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Lady Violette

The Romantic Lifestyle

Archive for January, 2012

Violet Gloves ~ Knitting Work in Progress ~ Continuation Part #2

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Violet Shetland Woll Gloves - A Handknitting Work in Progress Using Five Double Pointed needles Per Glove.

What an undertaking making gloves is! I’m finally through the palm and have begun the fingers. I worked the little finger first. Next, a bit more on the palm to get up to the beginning of the fingers, then each finger one by one. Each finger is knit as a little cylinder of about 12 stitches that are divided up onto four needles with 3 stitches on each that you knit with the fifth needle. When the finger is the desired length, you insert a darning needle threaded with the end of yarn into the remaining stitches, gathering them up at the tip to close off the finger.Then you weave the end of thread/yarn invisibly and securely inside the end of the finger where it will not show.

It is quite a feat to maneuver all these needles at once without creating an immense tangle of yarn and needle danger! But it is fun and challenging in a weirdly interesting way. I am glad to be accomplishing it. I will forever more appreciate and understand the way knitted gloves are made!

I’m not delighted with this wool. It is rough and scratchy like a loofah treatment! I wanted a strong yarn to make a tough pair of gloves for my first pair. I was afraid I might destroy a more fragile delicate yarn if I was ripping out my knitting and redoing it to get the proper effect. Sure enough I have had to reknit some sections several times to get the construction method right.

One Advantage to Making Your Own Gloves is Being Able to Try Them On As You Knit to Adjust The Fit to be the Way You Like It. And It Is Admittedly Fun Trying to Keep All the Wicked Looking Knitting Needles In Place

This takes way more time than it is worth! Of course! It is no wonder people seldom knit their own gloves anymore! Unless you want something really special. I am only interested in doing it again if I can design and make unique and beautiful gloves. This time around is only for learning purposes – to become familiar with the construction methods.

We have learned how to make the gusset for the thumb and divide the stitches for the individual fingers, etc. All worthwhile knowledge that is only understandable once you have gone through it preferably with a teacher and other students also struggling. I initially tried to understand and make a couple of patterns for these things on my own, but both of them were missing crucial steps in the explanation! No wonder they didn’t work!

After knitting the thumb gusset I removed the needles from the thumb section to use them on main the hand section. I held the live thumb stitches ~ so they would not unravel ~ tied off on the contrasting colors of yarn ~ in this case pink and red ~ while I continued to work on the hand.

As I struggle with this challenge I am reminding myself of all the beautiful vintage glove designs I am hoping to make once I accomplish this skill! There are a lot of beautiful vintage glove patterns still in existence. That is my goal. I know it looks far off as I struggle here with my initial attempt!

Note: I am using 6″ double pointed needles here. they are too long. I must get some shorter ones for my next serious attempt of glove and sock knitting. These are too unwieldy for knitting tiny circles of stitches like fingers and toes. I am searching for a set of short 3 ~ 4 inch long DPNs in a selection of sizes. They are hard to find. four shops in my city are out of them and several online stores are currently back 0rdwred. Any tips on finding good quality double pointed knitting needles will be appreciated.

PS: This is serious business for which one needs the best tools!

Learning to Knit Gloves ~ Living Up to My 2012 New Year’s Resolution ~ Getting Started ~ Part #1

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Knitting Gloves? Well Yes, that is one of the things I resolved to do in 2012. I love gloves. I have small hands with long fingers and new gloves never fit me as they usually come in one size fits all or med. & large only. And vintage gloves are hard to find. I figure if I learn to knit my own I can make the hands and wrists small enough, the fingers long enough, and choose the styles and colors I really want.

Red Fuzzy Mittens All Knit Up on Two Needles - Flat Technique - Ready to be Sewn Up & Finished

I really am learning to d it. It is a challenge! Fortunately I already know the basics of knitting. I began with a pair of red mittens – so I could learn to understand the basic structure and how to shape thumb gussets before attempting to do 5 fingers. I knit a pair of two needle mittens, on size 6 needles, in the red yarn, now all knit up and ready to be sewn together using mattress stitch so that they can be worn. Hopefully I get that done within the next couple of days. Blocking them and sewing them up all around is all that is left to do. I may also add a decoration of some sort to make them not so basic.

Next, I am knitting a pair of basic 5 finger gloves in violet Shetland wool. My purpose being to learn how to do the thumb and fingers perfectly on a plain pair of basic gloves before I take on making lace or decorative stitch fancy gloves.

Violet Shetland Wool Hank Knitted Gloves In Progress

Here they are, so far! I have done the ribbing for the cuffs, making them four inches long on size #4US needles, then transferred to size #6US needles for the section of the glove up to where the thumb gusset will begin. Next comes the thumb gusset, then the thumb, after that, the little finger, then a bit more knitting around on the hand to bring it up to the base of the other fingers, then each individual finger – each one has to be knitted using four double pointed needles in the round in a tiny circle to form a cylinder. The silver needles are my working set, the red needles are just being used as holders for the live stitches on the other resting glove. I am doing each section on one glove, trying it on to be sure of the fit, then moving over to the second glove so I do the same thing on it, then switching back to the first glove again to continue with the next step. It is very fiddly! Especially since it is being done on a set of 5 double pointed needles in the round instead of two needles, flat, as I did the red mittens above.

Gloves are definitely harder to make than two needle mittens. I highly recommend learning on a mitten first, then graduating to a harder glove with double pointed needles and five individually knitted fingers. I am using Jamieson Shetland DK weight wool here at a gauge of 6 sts per inch. This is a rather large gauge for gloves, but I wanted to be able to make them relatively quickly as my practice set, before moving into a more challenging tiny gauge fine yarn – which is my ultimate intention. I want to “graduate” to knitting fine gloves in refined styles in beautiful colors ~ using many of the interesting fingering weight sock yarns which are very well suited to gloves as well!

I love the yarns! I can hardly wait! Discipline, discipline! I have 2 skeins of lovely yarn picked out, on hold, for my next 2 pairs of gloves, but I won’t buy them until I get these finished. They will be my reward for getting through these first two projects!

I am off to do more work on these today, so will keep you posted with my progress. I am determined to finish them this week! I have to stay on schedule here to accomplish my goals! My first goal is to finish knitting the red mittens and the purple gloves shown above during this January. Then to move forward throughout the remainder of the year by knitting a pair of gloves every month. Each pair must be increasingly more difficult to knit so that I make technical progress. I feel that I will be quite a good glove knitter by next New Years 2013 if I manage to accomplish this. Plus, I will have a good collection of hand made gloves made up from practicing!

After I finish these two pairs I will be looking for glove patterns or a book of gloves to make! I want to make authentic vintage styles, of course! This is only the beginning!

A Knitted Kaliedescope of Colored Lace is a Work of Art Hat in Japenese Artist Eisaku Noro’s Fine Art Yarn

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

I am fascinated with the Yarn Art of Japanese painter Eisaku Noro. He hand dyes his yarns which are all organic and made of fibers from silk, through cashmere, wool, cotton, bamboo, etc. He dyes and spins the yarn in small batches all produced by hand – and they are absolutely amazing. I see his yarns, fall in love with one and must make something from them! They can be used any way a fiber artist/designer wants to use them – the sky is the limit and the possibilities are endless. I have made several garments from his yarns and have several batches of it stashed for future work. It comes out in extremely limited amounts so you must get it when you see it.

Kaliedescope of Colors in a Spiral Lace Knit Hat in the Making by Lady Violette de Courcy

Currently I am working on another knitted hat – my first experiment using Noro Yarn in a millinery project. I got the yarn, last Monday, came home and stayed up most of the night casting on and knitting until I had to get a little sleep. I woke up and started to knit immediately until I ran out of yarn! I had put more on hold, but I could not get to the yarn store to buy it as I was snowed in completely, now going on a week! But I cannot wait! I have to show you this as a WIP (work in progress) as I am so excited by the way it is turning out!

I am making this in Noro’s Silk Garden Yarn – a very soft blend of silk and wool. That is not a dark hole on the left side in the brown stripe! Just an indent in the lace prior to finishing and blocking the hat. The crown, which isn’t done yet, will be a round burst of all the current colors on the top in a spiraling snowflake~like shape. I underestimated the amount of yarn needed. In a project like this you never know until you make it. It is hard to tell now, but this again will have a 1920’s ~ 30’s vintage vibe to it when I am finished. And I’ll be adding a special surprise at the very end.

I hope I can get out of the house, off my steep Telegraph Hill like hill and back to the yarn store this weekend. Or early next week. The snow is not coming down now but we are experiencing really high winds. Branches are banging against the house and the trees are weaving and swaying. I can hear branches crunching and breaking off from time to time. This could be worse than the snow has been. Winds are whistling through the house too! When this happens here trees often fall across the roads and they are shut off. There is inevitable loss of electricity in the area as well. This is already up to 4,000 homes now which translates to a lot more people. My power is currently on – but It has failed 4x already. I will not be surprised if we are without power again! In nearby areas it has been out for three or four days and they cannot predict when it will get back on. The wind is so loud and violent it was impossible for me to sleep ~ so I got up and wanted to knit, but I am out of yarn on two current projects!

So I decided to write this blog post instead amidst the whistling wind. I imagine Wuthering Heights was like this. It feels very bleak! And it is dark and drafty and cold! I am feeling really housebound. I’m bundled up in knitted tights, mufflers and cloaks to stay warm and I haven’t been to the grocery store for over a week! The food choices are dwindling! Just like the yarn! This storm is difficult for someone who usually goes to the yarn store as often as she goes to the grocery store! At first the snow was nice, but now everything has turned to black ice and it is very dangerous. School has been cancelled for four days.

I am going to cook some old fashioned oat meal now. I am burning off calories trying to stay warm and I am really feeling hungry!

For more information on this hat in the works visit me at ladyviolette on Ravelry and check back to see this piece when I get it finished. The yarn is by Noro and the lace  pattern I have adapted is designed by Linda Medina. Details, including yarn sources and the lace pattern are available on Ravelry, the social website for knitters and  fiber artists.

 

Lady Violette ~ Erte Inspired 1920’s Style Hand Knitted Cloche With Pearly Vintage Accent

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Lady Violette's Rambler Spiral 1920's Cloche Hand Knitted in Cashmere and Silk

Another of My Recent Creations in the 1920’s Mode is a Hand Knitted Rambler Spiral Patterned Forget~Me~Not Luxury Fiber Flapper Style Cloche Hat With Pearly Vintage Accent. I am currently exploring making and wearing elegant knitted hats as feminine fashion pieces as they did in the 1920’s ~ 40’s. Versus the knitted granola hat destined for the ski slope, skate board park or shapeless grunge fashion accent  There are so many beautiful yarns out now that I cannot resist making something gorgeous out of them to put on my head!

I had to attend a 1920’s themed party so I made this little Erte inspired hat to wear with my blue 1920’s vintage dress of the same color rayon brocade combined with a darker blue velvet. I also wore many pearls so I trimmed the hat with a vintage pearly and blue trim piece that I had. I love the way this turned out! And I am already in process making it in two more colors – a dusky berry and a woodsy brown. I have two other stitch variation in mind to try out as well.This is such a cute shape I want to make several of them in many colors ~ perhaps a full bouquet! I am fantasizing about opening a drawer full of them overlapping each other in a rainbow of pretty yarns in many colors!

I used Sublime Cashmerino Silk Aran 10 ply yarn from England and found the basic cloche pattern in  Sublime’s Aran Hand Knits Books. You can use the basic hat pattern with any stitch variation you like. Like all vintage British patterns this one is written to be knitted flat on straight needles and seamed together down the back in finishing. It fits perfectly and looks adorable on. It required 2~50 gram balls of Aran weight yarn but I’m sure I have enough left over to make a knitted flower corsage to pin on one side of the hat. I think that will make a nice accent ~ instead of the pearl piece – when I want a different look. This is definitely a pretty hat design one can wear in the summer!

It’s still snowing here! And very dark outside! When I have the corsage finished and the snow has melted I will get a friend to photograph me wearing the hat and post pictures of it again. I wore it to the 1920’s themed party and it was a hit.

The pearl accent piece is not a vintage brooch. It is 3 vintage buttons wired together in the back and meant to be sewn onto something as an accent. It is a great idea to wire any number of buttons together to make such a “garnish” which is what I have decided to all it. You could also do the same thing with clip earrings. You can untwist the wires anytime to use the buttons as originally intended too! Such a garnish could be used on a coat, jacket, hat, dress, stole, even in your hair! The idea is probably something women came up with during the mend and make do era when they needed to whip up an embellishment in lieu of a jewel to trim an outfit before going out. It is very clever and a great use for pretty vintage buttons.

You can visit my site on Ravelry to find out more about my knitting and see more of my projects. I am ladyviolette on Ravelry. I post photos of the item, yarn and pattern information there so that you can find it if you want to create the same or similar article. If you are a knitter or interested in knitting I urge you to visit Raverly. It is a terrific resource for people with interests in knitting and crochet.

Lady Violette Design ~ Portrait Cloche in Honor of Edward Hopper

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

I know, you have been wondering where I am and what I have been up to. I haven’t been idle! Here is some of the stuff I have been doing!

I have been working really hard on knitting and designing hats, mittens and gloves over the last three weeks. This is a new discipline for me. I have never made gloves or hats before January 1, 2012! And I made a New Year’s Resolution to do so this year! As I mentioned yesterday I am taking classes in these subjects. And, as it is my best personal mode of learning, I am just jumping in and doing some designs of my own at the same time. I feel ready to share a few of them now. So, starting tonight, I’ll unveil one to show you!

Lady Violette's Design ~ A Portrait Cloche in Honor of Edward Hopper

Voila! I created this hat which I am calling my ” Portrait Cloche in Honor of Edward Hopper.” It is hand knitted of hand dyed 100% alpaca which is incredibly soft and warm. Pure Luxury!

I designed and made it to attend an art museum opening of Edward Hopper’s paintings. I wanted to make a hat in the style of the ones the women in his paintings wore. I also wanted it to look like a proper 1920’s ~ 30’s formed felt hat, rather than a knitted hat so I made it very thick and sculptural with a turned back rim and graduated shaping. I made a very thick sculptural bow to cover the left side of the hat. It comes down over the left ear and has the added benefit of being like a very warm ear muff! You could place the bow over the right ear instead if you preferred to do so.

The Overhead View of the Crown of Lady Violette's Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper

This hat is very thick and warm, but I may have to try making one with my trademark earmuff bow on both sides now! I’m thinking of ways to keep even warmer on my 4th day of being completely snowed in! And it is still snowing out! We are in the middle of a huge snowstorm in Seattle and I am taking advantage of using this time to post my designs and knitting projects and related stuff on the knitting website Ravelry! (Honestly, I would rather be knitting!)

I’m really happy with the way this hat turned out. I wasn’t exactly sure of what I was doing as I made it but it is perfect and exactly what I had in mind. I am considering writing the pattern so I can offer it to other knitters who would like to make one, but, to do that, I must make another one and carefully write down the steps as I go. I think I should do it in a lighter color so the details really show up. As usual I kept copious design and construction notes on this one, but nobody but me can understand them! I always work the initial design out that way, then redo it for a final run through and perfection test to be sure somebody else can understand and follow them. I probably should point out that this hat requires good technical sewing skills as well as knitting skills.

I wear this one with a vintage navy blue 1930’s coat in wool gaberdine and a purple wool dress. The outfit is totally inspired by the women in Hopper’s paintings who are always dressed in strong clear distinctive colors. I get a lot of inspiration for my clothing from painters. I like to recreate the moods, styles, and colors of the paintings in the way I dress.

Lady Violette's Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper ~ Viewed From the Front ~ Features Deep Sculptural Horizontal Ribbing, a Turned Back Brim for Double Thick Forehead Warmth, & Her Trademark Thick Earmuff Bow

My “Portrait Cloche in Honor of Edward Hopper” also reminds me of Dorothy Parker, the brilliant writer, who also dressed really well. She was known for her feminine suits and adorable accent hats like this one. I just know she would have wanted to wear one of these! Do you English majors out there who are interested in fashion agree with me?

I can also wear this hat with a deep purple wool crossover wrap and tie coat with a big ruffled collar. This is more of a 1970’s look, but also very successful. It looks great with this hat. In fact, once I finished the hat I found quite a number of interesting things in my closet that I could use it with. So many I want to go out! I am feeling so horribly house bound! I haven’t been able to get out to go anywhere since last Saturday night. I’d love to get bundled and dressed up in my purple and blue winter ensemble and go to some elegant cafe wearing my “Portrait Cloche.” As soon as I can get out of here I will and I’ll get someone to take a proper photograph of me in the Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper in the right atmosphere worn with the right era vintage clothes. This may still be a few days off as it is still snowing like mad! The airports are closed and the streets are blocked off! My classes have all been cancelled.

We only get snow like this in Seattle once every 2 or 3 years. It is inconvenient, but I also love it! I like the opportunity to stay home because I must and get some other things done. And I love the cold and the whiteness and the excitement in the air that the snow brings with it. A lot of people get very upset about their busy schedules getting interrupted, but I don’t. I see it as an opportunity to slow down and get a few things done that I normally do not have time for. Like making a couple of new hats! And setting up my Ravelry knitting site – which is a hugely time consuming project.

And, of course, get back to posting on my blog. So, back to the blog, as I promised and back to the “Portrait Cloche” : Let’s look at some pictures of it from all angles so you can really see what it looks like.

A Profile Shot From the Right Side of Lady Violette's Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper. Here I have turned the hat and placed the bow on the right side and toward the back to show a different way to wear it!

I used Baby Alpaca Grande Hand Dye from Plymoith Yarn to make this hat because I happened to already have two balls of it in the perfect colorway of Blue/ Purple. I had hoped to get the hat and big bow out of one skein, but no such luck! It took about 1 and 3/4 altogether. Thus the yarn for this hat cost $40 plus sales tax! Expensive for a hat! But worth it to me. It is very stylish, warm and soft. Alpaca yarn is very luxurious and not at all scratchy. Even people with wool allergies can often wear it successfully. It is important to select non-scratchy or itchy yarn for a hat. I have made the mistake of using 100% wool that caused my forehead to itch and gave me a rash after a half hour. That quickly ruins the hat I spent hours making for me!

I plan to use the small amounts of left over alpaca yarn to decorate the violet tweed gloves I am currently making with little bows to co-ordinate with this hat. That should be really feminine and appropriate to the era that inspired me. And the gloves will be beautiful with the two ensembles I have described above. Here is a picture of them now as works in progress. I am finding it really interesting to construct them on the tiny tiny needles

Violet Tweed Five Finger Gloves With Bracelet Length Cuffs. This is the first pair of Five Finger Gloves I have ever made!

I am going to try to find another suitable yarn to make a spring/summer version of this hat – hopefully using one ball of a nice looking yarn and costing under $25 to make. I want to offer beautiful patterns that can be made up in affordable yarn. Anybody have any good suggestions? This one needs to be really bulky!

I keep trying to make hats out of one ball of yarn but I keep running out and needing to get a second one. This has happened on the Noro Spiral Beanie hat I am currently making as well. (See my work in progress in Noro Silk Garden in pastel colors and gray. I’ll post a picture of that here tomorrow.)

I am about to begin writing up several of my personal knitting pattern designs so other knitters can make them. I know cost of yarn and supplies is an issue for many people so I am planning to suggest several types of yarns in different price ranges so people have a choice. I am always making new things out of old ones and creating new things out of found fabrics and supplies – so this issue is always on my mind. I’d love to hear suggestions from readers of alternate materials you think would work as well. I’ll seriously consider them.

Lady Violette's Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper Folds Flat For Convenient Packing

I will be writing out the design and instructions for making Lady Violette’s Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper Soon. When it is done & available I will post it here and on Ravelry. Check back if you want the pattern. We could even do a supervised knit along to make it here on my blog if a few people are interested.

If you are  interested in making this hat let me know.  It is not hard to make. In addition to the ability to read a knitting pattern, you only need  these basic knitting skills:

1) Cast On

2) Knitting,

3) Purling

4) Decreasing

5) Binding Off

6} Sewing a straight knitted seam together in mattress stitch

7) Picking up & Knitting stitches

8) Steam Blocking

About Ravelry. It is a knitting and crocheting social networking website, like Facebook for knitters and crocheters. In order to access it it is necessary to join it, even if you are not a knitter or crocheter or other needle worker. However, it doesn’t cost you anything to join. It is am amazing resource and I feel it is well worth joining even if you  currently simply enjoy looking at what other crafters and fiber artists are doing.

It is also the last word on finding information and sharing your work.  I am ladyviolette on Ravelry.

If you visit me on Ravelry you can view all my current projects in these areas and see pictures and read about my past work in those disciplines.

I’d love it if you come by and see me sometime. So will you, I guarantee it!

 

Where Have I Been? New Year’s Resolution 2012.

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Well, snowed under, actually! It is snowing in Seattle where I live and I am totally snowed in. The high hill leading up to my street and my street are closed off by the city due to snow and black ice conditions. It is beautiful though!

Otherwise, I have been very busy of late photographing my knitting designs and projects and posting all said to Ravelry – the knitting website. This is a huge job. I regret to say that it has taken me away from daily blogging but only temporarily. when I get it up the two will work well in tandem on a regular basis. It is a necessary step in what I am trying to do as an artist and designer.

So, what does this involve?

1) Joining Ravelry – you also have to join to look at the designer’s and knitter’s work ( but no money is involved.)

2) Photographing and listing and writing about all the knitting projects you have done and work you have in progress. (Big job for me as my stuff is complex.)

3) The worst part of the big job. Inventorying all your stash – this is your supplies such as yarns, threads, ribbons, needles, buttons – any items you would use in making knitted projects. I hate this part. I have entered them all into the system but I am now trying to take the photos of said and it is a drag. First of all I hate taking pics of plain old balls of yarn – uninspiring to me. I am having a hard time getting realistic color using natural lighting since the light in my area is so gray all year around. Nothing is looking realistic! The idea is that you can find what you have this way, also share it with others who might want to trade or buy supplies, then, when a project is done you can easily list the contents used in an item. This is OK if you use one yarn per item in a traditional way. but I use up to a hundred and I knit as if I am painting – no plan in advance. I just get going and take the next color when I feel like it and work it in.

Thus, I am not sure this complex time consuming organization is really going to work for me.

It would work for a yarn store or a knitter who used each type of yarn for a project. So there is a good aspect to it. I just don’t really like it for me. However, I am attempting to persevere. Right now I have every ball of yarn I own spread out in the kitchen to photograph and post. I did about 40 of them this morning, ran out of battery juice and honestly, am bored to death! I wan to be making things instead.

However, I will see it through!

I have also been diligently taking classes to learn to do techniques I am not familiar with – glove making, crochet, complex knitting techniques of your choice class. This I love, but there is a lot of homework! Knitting to be done between each class session. It is intense but I am learning a lot and I love this! I have also (on my own,) been designing and making hats for the first time ever.

My New Years Resolution for 2012 was to get up and going on Ravelry and get technically better at knitting by taking these courses which are not offered very often ( maybe 1x or 2x a year) so I have jumped in and am working really hard at it.

I know, I know, I must get back to my blog posts! and I will, I have lots to write about – I have just been really over extended! The classes require me to commute too so I have been on the road a lot! Another big time and energy eater. I am back now and will begin sharing some of my new projects soon! Please watch for them!