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  • knitting1105 2:00 pm on May 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: art Institute of Chicago, color theory, Van Gogh, van gogh yarn balls, Yarn Balls   

    Van Gogh’s Yarn balls 

    Last Friday we finally made it to the exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute, Van Gogh’s Bedrooms.  (I think that I would have titled the exhibit Van Gogh’s Bedroom, singular, as he set up his bedroom for the first painting, and copied from the first for the other 2) The exhibit had been receiving rave reviews, and had been on our to-do list for quite some time.  Word had it that the exhibit was very popular, and it seemed more so as it was in the last few days.  It was very crowded, and hard to move through.  We did a prolonged tour, reading all the story boards and looking at the paintings as best we could.  Then, we went to the Art Institute courtyard to sit and had a couple of glasses of wine under a gorgeous blue sky.  About 30 minutes before the exhibit was to close, we went back again, this time to really get a good look at the paintings.  It was a brilliant plan, as there was hardly anyone in the exhibit at that time.


    The premise of the exhibit was to compare the various versions of Van Gogh’s bedroom painting. There were of course leading photos and background information on his work.  He really only painted for a few years, but was incredibly prolific.  There were 3 versions of the Bedroom painting, one that resides in Amsterdam, one from Paris, and of course the Art Institute version. It was really interesting to see them side by side.

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    They had even recreated his tiny bedroom that he had painted.


    But, the most intriguing thing to me was the collection of Yarn Balls that he had in a small red lacquer box.


    The one at the exhibit was a copy, and so it got me interested in how this compared to the real one.  I had never heard about this before.


    I felt that much of the yarn from the exhibit looked like modern commercial yarn, and that the curators could have done a better job of matching the yarn to what was really in the box.  I feel like they did not do a great job of replicating the yarn.  I wonder if I am the only one who noticed that.


    It was interesting to hear that Van Gogh used the yarn for his color theory.

    One of the most curious objects preserved at the Van Gogh Museum is a slightly battered Chinese red lacquer box containing 16 colourful balls of wool and a few loose strands of yarn. Some of the balls are a single colour, a golden yellow, or an intense blue-green, while others combine two or three colours of twisted yarn, such as dark violet and bright yellow, or yellow-orange and light green. It is known for certain that the balls of yarn belonged to Vincent van Gogh because his close friend, the artist Emile Bernard, mentioned them in an elegiac article on Van Gogh written shortly after he died. Bernard noted that during a visit with Van Gogh in Paris he saw on a table, along with some Japanese crépons, a few ‘balls of wool whose interlaced strands played a surprising symphony’ of colors.

    When I look at his paintings, I can almost see the brush strokes as pieces of yarn laid side by side.  This gives me a new appreciation for his work.  He has always been one of my favorite artists.  Now, with a renewed attraction.  Fiber.

    Starry Starry Night really evokes the feeling of yarn to me.  Perhaps that is why it has always been a favorite.

    What a gifted, yet tortured artist.  What would he have produced had he lived longer.

    • Gracey 4:09 pm on May 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      This was very interesting to read…I’m not such a student of art, but I do like reading about fun historical facts…..and the bit about the wool that Van Gogh used is kind of fascinating…


    • Helen 11:01 am on May 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      This is something I had never heard about Van Gogh and yet it makes perfect sense for looking at the effect of two complementary colors on each other and as you say I see how it would mimic his brush strokes. Thank you for this piece of information.


  • knitting1105 6:09 pm on May 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    A bit of sparkle 

    It seems that I have been busier the past couple of weeks, so my knitting has been mainly socks and shawls that do not require a lot of concentration. These socks were knit with yarn that I purchased at YarnCon in 2015; from The Cyborg’s Craft Room, color way is Bangarang.  I loved the colors and the sparkle.


    The yarn did not disappoint (as happens from time to time).  It was a joy to knit with, and the colors are gorgeous.  The sparkle is just a little bit of bling here and there, and does not overwhelm the socks.  Because of the strong colors and the sparkle, I knit a simple twisted rib sock, perfect for this yarn as a pattern would have taken away from the material.


    Here are a couple of detail photos.  They are really much prettier in person as they catch rays of light when you move.


    I love carrying the twisted rib on the top of the foot.  It helps to keep the socks snug when wearing them.


    And on a gardening note, we got a lot of plants in the ground last weekend.  Dan started everything from seed in our basement.  He set up an elaborate system of lights and pulleys and timers and heaters.  I am sure that our house glows at night.  In spite of planting a lot, and already giving some away, we still have a lot of starters.  Some things need to wait for a bit warmer weather.  Basil especially, as we killed it twice last year by putting it out too early.


    This was our Rhubarb last weekend.  My friend Stephanie came over to draw the flower.  I don’t remember ever seeing it flower like this.  Quite interesting.



    • Diane Hamilton 6:20 pm on May 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You have been busy as usual. Love the socks! In all the years that Dad grew rhubarb on the farm I don’t ever remember it flowering like yours, very interesting!

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 6:52 pm on May 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks! I never remember having the rhubarb flower before either. It was a great year for our plant. had to give a lot away to stop it from shading the neighboring seedlings. I cut the flower and gave it to my friend to take home and draw. It was hallow on the inside, but a thick skin.


  • knitting1105 4:35 pm on May 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , poodle knitting   


    I finished my poodle mittens about a week ago.  This pattern had been gifted to me on my Birthday a couple of years ago.  I used Dale Tiur.  They are big, but so are my hands!



    And for the inside of the thumbs, in honor of the coolest poodle ever…



    To be used next winter, that I will always remember this smiling mug!  I miss him so.

    • Diane Hamilton 11:12 pm on May 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Frances, great job as usual but even more special because they will always remind you of Lloyd. He was a cutie for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

    • knitting1105 10:15 am on May 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Diane!


  • knitting1105 4:05 pm on April 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    A little last detail 

    I am finishing up some stranded mittens, and wanted to add a small detail on the back of the thumb.


    A fun way for me to remember a really fun dog.

    • Diane Hamilton 7:00 pm on April 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Those will special mittens for sure. Might have to wait until next winter before you can wear them though.


  • knitting1105 10:29 am on April 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Pigments   

    Color the World 

    I love color.


    The Forbes Pigment collection.  This is fascinating, and I had never heard of it.  A repository of pigments from all over the world and many different time periods at the Harvard Art Museum.  Seed banks are a familiar theme, but I had never heard of a Pigment bank.


    “The Forbes pigment collection was started by its namesake—Straus Center founder and former Fogg Art Museum Director Edward Forbes who began the collection at the turn of the 20th century. Forbes would collect his samples from his travels all over the world, bringing back pigments from excavated sites at Pompeii to rare lapis lazuli found in Afghanistan.”



    Many interesting ways to get color, but I found the most fascinating was ‘Indian Yellow’ made from the urine of cows fed only mango leaves.  Apparently this process has been abandoned due to animal humane issues.

    You can read more about it here and here:

    And, on Facebook, there is a great video.

    • 1marylou 12:15 pm on April 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I also watched the post on Facebook…so interesting!


  • knitting1105 10:51 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    The Rabbit Hole 

    As I delve deeper and deeper into the world of Fiber Arts, weaving has captured my attention.  This is a great video about a man in England saving some of the old weaving machines to be reused.




    • 1marylou 12:03 pm on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Wonderful post. The Industrial Revolution at its best! Just think, this started with women 20,000 years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

    • elaine 9:34 pm on April 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      How cool! Thanks for sharing this!

      Liked by 1 person

  • knitting1105 10:19 am on April 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Damn Fine Yarn Contest, Best Garment, Best in Show, , ,   

    Best in Show! 

    Won Best in Show, and Best Garment this weekend at YarnCon!!!!!!


    YarnCon has been around for about 5 years now, and I always enjoy going there.  It seems to get better every year.  This year they added a knitting contest.  There were 5 categories:  Best of Northern Peaks, Best Accessory, Best Garment, Best Handspun, and Best Toy.  I entered 3 of the categories, it was fun to think about what to choose to bring.

    As they were photographing the winning entry for Best in Show, I walked up to 5 women holding up my sweater.  I asked if that was a winner, and everyone cheered yes.  They were all surprised when I said that I had knit it!  How fun, normally I have no luck.  Perhaps being rewarded for skill instead of luck is more fit for me.

    You can see the Instagram photos here.

    I won loads of gifts for both Best Garment, and Best in Show, right now I can’t remember which was for which, but here are my prizes:


    Projects bags, kits for tiny toys, the buttons represent a kit that will be mailed to me.  Love the yarn bowl with some Mrs. Crosby’s yarn in it:


    And these little pins made with vintage rulers.  I was coveting them at the event, but choose not to purchase one, so I was really happy to see this in the gift bag.


    And, I will receive a print copy of this book:



    Look here if you want to see more of my Polar Bear sweaters, it was knit in 2008 for Ravelympics.  I did it all in 3 weeks, the first being while we were on vacation at the beach. I have always loved this sweater, but it really requires a very very cold day to wear it.

    Good Weekend, YarnCon followed a weaving show at the Chicago Weaving School that I attended on Friday with my friend Jane.  Next step is to take classes there and finally learn how to use my Inkle loom.


    • Dave Becker 10:29 am on April 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Very nice!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Diane Hamilton 8:50 pm on April 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Frances, I am so thrilled for you that you were recognized for talent and artistry. Congratulations, that is so cool and luck had nothing to do with this, it was all skill!

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 9:18 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Diane. You have always been one of my biggest cheerleaders!


    • Diane Hamilton 9:35 pm on April 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      P.S. Mom and Dad are up in heaven bragging to everyone they know. I am sure they are so proud of you and sending their love.

      Liked by 1 person

    • salpal1 9:33 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      WOW – YOU are AMAZING! SO glad they recognized the skill and patience that went into that sweater. It is lovely.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Heidi 11:56 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Way to go! Awesome sweater. Always a pleasure to be rewarded for our hard work. Love your blog. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 10:05 am on April 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        thanks for the compliments on both my blog and sweater!


    • 1marylou 12:54 pm on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Artwork in fiber. You definitely deserve the honor and you do all knitters proud with your work. Congrats.

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 10:06 am on April 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Awe, you make me blush. It was fun to get some recognition. Not having a county fair to enter, this was fun.


    • elaine 10:06 pm on April 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Congrats! Your work is SO nice ~ those are well deserved awards:-) Keep on sharing the inspiration!

      Liked by 1 person

  • knitting1105 4:17 pm on April 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Knit for Monarchs 

  • knitting1105 2:21 pm on March 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Isager Wool 1, , , The Fine Line   

    This is gong to take awhile… 

    Half of the knitting is finished for the body of my new shawl, Smolder.  It has been great for travel, and spending time with friends knitting, as very little concentration is required.


    I am happy with how the color combination turned out, the next step is to figure out the color for the attached iCord.

    My preference had always been the Fuchsia color when I started knitting this, and I think that it will have the greatest impact.


    Working on this will require lots of patience.  Binding 2 pieces together with iCord is slow going.  I am happy with the result so far though.  iCord is reserved for working on at home, I still have the other 2 sections to keep me busy with straight knitting.


    There are approximately 220 stitches on each diagonal, times 3.  Then there is the entire edge in iCord.


    • Pam Moriarty 2:27 pm on March 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You have such an eye for color. I cannot wait to see this next week.
      Happy Wedding Monday!

      Liked by 1 person

    • knitting1105 2:28 pm on March 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you Pam. On both counts! So excited for tomorrow!!!


    • Gracey 7:09 pm on March 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Oh my! Not sure I’d have the patience…as my many shawl WIPs can attest…’s going to be gorgeous!


  • knitting1105 6:34 pm on March 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Belated Happy Green Day~ 

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