12 Shawls in 2012 – 22.5 Degrees Shawlette

I finished this bad girl back in January and just haven’t had a chance to post it. The pictures are dark, but the yarn is very dark and it’s hard to get a good picture of the actual shawl. I had a co-worker take pictures and he got this good one of me wearing it.

It’s a simple garter stitch shawl but look at those little scallops on the edges! They’re a little fiddly and I cursed them while I was making them, but they’re adorable once they’re finished.

This is a gentle sloping shawlette that is incredibly warm. I’ve discovered that if I keep something wrapped around my neck, I stay a lot warmer. It probably hasn’t hurt that we’ve had the mildest winter ever (not that I’m complaining).

22.5 Degrees Shawlette, designed by Martina Behm
The designer, Martina Behm, has a lot of great designs that are in my queue over on Ravelry. They’re simple, but lovely (Hitchhiker is the highest on my list right now.) You’re going to need to sign into Ravelry to get to those links (if you don’t have an account – get one now).

The Schaefer Anne is lovely to work with. I used my Addie Turbos and the yarn slid like a breeze. (The bamboo needles I started with were quickly traded out.) The mohair makes me itch a little bit. If I the shawl on outside of my fleece or jacket, the itching lessens.

A quick knit and I get tons of compliments when I wear it.

Pattern: 22.5 Degrees (free pattern!)
Designer: Martina Behm

Yarn: Schaefer Yarn Company, Anne (60% merino wool, 25% mohair, 15% nylon)

Colorway: burgundy/green/black

Yardage: ~500 yards

Time to knit: 8 days

Book Review: 365: A Daily Creativity Journal

365: A Daily Creativity Journal: Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life!, Noah Scalin
originally published: December 2010
finished reading: 20 February 2012
cost: $10.36 (e-book purchased with a gift card)

The idea of doing a 365 project intrigues me. At the same time, it terrifies me. I keep inching closer to the thought of committing to creating something every day for an entire year. Can I do it? Yes. Will I do it? I don’t know. Every time I get close to thinking I’m going to start, something urges caution and I delay again. I’m afraid of getting lazy or bored or distracted.

Scalin’s 365 project was skulls. He created some brilliant art work – a giant snow skull, a skull involving ketchup and mustard bottles, sushi – they’re amazing! This book is meant to spark ideas for every day of the year. Many of them sparked in my head while reading and I can see returning to the book over and over to get re-sparked. His blog featuring his 365 skull art is incredible to scroll through.

His other blog, Make Something 365 is, by turns, intimidating and inspiring. He has done interviews with people who are just starting out on their 365 journeys and he features interviews with people who’ve completed. It’s an incredible mix of art (photos, drawings, one guy is listening to a Billy Joel song every day and writing a review about it). I scroll through and think to myself, “that’s a GREAT idea – why didn’t I think of that?” or “my idea is crap compared to this one” or “I could totally do a 365 project!”

I’m gathering ideas and courage to start my own 365 journey. This part of it has been fun. I can imagine that the project itself will be fun too. I just need to get moving.

12 Shawls in 2012 – Pie Wedge Shawl

On Ravelry there’s a group called, yes, 12 Shawls in 2012. My friend Katherine pinned a couple of shawls and I got pulled in. I had started a shawl on New Year’s and I figured, “what the heck”? So here’s my first shawl of 2012.

This is the Easy Pie Wedge Shawl. When you bought the Helen’s Lace (multi) from Lorna’s Laces, the pattern was on the ball band. It took about 1200 yards (there’s still some left in the ball).


I started it on 1 January 2012 and finished it on 12 January 2012. It was a fairly easy knit, just garter stitch and yarn overs. I will admit that I had to fudge a couple of times because I ended up with more stitches than I should have had. No one will know and I can’t actually remember where they are. That’s just my caveat that you have to pay attention a little – not a totally mindless knit.

This picture shows the colors a little better than the above shot. The colorway is called Black Watch, and there are some rather dark bits, but it’s mostly green and blue – really lovely.


I wore it to work today, because I could and with our unseasonable warmness, had to take it off about 30 minutes after I walked in the door. 


It’s lightweight, quite soft, and exceedingly warm. I couldn’t be happier with my first shawl of 2012.


Details:


Pattern: Free and Easy Pie Wedge Shawl
Designer: Lorna Misner
Yarn: Helen’s Lace Multi (50% silk/50% wool)
Colorway: 304 Black Watch
Yardage: ~1200 yards
Time to knit: about 2 weeks


Up next: Milkweed Shawl

Project 365

I’ve been reading lately about people who commit to doing something creative for an entire year. It’s an interesting concept and one I’m thinking about trying. There are a couple things holding me back:
  1. What if I attempt it and don’t complete it?
  2. Are there enough different ways to be creative about something?
  3. When it gets hard will I push through or will I give up?
When I’m thinking about something, I read about it. I found a ton of interesting stuff on this concept. First, the guy who created and started calling it Project 365, Noah Scalin. He made a skull every day for a year (some of them are way cool). He’s also written a couple of books and in the promotion of his second book, Unstuck, there are a lot of articles talking about the project. Like this one.
Scalin has 6 ideas about how to come to the project in a way that helps stick to the commitment and not just think about it.
  1. Let go of preciousness
  2. Freedom comes from limitations
  3. Get out of your environement
  4. Get out of your comfort zone
  5. Get things by giving them away
  6. Collaborate

He expands on each of these in the linked article above. Go read it, it will only take a minute or two. (I’d buy the book, but I already took the “no new books” pledge.) He’s been featuring other Project 365’ers on his website and they’re all doing cool things too.


So, back to my initial questions.

  1. Attempt, but can’t complete?
    • So what? I’ve started things over and over and I keep starting them again. Scalin himself said that the Skull Project was his third attempt at a 365.
  2. Different ways to be creative?
    • Seriously? I’ve been stretching myself and trying different things my whole life. I sat here and thought of at least a dozen ways to create my  365 idea.
  3. Push through or give up?
    • Here’s the thing. For me, it’s like working out. If I know that someone’s waiting for me at the gym – I haul myself out of bed and go. If I know someone’s waiting to see me succeed (or fail) or simply to live the project along with me vicariously, that’s incentive enough to show up. Every. Day.
    • Anyone want to be a 365 buddy? We could bounce ideas off each other and shout encouragement through the interwebz.



I like the idea of doing a “thing” every day. It does help me to limit the box, so to speak. So my 2 ideas are either a giraffe or a snowman/woman/person. Any thoughts on which one I should do? Any ideas about materials to use? Any encouragement? Any naysayers? I’d love to hear from one and all. Drop me a comment and tell me what you think.

First Yarn of 2012

Again, in the quest to spin up the stash I dove in for another couple of chunks that would spin well together. 

Spunky Eclectic 80% Corriedale/20% Alpaca blend in the Cowgirl Blues colorway. I’m pretty sure someone gave this to me, because I would never have picked the colors myself. I ganked a photo that someone posted on Ravelry and this is exactly what my braid looked like. It’s essentially red, white, and blue on an amazing base. However, not my colors at all. The braid weighed 4 oz.  

Ashford Merino/Silk Sliver – Mulberry

The other bundle was a plastic bag filled with Ashford Merino/Silk Sliver (80/20) in the mulberry colorway. The label says it weighed 100 grams (3.5 oz) and I paid $11.75 for it. While I will spin 50/50 merino/silk all day long, I’m not quite sure what possessed me to buy this bag of fiber. It may have been a pick me up present at some point, but when I saw the blue mixed in with the rest, I thought, “Why??” You can see from the picture that it’s mostly a shade of purple, but has blue, red, white, and peach shot through. Both fibers were quite soft and I figured they would go well together.

2-ply

This blend spun up super fast. While I’m not partial to a lot of her colors, Spunky takes amazing care when she dyes and her braids are never compacted or over processed. Both of these were a dream to split and spin. In fact, I think I spun this (roughly) 8 oz in record time for me – about 2 days from start to finish.


The resulting yarn is lovely. Because I spun it so quickly, I didn’t have time to vary my spinning and it’s remarkably even. When I showed it to Jillian and said, why are all my blends with this technique turnout out purple. She looked at me with an incredulous look and said, “because you ALWAYS buy stuff that has purple in it!” Maybe it’s time to spin something other than this color.


fiber: 40% Corriedale/40% Merino/20% Alpaca/20% silk
weight: 6.7 oz
length: 283 yards
weight: worsted

Day 4: Glass Marble Magnets

The purple paper stash

I cannot take the credit for this idea. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I have become addicted to Pinterest. I kept seeing people repin this blog post and figured it would be fun for the girls to have a go at it. We went to Michael’s yesterday and picked up the flat bottom marbles, glue, and magnets. After homework was done tonight, they sat down and started. I still have a ton of paper from my scrapbooking days, so they’ve raided the paper stash and are having fun comparing what they’ve done.

I was pleased with the flat bottomed marbles. I expected to get the small ones (even though I think they’re too small). Then I found these. They’re about 1.75 inches across and not perfectly round. I think they have a little character to them more than the smaller ones. Apparently, glass is sold by the pound. There were giant bags of small marbles for $6.99. These bags were something like $2.59 and there are approximately 18-20 in each little bag.






Here are Sassy’s first few pieces (purple):

And these are Hens’ (green):
They’re branching out now and trying colors that aren’t their favorites. I asked what who they’re going to give these to and they both looked stricken. “We have to give them away??!!!?”

Day 2: Friday Roundup

Friday is going to be the roundup day for creativity. I’ll revisit anything I’ve done during the week and provide any updates as well as look forward to what I’ll be doing next week. I managed to snag the work camera and wow! I had forgotten what a great camera can do. The ease of taking these fabulous pictures made my head swim. I think my search for a new camera is at an end – I want one of these! (Nikon D5000)

Re-pourposed stocking

As it turns out, I could not rip out the beginnings of the stocking. I looked at it and looked at it and couldn’t bring myself to pull out the needles and waste all of that effort. I channeled my knit friend Erica and said – “Hey, it’s big enough for a hat!” So I bound off, wove in the ends, and pulled it on. It’s a bit snug for me, but I’m a pumpkin head. I think I’ll throw a couple of tassels on the points and shop it around. If it fits and someone likes it, it’s theirs.



Stocking 2.0

I cast on again (with about 30 fewer stitches) and came up with this. It’s a lovely start and I’m sure I’ll be able to finish this in plenty of time for Christmas. I thought the stripes were a little small for the scale of the piece, so I increased those as well. In the hat, the stripes are 5 of the dark green, and 3 of the other 2 colors. In the new version, I went with 7 of the dark green and 5 of the others. There isn’t much to see here, yet, but I already like them better.





Lynne Vogel Ltd top (2 different colorways)

I also wanted to share a skein of yarn that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. It’s really gorgeous and while it doesn’t technically fit into creativity this week, I’m still in love with it. If you’re a spinner and don’t know who Lynne Vogel is – go find out! Her etsy shop (here) is lovely and filled with wonderful patterns. She doesn’t dye much anymore, but when you can catch whatever she’s dyed, consider yourself lucky! She also consults with Three Waters Farms to work on colors and occasionally, you can find some of her colors there. (Again, no affiliation with either of these shops, except that Lynne is my friend and there’s that fabulous indie artist thing that I live by.)


Anyway, this picture is a better representation of the colors of this wonderful skein of yarn. I love it!




Up next week: ATC 

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with these fish cards, but they will be used next week in conjunction with the artist trading cards I have. There will be mod podge, watercolor crayons and pencils, and funky paper. Stay tuned.

Next Month

I am crazy. I signed up for the December blog every day thingie on BlogHer. I’ve signed up as a crafty blogger, so I’m thinking about things I can do on a daily basis and post them on my blog.

  1. I haven’t gone back to my Artist Trading Cards since that Sunday that I worked with Lisa. I think I may have enough cards to be able to do one/day or at least a couple of weeks worth.
  2. I have a couple of spinning projects that I’m tackling right now. Those might be good interspersed with the ATC days.
  3. I have a billion knitting projects that are stalled in one phase or another. Some of them need to be ripped (at least 2 lace shawls that I’ve made mistakes in and it would be better just to start over), some of them just need a couple of things to call them finished (a sweater that only needs one cuff to be done, buttons put on another sweater, second sock, trim on a hat for Little Big Man), some need major work (Christmas stocking, socks for my mother).

I think I just made myself of list of things that need to be done, are crafty, and can be blog posts. Yay me!

ATC #02

Lisa and I played for several hours with our inaugural ATCs. (Of course, I also had to check out her studio and while she mostly loves making art at her dining room table, she also has a way cool nook in her well-lit basement.)

This was my second attempt. I choose another ATC that I had put gesso on thickly and swirled with the paint brush.

Layer 2: I used 4 different watercolor crayons to lay on color, mixing some (orange and red in the lower right) and leaving others alone (yellow in the upper left). There’s a green border around the outside of the card.

The beautiful thing about watercolor crayons is – when you add water, they bleed and blend and swirl together in the most amazing way. If you use just a little water, you get great control. More water and they tend to run together in really beautiful ways.

Layer 3: I had some green gems with silver borders. So I put those on the card and began to draw around them with the acrylic paint. The edges were too harsh – the marker tips didn’t lend themselves to blending at all. So I colored over those with a lighter green watercolor pencil. I didn’t wet that part because it softened up the acrylic paint and I was afraid water would wash off the fuzziness.

This one is definitely not finished yet. I’m not sure where it’s going to go, but it’s looking for something to go into one of the corners without the gems. I’ll show it again when it’s finished.

ATC #01

I went to my friend’s house and she was so interested in the artists’ trading cards, that’s all we worked on. Here is my first:

Please excuse the slight fuzziness of the photo. Our digital camera is on its last legs and the screen was all wonky when I went to take the picture. I think I need to add something for scale as well, but there it is.

I’m not exactly sure it’s finished, but it’s finished for now.

Instructions:
1. Layer 1: cover ATC with gesso and create some sort of texture (I think I just put on a lot of the gesso and swirled it with the paint brush)

2. Layer 2: cover the gesso with acrylic paint in marker form. (I used several different colors in random shapes and sizes. I wanted something that would just be background – then I covered that background with a green acrylic.)

3. Layer 3: tear small rectangular pieces from green cardstock, create a tree trunk with brown, create a sun with orange. I used cardstock that had a white core because I wanted the white to show through and I tore the paper so that it did. I poured out a big splotch of white glue and kind of dredged the paper through the glue before adding it to the ATC.

When it was all dry, I took some sand paper to the whole thing. It distressed the tree trunk beautifully and scraped off some of the acrylic as well. I do like the way it turned out, but there may still be something I need to add after I live with it a while.