May 29, 2004

Last week's Luau

About a week ago, I mentioned making a grass skirt for Harrison for his Luau, here are a couple of photos, one of Harrison showing off his grass skirt and another showing the grass skirts that the school bought:

The 2 photos above show Harrison in his skirt & a closeup.. and of course he is wearing his hand-knit socks... can you tell from the photo that one of the socks has individual toes? :)

click here for a larger version of this photo

Yesterday I worked on Family Hands a bit, no photos (need to get new batteries for the camera), and tried to get it finished but I'm missing a couple of the yarns, they're probably under or behind something...

I also worked on a sock for about an hour while watching TV... was doing gusset decreases. I'm trying to get this particular pair finished so that I can try the hand painting yarns with these needles... an alternative might be to make DPNs out of bamboo skewers... I THINK they'd be about a size 3...

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Posted by Jessica at 07:33 AM

May 28, 2004

School's over

...and I'm not quite ready for it... hopefully we'll be able to take the boys for swimming lessons this summer... and maybe do a bit of renovating around the place. Today is just like a normal weekend day, except it's Friday!

Gary is talking about teaching the twins how to do some things in the shop this summer... he said it'll just be the boring things this summer, so they can learn basic stuff. He wants to clean the shop up first, though... good idea!

Got the rocks varnished and we gave them to the teachers yesterday. I hope they like them!

Today I'll get some things ready for a handpainting dye batch for tomorrow.

I'm experimenting with Movable type's notification feature... if you'd like to be on my notification list, pop me an email!

Posted by Jessica at 12:54 PM

May 26, 2004

rock painting & handpainting yarn & string tricks

I guess you could say today was a busy day... I started on the rocks a couple of days ago and today I put the finishing touches on them. In the afternoon, I handpainted some yarn as a color/technique test to see if I want to try this for a larger batch of yarn....

Here's a sneak peek at the painted rocks:

I'm hoping to take some more photos tomorrow morning and hopefully get better/clearer photos of the rocks... plus this was before varnishing, the varnished rocks should look nicer & shinier...

This was my first attempt at rock painting: I need a finer brush. I have 1, 0, 00 and 000... I need a 10-zero brush... that'll allow me to do finer lines. The instructions for the frogs and Penguin are from Lin Wellford's book titled "Painting more Animals on Rocks". Gary said he doesn't think the rocks are the right shape for frogs, but that's exactly why I like these them a sense of personality...

Handpainted Yarn

And here is the handpainted yarn:

The orange came out redder in the photo, do not be fooled, that red you see is truly an orange orange. The 2 skeins of curlier-looking yarns are Briggs & Little Durasport... even with 20% nylon, the yarn took the dye nicely... the other mini-skein is Germantown sport yarn. When I do the next batch, I'll use 100% wool Briggs & Little yarns.

school talent show

Also, today was the school talent show. Evan and Micah both did string triicks:

The last one on the right is Micah doing the Eiffel tower...can't really see the string, next time I will be one of those obnoxious parents that gets up close with the camera!

I don't know why the photos are coming out so big. I resized them all to about 300 and that usually gives me a 20k file, but it's not working today... weird.

Posted by Jessica at 10:58 PM

May 20, 2004

sick kids and projects

Harrison's been home since Tuesday with a sore throat/cough/fever... thought he was doing better yesterday morning, but he woke up from his nap burning, so I took him to the doctor and it turns out he has a throat infection but seems to be doing better now, though his temp was 99.something this morning, a little high for morning...last night Reuven was acting like he wasn't feeling well, wasn't sleeping well and finally is asleep now. Evan's home too, his throat is swollen but he doesn't have a fever and he's too damned cheerful for this early in the day...

still working on ideas

I've been looking through books and looking around trying to come up with some ideas for the stretched and gesso'd canvas that's staring at me belligerantly... I was going to make table runners for end of year school gifts, but shelved that idea because it's too subjective unless you really know the person, but I still plan on making table runners with this canvas, though I might use it to make one floor cloth, I haven't decided yet, no rush now... instead we'll do something else for the gifts, which I'll show pictures of after school is over if they come out good...

Grass skirt on an inkle loom

Last night I worked on making a grass skirt for the Luau for Harrison... the Luau is tomorrow and the skirt is about half way done.

Originally, I was going to follow instructions that I found on a website ( for making a grass skirt with duct tape and crepe paper and then I thought that eyelash yarn (Online Smash eyelash) would look nicer and I didn't think that a duct tape waist would stay on very well, so I decided to make an inkle band and do a few inches (about 15) for the part that would be tied around the waist and then do about 22 inches for the skirt part, using the eyelash yarn for weft and pulling out enough yarn to make a knee length skirt and tie the ends at the selvedge and then do another 15 inches of plain inkle weaving... so far I have about 10 inches of the skirt portion done and it went much quicker than I thought it would. I may try to take pictures later.

I was going to do the inkle band in all green, but on Tuesday night, I was drawing Van Gogh's Wheat Fields & Cyprus and decided to use a wheat-like color in addition to just the green for the band... I used a design that looks a little bit like a zig zag... warped it as follows:

3 strands green
alternate 1 strand wheat, 1 strand green nine times
alternate 1 strand green, 1 strand wheat nine times
3 strands green

I've heard that some people will warp and cut and tie each strand when alternating colors on an inkle warp, but I just use a technique that is similar to changing colors for intarsia knitting: it's MUCH faster than cutting and tying! To keep the yarns from tangling, I move one of the yarns back and forth every time I change colors and never get in trouble with tangles...I think I did a photo essay of this on another blog entry a year or so ago, but I don't konw where that entry is...if I come across it, i'll put a link to it in the sidebar.

I had JUUUUUUUST enough heddles for this band, no idea where my other heddles are, but I keep my heddles tied to the space where the tension bar slides when they're not on a piece... I'm using the walnut hockey stick loom that Gary made for me for a present a couple of years ago...

Posted by Jessica at 08:21 AM | Comments (1)

May 12, 2004


the poncho

I'm still trying to decide which yarns to use..the Katia Scala yarns look great and also I used some bulky donegal tweed yarn in the color rust with some gold and other flecks of color... not sure what else I'll use, but my light or dark brown Funny yarn has gone missing and I think it would look nice.. also haven't decided what stitches to use, will definitely use the SpinCraft stitches for some of the stripes, but I don't know if I'll use others...

preparing to paint

This afternoon I stretched some off white denim-twill fabric onto a 3 foot by 4 foot wood frame... the frame is one that Gary build for rug twining & it's perfect for what I want it for right now... stretching the fabric wasn't too bad... gesso-ing it was a bit of a challenge, though, was hard to reach, I haven't done any painting on this large scale before... I think once I get started on painting it, i'll use on or two chairs for an easel for it... I'm not going to use the whole thing for one painting, I'm thinking of making 3 or 4 table runners, which will be taken off the frame after the painting is done...

I haven't decided if I'll use acrylic paint or latex.. I'll decide that when I decide what I want to paint...

The reason I decided to use the frame is partly because it's easier to put away when not in use... I don't have one room where I can leave a large piece of canvas on the floor or anything...don't even think I have a wall that I could use, so the frame is perfect for this.

The younger 2 kids were trying to 'help'... reuven kept trying to help me put the newspaper down so that the floor wouldn't get messed up... it's vinyl, but if I can get the paint on the paper instead of the floor, all the better. If the weather is nice (read, not too humid) I may work outside on the back porch...

Idea Generating...

Was thinking about how to come up with ideas & practicing drawing... sometimes I can't think of what to draw and was looking at some websites and thought it might be a good idea to do some drawings and even some paintings after the masters.. those would be good lessons! It's always good to paint and draw things around us, but sometimes they're just not inspiring or interesting...

I'm tired, so will call it a night... A Night!

Posted by Jessica at 11:15 PM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2004

Happy Mom's Day!

Happy Mother's Day everyone! Gary's sleeping in right now (he had some trouble sleeping last night, I can take a nap with Reuven later...)

Right now, as I type this, one of the twins is making breakfast and the other one is coming up with weird checklists, my 6 year old is being a snot because his older brother isn't making everything HE wants for breakfast: he wants toast and pancakes and sausage and eggs! I was given a breakfast checklist and only checked the pancakes and sausage (turkey sausage)...not the toast and not eggs...

Gary said he's going to make me an easel for a combination Mother's Day/birthday present... my birthday was last week... it'll be late, I don't mind because he's trying to catch up on loom orders and that's really more important. However, as soon as the boys and I clean up a piece of wood that's about the size of a 2 by 10 by about 8 or 10 feet long, he'll re-saw it and use some of it make a quicky/portable easel (with 1x2s or 2x2s) that I can pop into the car if I want to paint outside. Since I won't be painting huge pieces, the portable easel will be fine...


I can't keep my mind off a couple of poncho patterns I'd like to make: one may be done on my triangle loom, or I may knit it & I haven't decided what yarns to use yet for it... I'd make two triangles on the 7 foot (largest) setting and link the two triangles together with a crochet or knit stitch of some sort...if I knit it, I'd knit in such a way that it would be all one piece and then I'd join the front together or maybe do a zipper front or something like that so it would be a convertible ruana or poncho...

The other one will be knit... if I can ever find the Katia Scala yarn I bought about a year ago from Elann's, I was thinking I'd use some of it to make a tank top, but since it's 50% wool, it just might be too warm as a tank top, maybe a vest, but I don't think there are any vest patterns I'd want to make with it...
I think this SpinCraft poncho would be great:

It looks a lot like the same pattern that some Colinette kits have.

I have this pattern on the Weaving Rainbow website under "patterns", "spincraft", "sweaters"... it's near the bottom of that page.

I'll use a couple of other yarns along with the Katia Scala yarn (I have 2 colors, a beige/pink two tone, and a rust color, probably not enough to do a whole poncho): a couple of colors of Scandia would look nice with it and some other yarn that I've lost the label for... I'll probably tear my closet apart later after Gary goes to referee a soccer game and FIND that Katia yarn...

I just may wait until after summer to really work on this, but I can start it...

Micah just asked me if I want cough syrup or maple syrup on my pancakes... I didn't get any colds over the winter, but this is the 2nd one I've had since spring started... I don't consider myself an "allergic" type person, but maybe I am reacting to all the pollen and stuff out there... when I was little, I tested positive for a tree allergy: my parents had me tested to rule out allergies that might be causing my hearing loss and they found out about the tree allergy.

Breakfast is ready... I'll take the maple syrup...

Anyway, Happy Mother's Day to all Moms out there!

Posted by Jessica at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2004


Now I can post some photos! The camera-to-computer cable was hiding in a pile of papers... I was just getting ready to go through those papers and weed out the ones we no longer need when I found the that point, I decided not to go through the papers... I'll save that for another day..

Meanwhile, I'll show you a couple of the tie dyed shirts:

There's more, but no one else was wearing tie dyed shirts and I didn't feel like setting them up for photo sessions...

Here are the paintings that I started a few days ago:

The one on the left is a painting called Cat Looking Out Window and it's based on the drawing on the monk's cloth... the one on the middle is called "Girl On Phone" and it's from a drawing that I did of a friend of mine a zillion years ago and the one on the right is an abstract that I did based on a magic marker drawing in one of my old sketch books. This is the first one of these 3 that I did: I did it to familiarize myself with the paint and brushes.

Last, but not least: here is a photo of the square from the American Aran Afghan project designed by Marian Tabler:

I still have one more square to finish, it's at least half way finished.

Hope y'all are enjoying your weekend!

Posted by Jessica at 08:17 PM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2004

Tie dye results

I guess I'm happy with the results of the tie dye, though I would have liked the twins' t-shirts to come out darker & more obviously tie dyed... their shirts came out more emerald. I may be able to overdye them, but since it's Tuesday, I'm not sure if I have enough time or not since they have to be ready & dry to wear on Thursday.

The shirts that I made for me and Gary came out nice, though a little color muddiness occurred...I was disappointed in Reuven's because of the color muddiness... his shirt looks mostly olive. Some of the other shirts came out nice & it's possible that I did a shirt that will be good for Reuven to wear. I'm still trying to decide if I should have another go at tie dyeing this afternoon or not.

Can't show pictures because the stupid USB cable for the camera is AWOL & I can't upload a thing.... I may pick one up's a pity that the printer cable on the printer end won't fit into the camera....

Posted by Jessica at 12:52 PM

May 02, 2004

pro chem and dharma trading

I forgot to mention that I used Pro Chem MX for the purple dye & Dharma Trading procion for the blue and yellow to make green (and also for blue and yellow for other shirts)... both fiber reactive dyes... I would have used all of one brand except I didn't want to try my hand at mixing BOTH purple AND green... the green was easy, and I already had the purple... I had green in ProChem "H" (which I think needs to be set with heat), and also another ProChem green, but couldn't figure out what it I figured I'd use Dharma's blue & yellow & MAKE green & had some blue & yellow to play with as well...

I'm looking forward to taking the shirts out on Tuesday to see how they look... how'm I gonna stand it?? I'm going to definitely make sure those shirts have at LEAST 24 hours in those bags & will NOT take them out unless the sun is shining, so that means no sooner than Tuesday around's be better if I wait until the boys get home from school that day, although having some time to dry on the line would be nice, too...

It will be interesting to see whether my t-shirts hold up better colorwise than the kindergarten t-shirts in the next couple of years... I THINK the teachers used Rit dye... scratch that!! I *know* the answer to that: as long as all my materials are still good, then I KNOW mine will hold up longer colorwise... the twns had purple tshirts made with Rit dye when they were in Kindergarten & over the years, their shirts faded... I had another set of tshirts that I bought at a mall and they were done with fiber reactive dyes: those shirts still look good, but worn... the color is still vibrant, but the shirts themselves are starting to look a bit used...

Next time I do tie dyeing, I'm going to look for good quality of the websites I ran across recommended Hanes Beefy-t's... I did use Hanes, but didn't see Beefy T's at Wal-mart... just had to use what was available.

I'm half tempted to pick up some new socks for the boys and make them matching socks... except I don't think I want to spend another whole day on that...

Posted by Jessica at 08:59 PM | Comments (1)

tie dyed tshirts

This afternoon I tie dyed a bunch of photos yet, as they're all in plastic bags with their colors setting.

The first two were done in green with a spiral twist an they're for Evan & Micah for Thursday, which is the school's little eagle relay races... the 3rd graders all have to wear green that day. The next 3 or 4 were green & purple: the kindergartners wear purple (their teachers tie dye their tshirts purple) and I wanted my shirt, Gary's & Reuven's shirts to have purple & green tie dye to represent kindergarten & 3rd grade....they were also done with the spiral twist.

Then I took a long sleeved white shirt of mine that could use a little sprucing up & did it in Yellow, blue, green & purple, also with a spiral twist. Then I took another tshirt & did it in a fold & tie & squirted some dye on it.

Overall, it was fun, but gosh what a pain to get all the stuff together... from preparing the shirts in the synthrapol and washing soda to preparing the urea mix to preparing the soda soak for fixing the color of the items to preparing the color and THEN after all that, it's time to tie dye... that said I'll probably do it again someday... I don't particularly like wearing gloves or a mask, but wore them anyway... and still managed to get dye all over my fingers... it'll come off in time. I found out at the last minute that my goop hand cleaner is all gone... the joys of living with other people!!

I did manage to keep the kids away from my work area while I was working...

Hopefully the shirts will come out nice, I'll open up the plastic bags on Tuesday & then rinse the shirts out & wash them & dry them...

No knitting lately, though I have one more cashmere aran square to finish up... or is that aran cashmere square or just square??

Posted by Jessica at 08:03 PM