Sunday, April 22, 2018

Playing with Light

I've been working on a new project lately.  Actually, no, I've been OBSESSING over a new project lately.  Something a bit crazy, but completely magical.  A bit out there, but completely fantastic. A bit... well... illuminated.

It started with a project at school - paper mache - and seeing students use balloons to make their forms gave me an idea.  Why not blow up a balloon around my own forms so they can be hollow? Then I can put a light inside!


I gave it a try and after trying a couple of different yarn weights, decided that a lace/fingering was the right pick for this project.  After coating in a glue and water mixture, I popped the balloon and the form held! 


Now, the possibilities were endless. I could make a bunch of these and hang them from the ceiling! Or make free standing sculptures with more balls attached! Or change the color of the light! So many fun things were ahead. 

I decided to knit smaller balls and attach them, to create "cell-like" forms that (to me) represent memories and dreams.  


As I shared on social media, more people began to give me ideas, many of which were that I should make them hang from the ceiling.  I ordered some hanging fixtures and gave that a try with my colored lights. 


I liked it, but it didn't feel right.  Somehow, the freestanding just worked better for me and my ideas. 

Another friend suggested mirrors one day, saying that they could work well with my ideas of space, dreams and surrealism.  I thought about it and got intrigued.  Enough to go buy mirror tiles at the hardware store and give it a try.


I fell in love and knew that that this was the route to take for awhile.  I built more forms and began playing with multiple mirrors, until finally I got something that I am extremely proud of.  Proud enough to enter in a major fiber show in Houston.  Proud enough to share with you all.  Proud enough to keep making more.



The above photos are the final results and I am so happy with them.  The way the light plays with the reflections and the way the forms all glow from within.  Something is happening and I cannot wait to explore more.  

The next step is to do some research.  Learn about dream cycles and memory.  Make these forms truly represent our dreams and emotions, through size and stitch pattern.

This has been fun!

~Lisa 


Sunday, April 8, 2018

On My Needles and In My Studio

Well, 2018 hasn't been a fantastic year for blogging, but that doesn't mean I don't at least think about it.  I will try and get better, but when there is little progress from week to week it's hard to think of topics to discuss.

Luckily I have some things going on right now that I can share!

First up is a FO in the form of socks for my friend Jayde.  Finished the week of March 26th, they have reached their recipient safely and fit well.  I love the pattern - Hermoine's Everyday Socks - as it is just subtle enough to show off the stripes but also add interest, and the yarn is definitely a favorite.  I wish I had more (time to stash hunt on Ravelry!)


Shown with original artwork by Jayde Archebold. 
Check out her site and shop if you like what you see :)

As soon as the socks went off, a new project went on.  This lovely shawl is for a friend who is moving to London at the end of the summer.  I think the weight and size will work well for her over there, and the pattern - Madeleine Shawl from Vintage Modern Knits - is knitting up so quick that I am already on the decreases!

The yarn is worsted, single ply from the UK titled Mapuche.  I don't really have any other info, as it was a gift and the tag was bare bones. 


The other knit project currently consuming my mind is this fantastically interesting knitted sculpture project.  I came up with the idea a few months ago and have been obsessed since.  I am creating ball sculptures that, to me, represent fallen memories and dreams, and are completely hollow (thanks to balloons and glue) and have a light inside! They started out as standing, table top pieces, but I recently acquired some hanging fixtures and have been playing with hanging them.  I can't decide which I like more, but I do know that I am going to keep making these!

Shown with a yellow "bug light" bulb inside.

Finally, I have been developing a few new colors of yarn! Although I haven't been able to dedicate a good chunk of time to dying full skeins, I do have a few minis I created as tests for color.  My plan right now is to roll out a new "series" of colorways based off my EnchantKnit Forest paintings, with the first two being in the purple family.  

Frozen Summer Harvest is on the pale purple and blue side with pops of pink and green, while Sleeping Moon Ice is on the darker side, with indigo and navy showing through.  When I finally get full skeins I bet they would knit together really well!


Sleeping Moon Ice


Frozen Summer Harvest

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Is it summer yet? I know spring just started, but I am really ready for a break from school! April has many many events happening and I am trying to take it one day at a time and also get some knitting in.  I hope I can make that happen!

~Lisa 






Sunday, March 18, 2018

My Weekend in San Antonio

This past weekend I had the the privilege to host a trunk show at a new-to-me yarn shop in San Antonio, TX.  Yarnivore is a located in a strip mall just outside the SA Airport, and while it looks basic on the outside, stepping inside is anything but.

It's a lovely little shop, run by a really excited and energetic knitter and you can tell her passion radiates throughout.  There is a reason it's called "Our Happy Place"


My show consisted of both art and yarn, and was well received. I didn't have a huge turnout, but several people came to meet me and talk about my mission.  And at the end of the day, the own even purchased some items to keep in her inventory.  So if you are in the San Antonio Area, you can pop on in and pick up a skein or two!

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Given that it was a bit of a drive for me, I decided to stay over and make it a weekend. And my first stop after the yarn shop was to visit some friends at Mantle Art Space, a space I exhibited at over a year ago.  Their current show, "The Light That Remains" consists of resin based works as well as reflective and transparent materials arranged into abstract compositions.  You can read more at the website, but aren't these just beautiful? 



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Weekend trips always need a little knitting time, and I was able to find the perfect spot to do it on Sunday morning.  "The Art of Donut" was a cute little shop that featured gourmet donuts and a fun atmosphere.  I got to try both an egg sandwich on a donut and a white chocolate pistachio sweet donut, all the while finishing up the first sock in my 'Jayded Gemstones'. I will for sure be back!


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Finally, I spent Sunday afternoon exploring the SA art scene with an artist friend.  We got to experience some amazing spots, including Blue Star, Cinnabar and The Southwest School of Art.  One highlight was this fantastic mural they just put in at the Blue Star Complex!


Overall, it was a fullfilling weekend and a great start to my Spring Break.  However, how that break must come to an end and I am not sure if I'm ready to go back to teaching.  Some days I really just enjoy a good day off, knitting and creating.  But doesn't everyone? 

~Lisa 

Monday, March 5, 2018

What I'm Knitting

Hello, Hello! And Happy Monday! For me it's the last Monday before the week off known as Spring Break.  And man am I ready.  But let's not go into that.  Instead, I wanted to do a quickie post on several projects I currently have on my needles.

First up is a pair of socks I am working on for a good friend who recently moved back home to Florida.  Jayde was here for about 8 months participating in an artist residency and we became really close while she was here.  Before she left she gifted me with some art and I am returning the favor with socks!



She claims to wear 7.5 shoe, but we measured her foot and it's longer than mine.  However, her ankle is the same measurement as mine so I am doing what I know fits me and adding extra foot length.  The yarn is Fortissima Socka Mexiko Color and the pattern is Hermoine's Everyday Socks.  Actually my first pair with this pattern, but won't be my last!

Next up is something I started on a whim.  I was at my LYS and found this yarn in the bargain bin and decided I wanted another Lucente Tee.  This will be my 4th one!  It's such an easy project to knit up and looks good over almost everything, that I love having multiple in my wardrobe. Plus the sheen of the Silkystones yarn is just beautiful.


Finally, I have an art experiment that is also on my needles.  I have decided to play with light in my installations and I think I finally found a way to make my forms glow! I am knitting with a white, light fingering weight and using larger needles to create a nice airy ball.  Once the ball is done, I decided to blow up a balloon inside it and then covered the whole thing in glue.  I let the glue dry and held my breath as I popped the balloon.  Thank God it worked! The final result is very fragile, but with an opening in the bottom, I am able to place a lamp fixture inside and make it glow!  I'm hoping to make more of these and find a way to install them on a wall or even from the ceiling someday.




Isn't that awesome! I am so excited for where this can go!

Well, I hope that spring has come for you, it has for me! It'll be 70-80 degrees here all week and I am so ready for it.  Nice weather always trumps cold weather in my book.  Plus I can wear all my spring knits!

Have a great week!

~Lisa



Monday, February 19, 2018

I just need a little Breathing Space!

After six months, I finally finished something yesterday. Something big that will quickly become my favorite thing to wear. 

"Breathing Space" by Veera Välimäki. It's pretty likely you may have seen this pattern, as it is from the ever popular "Interpretations" series and has been made 1691 times on Ravelry. Also, Veera is pretty famous for her work, especially her "Color Affection" Shawl. 

Mine happened by accident.  I have had 2 skeins of Malabrigo Sock, in the colorways "Lettuce" and "Solice" for a few years now, having bought on sale.  I had been looking for something to pair these two with and I was flipping through the Interpretations book one day and fell in love with this pattern.  I quickly bought a second skein of Solice and got to work.  This was in July of 2017. 

When I started, I ran into a few kinks, the main one being my gauge, which was off by a few rows (more rows per inch than the pattern asked for).  As my stitch gauge was correct, I went with it, knowing I'd need more rows/stripes to equal their numbers.  It was pretty smooth sailing for awhile until I got to the bottom part of the body this past December. The math got confusing and I just couldn't decide how long I wanted it.  I ended up binding off and then un-binding to make longer. 


The sleeves were the same story, having decided to make them a little bit longer and having to redo a few things on them.  But I'm pretty happy with the length and so glad I did redo things. I bound off for real on Saturday evening, February 17.  Exactly 8 months after Ravelry says I started. 


The whole time I was trying it on as I went - a perk of sweaters in the round - and it fit pretty well, so I was a little worried blocking may make it huge.  But it really needed some breath (yes, pun intended) and so I took the leap and blocked.  Let me just say that I am very glad I did! It's so nice and drapes really well on me now. 


A few more notes:
  • I actually provisionally casted on at the neck, as I wanted to go back and do a stretchy bind off on it.  I am glad that I did, but pulling out that provisional cast on was a pain.  I think I did it wrong :/
  • I decided to make a "gradual fade" at the bottom of the body and sleeves with the stripes, which I enjoy. Although I wish I had striped it longer before going back to solid.
  • The stripe pattern is 2 rows one color, 2 rows the other. If you look at the body close enough you will see a stripe that is a bit thicker.  That's my "Birthday Stripe" which is from when I had too much wine on my birthday and ended up doing 3 rows of the darker color.  I like telling that story, so it stayed.
  • The diagonal rows are created by one of my favorites, short rows, and so much fun to work.
  • I will likely make another some day, but I need a break for now.  It was suggested I try it with random stripes of sock yarn.  Yay?


For the record, I will NEVER paint in this sweater. In fact, I'm even scared to wear it to school on days we will be painting.  BUT it felt appropriate to do some studio shots in it, as it's such an artsy piece.

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Thank you for taking the time to read today.  I have the day off from school for President's Day and had to stop and blog for a bit.  But now I need to get back to life, AKA dying yarn all afternoon. 

~Lisa 





Sunday, January 28, 2018

Texas Happenings

I have been wanting to update for the past two weeks, but somehow time escaped me.  While you may not believe it, it actually takes a bit of time to update my blog.  Between taking photos, editing them and then figuring out what to say, it can consume a good chunk of time. Which is why, as much as I want to update on a weekly basis, that just may not happen.

A couple weeks ago some pretty scary weather hit my area of Texas, causing freezing temperatures, icy roads and a school day off.  I took advantage of the day off and was able to get quite a bit done.

The first thing was starting a pair of gloves for my mom.  The yarn, Mountain Colors Twizzle, was picked out by her for this project.  I was able to cast on the gloves the evening of the day off and have since finished them.  They will be in the mail this week and I know she will love them.



I was also able to finish the third pairing in my triptych, which has been on my easel for far too long.  When I took on the full time position at my school a few things got tossed aside, mainly  my studio time.  But I am slowly making time to work on my paintings again.

Working Title: "Red Sea"

Speaking of full time, this past week I did a little painting activity with some of my students that involved learning about color values.  We took a color, added white and black to make shades and tints and are making pretty skies for our pictures.  Look how much fun we had!



The dye studio also saw some time that day, as I dyed up several skeins of my "light" yarn - 100% sw merino fingering - in my two new colorways. I also reserved a couple of skeins to just splatter leftover dye on.  I'm calling these "paint water" and ironically I sold those 2 skeins before I even made labels! My knitting group just loved it.


Sometimes life just gets busy, but I always thrive on being busy so I really don't mind.  Maybe I am tired a lot, but somehow I get through the day pretty well.  Remembering that I have the drive and ability to create and share my creations is always something that keeps me going.  What about you?

~Lisa 



Monday, January 8, 2018

What's the Word?

Well, 2018 is here and it seems like everyone has the resolution mindset right now.  I know I don't really set resolutions, but I always try and look ahead to think about what I want to achieve.  And while some years I don't decide until mid-February, other years I break it mid- February, it's always nice to feel like I'm setting a goal.

I'm a member of the MySister'sKnitter group on Ravelry, and while I am not a frequent poster, I love the community of that group.  It's funny though, because the theme for the upcoming KAL actually fits perfectly with my knitting goals for 2018.

"What's the Word?" - choose a word that defines your goals for 2018. 

Even before Christmas, I had decided I wanted to cut back on the selfish knitting and knit more for others this year.  So many people have been good friends, mentors and role models in my life, and I need to repay them in some way, so why not knit?  At the same time, my life is beginning to get chaotic as I enter the territory of full time teaching.  So the moments I do have to create should be savored.

And thus, my word for 2018 is: Appreciate. 

Appreciate those who have helped me get where I am and appreciate the time I have to make things. 

The first on my list is someone who has known me my whole life, and honestly deserves so much more: My mom.

When I was home over the holiday we visited the shop there, Yarns: Sold and Told, and she picked out a skein of Mountain Colors Twizzle that she wants me to make into a pair of gloves.  I already found the pattern - Offhand Gloves - I am just waiting for the KAL to start so I may begin.  Hopefully the fingers will not mess me up, as they so often do.


Another person I need to knit for is someone I became friends with less than a year ago, but have found myself very attached too.  Jayde, an artist who moved here to participate in the residency I once did, has been an amazing influence in my art and friend in my life.  While I will not finish in time for when she moves, she has requested a pair of socks in a nice shade of purple.  I'm thinking this may work? But if not, I can always hit up my LYS. :)



And on the subject of appreciation, I wanted to take a moment and appreciate this lovely gift I received from my Knitting Guild Secret Santa.  While we all always out do ourselves, this is over the top.  Hedgehog Fibres bought IN IRELAND with a bag designed to emulate the landscapes there, a unique book that is filled with murals in Houston, plus tapes, teas and sugar! What else can a girl want?  I truly appreciate when people take the time to think of me during the holidays.


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Do you have a plan for the new year? Are you defining it in a single word or with a goal? Any resolutions or do you usually break them? I'd love to hear more!

I hope you all have a wonderful week and let's make 2018 the best yet!

~Lisa