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Showing posts from 2012

The Benefit Of Shifting Focus & Rest

I have to admit. I've been feeling rotten for more than a month. I've thought that I was fighting a virus , but kept plugging away without much thought about it.  The virus - or whatever it is-  finally caught up with me last weekend and I have been home sick for a couple of days. I have so many things to do, finish up some loose ends (so to speak) on gifts, wrap them - and did I mention mail them! Late again I am! I have ATC's and PC's to make and mail. A lot of things I should be doing.
I've realized, as I've rested, that my life has been filled a lot with things that I have committed to and it isn't that those things aren't fun, but I have not done much of anything simply for my own pleasure in a long time. Over the weekend, through emails, my friend, Sarah Ann Smith, mentioned that she was taking an online Watercolor Lettering Class from Val Web. Hummmmm thought I .. now that sounds like it's right up my alley.
You've probably guessed alrea…

Tiger Lily ATC's in Vintage Kimono Silk

This month's theme over at Arts In The Cards was 'Tiger Lily'. This has to be one of most favorite color schemes, but I wasn't sure how I wanted to present it. Should it be on paper or cloth? Stitched or painted? What was it I wanted to say about a Tiger Lily?
I seldom have the whole picture of what I want to do with a postcard, ATC, painting or art quilt. I may have the seed of an idea in my head, but generally I let the tools that are right in front of me guide me - the tools and colors tend to make my artistic decisions for me.
I was rooting about in my collection of vintage Kimono Silks when I spied this amazing piece of silk. I had been hoarding it for some years, but had never gotten around to making an art quilt or piece of clothing with it. I decided that it needed to be liberated, and thus, I hoped, appreciated. It became my simple rendition of 'Tiger Lily'. 
Kimono  silk, a bit of stitching, some faceted beads and a feather. I found some feathers in …

When I Think I Haven't Been Busy ....

When I think that I haven't produced anything I tend to think about where all of my time went.
That happened to me today, as I checked in here. I was amazed to see how long it has been since I have posted anything! One would think that I had fallen over a cliff or something. At first I thought that it must have been an extraordinarily slow month or that, somehow, I had not managed to use any of my time creatively; that I had had the ultimate of fallow month perhaps. Then as I reviewed where I'd been and what I'd been up doing I realized that I had been doing things all along. I suppose that I had no thought that any of it, at the time, was 'bloggable'. Finding myself with a dearth of spendable cash this year I have made many of my gifts, and that is where much of time has gone. Because there are gifts involved I have not been able to post some of them here - so there has work been done that hasn't yet become blog appropriate I suppose! Not yet at least!
I made…

Leaf Prints Shawlette by Anne Hanson for Kollage Yarn

This is called the Leafprints Shawlette by Anne Hanson for Kollage yarns. I knit this with Cascade Heritage sock yarn in Italian Plum which I like especially because it has undertones of red and is a deep, rich, purple. It's an unusual choice of color for me! I was a bit concerned about how this pattern would turn out because of the slightly higher percentage of nylon in the yarn and, also, the somewhat thicker weight of this yarn compared to the recommended yarns from Kollage; Creamy, 1/2 & 1/2 or sockalicious, but none were readily available to me. I shouldn't have worried because this project turned out so very well. The yarn is soft and, after blocking, it was perfect!
I had never used a HiyaHiya circular knitting needle before, and I have to admit to beverysurprised at how much I liked them! I've been an Addi Turbo gal since I first began knitting but I would love to have a set of Hiya Hiya interchangeable circulars now. What I like is that they are very light, v…

Cocoa-Shea Hand Butter Bars: A Break From Class Notes

Today I was in the mood to make some soap - unfortunately I was out of a necessary ingredient!
I have very dry skin that gets more intense in the Winter.  I like to using a barrier cream - one that is not  sticky and that makes my skin feel quenched and protected. Since I couldn't make soap today I decided to made some hand butter bars instead.These bars are about 2.75 inches long and 1 inch high. They are made from beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter, jojoba oil and avacado oil with a bit of neroli essential oil added for a heavenly scent. Yum! They really do the trick!

Anne Bagby Class Day 1

I'm still somewhat reeling from all of the wonderful information that those four days in class provided my with. I think it's slowly seeping into my brain - transformed by the ways I'm comfortable working. What an amazing four days that was! I have come to one realization and that is that I work so much better at home - where all of the things I usually use are available. Typically, I bring all of things on the supplies list and then I realize that "Oh! I could have used this or that" or "if only I had thought to bring...". It means tat I generally don't finish much in a class - but take the beginnings home to work on in my own environment. I've always wished that I was a fast worked - someone who could produce in class - but I have to admit, after years of all kins of classes , that I have to internalize the information before I can really use it. Any one else feel like that?
We covered SO much in the first day that my mind couldn't absorb …

Anne Bagby & Lynn Perella : 4 days of Inspired Art Making

It's difficult to know how to begin to tell you about the amazing class experience I just had with Lynn Perella and Anne Bagby. Four days of inspiration, excitement, and learning that will stay with me for a very long time.
First of all I had only been able to afford the first two days of this four day workshop. The amazing, delightful and warm hearted owner of Wild At The Heart Studios, Jan Murphy, took a giant leap of faith and told me that we would work something out to allow me to be able to attend the second two days of class. For two days I had an angel sitting on one shoulder and a wee devil on the other shoulder. One telling me that I shouldn't stay because I need to not spend money; the other telling me that I should stay because of this unique opportunity... you get the mental tug-o-war that I was experiencing! Then I discovered that this was Anne Bagby's last travel teaching class. In the future all of her workshops will be held at her studio in Tennessee. And …

Malabrigo Arroyo Yarn in 'Glitter': My New Favorite

I admit that I've been knitting a lot lately. It's just the perfect, meditative thing to do in the evening after work. I keep my other obsessions for the "brain awake" days of the weekends generally.
I've always been a huge fan of Noro yarns but my latest yarn love has been Malabrigo. I have become especially fond of this new colorway called "Glitter". It contains nearly all of my favorite neutral colors -even including my most favorite mossy green-y/gold-y color. My next project in this colorway will be Cheryl Oberle's Faroese shawl that I will use Malbrigo Rios (machine washable ). 
This is their Arroyo line:
Weight: Sport (12 wpi)  Texture: Plied (4)  Yardage/Meters: 335 yards, 306 meters  Skein weight: 100grs, 3.53 ounces Gauge: 20 to 22 stitches = 4 inches Recommended needle size: 3.5mm - 4.00mm, US 4 - 6 Fiber content: Superwash 100% Merino  Arroyo is mashine washable, using the gentle cycle with cold water. Dry flat. 
In case you're wondering wh…

ZuZU's Petals Cowl by Carina Spencer

My new position (not a desired change) at work has meant a bit of extra hours. Not only is it a reminder of how low my energy reserves are it leaves with very little extra ''juice" the evenings. Thank goodness for knitting! Knitting is something that calms me and I find I can always find enough energy to knit some rows even on those evenings when I feel like crawling into be at 6:30 pm!!
This pattern is called Zuzu's Petals and it by Carina Spencer. Available HERE at Ravelry. It's bit different that other cowls I've knit in that it is rather like a collar - it goes all of the around your neck - joined in the round. It's not at all tight so it's not constricting in any way.  I was a bit concerned that I would not like it as I knit it but now it's swiftly become one of my favorite cowls to wear! The pattern called for some awesome yarn from Twisted Fiber Art but the piggy bank would not spring for it this time. Maybe next time around I&#…

Photo Art Friday : Roadside art

This is a post from Musing Crow Images that I just had to share here.  Earlier this summer I took the image with dandelions at the same place. its the summer version. Yesterday, as looked at the ground in the same spot I discovered the Autumnal Equinox version of the image. I was enthralled by the colors and textures. Normally, I've been keeping my images separated to my photo blog, but I thought this might be of interest here on MC Designs as well
 Summer version

Question Reality

I had an extra day off this weekend and yet time still seemed to slip through my fingers - leaving still with chores undone and art not made. I did manage to make this small 6" X 6" mixed media piece. 
I've been enjoying using Ampersand panels as my substrate. They are rock solid, take absolutely anything I can throw on it and are available in a plethora of perfect sizes and surface options. This was painted on an Aqua Board since I was using my favorite watercolors. I've also been using their Artist's Panels with a .75" cradle which I like the best because the cradle makes hanging so easy. I guess that theses flat panels could be hung with something like a "Command" adhesive strip though - so I guess that's not a huge thing.
I named it 'Question Reality' because that's what I seem to have been doing a lot of lately. I've been thinking about how what I think affects how I feel and that in turn effects what my 'reality' …

Where Did My Photographs Go?!

A brief change in presentation. Since I have been spending more time with images I've decided to dedicate a blog to them. Much of the new photography blog will feel familiar to you - but I know that not everyone comes here to Musing Crow Designs to look at photographs!
If you like my imagery I'd be most delighted & appreciative if you'd join me at: MUSING CROW IMAGES
No other changes - all of my usual bits of pleasure & joy will remain  here at 'home' where they belong !

Knit Swirl Done At Last!

The sweaters from the book "Knit Swirl" by Sandra McIver are really unique in many ways. Unique construction method and unique patterns. Very flattering to all shapes and sizes. I've never been much of a sweater wearer - or knitter. I prefer to knit shawls. These sweaters were unique enough though I knew I had to give one a try.  I chose to make a size 3 - the largest of the patterns not because I'm that big (although plump may soon be a reality!) but because  I wanted a big "snuggle coat". This pattern is called "Shades of Grey". I chose to use one of my personal favorite yarns - Malabrigo Rios (a superwash worsted weight) in color #869 Cumparisita rather than the Cascade Rustic yarn that was suggested. I did get on Ravelry as asked Sandra if she thought that the Malabrigo would be a decent substitute and she agreed that it should work. I bought 11 skeins so that I would have enough for a scarf and a pair of fingerless mitts to go with the sweat…

Shawl Collared Cowl - So Nice!

This wonderful little pattern is from Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting. I actually found it on Ravelry and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to make it. I used Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky in olive heather (#592). The yarn feel soooo dreamy in my hand but when I put it against my neck as I was knitting I wasn't sure if it was going to work on me. I washed and blocked it and that issue was a forgotten issue - it was just fine around my sensitive neck. I did decide that I wanted it a bit smaller so I did a light felt on it and I am so pleased with the results! It just made the fabric a tad more substantial and softened it even more. Now I'm in love with it and I know there will more of these on the needles.
Oddly enough finding a an appropriate bulky yarn to use was the challenge. The pattern called for Jimmy Bean's Wool Landscape Collection 108 yds/99m per 100 gms. My LYS, Island Wools, had this Cascade yarn and it was perfect - an exact yardage match. I used two skeins but …

Reflections Of You 5 Facts Friday 2 Days Late

I'm late again! This is my 5 facts Friday posted on Sunday. It's one of those little things can make my week fun - I enjoy matching the 'facts' with the images. Maybe one day my 5 Facts Friday post will be posted on Friday!

Repetition: Kat Sloma's Exploring With A Camera

Kat Sloma offered a photo challenge based on repetitions - and when you look for them they're all around you!  The staircase at work has always fascinated me when the sun and shadows are just so. It looks like so much more than a stairway to and from work. To me it's become more of a metaphor - walking into the sunlight and leaving the cares of work behind.  I'm grateful to have these stairs to walk to walk from - in other words I am grateful to have a job - but oh! how I long to linger in the sunlight filled world of creativity!

The Most Fun-To-Knit Hat Imaginable!

Pardon the occasional cat hair in this photo! 
This is the Anemone Hat in progress. I'm almost finished knitting the sides and will soon be finishing up with the crown.
This is a Cat Bordhi pattern. It's call the "Anemone Hat" and when I saw it on Ravelry over the weekend and just couldn't resist the urge to try it out ! The pattern has options for multiple sizes as well as the option to begin the hat with either a mobius or a simple circular style (my choice for this first attempt).  It's is SO much fun to knit! The tendrils looked impressive and complicated to me at first glance but in reality they couldn't be easier to make!
Wearing hats is new to me. I used to have very thick hair and never got that cold nor do I like the way I look in hats. With some years gathering on me though my hair has become thinner than it used to be and hats are becoming more of a desirable accessory to have on hand. That being said, I am terribly finicky about what hats I …

The Weekend's Muse

The Muse was generous with her gifts this weekend. Things  seemed to flow with ease. Maybe that's partially because I got some projects that had been looming over me done and put of the way. It felt good to make things simply because I wanted to and not because I had to!

This "purse-within-a-tote organizer" is a demo piece that I am just mailing out to C&T Publishing tomorrow. They are about to introduce this material as a  new product. Sixteen of us were lucky enough to grab a slot to make projects using it. My bag was made to look like aged faux leather. I stamped with one of own hand cut stamps and then colored it. I'll add more later about this great new product when I have discovered when C&T plans to introduce it to the public. Trust me though - it's a product that has many applications and I think it will be a great seller. Yes! You will want to try some.