Sunday, 19 February 2012

Group Exhibition

Image by Annie Bertram
I will participate in this exhibition in March / April with some enamel work. More info coming soon! :)

Relaunched Website!

After a computer incident and finally upgrading to Windows 7, and again with the invaluable help of my personal Code Monkey, Mr. (or should I say DHR?) Pim Volders, it's finally up!

All merged together :) I simplified and streamlined as much as possible... as much as I could anyway! Finally integrated Google Analytics into it, we'll see!

Meanwhile in Knitland, I am having the beret test knit by some great ladies. 
Esporòfits Mitts was my first pattern, published January 2011. More than a year later the Esporòfits set is finished! When the beret pattern is ready, which should be soon, I will publish it, and I will also publish an eBook with all the patterns of the set (so mitts, cowl and beret). I have been working on it the last few days, and it is all ready, minus whatever adjustments need to be done to the beret pattern, and adding written instructions of the cowl charts. The mitts already had them, and it was requested by one of my testers to do this as well for the beret, so for consistency's sake I guess I will have to do the same for the cowl! 
Sigh. I love charts, hehe.

Sneak peek!

Beret teaser there!
So I decided for a landscape format this time. And know what? I like it... It views much better than portrait on screen, and in case of printing, well it just prints landscape :) the ratio is not a DIN. DIN is great but... I wanted something different ;) I took a vintage, or perhaps antique? paper size called Antiquarian, and scaled it down proportionally. I think it is a pleasing ratio :) Not yet sure if I will continue to use this ratio, but I will probably switch to landscape for good. I think it is more handy, and I think it has more design possibilities.

I still have an embroidery post pending, be back soon!

Thursday, 16 February 2012


I received a package today. Some vintage yarn, an embroidery hoop, and some old (made in Western Germany!) Prym pressure buttons I found on Ebay Belgium. A shop was selling old stocks, probably from a haberdashery that closed up. I don't actually know how old the yarn is and if it qualifies as vintage. It is discontinued, probably for a long time, and the labels are decidedly vintage-looking. In any case the yarn is 40% angora 60% wool, thin like a light fingering, and very nice. The natural tone is perfect and the red is not too bright, not too dark. It was a good deal and I do have a soft spot for angora (no pun intended).

I got all of the natural yarn they had, but will have a hard time not going back for some more of the red!

I was actually just looking for an embroidery hoop. This one is good and sturdy, but a bit thin. It was a very good deal, but perhaps it is too thin for thicker fabric. Last week I got bitten by the embroidery bug (once every 15 years or thereabouts) and my non-adjustable hoop wasn't cutting it. I am using a thick linen. I will expand about this in another post.

Regarding unemployment, I just today got a letter from the unemployment office as well. I have to go to an info session for a course I inscribed to. If I remember correctly there was a waiting list, I don't actually know what an info session entails. It is for "Graphic techniques" (mainly DTP). We'll see!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Website and beret

Yesterday evening I started working on a project I had in the backburner for a very long time:  a matching hat for my Esporòfits set, I decided for a beret style.

 I continued working today, and have the ribbing and the increase/wrapped stitch section done, but then my elbow started giving me grief and I had to stop. It appears I am not as recovered as I thought form my last job...

So I stopped knitting and moved on to redesign my website. I have decided to "merge" knitting and enamelling websites (after a fashion, since I never got to make a knitting website proper) as I mentioned in my previous post. I decided to simplify and streamline everything as much as possible, and I also decided to change to a light palette for my website (right now it is a dark taupe). I have already changed the design of the blog which will be integrated as it was before, this reflects the new colour palette of very light desaturated green and very dark reddish purple and petrol.

I have several pages done and the menu too. Screenshot of my new intro page:

Friday, 3 February 2012

Merging blogs

Today we had our first day of real snow. It has grown dark now, and big flakes are still swirling outside.

The view from my living room window this afternoon

I come back from my last day of work. After being unemployed for a few months, which I cannot say was too bad since it gave me plenty of time for knitting and designing, I worked for three weeks at a 3D printing company, in the finishing department. This proved a bit too hard on my joints and, still in my temporary test period, I had to stop. The job and the people were cool and for that I am a little sad, but I am also happy that the pain in my joints and the foreboding of injuries to come have been lifted from my shoulders. My last two days were part-time and I already feel improvement, which is a relief.

On to a new start. I have decided to study, to obtain some certifications that may help me find a job that I will find interesting and that won't be too physically demanding. Meanwhile, I will pursue knitwear design in full. It hasn't worked too badly for me, and I am hopeful.

These last months, enamel and jewellery-making have taken a back seat. I see a trend in my interest, related to the seasons, and I tend to knit more in winter, and enamel more in summer (to the extent that I stop the other activity altogether!). I am not too sure that this is actually related to the weather, since enamelling in summer is much warmer than holding some yarn in your fingers :) but perhaps there is something to it.

I haven't been knitting for that long, just since March 2009 (it really seems like yesterday!) and I still have to break this summer curse. Last years I wasn't too serious about it, but this next summer I will try harder. I do love lighter knits, too. Although I have to say, I am very fond of winter :)

Perhaps, decompartimentalizing (is that a word??) would help. In this spirit, I have decided to merge my blogs, and have just imported all my knitting entries over to this one. I was posting in either one or the other, it appears, and I did not post all that much anyway, so I do not see the point of keeping both. I would merge my websites but... I still haven't made my knitting website. Which is a good thing since I would have to merge them now! So I will simply redesign my website and include everything in it. I hope to work on this this weekend. Deadlines do not agree with me so I will see if I finish :) more likely that I finish if I don't stress over deadlines.

If I am honest there is also another reason why enamel and jewellery-making have fallen to the back-burner. Simply, enamelled jewellery of the kind I make is very difficult to sell. It involves many work hours, costly materials, and why not say it, a lot of knowledge and experience I had to gain after many years of work.
This is not too obvious in the finished work, cheap copies could easily be mass produced in cheaper materials (if only the style was trendy anyway) and most people probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference. At least from internet pictures. I totally understand that and I do not imply that because of my work's intrinsic value people should fall over their feet to buy it. I do it because I like it, and if people don't like it, or don't think it is worth so much, or can't afford it, that's fine. But I do find it more difficult to dedicate myself to it fully because of this. Not least of all because I need to invest a significant amount of resources in materials and tools alone. Knitwear design in this respect is more fulfilling.

I do have another idea that has been lurking at the back of my mind and that I would like to realize at some point, sooner than later. I have dabbled in shawl-pins, gifted most, sold a few, kept a pair. They were just prototypes, and beaded. I would actually like to expand in this idea, perhaps sell them. I would like to include enamel in them, although this is technically difficult (enamelling involves firing at high temperatures which softens the metal, so it would have to be forged after enamelling, which endangers the enamel), I want to try. Cast may be a solution, but this would make the pins too heavy.
I think about stitch markers too. We will see :)