Monday, August 15, 2016

Insert Title Here About My Crazy, Stressful Life

Sigh. Welp, another month has gone by and another blog has sat un-updated. 

I guess that's life. I do love blogging, but the amount of work that goes into formatting photos, coming up with comments and just posting can sometime deter my interest.  Add the fact that I have TWO NEW JOBS and well, you get the point.

But seriously guys, I have Two New Jobs! I feel like my life as an artist is finally going places.  

Job 1) Teaching Middle and High School Art at my Local Catholic School.  Getting this job was a huge step for me, because up until now I've only taught after school.  Being in charge of an actual classroom, with actual students and attendance and grades is a crazy new world. I've had two weeks of inservice and classes started today and so far so good.
Job 2) Because the teaching is part time (only 3 sessions) I still can't fully afford to not have a second job. I had planned to stay nights at the cafe, but then an opportunity came up and, as an artist, I couldn't say no. I am now working 3 nights and Saturdays at the local frame shop in downtown. Framing art and meeting people.  This is actually a huge deal for me, because my life goal is to own my own business/gallery/yarn shop someday. 

Whew ok now that that is off my chest, let me do some brief fill-ins on fiber-world!

First up is Texas Sea Glass, my gorgeous lace summer cowl. It took longer than I would have liked, but that was because of Tour de Fleece, so it's all good.  I also have over half a skein of the Anzula Yarn left, hmmm what shall I make?


Talking about Tour de Fleece, I managed to get two skeins done.  The first one I'm sharing I actually didn't finish until after the tour, but that's because life got busy then and I was trying to go really thin.  While I ended up with consistency issues in thinness, I did create a gorgeous Navajo Plied yarn.  I need to practice that as well though, it got really springy. 


The second TdF skein is one I had started before the tour and was too lazy to work on. One ply dyed Alpaca with 1 ply of a dark plum merino.  On the Merio I also held some sparkle at various points to give it a nice pop.  I really like this yarn and whatever she becomes will be gorgeous.


I have an art opening in under a month and a million things to do for it. I stopped painting about a month ago so that I could focus on teacher in-service and preparing for my show. The first one has happened, the second, not so much.

Here's the last large painting I have done. It's one of my favorites :) 

Rusted Morning Shore - color is a bit off here. 


The above painting leads well into my final topic: I'm publishing a book! Yea!!! So I have spent a long time the last few months working on this beautiful 50 page book that contains most of my paintings paired with poetry.  I'm selling them for $15, and they'll be released at the beginning of September. BUT if you want to pre-order, I'll give you the book , a special gift and free shipping for that price right now. This offer is only good until August 20, so take advantage while you can!

Send money via paypal to the above address or comment on here and I'll send you an invoice.

Inspirations: 
Art: I saw this artist at my favorite gallery last month and it opened my eyes to so many new artistic experiences. Rahileh Rokhsari is amazing! 
Knitting:  So as a new teacher, I need more professional clothes and thus time to knit more sweaters! While I decided on the Canted Pullover, a few other contenders (all from magazines I own) were: Hipsemantic , Caldwell and Haubergeon
Food:  Local food is the name of the game around here.  This week I'm going to try making stuffed patty pan squash with peppers and black bean!
Life: What can I say. Life is wonderfully crazy. I wouldn't change a thing. 

~Lisa 


Monday, July 4, 2016

July

Here it is: July.  The year is officially more than half over and man is time going fast. I always find myself thinking there isn't enough time to get things done, and that nothing is getting done.  And then I go to write up a blog post and discover that maybe things are, in fact, getting done.



For example, the above two paintings.  I am constantly complaining that painting isn't happening, yet it must be because I finished two recently.  Although... it did take me a month to do them and they are only 9x12 each.  I'd like to blame the mess that comes with oil painting and the fact that sometimes I just don't want to get messy. 


I finished my "Gone Fishing" Socks shortly after my last blog post, and have already worn and washed them once.  Surprisingly the color didn't fade (yet) as much as I thought.  But man, photographing that YELLOW was a pain!


Something else that I finished was a quickie wedding gift for my cousin's wedding this weekend.  While I will not be attending, I wanted to send them something special since we used to be close growing up.  I made four dishcloths with Rowan Cotton.  I have come to really like this yearn for dishcloths because it has a nice stitch definition and holds up well. Two have hearts and two have their initials, both of which are R.


Onto the WIPS, I started a cowl recently with some lovely lace I purchased on a visit to Hill Country Weavers in Austin.  I had never been to that shop before but had heard many things.   It was a bit overwhelming. Picture a small house, every room filled floor to ceiling with yarn.  Luckily I was able to find a pattern I liked in my most recent Spring 2016 Knitscene and work from that.  The yarn is Anzula Meridian, which is a lovely blend of Tencil, Alpaca and Nylon.  Perfect for a summer cowl!


Because I haven't spun in awhile and finally have some extra time, I joined my LYS's Tour de Fleece team.  My goal is to finish up my current project - 1 ply of alpaca and 1 ply of merino with sparkle - and then move onto some rainbow BFL I have.  So far things are progressing fast. 

Inspirations:
Knitting: Shortly after the Spring issue arrived (Likely because I subscribed late), the Fall 2016 KnitScene also came in my box.  And once again, there are many projects I need in my life, including: Barton CowlPerigee Socks and Maya Hat and MIttens
Art: Check out Meghan Shimek! Her art is so wild, with it's use of thick, heavy fiber.  It definitely gives me some ideas.
Cooking: We had a going away party for one of our ladies at knit group yesterday.  Since she's moving to CO, we did Tex Mex and I made Tres Leches cake.  I turned out wonderful!
Life:   This Austin based band, MCG, visited Bryan for a free concert last week.  I fell madly in love and quickly snatched their 3 song EP and a T-shirt.  Click below to listen to one of my favorites. 

If you're in the States, I hope you have a wonderful Independence Day, and if not, I hope you have a wonderful Monday! Please comment below so that I know you came by :) 

~Lisa





Friday, June 10, 2016

Because it's Friday

And that's all the excuse I need to update.

Ok actually I needed to have things to share. I don't want to post and not have anything new to report.  Luckily, I am FINALLY getting stuff done around here. 


This painting for example.  It has been on my easel for much longer than it needed to be, mostly because I have only been hitting studio once a week.  I want to blame work, but let's be honest, I'm just lazy.  Luckily, I finished it this morning :) 



My "Gone Fishing" socks are taking longer than I'd like also, with only one done and only to the heel on the second.  But it's my only knitting priority now so we would be good to go on finishing it soon!



Part of the reason I haven't hit the socks is that I was working on these baby items for a friend.  Using some leftover Berocco Comfort Sock from a pair a few years ago, I was able to whip all of these guys out and STILL have some yarn left.  Talk about going far. 


I started on my second ply for the alpaca.  It's a basic merino held with some sparkle.  It's slow going because my footman cord (handmade wheel remember?) broke and I've been (no surprise) too lazy to fix it. 


 Inspirations:

Knitting: I added two new books to my library this week: French Girl Knits: Accessories and Vintage Modern Knits.  Both were in bargain at Hastings and they had a buy 1 get 1 on bargain books.  I am really liking the French Girl book so far - some super cute hats are calling my name!
Art:  Check out the artist of the month at my local cafe! Taiwo Thompson just moved to the States and is dong some amazing things!
Food: Look! I posted a recipe! Sausage, zucchini and chard tacos and man oh man are they delicious!
Life:  Other things going on in my life that make good excuses not to blog: private lessons, adult knit class once a week, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Mic Check Poetry, WORK.

So that's where I stand right now.  How about yourself? Enjoying the summer yet?

~Lisa 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Day by Day

Isn't life crazy sometimes? I feel like all of the days just sort of blend into one long day.  Take, for example, my 50 hour work week last week. How did I survive that? I don't know, but here I am, back at it again this week. 

Enough about work, lets talk about something more important: Art! So many things are still happening around here, where do I begin?

Knitting:
I've had a bit more downtime this week, and as such my current pair of socks are flying along.  The first one is almost done and then the second will hit the needles.  I am loving the way my handdyed yarn is pooling, but afraid it may fade with washing. Time will tell.

I'm titling these socks "Gone Fishing" for three reasons: 1) They remind me of Nemo 2) The diagonal pattern is very ocean-y and 3) I'm using the fish lips kiss heel.  


Etsy:
I have been working on more clay bead markers, and am really proud of the current sets I have up on my Etsy shop.  Each set is a different color from the rainbow and all the beads are 100% unique.  The swirl thing is something I learned as a child and have always loved to do.


Speaking of Etsy, my shop was recently featured on My Sister's Knitter Blog! And if you hurry you can even enter for a chance to win a pair of my shoes ;)

Art:
I finished my large water-scape painting on Monday. I have yet to take a good photo of it, so the color is a bit off, but you can get a feel either way.  I am really happy with this painting.  It forced me to see layers and transparency in a whole new light.


Weekly Inspirations:
Knitting:  Not that you need to go peeking at my stash, but I had the day off yesterday and finally cataloged everything I didn't have on Ravelry. 30+ entries! Most of them came from an older lady who donated a ton to me last year.
Painting: I went to Houston last week and one of my favorite galleries let me peek at these.  Aren't they just right up the alley of where I've been going with my paintings lately???
Food: I got the Chococo Cookbook at Hastings for $1 about a month ago.  Most of the recipes are fairly simple and all sound delicious.  Now I just need to find someone to bake them for!
Life:  My garden is in bloom! I have a pepper plant with a flower, and lots of turning tomatoes! I also planted some flowers and they smell amazing.  I am really in love with my little garden.

I hope you all have a fantastic week.  I am linking up with Yarn Along today :) 

~Lisa



Friday, April 29, 2016

TGIFriday Night

Maybe blogging should just be a monthly thing, as it seems that's all I really have time for these days.  Between 30+ hour (and split shift) work days, teaching after school and all my volunteer commitments, life just seems too busy to sit down and blog regularly.

But that doesn't mean things haven't been happening around here, for they definitely have. Just not the same ways they used to.

For one, I've been spinning a lot more.  I finally got my wheel to spin consistently AND was given two more bobbins that fit it, so the wheel has been turning a lot more.  So much that I finished this gorgeous purple alpaca in two weeks (a feet for me!). The question is, what will I ply it with? I want to maybe do something shiny, silver...

I also unearthed some polymer (Sculpy) clay and have sense become re-addicted to bead making. So much that I am working on a new line of markers to utilize they beads.  Currently I have some Earth Day markers up, but I have some rainbow ones in the works as well.


Somehow painting is happening as well, despite my random schedule.  This is my most recent, which is about half done.  The plan is to have those balls floating in water, so I want to do some layers to make some fall back and some com forward.  Isn't it wild!?

My art classes ended this week and despite my anticipation at the extra free time, I was almost in tears after the last one.  The kids this year - every single one - were absolutely stunning and inspiring and fabulous.  There just are too many words to say how proud I am of them all.

I also finished my Mix Tape this month, in fact it has been almost a month since it came off the needles.  I really like the colors and feel, but it's got an awkward shape, so I haven't found a way to wear it that makes me happy (and thus the hanging photo). 

Sadly, that's the only knit news I have, for I have been spinning and painting so much that knitting has kind of taken a back seat.  Hopefully soon it will get picked up.

Weekly Monthly Inspirations:

Knitting: Just look at Andi's sock collection! I love it so very very much. I can't imagine ever having a collection so beautiful as her's (and a good portion are just vanilla socks in great yarns!)
Art: Three new artists at Navasota again! Abby, Christy and Eric are all living at the house and creating wonderful things. I have met Abby, who is a fiber artist, and she is fabulous :)
Food:  No recipes to share, just that I have been getting weekly produce baskets and working from them to make delicious meals.  I never knew stir fried chard and onions were actually delicious!
Life: Relay for Life is next week and I joined again! Want to contribute? Watch my video then go HERE HERE HERE !! to donate to my cause.  Even $5 can make a difference.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week, and if I don't see you before then, a wonderful May ;)

~Lisa


video




Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Everything but Knitting

As much as knitting is a part of my life, I feel like I have barely had time to knit lately, let alone breathe...


Don't get me wrong, good things are happening, and many of them are artsy/crafty.  Knitting just isn't one of them.


For example, I unearthed a stack of greeting cards that wasn't on my shop already.  Instead of just listing them alone, I decided I wanted to make markers to match. Thus these cool sets were born. Now on Etsy, $10 gets you five markers and a matching card. 


Maybe it's been all the painting that has been happening.  With a group show opening this week, I knew I wanted to finish my current painting in time. AND I DID! Barely, but I did. It's 40 x 32 and I honestly can't remember what I titled it right now...

It's a single tree overlooking the water. Can you tell? 

I did get some spinning done this weekend.  Does that count towards knitting? I finally have all my yarn spun for what I hope to be a zickzack scarf.



I've also been busy trying to practice good food habits. I found a local farm that does produce baskets by the week and was able to acquire this last week.  It has so many wonderful things in it for a very low cost. 


One of the things was a beet, which I don't really have experience with.  I decided to roast it with some sweet potato.  Paired with orange pork chops and orange quinoa, it turned out amazing!


Weekly Inspirations:

Knitting:  I discovered this designer today, Casapinka, and I love her use of lace and color. I really do want to knit them all! My favorite right now is Kitty Invisibility Cloak.
Art: The new artists have moved into the Horlock House (my old residency).  I'm so excited that one is a fiber artist!
Food: Besides the above, I also made green onion pancakes with the massive bunch in my basket.  I had never even heard of them until I did a google search, and all they are is flour and water, but man they are good! 
Life: I am starting to pull some night shifts at my job, which is great.  But that means less me time, which is not great.  How is that inspiring? I'll let you know when I find out.

Have a wonderful week!

~Lisa


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Mix-Tape of Emotions

Remember MixTapes? I barely do, having not been an 80's child.  I do remember mix CD's but that's not even the same.  I have fond memories of recording myself singing crappy stuff on my dad's tape player however.  Some days I even find myself wishing to go back to those days.  

I am rambling today because my life is pretty much at that point - a MixTape of emotions and events and really no clear definition.  Ever feel that way?

I guess it starts with these mitts, which I cast-on after finishing the hat, but have sadly reached a point where I am not going to have enough yarn.  My LYS has more BUT it's expensive....decisions need to be made, for I really do like these....
Back on the discussion of MixTapes, the above shawl is titled "Mixtape". It's a design from the Hill Country Yarn Crawl last fall and I have been wanting to knit it for awhile. It finally felt like time and I cast on a few weeks back.  I love the texture and feel of the Shibui yarns - a merino sock held with a lace mohair - as well as how fast this pattern is working up.  

Mixing is a pretty common theme right now.  I needed a mindless knit and finally got around to contributing to the Knitting Guild's charity project - knitting Twiddlemuffs for dementia patients. The idea is simple - using washable scrap yarn create a cuff that has pulls and bobble and texture so they have something to do with their hands.  It's so cleaver!


Back in my studio I'm also mixing things up.  Working big again AND trying new compositions.  This is the first of (hopefully) many painting involving floating forms.  In this case we have a cliff with the pink tree looking over the water.  It's going to be more obvious once I layer on some color to make the forms fall back into the water. 

Weekly Inspirations:
Knitting:  A member of my Guild brought some of these DPN Holders last week. How clever is that? I want to learn to sew just so I can make some!
Art: I visited Houston yesterday (and what an amazing day it was!) and saw this amazing artist - Janavi Folmsbee - at a local gallery.  Isn't it just SO PERFECT for what I am doing in my own art?!!
Food: I've been baking a bit more at work (so far I've struck out most times due to dry cakes).  Last week I decided to do a mint marble cake for St. Pat's day and used this recipe.  Replace the vanilla with mint in half and add green color. It's actually really good :)
Life:  The Gallery I mentioned above is the Samara Gallery in Houston, and it is amazing. AND I talked to the owner and gave him my card.  Fingers crossed something happens!


 Hope you all have a wonderful week!

~Lisa




Tuesday, March 1, 2016

My Knitted Life


Lately it seems like I have been (even more) obsessed with my yarn and needles.  It's like if I am not working, I am knitting.  Maybe it's because I need a bit of control in my life.  Things always seem out of control lately, but when I pick up my needles, all of my control comes back. Do you ever experience that?


I started this hat a few weeks back with the intent of using a woven motif (here) for the body portion.  The yarn had other ideas and I changed it to a slipped stitch checkerboard.  The yarn is a couple of 150yd mill end skeins from a local alpaca ranch, and the hat ended up a bit tight.  It's still warm and still fits, but I would definitely add about ten stitches next time.


Pouting because it's tight :( 

Oddly enough, those skeins lasted through the whole thing and I even had extra! Enough to cast on a pair of mitts.  The first mitt is already done and I know I will have more than enough to make it's mate.

Because my life revolves around all things knitted, I finished another knitted landscape. This one is only 9x6 - I'm enjoying this size!  My current theme within the landscapes is "Lollipops and Gumdrops".  The idea came to me randomly one night and I am running with it.  I am hoping to do lots of Lollipop Trees and floating "Gumdrops" (Knitted balls). I have a show in September and I want this to be the show title. 


If you've read any of my previous posts you may remember that I am involved with a local poetry group.  While I am not nearly as impressive as many of the others, I am excited to say that I finally got up on stage and read FROM MEMORY. And the poem? It's about knitting! haha! Even my poetry life has yarn in it!


Weekly Inspirations:
Knitting: One of the ladies in my knit group mentioned she likes to get on the top 20 trending for Ravelry, which tends to include a lot of patterns that are limited time on sale. What a genius idea!
Art: You should see what Scotty Gorham is doing! He was in the last group for the residency I did last year.  He just finished installing one of the largest neon installations in the country!
Food:  I made this coconut curry yesterday and it was fantastic.  Although I overcooked the vegetables, it turned out super delicious!
Life: A friend recommended the book "A Creative Habit" by Twyla Tharp.I'm two chapters in and already seeing some major inspiration. 

Yup, that's my life.  How is your's these days? 

~Lisa
amen...





Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Alterations

(Note - these are all cell phone photos because my fancy camera died on me).


I hope that you are all having a great week.  Mine is going by fast yet steady - keeping busy but not too busy.  Stuff is getting done that's for sure!


This week I wanted to share with you a few things I have been working on that I unearthed from the past.   Maybe you know this story: You find the perfect pattern to go with your yarn, but the size options are either 2 inches to small or 2 inches too big, even with ease.  You decide to cast on anyway  with the larger size, remembering your gauge and constant weight change.  The result? Well lets just say you  probably could have gone down a size and still been good.

Sigh, this has happened to me twice with knitting tops, both times turning out too big and both times being tops I know I would wear more if they fit me properly.  Well last night I decided that I couldn't no longer take staring at them in my drawer while the sunny Texas weather yells for them to be worn.  Scrap yarn and needle in hand, I went to work.

The first is my Purple Opals, a project I did a little under a year ago with Cascade Ultra Pima.  I love this yarn and the pattern together, but the pattern is written huge. The result? A boxy, super drapy tee that is at least 5 inches too round.

original, photo from 2015

So how did I fix something with so many holes in it? Well it took me a bit to figure this out, but in the end I settled on side tucks, which were achieved by pinching two of the cables together to sew into one cable.  And since they are on the side, you can barely tell unless I stand still and you look.  I also did a couple tucks to the back collar.

You really can't tell! The right shows my HUGE tuck, which I may sew flat soon.

The second problem child was by "Blue Diamonds" knit in Tahki Ripple yarn.  This one was a bit easier to fix because the pattern won't show the tucks as easily.  And tucks is what I did again, this time less wide.  Another issue though was the neck hole, which was massive and ended below my breasts.  The solution? I knitted in a triangle to the back part so the top hits my neck closer.

Original, photo taken 2014

The almost invisible seam and the neck hole triangle

Finally, just for giggles, I added a pompom to my fluffy green hat this week. I wish it were even bigger, but I didn't have a jumbo maker and cardboard wasn't agreeing with me.


So, have you ever had any major knitting alterations you've had to make? I'd love to hear !

Until next time.

~Lisa 


Friday, February 12, 2016

Nostalgia

This week has definitely been one for the books - I feel like I'm being pulled in a million different directions.  Yet somehow I find time to sit back and remember the good old days when life was a little bit easier.  Tonight's post is dedicated to that sense of nostalgia we all get once and a while.

Out of the blue I decided to message an old High School friend that I hadn't seen or heard from since June.  And surprisingly she messaged me back, resulting in an all night conversation.  About half way through that night I had an idea and ran to my stash.  Pulling out my old skeins of Mission Falls Merino, I began an improv. hat for her one and a half year old son. 


Let me explain the photo.  I started the bigger hat with nothing but a gauge and some math, thinking it would fit an average toddler head.  I got 95% of the way done and realized it was wide enough to fit mine (but still short like a toddler's). Soooo I didn't want to frog it out, because I had spent a whole two days on it. Instead I took the extra and made a second, smaller hat.  Both are now in transit to my girl friend, with a note explaining my bad math.

Next on my nostalgia train is yet another hat, this one being a design I wrote almost four years ago, with the intent to send to Knitty.  I did send it to Knitty, but didn't get in, nor did it to Knitpicks.  Eventually I gave up and just kind of forgot I even had a fully typed up pattern in my documents folder.  I finally got around to publishing it this week.  Better late than never right?

"Winterschnee" -  Winter Snow in German

Last but not least is my current WIP Painting.  It's a bit nostalgic as well, being that it's pink and green like this and this one, as well as the theme of lollipop trees that I haven't done in awhile.  But if I have my say, the lollipops will be showing up a bit more in the coming months.


Weekly inspirations:
Knitting: I learned how to add beads to my knitting this past weekend at the guild meeting.  I haven't picked a pattern yet, but I am sure that I will be adding beads to something REALLY soon.
Art: Have I ever shared my old friend from art school, Sienna's, work with you? If I haven't, or if you don't remember, you need to see it. She's an amazing talent
Food: Well I tried a bbq taco tonight with brisket, beans, coleslaw and bbq sauce.  It was one of the best combinations I've ever had, and I am sure going to attempt to make this at home soon!
Life: I finally got a raise at work. Hallelujah! 


Until next week friends, I hope you have a splendid Valentine's Day!


~Lisa 


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Dear February

Well hello February, you seem to have snuck up on us now, haven't you? Bringing with you a slight chill to the breeze in the Texas air.  You're more than welcome to stay, but I'm going to need some new hats if the visit is long.

Remember those socks, the totally awesome, perfect fitting, amazingly striped ones? Well if you thought you had my head because my feet were covered, you are wrong February, for I have found a way to keep you guessing. 

Now while this Sockhead hat isn't knit exactly as the pattern says, it still fits perfectly.  No slouch, just all beanie, but surprisingly stretchy and a perfect fit. Just what I needed to keep my ears away from your chilly mid-day air. 


What's that? You think that hat is too thin for those cold nights of poetry? Well you are right! But I bet you didn't see this coming!





I did some stash diving on my day off today and found some super bulky handspun just dying to cover those ears.  A few hours later and this baby is ready to keep me nice and warm on those cold Sunday Nights. 


The pattern you say? It's improvised based off of this one.  And before you ask, in my typical fashion, I ran short on yarn again. Resulting in yet another beanie!

But that's not all February, for you may be laughing now at my foolishness for finishing a project so quickly, but little do you realize my arsenal of yarn ready and waiting? What's next, you ask? Well how about some of these?

From top left clockwise - Pinch HatModern Tartan SlouchConversationalist and Fidra

So what do you think of me now February? Nothing to say? Yea I thought so! HA!

---

I hope you enjoyed my little bout of humor. Until next time blog friends!

~Lisa