22 September 2012

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

18 September 2012

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' is. I've been doing a mental mambo considering the reality of routines of life. I've been surprised how much I have become a creature of routine and how much I seem to dislike my 'routine boat' being rocked. There was a time in my life when I really did not have much of a routine. My work life was composed of working rotating shifts with different days off each week and I moved a lot as I climbed the proverbial 'ladder'. All of that 'climbing' and moving and shifting left me empty and without roots.

I've come to appreciate the roots I now have and routines that make my life comfortable and somewhat predictable. There was a time when I disliked predictability but what I didn't realize at that time is that we all need some place of stability - some safe platform from which to dive off into the  future. I'm grateful for the routines in my life and for my quiet reality - in all of it's routine, predictable, comfort!

'Question Reality' is offered for sale- or maybe I'll keep it as a gift if it sits at home too long!

Happy Mid-Week to all.

17 September 2012

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:

No other changes - all of my usual bits of pleasure & joy will remain
 here at 'home' where they belong !

04 September 2012

Knit Swirl Done At Last!

This photo is the most 'color true'. I used black Malabrigo as a trim around he outside edges.You can see how long the sleeves are!
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 sweater. I sure wasn't going to throw that kind of money away by not finishing this sweater!

I began knitting this in May and, after several failed attempts to get the circular join done correctly, I nearly caved and shelved this project right away. I persevered.  You're dealing with a huge number of cast on stitches in this pattern (400+) and even following the simple directions to ensure that your stitches are not skewed - I failed. I failed three times before it worked. With that sort of beginning I knew that if I had to frog anywhere again it would mean that I would put the project away and never, ever, work on it again. I had to plug along and go with hope.  
The pattern is simple enough really - so simple and monotonous enough that I just knit along forgetting about decreases! Oh no! The construction is made of welts. 5 rows of knit, 5 rows of purl. Each 5 rows equating to one welt. You may be able to guess from that how I managed to forget the simple directions on decreases- especially in the evening after a day at work! I just kept on knitting or purling away. So I was left with some serious mistakes along the way - serious enough that I doubted that I would produce a wearable object. I kept on and hoped. Knit and hope. Knit and hope.

I finished it this weekend. I'd had only the final seam to do for a couple of weeks and finally decided that it was time to wrap this little project up! Because of my inattention and myriad mistakes I had doubts that it would even be wearable but it turned out to be far more forgiving than I could have hoped for. Perfect? Way-y-y-y NOT. Wearble? Eminently! The sleeves will need to be frogged 10 inches each since they reach nearly to the ground (another mistake) but all in all it's good news. As I knit this 'monster' I was certain that I would never make another - but now as I snuggle in it I think I may just have another go in another pattern - and maybe try a size 2 - with more perfection in mind! One of the beauties of this pattern is that any size will work really - A size one fits me but it's a it snug and far more fitted that I wanted. The 2 would have been fine - but i wanted the snuggle factor. I might try a pattern that is shorter (this is a longer version) next time. It's comfortable, unique and yes, it's delightfully wearable despite my many knitting blunders!!

03 September 2012

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 had about a half of the second skein left over - possible enough for some fingerless mitts to go with this yummy cowl