Friday, April 13, 2012

Sometimes I Actually Finish What I Started

Walking through my little studio full of UFOs last night, I started to feel guilty about all the projects in various stages of completion.  Can you call "not started" a stage of completion?  I wonder.

Most of the the creative people I know have stashes of stuff waiting to inspire them, so I don't feel so bad about the 8 plastic cartons of yarns.  At least they're sorted by color family.  Or the three big laundry pop-ups full of overflow yarns.  Maybe a little about the bins full of fabric - some of which I bought when in high school.  I'm not saying how may decades ago that was.  But to count the number of unfinished projects scattered around the studio I would have to use all my fingers and take off at least one shoe.

To show myself and the world that I actually do occasionally finish things, I present here a few finished items.

Here is a project that started out as white wool roving at Studio 66 in 2010.  We learned a crock-pot dyeing technique and I just loved the colors that resulted - from a deep maroon to a very warm gold.  This was my first yarn spinning project.  My friend Linda, who is a brilliant teacher and has so many talents, had just taken up knitting and asked if she could have some of my  handspun to try.  She surprised me with this lovely scarf.  Despite being challenged by the non-uniformity of the yarn (I've learned now to call it art yarn when the wpi of your yarn varies from 6 all the way to 60, and where you have kinky overspun bits alternating with lofty underspun bits), she made this ruffly scarf.  I can't seem to get a photo that does her work justice. 

(l) Newly dyed roving drying on the rack. (r) Finished handspun
 The finished scarf
A close-up of the knitting

My friend Gail at the Weaver's Cupboard builds and sells triangle looms made from several types of gorgeous hardwoods.  I took one of her triangle classes thinking it would be a fun diversion, and came home with not one, but two of her beautiful looms and a tripod stand to boot!  I have UFOs on the looms now but have managed to finish a few.  Have been using mostly acrylics out of my stash while I learn to make clean lines and finish nicely, but I think I'm ready to work with the good stuff now.

 This shawl has a mix of three different yarns for subtle (and not-so-subtle) variations in color and texture. The basic yarn is a slubby acrylic. Silver threads have been added periodically, as well as a very soft fluffy novelty yarn.

For the life of me, I can't remember what I used for this shawl.  I think it was a single type of acrylic paired with a silver thread.  This was the first shawl I finished and I gave it to a dear friend for Christmas.

 This shawl is woven entirely in Lion Brand Homespun yarn.  So pretty in the skein but I hate working with it. It seems to fray spontaneously.

My friend Carol does a lot of work for the Free Wheelchair Mission, which builds wheelchairs out of inexpensive parts and has shipped over 600,000 of these overseas to people who would otherwise be immobile.  I donated this to their last fundraiser.

Left: Ellie. Knitted with acrylic eyelash yarn.  All of my knitting is done on circle looms - I tend to grip knitting needles so tight my hands ache after a few minutes so I gave up knitting on needles years ago.

Right: Michelle. Combination of bamboo and acrylic yarns. Scarf is handwoven, hat is knitted.


Left: Diane. Knitted with ultra bulky acrylic yarn.

Right: Farrah. Knitted with soft acrylic yarn.

 Left: Mia.  Knitted with a  wonderfully soft variegated Sensations "It's a Wrap" in blue/turquoise.  Made of 75% nylon, 25% wool,  I loved the way this yarn felt as I worked on it - will feel wonderful next to the skin.

Right: Michael.  Knitted with ultra bulky acrylic yarn.

And then there are the other hobbies.  Favorite thing to do when I get together with my sisters (not often enough) is take jewelry making classes or just hang out and work on our projects together. Name a hobby where you can pound on things with hammers and melt stuff with torches and I'm in!

 This bangle is a combination of fusing and wire-wrapping techniques. The base is fine silver, fused and hammered into the final shape. Six wrapped spirals of silver-plated copper wire have been added for a little more pizzazz.

 Guilt temporarily assuaged.  And now that I've posted this, I can't use these in future posts to give the illusion that I'm actually finishing things.  Guess I need to quit starting new projects and finish those triangle shawls.  Or the scarf on my rigid heddle loom.  Or the sampler on my floor loom.  Or maybe the yarn on both of my spinning wheels.  Or...    

Note to self:  wet alpaca still smells.  Ten ounces cleaned, dried, and in big laundry bag waiting to be picked and carded.  Fifteen ounces stinking up my drying center.  Half an ounce picked and ready for carding.  Half a pound waiting to be washed.  From this fleece.  Not thinking about the three pounds from two other fleeces.  I'll think about those next week.  Or maybe next month.

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