Monday, January 5, 2015

January projects

I grew up in Southern California and there really wasn't any time of year when you couldn't be outside.  Living here in northeastern Ohio, there are days in January and February (and last November!) when it is simply too cold to do much outside except bundle up and walk the dogs as quickly as you can.  Lucky for me I have lots of indoor hobbies.  Here are a few of the projects I currently have going.

First up is an homage to Sophie Digard.  Her scarves and bags and work in general are a major inspiration for me.  I simply can't imagine doing crochet on such a tiny scale.  This past fall, after the Ladies Night at my boys' school (where I sold a TON of gloves and scarves) I splurged on this scarf.  This is classic Sophie Digard.  Tiny, tiny granny squares embellished with bits of velvet.  Stunning, isn't it?  I love it and it matches about 85% of my wardrobe, no joke.

So, in my lame attempt to flatter by imitation, I am crocheting a scarf.  Y'all know I'm a knitter.  Any crochet expert would cringe at my work on this but I'm persevering.  The yarn is Purl Soho line weight merino wool in a beautiful grey/blue.  Very thin.  If I was on knitting needles, I'd be on a size 4 probably.  The plan is to complete the scarf and then appliqué circles of velvet on top at each end.  I bought some velvet swatches on line which should get me plenty of circles for the appliqué.
 The work is pretty slow going because I'm just not as comfortable with crochet so I stop every row to count and make sure I've still got the right number of squares in the pattern.  I've had to rip a bit out when I got off pattern.  (sigh)

The velvets are pumpkin, eggplant, green, and ivory.  I think it will be great once complete.

 The next couple of projects are my attempt to use the techniques championed by Sue Spargo.  I came across her work by chance when searching for inspiration for my fabulous beret hat detailed here.  Sue Spargo did the leaves that are pictured in that post.  Amazing work.  This book is going to be my muse this year.  I've even signed up to take Sue's online class on  Check it out.

You may remember I've been working on stair risers for a long time.  Years.  I complete a new riser whenever I have a good idea which is, apparently, not often!  The previous efforts are detailed here.  I love my stairs and visitors to my house are always very impressed.

So, I finally came up with ideas for two of the remaining risers.  The first is inspired by Fraktur designs and I used a tulip pattern directly from Susan Feller's Design in a Box.  (Available here)  I bought this great product at a rug hooking retreat.  It has Fraktur patterns on card stock so I was able to scan the tulip and then print it out multiple times to make all my patterns.  The entire riser is about 36" wide and there is a tulip at each end with long curving stems crossing in the middle.  A heart seemed to be the perfect motif for the center.

You can see each little bit of the tulip is a different wool.  The inspiration wool was the main one on the heart and the base of the tulip.  All other wools were chosen based on their relationship with that wool.  Thus the orange and deep red and the fabulous green.  I embellished some of the portions using stitches from Sue Spargo's book.  

I'm also working on a stair riser that's dedicated to our town, Hudson, Ohio.  This is a bit of a "duh" moment since I can't believe I haven't done this one before.  As a refresher, Hudson was founded in 1799, 4 years before Ohio became a state.  We are fiercely proud of our history and our architecture.  Here's a shot of our main street:
I didn't think I had the artistic ability to pull off the row of stores from an angle like this so I am doing mine from head on.  No perspective required.  Obviously, a work in progress but here is some of the completed work.
 Each store front is a little different.  I am trying to duplicate color scheme as closely as possible.  This section of Main Street is almost entirely brick, either left red or painted.  It was once wood but there was a major fire in 1792 and this block was lost.  So they rebuilt in brick.  One block north is still all wood.  Part of the charm of this fantastic place.  My little post-it notes detail the trim and window colors so when I'm working in front of the TV I don't have to pull up a picture on my phone and try to determine which floss I should be using.

The beautiful clock tower will be added last.  It will sit in front of the two buildings on the far right.  The clock tower is brick and those 2 buildings are brick so I used 3 different red wools to delineate between the buildings.

Once these two risers are complete, I only have 1 more to do.  And, the final riser is very near the bottom so I probably won't do much detail since no one is going to want to squat down to look.  Something colorful and coordinating.  That shouldn't take too long to come up with an idea, should it?

So this is what's on the docket for January.  Oh, I almost forgot!  Of course, I have a knitting project on the needles.  I've been using Brooklyn Tweed wool almost exclusively for about 18 months and I'm knitting a pullover using a beautiful pale grey plus colorwork with all my leftover wools and a couple of additions.  I'll take some shots of that soon.  I finished about 1/2 of it over holiday break but I've put it aside while I'll working on the stair risers.  It'll keep.

What are you working on this winter?

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