Pattern Release: Franklin Scarf
I've just completed testing of this simple pattern designed for those who are newer to knitting and might want a more interesting pattern without feeling overwhelmed. The Franklin Scarf (named after my father) is just that type of project.
For those who are a bit more advanced, this pattern becomes intuitive and is an easy one to carry around as "emergency knitting" or to take on car trips.
Read about it HERE on Ravelry. Purchase the pattern there for $2.00.
The Franklin scarf is named after my father, William Franklin Kunnecke, who believed in working hard, always doing your very best, and being generous enough to share your knowledge with others. My dad worked in construction, and I grew up around tools and sawdust. He taught me early on that shortcuts lead to a longer path and that almost always, the quickest way to get something done is to do it right the first time. It's a good lesson to learn and not always the easiest one to practice.
From my dad I also learned we can find the answer to almost any question if we take the time to research. He was an avid reader, could build (or fix) anything, and I have missed him every day since his death in 2007.
Thank you, as always, for your support of my work. If you have questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you (either via the comments or my email).
Ceramics Show and Tell
My ceramics class finished for the year a few weeks ago. I wanted to share some of the finished pieces with you! I had a good time spending the start of 2013 getting up really early and making the trek across the city to say good morning to the Golden Gate Bridge and to get my hands dirty in clay. I love it because it's so different from knitting and the other fiber arts...11.5"W x 11.5D x 7.25"H
A key lesson in ceramics is when making something, you make 2 or 3 (or 10!) of the same thing, and with each one, you learn more. Working in multiples also allows for the inevitable problems that happen in ceramics... like firing mistakes, glaze issues, and cracks.
During this class, I focused on making footed pedestal bowls with these "torn" edges. This one is my favorite (and was also the last one finished.
There were (I think) 5 or 6 by the time I finished the course. One was a big failure [lesson?] because there was a glaze problem and it stuck to the kiln shelf. Another turned out wonderfully but there was something in the clay that melted and burned a funny drippy hole in the bowl. (In this program students are provided, and required to use, recycled clay. That means there's often foreign objects in the clay and, from time to time, they make their way into a finished piece.)
As you probably know, I'm drawn to text on art. In paintings. On knitwear. And in ceramics. This quote from Daisy Whitney resonated with me and something about it reminded me that I do the things I do (and surround myself with the things I love) because I love them. It's sort of an artsy twist on "you are what you eat."
We are what we love. We are the things, the people, the ideas we spend our days with. They center us, they drive us, they define us to our very core. Without them, we are empty.
Another goal in the class was to make proper cereal/ice cream bowls. There's nothing like eating out of a handmade bowl. Among my favorites was this one - blue and rust and organic looking glaze over a simple bowl. I am enamored with the wheel, and if I had time and was able to focus, I could spend weeks making hundreds of bowls. This one has yet to be used!7"W x 7"D x 4"H
...and then, there's this bowl. I was in a mood experimenting with pouring glazes and leaving the outside of the bowl raw. I wanted to show that clay that was making me so frustrated. The interior is smoothe and glazed but outside it's full of drips. One side dipped in a different color allowed for interesting contrast.
Mixing glaze on glaze like this makes for unique results. Taking notes and trying combinations over and over gives an idea of what might happen but in the end, the final result is up to the "kiln gods"... I think this bowl might end up living in the studio and holding yarn. It's a nice sturdy bowl with a wide brim and I like how it looks on my old wood table.
I talked about this bowl on Facebook. 3 colors of glaze poured and dipped on this bowl. the one green got super duper green! - outside it's raw clay again (and I know now it's a bit more rough to the hand that I prefer) but I like the bowl still. Another candidate for ice cream or cereal.6"W x 6.25"D x 4"H
Going back to the very start of the class, this was one of the first pieces I made. It's also one of my favorites as far as the way the glazing turned out.
I carved spider webs into some pieces during this course, much like I did a few years ago when I was doing ceramics in Los Angeles. Then, I used my little letter stamps to impress another beautiful quote, this time from Tolstoy. After it was bisque fired, I dipped the entire piece in glaze, then, after it dried, wiped most of the glaze off of the exterior. A final "kiss" of clear glaze on the rim finished this piece. It feel organic and free. This one might also live in the studio - but I suppose not everything can live in the studio, right?! - perhaps some of these should become gifts....
The means to gain happiness is to throw out from oneself like a spider in all directions an adhesive web of love, and to catch in it all that comes.
So that's some of the ceramic work I did this year. There's lots more, of course... but these were among my favorites. Class is done, so my tools are all packed away, along with my ceramics notebook; waiting for the next adventure in clay.
Today I listed a few more hand dyed tops - I have grand plans to spend a day or two in the dye lab. Here's hoping for a larger update soon! It's so fun to turn on the music, mix up the dye and spend a day creating color. Perhaps this weekend will bring more time for that!
I've spun up one of these 4oz braids made by Lisa Merian of Spinners Hill that are from Trumpet Hill in Albany, NY - I split it in half lengthwise, then spun it and finished by Navajo plying it - making a nice 3-ply yarn. Hank #1 has 102 yards and hank #2 has around 120 yards... I have another braid to spin up and can't decide if I want to do it now or save it for another time....
The knitting I've been working on recently isn't very exciting. yet. I'm busy working on a design that's got me unsure of what it should be. It started as one project (which is complete), then I thought the motif would work better as a different kind of project (which is on the needles)... and now, as I work on that design I think it might need to be something different than THAT... so I'm a bit thrown by that project.
In other knitting news, I've created a few swatches and concepts for proposals and that work takes time away from knitting things I can share. It's work I love to do, though, so it's quite worth it. The only thing I don't like about it is the WAITING to talk about it all!
I'm happy to announce that I'm part of an upcoming book - this time it's a Hanukkah hat designed for Universal Yarn and Sixth&Spring Books. The goal with this project was to create an easy to follow pattern using the dreidel as a symbol for the holiday of Hanukkah.
Judaism is a religion steeped in history. I was drawn to the dreidel not only for its shape, but also because, in addition to it being the centerpiece for a game that millions of kids have played for generations, it is a reminder of how, during the rule of Antiochus, Jews who were reading the Torah would hide their studies and quickly pick up (and play with) the dreidel when armies appeared as a way to avoid persecution.
Stories of religions are interesting and full of the unexpected. The little dreidel motif repeated around the hat is a bit camouflaged, but for those that know the symbol, it invites inquiry. And as always, if you ask, you'll learn that there's more to the story.
I love the slow striping color change of Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted Long Print (color #05 Midnight Blues). This yarn was the perfect background for using the solid worsted yarn (color #12270 Natural) as the motif in the design.
Also in the book you'll find so many other fun projects, including a pattern for a market bag, Christmas tree skirt, gloves, socks, and scarves. This is the kind of book that would be fun to buy and work the patterns as each holiday arrives. I have yet to see the final published book but the issuu link (below) will give you a small taste of some of the projects you'll find in this new book.
Hanukkah Hat by Kyle Kunnecke from 50 Knitted Gifts for Year Round Giving, published by
Sixth&Spring Books. Photography by Jack Deutsch and text copyright © 2013 by
Sixth&Spring Books. All images used by permission.
Check with your local yarn shop or bookstore to get your copy of this book - it's scheduled for release in about a month.
Yesterday I spent the day at the Museum of Craft and Design in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco, assisting Arline Fisch in her workshop that provided participants the opportunity to knit and crochet with wire.
I met up with the Museum staff a few minutes before class began and, along with Laurel, another volunteer, had a crash course on the projects we were making. The workshop (and the speaker series event on Friday night) were arranged to compliment the current exhibit: Creatures from the Deep, which displays a beautiful collection of sea creatures crafted from wire.
The class was sold out, with folks even flying in just for the workshop. Yes, Arline is THAT well known; her work is even in the collection of the Smithsonian. Others talked about week-long retreats they had attended led by this artist decades ago. Students brought in copies of her books and asked for autographs. It seems most (if not all) of the books are out of print now. I looked through a few of them and was overwhelmed with the creativity and inspiration they contained. For those interested in jewelry or metal arts, I'd suggest getting one (or many) of her books as budget allows.
As the workshop progressed, we circulated, offering help with projects. For this workshop, students were first able to make a little jellyfish, then a bracelet using special wire and a round knitting loom. The process of using the loom was pretty easy, and working with the wire was surprisingly fun!
As we worked, Arline related the workshop to the exhibit, explaining how she used the same technique for many of the pieces in the show.... even explaining how she had custom rings made for projects of varied scale.
Arline was generous with her time, even staying during the lunch break to answer questions about the workshop or projects that students were working on. I was pleased to hear how everyone had a great time at the workshop, and it was a joy to watch this woman who has spent much of her life devoted to the art she loves, enjoying the experience as much as her students!
The participants came from varied backgrounds - social workers, engineers, social workers, landscape architects and gardeners - and it was really neat to watch them work as they were gathered by this common interest.
At the end of the day, students filled out a survey for feedback about the workshop, gathered their new creations, and headed out into the beautiful Saturday afternoon. We cleaned up the room, folded up our aprons, and got ready to go. Arline gave me this sweet little jellyfish that she had created as thanks for helping out with the workshop. She gave Laurel a knitted bracelet. I was giddy with excitement to have a work made by this legend and asked to take a photo with her.
Leaving the Museum, I realized how important craft is to my life, and I look forward to being a part of their workshops in the future!
I'm working on a swatch for a design proposal at the moment. It's taking a bit of my time away from progressing on things that I can talk about on the blog. I'm happy with how it looks and (some day!) I hope to share it with you!
After a fun day working with Arline, I came home to a little gift! John remembered how I had wanted the "Space Needle" drop spindle by Cascade Spindles when we were at Madrona last year, and ordered one for me. So... last night, after having a beautiful dinner outside, I gathered up an art batt made of wool, alpaca, llama, firestar, angora, mohair, AND silk/soy silk from Lush Fiber Farm and started practicing on my new beautiful drop spindle.
The first time I tried working with a drop spindle I didn't like it because it took a long time. Last night when I was experimenting with it, I realized that using a drop spindle means I can take spinning with me! - (yes, I know, that portability is one of the major reasons for using a drop spindle... I just had never thought I might want to take my spinning WITH me!)
What fun. (now I can start hunting for other drop spindles to add to the collection!)
My housemates have been talking about the tide pools for years. At low tide, the ocean recedes back and reveals pools of life... and for a little while there's an opportunity to view sea life in its natural habitat.
Low tide was around 11:30am (and it changes every day) on Saturday, and the location was filled with families exploring and having a great time discovering all kinds of things.
We arrived and took our place, moving from pool to pool... and saw little hermit crabs, this incredible anenome (above), a starfish, and even some tiny eels! Out further along the rocks some harbor seals were resting on the rocks and taking naps. They might have been nesting; I'm not sure. A perimeter was marked off at the beach and officials were there to talk with people about the barrier and to give the big creatures their space. (look at photo #23 in the slideshow below... the white blobs out on the rocks are the seals!)
It's the kind of place I wish I could share with everyone... but since the timing of visiting the beach of the Pacific Ocean at low tide might be difficult for some of you, I made a little video so you could see some of the ocean life crawling around in one of the tide pools, and also get a glimpse of the breathtaking view!
And for some more fun, here's a slide show of some of the photos I took during our little mini-excursion:
I *almost* don't want to talk about it. The sweater I've been working on is just a bit too small. I have put it aside for now to contemplate what to do. Do I rip it out and calculate a larger size for the pattern I like? Do I modify the pattern and eliminate the ribbing (which would probably solve the problem) or do I just start over... *think... *think... *think...
I' had a lovely time spinning up some hand dyed top from Black Bunny Fibers that was part of the thank you gift I received for leading a workshop at the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat. It spun up wonderfully and I decided to make a two-ply yarn out of it. I'm SO happy with the final yarn. THANK YOU, Carol for being so supportive of the Men's Knitting Retreats!!
now.... what should this yarn become?