In this guest post by Phyllis Alberici, she finds yarn-spiration from an unlikely source.
Two weeks ago I received a text message with an unusual image: an abandoned railroad car.
I was sitting on the porch on a hot humid afternoon enjoying a vanilla ice cream cone and hoping writing inspiration would strike when a message with a photo popped up on my cell phone. It was from my son who has the kind of job that takes him to unusual places.
“Check out this picture I took.” Wait! Could that be an old freight car painted with graffiti? The colors were a palette of subtle teals, greens, rusts, pinks, silvers, reds and more. What I saw wasn’t a rusting rail car shoved aside to rot but a painting with colors that blended and swirled.
“It’s amazing, isn’t it?” he added. It certainly was.
My usual reaction to graffiti scrawled on railroad cars is “Look at the mess they made.” My Dad used to say, “See before you speak,” and these words came to me as I processed the image on my phone. Time and age had mellowed the graffiti to something worthy of a skein or two or more of yarn. My son had sent me an image that fascinated him and I found color in an unexpected, and unlikely, place.
As crafters, we expect to be a little overwhelmed, happily so, when we look at racks and bins of yarn. Ideas start to percolate at the potential in each skein. We cruise the internet or admire someone else’s projects looking for new ideas.
But think about this: what if we went looking for color palettes in unusual and unexpected places?
Last winter I became ill, seriously and unexpectedly sick in a way that changed my life. Color and yarn pulled me through and out of the dark place the illness had taken me. Skeins of yarn wove themselves into a lifeline. I started to look for colors where I hadn’t before.
Yesterday I decided to go on an expedition with the railroad car picture in hand. I wanted to see how any colors I could find to incorporate into a stranded sweater or scarf, a cowl or maybe some mittens for the winter ahead. Or a blanket. Winter is always a great time to make a blanket.
But before I could think about a road trip, I was side-tracked by a colander full of colorful tomatoes and peppers fresh from the garden. Unlike the colors of the railroad car, these colors weren’t mellow and soothing. These screamed at me to take a picture. Now I had two reasons to head out on a yarn expedition with two completely different palettes: one soft and mellow, the other bold and sunny.
I’m always looking for new ideas for colors to put together for my never-ending list of projects. I think I’ll start carrying a camera with me just in case. How about joining me? It would be great fun to see your photos of the unexpected colors you find out there.
Where do you find inspiration for your projects? Check out a few of our favorite color palettes, based on artwork:
|Color palette created with Heartland®||Color palette created with Amazing®||Color palette created with Heartland®|
A little adventure, a bit of time-travel, and an epic romance inspired our latest pattern collection…
In the video below, sneak a peek at our next pattern collection, inspired by none other than the sassenach heroine of Outlander: The Series.
Channel your inner Scottish Highlands explorer this season with this gorgeous collection of garments.
Stay tuned for the full launch of kits — for both knitters and crocheters — coming very soon!
In this guest post by Gali Beeri, she walks us through the design process for her Cleopatra headpiece. It’s certainly fit for a queen!
With Halloween fast approaching, we would like to share our own take on costuming – which involves yarncrafting, of course!
Last time around I shared my winged superhero costume. It probably comes as no surprise that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. But why limit myself to getting in costume just once a year? Throughout college my friends would often throw “theme parties”, which provided an excellent excuse for costuming and helped shape my love of “playing dress-up” as an adult. Now well into my 30s, I’ve found more communities that love doing the same and attend costume events regularly.
To kick off the design process for my next costume party, I explored ideas that suited the ancient Egypt-influenced theme. Ultimately I decided to knit a snake headpiece.
Drawing inspiration from images of Cleopatra headdresses, I started sketching out a design I thought would translate well to knitted fabric. Searching through the yarn at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, I found that once again Vanna’s Glamour came to the rescue for my costuming needs. I’m so drawn to th
e sparkle! The Bronze colorway fit both the theme and my complexion nicely.
I cast on for a narrow tube knit in the round, and then created the cobra shape by increasing on either side to the widest point of the head. Then I decreased on either side until I reached the tip of the snake’s mouth. To create the forked tongue, I switched to red yarn (LB Collection Superwash Merino in Cherry). I embroidered eyes and nostrils using scraps of black yarn.
Next up, I had to figure out how to place the snake on my head! That’s where my narrow tube at the base of the snake’s head came in handy – it was just big enough for a pipe cleaner to fit. This held the snake head upright, and also made it easier to secure the piece to a headband. I wrapped the headband with more bronze yarn. To add interest, I bent gold sparkly pipe cleaners into zigzag shapes and affixed them to the headband as well.
With the headpiece complete, it was time to put together the rest of my costume. I shopped around and found a gold and black sequined skirt. This shaped my color palette for the ensemble, and so I added a black top and created a necklace pile from my gold and glam sparkly necklaces. Weaving a gold ribbon through my braid and adding another to my hair, along with a sequined flower, added even more glam to the look. Gold glitter on my eyes was the final touch to bring it all together.
Here’s my finished costume!
Posted in Yarniverse | Comments Off on Yarncrafting Costumes: Designing a Cleopatra Headpiece Comments
Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.
While the emergence of the global online needlework community has undoubtedly been a boon in many ways, for the designer of patterns it is a mixed bag. The sort of mixed bag in which candy corn and miniature chocolate bars mingle with rusty scissors and angry cats. Reach in at your peril.
Answering questions about one’s patterns can be a frightful drain on one’s time, particularly the eternal and ceaseless query, “How difficult is this pattern? Is this pattern too difficult for the likes of me?”.
Publishers have tried to head off this question in the past with various arrays of stars and adjectives, with little success. Why? They leave too much unspoken. How spacious, exactly, is the distance between two stars and four stars? “Easy” for whom?
I shall attempt to pour calming oil upon these bouncy waters with the following verbose and infallible explanation of the most commonly encountered grading system. Where it enters, confusion vanishes. I have no doubt that universal adoption will be swiftly forthcoming.
When, in consequence, my monument is built in the village square, let it be known that I am more partial to bronze than marble. The latter is too easily damaged by pigeons.
Utterly mindless. Requires no skills of any kind. In fact, it finished itself before you reached the end of this sentence.
Requires rudimentary skills and at most a minimal attention span. It will take less effort to complete this project than it will to post a shot of it on Instagram.
A challenge of modest proportions. It will take a couple of hours to knock out, yes; but you can watch an “Outlander” marathon while you do it.
Difficult enough that the naughty bits of “Outlander” will probably prove too distracting. Consider instead a few episodes of “Gilligan’s Island,” “The Brady Bunch,” or equivalent selections from the oeuvre of Sherwood Schwartz.
Turn off the television. Are you listening to me? I said turn it off. No, you may not wait until you find out if they get off the island. They never get off the island. Well, not until the sequels. Stop arguing with me. Are you going to buckle down and focus, or not? Do I need to send you to your room?
If you have coffee, drink it now.
No television. Much coffee. And send the rest of the household to the movies. Failing that, lock yourself in the attic. Better still, lock the rest of the household in the attic.
Are you ambidextrous? Double-jointed? With a keen sense of balance?
I strongly urge you to reconsider what you are about to do.
Expectant mothers should not ride.
I’m not absolutely certain our insurance covers this.
You’re going to need these.
With smaller needles, cast on x=[2/SEC(¶/3)•[lim x→0 x^3+8x+10]^2]/[lim θ→0 sinθ/θ] stitches. Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist.
I wash my hands of you.
Writer, illustrator, and photographer Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008–now in its third printing) and proprietor of The Panopticon (the-panopticon.blogspot.com), one of the most popular knitting blogs on Internet. On an average day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays, cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep. Franklin’s other publishing experience in the fiber world includes contributions to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Cast On: A Podcast for Knitters, Twist Collective, and a regular column on historic knitting patterns for Knitty.com.
These days, Franklin knits and spins in Chicago, Illinois, sharing a small city apartment with a Schacht spinning wheel and colony of sock yarn that multiplies alarmingly whenever his back is turned.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… not that you need another app in your life, but Pinterest is a must-have for crafters! Like other social media applications, you can use this platform as a way to showcase your own work. However, Pinterest thrives by connecting content from all over the internet in a single place. Think of it as a your new virtual vision board!
I like to think of Pinterest as a ‘stashbook’ – a place where I can stash ideas and inspiration I can revisit when I need to.
Primarily, I use Pinterest to save outfit ideas — I often find myself scrolling through my Style board on days when I’m not sure what to wear. Recently, I’ve been using Pinterest to gather inspiration for new knitting projects I’m interested in.
Here’s what my knitting Pinterest board looks like:
Right now, I’d say I’m inspired by chunky knits, neutral/light colors, and self-striping and variegated yarns.
I’m especially drawn to that chunky cowl (bottom left, model with blonde hair), but that Pinterest link led to a fashion blog in another language, with no pattern — tough luck for me! Using Pinterest’s search bar, I was able to find a similar cowl with a pattern — Lion Brand®‘s Dobbs Ferry Cowl (top left, model with brown hair) made with Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick®. Using both photos as inspiration, I know all I need to do is mix up the yarn I use and follow the pattern to get the look.
Here’s how to use Pinterest to get what you really want: