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I have a ton of yarn (maybe not an actual ton, but I moved down to Austin with a 7 foot pod and let’s just say that most of that was and still is…yarn…)
I’ve actually narrowed my collection down to the yarns that I like (I’ve been the recipient of a lot of leftover yarn as well as made some questionable color choices in the past…) and have hope of actually using but it still leaves me with about ten large plastic bins of yarn. I started knitting blankets as what I hoped would be a way of making a dent in my stash. It is surprising how little yarn a blanket will actually use up!
The purple/lavender chevron blanket was number 3. The yarn is Red Heart Super Saver which I picked up for $12 at Goodwill. I still have yarn left! The gold/blue/yellow squares will make up my fourth blanket. I’m loving this design. Basically I picked my colors (again, all the yarn was bought for super cheap at one thrift store or another – it’s an acrylic sport weight yarn) and went with a block design instead of knitting it in one piece. I learned a lesson with the lavender monstrosity. I was blanketed (see what I did there?) in acrylic yarn as I knit it and wanted to avoid doing that during the 90 degree temps we often see during an Austin summer. I’m loving the touch of blue with the golds and yellow, help make it more contemporary (along with the geometric design) instead of a 70’s vibe. I’m getting at least a square a day done and I think I’ll easily end up with 40 squares. This might be a queen, maybe even a king size blanket when I’m done as each square will be at least 11 inches after they are blocked.
The problem is that I’ve got the yarn set aside for my next blanket and I’m itching to get that project started but I’ll be good and finish this one first.
I adore art journals. I have many blank books just waiting for me to fill up the pages only to remain empty. I finally decided to devote some time to it. I chose a regular spiral bound artist’s sketchbook for my first one (so I don’t “ruin” it). I am trying to overcome my resistance to creating the “perfect” page and started in the middle of the book, took a Sharpie and just started drawing (after consulting with myself as to what I might want to draw). I love flowers, so I decided to draw some fantasy flowers. I would draw a couple and then go do something else. And come back later and add more.
For this project it was important for me to focus on the process, not worry about the finished product. As a matter of fact, my goal was to “draw one shitty page.” I’m trying to practice baby steps and lowering my expectations (to overcome my blocks).
Overall, it was fun and I want to explore flowers more but I think my next page is going to be about animals. I’m checking out my National Geographics as I write this and for this page my goal will be to draw a bad interpretation of my inspiration.
It’s better to set the bar low so that I will at least do something rather than do nothing at all. My only expectation is forward movement.
I made this cowl out of some cotton yarn I found at the thrift store. It is the perfect complement for a denim jackt. I did a lace bobble edging and then knit the body up in a seed stitch so that it was reversible.
To get the second edging right, I had to knit it separately and then kitchener stitch it on. Now, I’m not a big fan of the kitchener stitch, I would much rather do a three needle bind off. But once I got into the grove of it, it wasn’t so bad.
Crafting is not a female only sport. There are many guys out there who are creative and crafty – whether it’s rebuilding an old mustang or making sculpture from junk. Ben Venom happens to be a quilter who uses rock t-shirts as his medium and incorporates lyrics from his favorite and obscure rock and punk rock songs.
His stuff is incredible – check it out.
Saturday I took a trip down to Huntsville, Texas, to visit Pheonix Commotion, Dan Phillips construction company that specializes in building small homes from reclaimed and leftover building materials (which I mentioned in a previous post). Basically stuff that was either headed for the dumpster because of botched orders (“Oh, you wanted 10 ft boards, not 8 ft boards), leftover inventory or just general waste (bottle caps, wine corks, bone).
I like Dan’s philosophy in making use of these materials to build housing for artists and single moms. The construction industry has tons of waste and using it keeps it out of the landfill and costs down. Not to mention that many new building materials are treated with chemicals that out gas and cause health issues for many people. Reclaimed or recycled materials (like using old barn wood or salvaging stuff from buildings that will be torn down) don’t have that problem because they are old enough that the chemicals have already leached out.
On the tour ($10 per person – very reasonable) we got to see the inside of only 3 of the houses (as the other’s are private residences) – the Bone House, the Tree House and I don’t know if the third house had a name but the front fencing had wine bottles as part of the fence, so I’ll call it the Wine House.
Some of these homes had artist’s studios with them as separate buildings. Personally, I could never live in any of the houses. I found them too confining and with the multitude of patterns on practically every surface, too busy. I like a cleaner aesthetic. Also, I want a flat counter top surface (the counters in the bone house where done in a bone mosaic – as in actual bone). I can’t imagine trying to cut something and having my cutting board bouncing all over the place. Plus keeping it clean would not be fun. The floor in that kitchen was absolutely beautiful but impractical, from a cleaning standpoint, in my opinion.
I found the artist’s studios much more to my liking, which were mostly one big rectangle with a bathroom. I’m thinking I need about 800 square feet and properly planned will seem spacious and be very comfortable. And most important – paid for. I don’t plan on using bottle caps for flooring (I’m going to go with a stained cement – way cheaper and less time-consuming) but I will be looking in unusual places for my materials rather than hitting up the big box stores.
It’ll be at least a year before I can even move and probably longer than that before I get another house as I decide on where I eventually want to settle down. Being an empty-nester will free me to go anywhere I want so I am going to explore my options. But Dan’s opened my eyes to lots of options so that when I am ready to build or remodel, I can do it without taking on a mortgage and customized just for me as long as I am willing to put in some time sourcing cheap/free materials and doing some of the jobs.
I’ve been busy getting ready for a craft show I’m doing in November. Now that I carpool (why I hadn’t hopped on that bandwagon sooner is beyond me – 2 out of every 3 weeks I sit in back and knit or crochet. It’s an extra 1 1/2 hours a day of playtime), I’ve been making much more progress.
I will be selling mostly jewelry, bags and scarves. I love making scarves. First of all, one size fits all.
Second, a scarf is the perfect winter accessory. With our mild Texas winters I find that as long as my neck is covered, I stay warm.
Third, and most importantly for me, scarves are an opportunity to play. Scarves are the jazz of the knit/crochet world. They are perfect for improvisation because they don’t take a lot of time. It’s a time to explore stitch patterns, play around with techniques and use up odd bit of skeins left over from other projects. And the end result is always fantastic.
For the purple/green crochet scarf above, I had a bunch of scraps from a miter block project that I abandoned so when I unravelled it, I use the pieces for a simple circular crochet motif and joined them as I crocheted rather than sew them all together (what a pain – I’ve done that before). I still ended up with scraps so I tied them all together to create a large ball which I will use to – you guessed it – make another scarf.
The second scarf is actually two in one. One is a deep tan and the other is cream. This is my own pattern which mimics leaves on a vine.
Scarves are little works of art and I think that they can be beautiful as well as functional.
I came across this post on my internet travels today.
While it seems more geared toward the graphic design crowd I thought the concept of not using black was very interesting and wondered how I could apply it to my work. If nothing else, I am going to be looking at shadows a lot differently. And maybe just observing color, actually trying to pinpoint what it is, might be all I need to learn.