Studio Sunday

Bob and I had a lovely hike yesterday, and I got lucky with this photo, which I plan to make into a felt painting.

Today’s essay from Knitting Season Club is about losing yourself in the creative process. I don’t need any help with that as I am a daydreamer by nature, but she did share two songs from Alice Coltrane. How refreshing to be introduced to a female jazz great, and I now have a new favorite song which I am currently listening to on repeat as I swatch in the studio.

I have two design ideas for the Warm Hands competition. I am swatching for both today. One design is for Milarrochy Tweed, the other is for Ard Thir. These arm warmers were knit for me by my friend Marjorie (holla!) and they, along with this alpaca poncho from Bolivia, are my inspiration for one design.

The other is a spin off of a design I was already working on. I’m being careful not to put too much out there, because designs aren’t considered if they’ve already been made public.

And I got some new yarn this week!

This is Cabecou Lace in Sel Gris. I will knit Anne Hanson’s Dust Devils with it. This yarn smells really good, by the way. I had a hankering (get it?) to knit something lace this summer.

I’d better stop yapping and get swatching.

Remember When I…

Today’s blog post brought to you by Knitting Season Journal prompt, Facebook memories, and lunch time naval gazing.

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Remember when I turned the front room in my house into my first studio? The walls were a cheerful green, and I had Ikea cubes full of yarn, fabric, fiber, patterns, books, tools, sketchbooks, colored pencils, there’s even a statue of Indra up there. It was a very creative and prolific time for me. I was knitting and sewing, designing garments and knitting patterns, teaching, and making artwork, most of it knitted.

 

I had to scroll back through a decade of old Facebook photos to get these – back through other memories and times when I hurt so bad that I hurt all the way through, all the time. I felt that phantom heart pain as I scrolled – and tried to scroll faster so I wouldn’t feel it! Anyway, these dresses. I loved this dress so much I made two for friends and one for me. I wish I still had mine, the linen one on the right.

 

I made a lot of fun things. All of the things I’ve shown here, with the exception of the hand dyed, hand spun mulberry silk yarn and the linen dress, were birthday gifts for friends in my Mother Artists at Work group. It was friends that got me through those dark times. Thank you, friends!

Yeah, no.

I made a mistake when I bought this yarn for the Oa Hoodie. I probably could get 6 stitches to an inch with a DK, but would I want to wear that fabric? Stranded colorwork? Nope. I knew better. I can only blame myself.

My hope is to go ahead and purchase the yarn from KDD with my club discount and find something else to do with this lovely DK.

ETA: The yarn this pattern calls for is DK, but the pattern itself calls for sport weight. Very confusing! So maybe it’s a DK yarn knit tight at sport gauge? I tend toward loose knitting, so I’m not sure I would be able to get gauge with that yarn even if I tried.

I will be so glad when January is over. This month has really kicked my arse.

Enjoy some pics from my studio.

It’s Good to Have Goals

When I decided to lease a studio space for the coming new year, I made a commitment to myself to set creative goals. One of those goals is to start designing knitting patterns again.

Although I never had much success selling my patterns or kits, I did have some success in making, showing, and selling my designs and artwork, and in teaching sewing, knitting, and felting classes. At the time, it was my way of trying to build a career for myself in the arts while also staying at home raising our young children.

Life happened while I was busy making other plans. I needed to earn an income – fast – and I started over, building another career in business. I am grateful and I feel fortunate to have been able to support myself and my kids, and wholeheartedly love my work in fair trade. I recognize how lucky I am to be able to earn a living wage while helping others do the same with handmade goods.

One of the boundaries to creating my own knitting patterns is the plethora of patterns out there. If I want to knit something, all I have to do is search for it on Ravelry, and there is usually something that fits the bill. This year, however, I’m not going to do that. My challenge to myself is to sketch what I want to make, take the measurements, swatch, do the math, and knit it (if I still want to make it.)

It doesn’t mean I’m not going to knit other designers’ patterns. I have a whole list of knits I want to make that will last me well into next year, and I’m sure there will be more! But when there is something that I am envisioning, I am challenging myself to create my own pattern for it.

I’m also setting goals to sketch one design per week, and create a pattern draft for one design per month. That doesn’t mean I have to knit it. But I do hope to knit at least four of my own patterns next year. I will also make patterns available for free to people who would like to test knit them for me.

In order to meet these goals, I am dedicating 8 hours each week to studio time: 3 hours on Wednesday evenings, and 5 hours on Sundays. This is a lot on top of a 40 hour work week, family time, Haven Herbs time (5-10 hours per week), gym time (1 hour per week,) hiking, phew! There’s so much I want to do! Luckily I’m one of those people who wakes up at 5AM and is finished with half my work before breakfast!

I also still need to fit in art making time at my studio, as I need to create work for another group show taking place in July 2019. I have old artwork on display in my studio, and another fear I have is of going down the artmaking road more than the design road. So I’ve got to be sure to balance these things if I really want to create my own designs.

Wow, thanks for reading all of that if you are still with me. Here’s your reward, some photos!

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Here’s me being impatient to try on my Carbeth sleeve. I’m ready to start sleeve number 2.

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Here’s my favorite 10 year old being creative with glitter. I love how scientific her approach is to creativity.

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Here’s my Christmas gift to Bob. He’s lived in the US so long, he does not have a passport. If he leaves the country, he can’t return. So I put together a little kit of (almost) everything he needs for his Canadian passport. The only thing I didn’t do is fill out the form for him. We are hoping to travel to Nova Scotia in October to visit his family.

Here’s a Q&A for you, my first! You can answer questions in the comments or post them to your blog. If you post them, please leave a comment so we can go read them!

  1. Do you set New Year’s Goals or Resolutions for yourself?
  2. Do you have any creative goals for the new year?
  3.  Some people like to set a goal for a certain number of things to make for the year. For example: 18 in 18. Do you do this? If so, what is the number? How do you decide the number of things to make?
  4. Do you have blogging goals for the new year? If so, what are they?
  5. What is your favorite thing you’ve made in 2018? Post a pic!

Now I have to answer my own questions.

  1. Yes, I do.
  2.  Yes, I listed them above.
  3.  I did create a number of designs I want to create in the new year. I came up with the number by trying to decide what was realistic, but still challenging, based on the time I am setting aside.
  4. My blogging goal for 2019 is to blog two times per week, although I hope to blog more.
  5. My favorite thing I’ve made in 2018 is my Birds of Blendon Hat!

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Wooly Woods

I made two felt paintings for an upcoming art show. They are based on two Instagram photos I took last winter while walking in one of our local metro parks, Blendon Woods.

Photos:

Felt “paintings”:

Right now I’m in the process of framing them. I like how they turned out, and am planning to do more work like this. I’m also framing the photos to show with them, but as it’s a group show and I’m not sure how much space I’ll have, I’ll have to wait and see about that.

I am also hoping to include my Birds of Blendon hat which I am almost done with! I’ll post when completed (hopefully tomorrow.)

Are you glad it’s Friday? I worked on a budget all day. I’m glad it’s Friday.

Experiments and a Q&A

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Today I experimented with wet felting my coopworth fleece, real (pressed) leaves, and beeswax. Not a total failure, but nothing great either. I have an art piece due in a couple of weeks and hey, guess what, I don’t have one ready to hang. I might have to fall back on knitting, as it is the one medium I feel I have mastery over. I do still have time to knit something, but I am lacking a strong vision.

So how about a Q&A from nothingbutknit2?

What is the first actual craft you remember doing as a child? (Not coloring or finger painting. Something more special that you didn’t do regularly.)

Embroidery with my grandmother. I also remember some really great crafts at my hippy dippy primary school. We made those ice cube candles and sand candles, and batiked our own t-shirts. I made a Wild Cherry design on mine. (Enjoy.)

What is the craziest craft you’ve tried?

I can’t think of anything crazy. I made corn dollies for a short while. It was fun and easy and I was good at it. The hardest part was sourcing the dried wheat.

What craft would you like to try but you know you’d be bad at it?

I would love to try lost wax casting my own jewelry. I probably would be bad at it because I’ve never been a good sculptor. It was the one art class I didn’t take in college. Although, if I am being honest, I’m not sure that’s relevant. I did take painting, and I’m a horrible painter.

If you had to give up your crafting how would you spend your crafting time?

Probably still sitting on the couch watching horror movies but not knitting. I would like to spend more time hiking, though.

What craft isn’t your thing? Have you tried it or do you just know you wouldn’t like it?

Macrame. You would think it would be my thing, all fiber arty and really trendy right now. But I guess I have some old memories of the 70’s lurking in the back of my mind and some resistance to trying it. I have seen some beautiful jewelry made with macrame.

Wool Painting

I finished phase one of my artwork for This Inspired That at Open Door Art Studio. I find fiber arts are often a mystery to people so I took a time lapse video of the wet felting process.

This still needs some work – at least a little needle felting to secure some of the rosettes, maybe some stitching (I haven’t decided), and then a hanging system of some kind. But I’m pleased overall with how this is coming out.

New Sock Yarn!

I decided to embrace being an “over the pond” knitter and buy my sock yarn from over the pond. This blog post explains why long fiber, tightly spun wool makes the best 100% wool sock yarn, so I went for it. Plus it’s such a pretty blue!

I’m still working on my WHW club hat. I’m almost to the crown. I may need to redesign it so the pattern works with the decreases. I may not be able to enter the contest, but that’s ok. It’s been a good exercise.

I signed up to participate in an art show. It’s the first since 2015. I’m planning a felted piece. I’ll blog about that later.

Heavy on Design, Light on Knitting

I haven’t felt much like blogging this week. I didn’t get much knitting done so there is nothing to show off. But I did work on my design for the WHW hat contest.

After getting reacquainted with my eraser, I decided there had to be an app for that (charting designs) and of course there is!

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I used to have an entire software suite devoted to knitting design. I paid a pretty penny for it. I’ve lost it since, and it was so long ago, I think it may have come on floppy discs.

I still have to figure out how to continue the design along the decreasing at the top, so this will change. I did start on the colorwork, but color design is my weakness.

I went to a post-modern conceptual art school, where IF we talked about color, it was only in relation to how it made the viewer feel. It was never discussed in a design context.

I think I did take a class or read a book once about the color wheel and complementary colors, but I have to admit this is just not a strong suit. I have tried to observe and be inspired by the colors in nature for this project, and see if I can work them in together in some way. I feel really insecure about it, though, so I signed up to take a color theory class in February at Yarn It and Haberdashery. I guess I’ll muddle through until then.

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What else? I started a Serenity Stitch at Preserve, a local tea and herb shop. It’s like a Stitch and Bitch, but with a focus on mindfulness and relaxation. I’m not sure if we will do exercises or just sit and stitch and drink tea and enjoy each other’s company. I will wait until the first meeting to see what other people need in their lives.

I expect there will be some teaching of knitting, though, because that is what people keep asking me to do. Teach them to knit! And I’m TOTALLY JAZZED about it!

 

New Year’s Day Round Up

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I finally get to hang up my Goats of Anarchy calendar. I’ve had it since September!

I didn’t blog every day between Christmas and New Year’s, but I did knit almost every day. Here are some project updates.

My J&S swatch is coming along. It’s time to experiment with the cables. I was pleased I could jump right back into 2-color stranded knitting, although my tension was a little off on the purl row back. Luckily the sweater should be knit in the round.

Here is a tip. If you want to manifest something into your life, put it on your blog! Look what I got for Christmas!

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One of my presents from Bob was also to sign me up for Kate Davies’ West Highland Way Club – patterns only, but I will certainly be saving my pennies for some yarn as well. I’m very excited about it and can’t wait for it to start!

I did swatch the J&S Shetland while watching Shetland a second time. (I had to for tongue-in-cheek purposes.) I tried to take a photo but couldn’t get one worth sharing. In the first episode, one of the characters is wearing Kate Davies’ Peerie Flooers hat. When I saw that, I remembered I was introduced to Kate Davies Designs through the show the first time I watched it. I think that moment was the spark that rekindled my love of knitting last year. (Hmm… that hat is knit with J&S jumper weight… Hmm…)

Although, I will probably knit the Goats of Inversnaid hat first. What can I say? I really love goats. And so does my youngest. He might get a goat hat, too.

I’m off to make a digital vision board for 2018 full of knitting hopes and dreams.  Happy New Year! What are your aspirations for 2018?