Thursday, August 14, 2014

Knit Picks Independent Designer Program

I submitted my Oquirrh Mountain Shrug pattern to the Knit Picks Independent Designer Program (IDP) last month and it went live today! I originally used Knit Picks’ Wool of the Andes Bulky Bare and dyed it with turmeric but the pattern can be used with any of their bulky yarns.

The IDP program is great because I can publish on their site without any conflict publishing it on Ravelry as well. Here is the link to the Knit Picks site. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Knitting is Therapy

I know that statement is kind of a cliché but I can attest that every bit of it is true. My father passed away last Friday and I found myself knitting more than I thought possible. It became, and still is, a part of the healing process for me.

Last week started out normal enough. I spent that Saturday giving a family day at the Spiral Jetty, the amazing Land art by Robert Smithson in Great Salt Lake. My museum is a steward of the Jetty along with Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster and we had a day of art and science with families. It was fun and educational. With the GSLI I discovered a rare salt crystal called a hopper crystal. It is a type of hollow squared crystal shaped like a hopper.

They form at the edge of the rapidly evaporating salt water when the edges of the crystal grow faster than the center leaving it hollowed out. You have to pull them out of the lakebed like teeth. I was so impressed with the crystals because they are incredibly fragile and beautiful. I knew then that I would be making something inspired by them.

So, I spent Sunday drafting a pattern and knitting a swatch for a pillow with concentric squares. I thought it was a funny oxymoron, a crystal pillow. My plan was to take this project to work and have it be my lunchtime knitting project for the next couple months. It would be easy to talk and knit it at the same time and it is connected to my work in a way.

So I took the new pattern and yarn and needles to work waiting for our knitting club at lunch. But, on Tuesday I got the call that my dad had had a stroke and it was pretty bad. I rushed to the hospital with what I had at work, my purse and my knitting.

Throughout the next four days of interminable waiting for operations and tests and news, I knit and knit and knit. Square after square. Knit, knit, purl, purl, endlessly on. By the time I was done with the front, my dad was in a coma and on life support. By the time I had finished one side of the back, we had taken him off life support and watched him pass away.

The final back panel, blocking, and seaming took place amid endless phone calls, funeral plans, and frantic hunts for passwords and unpaid bills. When the stress and chaos got too much for me I had my knitting to retreat to.

The end result is a sort of metaphor for the grief of the last week. An oxymoron of a crystal pillow patterned after a hollow crystal shell, an image of endless squares giving the illusion of infinity.

So, in honor of my dad, the funniest, most optimistic man that meant so much to me, I am publishing this Hopper Crystal Pillow pattern. I don’t think I will ever make another one, there is too much pain memory knitted into the pattern for me. But I hope others enjoy it, it really was therapy for me.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Finished Bingham Cuff

Wow! Summer is in full swing with camping trips, museum workshops in the community, and general spending time with the family. Needless to say, I have not done much writing about knitting. But I have been knitting, just a lot of in-progress stuff that is too boring to blog about.

But, today I finally had a day to sit and organize and photograph. So, I finished up the images and pattern for the Bingham Cuff. They are not the best photographs and this is not my favorite project but I really liked experimenting with the copper leaf. And, maybe it will inspire other metal leafed knitting projects. I think there are a lot of possibilities.

As you can see in the finished photographs, the cuff kind of looks like a superhero accessory. Like I am Wonder Woman or something. I made the pattern free again because I am not 100% sold on the design as being wonderful. Perhaps others can tweak it to see what they come up with.

Coming up very soon, I am bit by the inspiration bug again after working a family day at the Spiral Jetty on Saturday and finding some amazing salt crystals!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Covered in Copper

Thank goodness for holiday weekends! I had time to finish the cuff and leaf it. It was a messy job and my backyard picnic table is covered in copper leaf, but I think it will turn out ok. After covering it in the leaf, I let it dry and then rub it all over to take off the loose leaf. You can see in a comparison how the copper oxidizes. The swatch is beginning to turn brown.

I want to be able to make it reversible so I think I will sew buttons on both sides. Also, that will make it so it can be buttoned like a cuff with cufflinks. It gives the piece a lot of options for fastening. I ordered some copper buttons from Etsy so I am waiting for them to show up before I finish it.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Copper Cuff

I have been thinking a lot about what to make with a copper leafed knitted thing. I don’t think it is practical to do anything that will be worn a lot as the leaf does get a cracked and brown patina with age (which I think is beautiful, but probably best left for occasionally wearing). So I am thinking of doing jewelry still but I also want it to be a substantial piece. So I am envisioning a cuff, like the cuff of a men’s shirt but out of copper.

Like this (see above). I made the swatch out of a green hemp and I think I want to keep that yarn. The hemp is substantial enough to take the leafing and glue. It is also a long-wearing fiber which I think will only help this piece. I also like the green I used. It is a verdigris green (basically oxidized copper color). The idea of the green oxidation color peaking through the copper is appealing to me.

This might be a quick knit up.