Monday, February 11, 2013
Sunday, February 03, 2013
Yesterday I was at The Warm Ewe in Chatham, New York and everything was on sale! So I couldn't resist the charming fleecy yarns. I have been mulling over the Great Adirondak fleece with gold and silver flecks since I got it at the NYSSheep and Wool Festival in the fall of 2011. This new pale yellow-green fleece seems to take down the intensity level of the colors in the older fleece, and so I think I'm going to make this up into a nice bulky shawl.
Friday, February 01, 2013
Knitting is a hand looming technique that uses a strand of fiber and two sticks to form and intertwine loops in such a way that they create a stable and sometimes stretchy fabric. I knit all the items I produce without using assistants or apprentices. All the processes I use are manual processes or those that may use a very simple apparatus such as a yarn swift and a ball winder. The stitch by stitch nature of this process allows for fine control of the content and texture of the fabric. The yarns I use are from all over the world and include, silk, wool, cotton, linen, nylon, polyester, metallic fibers, viscose, tencel, acrylic, alpaca, acetate, mohair, cashmere and rayon.
I knit in order to create beautiful textiles in ancient forms such as wraps and scarves. I often seek a wide range of yarns, sometimes more than 30 or 40 to create one fabric. The colors and surface design of each piece grow through a duly considered process of color and fiber selection and combination. In some pieces it is important to select a smooth yarn that will highlight the fabric pattern. In other pieces it is more desirable to use wildly different yarns with extraordinary texture created by yarn combinations rather than a fabric pattern. I am endlessly attracted to the combination of utility and beauty.
Bio: Lorre Smith
During an adolescence of artistic explorations with various media Lorre undertook private lessons in design from local artist Larry Banghart then progressed through various needle arts experiences in patchwork and quilting, embroidery, knitting, crochet, garment sewing and tailoring. After several weeks of intense instruction in arts and creativity from Oakland, CA artist Alan Leon during 2004, hand looming proceeded to take center stage, with occasional forays into drawing, painting, mixed media, assemblage and collage arts and just about all other fiber arts. Ongoing influences include English needlewoman Erica Wilson, English painter Kaffe Fasset, who has also explored fiber arts, Irish knitter and designer Maggie Jackson, and Alexander Calder, whose lesser known pieces include a series of fiber works. Her most recent knitting teacher is the English yarn and knitwear designer Louisa Harding.
She creates hand-loomed textiles using primitive tools: small sticks and hooks. By creating interlocking loops and combining many yarns, she develops sophisticated fabrics. Using primitive tools allows the most control over the way the yarns and threads fit together and the way the fiber colors blend or contrast with one another. She generally creates very simple shapes so that the textiles themselves are the fundamental essence of the art. She also creates textiles that are not possible to create by machine. The texture of the fabric is as important as its visual design qualities. Textiles can evoke serious, sensual or whimsical moods, and each person brings out various elements of their personality and appearance when wearing them. The colors and surface design of each piece grow through a considered process of color and fiber selection, a determination of how delicate or bulky the textile will be then how each yarn will be incorporated into the fabric. In some pieces it is important to select a smooth yarn that will highlight the fabric pattern. In other pieces it is more desirable to use wildly different yarns with extraordinary texture created by yarn combinations rather than a fabric pattern.
Lorre’s work is available at:
Woodstock-Byrdcliffe Guild’s Kleinert/James gallery shop in Woodstock, New York;
LOCAL in Lenox, Massachusettes;
Elissa Halloran Designs, Albany, New York.
Lorre documents the on-going progress of her work in two blogs:
Little Hands: A Life on Tumblr
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Saturday, January 26, 2013
This fine gauge fabric is fascinating and infuriating - the boucle mohair is quite ornery and the little loops are always catching the needle points at the wrong moment. The fabric is soft and warm.
After getting this far I flung it into the in progress bag, but now I am ready to work with the fine gauge again and have sworn to work in bright lighting. The olive color of the mohair is difficult to see clearly.
Friday, January 25, 2013
The light makes this look like two different fabrics, but it is the same piece. It will be a giant scarf of wool and bamboo blend yarn. It is currently about half way finished. The yarn is a worsted weight and I am using size 10 needles, 14" in length.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Sunday, January 20, 2013
This has been in the old in-progress bag for a couple years, so it's been nice to get it out and try to recall what I was doing. I think I finished it well after studying in the sequence of colors. The teal greens weren't captured all that well by the camera, but they are a lovely complement to the tan yarns. I took this to the Byrdcliffe Guild shop in Woodstock, New York yesterday.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
This is a chained yarn, meaning it was not spun, but created by taking a thread of silk and making a bulky yarn by chain stitching it. So one can literally pull the strand width-wise and it will be a lacy, wide ribbon. This is how the trendy ruffle yarns all work, only they are on a very big scale. I have knitted this shawl using the technique of putting the needle through a few loops of the chain, then pulling a few loops of the chain through. So it is a little bit of a ruffle. It's quite bulky but light, because the silk is so airy. I like the look of the wavy surface which is not quite ruffly.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Black silk and wool capelet in seed stitch
Blue silk shawl in modified garter stitch
Blue cotton shawl in rib stitch
I've got my day planned around completing a couple of these and it will be easy to do the light blue silk shawl and the black capelet. The capelet row lengths are getting smaller as I reach the neckline and the blue silk rows are getting longer, but there are only 15 more rows to get done.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Sometimes it takes awhile to get me started, and sometimes starting is easy but there's that big middle-of-the-project stretch where it spends more time in the old "in progress" bag than it does in my hands. This was begun in a press to get things ready for a show in early 2012, but then was put aside for more urgent priorities, so now I'm within a few inches of finishing after letting it mellow for almost a year. For the earlier posts on this piece click on the dates below.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
I got this huge cable needle at Fabulous Yarns in the fall and have been looking at it now and then wondering how I would ever use it. Yesterday I began to play with bunches of yarns and began a huge piece in earnest. I have the idea of a big curtain for a doorway in my art guild's gallery, which now is covered with a filthy rag in the form of a length of cotton duck So it will be a combination of a useful drape for the doorway and a rather bizarrely large scale knitted piece.
Monday, December 31, 2012
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Saturday, December 29, 2012
2012 has been a year of white exploration. I found the dreamy nylon tube with a shiny strand inside at Wonderful Things in Great Barrington, MA and have mixed it here with white white cotton (not creamy or gray) and a totally glitzy yarn with gold sequins. The glitzy yarn is a strong cotton thread, and gives a very noticable lacy effect at even intervals. The rib stitch keeps it from curling at the edges and lends a fascinating vertical line to counter the strong horizontal row lines. YUM.
The big needles give it a very lacy texture, and I keep thinking of weddings and evenings out, or really any time you feel like some slinky drama in white. It is a triangle shawl so that it can be tossed around in a million different ways for many different effects. It can even be worn as a big glittery babushka.
Friday, December 28, 2012
Thursday, December 27, 2012
This also came out of the old in-progress bag and I'm loving it once more. I am using a cotton ribbon yarn and making a very large shawl. The needles are size 10 and they are plastic - something I haven't used in awhile. I've made a two-stitch selvedge of garter stitch, and then made widely spaced ribs with a reverse stockinette background. I am knitting the short rows so the ribs will actually form horizontal lines once the shawl is complete. I found this yarn on sale at Common Thread in Saratoga Springs, NY the last time I visited there in early December.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
I've been going back to the old in-progress bag ( a HUGE bag made in Viet Nam) and found this delightful capelet in Venezia yarn. I love the way it feels going through my fingers! I'm making this capelet on a size 8 cable needle. I'm tempted to but applique things on it, so I'm contemplating what that might end up being as I knit. Plain? Fancy? There are zillions of possibilities.
I mistakenly described it as alpaca and wool at first, but just corrected it today, Dec. 27, 2012
This is a feather light capelet worked in Lang Yarns brushed alpaca Degrade. I have enjoyed the muted colors and I have two more balls! I see a scarf in my near future. I used a size 9 cable needle and worked from the bottom up in a wide rib, beginning with a rib every ten stitches, then decreasing to a rib every four stitches at the top.
Thanks to my friend Lauren of Colorful Stitches for the recommendation to try this yarn.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
I pulled this out of the work in progress bin yesterday and have become enamored of it all over again. I got the yarns last summer in Tivoli, New York at a shop called Fabulous Yarns. I found out about the shop through their website, fabulousyarns.com The teal mohair is BeSweet brushed medium mohair, the black silk is probably either ArtYarn or Tili Thomas and the cone of fine silk tweed with teal and black is Habu. Once I discovered that the teal in the silk tweed and the brushed mohair is the same, I decided i had to try to make a fabric encorporating both of them, and so voila! The black takes everything down a shade, which makes it more serious than frivolous.
I'm alternating rows a b a c with the Habu as the a. It's seed stich, so the rows blend in an interesting way and in certain lights you can't see that there are rows. I'm using a size 4 needle, which makes the going a bit slow.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
So here's a retrospective look at my fall knitting from this year. I took two months off due to moving to a new home, and when I got revved up again I recalled all the joys of a huge work in progress bin!!
I've also been posting quite a bit on facebook, so go and like my facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/littlehandsstudio/
The completed whites shawl - now at LOCAL in Lenox MA
A lovely cotton and linen fine guage triangle scarf/shawl
This is why I love seed stitch - it's a large shawl that is now at LOCAL in Lenox, MA
exploring cables, something I haven't done much
I love these cowls - they are throwbacks to my old "barbarian" style
This is beautifully soft organic wool yarn from Germany
This is kid-lin, a strand of kid mohair loosely spun together with a strand of linen. Great Adirondack did this fabulous dye job, making the linen strand red and the kid mohair strand a variegated black with other deep colors.
I rarely knit with yellow, and so this was a joy.
This green cashmere makes my fingers warm when I knit with it.
This is a huge cotton wide scarf.
These different black yarns are my score at Fabulous Yarns in Tivoli, New York and on the web. The shop is tiny, but the yarns are dreamy.
Organic cotton chevron stitch. I decided to finally try this classic stitch for my second baby blanket.
A nice grayed teal in wool with bamboo
I have so many white yarns that I wanted to do some more chevron stitch with them in a large shawl
I completed the wool and nettles blend at last! This has ended up as a gift for a good friend.
More delicious cotton tape. It's a pleasure to knit and I like this wide rib stitch for a very big shawl.
I've been trying things from the eyelets and lace book, and this is a six-row pattern that is lovely in the gray-pink silk and mohair.
The amazing technicolor dream shawl is getting done!!!! I have about 20 more inches to knit - I'm hoping to get it done over the holiday break this year.
Shawl, mixed fibers - wool, mohair, nylon, silk; woven stitch, size 4 wood cable needle, 24 inches.
More from the eyelets and lace book - Debbie Bliss's Rialto chunky, which is a merino that is an absolute pleasure going through my fingers.
I got this angora and wool blend a few years ago and like the way it shows the subtle lace panels.
My trip to Habu Textiles in New York City bolstered my stash of exquisite silks and mohairs - two silk yarns and a linen paper yarn make up this fine guage fabric.
Lang yarns has developed this wonderfully soft brushed alpaca. It's another yarn that makes my fingers warm as I knit. That's nice now that the weather is cool.
Even though I get annoyed at the boucle loops with my needle tips get stuck in them, I like this frothy mohair yarn by Be Sweet.