Parties and matching sweaters

Today, Mazie and Olive have two birthday parties to go to.  One is for my niece, Violet, and the other is a sleepover with our next-door neighbor.  They are so excited.  

Me, I'm knitting.

I don't know if you remember this baby pattern for the Whirligig Shrug:

whirligigshrug
Maziewhirligig

I sized up the pattern to add child sizes (up to a 10) and am now working on an adult version in a gorgeous gray Lorna's Laces yarn.

Do your daughters want to dress like you? Or for you to dress like THEM?  Mine do! They're 5 and 7, and they are still just so excited when we notice that we're all wearing stripes, say, or all wearing something pink.  So they will LOVE it when we all have a similar sweater to wear. I wish I was finished knitting today, so that we could all wear them to our parties!

Expect the patterns to be ready around the first of the year! 

On taking a little break

SO.  I have been pretty quiet on the knitting front for the past year or so.  I removed my patterns from both my Craftsy pattern store and Ravelry.  I haven't promoted anything new for a while.

Why did I take a break?

I've been designing handknitting patterns since about 2003, and really needed to step back and take a look at what I'd built.  I looked at my collection of indie patterns, and in my Ravelry store alone had at least three different pattern layouts going on all at the same time, many of the designs were ones that I don't think fits my current design aesthetic, and many were in yarns that weren't available any more.

I was also crushed to learn that all of my blog archives have been lost.  I'd been blogging since 1999, and through a series of unfortunate events...I don't have those archives.  This was a devastating blow to me, and really gave me pause.  I had been writing and photographing my way through grad school in Baltimore, through a move to Europe, then back to the States to beautiful New Mexico and the births and childhoods of two beautiful daughters.  

Losing those archives was like losing a part of me.  And I had to think about how much time I put into that writing and photography, and how much it meant to me.  

Fortunately, I think I've found a couple friends who can help me recover them.  And when I do, I'll add them to this version of my blog...so that people can read them and find all of the tips and tricks and silly stuff I've written over the course of the last 16 years!

What am I up to now, knitting-wise?

In the last few weeks, I've decided to revamp some (but not all) of my older patterns, and to re-release them with a new graphic look and with new edits.  The ones that aren't coming out with new looks are going to be retired.  There are some designs that are classic and will always be good, sturdy patterns...and some that were good when they were good, and just need to be let go of.

I'm working with a wonderful tech editor and friend, Andi Smith, on this pretty huge revamp & update project, and over the next little while will gradually be releasing some of my old and recent faves with new template and fresh tech edits.  

I'm also in the middle of one of those creative bursts that sweeps me off my feet.  I'm fully obsessed with knitting again, and have lots of new things in the works.

Thanks so much for your friendship and encouragement over all of these years.  I have LOVED being part of the knitting community, and am excited to see what the future brings!

Shibori dyeing

Linen yardage

Linen yardage

This is a long weekend, and for me that always means that I have a chance to work on some big projects. 

 

This weekend, Olive and I have been working on some hand dyeing. We dyed this length of linen, among some other things.  This would make a fantastic dress! There are about five yards of this gorgeous stuff. 

 

Detail

Detail

I love this fabric, and I'd just hang it up to look at it if I had a large enough space.  If there was more, I'd make new curtains for our living room. 

Detail

Detail

It's really interesting the way that the black dye broke down. It's black, dark blue, and around some of the central motifs are peach halos. You can't plan this stuff. It's such an unpredictable art form. To some extent, I control the patterning, and I know which colors are mixed to make the dye base colors, so *can* know which colors will show up in the cloth... but so much is just chance.  I think that's why it's so fun. Every time I open a bundle, I'm amazed.

Dresses part one: color

Mazie has designed dresses for the three of us.  

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Because she doesn't take anything anything-but-seriously, we are making the dresses.  Starting with yards and yards of white cotton fabric. 

We each chose colors according to Mazie's design. Olive chose turquoise, Mazie chose pink, and mine will be ombré (if the Universe agrees.) 

Olive's turquoise fabric

Olive's turquoise fabric

Olive's we tie dyed.  (And I snuck a large scarf for me into her dyepot!)

Mazie's we didn't have the right color dye to do justice, so we will have to start again.  I hated to make her wait another day for her fabric, but it was so washed out, not at all like her beautiful design.

One of the most difficult things to learn is that it's all a process. It's all layers. Sometimes we get it right on the first try, but often it takes another layer of effort to get to the desired result.

Fabrics together

Fabrics together

I wish I had taken an image of Mazie's first product, but I didn't. We decided to layer some pink over the red to brighten it up, but misread the label, and it was purple instead. Purple won't do. So this will be the fabric for my dress, and we will try again for the perfect pink.

Ever more rippling

Rippling

Rippling

So this piece is expanding. Ever more flow. Advice from my daughters = more pink, more blue, more detail, Mom. Just getting the base layer down. Much, much more to go.

Today was a really great day. I worked on the patio for a few hours, time passed really quickly.   Came home from work to amazing stories about how the day went for my peeps--they were at a pool party. Good day all around.

I'm planning a trip to New Mexico.  Trying to figure out the best way to get my embroidery hoop there. It's quite a bit too large for my suitcase. 

In my head there are paintings -watercolor to show alongside these embroideries. They might be morphing into paintings on fabric.

 

 

 

Early morning studies

Last night's darkening sky

Last night's darkening sky

After a long cloudy day yesterday, I woke up with the sun this morning excited to work on a few studies for larger-scale paintings.

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The ether-reality of watercolor makes it the perfect medium with which to attempt to capture the fleeting emotions, thoughts, glimpses of truth that show up in my mind in the moments after waking.

Camped by a stream last night, and my subconscious listened to the flow of the water as I slept. I woke up several times thinking it was raining, but it was just the flow of the water.

Streamflow  

Streamflow  

I recently talked to a psychic who told me that some events from a past life are holding me back in this life, and that I need to work on clearing that old energy. Interesting to think about one lifetime flowing into the next. No longer reality, but still having an effect.