Posted in Carol E. Herman Designs, craft, Ravelry

Advent Mini Swap – Handmade

I’m so excited to be part of the wonderful group of knitters who crafted these beautiful and wonderful gifts we all opened on the second Sunday of Advent. I love the different choices made and the beautiful craftsmanship. These handmade decorations really put me in mind of Christmas, and it brings me joy to see them all together in this collage.

handmade-collage-1024x1024

knit equals joy

Posted in craft, knitting, yarn

The Pacific Northwest Fiber Web

This lovely 12 minute documentary on a collaborative effort to share and promote the fiber industry in the Pacific Northwest is excellent.  It’s beautifully filmed and informative.  I think it will strike a chord with those who are passionate about our craft – and with those who love fiber.

This 12 minute documentary film describes the state of the niche wool industry in the Pacific Northwest. And how the Pacific Northwest Fiber Web is making a difference in bringing together the sheep farmer, wool mill owner and processor, the yarn shop owner, and the wool artisan in this venerable and age-old agricultural industry…

This film was commissioned by the Northwest Cooperative Development Center and was grant funded by the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Community Development fund.

~from the film’s YouTube page

Posted in craft, design, knitting, Photo Challenge, photography

Camera Lucida – The Colour of Life

This week’s theme: The Colour of Life

  1. Colour – the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way it reflects or emits light.
  2. Life – a particular type or aspect of human existence

As a knitwear designer, this photo sums it up for me.  I love the play of color and light within the photo…my design life centers around color, light, and the tools of the trade, along with imagination, texture, yarn, and thought.


This is my second entry in Julia’s My Red Page‘s weekly Camera Lucida Photo Challenge.

#cameralucida, Camera Lucida – The Colour of Life

 

Posted in craft, design, knitting, The Creative Process, The Design Process

Collaboration, Inspiration

I’m very fortunate that another designer lives in the same small town where I live.  Actually, we counted four, but that’s a story for another day….  I’m even more fortunate that this designer is my friend and that we love to get together.  We have such a good time chatting about anything and everything, particularly about designing, creating, knitting and yarn.  This friend is Marie Greene, of Olive Knits.

with Marie
Marie, me

Some time back, we started thinking about how we could collaborate on a project.  Could we write a pattern e-book based around a theme?  We set up Google pages and a secret Pinterest page.  It’s one possibility.  Limiting factor: time.

A couple of weeks ago, Marie had a flash of inspiration.  What if we each brought three items and put them together in a collection of six?  Then we each would look at the collection and see what it inspired in us.  I loved her idea!  We would have our own Designer’s Challenge!

It was really fun choosing my three items.  I considered a sea shell, but since we both had already discussed how much we love the beach and the ocean, I decided that would be too easy.  I saw a giant, lovely artichoke at the grocery store, and I loved it, but there were too many days yet to go, and I worried that it wouldn’t keep well.  In our home, we have a fabulous print I found a few years ago at the Salem Art Fair of glass bricks in a sidewalk.  I love the colors and the texture.  Too big.

First I settled on an Art Deco (or Art Nouveau?) vase which was my mother’s, and either her mother’s or my aunt’s before her.  I believe it is from the 1920’s.

My second item was a hand thrown ceramic bowl I found at the Empty Bowls sale.  Local potters create thousands of bowls (last year, 1,400) which are then sold, and all of the proceeds benefit our local food bank.  It’s a wonderful national grassroots movement.  I just love the bowls I’ve purchased over the years!

And finally, even though the huge artichokes were not to be found when it was time, I found a smaller yet perfectly acceptable artichoke for my third item.  Such decorative color and line!

artichoke and bowl

Marie’s items were a plate from the 50’s in a fabulous orange with a fun and interesting white decorative shape, a jar of flowers, which become even more intriguing as we looked carefully at the colors and textures, and a crisp white flour sack towel – local, with orange and blue printing.

I’m so intrigued to find out where our experiment will take us.  What elements will carry through to each of our designs?  What commonalities will our designs have?   I am confident that we’ll each come up with a unique design, and I also know that no matter the result, we are having a blast!

Check out Marie’s blog for her impressions about our collaboration!

Even the vase may provide inspiration!

vase

Posted in art, colorwork, craft, design, knitting, The Creative Process, The Design Process, yarn

What I Learned from the Swatch

A Design Idea and the Right Yarn

I’ve been dreaming of designing a top-down colorwork short-sleeved sweater, filling my Pinterest boards with images and colors that inspire me.  In the spring, I found all the colors I was looking for in a certain yarn line, only to discover that the yarn was spun too tightly for colorwork and that I didn’t like how it looked or felt for this design.

Finally I was introduced to the perfect yarn, Sunday Knits yarn by Carol Sunday.   I’m using her 3-ply yarn, with colors from three different fiber blends, Eden (100% Merino), Angelic (75% Merino, 25% Angora) and Nirvana (92% Merino, 8% Cashmere).  The yarn has a lovely hand, is available in over 60 colors, and is reasonably priced.  All of the fiber blends work well together.

Sand, Espresso, Pickle, Black, Lagoon, Melon, Earth, Carrot, Moss, Bronze, Rose, Mist
Sand, Espresso, Pickle, Black, Lagoon, Melon, Earth, Carrot, Moss, Bronze, Rose, Mist

A Swatch and What it Taught Me

I wanted to work a swatch to find out how the yarn behaves and to see how the colors would look together.

The first thing that I learned is that Sunday Knits yarn is my new favorite for colorwork!  Look how nicely the fabric lies, even before the fabric was soaked and blocked.

swatchie

Next I learned that if I initially don’t like a color, such as the Rose colorway in the swatch above, knitting lots of it will never make me miraculously like it.  Why did I think that knitting more of that pale pinky-red would make me like it more?  (Just to clarify, there’s nothing wrong with the color, I just wasn’t happy with the way it looked with the other colors.)

Conversely, if I do like a color, such as Bronze, which is the cast-on and is immediately below the blue in the swatch above, even in little bits it makes me happy!

I also was reminded that I really don’t like white in a piece like this with lots of different colors – the contrast is too jarring.  I will be using Sand as the light background color in this pattern.

And finally, basic algebra is still useful!

algebra

I can’t wait to work more on this sweater!  I will keep you posted!

Two Special Surprises This Week

My friend Meg sent me custom-made knit equals joy ribbon.  How special was that?!?  I have some fantastic friends!

knit=joy

A friend at work had two extra yarn bowls (!) and she gave one to me!  It’s so pretty!

yarn bowl

I’m so thankful for the kindness of others!  I wish you all a wonderful week, and may you find or share those special moments of kindness!

Posted in craft, design, knitting

Taking the Plunge

And so it is time to take the plunge and finally start writing…about the creative process, which I find fascinating and in which I also participate.  And about knitting, that wonderful expression of color, texture, fiber, love.  How little I knew when my sister Kathy taught me to knit some 8 or 9 years ago that I would fall in love with making pretty things with string and sticks!

Did I mention fiber?  The yarns now available are AMAZING!!!  There is just no other way to phrase it!  My personal favorites are animal fibers because of the fabulous characteristics of the resulting fabric, including varying degrees of memory (springiness), warmth and breathability.  I love the current availability of breed-specific yarns and will share about those yarns as I encounter them.  We will discuss other yarns as well, including other animal fibers, plant fibers, and even blends.

Then there’s color.  I LOVE color!  I don’t just dream in color, I feel in color.  The perfect combination of colors will lead me to a perfect sense of well-being and peace, whereas the wrong combination…well, the wrong combination can make me feel slightly nauseous!!   I am constantly amazed by the beautiful and amazing colorways now produced by independent dyers…even by larger yarn companies.  

Let’s just say that the yarns now available, taking into consideration the fiber content and the colorways, are a major reason why I started knitting, why I stayed knitting, and why I started designing.

In addition to posts about designs and designing, fibers and colors, you can expect to see a smattering of posts regarding whatever I happen to be thinking about.  Generally those will be related to family or friends, travel and exploring the Oregon Coast.

Thank you for spending some time here with me.  I hope you will enjoy the thoughts I share and that you will feel welcome to share thoughts as well.