Thursday, December 31, 2009

The New Year Post

This is the post where we look back on 2009 and look ahead to 2010.

I know for sure that the biggest change in 2009 was The Boyfriend losing his job and our decision to relocate back to Minneapolis. The house here in Austin is still on the market and we haven't moved yet. This means we know for sure one thing 2010 has in store for us is The Move. I think I'm doing pretty well with this change--I'm sick and tired of the house being on the market and the constant cleaning and interruptions that go with it, but I'm also looking forward to the house shopping on the other end, and the return to Minneapolis. Minneapolis is home, it is where my family is, and it's great city.

As a knitter 2009 saw the successful launch of And the inclusion of my designs on I started my affair with sock knitting, self-publish several new patterns, and taught several workshops. I finished a plethora of projects, but sadly did not finish my gift knitting in time for Christmas.

2009 was the year I became a "Texas Gardener". The Boyfriend and I built the Kitchen Garden back in March. I wrote about the whole process here on the blog and for the Oct/Nov issue of Texas Gardner Magazine. The garden was pretty much a huge success. I'm still eating the pesto and the baba ghanouj I made and froze.

This past year has been an interesting one when it comes to food. In 2009 I made a return to eating meat, which is really a much longer story and I should and probably will write about it sometime, but the short version of the story goes something like this: I have be en a non-meat eater for more than 20 years and my reason for abstaining has always been the lack of clean meat. I didn't want to eat all those antibiotics, and hormones, and I certainly didn't want to support an industry that is so destructive to our environment. But in 2009 I discovered Greenling and found myself buying good clean meat for The Boyfriend. Everything was pasture raised, organic, drug free, and local. I could support that. And one day while cooking a clean local lamb burger for The Boyfriend I thought "I'm going to eat this." And I did. And now I can hardly call myself a vegetarian--we still only eat meat a couple of times per week, and we only eat local, pasture-raised organic meat. It's a big change.

2009 was also the year I decided to learn to can, as in food preservation. I did jams when the strawberries hit the farmer's market, and peach sauce when the peaches were in. I also pickled peppers from the kitchen garden. I organized a couple of Soup Swaps in 2009. And did lots of shopping at the Farmer's Market.

As a runner I did the 3M Half Marathon in January, several charity 5Ks, and of course the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in 2009. I've taken on a new running partner and never lace up the shoes without Aaron Johnson at my side. It's nice to have the company.

So what lies ahead in 2010... The Move of course... Minneapolis of course.

2010 promises many new knitting designs, a few new workshops, and the publication of 1,000 Fabulous Hats (which will include several of my hats.)

I know I'll have a garden again in 2010, but it will be in Minneapolis. Which is fine, because Minneapolis is a great place to garden and I have lots of experience growing in the Upper Midwest.

We will of course continue to eat as locally, and as organically as possible. I have started researching sources of local clean meat in the Minneapolis area, and even found a meat CSA, I suspect that 2010 will see us continuing to eat clean and local meat. We will also continue to shop the Farmer's Market, and at our local food co-op.

There is already talk of a canning party with several of my Minneapolis friends. And I suppose there will be soup swapping as well. And I'll continue to post recipes here on the blog.

As a runner I look forward my return to Minneapolis also--I'll never have to run on the road again as Minneapolis is a runner (and cyclist's) dream in terms of paths and green-ways. The Boyfriend and I have said we will run the Valentine's Day 5k at Lake Harriet if we're there. I'm sure there will be plenty of running in 2010.

I'd love to learn to cross country ski, and to make pasta. I'm planning a reunion with my Austin knitting friends--we'll meet the first weekend in October in Taos NM for the Wool and Fiber Fest.

What does 2010 have in store for you?

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Gift of Good Food

Again this year I have made a commitment to handmade gifts. This means a ton of gift knitting, of course. Unfortunately most of my gift knitting is yet to be finished so I'll save that for a later post.

What is finished, and in the mail are some yummy gifts of the edible variety. This year I sent preserves I made this summer to my family - The peach rum sauce, the spiced peach jam, and the two types of strawberry jam.

I also made huge batches of granola to send to Minnesota. Granola is super simple really and when packaged in a half gallon Ball canning jar it makes a pretty snazzy gift. Here's my recipe.

Almond Granola

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw sliced almonds
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup grape seed oil
1/2 honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 cups dried fruit

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees. Gentle heat the oil, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon and stir well. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large baking pan. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry goods and toss until coated evenly. Bake for 1.5 to 2 hours (or until toasty and crunchy) stir often while baking. Add the dry fruit of your choice after the granola has been allowed to cool.

I prefer raisins, but for my sister who dislikes them I used dried cranberries. I think dried blueberries would be a lovely choice also.


Granola on Foodista

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Wall of Welcome - A Community Art Project

There's a community art project in my neighborhood - The Wall of Welcome. It's a huge mosaic project put together by local artist Jean Graham. The wall is in the Crestview/Brentwood neighborhood of Austin TX and it shelters the parking lot of the neighborhood business district - the sort of "main street" area you find in a lot of older neighbors in big cities. The little cluster of shops includes a crappy IGA grocery store, an old school barber shop, a pharmacy, and The Little Deli.

The main part of the wall is one large mosaic that depicts some of the history and local lore of the neighborhood. All along the top of the main mosaic and one end of the wall are smaller tiles that were created by community participants. Some were created by local businesses, some by neighbors and residences, and there is one from the elementary school and the fire house.

I first saw the wall long before I lived in the neighborhood when my book group took a little walking field trip to look at the wall while it was in progress.

When I decided to move to this neighborhood and was shopping for a house here, my Dad came to visit from MN. I took him to the wall to show him where I intended to live.

The wall is finished now, has been for a little while I think. I pass the wall frequently on my bike and when I run. I love the wall. It has always made me feel, well, welcome!

Last weekend I walked down to the wall with one of the dogs to take pictures. I thought I should photograph the wall before I leave Texas. It is one of the things I will miss in Austin.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

For the third year in a row The Boyfriend and I got up on Thanksgiving morning and ran the Austin Turkey Trot. A five mile run with a huge crowd - 14,000 runners this year. It's a lot of fun, the course is fairly scenic and really challenging. I'm pretty sure this is my favorite tradition here in Austin, and one of the things I will miss when we are gone.

I hope to carry on the tradition of running on Thanksgiving morning when we return to Minneapolis by participating in the Drumstick Dash at Lake Harriet.

After the run I cooked for 7 friends. Last year I cooked a turkey for 2, this year I went with a very non-traditional menu - Pumpkin soup, homemade bread, a cheese board, smoked salmon, apples, pomegranates, a beet salad, and the guests brought desserts. Everything was delicious.

And now with Thanksgiving behind us, my attention is turned back to trying to get moved and of course to Christmas gift knitting.

Happy Holidays Y'all.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Pattern - Laze Knit Hat

I've got a brand new hat design--"Laze". I wanted a hat with a more relaxed style, but not a beret, and I had this fantastic hand-dyed sport weight sock yarn from Black Trillium that I thought, and thought correctly, would be the perfect yarn for such a hat.

Laze is a super soft, slouchy, and stylish knit hat with a wide rib band, purled detail, and it's finished with Kitchener stitch. Knit with merino wool sock yarn this hat is warm, and washable.

I used a "semi-solid" yarn and would recommend you do also. A multi-colored or self-striping sock yarn both pool too much because the circumference of the hat is larger than the circumference of a sock.

I really love the yarn I used from Black Trillium Fibre Studios--the color saturation was beautiful and the yarn was a joy to knit.

Here's the 411 on "Laze":
Two U.S. size 2 (2.75mm): 16" Circular
or One U.S. size 2: 16" circular & a set of U.S. size 2 (2.75mm) DPNs
Black Trillium Merino Sport Sock
One skein
Yarn needle, 2 stitch markers, row counter
24 sts. and 32 rows = 4" in stockinette
One size fits most adult heads 20"-22" in circumference

The new design is available on my website and also here on Ravelry.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Masala Chai Lattes and Other Cool Weather Delights

Three words: Masala chai lattes. When I lived in Minneapolis and the weather would get cool my afternoon ritual included a chai latte. I've gotten away from that habit while living in Austin where the weather never really gets all that cool. But lately I've been preparing for my return to the cold and a return to masala chai lattes is included in those preparations.

An aside: "Chai" translates as "tea". To say "chai tea" is redundant. "Masala" translates as "mixture or blend" especially when referring to spices. Therefore "masala chai" means "spiced tea" and is the appropriate way to refer to the beverage more commonly refered to as "chai". Add milk, and you've got a "masala chai latte". Digression over.

When I lived in Minneapolis, I bought my chai lattes at my favorite coffee shop. But now I've decided it would be better--more tasty, more green, and generally just more better to make my own. From scratch. Mostly I've been following the instructions found here at Mahalo, my recipe is inspired by theirs as well--the big differences are cardamom and I make six cups at a time, drinking one mug while it's hot and saving the leftovers in a quart sized canning jar in the fridge and enjoy it iced.

Masala Chai Latte
6 cups of water
20-ish cardamom pods
8-10 whole cloves
8-10 peppercorns
3-4 cinnamon sticks
1/2 a vanilla bean
about a teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
a few slices of fresh ginger root
6 Tablespoons of unflavored black tea (I used Rishi Tea Organic Ceylon)


I smash the cardamom, cloves and peppercorns with mortar and pastel, smash the cinnamon sticks with the handle of a heavy metal spoon, and slice open the vanilla bean.

Bring water, and spices to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat, add the tea, cover and steep for 3-5 minutes. Strain.

Sweeten with honey while it's hot. Lighten with soy milk when you drink. It's so delicious!

Masala Chai Tea on Foodista

Other preparations for my return to the great white north have been showing up in my knitting. I've been knitting with wool, knitting garments I would never be able to wear if I were staying in Austin. I recently finished the Urbanity Vest by Amy Swenson. I knit the vest with Elann Peruvian Highland Wool. And I can't wait to wear it--it fits, and it's cute.

That blur in the background..? that's Aaron Johnson.

I'm currently knitting Ribby Cardi by Chic Knits. No pictures yet, but I'm also knitting this one with Elann Peruvian Highland Wool. I'm thinking this will be the perfect jacket for those crisp Fall days I love so much. The knitting is going fairly quickly, the real challenge will be all the seaming involved, that may slow me down some. I'll post pictures soon.

I've also been designing some cool weather knits--stay tuned--coming soon: "Laze" a slouchy hat knit with sock yarn. "Adam's Rib" a pattern for his and hers hand knit socks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

We're making decisions and slowly but surely piecing together a plan. There are still huge gaping holes in the plan, like the fact that we have no jobs, but we've definitely decided a few things.

We're definitely moving. Our house here in Austin TX will go on the market at the end of this week. And the POD has landing in the driveway. I'm pretty sure I move more than any human alive, and yet I am still always totally overwhelmed by the packing. This is especially true with this move as there is a fair amount of load lightening going on - it is our intention to move in the POD which means we'll be selling off most of our furniture and packing light.

We're headed back to Minneapolis. Mostly this is awesome. I love Minneapolis, and I've missed her while I was away. My family is in Minneapolis, as are many of my friends. Minneapolis is home for me in the truest since of the word. But Winter has already started to rear its ugly head and we probably couldn't have picked a worse time of year for our return. I guess you take the bad with the good and roll with it.

We don't have a departure date yet. We don't know if we'll rent or buy when we get there. We don't know if we'll have jobs. There is still a lot we don't know. But we know we're moving back to Minneapolis.

Moving is always a little bittersweet and this move is no different. While I'm pretty much thrilled to be going home, I have made some great friends here in Austin and they will be missed. I have been reminding myself, as consolation, that all of my friends in Minneapolis whom I left three years ago are still my friends, and that all of my friends here in Austin will also remain my friends. Sure we won't see each other as often but with a little effort and planning and the miracle of FaceBook, we'll still be friends.

And that's news.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Brand New Design

In my knitting life I love felted knits. I also love handcrafted housewares. So it only makes sense that I should design a felted knit for the home. Meet Harbor - A Felted Wool Rug.

I have a secret fantasy of a new/old house with a good old fashion porch for which this rug will be perfect. And in this fantasy I am knitting, barefoot on this porch with my feet resting on this rug, and a glass of red wine at my side, and three happy dogs scattered about the floor. And the best thing about this secret fantasy is it just might come true.

I love this rug. It has that special warmth, charm, and handmade touch that makes a house a home. It is also sturdy and comfortable, just like home.

Harbor would be a cozy addition to any room in your home also. It is knit from super bulky wool and then felted so the fabric is very dense, yet it is soft enough to welcome those aforementioned bare feet. As it turns out, it is also a welcoming resting spot for sleepy dogs -- mine tried it out just as soon as it hit the floor.

The pattern is an easy knit, suitable for the beginning knitter and includes clear felting instructions. The pattern is available here on my website. And also here on Ravelry.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's Chili Time! Turkey Tomatillo Chili

Here in Austin TX, the weather has had us on a crazy roller coaster ride - 96 degrees one day, 56 degrees the next. To quote my friend Angie "Fall is in and out of our lives like a bad boyfriend." Today it is one of those 56 degree days, and the humidity is low, and it finally feels like Fall. I couldn't be more pleased.

On the other end of my world - up in Minneapolis - they saw their first snow of the season today. And while I'm sure they're mostly not thrilled with the idea of snow as early as October 10th, I'm more than a little envious.

This means it chili makin' time. Any soup will do really, but chili has always been one of my favorites 'cause I like it hot, spicy that is.

This recipe was inspired by something a friend made once. I'm not sure of her recipe, or its source. Rather, I did what I love to do most in the kitchen - I improvised. I did my best to recollect the slightly smoky, spicy chili I ate last winter, made something similar several times making adjustments each time, until I was satisfied with this recipe.

Turkey Tomatillo Chili

12-15 tomatillos husks removed and quartered
1 large jalapeno pepper cut in thirds
2 large dried New Mexican chilis (or ancho chilis)
1 cup boiling water
6 cloves roasted garlic
1 large yellow onion chopped
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves raw garlic minced
1 pound ground turkey (optional)
1 1/2 cups of cooked great northern beans
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon hot smoked paprika
4 cups homemade vegetable or chicken stock
sea salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Puree the tomatillos and the jalapeno in blender and set aside. Soak dried chilis in boiling water for 20 minutes, then puree with the roasted garlic in a blender and set aside. Saute the onions and raw garlic in olive oil until the onion starts to soften. Add the turkey and brown. Add the dried spices and stir until turkey is coated nicely. Add the beans. Add the chili puree, the tomatillo puree, and the stock. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for at least 30 to 45 minutes until flavors have had a chance to blend and the chili starts to thicken a bit. Add salt and pepper. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, grated cheese, and chopped fresh cilantro.

Notes: I like to roast several heads of garlic when I have the oven on for some other reason, just to have them around for recipes like this one. Roasted garlic is sweeter than raw, and lends itself to smoky recipes. I use pasture raised, organic turkey from a local farm, you could leave the turkey out completely, add more beans, and go vegetarian. I keep homemade stock on hand in the freezer, but you could - of course - use an organic store bought variety. For more heat add an extra jalapeno or a Serrano pepper.

Serves 6


Ground Turkey Chili on Foodista

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In Search of a City

We here at the Right Out Loud Household are deep in the middle of a city search. In reality it's more of a job search because mostly we'll go wherever the job is, and more accurately still, we'll go wherever The Boyfriend's job ends up being because all I do is this knitting, teaching, designing gig and I can do that from anywhere. Although some places are better suited for a knitter for sure.

While it's true that the job search includes Austin and while it is also true that we may end up staying here, it is seeming a little less likely, and researching new cities and places to live is sort of fun. Again, we'll ultimately go where the job takes us, but there is a small but growing list of cities I would be perfectly jazzy to call home.

What does it take for me to be jazzy about a place? Seasons for one - and this is a big one. I miss Fall most of all, and I even miss Winter some. I also need a few quality yarn stores, a safe place to run, friendly folks, a thriving farmer's market, and at least one Indian restaurant. The Boyfriend needs a job.

At the top of the list of cities I've grown fond of is Portland, Oregon, followed closely by Eugene, Oregon, which I know are totally different, but for speculative city searching purposes they are sort of the same and fully merged in my mind - I say Eugene, I could just as easily mean Portland, and vice-versa. They have seasons, you can grow anything there, and they are a crafter's paradise. I could wear socks and sweaters at least part of the year, and the farmer's market looks superb. The downside; the second highest unemployment rate in the nation, and everyone of The Boyfriend's contacts seems to be saying "there are no jobs". Sad but true.

A return to Minneapolis is on my list of definite maybes. Minneapolis is a great city, and it's also home. My family is there, they've got the biggest farmer's market I've ever been to, there's a yarn store on every corner, and miles and miles of scenic safe running paths. Unfortunately, it's not high on The Boyfriend's desirable list for one reason, and one reason only; Winter. And I suppose it's true that while I miss snow and socks and sweaters it would probably only take a Winter or two before I'd be wanting out again. Minnesota Winters are extreme. Extremely extreme. And they are why we left there in the first place (that and the job, the job that brought us to Texas, the job that doesn't exist anymore).

Santa Fe and Taos New Mexico are a fiber fiend's dreamland. When I visited there the folks seemed friendly enough. And again with the mountains, and the socks, and the sweaters, and the farmer's market. But again the job market seems weak and The Boyfriend's contacts aren't all that hopeful.

Salt Lake City, Utah has made a surprise appearance near the top of our list. It has seasons, and yarn stores, and a farmer's market. It also has mountains, and green space, and according to my BFF in Mpls., Sara, the people have a nice Midwestern sensibility and attitude. Sara also says it's clean and that I should move there and that I might just feel right at home there. I trust her. There also seems to be jobs there, and so it lingers near the top of our list.

My point is this; we're searching for a city, for a new place to call home, and while it remains a little unnerving to have so much uncertainty in my life, it has also become a little fun to speculate and research and hear what other people have to say about the cities they love.

Tell me, what city do you love? I'm searching for a city.

Monday, September 28, 2009

One Pattern, Three Hats, and Handspun Yarn

I've just released a new pattern - A Trio of Wooly Toppers.

This pattern includes instructions for three stylish winter hats. The common thread running between them all is the use of handspun yarn. I've always got a plethora of mini skeins of handspun that I couldn't resist in my stash, and I designed these hats specifically from them. Each hat uses less than 50 yards of handspun worked with another worsted weight wool yarn.

Each hat is a slight variation of the others. It's like taking a great idea and playing with it to see what you can create.
Highly textured, colorful, and oh so unique, these toppers will be a much admired winter accessory for yourself, or a treasured gift for someone else.

My patterns offer clear instructions, photos, and several suggestions for yarn alternatives. This pattern is suitable for an Intermediate Beginner, you must know how to knit, purl, work in the round, decrease and increase.

The Trio of Wooly Toppers pattern is available in my Pattern Shop.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Recommended Books for Felting

As promised, here are the six books I would recommend to people interested in exploring felted knits, and felt making.

Again because Leigh Radford is one of my favorite designers her book tops my list AlterKnits Felt: Imaginative Projects for Knitting & Felting

And one of my other favorite designers is Beverly Galeskas and I love her book Felted Knits It was the first book I had on felting your knits.

I love the design aesthetic of Felt Forward: Modern Designs in Knitted Felt

I recommend Felt Frenzy: 26 Projects for All Forms of Felting because it not only includes felted knits it also offers a great introduction to wet felting and needle felting.

For those who want to take their exploration of fiber and felting further I recommend Shibori Knits: The Art of Exquisite Felted Knits

And for pure inspiration I recommend Felt to Stitch: Creative Felting for Textile Artists

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Recommended Books for the Brand New Knitter

I spent this morning updating the handouts I use for my knitting workshops, including the list of suggested books for my Get Your Knit On! workshop. I decided to share that list here on the blog as well. Of course this is not any where near a complete list, it is only representative of the books I recommend to the brand new knitter.

The top of the list is The Knitter's Companion: Expanded and Updated (The Companion series)
It is the perfect resource for new knitters as well as more experienced knitters, offering instruction on everything from your basic stitches to seaming. I keep my copy in my knitting bag and refer to it all the time.

I include One Skein: 30 Quick Projects to Knit or Crochet because Leigh Radford is one of my favorite designers and I would recommend any of her books. But also because the projects all require only one skein of yarn making them perfect for the new knitter - manageable and fairly simple.

I include One-Skein Wonders Again one skein means something approachable for the new knitter, plus 101 projects is a lot of projects.

I recommend Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook because of the wide variety of patterns - everything from super simple hats to great first sweaters.

I included Knitting in Plain English, Updated Edition because it's a classic, and it's funny, and in terms of helping a new knitter troubleshoot and fix things it can't be beat.

And finally I included Knitting for Peace: Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time because I love the concept and the world of charity knitting can be inspiring for the new knitter.

I'm also updating the suggested reading list for my Knit This and Felt It! workshop and I'll share it with you as well, just as soon as I've finished.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The New VIP Club

I'm starting a new VIP Club. Here's how it will work:

Members will be notified via email each time I publish a new pattern. They will also be given a discount code good for 50% off its purchase.

To join all you need to do is send an email to with "sign me up" as the subject line. It's that simple.

I promise not to spam you, not share your email address with anyone else, and not to abuse you in any other way.

As an added incentive, all new members who join before Friday September 25th at 6 PM central time will receive the PDF version of either my Coy Felted Cloche or my Notorious Felted Tam pattern free. Just send an email to with "sign me up" as the subject line and specify which pattern you'd like in the body of the email.

Thanks so much!

Monday, September 14, 2009


The uncertainty in my life still looms large and I've developed a twitch in my right eye. I'm not joking. For four days now my right eye has had an intermittent twitch that is disconcerting to say the least.

As of this moment we still have no idea which city we will be living in in the coming months. I suppose that even if there is a new job in a new city it will take a few months to get moved, and so it is safe to say we will still be in Austin for Halloween. But what of Thanksgiving? And New Year's? I just can't know for sure. I wouldn't hate a white Christmas. In fact I might love it a little bit.

But the right eye is all a flutter.

Here's a taste of what's not happening; I'm not registering for either the 3M Half Marathon or the Austin Marathon. I did 3M last year and would love to do it again -- it's a great race. Austin would be new to me, and it just so happens to be on my birthday. On October 11th I will officially start my training schedule and train as if I'm running both races. But I won't register until I know for sure that I will actually be here to run.

I'm also not applying for the Cherrywood Art Festival, which I would love love love to do again -- it's a great show with good crowds. But again, I can't say for sure if I will be around to actually do the show, so I haven't applied. Just as soon as I have even the slightest indication that I'll be around I'll apply, although the deadline is fast approaching and I may miss out all together.

And I haven't sent those queries, or scheduled those workshops, or ... or... or...

And all the while the right eye twitches and sleeping for more than 5 hours in a row eludes me.

Here's what is happening; I'm knitting some. I found solace in The Urbanity Vest by Amy Swensen -- it's straightforward and uncomplicated, and round after round of stockinette leaves my mind available for worry, which is, as I have said, what I do in times like these. This is progress.

At least some of the design work has moved beyond half-baked to just not done. I've got yarn ordered for several new projects, and have made real strides on a trio of hats. Here's the teaser: one pattern, three hats, the common thread is itty-bits of hand-spun yarn.

Again, it's progress.

I read Into the Wild -- captivating enough and more difficult than third grade. I also read Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac -- a pithy, and smart little number that every knitter should read.

But the nuno felting remains untouched. And the embroidery goes slow. And the house is still really clean. And there's not a speck of laundry left to do.

And the uncertainty looms large. And my right eye has a twitch.


Friday, September 4, 2009

A Rather Ambitious Embroidery Project

Awhile back I posted about a workshop I was taking -- Artistic Embroidery -- and the project I had chosen for the class. The idea behind the class was to experiment with three different methods of printing and/or transferring an image to fabric and then using that as your pattern for embroidery.

One method of transfer we worked with involved acetone and carbon based black and white copies. I made several attempts, but was never able to get results I liked with this method. I'm pretty sure that it's the advanced technology of photocopiers to blame, but can't elaborate with any certainty on the science, so enough said.

The other two methods both involved ink-jet printing -- printing on an iron-on transfer material, and printing on fabric, either silk or cotton. These methods gave me results I loved and was enthusiastic about. The materials are relatively inexpensive and readily available, and it puts my archival ink-jet printer to good use.

I had decided to create a set of pillows with New Mexico as the theme. No real reason other than New Mexico has been on my mind a lot lately -- it was one of my most favorite vacations, and Taos Wool Festival is coming up the first weekend in October and once again I won't be attending but am wishing I was.

I used this photo for the iron-on transfer, cutting out just the niche, and applying it to a piece of linen. I have a healthy collection of vintage maps in my stash and as luck would have it I found a lovely old map of New Mexico which I printed onto the silk and attached it to another piece of linen with Wonder Under. My plan is to approach both of these pieces with a minimal amount of stitching-- maybe a stitched boarder around the niche and highlight a few details on the map with stitching.

The third piece features this photograph of the Santuario de Chimayo. I printed it on cotton and started stitching. My plan was to stitch over the image pretty extensively working to interpret the colors and textures of the image without being too literal.

I've been stitching, and stitching, and stitching. I've put a huge amount of time into the embroidery. But I don't love the results. I love the image, and the idea, and even my embroidery. But I don't love the cotton, and I wasn't sure how to approach the 8"x10" rectangle.

The other day I officially declared a do-over. Despite all the hours I have invested. The silk is just so much nicer, and Wonder Under is my new best friend. I've re-printed the image onto the silk and attached it to the linen with the Wonder Under. All that remains now is the embroidery.