Thursday, June 27, 2013

Knitting the Seasons...June...A rose

I can't quite believe it, but I'm on the verge of catching up my postings of this year-long project.  The theme for June was a beautiful rose in a friend's garden.
Day One

Day 2

Day 3
By Day 4, the rose had wilted, however I had knit a good-sized swatch.

Rose bud swatch

The June collection of swatches.
The rose garden.
I'm off to Alaska for three weeks, and will be trying something new for the July theme.  I've second-guessed the colours of the ocean and rain forest, and have packed a variety of small amounts of greens, blue-greens, blues, and blue-violets.  I hope to be knitting en plein air (which gives a new meaning to the knit stitch, a.k.a. "plain knitting"...)

Knitting the Seasons...May...Tulips

Daffodils predominate in our garden in April, and by May the tulips have taken over.  We had a lovely array of reds.  Many have cross-pollinated and so are striped.  The centres are interesting--black, violet and yellow.
Back yard tulips

Tulip with a yellow centre.
Using the yellow-centred tulip as a repeat motif.
Tulip with a violet centre.

Playing around with a Fair Isle motif from a book by Mary Jane Mucklestone, plus a corrugated ribbing in tulip colours.

Knitting the Seasons...April...Spring!

Continuing to catch up on old business...  I skipped this project in February and March, picking up the strands with the onset of spring.  The colours in our garden were wonderful yellows (daffodils, forsythia, tulips, balsamroot, and dandelions--not too many of the latter since I dig them out whenever I see them), greens (foliage--dull, bright, yellow-green, light green, dark green) and blue-violet (hyacinths, grape hyacinth, and scilia).
This is a favourite view of our rock garden.  Lloyd calls this the "dry creek bed" and planted it with grape hyacinths to mimic the flow of water.  One of my jobs this spring was pulling out all the hyacinths which had spread (by seed) to other parts of the garden.
Auditioning the colours in-situ.
April swatches
A particularly nice grouping.
Arrowleaf Balsamroot, a.k.a. Okanagan sunflower.  This  perennial plant is a harbinger of spring in the Okanagan.  It has a very long tap root and thus impossible to transplant.  The root was an important traditional food for the local First Nations.  Lloyd harvested seeds in the wild and planted them in the garden.  It takes about 4 - 5 years before the first shoots are seen above ground.

My knitted version.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Knitting the Seasons...January...Snow! Texture in Snow!

I'm catching up this week with my "Knitting the Seasons" posts now that my liturgical work is finished for the moment.  This posting is about January.  It was difficult to settle on a theme for January because the landscape didn't look much different than in December...snow, and lots of it!  While there wasn't a lot of fresh snow, it was cold and the snow hung around...but became quite crystaline, and so I settled on a theme of Texture in Snow.  Looking out my window I saw depressions where the snow had collapsed either due to the topography or footsteps...layers, ridges and valleys of snow.
Our front yard mid-January--lumps and bumps from the plants and rocks underneath.
Random cables and crossings.
Road grit and snow
Road grit:  Random knits and purls with a variety of neutrals
Road grit:  Double moss stitch

Tire tracks were another source of inspiration...

And it sure wasn't easy trying to represent these tracks in knits and purls:

Another try, with another kind of tire track...

Still not feeling very successful, and so I thought that I would tackle these same themes but knitting with more texture such as found in twisted and travelling stitches...but that will have to wait a while.  I took a break from this project in February and March for some time out with my family, but I got back at it in April.  I'll post about that next.

A Surprise Stole for Rev. Joe

Early this spring I received an inquiry...
"Our current pastor will be leaving our church in mid June and I am hoping you might have time to create a stole for him out of ties.. we would most likely use a theme of mountains and water, since we have beauty in both in our part of WV." 
In her next message, the writer went on to elaborate... 
"Rev. Joe is being relocated. I think I initially said retiring. (Crazy woman moment) this is a surprise for sure. There are others involved with this project, but we have perused your site and blogs. We can easily get photos of area along with secret stole template created. We may be methodists, but we are really good at having surprises. So far most folks that know of this possible project like the tie idea."  

That's why I wasn't able to post about creating this stole during the month of May. The stole has now been presented, and here's the story of its creation:

A couple of packages of ties arrived in the mail at the beginning of May.  Meanwhile I had googled "West Virginia landscape" and found several photos to stimulate some ideas.  In this image, you can see some of the photos, my sketches, and the neckties.

In this image, the ties have been cut into strips and laid out in the order I expected to use them--pale blue for the sky, grey blue for the distant mountains, deeper blues and greens for the hills in the mid-ground, and brown for the rocks in the foreground.

The completed piecing--I managed to incorporate a little "water" in the foreground.  The softly rounded mountains and hills of West Virginia lend themselves well to my technique of bias-strip piecing.

Once the piecing was done, I cut out the stole and prepared the piping from a couple of highly patterned ties.  In the next images, my husband is modelling the stole once the piping was applied (and before the lining.)
Back view

Front detail--you can see the paisley tie that I used for the piping.

Full view of the stole in progress.
The completed stole

Lower left detail view--there was a lovely "fish" tie sent to me, and I was delighted to incorporate the fish eye into the "rock" piecing!

Back view--finished.

Lining.  The commissioners requested the words to the song "My home among the hills" on the label.  If you google this song title, you will find a Youtube video with beautiful photos of the West Virginia countryside.
I created the lining fabric years ago using cedar branches on top of green cotton broadcloth and spraying with bleach.  The small piece of "tree" fabric on the right was sent along with the ties and I was happy to incorporate it into the lining.

The stole was presented on June 15th, and here's the happy recipient!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Joy's Stole is Finished

Another wonderful project comes to an end.  This stole has been particularly satisfying because of the good materials.  I didn't have to improvise or delve into my stash.  Herewith the finished stole--ready to ship to Oregon....

The completed stole

Back view

Lower detail

Upper detail

Lining--I added some pockets made from the tips of three of the ties.

This was the tip from a particularly special tie.

My custom label at the centre back.
May Joy have as much pleasure wearing this stole as I had creating it!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Joy's Stole, continued

Some good progress:

The piecing is finished, and the back seam is sewn.  The finished stole will be about an inch narrower when the piping and lining are added. 

Back view

Piping materials.   I like to use striped or dotted ties.

A jumble of finished piping, ready to apply.  This is the best use for highly patterned ties.  I don't really like to use them in the body of the stole because the patterns can be distracting.