Sunday, July 6, 2014

Covered in Copper

Thank goodness for holiday weekends! I had time to finish the cuff and leaf it. It was a messy job and my backyard picnic table is covered in copper leaf, but I think it will turn out ok. After covering it in the leaf, I let it dry and then rub it all over to take off the loose leaf. You can see in a comparison how the copper oxidizes. The swatch is beginning to turn brown.

I want to be able to make it reversible so I think I will sew buttons on both sides. Also, that will make it so it can be buttoned like a cuff with cufflinks. It gives the piece a lot of options for fastening. I ordered some copper buttons from Etsy so I am waiting for them to show up before I finish it.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Copper Cuff

I have been thinking a lot about what to make with a copper leafed knitted thing. I don’t think it is practical to do anything that will be worn a lot as the leaf does get a cracked and brown patina with age (which I think is beautiful, but probably best left for occasionally wearing). So I am thinking of doing jewelry still but I also want it to be a substantial piece. So I am envisioning a cuff, like the cuff of a men’s shirt but out of copper.

Like this (see above). I made the swatch out of a green hemp and I think I want to keep that yarn. The hemp is substantial enough to take the leafing and glue. It is also a long-wearing fiber which I think will only help this piece. I also like the green I used. It is a verdigris green (basically oxidized copper color). The idea of the green oxidation color peaking through the copper is appealing to me.

This might be a quick knit up.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Copper Leaf

I tried some different glues on swatches and found one that adheres the leaf but still leaves the knitting pliable.
Leafing is a messy business especially on knitting. I am not sure if anyone else but me has ever tried it but I definitely made a mess of my hands. It comes off for the most part, except for my thumb.

So, I know I want to make something with copper leaf over a bed of knitting. Now what should I make?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Creation and Erasure

We have a new exhibition at my Museum right now called Creation and Erasure: Art of the Bingham Canyon Mine. I was in charge of the community programming for this exhibition including the interactive space within the exhibit. Which means that I have spent the last six months embroiled in all things copper mine. The exhibition itself is really beautiful. From early documentary photographs to current critical art, the inspiration of this mine for artists (including big-time artists like Ansel Adams and Robert Smithson) is amazing. And I had a lot of fun making the interactives - you can explore the art, history and science of the mine, or even draw your own landscape. 

Bingham Canyon Mine is the largest open pit copper mine in the world. It is located in the Oquirrh Mountains by Salt Lake City, Utah and can be seen from anywhere is the valley. And even from space (well everything can be seen from space now) but it is said that if you were to take a trip to Mars, the last man-made thing you would see with your naked eye would be the Bingham Canyon Mine. Now called Kennecott Copper Mine, the mine has been in existence for over 150 years. It produces 300,000 tons of copper per year, providing 13% of the US copper needs and 33% of the valley’s pollution.

Although it is an eyesore (it basically destroyed a mountain) and it does pollute quite a lot, I am aware that copper is a necessity in today’s world. I wouldn’t be blogging without copper in my computer and cell phone. And I wouldn’t be able to create without it. A year or so ago, I created a cuff knit with copper wire inspired by the town of Lark that was destroyed when the mine became too large.

With my mind in all things copper over the last few months, I have been dreaming of making something with copper again. But, I want to experiment more with leafing. If you remember the Silver Queen Handkerchief that I silver leafed and submitted to an exhibition. In that piece I was looking for a very flakey, loose leafing for an effect. But I have been thinking that if I use a different glue, I might be able to get a better leafing that can be worn.

I will begin some experimentation and see what happens. But, if you are in Salt Lake City this summer, it is worth a trip to come see the exhibition.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Mushrooms in Utah? But we're a desert! It’s amazing but Utah has many mushroom species, from the most delicate and delicious to the most deadly. I am always amazed when I find one of the several thousand species of fungi found in Utah. My husband just rolls his eyes when I make him stop so I can photograph any I see while hiking.

The ones that always fascinate me are the red capped ones. Mainly because I know that most red capped mushrooms are poisonous but they are also the most beautiful. Here in Utah, like everywhere else in the northern hemisphere, we have russula emetica. This mushroom also goes by vomiting russula or the sickener so you know that it isn’t good. It grows mainly in northern Utah in the pine forests. I usually see it while camping in the Uintas.

I recently saw a little crocheted mushroom pin that was so cute, I wanted to make my own knitted version, so what better mushroom than the sickener?

It is an easy knit with a little embroidery. I know it is easy to just figure out but I made it into a free pattern if anyone else wants to make one. Enjoy your Utah russula emetica (but don't eat it)!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sarah’s Sampler Mittens

I went camping this weekend with friends and family in beautiful Diamond Fork Canyon in Northern Utah. I was able to get the mittens done and photographed while in the canyon. Here is a picture of Fifth Creek, a hike we took while camping. 

As you can see from the pattern on the back of the mitten, I designed the mittens in the spirit of Sarah’s Sampler. With random floral patterns scattered around. I decided not to put an alphabet or numbers so as not to clutter the design too much. But then thought I should at least put my initials and year just like most samplers have. So the base of the palms of the mittens has VC on one and 14 on the other. In the pattern give a sample alphabet so anyone can do their initials and year.

These are pretty quick to knit, especially because the color work is done at the end in duplicate stitch. The lovely Road to China yarn from the Fibre Company is perfect for these delicate mittens. Very soft alpaca, silk, cashmere and camel with muted colors just like the antique samplers from the DUP museum. A little decadent but totally worth hauling 1,300 miles across the plains on foot.

I have the pattern up for sale on Ravelry. I loved getting inspiration from my local textile collection. I will have to scour our history museums for more gems like this one.