Welcome to Diva Works

When I first started talking about early retirement, I thought I'd like to start a business based on my love of fabric and fiber. So, my best friend and I started talking about names for the business. As you can imagine, we came up with some outrageous names. Then we decided to honor my late mother who was an opera singer - hence the "Diva". Then, because I am unable to focus on one art form, we settled on the generic "Works". I started this blog before my retirement but as of January 1, 2008, I am voluntarily unemployed (retired). I've moved to Virginia and there don't seem to be enough hours in the day and the list of things I want to create keeps growing.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Knitting

Unbelievably, I've again let months go by without posting.  However, my favorite time of year is here and I've already begun to get my house in the Christmas spirit.  The tree is up and decorated and I'm working on the the rest of the house I've even made some new ornaments this year.

Most of my ornaments are handmade by me or by friends.  My Jewish friend, Carole, has been making ornaments every year for many years as gifts for her Christian friends.  She tries to make each year a learning experience by learning a new skill while making the ornaments - felting, glass fusing, weaving, and this year quilling (though I haven't seen this one yet).  I almost feel as if these ornaments are a history of our friendship.

This year I bought a book called "55 Christmas Balls to Knit".  I'm not sure why I bought it but I'm glad I did and  I began delving into the available patterns.  So far I've made six with only have fourty-nine more to go :-)

Anyway, I've really enjoyed working on them.  They are knit on double-pointed needles and then stuffed with fiber fill.  They turned out to be much larger than I anticipated but then the tree is pretty large so that's not a real problem.

Given my posting history to date, I probably won't be back this month, so I'd like to wish you and your family Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year.


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Sunday, August 05, 2012

One Purple Sock, One Green Sock

I saw this yarn online and I fell in love with the colors. The yarn is Kauni Effekt and it’s made in one of the Scandinavian countries - can’t remember which one. It’s all shades of green and purple and I thought it would make a great pair of socks. So, I started knitting with the almost lime green yarn.

Gradually the the color started to darken (a really well done color transition) and by the time I reached the heel, it was a dark blue/green. I continued to knit but I’m starting to wonder where the purple is. As I approach the toe I’m starting to pray - “Please, just a purple toe will be fine”.

Hint of opposing colors at the top
Hint of opposing color at the toe
As I’m doing the Kitchener stitch at the toe, there’s a small hint of pink. NO PURPLE!! So, I start the next sock and the pink progresses and by the time I reach the heel flap I have a nice strong purple and at the Kitchener stitch I realize I now have one green sock and one purple sock from the same ball of yarn.

So here’s the thing. This yarn probably has one of the most subtle and beautiful color transitions I’ve ever seen. However, the length of the color run, which would be ideal in a larger garment, is a bit long for socks. It’s a good thing I don’t mind the unconventional. I’m just waiting so someone to tell me I have on socks that don’t match. I will reply that I have another pair just like this at home.     END OF POST

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Socks, Again

And here is my second pair. These were knitted from a yarn called Mini Moochi. It is a singles that is loosely spun and has a habit of unspinning while you’re knitting. That makes it very prone to splitting. However, it turned out to be less trouble than I anticipated and the colors were worth it.

This yarn has a beautiful, gradual color progression and the repeat length is perfect for a pair of socks. It’s also super soft. The pattern is called Tidal Wave and I really love these socks.   END OF POST

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Still Life Moving Along

Between all the other things I've been doing, I'm still working on the fabric still lifes.  The piecing is finished except for the tables and the search is on for the right fabric.

Once the fabric has been found, they will be pressed and fused and the stitching will begin.  I really like this technique and it has given me the perfect oppportunity to work on my cotton dyeing.  It took two tries to get the yellow almost right.  I say almost since I would probably do it a third time if I had the energy and if I hadn't OD'd on dye in March.  But it's close enough to what i wanted and I'm reasonably pleased with the result.  So far, so good.  There will be more to come when the table is chosen and the stitching begins.     END OF POST

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wool Dyeing

Lately, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in dye. I signed up for a wool dyeing class and between this and the cotton dyeing for the still life, my kitchen has been covered in plastic for quite some time. But you can see from the wool color wheel I dyed that I’ve been having some fun.

Three color dyeing
Pastel dyeing

That’s not to say that I haven’t run into any disasters. But my one disaster turned out to be serendipitous. The assignment was to dye three values of the same hue on one length of yarn or roving. I won’t go into all of the details of my fiasco (or the mess I made in the kitchen) but, suffice it to say, my black, charcoal, and light gray sample turned out black, brown (when the black dye separated) and light gray. It looks suspiciously like a racoon’s tail.

The more I looked at it, though, the more it grew on me so I decided to spin some up and see what I got. I spun a rustic looking thick and thin yarn and with my first look at the singles and I was hooked. I plyed some of it and knitted a swatch. Sometimes the colors met in the ply and sometimes they didn’t. This gave the knitted swatch a great tweed look. The swatch is only 20 stitches and in a larger piece I won’t get the color block effect but that will be fine.

Now the question is, can I reproduce that disaster?       END OF POST

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Still Life In Fabric

I‘ve gotten myself involved in so many things, I’m starting to get stressed out. Wasn’t that supposed to go away when I retired? One of those things is an online course in doing still life quilts. The first step was taking the picture. Somehow I couldn’t see myself doing a quilt of a vase like the rest of the class. So, of course, being me, I had to jump in over my head. I went to the supermarket and bought a red, a green, and a yellow pepper to set up my still life. The course included how to set up the lighting for the photograph and I got three pictures that I liked so I have decided to do a series.The process also requires the use of multiple values of the same hue. I have very bad luck finding that in fabric stores so I have done some gradation dyeing for my peppers.

Anyway, here’s the first of the three in progress. Of course it won’t be finished by the time the course ends (so what’s new) but I know I will be happier with them than I would have been with a vase. I’ll be back with them as they are completed.   END OF POST

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