Monday, September 24, 2012

Not Quite 3 Inches--Doubled

 My vest have doubled—from not quite 3 inches to twice that and then some. It's just about to 7 inches, now. And there is still enough yarn in the skein for another row. What with the cast on and the first few rows of garter—the yield for the first skien was just 2 inches. Since then, I've decreases a bit for a bit of waist shaping (the decreases are actually a bit to steep—but I'll live with them as they are) and the simpler brocade which has a row gauge closer to stocking knit than to garter-- means each skien is yielding a bit more than 2 inches.

So 7 inches knit from 3 skeins, and skein 3 still has enough yarn for another row and then some. 

The next 3 skeins will easily bring the underarm length to 13 inches—maybe even 14 inches. Easily, the vest will be a nice length.

I had hoped to paint the shawl today—but I am still involved in setting up (getting the floor cleared, cleaned and covered up!) The paints bled quite a bit on the sample. Nothing ruined—but I don't want to end up painting my floor (or area rug—which is also wool!) or anything else.

But since there have been so many questions (some here, many more on my Golden Apples Facebook page)about the painting process—I thought I would take this opportunity to explain a bit.

What I am using to paint the shawl are silk PAINTS—the ones I am using are made by Jacquard—a name many might know for their silk and wool dyes. The paints come in 2 oz bottles of concentrated color. I purchased them at a (not to local) art supply store. (There are other brands--but this is all my art store stocked) 
I used some inexpensive paint brushes (art paint brushes) to paint the colors on—at full strength. (I have lots of art supplies --from years of fine art work and craft work--always handy) 

The colors can be set 2 ways, one by a Dye set concentrate—the second way by steaming. (I am going to use a “steam mop” to steam the shawl to set the colors. —I don't mind if the colors aren't 100% color fast—the shawl isn't going to be washed that often.  The first time I wash it, I will use a vinegar in the wash  water (and hot water) to help set the colors, too. (I am going to suggest that Joyce use a spray bottle (and not immersion) to dampen the shawl for blocking.

I bought 8 different colors—a combination of blues, greens, and blue-greens, as well a some purple, yellow and brown. For the placement of the colors—I just used a peacock feather! The sample swatch helped—It's hard to judge some of the colors--(one blue was way darker than I thought it would be..) Fortunately, this is not the sort of project that needs careful and precise color placement—Rather just the opposite. I like how the various shade of blues and greens bled and blended. I worked with the wool damp—but I could have gotten sharper lines (if that was what I wanted) with the wool (or silk) dry.

The small bottles go far—there is a HUGE amount of paint in each. (I don't think you could easily measure (on digital scale for home use) the amount of paint I used for the swatch—I don't think I will end up using half of any one bottle for the whole shawl. They are not very expensive (all 8 bottle cost under $25—which isn't really very much when you consider the value of the shawl (the knitting, not the basic cost of the wool). They can be used to paint “blanks” (knit squares—that get unraveled) or to paint finished objects (as well as to paint silk—for works of art, or for scarves, or...)

I have used these silk dyes before—many years ago, it was the style to have hand painted silk scarves—and, of course, me, being me, had to design and paint my own silk—and not buy a mass produced (well semi mass produced) one. I worked in a fabric store then, and could by silk at a discount—but a yard and quarter (basically 45 inches by 45 inches) made 4 22 inch square scarves—for not too much of an investment.. Another 2 yard, made 2 36 inch square scarves, and long rectangular one.(9 inches by 72). 3 yards (and bit) of silk, at $10 a yard gave me 7 scarves for under $40--(the hand painted ones each sold for $10)—so it was a not much cheaper (with the cost of the paints) but I ended up with really one of kind designs.

A few years ago, I used the same silk paint to update some beautiful (but yellowed with age) silk lampshades for my daughter. She was unhappy with the lamps (and shades) she had inherited from her grandparents when she bought their apartment—but also strapped for cash (isn't every new home owner?!) and couldn't afford to re-do everything she wanted to do—at least not right away.

I helped by updated the lamp shades. Using a silk paint, and painting them red, then adding a fringe—one I had in my stash of sewing supplies--change the look so dramatically. Well-- she has redone just about everything in the apartment in the past 10 years—except the lamp shades!--She is still happy with their new look.

I hadn't asked her permission to paint them—I just listened to what she liked, and went to work. I was prepared to replace the shades if she hated the final result-- but she was very pleased (which made me happy!) Personally, I think they are, well, bordering on tacky being red with long black fringe—but my daughter is her own person, and I accept we have different tastes.

I also made her some new throw pillows (again to update the look) and I made a custom switch plate for bathroom light, too. --At the time, her bathroom décor was Hello Kitty themed—and I made her a switch plate with a big flower in Hello Kitty pink—Not really a copy right infringement—but in the same basic style as Hello Kitty's flower headband. I did what I could to help her out—as any mother would. She wasn't very impressed with the switch plate (OK, she liked it, but wasn't wowed)--but she was really impressed by the change the paint and fringe made—and was generally surprised by just the idea of painting the silk shade. She claims she never would have thought to do it. (And maybe she is right—If you aren't familiar with silk paint—well, you might not realize you could change the color of lamp shade!)

This plan to hand paint (the shawl) —well it just part of life long behavior for me. I love being able to make small art—small one of kind things for personal enjoyment and a personal sense of accomplishment.

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