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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Colour & Shapes

Though I'm nowhere near a knitting machine, wool or anywhere that needs wool at the moment my mind is still working on design.

Christmas lights still 'round the studio door!
Wandering around the island of St Martin/St Maarten in the Caribbean I'm bombarded by colour and it's wonderful...especially during a Winter of white on white with white accents at home in Canada! Fortunately our home is yellow so that adds a little colour to the scenery while I've been shovelling out the driveway...and there is, occasionally, beautiful blue sky. 25 years ago, when we were first/last here, I'm inspired by the colour.

Marigot, then, had a harbour filled with dozens of brightly coloured fishing boats which inspired my multicoloured striped cardis. I just dove into colours then.

The green of the palm trees is such a beautiful can get some ugly man made greens, and though here there is the red and green we normally associate with Christmas...the red here has a lot of pink in it and it's balanced with the white.

I love yellow, but it's a hard colour for most people to wear and needs to be softened with tones that compliment the  this pink or the periwinkley blues of the window and lacy boards. Here white is used to soften the acidity of the yellow.  I also love the patterns in the baseboards interspersed with the green pointy fence posts....the border of a jacket or sweater which is all coral?

This is one of my favourites...wandering along the boardwalk in Philipsburg on the Dutch side of St Maarten I spied these pointy roofs down an alley. Two blues - sky & walls - with the stunning orange of the tiles...yum. I see a periwinkle or mid blue jacket with strong orange accents...somewhere.

Ravenous but still not 5pm we headed to the Hard Rock cafe and downed two 'Lenendary Burgers' (I won't have to eat for a week!)  and watched one of the cruise ships head out to sea. Of course I had to take a pic of Michael Jackson's jacket ...from the 70's or '80's I think. Great colour combo - orange & silver...or grey - and maybe work up the swirly pattern on a mylar sheet or program it into your Brother pattern library.

Try other colour on white, work a glittery yarn into the swirl pattern and silver beads where these 'bobbles' are.

Lumbering along the boardwalk after those monster burgers we came across this little girl who, we were told, was three that day. I asked her if she was making pudding as she stirred whatever was in the ash tray with a loose piece of wood from the picnic table....don't you just love her dress!!! Knit something in cotton and either dip dye it or hand paint with dyes. Or just find yarns with these strong colours...very 'island'.

This just spoke to me in the softer colour combination and the stripes and blocks (ventilation holes). This creamy banana yellow is much easier to wear.

Believe it or not this is part of the police station down on the Philipburg boardwalk ('s concrete, no boards...and it wasn't there 25 years ago). Once again orange and blue but with the deep pinky red of the roof.

Last but by no means least here's another part of the pink house with the yellow and blue with the green pickets.

Why don't we paint our houses like this in Canada...wouldn't that look stunning in our brilliant Summers and really jolly up our white (or dull slushy) Winters.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Vintage Knitting Inspiration

While surfing the net looking for inspiration I found this blog....

 I started to download the magazines and one by one and found so much of use and interest...even among the oversize, drop shouldered '80's fashions I downloaded them all.

I found a few things I want to make for myself, some neat instruction and information.

This white V necked ribbed pullover will be very smart for Spring and Fall. Perhaps out of a cotton acrylic blend, Cannele cotton? We'll see. I think I'd do it using the Garter Carriage rather than use the ribber....never been very good with the ribber.

My husband, who was sitting next to me as I went through the mags glommed onto this one and said he even liked the gold colour....though he likes the lighter blue too. I think if I switch the colours it'll look's a combination of Garter Carriage and Fairisle knit in patterning.

I really want to work this dress....but shorter to wear over pants as a 'top'.

Working through the patterns - all included in the mags - I'll have to figure out the I have some similar? What sort of switches will I be making.

What fun to browse these mags and they're not taking up any room on my studio shelves!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Etsy & the Fluctuating CAD!

What to do...what to do! I've had an Etsy shop for years now and it's done OK..and not OK but it's a great way to have a shop attached to my web site and have it seen around the world. I know I'm competing in large market but rather that than not at all

My dilemma now is our fluctuating Canadian dollar, you see, Etsy is a US shop and all prices are automatically listed in US dollars, that's been ok when our dollar was strong or on a par with the US dollar but now it' plummets and I can't keep up

I had my student look all around Etsy to see how I could change my listings to CAD so I could put accurate prices on and not have them blow out of proportion with the exchange. A couple of weeks ago I sat with the Currency Exchange site open on my iPad and listed my work with the US equivalent of my Canadian prices....OK so far but then the dollar plunged again.  The other day I took a look at a pair of socks, clicked on the little blue USD next to the price and found that my $65 socks which I had priced at $50something USD translated at over $71CAD!!!!!!!

Now I have changed everything to CAD but on my 'dashboard' where I create my listings....they are still listed in USD!!! Whew:

So you can see that I had to list my socks at $51USD to get them even close to CAD ($66.55)!!!!

I have 49 items on my shop...I've sometimes had over I have to go in each day and change my US prices to reflect the correct CAD?!

Last year the One of a Kind started an online shop of their own and as I decided to end my 30year relationship with the shows I purchased a 'shop'. I started to work it but found the 'shipping' page to be ridiculous and haven't returned. They had you having to price shipping to every item using Post Office standards and having to refer to that. I tried to plough my way through that and gave up.....

I think I'm going to look at the OOAK shop (and get my money's worth before it expires) or maybe Zibbet.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Painting on Knits.

Winter and I'm working through my custom orders. I didn't to a Christmas or 'Holiday' show as I have done over so many of the past 32 years so I have't a lot of pending work. That could be good, no one likes to have no work, but it gives me more space, makes me go into the studio and push myself to do 'something. You know what they say 'if you want something done give it to a busy person' and that is soooo true! So I always keep busy.

One order is a pink cotton knit collarless cardigan...very Springlike, Summery. My sample has a purple Morning Glory motif and the order is to be worked in hot pink & khaki.

I had my student put in a few hours and had her work with me as I mixed the colours and held down the stencils...she was also very handy to hit the sink to wash off the stencils & brushes.

I first saw painting on knits back in 1988 when I went to Secaucus NJ for a Mac Knit of the neatest thing's I've attended. There was a mother & daughter duo - one knit pullovers in and the other painted on them...beautiful work. I learned lots that weekend but that stuck with me and I have used it since.

Not being a painter I cut my own stencils and Pebeo Setacolor...I have used many different ones over the years and have stencilled sweaters, dresses, walls, nightdresses, bags and more. After putting down the basic colour I use some shading and accents to give more depth and interest.'s fun!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cochenille Design Studio Update.

It's that time of review your life, what you are doing and how you are doing it. I've been updating some web sites that I've built (check out the list at my other business site) and some still need a lot of updating....including mine!

Anyway - Wow! I got an email this morning about Cochenille's design bundles. I've been using Garment Designer for years and though Susan Lazear has been sooo active in workshops, teaching, travelling and updating I've long thought the site needed ... um.. 'freshened' up.

Well, it has and I love it! It keeps up with her blog which is so fun to read and inspirational.

If you are interested or just curious...check out this page where there is a video overview of Garment's such fun to work with and it helps me get the fit I need for myself and my clients.


This Winter is a bit less stressful as I'm not heading to the One Of A Kind anymore and digging down the back of the couch cushions for those last few pennies for the hefty booth fee! So now I have more time and energy for is the link to my web site and to the email I sent case yo aren't on my list....

I'm also up for travelling in case I need to come to you in case your group is in another town.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Show Time! A New Year.

Well, it's that time of year for artists, artisans and craftspeople...time to send out those applications, forms and cheques to sign up for this year's shows.

I wrote a post last year on my return to the Beach neighbourhood in Toronto, my old stomping grounds, to celebrate their 20th anniversary.  Thinking about the upcoming year and what to do I can breathe a sigh of relief that I don't have the One Of a Kind show to stew over and decided to ask if I could be on the Beach Studio Tour again this year. A space came free so I high tailed it down to Toronto on Sunday for the first meeting of the 2015 Spring tour.

It was wonderful to be among these wonderful artists and crafts people again (they're very rigorous about everyone's participation) and as no one is allowed to sit back and wait I volunteered for one or two tasks.

I met new participants and old  and I'm so looking forward....I guess I'll be burning up the 401 highway a few times this Spring.  Here's a shot of the gang with some of their work (mine's on my iPad!).

I had better start working on some new Spring designs and upgrading and updating my web site!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Mesh & Knitted Treats

These two things came about because of Christmas ... the first beforehand and the second was a little gift from my niece.

 I wanted to make some felted soaps as Christmas gifts and needed some mesh for the process. A colleague - Robert from Kingston Soap Co. said he had used mesh from a scrubby to hold the roving together around the soap so I found one to cut up.

It gave me a long tube of mesh of which I needed about six inches....there must be something useful to do with the rest...of course! Fruit/veg shopping bags. I had bought some in an Eco shop in our old neighbourhood in Toronto years ago and I have but one left...I cut lengths of this mesh and tied a knot in one end of each length of about 18". Now I have washable, reusable bags to take with me when I shop for fruits & vegetables! Yeah.

I just had to share these little items which my niece got from one of her always resourceful friends. The little crocheted wreath went on my Norfolk Island pine tree, the little knitting basket will go in a special place in my studio.