Vlogmas Weave-O-Rama: Let’s do this

Vlogmas Weave-O-Rama: Let’s do this

I am fired up you guys. And it is thanks to you.

Many of you remember last year I took December to organize my new studio and blogged everyday about it. I love challenges like this, so I am doing it again. But, this time, Fiberistas, you guys have inspired me to go video and participate in YouTube’s Vlogmas challenge. I love video, and you guys have indicated that you find it super helpful.

If you are not familiar, Vlogmas is an annual YouTube event were YouTubers upload a video daily through the month of December leading up to Christmas. Am I crazy? Totally. And yes it is going to be quite the challenge. But for me I need to challenge myself to streamline my editing. That Asheville week video? I have been editing it for 3 days because I ramble so freaking much. You would die if you could see the footage that never makes it into the actual video. Gotta get concise. And I also need to streamline my editing process. Practice makes perfect.

Vlogging has helped me really see my work and process for what it is and as well as what it is not. And It has also helped me connect with you guys more. From what I hear in the comments and emails, it is helping you make art. THAT is insanely exciting for me. So lets do this! I am in.

So for the month of December I am vlogging a daily weaving related video. I say “related” because I do think there is more to weaving than being at the loom. And I think it is important to share the whole process.Get ready, I will start December 1. Subscribe to my YouTube channel to get notices when those videos go live.

In the mean time here are some of the fiber art weaving like videos I have made so far.

Pumpkin Spice Sweater Knitting

Pumpkin Spice Sweater Knitting

I have no doubt where you live now, You are already deep into the crisp fall weather. Here in Raleigh, It all started this week.

Flip the switch on the gas fireplace and cue pumpkin spice everything. Thank you baby Jebuz, it is finally sweater weather.

If I had been a productive and smart cookie, I would have a stack of new hand knits to unwrap. But alas, I was a total slacker on filling out the wardrobe over the summer. Argh!! I had this idea that over the years I would stop buying commercially made sweaters and began replacing my fading wardrobe with hand knits. HA!! All I seem to have is a fading wardrobe. It is not that I don’t have a long list of sweater WIPS, I just get bored with the the drudgery of the follow through. I know many of you know exactly what I mean. Startitis is actually a thing. And so is the class of patterns called quick knits, with the intentions of shortening that drudgery middle part of making something.

Here’s the thing, the magic of creative ideas are often born during the drudgery of doing the work. Doing the work simple requires you to show up. And fiberista, I have not been showing up for my own knit work. I don’t know about you but the start of fall always feels like a fiber arts new year to me. It renews my knitting love and calls me to remember why I love what I do.

So today firbeista, I am sharing my creative plan not for the greater good of adding my visual language to the conversation. I am straight up wanting some new clothes. So here is what my knitting season is going to look like.

I am not going to start anything new. No, really…nothing new. I have 24+ WIPs. 

I am, however, willing to frog stuff. Because sometime it is better to abandon the project and save the yarn than to soldier through and end up with a sweater you will not wear.

I am going to show up at least 3x a week. Here is a crazy truth…I have always had a hard time wrapping my brain around art time as real work. Yep, this professional artist feels guilty for doing the work that makes me an artist. It is a very deep rooted issue I will always struggle with. But, it is also always something I overcome thanks to lots of practice. Wash rinse repeat. So yeah, routines are pretty vital.

I am also stopping there with the guidelines. Any more rules or promises to myself will overcomplicate this. I am hoping to get at least 2 new sweaters out of this, but 3 would be amazing. And it would also be amazing if I promised to vlog about it, but that might be more than I am ready to bite off right now.

What are you working on? Leave me some comment love below.

 

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Wednesday 11: Random thoughts on creativity fueled by cabin fever and cold medication

Wednesday 11: Random thoughts on creativity fueled by cabin fever and cold medication

I have been in the bed sick for days, so I am totally blaming this post on the cold medicine. As I sit down to write today’s blog post my mind is in 50 different places. I have often partaken in a series of post called the Friday 5. Today I am going to give you a hodge podge of brain blips I am calling the Wednesday 11 (because I have also had two cups of coffee… Woohoo).

No. 1:  A closet full of fiber. I have not been too ashamed to disclose the obscene amount of wool I have stashed in this closet. Like beyond-life-expectancy-full-of-wooly-things-to make kind of stash. Aside from using a bunch of it for my dye classes, and a bunch more for one crazy art yarn ideas, I have been ruminating about carding some bats and making felt hats. I started down this path last year, and then set it aside to finish the move. Supplies in place. I am ready to dive back in. Hats, and maybe some bags and slippers, but mostly hats. Not sure why, I really don’t wear hats, or even thing I look good in hats (my face is too round). but I am into the hats.

No. 2: I only make mugs. So this clay hobby has kind of become a thing. All I have been making really is mugs. I have always collected handmade mugs. I enjoy making them. I love drinking my coffee out of a mug (or 2…3…okay 47…) that I have made. I have no idea what I am an doing with this new obsession other than filling my cabinets. I definitely do not want it to become a product line. I have not been opposed to the idea of selling a mug or two. And if you are wondering what you will get from me for Christmas…just know it will be a mug. I may venture into making some bigger mugs that are chili bowls.

No. 3: Do not email me with the suggestion to make yarn bowls. They are trickier to make thanks to their tendency to warp at the cut out space. Seriously…I am not going to make them. I have 4, I rarely use. I only make mugs.


No. 4: I am also ready to get this monster working. I got this lovely Structo loom off craigslist for $50. It is only missing the hex bar that would hold the warp spools. I even have a bunch of the spools. But I am not really a fan of using a boring white cotton warp. The reed was full of rust and was finer than I imagine I wanted to warp. Enter Gowdy Reeds in Rhode Island. They make custom sized reeds. Perfect! Structo closed shop decades ago. I have an order in for a replacement reed form Gowdey. Hopefully can get cracking on this new direction in my work.

No. 5: That being said, what I really would love is a Saori loom. I have literally avoided fiber shows because that siren song is super strong. I decided that if I can get the Structo working, and actually start using it, then and only then will I let myself invest in the loom I really want. Wish me luck.

No. 6: I must be an old lady. Because for what ever reason all I want to do is crochet this freaking afghan. AFGHAN!!!! ugh! Not sure why I am all about making a blanket. Winter is coming…I have only 2384706 sweater WIPs in the basket. And I actually could use some new sweaters. I just can’t stop making this insanely addictive stash buster blanket. I am using this stitch.

No. 7: Maybe it is because I am not leaving the house much. I only leave to go to the community art center. Seriously. I have discovered that actually paying for grocery delivery service saves me in time and impulse buying. Yep, delivery fee and tip is cheaper than my hourly rate. Plus price comparing is easier online, as is sticking to a list. This really only works because I am big on meal planning.

No. 8: Meal planning is my creative jam. Here is how life happens when I don’t meal plan. It’s 5 pm, I am mid project and not really in a place to stop. I kind of panic because I realize I need to start thinking about what is happening for dinner. In my head, I inventory what I think is in the fridge. I remember I have skirt steak! Woot… I am making Vietnamese noodle salad bowls. 45 minute later I am at a stopping point, go upstairs and either realize A) I am missing some vital ingredient or B) I am just too overwhelmed to do all that prep work. We order Indian food. Food budget blown. If I can think of 7 meals that involves ingredients I have on hand, fill in the rest  with my list, I have meals to choose from and beat the overwhelm. I don’t schedule out what to eat on what days, because I find I might not be in the mood for something. I always keep spaghetti on hand as my back up meal. I use smorgasbord days to use up leftovers than need to be eaten before they go bad.

No. 9: I belong to the cult of Instant Pot. To be honest, I did not even really know what I would use it for when I bough it at a Black Friday sale last November. I only knew that many of my friends had drunk the instant pot Koolaid and … Hey look it makes yogurt. Holy crap I love my instant pot. I used it no less than 5 times a week. I have been collecting crazy good recipes on this pinterest board. I never knew mashed potatoes could taste so good, or that I even cared about mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are really just a vehicle for other flavors. Incidentally I have yet to make that yogurt…

No. 10: I digress…must be time for lunch…

No. 11: So much art so little time. Did you know Picasso also made ceramics? I feel like I should know this, and maybe I did, but in my Nyquil induced Pinterest surfing, I newly discovered that Picasso made some cool pots, pitchers and vases. This became important as I vacillate between mediums finding uses for all this creative energy in my head. I have always dabbled in many, many mediums. It has only been in the last 15 years settled on a few to mediums to dive deeper. For what ever reason, I worried that dividing my attention also divided my creativity. You know what… I think working between different mediums has really only multiplied my creativity in each area. After a lot of struggle, I have let go of the idea that I needed to focus on one. That guilt over not focusing has lead to some of the biggest creative blocks I have ever had. Yes some projects never get finished, but then again, some projects just need to die. If you are making art, it is because you were meant to make art. Stagnating over how you should be making art means you are not making art.

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Update on that Art Yarn Scarf

Update on that Art Yarn Scarf

So, Last week I made a video showing you how to use a hairpin lace loom to make an art yarn scarf. If you missed that check it out here. Once the camera was off and as the video loaded, I started to mull over ideas for finishing this scarf. And of course as is the norm for my ambitious right brain….this project has mushroomed and is now threatening to become a shawl.

My latest color jam has been light warm neutrals(beige, cream, light warm grey) punctuated with hot pink and orange. So I pulled out some screaming hot sock yarn and crocheted an edge, putting a cluster of 3 double crochets into each of the loops. I almost left it as is, but decided that I needed to flesh out the color pop just a little more, maybe asymmetrically…

But first I decided to pull together some coordinating yarns to see if maybe I would prefer keeping the pops thin as I added some width to this piece. So far these are the yarns going into this project bag…

So some of the theories behind this selection. I added another hot pink yarn is a slightly different tone and texture. I am not sure if this will end up in the piece or not, but I think there needed to be a bridge between the stark contrast from the super bright and the neutrals. I don’t want there to be too much pink here, but it needed something else. I am also picking the variegated neutral with a little dark grey for depth and little blush pink as a nod to that hot pink. This I feel will be a big part of the shawl/scarf. But we will see. I also pulled together as much handspun using undyed fleece as I had. I needed to play up what was already in the piece, but find some smoother textures. I am also adding the tiny bit of beige-grey worsted that I have. This will draw out the grey Montedale in the art yarn. Not pictured, but I may add it in is an undyed skein of alpaca/merino/silk yarn to round out the creamy white neutrals.

I will keep you posted as to where this is going. But can I just say…OMG this is the first new fiber art piece I have felt compelled to dive into after a long hiatus to work on my new clay obsession. So what are you working on? leave me some comment love below, or shoot me an email. You guys inspire me more than you know.

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Making bad art on purpose

I am in a place of making a lot of mistakes with my ceramics. I joke that I am actually making a bunch of very large test tiles that holds large quantities of coffee. One of the teachers in the studio suggested I make actual tiles to test techniques and glazes. And maybe at some poinnt I will. But there is so much to practice and learn and explore, I just assume make the damn thing and let it be imperfect. 

I went through the same thing years ago with dyeing and spinning. And I still have times where I am shifting my methods or color sense, experimenting. But with the yarn, I have been doing this for quite a while and am better able to salvage any disaster in some way or another. 

But I love ever one of those mugs. Not making much else, I love hand made mugs so very much.