Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Perfect Pair

Well here we are, the end of another month, what is happening with time?

With my February Socks done, it only feels fitting to dedicate today's post to them in all their pink glory  But as I started taking photos I realized that I have something else I can discuss: Shoes.  We all have our favorite pair(s), for running, working, relaxing.  But do we all have a favorite pair for showing off our handknit socks? As knitters, I hope the answer is a resounding "Yes!".

My current go-to pair for pretty much everywhere is this woven pair of CCResort shoes.  The woven design is super fun and the denim color matches my jeans as well as several skirts I own.  Plus the open top is perfect for showing off some socks.  I will definitely be ordering more pairs of these in the future. 


What better way to show off handknit socks then with knitted shoes? Haha ok so they aren't actually "knitted", just drawn with the knit stitches by yours truly.  If you look at my photo close enough you'll see that this pair has gotten tons and tons of wear.  But they're still so much fun to wear when I have the chance.  
(want your own pair? Click here!)


This pair of black, flat shoes is one of my standards for work, seeing as we have to dress business casual. Although I somehow get away with pair them with crazy socks.  Maybe that's because I'm the art teacher??? Either way, this pair works well with bare or socked feet and was a clearance pair at Payless last fall.  Total score!



But some days I just want to sit around with no shoes, showing off my crazy socks in all their glory.  

I finished the watermelon socks this past Sunday, just in time to get cracking on a pair for March (haven't decided what to use yet though).  I really like the fit that I was finally able to get and the pattern plays nice with this yarn.  There is just enough minty green in these to accent the various shades of pink and the photo above is the best representation of color I've been able to get. 

What about you guys? Do you have a favorite pair of shoes for your handknit socks? Or a favorite pair in general? I'd love to hear more!
Happy March!

~Lisa




Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Selfish Designing

I consider myself a pretty good designer.  Not that I've been in any publications or want to give up my day job, but sometimes the bug just bites and I'm able to design something better than what I can find online. 

After finishing my latest "self-design" (see bottom of post), I realized that I have a lot of things on Ravelry that I designed and never published a pattern for.  Some of them I swore I would, others I just didn't have time to write up.  And then deciding if you want to get it tested and proofed.  It all just takes so much time! And so today's post is dedicated to projects from the last 2-3 years that were designed by me but never published as patterns. 


Starting with the oldest is Stricken Socks, "Stricken" meaning "knit" in German. The design came about when I found a triangle motif that I adapted to look like enlarged knitted V's.  The yarn used was Blue Ridge Yarns, Subtle Shades in a violet color.  Sadly these socks came out a bit tight (the yarn was really thin) and also the color has since become patchy-faded from washing.  I do like the motif though and may re-work it into a pair this year. 


Next up on the list is my Woven Colors Shawl, made with two skeins of Ella Rae Lace Merino Worsted that I bought on a road trip. I love these two colors together and wanted a way to play with them.  I love my woven design, but the overall shawl didn't really work out. It's heavy and I attempted this weird sleeve thing.  I keep saying I'll rip it out and try something else but I haven't yet.  

More colorwork, this time with some local alpaca, the Alpaca Weave hat and mitts set was fun to do. I wanted to play again with the idea of the colors interacting and chose to use a mosaic technique to create the squares. I don't actually remember the exact way I did this, but I would love to publish it someday (Guess I need to be looking back through my journals for the chart!)  And see the ribbon? The ranch that made the yarn took a bunch of projects from our knit group to an event and I won a ribbon. 


Maybe you saw an earlier post this year about the playfully titled Unicorn Farts that I made with some rainbow wool.  I have really gotten into the idea of using mosaic knitting when it comes to two colors and that showed up again in this one.  If I were to publish or write this one up, I'd do it with different yarn (maybe from the blue/yellow above??) just because both of these yarns were super random.


The main inspiration for today's post was Eagle's Wings, a two colored half-pi shawl I started last October with my school (I teach at) colors.  The purple is actually left over from those Stricken Socks, while the gold is a clearance skein of Shibui Staccato.  I started with stripes of purple stockinette and gold drop stitches, but because I had less purple I ended up running out and chose to do a gold feather/fan border with beads.  It's not as massive as I wish, but I also was in a hurry to finish it up.  My knitting group thinks I need to publish this one.  I'm not sure if I will. 

Anyone reading ever design? Do you publish your designs or keep them to yourself? Do you find yourself taking an already published design and changing things up? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Have a fabulous week.

~Lisa



Monday, February 13, 2017

The Art of Journaling

Notebooks. Diaries. Journals.  No matter what you call them, we probably all have some form of physical paper that we write our thoughts on.  Whether it be personal secrets or quick notes, sometimes it's fun to have something to write and doodle in. 

My topic this week is inspired by the art of journaling, specifically when it comes to my knitting.  I was recently inspired by MySistersKnitter to start a knitting journal for the year, chronicling each project I do in it's pages with stats, photos, doodles and yarn. The hope is that at the end of the year I can look back and remember everything I did with a smile.


The timing seemed right to try out this endeavor, as my good friend Laura made me this lovely felted journal for Christmas, equipped with enough blank pages to fulfill my mission. 


And fulfill I will, as I have already added to four pages, two of which are my 12 in 12 sock challenges.  I had to make a couple pages after projects had already been completed, but now that I have started I plan to write notes as I work.


Above are two more fabulous journals that I have, both gifted by my wonderful friend Ivy. The first is especially nice because it is loaded with sturdy grid pages as well as helpful knitting tips and tricks in the back. The second is also gridded and was even bound by her.  Both tend to get used when I'm working on design ideas and need a place to keep my thoughts. 


I taught myself how to bind books about a year ago, and began designing my own covers to go with them.  The one below is a good example. I've had it for about two years, using it as a calendar/day planner, although I gave up on that last November because I couldn't be consistent with my planning.  So now it sits on a shelf.  The nice thing though is that, if I want, I can take apart the book and rebound the covers for another purpose.


Do you keep a journal? For knitting, crafting, writing or planning? What sort of pages do you prefer?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Have a fabulous week :)

~Lisa





Monday, February 6, 2017

The Problem with Socks

We all have our vices, especially in knitting.  Mine is socks. I love them and then I hate them, and then I love them again.  It's a cycle that never really ends.
I decided that for 2017 I want to knit 12 pairs - approx. 1 a month - but am keeping it open in case life gets in the way.

Upon deciding this I started my second pair this past week.  Dragonfly socks by Jocelyn Sertich was the perfect pattern for my watermelon colored yarn.  I'm doing it toe up with a fish lips kiss heel so in theory I'm just using her motif, as the pattern is written cuff down.

I've done short-row toes before and really enjoy the ease and look.  Something I haven't done before is use the fish lips method for toes.  As it turns out, doing that technique for toes tends to end with a longer, pointy version. I can handle that, but I probably won't do it again (except on the second sock!)



Out of excitement for my new goal, I've been knitting on these like crazy, so much that I made it all the way to the heel as of yesterday.  I measured it against my cardboard foot, it was perfect and so I went to town on the heel. 

Then this happened. Somewhere along the line I ended up an inch too long! I'm still unsure if it was that my heel ended up longer than expected or that I did my foot pattern too long.  Either way, I guess I need to rip out the heel and start over.  Sigh.  The heels are always the most annoying part and I've been known to say "The math for fish lips can do no wrong!" I guess I'm eating my own words now.


When I finally decide to pick these up again I'll be ripping out and starting the heel again, and hopefully getting on with the cuff.  How awesome would it be to finish the first sock in just over a week? I think that would be a new record.

So the problem with socks.  Well it's always the math.  Somehow I almost always end up with a pair that is too loose or too tight or too tall or something.  Does this ever happen to you? 

Hope you have a fabulous week!

~Lisa




Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Firsts of 2017

Here we are, the end of January, and I already have some milestones to share! If this month is any indication of the year to come, then I am in for a very wild ride.

The first thing is of course my art show, which was my first major installation and also the first (and hopefully not last) of the year. It comes down in a couple of days but the response was great and there is no where to go but up!



The next thing is my first finished oil painting of the year, which I started last Saturday (1/22) and finished this past Sunday.  I am moving in a slightly different direction with my knitted landscapes right now, having chosen to paint the forms floating in water with no real ground plain.  This first one is a new favorite, having chosen to play with blues and browns and I think I pulled it off!  The colors on the photo below are not quite accurate, but are very close.


Finally is my first pair of socks for the new year.  I discussed these last week, but the My Cup of Tea socks has been a KAL with my local group, although I finished them way early! The yarn knitted up fabulously and the pattern shows very well.  They fit well too, considering I haven't done top down with a gusset in what seems like ages.


I'm excited to announce that I plan on continuing with the sock craze and have already picked out my next yarn! I have several other things on the needles, but this last pair made me want more! I think I may even go for 12 in 12 (!!!). A friend of mine did it last year and it's been hugely inspiring.  Have you ever tried it?


I would also like to shout out to the amazing KAL group on Ravelry, MySistersKnitter, for enabling me to use stash yarn and join in the conversation with some amazing people. It always helps to have people to share and chat with :) 



I hope that the first month of the year is going good for all of you out there in blog-land. I truly cannot wait to see what February brings!

~Lisa




Monday, January 23, 2017

of Tea and Knitting

What a lovely week it has been down here in Texas.  With my show up and running I've finally been able to catch up on everything else that is happening in my life.  I've managed to get back on track with Knitting Guild affairs as well as teaching things.  And I even started a new painting!  

But the most significant is the amount of knitting I have managed to get done in the last few weeks.  Maybe too much? (is there really too much?).

The yarn of choice right now is this skein of Cascade Heritage Paints Fingering, perfect for socks with just enough nylon to make it nice and springy.  Given to me as a gift from my Secret Santa in the guild two years ago, it's knitting up very nicely into a pair of sock.



The socks are "My Cup of Tea" which is a knit-along my local yarn shop is hosting through the end of February.  What a fantastic way to spend the winter months! Knitting along with several of my other knitting ladies, I have already finished the first sock and am half way down the calf of the second.  The yarn itself is much more green then expected - in a skein it looked very very violet.  I'm really happy with how it's striping though, so no complaints here.



Knitting and tea seem to go hand-in-hand these days, so why not attend a "Mad Hatter Tea Party"?  My LYS hosted one this past weekend, where we got to sample three different teas that the local wool mill sells.  Along with pastries made by a fellow knitter and yummy sandwiches, there were no complaints! 

How have you spent your January so far? Between knitting and art, it seems to be flying by!
~Lisa 




Monday, January 16, 2017

Image/in/Knits 2017

As many of you know, art is kinda my thing and this past weekend I was honored with ability to exhibit my work in a new gallery space in San Antonio.  Mantle Art Space opened its doors in November and, after applying to an open call, I was given an exhibition for the month of January.

Having begun to explore the idea of bringing my paintings off the wall, this past September I did a mural and installation project for a local space in Bryan.  After doing it once, I wanted to continue exploring and do it again.


Driving down on Friday, I spent four+ hours painting a full wall mural in the space.  While my last one - see here - included more of a solid ground with cliffs and trees, I knew that I wanted this one to be more open and airy.  I decided to continue the floating forms and played with brush strokes to create a water-field. 


With my last project I had balls hanging from the ceiling, but I don't believe that I fully achieved an immersive space.   Taking the mural off the wall and into the gallery floor is an important factor for me but after spending the last few weeks playing with liquid resins and glues to create transparent "Water" puddles, I gave up (for now).  I couldn't just set balls on the ground again though, that wouldn't work for this, so I decided to create puddle shapes out of illustration board and paint strokes similar to those on my mural.  By doing this I am bringing the loose, illustration like world within the wall into the gallery space.

For this show and space I believe it works, but moving forward I definitely want to play with resins and transparencies even more.  Silicone? Plaster? Molding? Fabric? Who knows but I am sure that an answer will present it self soon.


Until that day, I will spend the rest of my month basking in the glow of a show well done and brainstorming more imaginary worlds for my knits to inhabit.

~Lisa