Sunday, April 13, 2014

Stormy, Stormy Sundays

Is it already Sunday? Where did the week go? All I know is that the weekend went by way too fast. And now it's a stormy, stormy Sunday here in Kansas.

What's on your needles this week? For me, it's still my stripey spring socks, which should be done by next weeks post if I have my say.


I really have been enjoying every minute of these socks and see lots more striped and/or vanilla socks in my future. The idea of popping the project in my purse and heading off is a nice plus also! Except I've had a couple of casualties involving dpns falling out in my bag. But you take the good with the bad.

With these socks being close to completion, I am contemplating my next move. Which, in reality, should be my next move - moving. I am leaving Manhattan in a month and a half and haven't even begun to clean/pack/organize. And man, my apartment is a MESSSSSS.

But on the knitting front, I am thinking my next move will be the Diamond Tee from the Spring 2012 Knitscene. I already have the yarn from my stockpile during Wildflower's closing so there really is no stopping me. My yarn is a deep teal color, a perfect fit for a simple yet elegant pattern. 

(Photo copyright Nathan Rega + Knitscene)


I mentioned that this week has had it's ups and downs. Well, one of the ups (or downs, if you look at it from a financial standpoint, but let's NOT). is that I received confirmation that one of my large oil paintings got accepted into a NATIONAL JURIED SHOW. Yes, I could not believe it either, but one of my paintings will be on exhibition and for sale at the National Greeley Art Exhibition. I feel like someone is playing a late April Fool's trick on me, with this and the print show in a 2 week span. So now onto the fun part, shipping the work to the show - which as it turns out is very expensive to do. Let's just leave it at that. 

Accepted work: "Green Rain Tears", 24 x 40, oil on canvas, 2013


Weekly inspirations:

Art:  After getting accepted into the National Greeley Art Exhibition, I clicked around a bit and read up on the Juror: Desmond O'Hagan. Desmond works primarily in oils and pastel, and man is his work amazing. The colors are so rich and the scenes are so real. Talk about inspiring. I hope I get to meet him when I go to the reception!
Knitting:  I've been participating in the My Sister's Knitter Knitting Resolutions KAL and there have been some amazing things happening. So many beautiful FO's and stories to go with them. It's hard to pick a favorite of course ;)
Food: This past week I was feeling like oranges.  I decided to make orange spiced sweet potatoes (although I used a butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes) and orange porkchops. They were both very very yummy. 
Life:  I've been helping a knitting friend clean out her studio (she's an artist also) as she prepares to move in June. It's been a lot of fun actually, and I have actually learned a few things. She has had me taking apart old picture frames and I've learned a fair amount about framing in the process. Was a handy skill to have!

I hope you all have a fabulous week!
~Lisa


Sunday, April 6, 2014

March and April Happenings

Blogging has slipped through my fingers once again. I keep up with some of my favorite blogs on a regular basis, but posting seems to just be difficult. I think it's the photos - I am just too lazy to take constant photos of my WIPs.  But from here on out, I vow to try and update once a week, likely Sundays. This will be helped by the use of my new camera, my Canon 40d dslr !

Well, it's 1 week into April, and Kansas is still being bi-polar with it's weather. I think we are FINALLY hitting consistency with our nice weather, but I may be speaking too soon. Either way, I have been happily enjoying my time with art and knitting and constant inspiration.

I finished my Cookie A. Socks a few weeks back. I feel so very accomplished. I went from getting completely lost on the pattern two years ago to finishing the whole pair in a little over a month with only a couple mistakes. I have only worn them once since completion however, because one of them is a bit tight. I need to wash and block them, but I keep forgetting (doesn't that always seem the case?).

Rick by Cookie A.

From one sock to another, I have found myself casting on yet another pair of socks, this time a super simple vanilla sock with the amazing sock yarn gifted by Andi (I mentioned it last month). I now know why so many people use self-striping yarns and make vanilla socks - They are so easy and portable and quick. I see more vanilla socks in my future, that's for sure!

Short row basic toe up socks by Wendy D. Johnson

Besides knitting, I have been very inspired lately with my art as well. I spent this last weekend in Omaha, wondering around the Old Market District, which is loaded with cute shops and galleries. I found some very inspiring artists that I hope can only push my work further.  We also had a chance to go to the Joslyn Museum of Art, which was loaded with lots of "famous" works!

Jackson Pollock Painting at the Joslyn Museum of art. 

Partial inspiration is also coming from a recent success story. To my utter surprise, last Friday I received an email from the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg, FL.  One of my prints has been accepted into their National Juried Show: Bite, Scratch, and Expose.  When I applied, I knew my works fit the theme, but I NEVER thought I'd actually get in! From this experience I have learned that you never know until you try. I am now in the process of framing my print and sending it off to Florida!

The accepted print - "Investigate #4"

Oil painting has been halted lately, with so much else going on (I think I was literally home for an hour each day this past week!). Which is too bad, because this painting is really close to being finished. My plan for this week is to suck it up and finish it. I want to add ropes to the bottom, coming out of the dark under the "paper". 

"Thunder Breath Beneath" in progress.

I hope you are all having a lovely April and a lovely Sunday. 

I have also decided to include a list of my current inspirations at the bottom of my posts from now on (I hope!).

Weekly inspirations:

Art: I discovered artist Jerry Jacoby in Omaha this last weekend. His colorwork is gorgeous and his style relates so much to my own.  Too bad all his inspiring works aren't on this site to give you a better idea.
Knitting: My summer Knitscene came the other day! Items I see knitting in my (hopefully)  near future: Bethel TankHelium TankStoxa Tank
Food: The kids at my preschool never eat their bananas, so I've been stockpiling them at home. I found the perfect, most amazing breakfast bar recipe! I've been using Kerub Choc chips and adding pumpkin seeds. I bet they'd be good with raisins and other nuts also!
Life: The Tea Smith is the coolest tea shop I've ever seen (ok, the ONLY tea shop I've ever seen). We stopped there in Omaha and I walked out with Blackberry black tea and mint/chocolate herbal tea. Both are super yummy, especially in the mug I got at a gallery 30 minutes later!

Reminds me of my Muffin, who passed on almost 2 years ago :(

~Lisa

PS: I am going to try really hard to reply to comments more also :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

February Loves

What better way to celebrate the month of February than with a quick post about my recent crafting loves.


This gem showed up in my mailbox today, courtesy the amazing Andi. I am always saying how much I LOVE her stripey socks but this is such a treat :) I cannot wait to cast on a lovely pair with this super squishy skein of sock yarn from Lady Bug Fiber Co.


A few weeks ago I finally finished my merino/silk blend yarn.  I received this massive chunk of Louet Roving from my amazing friend Ivy for my 21st birthday, over 2 1/2 years ago! I've been spinning off and on on it ever since (I've spun other stuff in between!), working towards that perfect skein.  I have finally finished it with a little motivation from the Knit-along I am in.  The end result? Over 200 yards (I think...I tried to count with my niddy noddy but that's not always right) of lovely purple awesomeness. Now the real question - What should I knit with it? 


With the completion of the gorgeous merino, I knew I wanted to add more fiber to my stash, so that way I'd have an excuse to spin more. I was passing through Abilene last week and stopped at the Shivering Sheep Yarn Shop, looking for something as a favor to a friend.  While I didn't find what she was looking for, I did walk out with these 2 bits of top/roving (how do you know the difference?). Both are hand dyed in Nova Scotia by The Fleece Artist.  The one on the left is a lovely green and brown Blue Faced Leicester and the one on the right is a pastel rainbow merino.  I can't decide which one to work on first! Hmmmmm 


Finally, you all know my love and passion for all things Relay For Life. Well I posted on a buy-sell-trade board about knitting scarves as a fundraiser. I had a girl contact me about knitting scarves with colors of specific cancer ribbons and I took up the challenge.  In the end I decided to pair a simple black yarn with 4 different thin stranded linen yarns.  The pattern is one I improvised but really like - a combo of garter and lace.  I think she liked them, it was hard to tell when I handed them off. But either way, I feel great about knitting for such a good cause!

I hope everyone had a great February and Valentine's day. I feel like the months are flying by. Just 3 more and I am off to start a new page in my life - what that page is is still a mystery though. But no matter what, I know it will be very full of art and knitting!

~Lisa






Saturday, February 1, 2014

January Update

Ok, technically it's February, but I haven't updated in a while, so I thought I'd share what I've been doing this past January.  Anyone else think it's insane it's already February???

Knitting:




One of my resolutions for this year was to successfully knit a pair of Cookie A. Socks. I decided to try and conquer Rick after trying once before back in 2011. I have been working off and on on these, but now that I have the cuff pattern down, it's going really fast! I am about half way into the required repeats but I think I am going to cut it short at 10 (instead of 18). I am not sure if they are stretchy enough to go that high up on my legs and I am not a fan of super long socks anyway.  I am a bit nervous about the rest of the socks, but I am sure it will go fine.


This month's project for the Knitting Monthly was a top from Kennita's new e-book, Tuscan Knits.  Although I was a bit hesitant at first to be spending MORE money on yarn, I fell in love when I started the project.  The structure of the it is so unique to me (knit flat and then seamed up the sides) and the stitch pattern was so easy. Pair that with the fabulous new yarn from Tahki Yarns and you get this gorgeous top. I finished it in a WEEK! That's what happens when you don't have school to worry about I guess. 


I've also been spinning on my Merino/silk that I have had for about 3 years now. I finally got all of the singles spun and have been working on plying.  I realized I had some 'bobbin' (toilet paper tubes) that were thicker than others, so I was trying to pair a thick with a thin, but I got to the point where I had more thin that thick. Luckily, I had some practice from the very beginning that was super thick, so I've been going back and attempting to unspin and respin that. We shall see if that works! I am really loving the feel of the yarn all plyed up. It's so squishy and bouncy. I think I will have close to 500 yards - enough for something extra special!

Art: 


Having graduated, I lost my studio space on campus.  So I moved all my stuff into the spare room of my apartment. I've been working on a painting there and it's been going ok.  The lighting isn't ideal and the ventilation is minimal (fan and window) but you do what you can. I am kinda liking my painting, but it's not there yet (but it's further along than this photo shows).


I also finally got hi-res images of all my gouache paintings. That being said, I am going to try something. As you probably know, I am very passionate about my local Relay For Life.  I have decided to sell fine art prints of a special gouache painting I am working on (see here what I have done so far) for $50 a piece.  $40 of that money will go to my Relay event. I haven't finished the specific painting to be sold, but I am taking advanced orders. If you know you will want one of my special cancer fighting knit worlds, feel free to comment or email me :) And of course, any donation is always accepted, even if you don't want a print in return. 


Life:

I've been working 30hours a week at my preschool for about a month now, and it's going ok. Those kids sure are crazy some days though! They wear me out, and I'm off work by 1...it's a miracle anything else gets done.  I've been binge watching movies from the library and of course knitting like crazy.  And trying to stay active. I hit the gym at least 3 times a week and enjoy every minute of it.

Why I felt you needed to know that is a mystery.  

I hope everyone has a great February. I have a feeling it's going to fly by :) 

~Lisa 


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Trying to Stay Optimistic.

Happy Sunday friends! I haven't posted in a week or so, so I figured it was due. I have a couple of WIPS but nothing major. A pair of socks that isn't super far and a secret swatch for a KnitScene Submission. So no real photos to share there.

However, I have been working on my stash. As I mentioned in a few previous posts, my LYS - Wildflower Yarns and Knitwear - just went out of business this past December. From mid-October on the owner was having a huge clearance sale, and that for me meant a chance to add some things to the stash I never expected to add.


We were at a knit club meeting and I realized that not many people had been buying the cotton yarns. Apparently since it's winter here, people were stocking up on wools. So I broke down and picked up 5 skeins of Cascade Ultra Pima, a yarn I have been wanting to use for awhile now. This is destined to be a nice summer tank top. 


That same day I decided to get some Tahki Ripple.  I have been wanting to knit with Tahki yarns for awhile, but have never really had to money to buy enough for a project. Well at 40% off, I couldn't resist. I think I already have a project picked out for this one - Diamond Tee. Can't you see that pattern in my lovely blue?


A few weeks before I went on the cotton spree, I was feeling generous so I picked up 5 skeins of Universal Renew Wool. Partially because there weren't many options left for wool and partially because I have never used this yarn. I figured it'd make a nice warm weather garment at some point. Maybe a sweater next fall? I like the nice pale blue. 


I've been wanting this yarn since the day she started stocking it. Camino Alpaca is such a lovely worsted/bulky yarn. Although a sweater would be amazing in this yarn, even at 40% off I couldn't afford that much. So I settled for enough to make an oversized cowl. Or at least that's the plan. I have been wanting one of those for awhile now anyway, but I was hoping I would have started it by now. Maybe next winter....


Finally, I picked this up back when she first announced the sale. I wanted to make a bike helmet cover, since this yarn has strands in it that reflect light (perfect for after dark!). But them my bike got stolen :/ So now it's just in my stash.  Maybe it'll be another hat. Who knows.

My stash bins are pretty much overflowing now, which is something I have never had before. I don't usually buy large amounts of yarn without a project in mind, but when it all went on sale, it was hard not to. I'm trying to stay optimistic about it all. After all, no LYS within 30 minutes means no spending money on things I don't need. It also means that I can work from my stash more.  However it also means no more knit nights, which were always so much fun. We are trying to meet once a month for get togethers, but it's not the same as being able to just walk into the shop and see people knitting.  Kennita, the owner, didn't close up due to finances (thankfully!) but because she is also a designer and is starting to really take off with her designs. She said the shop was just becoming too much work and stress for her.  She's really excited to see what will happen next with her designs. I am too, but I am still sad for no LYS.

Her current project is this amazing e-book - Tuscan Knits - and I can't wait for it to come out.  All knit in Tahki yarns, the patterns are really lovely and show just how much she loves designing.  She's also hosting a monthly knit club - the knitting monthly - which I have been in since it started in September of 2012.  The patterns and techniques are always fun.  You don't have to be in my area to join either! Much of it is all online. :)  

Image copyright (C) Kennita Tully 

So has anyone ever knitted with any of these yarns? What are your thoughts.  I hope everyone is having a great new year and getting back in to the grind of work and life. I know I'm trying to, but getting up at 5:30 for work is kinda rough sometimes!

~Lisa


Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014 Goals and Stuff

Happy Saturday everyone! I just got back from a knit group and now I feel very inspired and thus I must post.  I finished up a pair of socks for my brother (and didn't get a photo before handing them off) today. Basic stockinette in my left over from my hoodie, so no big deal there.

I wanted to share with you all my goals list for 2014, seeing as I always make lists. This year I am not planning on being as gung ho about actually completing said list but I still like to make one. Also, I am participating in MySistersKnitter Knitting Resolutions KAL and therefore a list had to be made anyway.

2014 crafting goals: 

-knit 1 pair of Cookie A. Socks successfully
This is the first thing I plan to work on starting tomorrow (or tonight). You may remember when I was working on Rick - way back in October 2011. Well those got ripped, due to major lace issues (you can read about in that post). The yarn, Happy Feet, has tried to become a couple other things since, but I have decided to give Rick another go.  Maybe if I take it slower and don't do 2-at-a-time I will find success.

-CONQUER THE STASH.
Wildflower just closed (Sad day) and I now have enough yarn for a couple sweaters as well as everything else. This year I think I may actually be able to conquer that stash. 

-Knit atleast 3-4 full sized garments (with stash yarn if possible) 

-Finish, or come close to finishing, 
my mom’s wrap
Maybe to get her to stop asking when she'll get it...

-Finish my 
Finally Fall Shawl -- started 2 falls ago…it’s been finally fall twice already haha 

-Finish spinning the merino/silk blend (mentioned here and a few other posts)that’s been on my spindle for a couple years now.
Well, I am getting a lot closer, but spinning has been on the back burner a lot lately.
-Spin atleast one other yarn 

-Finish the friendship spinning project I have started with my friend Ivy. 

-Conquer something with intense colorwork
I am drawn to this (pattern on cover) right now. 
-Design and publish at least 3 items 

-Submit proposals to at least 2 publications
And finally: 

-DON’T LET KNITTING TAKE PRIORITY OVER PAINTING/REALITY/LIFE.
Much easier said than done of course :) 

Well, it all seems doable right? I think I say that every year also. What are your goals for the new year? I hope that whatever they are, you are excited to get going on them. With no classes now I feel so lazy. I really should get myself back into studio and work on some more paintings...

~Lisa

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 -In Review-

Well, 2013 ends in 2.5 hours over here and I can't believe everything that has happened. This past year I've had so many experiences - mostly good - and learned so many things. I've produced the best art work of my life, received TWO BFA's,  and finished almost 25 knitting projects! Whew what a year!

For the past couple of years I have made a "Fiber resolutions/goals list" and every time I go all crazy with it at the beginning the fizzle out by Summer. But I still want to take the time to look at it right now.

1. Knit a pullover/in the round type sweater: 2012 was the year of cardigans and vests, I want 2013 to be the year of pullovers! And I really want to start with this one: 
Ok so 2013 was not the year of pullovers but I did get one done! Dragonflies

2. Going off of the last one, I would love to knit a bulky yarns sweater, because there are so many pretty ones :)
That didn't happen... sadly I got distracted by other things I guess.
3.Last year I wanted to conquer lace and I feel like I did. Well this year I want to FINISH something lace, with very few mistakes. I have some amazing bison blend yarn that would make a lovely lace scarf!
 
The bison yarn is still in my stash, but Salacia is by far my favorite finished project ever. And I even learned to seam in the process :) 
4.Felt something, anything. 
I did try felting a headband but it didn't work. And I accidentally felted a pair of socks in the washing machine. Do those count
5.Learn more cast-on's and bind-off's. Because I just didn't do it last year and I know it would be beneficial to know.
I don't remember any new ones by heart, but I did use new ones in several projects for my monthly knitting club. 
6.Design another pair of worsted weight socks. They always seem to go over so well. It's my dream to publish a whole book of worsted socks!
Oops, I guess I forgot...
7. Design a pair of sock-weight socks. Just for the fun of it!
Although not published, I semi-designed a pair for my knitting buddy Ivy!
8. Design and publish something other than socks and submit something to at least 2 publications. I didn't get into Knitty, but I got great response from the editor and I want to try again with them and others. 
I submitted Drehen to Knitty (no go) and Pixelexia to Knitscene (no go). I ended up self publishing Drehen. I also completely improvised my lacey babydoll top with only slight issues along the way (including running out of yarn and having to tie it with a cord)


9. Spin something other than worsted/bulky. I would love to make a fingering weight yarn. 
I didn't spin much of anything all year. I worked a bit on some merino/silk but it didn't get done (however it is pretty thin...)
10Learn to blend fibers through plying when spinning (like merino and nylon). This goes back to the above point. 
See my response to #9
11. Learn different types of drafts and how to know when to use which. I am still stuck in a rut of doing the same thing every time, whether it works for that roving or not.
Yea, that didn't happen. Maybe this year I'll actually start spinning again. 
12.Learn how to properly dye with natural materials (flowers, roots etc)
I did dye a lot this year, but always with food color and kool aid. Although I didn't do natural dying, I am super proud of my new found abilities to dye with the sun. (Check out my shawl for proof!)

Once again, I did about half the things on the list. But I also did so much more this year. I finished so many amazing projects - 6 different full sized garments !! - and learned so many amazing things. What will this year bring? 

I plan on writing up another list, but I don't plan on making it my primary goals like before. I just want to collect my thoughts and get ideas.

What's on your list this year?

~Lisa