Fiber Arts Cross Training

comments (0) July 17th, 2008     

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Tina_Hilton Tina Hilton, contributor
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Patience Is a Virtue by Suzen Green was hand-dyed and hand-knitted.
This fabric is ready to knit.
Fast Fun & Easy Fabric Knitting by Cyndy Lyle Rymer (C&T Publishing, 2005).
Mason-Dixon Knitting by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne (Potter Craft, 2006).
Patience Is a Virtue by Suzen Green was hand-dyed and hand-knitted.

Patience Is a Virtue by Suzen Green was hand-dyed and hand-knitted.

Photo: Suzen Green

Put on your sweats and running shoes, it’s time for a fiber arts workout! This personal training session will introduce you to a variety of project ideas that will strengthen your fiber arts muscles! These creative calisthenics are designed to inspire you to take your knitting to the next level.

The inquisitive nature of crafters leads us to experiment with many kinds of creative media. Many of us are ambidextrous and work on diverse types of projects simultaneously. I love to quilt, so there are always several quilts in the works in various stages. The alchemy of dying fabric and yarn is a fascination with me, and I often embellish commercial textiles with special painting, stamping, and stenciling. I have even been known to dabble in the jewelry arts. Some of you sew garments and even skillfully practice the fine art of embroidery. Hey, I think I just described the CraftStylish Diva!

With all this crafting going on, we have an extensive stash of wonderful materials just begging to be incorporated into our knitting creations. You have squirreled away loads of nifty craft treasures reserved for when divine inspiration strikes or the perfect project comes along. By utilizing supplies that are collecting dust or idly taking up space, we can strengthen our imagination and the creative juices will flow freely.

Here are a few ideas to get you started. I’m so excited about all the possibilities that I’m working up a sweat in my creative gymnasium, working out ideas for projects that will appear in future blog postings. I hope these tips inspire you to jump into an energizing creative workout.

Knit with fabric

Stacks of fabric unassigned to a particular project or leftovers are a perfect material for knitting. Create practical household items like throw rugs, place mats, and pillows. Personal items such as purses, tote bags, and scarves will show off your fabric stash knitted up alone or blended with a strand or two of yarn. Cut or tear the fabric into narrow strips; the width depends on the project you select. Connect the strips either by tying or sewing the ends together. For a finished look, fold the strips lengthwise or just knit up the strips as is. Roll the strips together in a ball as you would with yarn and you are ready to go!

Check out these great books for detailed instructions and inspiration:
Mason-Dixon Knitting by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne
Fast Fun & Easy Fabric Knitting by Cyndy Lyle Rymer

Transform sewn garments with knitted sleeves, collars, or cuffs

Woven fabric and knitted fabric combined make for a very interesting mixed-media garment. You could begin from scratch with a commercial sewing pattern with knitted components or inject new life into an item already in your closet.

Check out this great article, "ASG Notions" written by Susan Lazear for the American Sewing Guild for its Fall 2007 publication. Download the article by clicking on "ASG Notions Article" at the top of the page.

Custom-color highlights for yarn and your knitted projects

Why dye your own yarn when there are limitless colorways available in the LYS? Because there is nothing more satisfying than the alchemy of dying your own yarn. Imagine creating a custom yarn designed in your own personal color palette. There are a variety of methods employed in dying yarn depending on its fiber content. For plant fiber-based yarn such as cotton, rayon, hemp, and linen, use Procion MX dyes. Animal-based yarns including silk and wool benefit from an Acid Dye. Have any Easter egg dye tablets left lying around? This wonderful process is cost effective and produces a joyful, springtime palette. A trip to the supermarket will reward you with a rainbow of hues courtesy of Kool-Aid. The colors rock and it smells yummy!

Embellish your knitted projects to enhance your handiwork. Add a little pizzazz by applying textile paint for color enhancement while maintaining the soft hand of your yarn. Try a combination of the subtle metallic and pearlescent Lumiere mixed with Dye-Na-Flow. Annette Pierson of Jacquard recommends you test on a knitted swatch before committing it to the finished project.

Dyes and paints: Check out a full range of colorific products from Jacquard.
Egg-dye tutorial from Kathryn Ivy
Kool-Aid dye technique

Don’t stop now! Crochet trim on your knitted projects a la Nicky Epstein. Embroider a garland of flowers on a knit cap. Knit a teeny tiny one-dimensional sweater to dress up a plain note card. Dip into your stash of beads and knit them into a lacy scarf. Now you are working up that crafty glow!

posted in: yarn, dye

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