Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Been Too Long (again)

One would think that having no real job, but lots of time to create would give me time to photograph things and update on here more. Yea right....

I have lots of new knit things to share today! Maybe that's why it's been so long - I was waiting to share all at once.

I don't think I've ever started a finished a pair of socks in a week, so doing so with this pair made me really happy. The reason, not so much. I started this pair right before having to emergency fly home to attend a funeral for my last living Grandmother. It was a sad time, many tears were shed (but not me - I don't get emotional).  But back to socks. I was able to get the first one completely finished in transit back to KS.  I stayed the whole week just for kicks, and ended up finishing the second one during that time. The yarn is Verdant Gryphon Bugga! that I received as a gift. It's probably been my favorite to work with, what with the cashmere content. The pattern is Show Off Stranded Socks by Anne Campbell. Yet another "Almost Vanilla" project that I loved! 

After finishing the socks at home I ran into a dilemma. I had packed my sweater project, but in the rush I didn't pack enough of the yarn. So I couldn't finish it like I hoped. And I had no other projects other than my needles and the left over Bugga! I COULD NOT spend another day flying and layovers without a knitting project. The result was a quick Hobby Lobby run (when you're poor and it's a hat, you make do) for some basic white DK yarn. I was able to start and almost finish this hat that day as I traveled back to Texas.  The pattern? Fruju Hat. It actually calls for self-striping, but there is no reason you can't just use two yarns ;). Yet another pattern I will remember for the future.

And now the big reveal. I am farely certain I have mentioned my "Tell it Slant" sweater on here at least twice. The yarn was purchased at my new (and favorite) LYS, W.C. Mercantile on my birthday weekend with the intention of making this sweater. I loved the pattern and design and use of short rows. And my use of blue really helps it pop! I ended up redoing the sleeve cuffs three times because of length, but otherwise there were really no kinks. My only wish is that the neck wasn't so scoopy. But I could have fixed that if I really wanted to. The pattern is "Tell it Slant" by Mary Annarella. The yarn I used was HiKoo Simplicity. I have a little less than one whole skein of each color left, which means I need to find it a good colorwork project to become. 

The irony is that it is currently 70 out here in Texas. But I am still wearing this as much as I can, after all, a good sweater means you don't need a jacket!  And it's fairly light weight, so I think this spring I can still get away with it.

Weekly Inspirations:
Knitting: I am currently designing some toe up socks to use with this yarn. It took me forever, but I think I finally got a good thing going. 
Art: I hit up some art shows in Houston last weekend. I got to see some really inspiring works. Especially at this show. And the interesting thing is that I realized after that I remember seeing Jackie Titleston in a magazine in undergrad and loving her. So amazing to see it in person!
Food: No new recipes, just random experiments. But if you feel like reading a rant, I posted my opinion on restaurants and calorie lists on my food blog. 
Life: Maybe I should eliminate this category. Life is usually everything I already talked about on here. 

I hope that weather you are enjoying the warm weather or snowed in and cold you are able to have a good week !


Friday, January 9, 2015

Art Happenings

Finally Friday! Although it's been a cold, wet one here in TX. I am not enjoying this weather...

I realized earlier this week that I haven't shared any of my most recent art on my blog lately, and I knew that needed to change. So today I finally got around to taking some photos. 

Since around Thanksgiving time I have been working on a larger scale knit sculpture. I really want to start creating human sized, full room knit installation worlds. This is the next step for me. The big cone is about 2 feet tall and took over 2 months to knit. I was actually going to have it be a giant bowl when I started, but I got impatient and decided to make a cone instead. I am not sure if this installation is complete yet: I feel like it needs something. 

If it took 2 months to knit the one cone, than this full room idea is going to take longer than I thought....

"Whispering Dawn Thunder"

Also after Thanksgiving, I decided to start painting on wood panels. I had done a bit on smooth surfaces since moving to Navasota and enjoyed it, so I wanted to give it a try in my own art. I also wanted to go back to the landscapes - I missed them after painting the weird ball sculptures - and simplify my colors. Working on the smooth surface really helped me to do that. Wood doesn't absorb paint like canvas, so you end up just layering on strokes and if you're not careful you can get a muddy mess. Luckily I was able to figure it out. 

"Cold Dandelion Trickle"

These are also smaller, 12 x 16 to be exact. This is mostly due to me not wanting to pay a ton for my wood. But I'm really liking this size. If you look at my website you will see all four of my new works since I started this. I have two more in process and am hoping to keep making these for a bit. Another thing you may notice if you see my 2015 art page is that they all are more cohesive in theme. I am trying to branch out a bit and start making more "Series" of works that revolve around a single aspect. This group of paintings is all about being trapped/restricted/caved in and wanting to get out. I hope it's showing through in my works. 

And finally, a gallery shot of where my art hangs at the house ! 

I also wanted to take a moment to share some spectacular news. As this residency program ends in a month or so, I have begun a lot of soul searching about my next move. It's been so tough trying to decide if I want to stay in the Bryan/College Station area of if I want to move somewhere with more art (Houston, Austin...). Well after talking to some of my good friends in the Bryan art area, they convinced me to stay around. And after I decided on that....wait for it... The Arts Council (that hosts our program) offered me a job! So I will be staying in TX for a while, working with the council and teaching all of their workshops and classes. I am really excited for the opportunity and the fact that they believe in me so much. 

Weekly Inspirations:
Knitting: I love the Brazos Valley Knitting Guild. We had our meeting last night and show and tell time is always my favorite. So many amazing projects were shared and now I want to cast on everything! Pine Bough CowlNurmilintu, and Tenticulum are just three of the lovelies.
Art: Something that has really been inspiring me lately is Mic Check Poetry in Bryan. I got almost every week and the poets and their words always leave an impact.
Food: I finally updated my food blog. I keep taking pictures and then never sharing them! Over Christmas I made-up a gnocchi recipe with canned tomatoes. I really liked it (but my dad, Mr. Picky had other thoughts).
Life: New Year, new resolutions> I am trying really hard to get back into my old exercise and eating habits, but it's harder than it should be. Especially with this nasty rain.

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the internet. I always love sharing my life with everyone and hearing what you all have to say.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Next Big Thing - Product Testers Wanted :)

I hope that everyone had a splendid week and a wonderful new year. Mine was pretty casual - stayed up late watching TV shows and knitting. But isn't that the best way to spend the holiday? 

I am writing today with a request for all of my friends in blogland. 

This past holiday, I wanted to give my brother's girlfriend a homemade gift. Knowing that she was going to be student teaching this coming semester, I thought some sort of lesson plan book would be a good idea. After doing some googling and shopping, I decided to try my hand at making here a homemade binder. 

After finishing her's (which I never did take a photo of...) I got to thinking about knitters and how we all have so many patterns floating around. We all need a place to keep them right? Thus "The Pattern Keeper" was born (title may change). 

Each binder starts with archival matboard for the covers, and is then assembled using simple material. The cover features a beautiful, handpainted watercolor stitch design.

The binder portion is created with 3 binder rings inserted along the spine. These are just simple rings like you find in any standard binder. The only thing is they don't have the fancy mechanism to open and close. 

Inside each binder is matching paper to cover the fabric. The front cover also has a pocket to fit all of your random papers. The plan right now is to also include blank dividers and some of the page protector sheets to get the user started. I am also considering adding graph paper for the budding designer.

So what I am asking all of my readers is for opinions. I have 4 of these made up, and will send them to you, completely free, to analyze, test, and review. I really want to start selling these on Etsy - I think they could go well - but I want to have real feedback before I jump in,

Interested? Comment here or Email me - Lisa(dot)Urban(dot)24(at)Gmail(dot)com. I would love to send you a handmade binder to try and use !


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Knitting

It's been so long since I posted about my knitting life - there have been so many other things happening and so little time to really blog about anything. Things are finally slowing down, and I'm headed back to Texas tomorrow, so now's the perfect time to share my recent projects.

With the holidays this past week, I found myself making lots of holiday knits for my family. The first was for my sister. When I was home over Thanksgiving, my sister loved my Temple Cats hat, and casually mentioned wanting one in purple and blue.  Luckily the LYS had a Black Friday Sale and I was able to get the yarn I needed for a great price.

The yarn I chose is Cascade Yarns Elysian, a nice blend of 60/40 Merino/Acrylic. It's really soft and worked up great, although it was a bit splitty at times. I decided to use the purple for the base color, so the cats could really pop. And I also added the aqua stripes to the top because I thought it would add nice accent. She really liked it :) 

My sister has a birthday three days after Christmas, and I had extra yarn, so I decided to knit her a pair of mittens to go with the hat as a birthday gift. I reversed the colors and found that I really liked the cats against the blue. The patter was completely charted from scratch, with only a basic mitten pattern to give me stitch numbers. She has really long fingers, and thus they turned out super long. But working on these really made me a colorwork master! 

When I asked my brother what he wanted for Christmas, he replied "A black hat would be nice". Of course he chose black - the one color that I didn't have wool in my stash. Luckily the LYS is five blocks down the street and they had exactly what I needed. I have since lost the label, but it was a nice super wash, aran weight wool. I paired it with some leftover handspun alpaca for the brim (originally used for this hat) and then I found some simply soft here in my KS stash that I used to pair it with for the top. Considering that I improvised the design, he really likes it and I know it will get good use. 

As for me, it's not winter in Kansas without a nice warm scarf. I finally finished my Scotland scarf a few weeks back, and have been wearing it everywhere since. The yarn is a nice angora blend and so warm and scushy. I am really pleased with this scarf because it was also my "movie theater scarf". I took it with me to four different movies (Plus a couple of knit club days) and only had eight mistakes through it all. I learned that I can knit basic in the dark, which is a huge plus for me. I definitely plan on taking more projects to movies from now on. 

Weekly Inspirations:
Art: On my trip back home last week I stopped in Fort Worth. I was lucky enough to see some amazing art by really famous artists at The Fort Worth Modern, The Kimbell Museum , and the Amon Carter Museum. Seeing works by Georgia O'Keefe, Keith Herring, Paul Gauguin, Picasso and the likes was really inspiring. 
Food: Although I didn't get good photos, I made some really good Italian Chicken Panini's last week for my family and even my dad liked them!
Knitting: I am dying to cast on more socks after reading so many posts about socks the past few weeks. Specifically after reading Kiwiyarns Knits post about her year in socks (thanks Andi for sharing) I have so many lovely yarns to try out also. 
Life: I start driving back to Texas from Kansas tomorrow, to finish up the last 2 months of my residency. I am ready to get back into painting, what with a couple of shows coming up. When I get back, I will of course share my new works with you all.

I hope the New Year finds you making happy, healthy resolutions and finding new adventures in knitting and life. I know that 2014 has been so life changing, I can only imagine what 2015 will be like.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

...and a happy new year!

I hope you and yours are having a wonderful holiday season! I'm lucky enough to spend it back in Kansas. Where ever you are this season remember to have a good time and stay safe and warm.

From my blog to your's, Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 12, 2014

Share All the Things Friday - Etsy Edition

So I'm not going to lie, I have kinda been waiting all week to post just so I can do a "Share all the things Friday" post. If you haven't heard of this, it's an amazing topic that has been started by the lovely Truly Myrtle. If you haven't checked her's out, you should.

Mostly out of bordem, I found myself spending several evenings on Etsy exploring the knitting related shops and lusting over all the things that I only wish I could afford. I figured, why not share them all with my fellow bloggers as well, so that you can do some drooling.

Photo (C) SevenYaks on Etsy

All I want for Christmas is one of these gorgeous spindles courtesy SevenYaks. All of her spindles are simply stunning and so light weight. The worl is made of cut acrylic, and the shafts are made of wood. I can only imagine how much of a dream it is to watch these snowflakes spin round and round. 

Photo (C) TurtleMade on Etsy

On the not of spindles, check out what TurtleMade is doing! It may seem cheesy, but she is using a 3D printer to make drop spindles. The colors are kinda wild, but isn't it such a fun idea? I almost want to try a Turkish spindle just so I can buy one of these.  And if these don't float your boat, she has lots of yarn too!

Photo (C) Fashion Touch Supplies on Etsy

In the realm of yarns, I have yet to buy any off of Etsy (Yes, it's a sin, I know!). But I have found lots of dyers that I wish to purchase from. The first is Fashion Touch Supplies.  The color above is the one that I discovered first. Maybe it's the autumn colors that drew me in? This yarn is 200 yards of 100% pure virgin wool and the photo has me wanting to reach out and squish it.  And if the yarn isn't enough, she has lots of pretty rovings, beads and more!

Photo (C) WoolSilkLace

Of all the shops I found, I think this is the one I am going to cave and order from soonest. How can you not fall in love with this absolutely stunning 2 color striping sock yarn from WoolSilkLace? The yarn base is 75% merino, 20% Nylon and 5% Stellina ( a blend of polyacryl and polyester). And if this colorway doesn't have you drooling, then you should check out some of her others. They range from mystical to practical and everywhere in between. 

Photo (C) Heidishoppe

My final love for the day is these crazy, silly cat bowls from Heidishoppe.  Who wouldn't want to store and use their yarn in on of these? They're so silly and fun and would really brighten up any knitter or cat lover's day! And for the non-knitter, she also has mugs, cups, banks and more!

Weekly Inspirations:

Knitting: It's official. I have too many projects on my needles. Two scarves (lost in transit and the Scotland Angora), a gift hat, my sweater AND a sculpture project. I haven't had this many in a LONG time. Right now, the gift hat is taking priority....
Art: I've met some really great local artists here in Texas. If you're interested, you should check out: Jennifer Christy , Miriam at Wyle Soul Photography , Scott McDermottNancy Hampton Elliott
Food:  This week I made my absolute favorite soup recipe: Italian Chicken and Veggie Soup. My mom discovered it a few years back and I have been obsessed ever since. 
Life:  In exactly a week I will begin my 2 day drive back to Kansas for the holidays. I am dreading it (I can't knit and drive!) but also looking forward to the time to think and figure out what my next step is.

I hope you are all having a wonderful week and that the weekend finds you full of fun and relaxation. I think I will be painting a lot, but what else is new.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Knitting Artist - Holiday Sale!

Happy December friends! I should have posted this last week, but life has been getting away from me.

I am having a Holiday Sale at my Etsy Shop: The Knitting Artist.

From now until next Sunday, Dec 14th, you can get 20% off any item in my shop. Just use the code SBSAT at checkout. 

What can you get ? 

Copies of my first 'zine: Words and Sttiches, November 2014. Each issue comes with beautiful images of my art paired with a poem. Also included is knitting lessons, a free dishcloth pattern and a simple veggie recipe.

Fine Art Prints of my Gouache (similar to watercolor) paintings. And believe me, you will never know it's not the original. Printed on beautiful somerset velvet watercolor paper, the color and vibrancy will magically transport you to my imaginary worlds. 

One (or many) of my handpainted cards. Right now I am offering just simple knit stitch designs, but I am hoping to add some more abstract (and maybe holiday themed if I have time this week) designs. Why not send a special message on a special card? 

So, why not pop on over and take advantage of the chance to own a part of me and my art while you can save some money. And don't forget - all the proceeds go straight back to me as an artist, which means you are essentially helping me to keep on creating and doing what I love.