Thursday, November 29, 2007

Intarsia Part 1

A few months ago, I thought intarsia was something on a menu in an Italian bistro: intarsia in red sauce. Then Knit One started making all of those felted bags with pictures and I realized that life as I knew it would never be the same. Although intarsia does come from an Italian root word, it has nothing to do with food. It’s a form of torture that makes lovely pictures on one side of a sweater while leaving all sorts of twisted and confused threads on the back side of the work.
Of course, it is impossible to do if you are knitting a sweater in the round with no seams. If you try, the color you need when you come around to the start of the image is at the other end of the row and you have to add a new strand for each row. Not a pretty picture.
So, not only was I going to have to figure out how to change colors in the middle of a row without leaving a gaping hole, I was also going to have to knit sweaters in pieces and sew them together. I have been trying to avoid this for years! Only those of you who think Barbara Walker is a true genius and who are addicted to patterns by “Knitting Pure and Simple” can understand my anxiety.
It looks so simple when Knit does it but I just get a tangled mess in the back that has to be untangled every row. I even tried bobbins, those cute little plastic thingies you wind a small amount of yarn on but they just got entangled with each other and made it almost impossible for me to tame the yarn. Kafe Fassett says to just leave a small amount of yarn, unwound, just hanging there. Of course, I think one of the people in his studio probably gets to do the untangling so I’m not so sure I’ll go with that. Knit says to use small amounts of yarn and to wind them into “butterflies” and then rewind them after they’ve been used. I tried that but with counting stitches, checking the chart, winding at a color change so the fabric will be hole free my mind forgets to remind me to make the butterflies.
The photo above is for a baby sweater and it’s a giraffe. Even from the front you can see all those evil strands of yarn. I haven’t gotten to the head yet, and, yes, I know he has no legs but they get knit separately and get sewn on later so they can swing around. It’s a grand idea for an infant but older boys would give a leg one pull and off it would come. I needed a big boy picture.
Enter charts and graphs. But that’s part two of the story and will have to wait till part two.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Learn from My Mistakes

3. White wool does not felt well. I didn't want to believe it. I read it somewhere that the bleaching process used to make wool white impedes the felting process. However, I wanted to do this Mondrian, so I asked the yarn company before I ordered the white, and they told me some people had no problem with the white felting properly. Thinking that I would be one of those people, I ordered the yarn. For my first attempt, I felted a plain white bag to use for needle felting. The white became muddied and the stitches were still visible. I blamed the jeans that I was using in the wash with the bag and thought more time was needed. (I was in denial!)

Something told me I was pushing the envelope so I charted my Mondrian and started a potholder instead of a bag. The potholder is from Knit It Felt It . I made a set of these before, and I love using them. Moisture doesn't seep through and you can throw them in the wash, just not the dryer.

The picture says it all. My potholder is crooked. The white is not felted and it is discolored. Mondrian would not be pleased , and neither am I. Well, I was warned and now you have been too!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Another one hooked on felting

Remember Helen? She didn't think she wanted to try felting. Knit talked her into knitting a bag and she liked it just the way it was. As more and more felted bags started appearing, Helen decided to try the process. Shazzam! An instant felter (just add hot water) (sorry, couldn't resist). Above is the collection she appeared with at our last gathering. This stuff is dangerous.

Knit took a whole week to felt her own bag. So I guess the intervention didn't take. She broke down and she's off and running again but I'm happy to report she's doing "swimmingly".

Thanksgiving - what to do with those leftovers?

Jeanne made a larger bag with a more complicated bead design. This meant she had to get extra yarn and beads. Once the bag was done, Jeanne found herself with leftovers. At this time of the year we're all thinking of leftovers but I don't think we can be as creative with turkey as Jeanne was with her extra yarn and beads. She made a hat! She designed it and the top is very interesting. I think it's lovely and I wish I had thought of it.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and next time you are looking at those extra bits and pieces in your stash, think of Jeanne.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Under the Sea Bag #3

That's a Green Moray! Yes, I tried to quit at least for awhile. A week is a good length for a vacation isn't it? This bag really is still wet. You can see the towel in the background . I had to adjust his eye a little for the picture. I sewed it on with nylon thread so that I could put the seed bead inside the crow bead. It dropped down like a bead on a jiggly bag (I should have known this would happen.) I will redo it when the bag is dry. In case you are wondering where the salt water fish thing is coming from, I used to have a shop with lots of fish. These are better, no tank to clean, no food to buy and they don't get ick and die.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Under the Sea Bag # 2

Yellow Tang with Red Ball Sponge: This bag is flat except for the fin on the tang , and a little duplicate stitch on the sponge to give it a more round appearance. There is one more undersea bag ready to felt, but I am taking a bag vacation. If you are curious about the next bag, I'll give you a hint. That's a moray!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sharing the fun 2!

This bag is Helen's. She went for a fuzzy look and a new shape in elegant black.

Sharing the fun!

Here are some more bags from our "fence painting party."Below is Rebecca's Bag with beautiful color blending and an original bead design. On the right is Nancy's bag with knit in bobbles for a great textural effect.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Under the Sea Bag # 1

I finally got up my nerve and felted the Sebae clown fish with Anemone. I took the photo , and I have to admit the bag is still a little wet, but after all it is a fish. This is now, without a doubt until the next one, my very favorite bag. There is a beaded bag on the needles, but the next undersea bag is definitely sloshing around in my head.