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.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

WIP Wednesday Round-up

I haven't done many WIP Wednesday posts as of late, but it seemed fitting for today because I have so many WIPs happening around here and being home for the holiday this week is giving me lots of time to work on them!

I'm still knitting balls, and although this photo looks exactly like the last one, I promise it's a different ball. I'm discovering different ways of making them using short-rows. I even made a square by accident last week!

This scarf has been on the needles for a couple months now. It's my "movie theater" scarf - I take it with my anywhere that I can knit without looking. It's been to three movies, a couple of knit groups and of course my couch! I'm really excited to finish it and I'm hoping that will happen between the movie tonight and the plane ride Saturday. 

My "Texas Tell it!" is going well also. It's so easy (Although those short rows aren't the most fun when you have to purl). I finally hit the second color - the blue - and it's turning out really beautiful. I didn't bring the light brown with me back to Kansas though so if I get to that point before the weekend I'll have to put it on hold.

Finally, I was going through my yarn stash here and found this scarf that I started over four years ago. When I started it I was only about a year into my knitting career and I was struggling through it. I decided to pull it out and take a crack at it, and now it's flying off the needles. I guess that goes to show how much better I've gotten over the past years!

Weekly Inspirations:
Knitting: I have a few Christmas presents on the horizon, including another one of my cat hats (for my sister) and a market bag (for my secret santa).
Art: Some of my former classmates are having their BFA shows coming up. I'm really sad that I am going to miss them (being in TX) but I can't wait to see the photos from the show. This one in particular I am really sad about missing!
Food: I had planned on making this pumpkin/pecan pie for the holiday tomorrow, but extenuating circumstances may change that. Either way, this recipe is on my radar.
Life: Speaking of extenuating circumstances - my dad fell at work this morning and broke his knee. So the holiday is pretty much shot for us and he's pretty much bound to his chair for the next month. I am really feeling for him and everything he's about to go through...

If you are in the US, I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow. And if not, I hope you are enjoying your week.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Keeping Warm

Brrrrr. It's been in the 30's and 40's the past few days here in Texas, and it's also been drizzling like crazy. It's days like today when I really just need some tea and a good knit project to keep me happy. Luckily, I have several.

I'm working on making my sculptures larger. Thus larger balls are needed. As much as I love working in the round, sometimes you need to change things up. So I'm doing short row wedges. It's actually really fun!

Playfully titled "Texas Tell it", my sweater is going really fast. I cast-on last Sunday and am already past the arm holes and working the short row body. I didn't think I'd knit this fast, but I was also waiting on more white yarn to arrive via snail mail before starting more sculptures. The initial cast on and sleeves sounded really confusing, but after doing them, they weren't that bad. I'm excited to add the blue soon!

Another fun adventure I'm having is with poetry and publishing. If you haven't seen my site lately, I have been writing poems to go with my art (Go to oil paintings, and click on on to see). Also, this is just a black and white proto-type, but I am working on a 'zine that includes my art and poetry, as well as a free knit pattern and recipe. I am hoping to sell them around here for a bit of extra cash. 

 I went up to Austin yesterday and had probably the best day I've had in Texas so far. The weather was nasty drizzle, but not too cold.  I went down for the E.A.S.T. Austin open studio tour, which is a weekend when over 200 artists open their studios up for people to come tour. I am so happy that I went because I met some amazing artist and got a chance to finally see Austin. Safe to say I want to move there.  Above is my collection of cards and such from the day.

 Weekly Inspirations:
Art: I can't decide which art I saw that was my favorite yesterday, but I did meet some great people. The ones that stood out were: Micheal Garcia . Rebecca KlierKanya LyonsMiabella Mojica ,Brandon C. EllisSave the HumansJennifer Balkin
Knitting: All the ladies in my knit group seem to be working on scarves and shawls. And man there are some pretty ones. One of my favorites is Ashburn
Food: I made roasted vegetables for the first time last week, with this recipe. It turned out amazing!
Life: I've been revamping my Etsy store. I added even more cards and also changed the logos. Check it out !
I hope that whether it's cold or warm on your part of the world, you are having a good week :)


Monday, November 3, 2014

Life is...

Life is...

A good book and a warm cup of tea.
(Allegiant by Veronia Roth and Orange Senacha Green from Two Leaves)

Perfectly cooked black beans with brown rice and cauliflower.
(Beans from a kit that started out dry)

A new and exciting sculpture/installation idea.
(that came to me at 1am Saturday)

Meeting gauge and winding all the MC yarn for my next sweater.
(Tell it Slant by Mary Annarella) 

Two full bags of pecans picked from my own backyard.
(Now what should I do with them?) 

Discovering a new love in the form of poetry and open mic.
(Mic Check Poetry, downtown Bryan)

A studio full of new art.
(Open house is this Saturday!)

What is life to you? 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Nearing November

Is it really only a week until November? I cannot even begin to say how fast time is flying here - I have already been in TX for two whole months and yet it seems like so much less (or more, depending on the day and my mood).

I celebrated my birthday last week, and with it came a bit of a yarn shopping spree at my new (and favorite!) LYS, WC Mercantile. The owner, Stephanie,is super nice and even brought cookies. One of the perks is also that you get 20% anything you purchase once during your birthday month.  So I used that to get yarn for my next sweater. The sweater is "Tell it Slant" and the yarn is Simplicity by HiKoo. It's a nice blend of merino, acrylic and nylon and I can tell just by squishing it that it will hold up well. 

I have also been off and on spinning on some local Texas Alpaca and finally finished the singles of the my brown the other night. I decided to get some black tussah silk at WC to pair with it, and was given some natural white alpaca for free, which I will also be pairing it with. I just hope I have enough of them all to make a nice yarn. 

Speaking of spinning, I had an accident about a month ago involving my smaller spindle and the concrete at the art fair. I've tried super glue, but it's not working. Anyone else have a suggestion? I love this spindle so much I hate to see it un-usable! :( 

And finally my basic scarf is speeding along. The color in this photo is totally off (but don't we all experience that at some point?) but I'm done with exactly half of it. I plan to put it aside to start my sweater, but pull it out when I need mindless knitting (like at the movies!). It's so soft that I can understand why angora is addictive. I know it will be my favorite once it's done.

Weekly Inspirations:
Knitting: My mom sent me the latest issue of KnitScene and once again I am in love with at least 75% of the magazine. Specifically: Gothic Gloves, Lise Hat,  Ravenna Cowl and  Paros Hat
Art: I went to a couple of openings in Houston this weekend. Although the networking I needed didn't happen, I did see some great art. I was truly inspired by Alexa Kleinbard and her gorgeous partial abstract landscapes. The way she paints really got me thinking about my own works. 
Food: Last week I made eggplant parm with some local grown eggplant. I decided to cut the carbs and used quinoa instead of pasta. The result? FANTASTIC! 
Life: I'm seeing a Physical Therapist now about my shoulder and spine. She's given me a ton of moves to straighten my spine, which is apparently very curved. I'm kinda freaking out to be honest, because that also means I need to start sitting straighter and working on it more. Anyone have any tips on how to sit straight and knit at the same time/???

A huge thank you to everyone for reading my rambles from week to week - even those who don't comment. I really love blogging and sharing my thoughts, and I am so glad that there are people out there who are the same way.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Blast from the Past

Anyone ever feel a sense of nostalgia when they think about the past and everything that has happened over the years? What about when you reach into your yarn stash and find a special yarn or pattern that has a story and history?  That's how I'm feeling tonight as I post this. All of my projects as of late have some sort of history that goes back at least a couple years, if not more.

Growing up my mom crocheted (among other things) and started to teach me when I was in late elementary/middle school. I tried to like it, really, but I never liked how the stitches looked. I always wanted to learn to knit so I could get the "v's". But some things never leave you and I found myself itching to crochet something, anything, a few weeks ago. As I mentioned in a past post, I reached for the closest yarn and just went for it. Well half way through a basic scarf I discovered the Chi-town crochet cowl and decided to try that. Overall, I like the end result, even though I am pretty sure that I did a different type of single crochet (is that possible?) each go round. Whatever. I do wish I could wrap it twice. I always have that issue with cowls. 

I actually can't believe I haven't blogged about this hat yet! It went faster than I thought it would. And was definitely a learning process as well. The pattern is Temple Cats, and it made me feel really nostalgic as I knit because it was one of the first patterns I received in a RAK way back when I used to do those.  At the time, I was scared of colorwork but knew I wanted this hat someday. Well a couple weeks back I finally decided to tackle it and there was no better yarn then the left overs from my artsy Stephen West shawl. I doubled the yarn and it was perfect with gauge. I added an extra cat repeat because I knew it wouldn't stretch well enough to fit me. 

Once I bound off, the bottom was curling really bad, so I knew I had to block it, even though it fit my head so perfect the way it was. After soaking, I realized how much the yarns I was using stretch (and also fuzz a bit) and found myself with a hat at least two sizes too big. I was so sad because I really loved how it came out. I slept on it and woke up deciding I would try to felt it. No harm, no fowl. Every time I've tried to felt in the past, I've failed, but this time around I actually succeeded. After a run through the machine on hot and the dryer on hot, I ended with the results above. And it's not even felted too bad! I'm so happy, because this hat really is the perfect pattern and the perfect colors. I think it's the world's way of saying to never give up!

Finally I have had no real project on the needles for a few days now and was itching for something, anything. Mick and I were going to a local film festival today and I wanted something to take. I decided to pull out this angora/wool blend I got in Scotland back when I went three summer's ago. Talk about nostalgia, that was such a great trip! But anyway, I decided to go basic stockinette scarf and this is the result after about three hours of knitting in the dark. Only 2 slipped stitches!!

Weekly inspirations:
Art:  I am 2 "likes" away from 100 on my Facebook page. You should go check it out, I am constantly updating with all kinds of art news!
Knitting: I saw this pattern and bought it instantly (it was on sale...). Now I just need to break down and buy the yarn. 
Food: I found this on Pinterest and it almost makes me want to go Vegetarian - so many delicious recipes! 30 days of vegetarian recipes. 
Life: Guess who turns 24 in 3 days? Me of course! I am hoping for a good, relaxing day. I don't really like to go party, so if I'm lucky my roommates will respect that. Either way though, it will be nice to celebrate another great year of living. :) 

So there's more drama happening around here, but I am not going to get into it on my blog again. For the time being, let's call everything happy and enjoy life. Knitting is going great, art is going great and nothing can bring me off that cloud.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Rainy Saturdays

It's a dreary, rainy Saturday here in Navasota. Those kind of days make me unproductive, especially when plans get changed because of the rain. We were going to go paint a mural today, but obviously that isn't happening now. So instead I am going to take a bit to tell you what I've been up to.

After finishing my chevron cowl I had a ton of the blue/black and orange left, so I did some poking around Ravelry and decided that Funicular would be a good fit to use most of it up. I decided to strip it a bit more than the pattern calls for and then I ran out of the dark so I had to do an orange top. I'm still not sure how I feel about it, maybe I should have done the top solid orange instead. But I also think it depends how you wear it also. Either way, it's a good fit.

On the painting front, I started a new series. I decided to do what I've been talking about and paint pictures of my ball sculptures. These two are small but I hope to also do a third, large, painting of the same form. It was really fun and challenging working on these because of the size. I didn't feel like I could be as loose with a smaller brush. The color is still spot on though.

I am also helping out with a Halloween Party in Bryan at the end of the month. They were looking for local artists to paint window scenes for part of the decorations. The boards were provided so all I have to do is bring it to life. I'm using acrylic for this one because I need something fast and the board is made of foam. As I work I am remembering how much I dislike acrylic and everything about it. But hopefully with some layers it will all work out.  The scene isn't very original either, but that's what you get when it's not super important. 

Weekly Inspirations:
Knitting: The knitters guild here is doing a secret santa and we drew names last week. Now I have to start figuring out what I want to make and pair with it. Those are always so much fun, but so challenging at the same time!
Art: If you get the chance, you should read this article about me and my fellow residents. It's pretty good and we had so much fun doing it. The other articles in the issue are fun too - so much is happening in Bryan!
Cooking: Last week's recipe was a throwback to something my mom always makes. It was super delicious and I highly recommend it for a cool fall night. Herb Mushroom Chicken. 
Life: I finally got a new ipod after mine got stolen (ok left on the curb). I ordered a used iPod nano and it is super cool. I am really liking the Nike Fitness app - it counts my calories, pace, steps, time, etc on my runs. Super helpful!
Well, I hope you are all having a great weekend. Thanks for the input on my last post/rant - I really appreciate it. Keep being awesome guys!