Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Distressing Paper

I've been talking about doing more artwork and occasionally mentioning it on the good old blog here. Today, since it's my birthday and I'm not feeling too hot, (Bad headache for days and fighting a cold, somehow related probably) I decided to do a little painting and I started thinking about texture. I love texture and something that looks interesting on an art journal page. I had a great idea and I tried it out. It worked really well so I thought I should share.

Please note:
  1. I have not looked to see if others have done this technique and do NOT claim to be the first, I just know I thought of it and did it today and had tons of fun!
  2. If you are a fiber person and are therefore not interested in artsy paper stuff, scroll down, there's yarn at the bottom of this post.
I took a break from my art journal today to play computer and suddenly remembered a super fun craft I did as a kid. You take a regular piece of paper and distress it. I thought it would be super fun for art journaling or any art really so I made a little tutorial. Enjoy!

Start with a sheet of paper. I used an ordinary sheet of printer paper. Nothing special at all.

Then I tore a section out so it wouldn't have perfect and straight edges

As you can see, I'm working on my dining room table since my office desk is a mess so I've laid down a sheet of wax paper to protect the table cloth. I recommend it for this even if you don't care about the underneath surface. You'll see why.

Next, crumple it up into a little ball

Now unfold it and flatten it out (it doesn't have to be perfect at this point)

The reason it doesn't have to be perfect is because you're going to repeat these two step a bunch of times. Crumple, flatten, crumple, flatten until the paper gets softer and well worn.

Can you see the little holes worn in the paper? That's what you're looking for, a very stressed paper. It's much softer like a tissue almost and as you can see, very distressed.
Now you want it to be fairly flat, not that you need to really flatten it but lay it out so it isn't folded over and such.

Now, make a wash with watercolors. Use any color that you like of course, I'm using a nice bright cerulean blue. Brush it onto the paper using a nice sized brush, as you wet the paper you will find that it sticks down a bit and flattens out, just keep smoothing the paper with your brush as you paint it. You may find it absorbs more paint than you expect, just keep loading your brush and brushing it on.

I recommend the wax paper or something else because the paper is pretty fragile at this point and leaving it on the wax paper to dry helps keep it from totally falling apart. Depending of course on how much you distress it.

Add other little bits of another color if you wish and then press a paper towel onto it to absorb some of the excess moisture.

If you need to or want to, flip the towel and press it down again. Leave the paper to dry on the surface and check out what you made!

Here is the one from earlier with the one made in the tutorial. (I apologize for the bad lighting, dim evening in my living room)
As you can see, the paint absorbs more in the creases giving it a very cool mottled appearance (especially if you add bits of another color) and when it dries it has a very interesting texture that's not totally perfect and flat. It reminds me a little bit of handmade paper in that it's totally unique and unusual.

If you're into art or art journaling at all, try it. It's super fun!

I promised you yarn too didn't I? Here is some BFL I just finished spinning the other day.

It's 8 ounces of Frabjous Fibers in Moulin Rouge and I got about 538 yards. I think it's about a sport weight 2-ply. I like it but I'm not completely in love with it so I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet. I was thinking socks, (Knee-high of course) it might have to marinate in the stash for a bit before I decide.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Startitis Strikes Again

I finished my handspun Gritty Knits socks in the October 2011 colorway and lest you think I'm slacking, I'm already spinning another colorway. It's coming along but it takes time that I haven't had too much of lately.

The toe-up heel flap went okay but since these were a little bigger gauge than I usually knit I think the flap itself came out a little short.

The socks themselves came out a bit short too but I love them anyway. The ends aren't even woven in but they're on my feet.

What I should really be doing is knitting up some Christmas presents but I'm not. Rather than do that, I'd like to cast on something new. I've got some lovely NOM lying around begging to be something and I am fairly itching to cast it on but I'm trying to resist.

Since the startitis virus is going so strong all my other projects do not sound appealing at all and as such, I'm not getting much done on them either. I should just cast on some quick little thing and get it done so I can get back to gift-knitting. After all, I need to get something done.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A Story of Socks

I like knitting socks, I may have mentioned this a time or two. I like how portable they are. I can shove a partial pair in my purse (almost any of the many purses I own) and whip them out to knit whenever I have a minute. Plus, I love designs on socks, lace, cables, interesting things that take time to knit but that means I usually have several pairs going at once.

Right now however I seem to have a problem. I seem to have a few too many pairs of socks going at once. How many you ask?

Well, let's take it one at a time. I like to have a plain pair of socks in my purse for odd little moments I find when I need a bit of knitting.

These fit that bill nicely. They're just plain old socks knit out of some handspun dyed by my friend HandOverTheWool. I love how they're turning out almost rainbow-ish. Not at all expected.

I recently decided I should have a plain pair for reading too. Like sitting around the house reading a book or something. That's what these are for:

Although I did take these to the movies the other day because the others were at the heel and I couldn't knit that part in the dark.

Oh, you noticed that little tabbie huh? It's a tag from a bag of bread or whatever. I use it to hold the tail (there's usually a good sized one since I like the long-tail cast on) while I knit and keep it out of my way, then I can undo it and weave it in later. If you ask people, they'll save them for you. I have lots. My mom usually gives me a big handful every time I go there.

I was also doing a self-imposed sock club. Using yarn I had been meaning to knit and patterns I had been wanting to knit, I matched up twelve yarns with twelve patterns and set them aside in January. I was pretty good about it but sort of got stalled in September. Where did I leave off? Right about here.

It's pretty sad that a half a sock is all it would take for these to be finished.

They're turning out pretty nice too. I love the stitch definition. I didn't even cast on socks for October mainly because these weren't finished but also because the Tour-de-Sock was starting.

Oh yeah, that brings me to another pair.

This pattern is called Calable. It's the first pattern in the Tour-de-sock. Where's the other one?
Um, yeah, here.

Still yarn. I didn't get very far on these. I'm not sure what it is. The pattern is okay but I'm not loving the yarn in it or something. It's even sparkly. How do you not love knitting it?! I don't really understand it myself.

Anyway, then there was this incident with this fiber last month that I couldn't resist and started spinning right away and I sort of accidentally cast it on too.

I got the first one past the heel (I'm doing toe-up but trying to do a heel flap heel on it. I've had troubles with it before but I think it may work out this time. It fits my foot at least.) and took the other end of the ball and cast on the second one. I'm making my way slowly up the foot on it.

Then there's the real trouble. Christmas knitting!

Sorry, did that scare you? I'll give you a minute.

Yeah, these are supposed to be for Christmas.

As you can see, they aren't very far yet. Let's not discuss how close Christmas is okay?

We will also be ignoring socks that are hibernating including the entrelac ones and the pair I started on New Year's Eve.

Do you see the problem? I have so many and I need to get to work. Yet, it's NaKniSweMo and I could be knitting a sweater. I may have accidentally wound some yarn for that today as a matter of fact. Oops. Not sure how that happened.

If you need me I'll be over here pretending that Christmas is coming in about 7 months okay?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

To Knit a Sweater

I'm considering doing NaKniSweMo again (that's National Knit a Sweater month for the uninitiated) but I'm just not sure. I'm almost done with most of the things making me crazy with knit-stress.

I'm out of Sock Sniper, I've pretty much given up on Tour de Sock because I just couldn't keep up and I'm making speedy progress on the shawl for the Plurk swap. I didn't even try knitting socks of the month for October because I knew it wasn't going to happen so I've got 3 patterns for socks, matched up with yarn waiting to be knit but I haven't even dragged them out. I'm thinking I may put them off until next year or something.

I don't think I'm going to do much of anything for Christmas knitting this year so I think I could swing a sweater but I just can't seem to decide which sweater lot of yarn to knit and what pattern to make it. Maybe that means I shouldn't commit to it huh?

Anyway, I'm loving the yarn and how it's knitting up for the Plurk swap shawl but I don't know if my swap buddy wants to know so I'm keeping it under wraps. Makes for very boring blog posts though.