. Laying the beads in a uniform fashion took a huge amount of time,but it is fun to see how the patterns develop. I'm thinking I might paint the edges with black paint to give the piece a frame of sorts. Beading the edges seems impractical, and besides I used up all of the bead colors for the mane and the front quarters. Next time I'm going to work on the mouth and fill in the gaps. here is a detail of the piece:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Carousel Lion-first day

The Museum of Folk Art ( ) in New York City has a fundraiser auction each year. Last year, they sent interested artists a blank doll and asked us to decorate it however we wished. I had fun creating a mermaid in a knitted skin, which was auctioned off. The event is a lot of fun; some of the artwork is quite elaborate and clever. This year the theme is "Carousel" and each artist was sent a wooden animal to decorate however we wish; the deadline however is in one month, so there isn't a lot of time to play around! I got the idea to bead my lion from my husband, who brainstormed with me about it when I opened the giant box. The piece is 21 X 15 inches, and about an inch thick. I was inspired by seeing the amazing work of Liza Lou, who covered ordinary settings in beads ( a kitchen, a back yard, a tool closet...). As I have a lot of beads, I though this would be interesting to I don't usually work with it was a challenge to find a non-toxic glue which would be relatively easy to use. I thought hotmelt glue would be dangerous for my fingers, and was elated to find several glues at the craftstore which will work. Hopefully! I'm using Weldbond, which is a white glue made for glass, wood, etc. So far, the beads are sticking! I spent 5 hours today working on this part, and I'm enjoying the process, although it is painstaking and somewhat messy.
Here is my beginning, though, and I'm having a lot of fun laying out the beads. I hope they will stick! More in a few days...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Triangular Shawl Edgings

I've been fooling around with edgings other than garter stitch,on a triangular shawl, thinking that garter would not stretch as much as the stockinette-based fabric of the rest of the shawl.( Although sometimes perhaps you want this to happen so the thing stays on, but that is a different question...) I found that a 5 stitch edging of ribbing, e.g. PKPKP would have the same vertical stretch as the rest of the shawl, but not curl as a stockinette border would.. I started a shawl using this edge but haven't finished it yet, sorry. But so far, the edge is really nice.The ribbing kind of contracts like I-cord, but has the correct number of rows. And you can start it the way you do the usual 3 stitch garter-edged shawl, e.g.: provisionally cast on 5 sts, PKPKP, turn, KPKPK, etc, until you've done twice the rows needed for picking up on the edge, ( usually around 14 rows,) then pick up 7 sts along the edge of the strip you just knit, then undo the provisional cast on and pick up the 5 live sts. Now you'll have 17 sts on your needle, and you can start your shawl pattern. There is going to be a slight jog where the sts are 1/2 stitch off, but it isn't very noticeable and gets buried in the ribbing ( and is at the back of the neck anyway). Then you can start the pattern of the triangular shawl as usual, marking the 5 edge sts on both ends of the row as you would if doing a garter edge . See photos, and try it!