21 July 2010

fiber inspired process

there is nothing like some new fiber for inspiration, no?

at a recent local fiber festival I acquired some hand spun natural color (undyed) angora and some natural color alpaca.

I may have also fallen in love with angora, or at the very least, in love with the skeins I purchased. Cozy Rabbit Farm produces lovely yarn, hand raised, hand spun, and if dyed, done by hand. there was a number of hand knit items for sale as well, showing some amazing potential for the angora yarns. I purchased two skeins of "blue" (a white to light-gray) light-weight angora yarn.

if you asked me my favorite color, I would probably say white, especially in semi-gloss on sunlit room walls. practically, though, its probably gray. my palette is distinctly desaturated; a subtle take on color that includes many gray pieces. gray is not just the space between black and white, but also lives in the space between color. the sport weight undyed skeins of alpaca I purchased from Frontier Fiber Mill is a fabulously thrilling dark gray named "slate".

I have a picture or two in my mind of items to knit up in the near future. in my mind, these items are complete. matching my knitting to my vision is challenging. one must strike the perfect balance of color, stitch, pattern, fiber content, weight and gauge. although the goal is the vision, its not practical to get too attached to a singular outcome. I could make myself crazy meticulously crafting the knitting to perfectly fit the vision. it is certainly worthwhile, however, to strive for the vision and to just let the outcome be. and while I am at it, learn all I can in the process.

10 June 2010

four flats

remove the shadows caused by the sun to create a brightly lit space.
eliminate the sharply contrasted edges and leave the rest intact.
the viewers focus on the results:
the gallery floods with light and the canvases crackle with color.
sometimes, I only want to focus on
the filter itself.

21 May 2010

from the shadows


the stitch was simple, airy, lofty... elegant, with beautiful lights and shadows. a visual coziness amplified by gentle yarn halos filling in some of the empty space between the stitches.

absolutely perfect for a scarf.

it was not a loose gauge version of a standard stitch; this I tested early on. I dug through my stitch dictionaries, knitted more swatches, searched high and low on the internet, knitted more swatches, learned brioche... no, not that. I was relentless. all I wanted to do was figure out what this stitch could be. then finally, after feeling like I had exhausted my options, I set out on my own. I took a stitch that I thought came fairly close to what I was looking for and I tried something slightly different. something that... worked. was it the stitch? I did not know, but I absolutely loved the results. I still do.

this week was filled with plenty of experimentation, so many swatches and just as many dead ends. I ended up learning more about the construction of stitches then I had in my previous year of knitting. I became very comfortable with yarn overs and I also added additional stitches to my arsenal that I may not have otherwise learned.

now, I will find some yarn...
in a colorway to enhance the virtues of the stitch, probably something lighter in value. in a fiber that has delicate halos, but is warm and strong. in a gauge that is light enough for the stitch to shine, but heavy enough for an appropriate drape.

absolutely perfect for a scarf.

30 April 2010

building in mirrors

I am finding myself awash in beautiful yarns as my palette (*ahem* stash) grows, it reflects back more and more of its owner. this is, in a sense, comforting, to see oneself in their choices. however, as my palette grows, my FOs are not growing in kind. I may have to revisit my purchase rules again in the near future.

current rules (apart from budgetary concerns) for yarn purchases are:
1. I must absolutely love the yarn!
2. I must have a plan for the yarn (even if it doesn't work out).

that parenthesised part keeps me from any regret for purchasing. if it doesn't work out, I still have yarn I love until I find a use for it. which brings me to a story about my most recent purchase.

the intended companion for the gray Habu Shosenshi Linen I bought last month did not work out. the linen was the wrong color, or rather, not quite the right color for my intentions. it was a tad too warm, more beige than gray. I knew I would eventually find a home for the newly acquired linen, but my original intent for it was no longer viable.

while in Coralville, IA, Janet and I, in accordance with our resolution to stop and visit a LYS wherever we travel to, stopped in at Crazy Girl Yarn Shop to look around, shop, sit and knit with the locals (since they promote this sort of thing! yay!) and just *be* in a knit shop. Leslie and Ness were wonderful and welcoming hosts. since I have family that live in Coralville, I am quite certain that I will visit them again.

I wandered around the store, probably looking at ALL the yarn available there. I bent down to look more closely at some lace weight yarn that was a dramatic and lustrous silvery, mid-gray, with some added warmth. the skein's luxurious hand was found to be a blend of baby alpaca and silk, a perfect paring AND a perfect pairing for my Habu Shosenshi Linen: weightless and draping bliss. I read the tag: Alpaca with a Twist. Fino. I was not familiar with this yarn until that moment. I bought 2 skeins for my "palette".

21 March 2010


a year has passed since I began to learn the craft of knitting.
the commitment I made has been met. I have been knitting for a calendar year and blogging about it. now, I get to evaluate what I have accomplished so far and also, more importantly, how I will be proceeding from here.

in a previous blog post ("stash season" in September of 2009), I said something about how stashes beyond 1 "stashbox" were unreasonable. my process has had trouble with that assessment, as I am finding inspiration by the yarns themselves and that I really like working from a base palette and having some yarn references when I am designing. the only way I would really go astray is by buying yarn that I do not love. the stash is currently taking up 2 boxes and that, right now, seems reasonable...

I recently purchased some Habu Shosenshi linen paper tape (A-60) in gray that arrived at my doorstep close to my Knitiversary. my mind was already in a nostalgic state, thinking about the early days of knitting and the time before I began to knit. my brain wandered off, staring at the new item for my knitting stash. I was reminded of the Arch in St. Louis, the ribbon like lines from certain angles, the weightlessness... the discovery of SKIF International while in St. Louis, the design process, Eero Saarinen's amazing designs and how I could not wait to design a sweater to utilize this new Habu acquisition.

I am still thoroughly enamored and inspired by SKIF and coincidentally, their acronym: Sweaters Knit In Freedom is not far off from my core reason for knitting in the first place. mmm, sweaters.

my 2009/10 FO list is rather short:
(thankfully, that means less UFOs!)

1. BabyMod, a blanket for my godchild, Zoey.
2. Lil' Noro, a scarf for my sockdog, Retro.
3. Eins Drei, a beanie style hat for Janet.
4. Cafe au Lait, a scarf, that I still have not blocked and photographed properly.

1. BabyMod Blanket 2 2. Lil' Noro

3. Eins Drei 4. café au lait scarf

2009/10 UFOs:
1. Noro Bellagio, a SKIF sweater for me.

I am excited about my next KnitYear (March 21 to March 20) and all the challenges and knitting that I will take on in that time. here are a few of my goals, techniques and other things I would like to accomplish for this 2010/11 KnitYear:

1. finish 2 sweaters, plus my Bellagio. so, let's say 3 completed sweaters.
2. do more designing. sketching, charting, studying patterns, etc.
3. learn and use short rows for shaping.
4. learn and use Zimmerman's sewn bind off.
5. utilize a few pattern stitches that go beyond ribbing, seed, garter and stockinette.
6. learn how to double knit.
7. to meet more knitters and find more knitting opportunities to knit in company.
8. attend a fiber festival.

on my second Knitiversary, this list will be revisited and we will see how I did. if this list gets accomplished, I will have had a glorious sophomore year of knitting! I hope you will join me on my continuing journey as ganzfeld knits.

04 March 2010

back ordered (a survey)

I found this survey on another knitting blog (can't remember which one) as I was surfing around and thought it might be fun to answer some (mostly) knitting related questions. I was slated to talk about fibers I recently ordered, but almost everything I tried to order is back ordered... and since I like to have visuals along with my commentary, you are getting this amazingly interesting and revealing expose instead. did I sell it?

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I haven't worked with enough different kinds of yarn to determine a good list of what I love to work with, but I can tell you that there are _so_ many fantastic yarns I have seen and/or touched. I am itching to knit with more of those yarns. I do kinda hate acrylic, though.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? for most of the straights, a big glass vase. for the others, A paper bag in my hamper. that sounds *real* organized, doesn't it?

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I've been knitting for just under a year. my first teacher was Janet. I don't know what an outside observer would say, but I consider myself a novice knitter, beginner plus. I also understand way more in theory than I do in execution.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? I do, and it probably needs a bit of a culling and re-vamp.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.) wet and woody smells with citrus notes, green clay.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? Not really. I'm more of the savory kind. I do love candied ginger, if that counts. what about dark chocolate?

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I don't spin. I used to make jewelry with metalwork, beading, laser cut, and I guess I still do from time to time. I probably will work some fiber-y stuff in there eventually. I design things, mostly. actual execution is what some of this knitting thing is about for me.

8. What kind of music do you like? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) Techno, Electro, Soul, Ambient, Electro-pop, Tech-House, House, Italo-Disco, 80's, New Wave, Post Punk, Funk, Indie, Disco, Vocal Jazz and Hip-Hop.

Music I don't like? overly commercialized Pop, Rock or Country, New Age, Pot-Rock, Heavy Rock/Metal, Soft Jazz, most Adult Contemporary, Music played on the WB.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? old calculator lcd screens, chromatic and non-chromatic grays, various tints and shades of desaturated greens and violets, rich browns (coffee, Guinness, dark chocolate), powder blue, a robust saturated red, light naturals, white.

I don't like: dusty or antique rose, mauve, skin tones in general, teal (on the darker or saturated side) emerald and forest green and some purples. I also have real trouble with that burnt orange from Texas.

aren't you glad you asked?

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I live with Janet and our sock-dog, Retro. and some plants: Carl, Castro, Chery (that's "chur-ree"), Hiro and Saki.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? scarves and hats, yes. mittens and ponchos, no.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? I want to knit sweaters... mostly just awesome sweaters.

13. What are you knitting right now? a Skif Bellagio in stranded Noro Kureyon Sock. that's it for now. one project on the needles. that will change soon, though.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? I prefer the term "handcrafted". and then, yes, probably.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? right now I am totally digging Chiagoo bamboo circs.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Yes! swift was obtained via a Halloween door-prize and winder was from an estate liquidation. inexpensively obtained, both are worth their weight in gold.

17. How old is your oldest UFO? It is the item I am working on now. technically, it is about 8 months old.

18. What is your favorite holiday? Resurrection Sunday.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
I sort-of collect 1" buttons. If you can find me NFL logo'd ones, you are officially awesome. officially, like I will get you documentation of your awesomeness.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? I think Janet and I would both love a tidy little Zimmerman book collection. I have a hankering to knit something in super-bulky, in the likes of Twinkle Soft Chunky (gorgeous colors, btw), but I want to double-strand it. yeah, that's what I mean when I say *SUPER* bulky. any pattern that Skif or Habu puts out that is unisex or for men, I am all about.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? plenty, but let's start with EZ's "sewn bind off".

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? Not a sock knitter (yet?) 7 and a half. not socks, but I could use some felted slippers... anyone?

23. When is your birthday? (month and day) October 7, 12:13pm. I share a birthday with some real "winners". most notably Heinrich Himmler and Vladimir Putin.

24 February 2010

stitching a habit

pictured directly above is a skein of Manos del Uruguay in color 35. there are no dye lots, so none of the skeins are the same. I came across this particular one and HAD TO HAVE IT. no project in mind, no caring if I use it or not. it just makes me happy from all aspects. I am comforted just knowing that particular skein exists in my stash. one day it might suggest I turn it into a special item; but, until that time comes, I will enjoy it as it is.

for the winter gift giving season, Janet made a blizzard of Botanic Hats to my frenzy of color combinations... she kept buying skeins of Malabrigo to add to the palette, so I kept making color-combination suggestions. at some point, I requested an olive and pale khaki hat for myself. I had to have patience. all the hats she was intending to make as gifts needed to be completed before I could get the hat I requested. finally, it is completed and it is quite beautiful.

also, as a small token for Valentine's Day, Janet bought us a 4 button set of line drawing fiber-y animals from the Ravelry Mini-Mart! I got the wool and cashmere making animals. she took the animals that make alpaca and angora.

the Lenten season this year will be used to establish a good habit. I am making time for knitting everyday for the entirety of Lent. no excuses. at least 30 minutes a day to knit... I should be able to make a substantial dent on my Bellagio, and maybe even be able to finish and wear it for a month or two in the Spring.

I am coming up on my "knitting anniversary" (knitiversary?). in about a month, on March 21, I will have been knitting for one calendar year. when I started, I committed myself to knitting for one calendar year and doing some blogging about it. I intend on revisiting what my goals were, how they evolved, my FOs, UFOs, and what I want out of my future (and the next year) of knitting. it should be interesting!