Artist Date Sunday

Today I took myself on an artist date to a couple of galleries in the Short North, an arts district in Columbus. It was a special day – Sunday Bazaar- when artists are working or talking about their work in the galleries and shops.

At Studios on High, an artists’ cooperative, I met Jennifer Jolley Brown, a printmaker. She was trying a new medium for her, woodcut.

We enjoyed chatting about art and life, and I love this image she is working on. She gave me some woodcutting tips in case I should ever try it. I must look like a serial enthusiast. (Is it that obvious?)

Then I came back to my studio and stewed in my juices a bit. After a long leisurely stare out the window, I opened my new planner/journal.

I had this binder made on Zazzle. This is a Carl Larsson painting. The knitting on the table and the textile on the chair, which must be Karin’s, inspire me. Really, the whole thing inspires me. It’s a home scene but so light and colorful — how I would like for my home to be.

I worked a little in my wardrobe planner. My aspirations are so modest here. Surely this is possible!

I was inspired enough to trace and cut out the Ottobre jeans.

The plaid is for the pocket bags.

I missed a few days blogging, but I did catch up on your blogs today!

Sock It To Me Monday

In the spirit of blogaraderie, I started knitting a sock just so I could blog about it today. “Sock It To Me Monday” was started by mildlygranola, and picked up by quiteayarnblog. Of course I wanted to join in! (I also wanted to start on a sock, since I’ve been talking about it for such a long time.)

This is Purl Soho’s toe up sock pattern in Moondrake Yarn Co‘s Silky Fingering in Autumn Jewel. I picked up this yarn when I was in Oklahoma City. It has a lovely sheen, and the silk gives the merino some hardiness the way nylon does in other sock yarns. After I took these photos, I had to rip the whole thing out because I overlooked the part of the pattern where you are supposed to knit the yarn over increases through the back loop to close the hole. I don’t want socks with a bunch of holes at the toes!

I will restart them tonight, the correct way, and I’ll share more later (next Monday of course) once I have it really going.

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Here’s me in my Marauder’s Map York. It’s not as comfortable as I want it to be, which has less to do with the pattern and more to do with the fabric I chose. I have noticed my sewing tends toward costume. I think the Seamwork collection planner will be good for me. It will help me think about what I really like to wear versus concepts that aren’t super wearable. I like the idea of this shirt. I think this pattern is better suited to a fabric with more drape. I also don’t like the neckline. I don’t see why you should use bias tape when you could make a facing. The sleeves are cool. I turned the cuff fabric around so I could read that part when I’m wearing it.

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This is a photo from an advertisement that showed up in one of my social media feeds. I don’t remember the company. I saved it because I liked the look of it. I like the soft palette and three different patterns in similar colors. I’m going to print it out and put it in my collection planner for inspiration.

My First Vlog!

Inspired by Compassionknit, I vlogged today!

This is so fun. Maybe next time I’ll put on makeup and NOT hit the table making it vibrate. Sorry! (Not sorry.)

This would be a great format for The Just Craft, which I have been procrastinating on because I feel overwhelmed about how to get started. I keep thinking I need to get equipment but maybe I could start out vlogging?

I forgot to tell you I found the Marauder’s Map fabric at Crimson Tate when I was in Indianapolis last week.

ETA: Well, sadface, I don’t have enough Marauder’s Map fabric to make the Lily blouse. I’m on the hunt for a simpler top pattern or there’s always PJ pants.

Phew! Bizzzzzy

Last week was a travel week for work, but I still managed to accomplish some things.

I finished my PJ pants.

I started a dress. You can tell I was in an Eastery mood. I’ve had this material for ages – a gift from my friend Laurel – and today I decided I need a spring dress. (I’ll probably wear it over jeans though.)

I sold “Meditations on Wholeness” today to my friend Harvest, someone I know will treasure it as much as I do.

I pulled this little dude out of storage and fluffed him. He’s still in pretty good shape!

I went to Craftin’ Outlaws and had a lovely time. I saw someone selling her hand block printed textiles and it got me thinking about fair trade textiles from India that are block printed by hand, like my pillowcase, and how the desire to make beautiful things by hand spans all cultures.

I also bought these earrings.

I drank wine and talked with old friends and shared my plans to start a podcast, which will hopefully bear some fruit soon.

I am plugging away on Hitofude!

It will look so pretty with my new dress. Must! Knit! Faster!

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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Knitting Friends

Nothingbutknit graciously offered to participate in a holiday swap with me. It all started when I wanted to send her some shea butter lotion chips made by local women. The challenge was to send a skein of local yarn.

Here is a photo of the beautiful things she sent me. (Except for the candle which I made with a pottery cup gifted to me and handmade by my stepson.)

Isn’t this red yarn festive and lovely? It’s also soft enough to wear around my neck, so I think I want to knit a “hap” with it. (Props to Kate Davies for reintroducing the word to our vocabulary.) I didn’t know a small shawl or wrap had a name, but sure enough, if you look it up, the third definition is “clothe, cover.”

Here is my favorite “hap”, which was the start of a lace shawl that I cut short because I’d had enough of knitting it many years ago.

I wrap this around my neck once or twice, and it’s the perfect scarf. This is knit from Jagger Spun Zephyr Wool Silk, which has really withstood the test of time.

But back to the red! Aren’t the gold flecks lovely on this Campfire Knits yarn? The hand dyeing really stands out too. This is “Winter Cranberry.” I’ve already cast on a simple eyelet increase triangle scarf, but I’m not sure how I feel about the garter stitch.

And I love these stitch markers which were included in my package, made by her husband. So festive! They make me crave peppermint.

My issue with lace is I prefer for my knitting to be intuitive. I like to memorize the pattern so I’m not constantly referring to the chart or instructions. And because I’m old have short term memory challenges, I need the repeat to be about four rows. So I am looking for a simple, all over lace pattern. I’ll keep looking! Maybe my fabulous red hap will be done in time for Valentine’s Day!

Thank you, nothingbutknit! I’m grateful for your friendship. It is always encouraging knowing someone is reading and paying attention. Thank you for the beautiful things and for being willing to participate in a gift exchange with me. ❤️

Say Yes

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Although November ended on a sad note, I have to say I’ve had a really great year, and December has been the cherry on top.

  • I went back to the gym.
  • I secured a studio space near my house.
  • I sold two of my art pieces.
  • I signed up for two 2019 knitting clubs.
  • Not only did I finish the work budget, but I also pulled together our household budget and got it all entered into Quicken. Yay, financial literacy!

As mentioned, the Blendon Woods I pair of photo and felt painting were sold today. It made me very happy, and I can use the funds to purchase a work table and pair of comfy chairs for my studio space.

At the beginning of 2018, I chose my words for the year. They were, “doing it all.” I worked hard to be promoted to Executive Director at work. I started knitting in earnest again, and even managed a successful design. I made art and participated in an art show. I started a cooperatively owned business with two other women. On top of taking care of kids and being in a relationship with my spouse, that was a lot, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pull it off.

I chose to take the same path that I had been taking with my work over the last few years, which led to the success of our new store. That path is, “say yes whenever possible.”

I know saying yes too much and too often can get you into trouble. It’s important to know and respect your limits. I’m not going to pretend this approach didn’t take a bit of a toll. I worked my ass off, and it’s not something that can be sustained forever. But this year, whenever possible, I said yes and reached out and grabbed with both hands whatever opportunities came my way, and it really paid off in a multitude of ways.

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Here I am at my side hustle, knitting and selling my aromatherapy candles for Haven Herbs! Look how happy I am! I look a little dorky, and I am a little dorky. I can own that and still be happy. Also, check out my great earring game.

My Christmas Cactus is blooming with gratitude as well.

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Decisions, Decisions

I am making progress on Kate Davies’ Goats of Inversnaid hat for Hans. I won’t have any trouble finishing it by Christmas if I stay on task.

I wasn’t sure if the Milarrochy Tweed yarn would work for the crisp design, but I kind of love it. I think it gives a more grown-up look to it. I’m also thinking about changing the hearts at the crown to a star, because Hans is 15. I don’t need to say anymore than that, right?

There are two knitting clubs I want to participate in for 2019, and I can’t make up my mind.

Kate Davies has an upcoming club that looks to be more design oriented, and includes an awesome journal.

Knitspot is offering the School of Wool where you learn about American sheep breeds and fibers, and you get undyed yarn to play with.

I want to do both. I can do both, right? Can I afford to do both? (Can I afford not to do both?)

wovember 2018, Day 26

I’ve noticed Daughter of a Shepherd sharing #wovember2018 posts on Instagram. I didn’t realize it was something anyone could do.

Today I joined in with pics of the oldest wool thing I own: my Mother’s boiled wool coat:

I also have a mohair shawl, cashmere sweater, and tartan scarf and tam of hers:

I believe these are all from around the same period, early 1960’s?

I have worn all of these things from time to time. The boiled wool coat is gorgeous and comes in handy on below zero days, but we don’t get too many of those.

I wore the sweater in the 1980’s when the 1950’s were back in for a bit. We used to have 1950’s dress up days, and I would wear this sweater with a pencil skirt and a black beret, and go as a Beatnik.

Both the coat and sweater are too small for me now. I can wear the coat, but the shoulders are tight.

I think I wore the shawl once when I lived in San Diego in the 1990’s, but the mohair is so itchy, I never liked it. But it is beautiful to look at. You can see how fine and sheer the fiber is woven.

I wore the scarf a lot in high school, and there is red spray paint on it from when we painted the streets my senior year. (Yes, that’s something they used to let you do.)

I can’t find the tam for a photo, but I never wore it as it is very sit atop the head with a big pom on top type of tam. I have often joked that if I learned to play golf, I would wear that tam.

All of these treasures are beginning to look a little shabby, truth be told. I should probably wrap them up carefully in tissue and put them in my cedar-lined drawers.

Are you participating in wovember2018? Do you have any favorite wool heirlooms?

These Long Dark Nights

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My Christmas Cactus is blooming, and I didn’t starve it of light this year. I moved it from the kitchen to my office, and fed it. I so much prefer this to punishing it in the coal chute. (We live in an old house with a basement that has a root cellar, which used to be a coal chute back when people used coal to heat their homes.)

Sometimes I think we do things that aren’t necessary because it was done once and we got the result we wanted, so our proven scientific method becomes the norm and the expert opinion. When, really, we could take a different path and get the same result.

We’ve had our first snowfall today, just a sprinkle. I’m trying to decide if I should go for a walk in it. I would, but I went on a six mile hike on Sunday, and my body is still recovering. I may do some yoga instead.

Look at this gorgeous pattern on Ravelry:

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(Photo copyright Crissy Jarvis. I hope it’s okay for me to post as long as I give credit.)

I’m in love with this pattern. I can’t decide if I want to knit it, though. I love the finished product, but will I enjoy the process? I didn’t used to ask myself these questions, but as a more seasoned knitter, now I know what I am willing to suffer for the final result.  I will think about it.

The days are getting shorter and I get to enjoy more of my favorite time of the day, which is twilight. I love early morning twilight best, because I’m a morning person. I still love the evening twilight, but that’s when I start to get sleepy. I find twilight beautiful and quiet, and I think I blogged about this last year when I started that bobbledy tam in the in-between twilighty color of St. Claire. I decided to rip out the yarn and save it for a cowl that I hope may be inspired by our meandering walk on a mountain biking trail on Sunday.

I wish I were a better Raveler. I love to look at the patterns and like how it helps me stay more organized on projects. It’s also a great place to share. But I’d like to spend more time on the forums. It seems like a great place to go for knitting camaraderie when you don’t feel like leaving home.

Are you on Ravelry? Do you use the forums regularly? What’s your favorite thing about Ravelry?