September 30, 2010

Conquering the Bobble Brim Hat

I saw a photo of a bobble-brimmed hat that I really liked. I liked it so much that I cut it out and put it in my inspiration book. I've been trying the past week or so to re-create this hat, but so far I haven't found just the right formula.

First attempt:
 I cast on 90 stitches in a multi-colored Noro Silk Garden yarn and used moss stitch for the brim with a large bobble receipe.

The finished hat.

I'm not so wild about it. I think the bobbles are too big and too far apart and I'm not so hot on this Noro colorway either. I bought a whole bunch of it on sale and now I can kind of tell why it was reduced. I tried knitting a sweater with it and didn't like it then, and although I think it looks okay used on this hat, I'm not liking it too much now.

But having said that, someone out there might LOVE it. 

Second Attempt:

Cast on 85 stitches (using same size needles as the last hat was just a tad too big) with this gorgeous yarn I picked up in Wellington, New Zealand called Vero. 100% wool and super soft and fluffy but knits up beautifully.

Used all purling for the brim with a medium bobble recipe and spaced closer together. I like this much better, but the brim is rolling inward (as it does when you have straight stockinette on the edge of something). It looks fine when it's on a head though. I will block it and see what happens. But I'm liking this result much better. And love this yarn. I might bring back the moss stitch brim for the 3rd try...or maybe something else...

I washed all the cotton fabrics I bought when I was in Vanuatu and they look so pretty hanging on the line! So colorful and festive. I love them!

September 17, 2010

Scary Scary Markers

My Copic markers...
My colorful soldiers of creativity...
So expensive, so beautiful, the penultimate marker. Sitting there in their little box, waiting for me. And waiting...and waiting.

What is the problem?

It is not a lack of love for these markers. Noooo. I am obsessed with them. I line them up in perfect color order: the first letter is the color family, the first number is the purity of the hue; zero being the most pure, and the last number is the saturation of the color with 9 being the darkest.

I just bought 12 more of the palest colors available. See 'BG0000' in photo above...'Snow Green.' They are amazing for using as a base color for layering, and for skin tones and for SNOWFLAKES...which is what I am thinking I want to create.

I gaze at them, I keep them near me. It's such a good feeling having them.

But for some reason, at the moment, I am totally intimidated to use them. I mean, come on! They're markers! Markers = Fun. It's color, it's coloring. What could be more fun than coloring?

What is happening here is a good case of artist's block. I have these ideas see, and I guess I'm afraid that I won't be able to achieve these ideas or that it'll look lame and I'll muck it up. Or I won't create the perfect snowflake right off the bat. I love the IDEA of being a marker artist and making marker art. It's SO COOL! I just don't do it very often.

And honestly, it's kind of silly I'm feeling this way. After all, here is some of the marker art I've already done. All drawn freehand, then colored.

And, the little purple punk penguin that is my avatar for this blog and for Facebook. I did that too. I think what I have done so far is perfectly beautiful.

I think I just needed to talk this out. All I need to do is sit down with paper and my little soldiers, reach over and pull one out, take off the cap, and put it down on the paper. Sounds easy right?

We'll see how long it takes me, how many times I can find something else to do to put off my marker project, until I actually do it.

Be brave Christine!

ps. My felted slippers drying. They are not totally evenly matched, although they fit fine. I think this is an issue when I sewed them up. I will have to be a little more careful about that step. But I reckon when I sew on the toe flaps and the button, they will be great.

September 16, 2010

CHC to AKL to LAX to PHX and Back Again

If you have trouble keeping up with my global itinerary, you are not alone. Even I am having trouble keeping track of myself!

I just returned to New Zealand after five weeks in Apache Junction, Arizona...smack in the middle of summer. My Gramma had a hip replacement and I went there to help her through it. 'Weren't you just in, a month ago?' you ask. Yes, I was and I had to turn right back 'round and go back out there. But nothing could stop me Gramma was in trouble and I needed to be there for her.

While I was gone I missed the big Christchurch earthquake that rocked our little town to the tune of 7.1 on the Richter Scale. Luckily our house survived without so much as a crack, but Antz was without water for 3 days.

During my month in the Valley of the Sun, I developed a serious addiction to air conditioning and Jamba Juice smoothies while obsessively hunting for the ever-elusive shady parking spot. Of course the interior of my rental car was dark grey.

One thing I love about Arizona is that a lot of the eateries have outdoor patios with overhead misters that put out a fine, cooling mist that gently floats down to cool you on even the hottest days. Wonderful!

Admiring the unique southwest architecture.

To keep sane during some pretty hellacious days in which my Gramma was in so much pain that the maximum doses of morphine still didn't quite do the trick, I knitted for hours, often in a dark hospital room.

I knitted the other sleeve to the Ariosa sweater.

I knitted a hat of my own design.

This was made with Noro Kureyon and another coordinating Peruvian Highland Wool. In retrospect, I ought to have chosen more contrasting colors, but I kind of like the subtle design and texture. Due to the scratchy-ness of the wool, I will have to line this hat with something.
I knit another pair of French Press slippers with Cascade 220 in 'Thunder.'

They look a bit Franken-slipper at the moment, but they still need to be felted in the washing machine which will shrinky-dink them down to a perfect pair. Just you wait and see!

Only home a couple of days and I've already lined the hat.

I cut up an old sweatshirt that I wasn't wearing anymore and used it to line the hat. You can see I sewed in a tiny green 'tag' on the seam that lets me know at a glance where the back of the hat is.

I was going to use windblock fleece, but from experience a Fair Isle hat that has two yarns running along the inside plus a layer of windblock fleece is just a smidge too warm for the summer season in Antarctica (oh by the way, did I mention that I am keeping this hat for myself?). So I thought if I lined it with this cotton sweatshirt material, it would still be warm, but not quite as warm as with the fleece...and it would breathe. The cotton material is really comfortable to wear too. Usually cotton is not recommended for cold weather gear, but the thick layer of wool on the outside should be sufficient for insulation, even if I am working outside. There's nothing worse than a sweaty head down on the ice. Or frozen ears. We shall see if I am right.

Spring has sprung in New Zealand and my favorite flowering tree, the Magnolias are in the middle of their very short but exquisite blooming season.