Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Bunnies

My sister and I never really played with dolls much. We liked stuffed animals better, especially bunnies. We got a new one in our Easter baskets every year. The first ones we named Hoppy, both of them. I think maybe there was a bunny on Captain Kangeroo named Hoppy that we named them after. I made some bunnies with clothes for my grand children, the two year old and the not yet two year old.... I introduced them last week, and then took them back because I wasn't finished with the clothes and had to make sure they fit, as well as clothes for big headed bunnies can fit....

The naked bunnies.

The summer outfit....

The fall outfit...

The winter outfit....

The Easter Bunnies and their new pals.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Felting Experiments

I am still knitting fish and got the idea to try felting them. I am thinking it will make the increase stitches show less and make them a firmer object. I knitted 5 different color variations and took notes on the pattern, yarn and needle size. I put them in the washer with HOT water, a little soap and a couple of pairs of jeans. Then let them agitate for 7 minutes. Squeezed them out and into a bucket of cold water. Repeated this a few times.

They came out rather torpedo like......So I made some more, trying to exaggerate the length and the tail. Here they are before felting.

I also made some bunnies....felted everybody:

The striped fish and the gray bunny were gifts for my friend Mike's kids.

I am still working towards the perfect fish shape. Have been also knitting bunny accessories....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mitten Frenzy...

Before I went  to California I started some worsted weight mittens with some bands of fair isle type stuff above the ribbing. I quickly realized that the start of the row was in the wrong place in relation to the thumb and I didn't like my color combination. So I ripped it up and made this sample piece...

This was a handy reference for knitting my grand daughter 4 variously colored tiny mittens (so 2 can be lost and there will still be a pair). Tiny mittens are FUN! Really fast. I made the tops so that they will go on either hand.

I started a pair for myself and finished them in San Francisco and waiting for planes. Between SF and Milwaukee I lucked out and had 3 seats to myself so I could knit. In a full plane all I can manage to do is read. Feels like if I were to knit the person next to me would be jabbed by my pointy elbows. I was hoping to be bumped and given free plane tickets, but 3 seats is the next best thing...

Tried the star toe option for the ends. Decided it has too much texture.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


The day before I left my grand daughter's house I painted a mural on her bedroom wall. Her parents had moved a huge piece of furniture the day before while we were at the park without them...leaving a big bare space next to the mural my Iowa daughter had painted earlier...

My painting is on the right. It is some sort of interesting clay, non toxic paint. The blue was a new color and sort of strong compared to the others. The banner the bird is holding says SWEET DREAMS.

This was a fun, quick project. I tried to make my part go with the original part and I think it works. And most importantly, the two year old loves it!

There were a few other grand daughter projects in the house...

This is a giant crocheted doily I made as a baby blanket. I bought a book of doilies supposed to be made with skinny thread and a tiny crochet hook. I just sort of blew one up. Tore it up numerous get it sort of flat I think I took out 2 of the pineapple motifs. I also made one for my mom who had had a knee replacement and my grand son who may not have even been born yet.

This is my version of a baby quilt. Really fun to make. Tied together with cotton thick crochet thread.

Monday, March 14, 2011


The night before I left on my trip I finished up this image.

Image copyright Diane Muse 2011

I'm quite happy with it. Need to order some new screens to put these new images on.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fish Knitting

I went to visit my 2 year old grand daughter in California last week. She did some pretend knitting with me...note the yarn scraps and needles in her hand.

I started knitting her a fish from a pattern I got off the Lion Brand Yarn website. It had you make three pieces and sew them together. I knit one and realized I could knit all three at once with 4 needles and not have to sew it together so I did. Forced my daughter to drive me to a fabric store for stuffing.

                                                                                                                             Then I made another one...

The 2 year old seems to like them...

After I left I kept knitting fish...

Made the blue one at my friend in San Francisco's kitchen table while she was working on her computer.

Got stuck at the Milwaukee Airport for 4 hours on my way home and started fooling around with the red one and realized the three sections don't have to be the same. Then I decided they don't need to have fins to look like fish.

I am plotting a gray stingray, think I can figure out how to make it flat...

I think I am understanding knitting as never before from making these silly fish....thinking over sculptural ideas, will be interesting to see what happens.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Mittens Revisited

I added some ribbing to the mittens. Then I decided they were a little too big and a little too long for me so I sent them to my son.

Here's the fancy plastic needles from Hobby Lobby. They only have them in sizes 6, 7, and 8.

I made another pair of lumpy, hand spun mittens that fit me better.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Shirt Image

 I think I have been working on this for a couple of years. Originally I was looking for an old found image I had in my head but never found. Erica loaned me a booklet of craft instructions that had it almost, but not quite. Eventually I had my daughter take a photo of my hands knitting with a piece of white paper in my lap. I tried to do something with it and realized that I needed the hands from the knitters view. About a year ago I had my friend Peter the photographer take a photo of my hands knitting with me on the floor and the hands in the air in front of whiteness in the photo studio at Meredith Publishing where we were working. I tried to trace it with tracing paper and couldn't see well enough and gave up. Just last week I finally traced it with acetate and started working with it and realized that the knitting was too detailed in relation to the hands...then I went to Michaels and spent too much on their fattest yarn and some big needles. Knitted up a little piece and called Peter and demanded he take another photo. Went over to his place and  we set it up in his shop. Me sitting on the floor with my hands up in front of a little table with some pieces of whiteness behind. He did the lighting right like he always does and it was perfect.

I came home and traced the image on acetate. Then I blew it up a little on the copier/printer. Then I cut it out of rubylith, an obscure art material formerly used in commercial art. It is acetate with a layer of red stuff on it. You cut through the red with an xacto knife and peel away the parts you don't want to print. I like it because you get a nice sharp edge and it's like drawing with a knife. Before I got very far on the knit stitches I realized I didn't like the shape of them. I retraced them, paying more attention to the shape of each stitch.

Finally I recut everything so it was just right. I spent 12 hours on this on Monday. I would guess I spent a total of 25 - 30 hours on this project counting all the false starts. I will have it put onto a silk screen and print it on shirts and tote bags.

Image copyright Diane Muse 2011

Then I got an idea for another knitting shirt. I had Peter take a couple of more photos and am working on it today...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


My friend Linda gave me this whole basket of yarn she dyed with natural dyes made from plants many years ago. First she gave it to her niece. Then the niece was moving and I was in the right place at the right time... A lot of it is hand spun. I finally bought some crazy plastic double pointed knitting needles at Hobby Lobby the other day and spent last Saturday trying out a basic mitten pattern. Of course I had to change it to fit my gauge and I thought I took notes...but of course the first one fits perfectly and the second one not so much. I think I am going to pick up stitches on the bottom and add some ribbing. I am pleased with the basic pattern tho.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I usually make a lot of Valentines and this year was no exception. I tend to put it off and then eventually I get started and then I can't stop. I like Valentines better than Christmas cards because there's not so much pressure to send them. Also it's sort of a dark, melancholy time of the year and when I make them I think about all the people I am going to send them to and it makes me happy. And they are really fun to make! Good old cut and paste.

 I also embriodered some Valentine shirts for some friends and family. Didn't use a hoop, just have to be careful with the tension of the thread.