Tuesday, November 27, 2012

True Story

Setting: Target
The Hub: Why are you buying more ornaments? I thought you said the tree was too full.
Me: It is. These are for tying on packages
TH: ???
Me: I give everyone an ornament. Every year. Including you.
TH: When did you start doing that?
Me: 1971

Friday, November 23, 2012

New adventures

My steeking workshops never get many students. I assumed it was because the very thought of cutting their knitting makes people feel all weak at the knees. And, for sure, there is plenty of that. But I also think that the homework scares people away. Most of my workshops don't require homework (or if they do, there are ways around it), but for this class- cutting a knitted tube and turning it into a doll-sized sweater- the homework is absolutely necessary. And people don't much like homework.

I'm teaching the steeking class for the Knitting Cruise to the Bahamas in July (link to the right), and I decided right away that I would provide the knitted tubes and the yarn, because if people don't want to do homework at their houses before a festival, they surely do not want to do it on a cruise ship to the Bahamas.

If absolutely necessary, I would knit those tubes by hand, but that was my worst-case-scenario. First, I thought I'd try a knitting machine. My friend Dana had a small Addi round knitter that looked like it could do the trick, except it only had 24 stitches. I need a bigger tube for my workshop. I had a cheapo plastic crank knitter that I bought at Target a few years ago, but it dropped stitches, and was way too frustrating to use for anything but a teeny tube scarf. So asked around, did some research, and then ordered the Addi Express King Size round knitter.
 It arrived today. Dana's knitter was a little bigger around than the antique sock machines. This one is huge- at least 13" across, with 45 needles. It's solidly made and the reviews are nearly all positive. The needles are plastic, but they seem sturdy.
 It came with an instruction book, a nice pattern book, extra needles and other supplies, including clamps to keep the knitter from sliding around on the table.
 It can knit back and forth (for, you know, making sock blanks.....).
 And it can knit in the round, for sweater tubes, and a bazillion other things.
The gauge is pretty big- maybe size 9-10 needles, and the fabric is stretchy. There's going to be a learning curve, but from my test swatch (ignore the hole at the bottom- that was user error), I am sure I'll be able to use it for my workshops and classes.

This afternoon, I'm going to play. I'll be back tomorrow with pictures.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thursday Tab- Ladies Home Journal Twins, from 1922

These lovely front and back twin stand-up dolls were published in the Ladies Home Journal during 1922. They're absolutely gorgeous!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Copy edits finished... on to Thanksgiving prep, and 4 or 5 kinds of fudge...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Needlepoint progress

I just finished incorporating the corrections and edits for my mainstream novel, The Nut Hut, so my brain is a bit mushy right now. I still have to proof Foreign Body, and Thanksgiving is this week, so it's not like my schedule is going to let up. But still, I finished incorporating those edits, and that feels very good.

In the evenings, I've been working on the new needlepoint project. I'm thrilled with how it's coming out. Worry not about the odd coloring in the face- the shading will all work out once I get a few more skin-tones in there... I hope...

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Genesis of a Project

Yesterday's Photo a Day Challenge prompt was Lips.

 I snapped this shot of a couple of my Vintage Barbies, with my iPhone. I e-mailed it to myself, opened it on the large screen, and immediately knew that I had the pic I wanted to share... except...

I decided that it would be even more striking if I played with it a bit. I uploaded the pic to Be Funky (a free online program that lets you do lots of cool things with your photos. Another one is: PicMonkey. I love them both). I turned the shot into black and white, and then used the *painter* function to add color back to the lips, eyes, and sunglasses lenses. I didn't *color* them, I just sort of erased the black and white overlay on those portions- the colors showing are the originals, not ones I chose.

This shot is the one I uploaded for my Photo a Day Challenge (I used PicMonkey to put an old-style photograph frame around it).

But I kept thinking about this photo. It occurred to me that it might make a very cool needlepoint project at exactly the time that I was casting about for a new needlepoint project. So I went back to the original color image and I turned it into a cartoon (with BeFunky) (it's addictive, lemee tellya).
The Cartoonizer flattens out the shading, turning each color tone into a separate area. I liked this image for itself, but it was a little too stark for a needlepoint. So I went back to the original, and turned it into a watercolor painting.
Ah- much better. It's still a far simpler image than the original, and yet the shading is less starkly delineated. I saved it.
And then I flipped it and printed it on a light tee shirt transfer sheet.
And then I ironed it onto 18ct mono needlepoint canvas and stapled it to the frame.
It's gonna be an adventure.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday Tab- Saalfield Vanity Dolls, 1951

Saalfield's 1951 Vanity Dolls is a reprint of their earlier New Shirley Temple set. The redrawn dolls look like real people, so they may be based on young actresses of that era.