Saturday, December 31, 2011

My New Website and Retrospective Gallery

I'd like to announce that I have a new website, I wanted to have a place where I could post a permanent gallery of my retrospective work, and have a central hub for blog, store links, etc. This will remain my blog and you can access it from my webstie.

Of course a website is always a work in progress. But it's kind of fun to unfold one thing at a time. Recently I"ve been digging out photos of my earlier work. This piece (modeled by my friend Leah in Taos, NM) was one of the pieces I sold at the Santa Fe Weaving Gallery back in 1986ish. It's all knit from yarns from La Lana Wools in Taos, and I believe this was a combo of Potpouri and Moonmist Forever Random Blends  and Onion Skins on Silk. Those yarns were so gorgeous in intarsia patterns and the colors resonated with the desert with a special life that glowed there more than anywhere else. Talk about native dyes! For more retrospective work, check out my new Gallery page at lvdotcom.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Coloring Books

Nostalgia. Watch's habit forming. Heady as my mom's perfume of the same name ("The first perfume to orbit a man"), so long forgotten I can find no description of it on the internet. In fact there is a new one to replace it by somebody named Veigt.  I don't know what the new one smells like but the orignial, by Germain Monteil, was tart, sour like a green plum, with rose, lily, sandalwood, leather. Where do I remember it most? In the car, with a cigarette going and the windows rolled up within an inch of closed, in all weather (forget air conditioning). The year: 1957. The place: Los Angeles, Westside. The car: a Chrysler Windsor, white with blue interior, push button transmission (so much fun to punch, going nowhere, hands reaching up to the enormous plastic wheel), and big wings that my brother and I rode up the driveway, slippery as hanging on to ice.

That was the year I went completely insane over coloring books. I couldn't get enough. Crayons, first the 24 pack (with both parents artists there was no 8 pack except in school), then the 48 pack (oh, crack the top and sniff the virgin perfection of wax (twice the colors, twice the aroma) drink in the hues, both radiant and soft). There was orchid in that one, and periwinkle, carnation pink, cornflower blue, spring green. Then finally the 101 colors. Gad! Died and gone to heaven. But it was a rip off of sorts cuz it had multiples...five blues, two blacks, three reds. I guess if you were going to have that many colors, you were going to wear some of them to nubbins and we did.

It was in 1957 that mom took me to visit our former next door neighbors. While Gladys and Serena drank coffee and talked (booooring), Kitty and I poured over coloring books in the breakfast room flooded with afternoon light. She had a Ginny doll coloring book (cuz she also had a slew of Ginny Dolls). Kitty pronounced "Ginnydoll" like it was one word. Ginny appeared on every page in a polka dot dress, smiling like Doris Day. The polka dots were tiny, even by little kid standards, outlined in black. The lines were finer than the cheaper books I was used to. Kitty took advantage of this by carefully tracing the outline of each shape (like the dress for instance, blue this time) in heavy but flawless color, like lipstick applied by a pro, then filling in the shape with half or quarter tones of the same color. She never went outside the lines. I thought the effect was breathtaking, partly because it looked kind of three dimensional, and partly because I couldn't for the life of me do it like she did. I particularly loved the halftones and started practicing them, later to use them to build layers of colors, to mix colors by overlapping.

I also thought it was quite amazing that she had perfected such finesse at the age of 6. Hadn't it only been about 3 years since we were scribbling? Two for me. Back then we exercised our motor skills with crayons on newsprint, metal skates on sidewalks,  jumping over boxwood hedges, cutting out paper dolls. Does this take you back?

How did you color? Do you remember? Say when you were 5 or 6...first gradish. What did you love to color? How many colors did you have? Were they crayons or something else? You don't have to say the year unless you want to.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Starry Nite Scarf "Blazing Star"

 As I sit down to write, it has just started to snow. In these first few minutes of snowfall, the coin sized white flakes provide a frosty screen for a colored landscape. Tree trunks are mahogany and raisin, with a few tea colored leaves still hanging on, evergreen shades of ivy, pine and privet prevail. At the rate it's snowing, I wouldn't be surprized if most of that color disappears within the hour, leaving charcoal, evergreen and white.

But I digress. This is a post about color, nevertheless. I just finished a new version of my Starry Nite Scarf. (pattern is available on Ravelry and Etsy). I call this one Blazing Star because (as most Starry Nites knit from handspun) this is one of a kind. The yarn in this version is heavier than the original, more of an aran weight than a dk. That means that the stars are larger, the edging wider. And since the yarn was spun long draw from the fold, the colors are completely different and the feel much cushier.

There are four colorways (well, maybe a touch of a 5th) in this scarf. All are from Three Waters Farm BFL in Gloaming, Oaks and Hickories, Indian Corn and Cinco de Mayo. I believe I have a touch of Fall Apple Redux too, or Fall Apple Redux plied with Indian Corn. But the scarf would look just as stunning without that colorway included. BTW, Three Waters Farm was just reviewed in Knittyspin's Winter 2011 Fiber Fiesta. Check it out!

The beauty of spinning long draw, taking tufts of color and spinning them in sequence, is that the color bands in the yarn are very long and the colors change gradually, almost in a painterly gradation. I really love this scarf. I also deleted the triangles that turn the neck. Those of you who already have the pattern will know what I'm talking about.
I'm offering this finished scarf for sale on Etsy, just in time for Holiday gifting. This is the first time I've ever sold a finished Starry Nite. It's a gorgeous piece, and the finishing is sublime (like my finishing usually is). But if you want to spin and knit a similar one, you can get the colors from Three Waters Farm. If you don't see them listed, just convo Mary Ann and she'll fix you up.