Wednesday, September 28, 2005

In the studio

Scarf, chunky wool and acrylic boucle yarn, double rib stitch, size 15 needle

This yarn produces a fabric that feels wonderful. I have my doubts about using the double rib stitch, and may still rip it all out and start something different. The bulk and softness of the fabric make me think that it'll be a very good-feeling scarf, and I'm tempted to change it to a tube scarf.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

In the studio

Stole, lavender mohair, rib stitch, size 13 cable needle

Well heck darn, the purple and gold scarf photo won't upload for some freaky reason that I can't discover just now. But here's this old thing.

I've had the cone of mohair around for a few months, wondering what I could bear to make with it. So I'm doing this very girly stole, I think with a flounce on the bottom and big buttons. I'm knitting side to side, so the rib will make a strong horizontal stripe effect. I'll try to take photos as I progress. The rib also makes the mohair fabric rather thick, so this thing is going to be warm as all get out.

Monday, September 26, 2005

In the studio

My image size isn't passing muster with the Blogger software today, and I don't have time to mess with it any more. I want to show you the purple and gold scarf I've been working on over the past few days. It's half Brown Sheep bulky wool and half fuzzy nylon yarn blended with a lovely wool sock yarn. It's an unusual combination because I've made the color change using intarsia and the stipes go the length of the scarf.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

In the studio

I've been working on these two pieces and have also started something in a lavender mohair that is very girlie, but I haven't taken the photo yet. I'm trying to learn to make consistently better photos, so that's slowing me down. I'm too conscious of everything so the photo shoot is becoming a labor in itself.

I also am going to start asking my neighbors to pose in the garments for me. It seems to me that the photos look kind of sterile after awhile with no human touch.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Hat, cotton chenille, single crochet throughout, really big hook

This is the Cherry Tree Hill cotton that I spoke of a few days ago. Sunday I sat down with it and voila! a hat. It didn't quite take a skein. I also have some of the chenille in pale colors called "birches". I like these primary colors. I hope they keep making very cool yarns like this.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Finished scarf

Scarf, wool, rib stitch, size 19 needles

This photo was taken during the last moments of working on the scarf. Since the yarn itself is a knitted tube it tends to ravel. I'm still trying to sort out how to properly finish off the ends. Right now I'm thinking I'll bind the yarn ends with a few sewn stitches in a matching thread. Otherwise if the little loose fiber catches on anthing it's bye bye strand of yarn, hello long ravel.

Two more full balls and a partial ball left!! I think I'm going to try to blend it into a mixed-fiber piece.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Finished scarf

Scarf, wool and silk blend, twisted stockinette stitch, size 13 needles

This is another item in the finishing frenzy. This curled quite a bit during knitting, and I really spread it apart when blocking, to maximize the lacey effect. After doing that, I think I'd make it wider. It will be plenty warm since it's long enough to wrap around the neck a good couple times and won't be too bulky. But it looks a little forlorn to me, since I'm accustomed to much more dense fabric. I simply had to try lace using a bulky yarn. I do love the effect of the stitch pattern done with those big needles. They're big bamboo, so they feel like wonderful warm sticks while knitting.

I took fourteen finished pieces down to the Woodstock Guild gallery, Fleur de Lis, last night. For the second or third time I did an artist's statement, and I think it's the best so far, although only about my knitting:

Knitted textiles by Lorre Smith

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 have knitted all the items in this display 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. Yarn manufacturers and spinners often shape lengths of 100 or more yards of yarn into a very large loop called a skein. The skein will tangle easily, so the swift and ball winder help put the yarn into a tighter and more usable form for knitting. 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.

Monday, September 19, 2005


triangle shawl, mixed fibers, garter stitch, size 9 cable needle

I got the purple wool yarns for this shawl at my local farmer's market. The price was unbeatable, and the colors are lovely. The color blend is the most bizarre I've ever tried, and the mode is what I like to call "barbaric". I've cultivated different types of shagginess based on the various tufted yarns produced in recent years. Some shaggy fabrics look rather refined, but this is just down home barbaric. The yarn is worsted weight, and it makes me warm just holding it in my lap while I knit. I'm within a few inches of being finished, and it's been in my "in progress" bin for about a year. With a size 9 needle it's a LOT of knitting. The colors are lavender, periwinkle, deep magenta, rust and variegated gray.

I only have one more "monster" shawl like this, also within a few inches of getting done. So life is mostly finishing up things these days. Although I couldn't help myself and began a super-bulky scarf on Saturday. I also just started fingering some Cherry Tree Hill super chunky chenille yesterday and about an hour later I had a crocheted hat in my hands. Photo coming up soon.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

In the Studio

Hat, Wool Noro Kureyon, knitting Nancy and silk ribbon

I'm finishing so many things that I'm reaching way back into my "in progress" bin. I was happy to see this hat again. It'll be a pointy pixie style, made of a spiral. I'm sewing the cord together with silk ribbon so that the stitches show a little bit and I'm matching the ribbon to the yarn color. The embellishment of the point is still up in the air. I do love pompoms and other fluffy - floaty - moving things up top.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Finished scarves

White scarf, wool, rib stitch; variegated scarf, abaca, seed stitch, both embellished with sequins

Both these scarves are finished as of today and will go with many others to Woodstock for sale in the Fleur de Lis Gallery there. I decided to sew each sequin individually to the front and back of each black patch in the abaca scarf, and it took time to knot the thread each time to begin the stitches and anchor the sequins into the scarf, then to knot it again after the sequins were attached. For the wool scarf I used a continuous thread and worked in a zig-zag path across the scarf, alternating from RS to WS. So I'd fasten a sequin on the RS, then take a very long stitch down through the knitting and end it on the WS of the scarf. Then I'd fasten a sequin onto the WS and take a long stitch and end it on the RS. This went much faster, but now there's a sewing thread that runs all through the wool knitting. This requires a careful selection of the sewing thread so that it is as invisible as possible. I found it easier to match the yarn with embroidery floss, because I have about a million colors of it.

I barely captured the sequins, but you can see there aren't too many of them. I'm convinced that on a lot of scarves, fewer sequins are better and they add interest because they're a little bit mysterious. The temptation at first was to put something that starkly contrasted with the white scarf, like black or hot pink. But I'm endeared to the "flash" effect, where the sequin starts to show up after flashing light, rather than being an obvious embellishment at first glance.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Scarf, wool, rib stitch, size 5 cable needle

This is within inches of taking it off the needles. It's about 1.75 in. wide and will be about 72 in long. I think I'll add about 6 more inches, which won't take more than a half hour. The butter colored sequins are the ones I have chosen to use for the embellishment. That tends to go slowly, but I adore the effect.

This is done with Colorado Wool's "Vail" yarn, which I like more and more as I handle it and use it to create different pieces. It's a dk weight, and in a tight rib like this scarf it's just perfect. The sequins are from Cartright's which has provided endless fun for only $20. I have to restrain myself on a site like that because of course I want them ALL.

I finally am investigating the closeup focus function in my camera, so I hope to have less and less blur in each closeup image.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Hat, mixed fibers, stockinette stitch, 5mm cable needle and dpn

I loved making this hat. I like working in novelty yarns, and this combination provided just the sort of colors I was looking to use in a purple and gold theme. I worked on a cable needle most of the way up from the bottom, then switched to dpn to start decreasing. The shape is mostly like ancient bread ovens, with a broad bottom, and then what looks like a chimney I didn't close it because I think that adds to the funkiness of the hat. I bound off and then got out my crochet hook to do the fringes on the top. Then I made I-cord as a tie so that the wearer has control over how tight the hat is at the top and how floppy it is. The top is sort of like a big pony tail.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Back in the studio

Shawl, blue "denim" cotton, garter and stockinett stitch with yo rows.

I doubled the size of this monster over the weekend and had a great time with the cotton yarn, which feels really good. I'm using an Addi Turbo cable metal needle and the knitting goes very very quickly! Over the summer the cotton yarn stuck to my fingers because of the high humidity we suffered most of the time. Now that the humidity is down to more normal levels the cotton is once again an immense pleasure. The top photo is how I'm working it, which is basically side to side, so that the efffect of the popped out garter stitch rows will be vertical stripes.

Like so:

I realize that the fact that I'm taking many of these photos on a couch under a window makes the colors difficult to portray. The incoming light really jerks the camera's optical systems around. I can usually mess with the images in photoshop, but today's efforts don't seem to have done much good. I'll have to start setting up a photo place on the other side of the room. The couch is just easy.

The color of the yarn is a wonderful faded or washed blue like old blue jeans. I think this shawl will be extraordinarily comfy without being fussy. Since I have a massive cone of this yarn I'm looking forward to trying a stitch pattern with a lot of definition, like leaves on a reverse stockinette background or such like on another shawl.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


That Knitting Blog will be inactive for a few days while I recharge my knitting batteries.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Apologies for the photo-my usual source doesn't have one for this book.
The Art of Knitting is a book I've been stalking for weeks. I'm fondling copies of it in shops and letting my eyes wander all over the delightful photography. It looks terrifically inspirational. Some day the urge may strike when I'm not saving pennies for other things and I'll get to take it home to bed (now shared with a rather tasteless fall issue of Knitter's magazine). The Art of Knitting looks both inspiring and educational. It's the first book I think I've ever seen that mixes discussions and illustrations of machine knitting and hand knitting.

Here's the full cite: The Art of Knitting: Inspirational Stitches, Textures, and Surfaces by Francoise Loumagne Tellier, June 2005, published by Thames & Hudson
ISBN: 0-500-28557-8 320p. $39.95