Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Been Too Long (again)

One would think that having no real job, but lots of time to create would give me time to photograph things and update on here more. Yea right....

I have lots of new knit things to share today! Maybe that's why it's been so long - I was waiting to share all at once.

I don't think I've ever started a finished a pair of socks in a week, so doing so with this pair made me really happy. The reason, not so much. I started this pair right before having to emergency fly home to attend a funeral for my last living Grandmother. It was a sad time, many tears were shed (but not me - I don't get emotional).  But back to socks. I was able to get the first one completely finished in transit back to KS.  I stayed the whole week just for kicks, and ended up finishing the second one during that time. The yarn is Verdant Gryphon Bugga! that I received as a gift. It's probably been my favorite to work with, what with the cashmere content. The pattern is Show Off Stranded Socks by Anne Campbell. Yet another "Almost Vanilla" project that I loved! 

After finishing the socks at home I ran into a dilemma. I had packed my sweater project, but in the rush I didn't pack enough of the yarn. So I couldn't finish it like I hoped. And I had no other projects other than my needles and the left over Bugga! I COULD NOT spend another day flying and layovers without a knitting project. The result was a quick Hobby Lobby run (when you're poor and it's a hat, you make do) for some basic white DK yarn. I was able to start and almost finish this hat that day as I traveled back to Texas.  The pattern? Fruju Hat. It actually calls for self-striping, but there is no reason you can't just use two yarns ;). Yet another pattern I will remember for the future.

And now the big reveal. I am farely certain I have mentioned my "Tell it Slant" sweater on here at least twice. The yarn was purchased at my new (and favorite) LYS, W.C. Mercantile on my birthday weekend with the intention of making this sweater. I loved the pattern and design and use of short rows. And my use of blue really helps it pop! I ended up redoing the sleeve cuffs three times because of length, but otherwise there were really no kinks. My only wish is that the neck wasn't so scoopy. But I could have fixed that if I really wanted to. The pattern is "Tell it Slant" by Mary Annarella. The yarn I used was HiKoo Simplicity. I have a little less than one whole skein of each color left, which means I need to find it a good colorwork project to become. 

The irony is that it is currently 70 out here in Texas. But I am still wearing this as much as I can, after all, a good sweater means you don't need a jacket!  And it's fairly light weight, so I think this spring I can still get away with it.

Weekly Inspirations:
Knitting: I am currently designing some toe up socks to use with this yarn. It took me forever, but I think I finally got a good thing going. 
Art: I hit up some art shows in Houston last weekend. I got to see some really inspiring works. Especially at this show. And the interesting thing is that I realized after that I remember seeing Jackie Titleston in a magazine in undergrad and loving her. So amazing to see it in person!
Food: No new recipes, just random experiments. But if you feel like reading a rant, I posted my opinion on restaurants and calorie lists on my food blog. 
Life: Maybe I should eliminate this category. Life is usually everything I already talked about on here. 

I hope that weather you are enjoying the warm weather or snowed in and cold you are able to have a good week !


Friday, January 9, 2015

Art Happenings

Finally Friday! Although it's been a cold, wet one here in TX. I am not enjoying this weather...

I realized earlier this week that I haven't shared any of my most recent art on my blog lately, and I knew that needed to change. So today I finally got around to taking some photos. 

Since around Thanksgiving time I have been working on a larger scale knit sculpture. I really want to start creating human sized, full room knit installation worlds. This is the next step for me. The big cone is about 2 feet tall and took over 2 months to knit. I was actually going to have it be a giant bowl when I started, but I got impatient and decided to make a cone instead. I am not sure if this installation is complete yet: I feel like it needs something. 

If it took 2 months to knit the one cone, than this full room idea is going to take longer than I thought....

"Whispering Dawn Thunder"

Also after Thanksgiving, I decided to start painting on wood panels. I had done a bit on smooth surfaces since moving to Navasota and enjoyed it, so I wanted to give it a try in my own art. I also wanted to go back to the landscapes - I missed them after painting the weird ball sculptures - and simplify my colors. Working on the smooth surface really helped me to do that. Wood doesn't absorb paint like canvas, so you end up just layering on strokes and if you're not careful you can get a muddy mess. Luckily I was able to figure it out. 

"Cold Dandelion Trickle"

These are also smaller, 12 x 16 to be exact. This is mostly due to me not wanting to pay a ton for my wood. But I'm really liking this size. If you look at my website you will see all four of my new works since I started this. I have two more in process and am hoping to keep making these for a bit. Another thing you may notice if you see my 2015 art page is that they all are more cohesive in theme. I am trying to branch out a bit and start making more "Series" of works that revolve around a single aspect. This group of paintings is all about being trapped/restricted/caved in and wanting to get out. I hope it's showing through in my works. 

And finally, a gallery shot of where my art hangs at the house ! 

I also wanted to take a moment to share some spectacular news. As this residency program ends in a month or so, I have begun a lot of soul searching about my next move. It's been so tough trying to decide if I want to stay in the Bryan/College Station area of if I want to move somewhere with more art (Houston, Austin...). Well after talking to some of my good friends in the Bryan art area, they convinced me to stay around. And after I decided on that....wait for it... The Arts Council (that hosts our program) offered me a job! So I will be staying in TX for a while, working with the council and teaching all of their workshops and classes. I am really excited for the opportunity and the fact that they believe in me so much. 

Weekly Inspirations:
Knitting: I love the Brazos Valley Knitting Guild. We had our meeting last night and show and tell time is always my favorite. So many amazing projects were shared and now I want to cast on everything! Pine Bough CowlNurmilintu, and Tenticulum are just three of the lovelies.
Art: Something that has really been inspiring me lately is Mic Check Poetry in Bryan. I got almost every week and the poets and their words always leave an impact.
Food: I finally updated my food blog. I keep taking pictures and then never sharing them! Over Christmas I made-up a gnocchi recipe with canned tomatoes. I really liked it (but my dad, Mr. Picky had other thoughts).
Life: New Year, new resolutions> I am trying really hard to get back into my old exercise and eating habits, but it's harder than it should be. Especially with this nasty rain.

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the internet. I always love sharing my life with everyone and hearing what you all have to say.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Next Big Thing - Product Testers Wanted :)

I hope that everyone had a splendid week and a wonderful new year. Mine was pretty casual - stayed up late watching TV shows and knitting. But isn't that the best way to spend the holiday? 

I am writing today with a request for all of my friends in blogland. 

This past holiday, I wanted to give my brother's girlfriend a homemade gift. Knowing that she was going to be student teaching this coming semester, I thought some sort of lesson plan book would be a good idea. After doing some googling and shopping, I decided to try my hand at making here a homemade binder. 

After finishing her's (which I never did take a photo of...) I got to thinking about knitters and how we all have so many patterns floating around. We all need a place to keep them right? Thus "The Pattern Keeper" was born (title may change). 

Each binder starts with archival matboard for the covers, and is then assembled using simple material. The cover features a beautiful, handpainted watercolor stitch design.

The binder portion is created with 3 binder rings inserted along the spine. These are just simple rings like you find in any standard binder. The only thing is they don't have the fancy mechanism to open and close. 

Inside each binder is matching paper to cover the fabric. The front cover also has a pocket to fit all of your random papers. The plan right now is to also include blank dividers and some of the page protector sheets to get the user started. I am also considering adding graph paper for the budding designer.

So what I am asking all of my readers is for opinions. I have 4 of these made up, and will send them to you, completely free, to analyze, test, and review. I really want to start selling these on Etsy - I think they could go well - but I want to have real feedback before I jump in,

Interested? Comment here or Email me - Lisa(dot)Urban(dot)24(at)Gmail(dot)com. I would love to send you a handmade binder to try and use !