Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Loose Ends & Scratching An Itch

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was quiet, just the way I like it, and I spent part of it scratching this itch to start a knitting project, specifically trying out a "toe up" sock pattern. I kept getting the nudge, remembering how I spent so much of my school vacations knitting by the fire, and the yarn with pattern has been sitting out for longer than I care to mention. I bought the yarn on sale a very long time ago, pretty much at the beginning of the sock knitting craze and I remember how hard it was to make up my mind about what color yarn to buy. Ever practical and not sure I'd like bright multicolored socks, I opted for the one called "Gray Matters", which is a wool/acrylic hand painted blend made in Turkey. In my defense, I've written before about the positive attributes of gray, and then recently ran across this praise of gray:

“Gray isn’t just for shapeshifting clouds or sophisticated business suits. There is so much more to gray than that. It’s not a cliche. It’s a marvel. Gray is the disputed territory between the light and dark. It’s a color that has one foot in the shadows and one in the sun. I don’t know when we decided that the color gray was “boring” - because it’s anything but.”- John Roedel
There you have it, complete with "foot" pun, and the hand painted variegation should produce a more interesting and beautiful sock than a solid yarn would. This particular toe up pattern has a cast on not unlike the one for the mobius scarves I've made, but by starting with only 4 stitches on each of two needles and a method of increasing I was unfamiliar with, I found the beginnings of this sock challenging and giving me fits. But as the space grows it is getting easier, although working on multiple needles in the round is not my favorite. I'm ready to set up the ribbing pattern so things should go more quickly now.

As for loose ends, I feel I have so many as I look at what's scattered around my studio. But I took care of some of them last week. I got all the bits of ephemera added to the gratitude journal and started writing in it. I experimented with something the teacher showed us: masking off the center of a page to preserve it for adding text, then painting the rest of the page. I used that Fresco Finish paint again, partly because it dries to a matte chalky finish which, unlike regular acrylic paint, doesn't stick pages together and is easy to write on if one chooses. This is such a great look and will keep me from getting too wordy!

I had a little paint left on the palette so I experimented with a fan brush, mimicking the flowers in the adjacent page. The camera didn't pick it up well, and you can't see the green that I also worked in between the pink, but I was pretty thrilled with the result. Funny how this particular journal is unleashing something in me that is unexpectedly liberating. I'm usually such a regimented and chronological person but this format has me jumping around all through the book. It's really fun to work in it.

Another loose end is adding quotations to this journal which I believe is the second book I made once I'd joined the Handmade Book Club. The journal itself has lots of issues, but it was a way to use some of the eco-dyed watercolor paper I'd made and then add lots of tree and leaves related things to the blank pages. There are paint experiments in there and a few pictures from magazines pasted in. Some actual dried leaves glued in as well. Still lots of pages to fill but I see it as an ongoing project. But I did want to get the poems and quotations added once it dawned on me how many I'd collected referencing trees and leaves. It will feel good to have that loose end tied up.


Anonymous said...

You've had another busy week tying up loose ends & getting a knitting project under way! I wear grey quite a bit because it 'goes' so well with lots of colors. Your painted journal pages add interest without being overpowering. I like the colors you chose. Thanksgiving brought us a snowstorm that afternoon which was a worry until everyone was home safely. Stay warm! Jan in WY

Sherrie Spangler said...

I've grown to appreciate grey as a nice foil for other colors, although you don't see much of it in nature here in the sunny Southwest.

The Idaho Beauty said...

I don't know about "busy", Jan, as I was also nursing a cold and enjoying pj and couch time! But still days with enough oomph for a few easy loose ends and even a little stitching quilting lines on that 4-patch strip quilt. The paint on the journal pages appear to reduce that freezing up that a totally blank page sometimes presents when one sits down to write. I'm going to use it elsewhere I think. Matching colors to those in the Morris gift wrap and some of the magazine pages. Am really loving my selection of pastel Fresco Finish paints. Gray is indeed a great color in any wardrobe and doesn't show lint and dog hair like black does. I'm not surprised to hear you had snow and am glad your guests made it home safely. Our snow held off until this weekend but won't be around long.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Sherrie, that is nice to hear that you have found how to incorporate gray positively. Although there may not be much in nature, I see it occasionally in your sunset photos, underlying brilliant colors in the clouds. That's where I often see it in my neck of the woods.