Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Knitting Lace -- Part 1

Knitted lace is so beautiful, that I was drawn to it immediately. 

I saw it and thought, I want to learn how to do that! 

(We need to pay attention to those feelings, right?)

And the prettier and finer the yarn, the better, to me.  I love Rowan Kidsilk Haze, for example.  It makes such delicate lace.  And of course, I love that mohair fuzziness!  J

But you don’t have use that yarn.  You can start anywhere.  You can try some sock yarn from your stash, some inexpensive lace yarn from Hobby Lobby, or buy some fancy gorgeous yarn from your LYS (local yarn store).

Or…. just use some leftover worsted weight yarn, like Red Heart, for starters.

In fact, with any new pattern it would be a good idea to do a test run with bigger needles (say, US8) and worsted weight yarn.  That way you can try everything out under the easiest possible conditions and get familiar with how it goes.

(See how I avoided using the word “swatch”?? 
Aren’t you impressed??  J  J  J)

The beauty of lace is what’s not there...  The holes. 

And beautiful but simple lace can be made with only knits, purls and 2 other stitches:  the K2tog (knit two together) -- a simple decrease, and the YO (yarn over) -- a simple increase.

The increases make the holes, and the decreases keep your stitch count the same on each row.  And the combination of the two can create really beautiful patterns.

Here is a simple lace pattern that would be good for beginners.

In 2007, I went to my favorite yarn store in Austin, Texas:  Hill Country Weavers.  And they gave me a free handout called Scarf-a-licious, which had 10 different scarf patterns on it. 
I just love yarn stores that are so generous!   ♥!

Lazy O Scarf

Cast on ______ stitches.  (multiple of 5)

Row  1.  Slip 1, *K3, YO, K2tog*
Repeat sts between the stars until 4 sts remain on your needle, and then K4.

Row 2.  Slip 1, *P4, K1*
Repeat sts between the stars until 4 sts remain on needle, and then P4.

Repeat these 2 rows until desired length is reached.
Bind off.

Knitting lace does require some counting.  So to simplify that, you put stitch markers in to break it up.  For example, if I have 18 stitches to count, instead of counting from 1 to 18, I put a stitch marker between the two sets of 9 stitches. 

And then to count each section, I don’t even count from 1 up to 9.  I just count the 3 sets of 3 stitches visually.  (Usually, I tick it off with my thumbnail.)  Those stitch markers make the whole process a lot easier.

Now at first, you may have to knit lace at home alone to prevent mistakes.  That’s normal.  At first, I even chanted my pattern row out loud, if I needed to!  J

And after you finish a row, you always count your total number of stitches to make sure you didn’t make any mistakes.

I’ve always said that knitting lace is easy, unless you find a mistake!  hahaha

So, I hope that helps.  Sometimes writing about things is harder than doing them!  Like, can you imagine writing instructions on how to tie your shoes???  <yikes>

I guess this is why I think knitting is best learned from a real person sitting beside you.  But hey, thank heavens for YouTube tutorials, right?  J  Surely they’re the next best thing!  J

ANYway, all that counting may drive you nuts (everyone’s different!), but it doesn’t bother me at all.  I like knowing I’m on track.  And best of all, this pattern yields a rectangular scarf.  And you know how I love my rectangles!  Hahaha

One other thing about knitting lace:  it’s very economical.  Laceweight yarn is very thin, so you get a lot of yards per skein, and it goes very far.

Also, knitting lace takes awhile.  So 1 or 2 skeins can keep you happy for many weeks.  (Or months or years, if you’re as slow as I am!)  J

So!  Enjoy the beauty of what’s not there with lace!

Lucky Dog  ♥

Monday, September 24, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Easels, Art Boxes, etc.

I finally bought myself an easel!

It’s so cute and portable.  It’s not clunky at all. 
In fact, it’s very streamlined and elegant that way.

If I have an easel, does that mean that I am a real artist?? 

It’s funny the things that help me feel like an artist. 
You would think “making art”, would have something to do with it,
but somehow it’s just not that simple.

When I was in Jr. High
(way back before middle schools existed),
I thought if I could only have a wooden art box like this,
I would really feel like an artist…

Of course, now that I could buy one for myself,
I don’t know what I’d do with it. 
I’m not toting paint around.

But when I was 14, that would’ve been “it”. 

But my mother sent me off to art classes
with a red plastic tackle box instead.

Red?  Plastic? 
No self-respecting artist would choose that! 
All my friends had the wooden art boxes!

Hello!  Unpainted wood with the brass hardware. 
That’s what real artists had.  Everybody knew that!  J

Hahaha  And now that I could buy one, I don’t.
Go figure.

But I did buy an easel!

Maybe now I can back up and look
 at my pieces from a distance greater than, say, 12 inches! 

I have heard that a good piece will work well
at 20 feet, 6 feet and at 2 feet, or something like that.

It sounds like a job for an easel, to me!  J

How wonderful is that??

Lucky Dog

Monday, September 17, 2012

Collage Card #43

Here is one of my favorite collage cards that I've made.
I just love making these!

(I have a box full!)
J  J  J

This one is very textural,
and I love the papers and
the contrast between all the elements.

Color, design, texture...
Does it get any more fun than this???

Lucky Dog

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Performance Anxiety

I lettered this little bit yesterday,
using the tiny end of some of my Marvy LePlume II markers. 

(My new neurals!) 
♥  ♥  ♥

I love love love love love the tip of those pens!!!

I wish I could purchase them locally,
so I could collect 5 new colors each month. 

Also, I wish they were lightfast.  <sigh>

I wish a lot of things!  LOL

I guess that’s why I love my Zig markers,
because they are lightfast.

But their pen somehow isn’t quite as delicious
as the LePlume II’s.  To me,  of course.  (!) 

I think the Marvy’s have a smaller barrel
and they fit my hand better.

But, I digress. 
I lettered the first half of this saying and got interrupted. 

Why I decided to try Romans yesterday,
I’ll never know, but suddenly I was on a roll. 

The pen tip wasn’t too juicy,
so adding some more weight,
or just a dot here and there, was very easy to do. 

And if you know anything about Formal Romans,
it’s that you can fiddle with them foreverJ

So later in the afternoon I went back up to the Studio
and thought about how to finish the piecelet,
and that’s when I wondered if I should even try…

I was so afraid that I’d mess it up, that I just left it alone!!!!!

(All those Romans and ALL that work!!)

Does that happen to you???

I guess in this day and age,
everyone does stuff on their computer in PhotoShop,
so it isn’t an issue for them anymore,
but not me. 

I do things the old-fashioned way,
with pen in hand on real paper.  J

So, I don’t know if I’ll ever finish it. 
Perhaps it should just keep telling me to Keep Calm!

I do know that I will keep playing with Romans with these pens. 
Nothing too wet or uncontrollable for all that “tweaking”. 

I think next time I’ll try it on better paper. 
This was just some scrap paper that I had lying around.

Can you imagine what fun this would be
on a highly sized paper??  Yummy! 

Now I know what to do in the Studio today!

Okay!  Keep calm, everybody!  J

Lucky Dog

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Favorite Comedian--Brian Regan

Some days you just need a laugh.

And that’s where Brian Regan comes in.

Sometimes I catch Mr. Man flossing his teeth
while listening to Brian Regan on his iPhone.  J  

He always cracks us up.  And it’s funny, clean humor, too.

Not only are his lines funny,
but his faces and physical humor are great!

So now, of course, we quote Brian Regan to each other!  J

“So, now what is the procedure?”
“How do I get that goodness in me?”
“Hey, where are the eggs?  …Right in the egg area.”
“No, after you.  Merge, everybody, merge.”

Now, you may not be smiling at those now, but maybe later…!

He has DVDs and stuff on Amazon and his own website:

And here's a link to Part 1 of 6
of his “I Walked on the Moon” series:

After you watch it,
I think you can easily click on part 2 and so on.

There are other clips of him on YouTube,
but these are a great place to get started.

I hope you enjoy him as much as we do.

Or maybe you can find someone else
on YouTube that makes you laugh.

‘Cause what is healthier than laughing??
J  J  J

Lucky Dog