Sunflower Shuffle

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Several times during my work day I try to get out and go for what Bob and I call a “shuffle.” It’s a short walk around the block. It’s great for moving my body and clearing my head. One of our neighbors has a yard full of flowers, and a fence lined with sunflowers, my favorite flower. I think these are Mexican Red Sunflowers.

I am ready to start the i-cord bind off on Lilac Heather Cumulus Blouse. I’m going to do that tonight and update you tomorrow. Accountability!

Also, I asked the art gallery owner who hosted us for our Mother Artists at Work show this summer if he would be interested in me having a solo show there in a year or two. And he said YES! I just have to reach out and set a date!

Down with Bad Stuff

I do not like summer. I have never liked summer. I don’t like the heat. I don’t like the break in routine. Summer makes me grumpy. Summertime is when I like to stay indoors in the AC and read and knit. Down with Summer.

Bob and I walked to the library yesterday and I browsed the knitting books, while also picking up more Tudor books. I can’t seem to get enough of the Tudors — fiction, nonfiction, audiobook, proper book, well written, badly written… it really does not matter. And what’s fascinating is every author has a different take on the subject!

Anyway, I enjoyed browsing the knitting books and bringing a few home, noncommittally. In the past, I would only check out the knitting books if I thought I could learn something from them or if there was a pattern inside that I wanted to knit. I was in my same old rut — looking through knitting books that I thought were pretty but would never knit anything out of — when I realized it was okay. It is totally fine to check out a knitting book, flip through it and enjoy the eye candy, and then return it. It’s even okay to do it intentionally! Down with self-limiting arbitrary rules!

“Protest Knits” has a very enjoyable Trump Pincushion crochet pattern, but I will never make it. Maybe I will make the Down with Bad Stuff water bottle holder!

I have a HUUUGE water bottle (see what I did there?) and I never take it hiking because it’s too darn big! But this would solve that problem and be fun, albeit rather vague.

I started my Blue Ribbon Beanie. It is a beautiful shade of deep cerulean Malabrigo DK. It’s 2X2 rib. I’m not sure how I will decrease at the top yet. Ribbing can be tricky to decrease.

Honestly, I started the beanie because I’ve lost the verve for my FIVE sweaters I have on the needles, and even Celtic Myths feels a little fussy right now. So I’ve fallen back on hat knitting just to try to stick with it.

I had to give up a few things this Summer. I gave up the herb business. It needed more than I could give. I gave up some of my blog subscriptions. I couldn’t keep up. But I only gave up on the ones where I felt there wasn’t a connection. I have had to give up pleasure eating and drinking wine and margaritas. I gained a lot of weight last year and even exercise couldn’t help me keep it off, so I signed up for Noom and am counting every calorie and even steps! I had to give up sewing for a while, until I no longer needed to use my studio as an office.

But I got my office back, which means I also got my studio back. I got to participate in an art show. I got my teeth cleaned today, which included a new toothbrush, floss, and props for excellent hygiene. I’ve lost 2 pounds in 5 days. My garden is producing scrumptious tomatoes. Up with good stuff, amiright?!

Lavender

Bob and I are on our way to a lavender festival, and I hope to blog tomorrow about all things lavender. Technically my cumulus blouse is lilac heather, but close enough.

I finished my felt piece for the Mother Artists at Work show next month. It’s all natural wool except for the blues. It’s mostly Romeldale-CVM and Shetland, and is called “Sunbleach”. It’s about 16X20. I hope it counts toward my Shave’Em to Save’em finished objects.

The caterpillars are eating my dill, but I don’t mind. Are these Monarchs?

Work has been very busy and I haven’t had time to blog or read blogs. I am trying to catch up.

Hi

I finished my Farrow Dress.

It’s very frockish. Super comfy and cool in the linen. Maybe it will dress up a bit with some sandal clogs. (Yes I used “dress up” and “clogs” in the same sentence.)

It was a new method of making pockets for me. I’m calling it the “apron method.” There is another complete layer of fabric across the inside front from the seam down. Since this is a medium weight linen, it makes it a little heavy. It’s not a good pattern for French seams but I made it work.

Not bad. Do you like it?

I got a little work done on my art piece. Do you like it? I’m liking it. I guess the real question is how long will I do this before I go home and have a glass of wine?

Or should I bring the wine here and keep working?

This is my choice for selfie of the week.

(Edited: I replaced the gym selfie because I thought this one was more appropriate.)

Follow Up

Isn’t this blue linen pretty?

I originally bought it to make another pair of Emerson Pants. But I thought it was too pretty for pants. So today I cut out a Farrow Dress instead.

(Photo courtesy of Grainline Studios)

I hope to start sewing it together tomorrow. Shout out to my Mom who sent me some birthday cash which I promptly blew on linen fabric from Lithuania. (I’m so glad I did!)

I also worked on my felt painting today.

This is mostly Romeldale-CVM and local (Ohio) Shetland wool. I’m hoping to get to the felting part tomorrow. This is for a group show with Mother Artists at Work in July.

I even knit on my Celtic Myths today.

Today was a good day.

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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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.

Art is a Bitch

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Bob and I went to see the Cindy Sherman exhibit at the Wexner yesterday. Cindy Sherman was my favorite artist in college. I was a photographer (degree is BA in Visual Arts Studio, Emphasis Photography) so of course she was a huge influence on me. Seeing the Film Stills in person made me feel nostalgic, but I enjoyed being introduced to her new work as we moved through the exhibit. She is still one of my favorite artists.

I wondered if her work had influenced any of my fiber art. Then I thought of this piece.

The Watcher

This is “Watcher,” and as you can see, she is basically a vulva. I think this piece shows Cindy Sherman’s influence, but also my own experience as a woman. It’s funny that I called her “Watcher,” don’t you think? Shouldn’t she be the one who is being looked at? But she’s looking back. She’s also cornered by her sex, and other than her defensive gaze, she is helpless.

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I haven’t completely given up on art making. I started this piece about a year ago, when another artist who collected my work said to me, “You are one of my favorite artists. You have to keep making art!” He actually gave me this copper plumber’s wire, so I was making this piece for him as a way to try to get inspired to keep making art. I am going to refocus on it, and spend a little time with it today.

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In the spirit of trying something new during the 12 days, I tried crocheting wire in the round – basically a crocheted i-cord. When I knit i-cord with wire, the join is never as tight and consistent as I want it to be. I thought if I crocheted it, I might be able to make a more fluid join. As you can see, I struggled reading the stitches and maintaining any kind of consistency. I ended up with a tiny bird’s nest, gave up, and let the cat play with it.

It did remind me, though, how difficult it is with wire knitting (and crochet too, I guess) during the early stages of the project. It’s like being a pioneer, or cutting your way through the jungle with a machete. You have to keep doing what you started, and keep going, until the fabric starts to form itself. If you give up too early, you end up with a tiny mess, wad it up, and throw it across the room! (Maybe that’s just me.)

I haven’t made any art since 2014 because I felt like I didn’t have anything to say, and I stopped participating in group shows with deadlines — which was, at the time, the only way I could get motivated to make anything. But we watched a video about Cindy Sherman before we went to the exhibit, and it showed her process. She doesn’t start out with something to say. She experiments and eventually the work comes out, which is pretty much how my figurative knit works were created when I started experimenting with stainless silk thread. So maybe I need to keep experimenting?

Are you a process or product oriented knitter/artist? I think I may be both?

Holiday Q&A

I love these Q&As. I got this from nothingbutknit2, but it was originally posted by compassionknit. I hope it’s okay I jump on the bandwagon!

Have you asked your kids to do something you wouldn’t do?

I can’t think of anything. At work, one of my staff told me she respects me because I do not ask them to do anything I am not willing to do myself. I guess I’m that way with my kids, too.

Do you understand: Football, Bridge, or Cricket?

If by Football we mean the same thing as Soccer, then yes. I also understand the basics of American Football. I do not understand Bridge or Cricket. I also do not watch sports as a rule, unless my children are marching in the band during half time. I have never played Bridge. I am fascinated by Rugby and Curling, though.

Have you talked to your family about Organ Donation?

No, I am a registered organ donor, though. It’s a little scary signing up because I always think about Monty Python’s “Meaning of Life” movie when they come for the man’s liver while he is “still using it.” I almost included a link to the video on youtube, but you know what? It is so gruesome, if you really want to see it, you can google it.

Did you knit something that you thought you might not be able to this year?

I think I can knit anything, and I probably have knit almost everything, at least once. There are some things I choose not to knit because I do not enjoy it. The fact that I am knitting at all at this point is pretty remarkable, because I had almost given it up. I’m so glad I clung to knitting!

I-phone or Samsung?

I have an iPhone. It’s fine.

Do you put bows or trinkets on your packages?

We wrap gifts in reusable holiday fabric bags that I made. So, no.

Do your pets get a Holiday treat?

Yes, if we remember. Thanks for the reminder.

Do you use headphones, earbuds or nothing when you watch something on your phone, computer or tablet?

Earbuds.

If you could take a craft/knit/crochet class in January for free, what would it be?

Weaving. Jewelry casting.

Have you ever made a traveling knit? (you knit part and send it on?)

No, but I would love to do that. I participated in an Exquisite Corpse art exhibit where my part of a piece was wire knitting. Here’s a pic!

exquisite corpse hannon, dorsey, head

I guess I couldn’t get away from the gruesome today.