Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Show and Tell: New Stash

I finally got around to photographing some of the lovely new fabric I added to my stash last year...

My favorite is this Charles Rennie Mackintosh-inspired print from Liberty's Lifestyle Stile collection.  I luuurv it so much.  It tickles the sewist, quilter, and illustrator in me!  To read more about the collection see here.

This particular print is called "Mackintosh Red"

The second fabric I'm sharing is this lovely lightweight cotton lawn from Alexander Henry in a print called "Lydia".  It's a small chunk, only a half yard or thereabouts, so I'm not sure what to do with it yet.  Any ideas?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Up for Auction: My Print, La Semilla

Many of you have been long-time followers of my blog, and have probably wondered where my moniker "Adriprints" comes from.  I don't think I've ever explained it here on the blog.  When I was a student, I studied printmaking.  Printmaking was the medium I chose for most of my illustrations.

one of my prints, cicadas
 I especially love(d) etching, drypoint, and most intaglio techniques. I would draw directly on the a copper or zinc plate or transfer illustrations and then work with acid, scribes, rockers, and other tools to develop the plate's surface into an ink-able plate that I could run through a press.

a plexiglas plate with drypoint illustration on it
(photo by Emmy Horstkamp)
Wherever I was, in every stage of my life since then, if I found a printing press nearby, I'd print.  Once I moved to Germany, I found a press, but it was 1.5 hours to and and 1.5 hours back, leaving me with only an hour or two of working time... it was a bit too stressful, but I did manage to print a series even with the limitations.  So, eventually I turned to more immediate mediums like watercolor, graphite, and ink... and then sewing, knitting, and the fiber arts.

Back to the present...

"La Semilla", photo: Emmy Horstkamp
The print that's currently up for bidding is called "La Semilla" and it's from a series called "Los Anones".  It's a pretty personal topic since this series ties closely to my family and my origins. "Los Anones" was the name of an orchard that my family owned in Cuba.  One of the great-uncles was a world traveler and brought back seeds from his travels and would try to grow them in the orchard and this plant, annona squamosa, did really well in Cuba and that's how the orchard got its name.  But, here's the thing, I didn't grow up in Cuba.  I grew up in Florida since my parents were political exiles.  The only physical tie I had to my parents' and grandparents' roots were literally from a tree in my backyard growing up.  It was the only one I knew of its kind - a single anones tree.

photo: wikimedia commons
The print is a botanical illustration of the seed of an anon.  We tried planting the seeds from this tree, but they didn't take.  It hasn't flowered in a while, and I have to ask my mom to see how it's doing.

In any case, my print is now up for sale.  It's the first time I've tried anything like this where an audience can bid what they like for my work.  It's left me a bit vulnerable to say the least.  If small prints are up your alley, and you'd like to make a bid - it's open to worldwide bidders - you can see the auction here.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Simple Sock and a Side of Crepes

Compared to last week, these are some underwhelming makes I present to you, but nevertheless they are worthy things (to me at least).

Firstly, a sock.  Yes, a single sock.  Every year I make my husband a single sock, and I use the chance to try out different techniques.  None of the handmade socks I make him match, but he wears them just the same.  This one's a tad bit late, but it was worth it.  He actually said this was his favorite sock ever.  It's a completely bespoke sock!  He actually said, "any new socks you make for me, make them like this one."  This is a first for him, and for me.  Alrighty!  Will do!  He's never actually expressed any opinion about the socks I've made him previously, but he's always worn them.  It's nice to know he liked this one!

So, how did I make this sock?  It started out easily enough by using a figure 8 toe-up cast-on such as the one in this video here.

Then, after increasing to 64 sts, I knit even in stockinette for several inches.  Next, I increased for the gusset at the instep of the foot (where the arch is), and this is where it got a bit goofy.  I ran out of yarn.  I finished the increases with just enough of the grey-brown yarn, and then picked up where I left off with a dark purple-brown yarn.

And here it gets even goofier.  I tried out about four different kinds of heels.  Somewhere in the six months I used to complete this project - dropping it for the big projects you saw last week - I made a nubbin at the back heel. This nubbin looks like a nipple, and I still don't know how I did it.  Despite the request for future socks to be identical to this one, I think I will omit it from future versions of the sock.  The last note I made about the heel was that I would next try a short-row heel.  I worked every stitch of the heel in wrap/turn short rows and then picked up all the wraps and decreased all the sole sts.  Then I knit in stockinette followed by a 2x2 rib.  Simple as that!

I will share a refined recipe for the sock if only to clean up my notes and have an exact pattern for me to follow for this year's sock.  You interested?

And now for something completely different...

A Side of Crepes Recipe:

1 cup of flour
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of milk
2 eggs

You know the rest (mix dry ingredients, add wet ingredients, etc. etc.)
Spread batter thinly on a hot buttered skillet.  Brown. Flip once. Light brown.
I topped these with bananas and nutella, apples and nutella, crushed nuts and apples and bananas and nutella... photos next time I make them.  These were snatched up right quick.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Knit Now: Ammersee Top and Wind & Storm

When you design and submit patterns to publications, you never know what will strike an editor's fancy.  In this latest issue of Knit Now, Issue #30, you'll find that my knitting pattern, Ammersee Top, is on the cover!  Had she not told me ahead of time, I'd have scared the neighbors with my squealing for joy.  This is the first time I've ever had one of my designs on the cover of any publication, and it was a very exciting surprise I'm so glad to share with you all.

Ammersee Top, photo by  Dan Walmsley, (c) Practical Publishing

Ammersee Top is an alpine-inspired short-sleeved top featuring stranded colorwork, and hand-embroidery to finish the look.  The sample was knit over a speed knitting session of two weeks or so in the fall.  You may recall a bit of a hint when I revealed the button placket in this post here.

Ammersee Top, photo by  Dan Walmsley, (c) Practical Publishing
Also,  in this issue is a favorite pattern of mine which I've been trying to get published since I imagined it.  It's called Wind & Storm, and was inspired by last year's interminable winter (although it could totally fit with the U.S.'s current frosty situation).  The pattern remained in sketch form for a while, so I was so happy to work with Knit Now and Blacker Yarns in order to make it a reality.  The yarn is really cool - I used specifically Blacker Yarns Pure Organic Wool Corriedale with Black Welsh Mountain - it's a real working yarn with body, but softens after washing.  It has this lovely marled look, but still allows for great stitch definition.  I spit-spliced all the yarn ends so I had no ends to weave in when I was done knitting.  Also, because of the quick turnaround, I had help from a friend to knit the sleeves on this beauty... Thanks, Emma!!

Wind & Storm, photo by  Dan Walmsley, (c) Practical Publishing

Wind & Storm, photo by  Dan Walmsley, (c) Practical Publishing

Wind & Storm, photo by  Dan Walmsley, (c) Practical Publishing

Issue #30 of Knit Now can be found here: http://www.moremags.com/knitting/knit-now/knit-now-30-565

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013, A Year in Review

This past year's work collage:

So, what *did* I do last year?  And, did I meet my resolutions from 2013? Let me revisit my resolutions, and let's see how faithful I was to them...
"And, my 2013 New Years Resolutions...knitting- publish a few more patterns, learn brioche knitting. Crochet - do a bit more of it. Sewing- sew a pair of perfectly fitting jeans/trousers, drape 1 dress or outfit. Quilting- finish quilting the 2 quilts from last year and make 1 quilt. Design - learn more about WordPress to create an online shop"
Knitting - I definitely published more patterns than I was expecting: Lustig Hat and Gloves, Squishy Cabled Vest, Easy Lace Loop/Cowl, Rosita Hat and Mittens, Bow Slouch, Columbina Camisole, Tyrian Loop, and Laren Fingerless Mitts... phew!  And, two projects still aren't published... more about that in the near future.

Rosita Hat & Mittens, photo copyright Knitscene/ Harper Point
Brioche knitting - I signed up for a class, and started learning, but then forgot to finish the online course!  Oops.  Let's give that one a try again this year.

Crochet - I used it more frequently this year, and I made a few amigurumi gifts and used crochet as a border in some of my own projects.

Sewing - I did manage to create a pair of jeans that fit me really, really well!  BUT... then I grew out of them, and more on that in the near future.  I loved participating in Me Made May, and hope to do it again next year if possible.
((Confession.)) I still haven't draped anything!! I failed here.  I did start drafting skirt and bodice slopers, but definitely no draping!  ((Ugh.  Guilty feelings here.))

Quilting - I did way more quilting than I thought I could!  I learned to free-motion quilt and I finished a bed-sized brown quilt, a mini lap version,  the blue sampler quilt, a baby quilt, and a double-wedding ring quilt for a friend.

Design-  I finally got my portfolio site transferred to WordPress, but I still haven't created an online shop.  Anyone have advice on easy PDF distribution systems with templates on WP?  Also, I redesigned my crochet font StitchinCrochet(PRO), and released it!

2014...  Truth be told, I don't know what resolutions I should make.  I am anticipating some big changes in my life, and the only things I can hold onto at the moment seem very vague...

1) make some art:  get back into pen and ink, finish digital illustration commissions
2) make some things with yarn: finish hand-knit projects, use machine to stash bust
3) make some things with fabric: continue on the quilting and sewing goodness track
4) blog more efficiently and step away from the internet traps (facebook and cheesy news sites)

Happy New Year!
Cheers to the new year!