Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Paper clay

I've spent the past 2 days doing a class in paper clay.   This is any kind of clay to which paper pulp has been added.  The addition of the pulp means you can do all kinds of things to the clay that are not normally possible.  This is our tutor, Jill Nicholls, of Riverton.

 Above and below are examples of some of the things Jill has done with paper clay.
One of my classmates, Ellie Bailey-Wright, was also at the class.  Here she is working on a thumb pot....

...and holding up a Picasso-style mask that we all put bits on.

One of the things I made was a bowl made from woven clay strips.  Below, it's sitting in a plaster bowl to keep the shape correct.

 Once the paper clay had dried overnight, I added a plaited edge....
...which was put out in the sun to dry and harden.

 Here are some of the things that the others in class made....
I've brought all my pots home, so that I can paint them and use them.  As I'm not planning to eat out of them or fill them with water, they don't need to be glazed.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Notorious Sock Knitter

Most of you will be unaware that I am a Notorious Sock Knitter.  Or I was.  This is the name given to those who join the Rockin' Sock Club, run by Blue Moon Fiber Arts, which I did last year as a treat.  Quite a big treat - I see the price this year is US$310 so it's not on my radar at all.  You get 6 shipments of wool a year, predominantly multi-dyed, of beautiful merino/nylon wool, enough to make 1 par of socks but with 2 exclusive designs to choose from.  It's very professional, the wool is lovely but I haven't been very keen on the colours and colour combinations.  Anyway, I have completely failed to knit any socks for various reasons.

Reason #1 - short attention span.  I may actually complete one sock but then I've lost interest in knitting the second.
Reason #2 - aforementioned lack of excitement about the wool colours
Reason #3 - following on from #1, inability to learn how to knit 2 socks at a time.

Breakthrough!  I found this book at the local library.  I did in fact use to own the author's first book, at which I totally failed etc. I sat myself down with the latest RSC wool ( because I've paid for it and therefore need to use it) and attempted to teach myself to knit 2 socks at once from the toe up.  As usual, the casting on method totally flummoxed me.  I found it unnecessarily awkward  and difficult to follow, so I thought "Stuff this!" and used the longtail cast-on.  Which worked perfectly,  And was so easy to do.  So here are the socks so far:

The top photo is the part underneath the foot, and the second photo is the ribbed instep.  These are SO easy to knit!  Slow, unfortunately, as I'm knitting with teeny weeny 2.25mm needles.  Perhaps the cast-on area is not the most beautiful but it works and it's simple.  Perhaps I'll finally get to knit up all my sock wool now. 

Also on the needles is this very, very simple garter stitch scarf which I'm making from lovely laceweight wool given to me for Christmas.  I wanted to make something that required no thought at all, and which can be large enough to be a stole as well.  I like the colours of this wool much better.

As well, I'm knitting this scarf, which is part cashmere, as a gift.

The fur family likes to gather on my bed in the sun - here they were yesterday. 

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Striped Quilt tutorial part 2

 I am not using a pattern for this quilt, which can make fabric requirements a bit tricky.  What I have done is devise 2 blocks of the same size (18" unfinished").  Block 1 starts with a 6.5" centre square, followed by a contrasting 2" row, then a 2.5 row and finishing with a 3" row, in the Square Within a Square style.  Above, I've cut strips in these widths to start the blocks in the yellow colourway.
 Here's the first 2 rows of Block 1...
 Three rows....
 ..and the completed block.  I made a second block starting with plain in the centre, ending with stripes around the outside.
Here's Block 2.  The cutting sizes are 5.5" centre, 3.5" strip for row 2, 2' strip for row 3 and 2.5" strip for row 4. 
Here's the 2 different versions of Block 2. 

All the blocks are then cut into 4.  I fold the block in half one way and finger press the fold, then cut along this with a rotary cutter.  Repeat for each half to get 4 identical quarters. 

Once all the 4 blocks for each colourway are completed, the blocks will be re-assembled into 17.5" blocks with each quarter being of  a different colour.   As the strips of the 2 block types have different widths, there will be no need to match stripes.