Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Yarn Crafts Begin

I was knitting my puppy a cute little pink cable knit sweater.  I started it almost a year ago, and I decided it was high time I finish it, now that it's getting colder.  I had to make about three, just to get the pattern right, and continued to enlarge it.  I completed the body and one sleeve, and tried it on my oh so cooperative dog, only to find that it's STILL TOO SMALL!!!  You can imagine my frustration, but now, I have time to make the Koohaas hat!

Jared Flood, the designer, said he wanted to make something that was quick and fairly easy to make, and a small enough project that people could splurge for a little bit of nice yarn.  This is what I've done.  I've been wanting to try this bamboo fiber yarn I found years ago, because it's oh-so-soft.  I bought it in a lovely cream color.  And then I really splurged and sprung for a lovely earthy green silk and bamboo blend.  Evidently, I'm on a bamboo kick, because I also bought my circular needles in bamboo.  They came highly recommended, and I have to say that they have just enough grip against the silky yarn that I don't drop stitches all over the place.  I can't pretend to be a master knitter at all, so I'll take anything available to make the process a little easier.

This is also my first charted knitting pattern, and my grandmother's as well, who taught me everything I know, and who is knitting this along with me.  I've already had to pull everything out once, because I misread the very first row after the cast on, whoops!  But so far, I'm getting the hang of it.  The first couple rows of knitting in the round are trickier than I expected, and I've read reviews that lead me to believe that it's not as easy a pattern as Mr. Flood would have you believe.  Nevertheless, I press on.  Wish me luck!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Never a Dull Moment!

Things My Sweetie Says


It's a time machine, not a dish washer.  It takes them back to a time before they were dirty.


Me:  How long did you sleep:
R:    14 hours and 1 day.
Me: You're a regular old Rip Van Winkle.
R: What the hell did you just call me?
Me:  I mean Rachel Van Beautiful.
R: Get the hell out of here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving...

You know that when your day starts with bad moods and sadness, your afternoon involves regret and a cry on the couch, and you can still enjoy the evening, you have something really lovely in your life.

Thank you, Rachel

I know this was a serious post.  I've been working away, and I'll have projects to share with you soon!
Thank you, readers!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gems and Dreams

I am part of a group studying dream work, but one of the most important things about it is that you must first remember your dreams.  This can be tricky for me.  This weekend, I went to one of the local metaphysical shops, and picked up some crystals.  Three of those were for use in a dream pouch.  My friend recommended Red Jasper, Quartz, and Lapis Lazuli.  However, Lapis stimulates the third eye and mine's already sensitive, so I substituted Blue Calcite.

Red Jasper...

aids in ability to see projects through.  Brings tranquility and wholeness.  Assists in shamanic journeying and dream recall.  Strengthens the circulatory system.

Blue Calcite...

helps us to remember dreams.  It is a world teacher, especially in the arts and sciences.  Great energy amplifier.


amplifies, focuses, and stores energy.  It can be programmed with the intentions of the user.  A deep soul cleanser, it dissolves karmic seeds.

The night I bought them, I didn't notice a change, but last night, I remembered two dreams very clearly.  Take a look at Amerindea for some gems, meanings, and even rituals.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Fun!

My wonderful friend Liz is coming in from out of town.  This probably ruins my project goals for the week, but I'm totally ok with that.  If I ever get back to painting, we're going to do a show together!

Yay!  See ya next week!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Things My Sweetie Says

I've got a couple of doozies for you!  Ridiculousness at its finest! I'm pretty sure if most people listened to us, we'd be committed to some kind of institution or another.

Me:  You're smiling.  I could watch you smile all day.
R:     Well I'm hungry.


R: Now that's a paradox!
Me: What is?
R: When I is, I am.  And when I aren't, I'm not.  But I CAN be AM NOT.
 Does it get any better than that?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Many Project Weekend

What a productive weekend!  I baked my very first home made loaf of bread.  Yum!  I also completed my first yubinuki thimble!

It's not all that pretty, but it's not bad for a first try!  Much was learned in the making, and it's still functional so I won't count it a loss.

I also completed the second of two meditation bags I was commissioned to make.  Since they are spiritual in nature and have personal symbols, I opted not to photograph them.  It's just not my place.  But they're black velvet, lined, and embroidered with silver thread.  I must say, I'm pretty proud of them, and my client was extremely pleased!

Remember that beautiful fabric I found?  Well it became the Gathered Clutch from Noodlehead.

Gathered Front

Back - See how great this fabric is?!

Interior with card holders - Mine has four slots instead of two.

Interior with divider.

It was surprisingly easy to construct.  It's not a beginner project, but it's not a challenging one, and the result is just lovely.  I'm still not certain I like the light pink on the outside, but the darker swirly stuff looked just too busy with everything else that was going on.  I have enough for a second one, so perhaps I'll try it and see.  And since this was a gift to Rachel, and she's 100% happy with the light pink, I won't worry too much about it.

I also brought in a haul of patterns, spending only about $25.  When my receipt said I saved $68, I was very glad I decided to go in that day! Good thinking, Rachel!

And lastly, since Rachel's had too many flaky artists, I've decided to learn comic style illustration.  This began of course with the Zornow Challenge.  I'm also looking at some great art from the classics like CREEPY, EERIE, and anything by Bernie Wrightson.  I picked up his Frankenstein at this amazing comic shop in Salem.    This is the art on the cover, and if you've ever seen the inside, well it's perfection in pen and ink.  In any case, here are my meager beginnings.  I spent some time just copying artwork, and then decided it was going to make more sense to do my own.  So I found this portrait of Jacopo Tintoretto and tried my hand at the illustration style.  It's a work in progress, but I'm pleased, nonetheless.

See where I've left out the shading on his left cheek?  I'll get it though, eventually.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

First Yubinuki Thimble Complete!

Well I did it. I finished my first "silk" thimble! It's not pretty, but I'm still proud of it. It works very well. Just to test it, I pushed a needle through the seam of some jeans, and it was no trouble at all. It just doesn't feel as cumbersome as the metal bucket thimbles I'm used to. Hopefully the next one looks better. They'd make wonderful little gifts!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bird on a Tree

I went to the fabric store yesterday to pick up a few things, and I fell in LOVE with this fabric by Heidi Grace.

I think I'm going to try to make some wallets, but I got enough for a purse or something too. As excited as I feel about getting to work now, I think I can make up for my slacking with just a single weekend. Especially since I have one project complete for this week. Yay!

Note: You can never have too many magnetic snaps in your studio!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mom and Pop Craft Shops?

Everybody loves a good franchise, it's true. But there's nothing like a local mom and pop shop. They always have the most unique find, or food, or whatever is it they carry. Plus it's people living the dream of owning their own business, and I'm a big supporter, as I hope to be one of those people someday. So here is my dilemma.

Craft stores. I love them, but all I know about out here are the franchises. Reliable Jo-Ann fabrics (I'm a former employee, even) and Hobby Lobby. But I'd really like to find a local one-off shop. So Columbus, where are you hiding your gems?! They've got to be out there...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lessons on Yubinuki

I recently came across the art of temari, and its use in creating beautiful yubinuki, or thimbles. I'm nearing completion of my first, and while it's not pretty, it was definitely a valuable learning experience. Some tips:

1. Use the form to create the ring base, but remove it when you start stitching. That's what allows you the beautiful edges the pros pull off.

2. Don't use thin cardboard, like the kind from cereal boxes, for your ring base. Stick to card stock, or poster board. Anything more is too heavy and cumbersome, and there's a distinct seam in the ring.

3. The finer the thread, the smoother the look of the finished product.

4. Don't stitch through the edge of your paper. Use it as a guide for where to put your stitches, but if you sew through it, you'll perforate it, and it will pull up, and cause all kinds of trouble that you just don't need.

5. When you think you have enough batting, use more. It compresses quite a bit.

6. Thread tension is important, especially in your earlier rows. They will loosen as you continue around the thimble, so be sure those first ones are SNUG!

7. Knots will ruin your time faster than you can believe, so if you find your thread wanting to knot, use shorter threads! You'll have to stop and start more often, but you're really better off.

That's all I've got for now, as far as tips the pros don't share. Please let me know if you have any of your own!