Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tomorrow is Sadie Hawkins Day! It's a Leap Year!

 This is a charm pack I am making into a Disappearing Nine Patch.  First you sew three together into a strip.  Then combine 3 strips for a nine patch.  Then cut in half.  Then cut the halves in half.  And you have a magic block that looks like you really worked hard to make.  It is fun.  The fabric is a little bit wild.  But very cheerful!

And here is the reason why I haven't finished sewing the binding onto this quilt.  He discovered it by accident one evening, and it is now his favorite sleeping place.
I broke a really bad rule and planted some seeds today.  I just couldn't stand it.  It has been so very warmish and sunny.  We are even having a thunderstorm tonight!  We have started our Spring storms early this year.  It is still 20 days until Spring, but I couldn't stand it.  I can always plant more if they don't work.

Other than that I am just knitting and trying to get to the armhole and neck for the vest.  Almost there. 

Enjoy the weather while we can. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Is It Time to Plant Things?

My goodness, we have had the warmest Spring weather.  I worked two days to clean up debris from beds and along the fence line. It is tedious work that has to be done early in the Spring.  I worked on getting as much Vitamin D as I could.  But I tired quickly.  I am really getting older and it is hard to keep up with all the work. 

I have moved the weedeater from the shed to the house.  I think I can safely move the snow shovel back to the shed. 

I took a brief break from knitting the vest to do some sewing.  I decided to try the 1600 strip quilt that was on the internet for a while.  I did not like it.  I am now trying to decide how to make it look better.  I talked to a friend that had also made one of these quilt tops.  She did not like it either.  So it isn't just me. 

I also have been listening to a British mystery novel on audio borrowed from the library.  I have been spinning some of the gold fiber I have.  It will make a small skein, but is a pretty color.  I had some grey CVM cross that I dyed with correopsis tinctoria.  So it came out a really nice deep warm gold. 

I found a rubbermaid container full of dyed fibers.  Sigh!  It is unbelievable that one can have so much stuff.  I really need to find a home for some of this stuff.

A friend had to have an outpatient procedure this week, so I was the designated driver.  I wish I could film the looks of people while I am knitting and reading my Kindle on my lap.  It is simple circular knitting on the sweater I am making for myself.  I am almost to the point to start the Fair Isle work.  I finally decided that I am going to knit 12.5 inches and do a braid.  Then I am going to start the armholes and pattern work.  I am going to steek the armholes.  This is my own doing of putting together 3 patterns I like.  I cannot even imagine what it will look like when done.  I am resigned that it will be a sweater I will wear a lot-probably at home.  It is targhee wool and is semi-worsted spun.  So it is going to wear like iron.

Not a whole lot new this week.  I am just trying to focus on knitting the vest, and I keep getting distracted with wanting to do other projects.  It is not natural for me to be a monogamous knitter, although I guess technically I am knitting two projects with my brown sweater I take along to work on the stockinette knitting.  So I am just plodding along and getting my rows completed.

Have a good weekend.  It is cooler now so I can't be outside doing my yard work.  I am going to listen to my book and spin some gold for a while.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Creative Incubation

"This is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be, This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen."

Joseph Campbell, in 1985 interview with Bill Moyers

I sometimes find that people think I am the "crazy cat lady" or the old curmudgeon.  I go into hibernation in the winter.  But when I saw this quote, I knew it was more than this explanation.  I am using this natural time of hibernation to go inside and create and find my peace of mind however I can find it.

Certainly the world is a crazy place, but for the most part it doesn't involve me.  I stay home and create in my space I created to find peace.

It almost sounds selfish to say I enjoy my solitude.  But solitude should not be equated to isolation.  I am not isolated any more like I used to be.  I do go out occasionally, and I do interact with others. 

I do talk to the cat and dog, but for the most part Noodles is the only one who interacts back to me.  He and I have an "understanding".  Poor Patty is not so swift in the brain matters.  So, I guess one can say I am the "crazy cat person".  I have wonderful conversations with him.  And he listens.  He looks at me full own and listens.  I know, I know, crazy, huh?

I am sorry for all that is happening in the world right now.  There is sadness, earthquakes, weird weather all over, and yes, the world is still going on.  But I have managed to sit in my chair and chug along with the Fair Isle vest without worrying too much.  I did get to see the Sherlock Holmes movie the other day on the t.v.  I didn't know the actors, but I really enjoyed their antics.  The end was clever with a flying dragon and the heli-hotair balloon over London.

I have a hawk that visits the big bird feeder in the garden.  He is not after seeds, of course.  But it was some shock to look out and see this huge bird sitting on top of the feeder and not a sign anywhere of the little songbirds.  I have never seen this happen before, but maybe it has and I didn't catch the rascal in the act.

We had one day of a very wet sloppy snow, and it is gone with the warmer weather.  Yes, it got chilly for one week, and now it is closing in on 50's again.  Sigh!  I give up trying to understand it.

I am also getting close to making a decision for the brown sweater.  I had to hunt for the pattern that I started with.  I went through 4 books, and finally found it.  I actually am combining several patterns and making it my own.  There will not be a gusset.  I don't want the ease there, and it is always a wad of fabric I don't like.  So I am calling this a semi-gansey or maybe a faux gansey.  Anyway, it is my own fault if it doesn't work out. 

So nothing else to report.  I just wanted to share that wonderful quote I found of Joseph Campbell's. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Color in My World

Right now as I look out my window it is gray, cloudy, and dreary.  Except that when I look to the left, there are 10 male cardinals sitting in a wonderful array of red against the gray, dreary world.  I am so amazed when I look at a cardinal up close and personal.  There are so many shades of color in their feathers and the orange in their beaks.  With all that, there is the black accents and gray little feet.  Actually the females beaks look more orange because of the contrast with their feathers.

Why am I going on and on about colors in feathers?  Well, I found a new tool that Sherwin Williams sent me in an email yesterday.  It is called Chip It.  I have it on my Favorites on my Tool Bar.  I can take any photo that I can find and use it to create "chips" of color from that  photo.  There are other sites that do the same.  There is also a site that the woman herself pulls paint colors from photos and they are not computer generated.

Okay-first of all- I remember all too well how interesting it was in my art classes to learn about how color works, etc.  Some of my instructors would tell us to look at various museum pieces and study how the artist used color to create the composition.  We often were required to sit in museums or galleries and try to draw a similar composition.  We were never warned that there are laws to prevent one from "copying" someone's work.  We never did feel like we were actually duplicating someone's work-just studying methods and skills of the artists.  I will never forget the "lessons" I learned at the Art Institute in Chicago.  They had just opened their Impressionistic wing, and I was in AWE of the works displayed.  I was able to get close enough to think that the artist had to nuts to use that technique or those colors or whatever.  But from across the room it was magnificent.

Now I know that some people think that my taking any photo that I find on the Internet and chipping it is breaking some copyright law.  But I am not trying to duplicate the photo or picture.  I just want something to help me extrapolate the colors from the chosen picture.  Then I will try my best effort to translate those computerized chips to real-life yarn colors.  I want to use it as a tool to "see" colors instead of the entire composition.

I am right now knitting a Fair Isle vest.  I originally was inspired by a photo of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  The friend that commissioned me to knit this goes there every year and I felt that was an appropriate choice of inspiration.  I showed him my choice of colors in yarns, and he wasn't really excited about the darker blue color.  My color palette was going to be darker blue and ivory.  So I waffled back and forth, knit a swatch to get my thread count, etc.  Then I made a brave move to do what I am doing now.  It is darker brown, oatmeal, and a lighter brown as the primary colors.  I haven't been comfortable with this choice since my original idea was blue.  But the other day I looked at the knitting from across the room, and it was RIGHT!  I had made the right choice. 

But I had struggled and struggled and tossed and turned to get those colors from the photo.  Now that I have the chip it program and other programs, I am hoping that it will be easier in the future to pull colors.  Our brains do funny things when we look at pictures or photos.  I am hoping to use this as a tool to help "see" color.

So right now I am happy to just look outside and see my red dots on the branches.  Have you ever looked at the colors in a finch.  They don't turn bright gold until after winter season.  So it is a brassy yellowish green.  The purple finches have wonderful stripes on their vests. 

So while we languish in this dreadful time of the year when we have to put up with clouds, drizzle, maybe snow, gray, look for the color surrounding us.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

One Month Later

I started this one month ago.  I finally got my yarn ordered, received, swatched and set to go.  I made a few blips along the beginning, and finally found my system was the best system.  I made the decision to do a regular rib knit along the bottom instead of the corrugated rib.  I also decided to use the oatmeal color instead of the dark brown.  I am on the second peerie now.  When it is finished I will be halfway on the body part.   Anyway it goes, I am happy with it.  I like it.

So yesterday I took a day away from knitting and putting my eyes out.  I tackled the BIG job of cleaning out the closet in my designated sewing room.  OMG!  There was just stuff and stuff and stuff.  I opened bins and cleaned out boxes.  I had one bin that was just art stuff from when I painted.  There were old sketch pads and papers and all the myriads of pictures I saved for ideas. I found sketches and some scrap pieces I had practised colors on.  Stuff!

It is amazing the junk we save and I am sure there is a reason to save all of this junk.  I even found the admission essay for master's work.  I was amazed that I used to write really well.  I was accepted into the program I had applied and had my finances arranged.  Then Life intervened and I never got to go.  I found a short story I had written for a class, and I had a nice A for that.  Funny to read that now too.

I found pictures and two picture albums.  Stuff! 

I burned a huge lot of paper and I have loaded the car again for Goodwill.  After I finish this closet, I will have one more closet to sort through.  Oh, and I have to finish the shed when the weather is nicer.

My eyes were burning on Sunday and I decided that I needed to take a break.  I don't know what possessed me to tackle the closet, but I am certainly happy that I did do that.

So I guess I will tackle the knitting this afternoon after I finish working out a system to store what I saved this round. 

I have always had a habit of writing down quotes when I find them.  I have them all over my house.  I like to review them and study them.  I have always done this.  I also used to save newspaper articles and put them up too.  But I have discontinued that habit with the internet so handy these days.  I know this sounds quirky, but I really like quotes.  I don't know why.

Anyway here is one I found in my piles of  paper yesterday:

Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind could invent.
                                                                   -Sherlock Holmes to Dr. Watson

And I think that sums up my thoughts for today.  I think there are 41 days to Spring.  A friend told me she is already picking daffodils.  Mine are putting on buds.  What a mess our winter has been.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Well- It's Mid-Winter!

Weather forecast for tonight: dark. ~George Carlin

I refuse to just natter on and on about the weather.  But it is weird!  People are fallen out all over the place in eastern Europe, and Alaska is having record winter.  I am not going to complain too much.  But thunderstorms in February are strange!

Okay-now that that is over, I will discuss my mundane life.  I am knitting.  Wow-really.  I am getting really close to half-way on the vest body.  Maybe today, maybe today and tomorrow knitting.  I am not knitting much on brown semi-gansey.  I take it along since it is just circular stockinette knitting right now. 

Patty and Noodles went for yearly wellness checkups and meds.  Both passed without any difficulty.  So far, so good.  Last year was a record year for disasters in pet kingdom in my household.

So I am hibernating and nothing new is going on.  I am entranced with the stranded knitting. I have to stop and refocus my eyes periodically.  I am not sure how anyone in their right mind could actually knit this stuff for a living-which people did many times in the past.  How did they do it?  I have to stop and rest my eyes and walk around.  Aren't we such lucky people that this is fun and not a mandatory thing in our lives?

I thought today I would spin, but I looked in my bin of fibers and couldn't really get excited about any of it.  I know that I want to spin this or that, but nothing excites me.  So I made biscuits.

Well, like I said, nothing new is going on.  A new month and a bit closer to March and Spring. 

Have a good week.  Enjoy the snowless days while we can.