Saturday, December 31, 2011

Interview at Knit Nook!

Hey guys,

I was interviewed this past week by Kristin of the Yarngasm podcast (one of my favorites!) and for Gynx Yarns! Check it out!

I hope you all have a great New Year's Eve. I'll be spending mine hanging out with Jose and my sister Lea doing puzzles and other low-key things since I'm recovering from getting my 4 wisdom teeth removed yesterday.

I have lots of exciting things planned for 2012, so I'll see you then.

-- Laura

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

FO: Elm Socks.

I only crafted one Christmas present this year, which is a huge difference from the past several years where I made almost every gift. I actually wasn't going to have any handmade Christmas gifts this year, but my Mom's birthday socks took longer than expected and got pushed back a week to Christmas.

My mom is allergic to wool, cashmere, basically anything that comes off an animal. I've knit her several things out of cotton or synthetics, but when I decided to make socks, the hunt for yarn was a bit trickier. I made a pair of 100% cotton socks before I really understood fibers, and they weren't the biggest success.I also wanted a variegated or semi-solid yarn, which narrowed down my choices even more.

I went to JenningStreet Yarns in Fort Worth and told them what I was looking for, and there was one option they had for me: Kertzer's On Your Toes Bamboo, which is 75% bamboo, 25% nylon and super soft. I picked a skein of blues and tans for my mom, and then I decided to get a skein for me in shades of red because I couldn't help myself.

Project Details:

Ravelry Project Page: Link
Pattern: Elm by Cookie A
Yarn: S.R. Kertzer On Your Toes Bamboo
Needles: 1 US - 2.25 mm

Thoughts on Pattern:

I found the Elm pattern by Cookie A in the newish Knitter's Book of Socks by Clara Parkes and thought it was pretty, so I cast on. All of the ribbing made for a very tiny cuff, but I trusted the pattern and kept going. It ended up being a challenge to put on and take off, but once on, the sock fits wonderfully. If I had used the recommended yarn, it probably would have been an easier sock to put on. I suspect that after my mom wears them a few times, they will be easier to put on.

Thoughts on Yarn:

This was my first time using bamboo, and at first I really hated it. It was incredibly soft, but it kept splitting like crazy. I didn't have the problem a lot of people seem to where it slides off the needles, and I was using metal. Once I was almost finished with the first sock, I was accustomed to the yarn and didn't have any more problems. Hopefully whenever I get around to using the skein I bought for myself, it will go better.

*Thanks to my mom for modeling her socks!*

Saturday, December 17, 2011


The sun finally came out of hiding yesterday, so I was able to use natural lighting for redoing my yarn photos! I've redone almost every yarn in the shop and I love how much nicer everything looks. There's so much more texture!

Here's a few of my favorite shots. My photos will probably always need improving and I'm going to continue working on them, but these are already such a big improvement that I had to show them off.

Click on any of the pictures to go to that yarn's page.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Things I'm Loving 12.16.11

Hello all,

There's only about a week of Christmas knitting left! I know I'm a little stressed by that.

I've decided to start a new weekly topic called "Things I'm Loving" where I'll share various knitting-related things I've discovered online that I think are pretty cool.

Free Pattern Find

Source: Knitty

Grace is from the current issue of Knitty and was designed by Sivia Harding. I love all of the little eyelets! I'm kind of tired of socks at the moment, but I'm adding this to my list for when I start feeling the sock bug again.

Pattern Find

Source: Ravelry

The Livingstone Cardigan is from the current issue of Interweave Knits, which I picked up the other day when I saw it at the store. The regular issues of Interweave tend to be a little too... mature for my taste,  but I could actually see myself wearing this (if I ever get around to knitting a sweater again).

Etsy Find

Source: Etsy

I stumbled across these gorgeous knitting bowls by blueroompottery, and I think they are gorgeous. I don't know if I would ever use a knitting bowl, but they are so pretty I would like one for decoration!

That's all for today. Today and tomorrow are going to be crazy! I'm going to three graduations (including my own) and two graduation parties! I'm looking forward to knitting time during the two graduations that aren't my own.

-- Laura

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Final Surface Design Piece.

Last Thursday was my final critique in my Surface Design class. It was bittersweet, because while I'm exited to be done and focus on my yarn full time, I am going to miss several things about school.

This was my final project. I decided to go back to three-dimensional projects in the end, because my two-dimensional pieces this semester have been pretty meh.

If I put this in a gallery space, I'd want to cover a whole wall with these. In the meantime, I think I'll put these up in my studio (away from cats!) when I finally move.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Not Craft Related: New Camera!

Note: If you are only interested in crafts and have no desire to see how adorable my cats and dogs are, you might want to skip this post and wait for my next one.

This week is my last official week as an undergrad, even though I've already turned everything in. I have a studio clean-up today and tomorrow, and then I walk across the stage Saturday!

I haven't photographed any of my final three projects yet, because I was waiting for something I ordered to come in the mail. I ordered myself (and my company) a Nikon D3000 so that I can take better pictures for both my Etsy shop and my blog! I am by no means a photographer, and I'm still trying to figure this thing out. I used Nikon D40s and 50s in high school (I think) so I'm familiar with a few things, but I am definitely a beginner.

Of course, the only things I've tried shooting are my cats and my family's dogs when I went to visit on Sunday.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Crafternoon: Pillows

Yesterday started by me trying to go through my apartment and purge things I don't want to come with me when I move. I stumbled upon a lot of sample/mess-up fabrics from my experimental screen printing classes and others.As I was looking at them, I started thinking about how even though a concept wasn't there, I thought some of the fabrics were just pretty.

About a year and a half ago, I took one of my samples and made a tiny pillow with it. It was a joke, because I had printed with old X-acto blades and other blades, and people in my class joked that it should be a pillow.

I saw it, and decided to turn some of my other samples that were washfast into pillows. I ended up having a little "crafternoon".


 Back, or front I guess.


I backed this one with plain pink fabric. This one might be a present.


Detail of Front
 And the back.

I haven't allowed myself to be crafty in a long time. I've been in art school mode for so long, but it was really nice just to make something for fun because it's pretty and functional.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I'm going to finish watching the Cowboys game now and have my second Thanksgiving meal of the day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fiber Field Trip: Material Science.

Last week in my weaving class we took a trip over to the Material Sciences department at my school to see how that polymer fiber I was working with is made.

This stuff is just polymer, not the stuff that will break down on the body, but I believe it's the same process to make both.

 These get melted down...

 ... in this crazy-looking machine called an "extruder".

 Pictures to help us artists understand what's going on. This stuff is the "thermoplastic".

 Lindsay putting some of the polymer beads in the extruder.

The fiber will get pulled through this icky water after it's melted down and spun around this screw thing inside the machine.
 It first comes out this end (and smells like hot glue).

Into the nasty water.

And pulled out and rolled onto a cylinder thing. The speed of the cylinder determines the thickness of the fiber.

So I obviously still don't understand the science-y stuff behind all of this, but it was really interesting to see.

-- Laura

Sunday, November 13, 2011

FO: Military Cardigan.

I'm in an advanced weaving class this semester, but because I've taken plenty of weaving and my professor knows that knitting is more applicable to what I'm doing post-graduation, she is letting me use the knitting machine for my projects.

My overall focus this semester has been the history and culture of knitting. For this project, I researched knitting's roles in war, specifically the two World Wars. After reading about how women would unravel old wool garments to make sweaters for the soldiers, I decided to make my own military-inspired cardigan using recycled wool.

This was my first garment on a knitting machine. To be honest, I don't really enjoy the machine, but I do like how quickly I was able to whip this up.

All of the light gray is machine-knit, and the dark gray pieces are hand-knit.

This will be critiqued in class tomorrow. I'm really happy with it, so hopefully I'll get a mostly positive response.

-- Laura

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Screenprinting Project 5.

My 5th screenprinting project is due Tuesday, and I just finished it this morning. This project is a portfolio trade, so everyone in the class will get one copy of everyone's prints. I did an edition of 20 + 3 artist proofs. Finished paper size is 11x11.

I had good intentions of taking pictures after each layer, but I forgot to do that for the last 3 or 4 layers because I was in a groove this morning.

From beginning to end:

 *insert a few layers here*

I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. If you're wondering, the first few layers are knit stitch shapes, and the circular things are abstracted yarn balls. I need to get it properly photographed so I can include it in my portfolio exit review next week (ahhh!).

Also, I noticed today that my third screenprinting project was in one of the cases outside the class today. I don't know how long it's been up, haha.

P.S. Are you celebrating Wovember? It's still a bit too warm for the most part for a lot of wool here in Texas, but I wore (handknit) wool socks today!

-- Laura