Steal this Colorway

Steal this Colorway

I want you to steal this color way. Yep. Use it for what ever you need, dyeing yarn, dyeing roving, color work for your knitting, yarn for a new weaving. Whatever you need. But here is the catch, I want you to make it your own somehow.

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The one question I get asked the most is where do I find my color inspirations. In fact just a couple of weeks ago my friend Elizabeth asked that very question in the Fiber Arts Collective. Inspiration is so hard to really nail down if you are using your creative right brain. Inspirations show up subconsciously when you are just not thinking about it, and reappear when you approach your work with creative play.

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So, inspired by Aston Kleon’s Book Steal Like an Artist, I am asking you to take this colorway, work with it, and figure out what you would change about it to make it look better TO YOU. What could you tweak to the shades, values, saturations, or even adding or subtracting would make your heart sing when you look at you new color way.

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When I created this colorway I took the 3 primary colors with black and a touch of white. I tend to not go for true primary colors because I feel like they are so very overused and boring. I love the deep rich RED. I shifted the blue towards teal, and deepened the yellow to a deep golden color. I then squinted my eyes to check if I had a good representation in values.

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Squinting your eyes shifts the color out of your vision making everything appear as shades of gray. Having a range of values from dark to light gives your work depth, and your eyes time to drink in different parts of your work. When the colors are all the same value, they fight for your attention.

I think it is also important to know, I usually name my color ways AFTER I dye them. I like to keep the subconscious inspirations flowing without the constrictions of trying to match anything. This one was called Playing With Matches.

So how would you work with this color way? What would you change? Leave me a comment below, on the FB page, or join us in the UrbanGypZ Fiber Art Collective and start a discussion. I am blown away by all the wonderful discussions sharing and interaction we have had over the last few weeks.

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UrbanGypZ’s Unconventional Guide for Breaking Through Creative Blocks

UrbanGypZ’s Unconventional Guide for Breaking Through Creative Blocks

 

Hey, I get it. We all go through some form of creative slump from time to time.

For the most part it is no big deal to lose the creative mojo occasionally. I mean other than that nagging guilt and abject fear that you have amassed an impressive fiber/yarn stash in vain, babies and/or kittens will not perish if you have more than 4 languishing WIPs.

For those of us who identify as artist, breaking through creative blocks can be overwhelming and parallyzing.

It can shred your confidence and identity, as you wonder if you will ever create again (OK, we creatives can be a bit dramatic…)

I know this is a topic I have covered often. I have had a lifetime of creative ups and downs that I have had to push through to keep my job or business afloat. But Fiberista, my heart just breaks when I hear you take on all that guilt over not feeling the knitting/weaving/crochet love once and a while. Shifts happen.

Today I want to share with you 3 rather unconventional ways I have been nurturing my right brain lately, to keep my creative mojo in check.

 

Bringing the Woo. I was raised Catholic. Like many religions, Catholics are big on shrines and altars petitioning the saints for what they need/want/appreciate. While your faith may not be with any religion at all, going through the motions of creating a sacred space to meditate on where you are and where you want to be can be so very powerful in shifting your beleifs. Why not create an altar that reflects the faith you have in yourself as an artist. Seek out symbols of gratitude for your talents, petitions for where you want to be, and affirmations of who you are.  Since the beginning of time, so much art was made for spiritual reasons. Tapping into your woo just might open up a new stream of creative mojo.

Aromatherapy. Your olfactory bulb sits right next to your limbic system (the part of your brain that controls your emotions). What that means is your sense of smell has a hella-large influence on your emotional brain. This year, I have been exploring how different essential oils can shift my mood and emotional blocks which is usually at the heart of my creative blocks. I have had some crazy good results specifically with Young Living blends like Inner Child, Joy, and Believe. Aromatherapy has impacted my work so much this year. I love it so much, I have become an essential oil distributor. Give it a whirl, add a diffuser to your space and try you favorite scents. Lemon(uplifting), frankincense(mental clarity) and lavender(calm) is a great start.

Decluttering. At risk of sounding like your mom, sometimes you just need to clean your room. Most of the artist I know like to have beautiful stuff around them for inspiration. It is tricky proposition, because there is a fine line between creative space filled with fascinating inspirations, and shit getting in the way. I have had a heavy dose of this as I closed my studio and had to go through all my things. Things that once inspired, felt like piles of crap as I set about packing and organizing.  Your inspirational collections are worth revisiting if you find yourself creatively stuck. In feng shui, clutter = stuck energy. So as I mentioned in this article, ask yourself “does it bring me joy” If the answer is no, get rid of it. Commit to surrounding yourself only with things that light you up.

Pro tip: We all have petting stash(I am totally raising my hand here). Let’s just let this cat out of the bag once and for all—many of us buy some skeins because we love them with no intentions of ever knitting them. So let’s just OWN IT!! Put your most precious petting stash in plain view. You bought it for that very reason.

In a nutshell, creative blocks can often mean taking care and honoring exactly where you are and what you need personally. So my question for you toady, do you have any unconventional creativity tips to share? Leave me a comment below.

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5 sweaters I must knit in this lifetime

5 sweaters I must knit in this lifetime

Fall in Asheville, this year is a little bittersweet. The leaves are about to hit their peak color and the weather is just cool enough for a light sweater. If it all goes as planned, this is the last fall living in Asheville. It is such a great season to be in the mountains, but unfortunately everyone else thinks so as well. Holy cow the tourist season is full tilt right now.

Fall usually has me turning to my big knitting projects again. While I do spend an obscene amount of time painting with yarn, to make freeform, intuitively created sweaters, I do have a Ravelry queue filled with meaty, complex larger projects that I crave when a full 3 seasons of knitting time lies before me. I also love the idea of tackling a complex pattern, stretching my left brain to decipher techniques. So this week I am posting some sweater p0rn for the left brain knitters out there.

Here are my favorite Five big-ass projects from my Ravelry queue.

1. The #11 Wrap Front Pullover. Don’t you just love that sexy name (<–sarcasm alert). I only say that because it in no way describes the absolute beauty of this hoodie. I fell in love at first sight years ago when I saw this project in Vogue Knitting. I finally found the perfect yarn at my LYS a few years ago and have actually finished the back panel. I have high hopes of one day finishing this thing before it goes completely out of style.

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via Francoise

2. Dale of Norway’s 7901 Polar Bear. I covet this pattern hard. It is long out of print and hard to find for under $75.00. Well, I could get a kit for about $200, but I am not sure I want to use the Dale of Norway yarn. And chances are I would mess with the design just a bit (collar, maybe length). So, this is on the some day list…as in I get lucky finding the pattern for cheaper.

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via Acornbud 

3. The Portland Sweater. I have actually worked about 7 inches of the body in the round…that I need to rip out {{wimper}}. The gauge is right, but knit too loose for cables. I have big plans to actually make two of these. One with commercially spun yarn and one made from a tri-color finn fleece that I have been hoarding for this very sweater.

via Mårten Ivert

via Mårten Ivert

4. The Acorn Sweater. This sweater begs to be knit in an agora blend. And maybe even made with a complimentary short sleeve sweater to turn it into a classic sweater set…to be worn with pearls…to the library…so not me, but I love love love it for some reason. I do have the angora blend yarn in a dove grey ready to go.

via Doodle

via Doodle

5. Sant’Angelo. ::::Drool:::: I envision this sweater made with my loft sock yarn in something outrageous and Frida Kahlo-esc color combo.

What is on your dream sweater list? What big sweater projects doe you swear you will tackle one day? Leave me a comment below. Hey if you like this post, please share it on your favorite social media (I added some buttons below to make it easier to share)

Bohemian Rhapsody: A guide to boho crochet patterns

Bohemian Rhapsody: A guide to boho crochet patterns

I am a self proclaimed hippie. Yep music festival going, patchouli loving, child of the 70s, comfortable shoes kind of hippie. Being in Asheville, I also live in that hippie community bubble where I am not terribly fashion aware outside of what I see at Target. Imagine my surprise when I started seeing tons of Boho style lacy crochet pieces in target this month.

So many lacy crochet details. Just when I first saw the Missoni collection a few years ago, all I could think is I could totally do that. This time I am over the moon. This stuff is MY STYLE. my little hippie heart is doing a jig.

So here it is, this hippie girls guide to DIY crochet boho styles.

 

Awesome Boho bag by UrbanHeirlooms

Start with small details.

There are a ton of crochet stitch books out there. I personally have about 20 books!!!! Even a quick search on Ravelry will yield a metric ton of stitches. A good way to Boho up your wardrobe would be to add a crochet edge to you favorite tank top, t-shirt, or even jacket collar. Try adding a crochet medallion to you favorite worn jeans or even a rustic leather bag.

 

Use your favorite freeform crochet techniques.

But rather than use fat wool yarn, opt for a thinner crochet cotton. I wrote an article on freeform crochet here.

 

Do it fiber art style…wing it.

It is so easy to do with an empire style top. Start with your chest measurement, and just crochet some of your favorite stitches in the round until you reach the length you want for your bodice. Add some simple crochet straps. Cut some fabric to the length you need for your top (I like it almost tunic length to hide my tummy) making the width around anywhere fro 1.5 – 2 times your chest measurement. Add a simple crochet edge to the bottom of the fabric.

 

Don’t overlook granny squares!

Nothing could be more boho than granny squares. I personally love granny squares. They are addictive to make. There are so many options when piecing together these little gems into a maxi skirt, a big kimono style jacket, or tunic. I talked about my granny square fiber crush here. 

 

And finally some of my faves out there:

Crochet Tunic

LaCabana Tunic

Zodiac Tunic

Pineapple Babydoll Tunic

Trapezoid Dress

Thai Style Summer Tunic

Pineapple Top

Lacy Tunic

Craft Cotton Tunic

Beach Top

DreamCatcher Mandela Vest

 

 

Are you feeling the Boho Craze?

Have a pattern you want to share. Leave me a comment below.

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Show Notes for Sock Art Society Q&A LIVE 03/22/15

Show Notes for Sock Art Society Q&A LIVE 03/22/15

It was my First Q&A LIVE!

I was a nervous wreck. I had spent a week trying to decipher the technology settings, tested and tested and tested again. Crossed my fingers, and dove straight into my first live broadcast Q&A session for the Sock Art Society. Here is the replay:

And You know what? It was just fine. The only glitch being I totally screwed up my main demo…

face———>palm

So as promised here are some of the links I mentioned in the show notes.

Here is Lulu’s website. 

Here is a great article for tips on reinforcing and darning socks.

 

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Here is a link to some reinforcing thread for socks

 

And, finally here are the books I mentioned in the broadcast. The reprint of the Barbara Walker stitch pattern book is different from the one I held up. The info inside is the same.

I have already scheduled the next Q&A LIVE!
Sunday April 19th @ 3pm EDT

Reserve your spot here!

Join The Sock Art Society

Get the simple sock formula and learn how to design you own unique socks. Step by step lessons, a private FB community for support, and the opportunity to join the next Q&A LIVE.

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What Kind Of Knitter are You?

What Kind Of Knitter are You?

The way I see it there are two kinds of knitters. And this comes from working in the yarn shop for a year as well as talking to hundreds of you in person at the shows and online. I can pretty much break it down to technique driven knitters and visually driven knitters.

 

It actually comes down to which side of the brain you tend to access when you pick up your knitting.

The Left Brain Knitter

Knitter seem to be the more common. Usually very pattern driven left brain knitters love the the mental challenge of deciphering a pattern following the steps and achieving perfect results. The more challenging the pattern the better. Left brain knitters love to geek out on the fine details traditions, techniques and pattern deciphering. Creative expression for Left Brain knitters often involves complex pattern writing, or finding new solutions for existing patterns. I am forever in awe of those who are able to write complex patterns. Left Brain knitters seek out more monochromatic yarns to show off their mad skillz best. I am alway amazed when I see one of my lace yarns transformed into detailed intricate work.

The Right Brain Knitter

Right brain knitters tend to struggle with patterns a little bit. And I often hear them saying they’re not very good at knitting. Right brain knitters will often be perfectly content knitting a pile of scarves not because they are bad knitters but there’s just not a lot of resources or information on knitting for them that meets them in the middle about how they think and how they like to knit. Right brain knitters tend to knit with inspirations of the moment focusing on color and texture. Creative expression for right brain knitters follow a more sensory  experience,  the focus is on the details of the visuals rather than technique. For right brain knitters the technical aspects are just not terribly fun. But give them a good colorful yarn (or 2, or 7…) and they will tell you how awesome it was to knit using lots of adjectives.

Hand made yarns and the right brain knitter.

I don’t get me wrong I love diving into a complex cable or color work or lacework pattern. I love the challenge and I feel such a sense of accomplishment after tackling such a large project. But being a yarn dyer and  hand spinner, my crazy colorful yarns are really geared towards a right brained knitter. Handmade yarns have a focus on color and texture which just rubs against anything involving intricate stitch work. So I know there’s not a lot of information out there to help right brain knitter’s find their place. Here’s for tips I like to keep in mind when working on a right brain created project.

Keep the shape simple. You’re going to want to not have to worry about shaping our stitch pattern when working a right brain sweater. Use super simple shapes and stitches to show color and texture. Check out this article I wrote on creating sweaters and six rectangles or less. It is written with freeform knitting and crocheting in mind.

Don’t limit yourself to a handful yards. Pull out more yarns than you think he will use. Think about how a painter might prepare for painting. They do not pull out just five colors to use they have a wide selection (if not ALL) of paints within view. Do the same thing with yarn. Think of it as painting with yarn. Set up your workspace where you can see a very wide variety of your yarn as you work.

Dive into the inspirations of the moment as opposed to worrying about the garment as a whole. I can’t explain why this works, but I find more success when I focus on coordinating color and texture within smaller segments of the fabric as opposed to worrying about the color and texture of the garment as a whole. This method seems to create a progression the carries your eye across the piece as if to tell a story.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. In fact sit with some mistakes. This one sweater doesn’t have to be perfect. Creating fiber art is a process. Don’t be afraid to create a sweater that you’re “meh” about. Just know that you’ll do it differently next time.

Consistently do the work. You might not be crazy about the direction your piece is going in you might end up having to rip row after row back. Don’t be discouraged. I just keep doing the work. Right brain knitters forge a new path with every piece if they work don’t get discouraged. See every “mistake” as bringing you one step closer to mastering the art of right brain knitting.

Right brain knitter, or left brained knitter?  Or somewhere in the middle? Leave me a comment below, post it on the Facebook page or shoot me an email

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