Last summer, I explored surface design with polymer clay by experimenting with metallic dye and paint. This summer, I cracked the cover of Betsy Hershberg’s book, Betsy Beads published by XRX Books in 2012. Sometimes, when I get so excited about a new project, I jump in feet first. Even though I know how to knit I-cord, I convinced myself to start from the beginning of the book with the first I-cord tutorial.
Beginning at the top slipping beads according to the directions: A) Knit five rounds, purl 1 round. B) Knit one round, purl one round. C) Same as B.
Betsy’s first and straightforward project, KISS: Keep It Simple Spiral happened by happenstance. “A Zen moment – recognizing that what you are looking for can often be found only when you stop looking.”
The shorter green necklace highlights KISS: Keep It Simple Spiral. The blue lariat necklace knit with sock-weight merino and 700 glass seed beads follows the all-over bead-knit tube technique, finished using the Zipper Technique for joining the cast-on to the bind-off edge.
Here are two more examples of the KISS: Keep It Simple Spiral knit with bamboo and Japanese seed beads.
The above Dorset button beaded bracelet is knit with tulle and glass seed beads using 5 rounds, purl 1 round I-cord. Also, the button was embellished with beads.
I also experienced my “Zen moment,” Approaching a known technique, which I’ve worked with, as if I were doing it from scratch gave me the opportunity to look at it from a different perspective.
Yesterday, I received a recorded message from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department regarding the triple digit weather, especially for Gilroy, San Martin and Los Gatos, advising the residents to stay inside until Friday. It’s not about “poor air quality,” it’s about the heat and dehydration. No physical activity except for getting to the mall or movie theater, in order to take advantage of the air conditioning. Okay, so I listened yesterday and seized the opportunity to read a novel, Tell The Wolves I’m Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt.
Today, however, I stretched the rules just a little. My last post described wet felting with an embedded object. Why not try Nuno Felting with an embedded object? Hmmm…good idea! The silk used for this project was upcycled from a dress purchased at my local thrift store.
I gazed at the three dimensional qualities of the fabric and contemplated what to do with the piece, perhaps a wristlet secured with a dorset button, or maybe an added embellishment to a felted purse.
The weather in California is hot! The weather provided a perfect opportunity for some wet felting. I thought it might be fun to try something new…
On top of a sheet of bubble wrap with the bubble side up, rests two layers of roving, the first layer vertical and the second horizonal. The object of my choice is a dorset button placed in the center. In order to cover the object, three layers of roving are placed in the same manner as before. To begin the fulling process, the surface of the roving is moistened with a mixture of warm water and Dawn dish washing soap. Olive oil soap is also a popular alternative. After fulling, a visible outline of the object appears. The piece has been fulled enough when the layers of roving cannot be pulled apart and the object is secure.
After rinsing the felt in cool water, a snip with scissors begins to reveal the embedded object. It is important to snip with caution because cutting to much felt away may loosen the object.
Even though the day was hot, I did not let the heat keep me from making art. Art = an idea made manifest.
I am attracted to freeform knitting and crochet because there are no boundaries that restrain my creativity. Upcycling the traditional art of knitting and/or crochet based on ideas of my own, generates something unique. Sylvia Cosh and James Walters, authors of The Crochet Workbook believe, “free means to escape from the restrictions we all unknowingly impose upon ourselves through blind habit, which programmes our thoughts and responses so that they become automatic and so involuntary.”
After taking a class from Prudence Mapstone in December 2003, I purchased two of her books for reference and a soft plastic mesh foundation for a handbag. Recently, I discovered an eclectic mix of handbags decorated with freeform knitted or crocheted fabric of color, texture and shape found in Never Too Many Handbags, by PrudenceMapstone. The second book, Freeform: Serendipitous DesignTechniques for Knitting & Crochet is a comprehensive guide for this artform.
Why not incorporate the circular shape of Dorset Buttons with the organic shapes of freeform knitting and crochet? The traditional method used as a fastener becomes an addition to freeform fabric. I’ve escaped from the restrictions of Dorset buttony and created my own look. I can’t predict the outcome of this project, but will continue to post my progress.