I hit the mother lode at the May Memorial Library book sale!

I found Barbara G.Walker’s “Treasury of Knitting Patterns” from 1968 in pristine condition.

Ok, after three days in my house- not looking as tidy. No matter, it’s just as informative and inspirational.

 

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This is a sketch from a few years ago which started as an idea about my aunt Sue and became the source for the next punch needle. She had died earlier that year. The sketch has a sad and chaotic feel, although the colors are bright yellow and pink and not usually associated with sadness and grief.

It changed along the way into something quite different once it was translated into a punch needle piece. I don’t know why the bird hopped from the shoulder to the hand but I think it had to do with balancing out the shapes in the composition.

 

blanket-cropped

Piecing it together with pins, making a rectangle of 32″ x 38″ Lots of work still ahead – it needs to be shaped, blocked , steamed and stitched

Piecing it together in my head

I had the idea of knitting a security blanket as a metaphor for American culture so I started by knitting – as an example- my own security blanket.

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detail of stripe

So as I was knitting the different sections, I was puzzled as to why I was using such a different range of colors in this knitting.  Usually I work with pure color, and never use black. And why did I start knitting with size 15 knitting needles when I have very few bulky yarns?  To create the bulky yarns needed for size 15 knitting needles, I  combined different thickness of yarns together, different colors together and different textures together which gave a much more muted palette. Black and browns, deep blues and textured black yarns made stripes of stocking stitch between ribs of blended colors. Why did I construct the pieces with stripes of stocking stitch and ribs? It was mystifying. I hung up the knitted pieces on a piece of foam core, sat down and started to look at them.

As I was looking at the thick stripes, a memory started to form in my head. The thick textured dark stripes reminded me of some winter cardigans my mother used to have hanging on the back of the bedroom doors, and in the hall, of my childhood home. We lived in a very large and cold, old house and whenever I returned home to visit my parents, one of the first things I would do on my arrival, was to look for a cardigan to wear from my mother’s extensive collection. Most of them were from thrift shops and many were for men (for my father) Mixed in with the charcoals, blacks, navy and dull green stocking stitch cardigans that my father favored, were some jumbo rib stripe cardigans knitted in muted Shetland colors for ladies. I admit that I was more attracted to the colored stripes but was more than happy to wear whatever was available in the stash, depending on how many family members were visiting at the same time. Wrapped in one of those winter cardigans, you finally knew you were home.

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2 more sections added

 

This is how it looks like right now.

I’m beginning to run out of some of my hand dyed/ hand spun yarns which are mixed with other yarns so this and a deadline of finishing by this weekend, will limit the final size of the blanket. Nothing is sewn together so the finished piece may look radically different..!

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Knitting in progress

 I left my native land, Scotland, to live in an America that welcomed and supported people from all over the World.

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The start of the knitted security blanket

America is successful and powerful in part because of all the nationalities that came here, at great cost and personal sacrifice to work together for a better life. It is the land of immigrants.

Recently there has been the suggestion that to continue to allow immigrants into the country is unsafe, even dangerous for  American society.

So I started to knit a security blanket, thinking of how little children like to carry their own little security blankets to help them feel safe, secure, loved. My security blanket is a metaphor for American Society. It’s made up of many different yarns, colors and stitches and they are all linked together to create a beautiful, functioning and cohesive fabric. Each section enhances the whole. It is all connected by tiny, continuous loops.  Think of all these different stitches as representing all the people in America. Since every stitch is connected, to pull apart even one of the loops, is to tear apart the fabric of American society. We cannot afford to break the connections between the loops as the fabric will unravel and disintegrate. It is the connections that hold us together, keep us secure, keep us safe from disintegration.

We need to focus on strengthening them, rather than tearing them apart.

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Detail showing 3 different knitted sections together

 


camillia-and-cardi-with-buttonAlmost five months later…

So pleased to introduce Camille in her pink and purple cotton cardi with knitted pink camellia button. Thanks Sally,  for sending me this gorgeous photo of Camille.

 

theo-with-new-knitted-hatTheo with his new knitted hat, ready for a winter walk.

I was so worried that Theo would n ‘t get his knitted hat in time for Christmas, I knitted it in one evening and sent it off the next morning. .

Then I could n’t remember what the hat looked like!

Thanks to Jane, Ruiaridh and Mel for this lovely pensive photograph of Theo.

Messing around with cold wax and oil paints…

My friend Connie and I just attended a 4 week session class on painting with cold wax, taught by George Wade Carmichael- a fabulous teacher. George is incredibly knowledgeable about historical painting techniques and materials.

However, it was the total opposite of what I had read about cold wax painting on-line!

I was expecting to do heavy textural layers of cold wax, with squeegees and sharp mark making objects.

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Initial sketch idea in acrylic and collage

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Painting in cold wax and oil- still in progress

Instead we worked with the smallest brushes I have ever seen and laid down super-fine layers of translucent colors of oil and cold wax, starting with a foundation of complimentary colors which de intensified the application of color on the next layers. So completely different from my usual approach to painting which is lots of applications of thick saturated colors with complimentary colors laid beside each other, not in layers.

photo-of-louisa

The inspiration for my sketch came from this lovely photo of my niece, Louisa Lily Bell

With this technique I appear to have a softer and more detailed image that I would normally paint.

Must be the tiny brushes!

The painting is not finished as I ran out of my mixture of cold wax and thinner while painting. George showed us how to cook it up in the microwave-so I made a batch this evening. I’m liking the translucent layers- and the contrasting opaque areas too.

As you might be able to tell, I’m in a knitting frenzy ..

…just finished a baby girl knitted vest for my friend Linda’s son and wife, Scott and Brittany. Since they live in Wilmington, I thought summer colors would work for them. Next on the list- my nephew Ruiaridh and his wife, Mel and their baby Theo, in St. Albans, England

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Spring vest for a beach baby

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You can see where I got the inspiration for the colors for the baby vest-love camellias especially now that it’s getting into winter

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detail of vest- got the perfect (vintage )buttons at the Hospice Flee Market shop

More details about the “Outlander” hand knitted wraps

The “Outlander” wraps are for adults: they are all hand knitted with some hand dyed wool yarns mixed with other multi fiber yarns. Each piece is one-of-a-kind with up to 8 or more different yarns and every knitted piece has a different mix of yarns . The wraps go around the neck and shoulders and tuck into your coat or jacket. Although the knitted pieces are knitted with thick yarns, it is not bulky underneath your coat or around the shoulders as long scarves tend to be.

The “Outlander ” wraps are  $60 plus postage if ordering on-line

The “Outlander” collar is $45 plus postage if buying on-line

If you are interested in purchasing, all pieces will be display at the Kirby Gallery, Roxboro or email me at:

mehrjacq@gmail.com to order directly.

 

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Outlander wrap 1: 33″ long and 6″ deep

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Outlander wrap 1-detail

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Outlander wrap 2-with more pastel colors; 36″ long and 6″ deep

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Outlander wrap 2-detail

outlander-wrap-dark-trim

Outlander wrap 3- with dark trim. hand knitted with some hand dyed wool yarns mixed with multi fibers and textured yarns

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Outlander 3-with dark trim detail

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Outlander neck collar: 22″ long by 5″ deep

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Outlander neck collar detail

Please be aware that there will be a proportion of hand dyed wool fibers in the knitted pieces which can feel “scatchy” against the skin for some people.

 

 

 

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