Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Resolutions

Oh, I have the usual suspects down. You know, lose weight, be nice to my husband, work harder and smarter. I trust my friends not to really hold me to these. But I also have a creative resolution list.
It's a fluid thing, changing with my interests, energy level, and time constraints. New ideas tend to derail current ideas-in-progress, making it hard to fully accomplish things sometimes.
I accept this fluidity as an important part of my creative process.  But I worry about some of the better ideas getting away if I don't capture them somehow. A new idea actually causes me anxiety, because as much as I want to chase down "new idea", I am worried about dropping and losing the ones I already have brewing.
Did you see Ice Age? With the squirrel needing to keep track of his acorn?  That cracks me up every time I see it. That is exactly how I feel about my fiber to do list. Ironically, just like with the squirrel and his nut, the harder I try to grasp an idea, the more likely I am to either have it slip through my fingers, or squeeze the life out of it.
The coming of a New Year is a great excuse to give a little solidity to ephemeral ideas. I am about to start a list of creative objectives to accomplish in the next year. This list will be a fluid thing, with a few rules. Starting today I will publish a list here of some of the things I really want to do. I am allowed to add more, and maybe even subtract some until and including January 1. On January 2 I will have a final list. And, friends, I expect you to hold me to them.
Here goes:
1. Start an Etsy Shop.
   Weavings I think. But what should I start with? Little Theo Moorman tapestries? Kitchen Towels? Fabulous scarves and shawls? Results from weaving experiments?
2. Experiment with Weaving techniques. Collapse weave with handspun yarn for starters.
3. Write and publish 3 patterns. By publish I mean any public format. It could be in my Ravelry Shop, it could be in a magazine ( in which case I will allow for actual print in 2013), it could be for shop hop. It could be free on my blog. These patterns should be:
        A knitting pattern - first one might be based on something second daughter wants - a 70's style puffy vest.
        A crochet pattern - thinking about either Tunisian bathroom rugs, or Ipad cover
        A weaving pattern - maybe the result of some weaving experiments.
4. Refine my spinning. I can be pretty specific about this one. I want to make a novelty yarn based on instructions in a recent "The Wheel", a publication put out by Ashford. And I want to try this.

OK there it is. Publicly announced, and therefore more embarrassing if I flake out. And, I still have the opportunity to refine, add or subtract for the next 4 days.

Note that this list does not include any ongoing, current, or about to be started projects. I should list them here so that they don't get dropped!
Knit, Swirl
A tunisian entrelac blanket for my couch. Haven't started it yet, but the yarns have been picked out and are on my to do shelf in my studio. That makes it a committment
Mitered Crosses Blanket.  I swear I will finish at least one square. It will make a cute, if impossibly tiny pillow.

And, now it's your turn? Do you have any creative resolutions for 2012? Put them in the comment box - I would love to have some company.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

By the way...

F.O.stands for Finished Object. Just in case you thought... You know.
I am trying to be nice here.

F.O. Santa!

I am so excited that I have finished two projects in the "Nick" of time! I just wanted to share the news with Santa, in case he didn't get the message of what a very good girl I have been.
Our  family fun starts tomorrow evening when everyone arrives.  I will have very little time for anything but the most mindless of knitting for the next several days. I am ready!
Kristin's Christmas Stocking - finished a year ahead of time! My tradition is to knit one per year until everyone in my family has their own fancy stocking. I am using the kits from Judy's Colors. I  love how the patterns are sort of traditional, but not really. I finished Kathryn's about a month ago, so I was on schedule already for this year. But, hey, what is the holiday season without some unreasonable knitting deadline? I cast on for Kristin's stocking, thinking that at least I would have a head start on next year. But I finished! Watched "The Help" while putting in the green toe.
Next year I will knit one for Kelly. Really honey! And the year after that, Ryan, my SIL. Then I will be all caught up - unless someone new joins our family in the next two years. What are the odds of that?
I felt so on top of things that I pulled out a "marinating" project. Last Christmas, my oldest gave me a ball of handspun that she had made just for me. So sweet! Then 3 months later, she gave me the other ball. I started knitting myself a hat way back in February, and stopped when I ran out of yarn. Knowing that she is coming tomorrow I decided it would show my appreciation for her gift if I actually finished my hat. 
I like to knit hats from the top down. Especially with mystery yarn. Didn't know the gauge, didn't know how much I had. Turns out I had enough yarn to make a slouchy!  I made the top roomy, and when I got to the headband part, I went down two needles sizes, and began the ribbing. I have about three inches of ribbing there - so the top part hangs nicely off the back of my head. It is super warm, and looks super cute on me. Thanks again honey!

Holiday deadline knitting now completely done. I have cast on for Peiga Cowl, using O'Paca from Fleece artist, held with some hand dyed silk I had in my stash. The O'Paca has the look of a fine mohair yarn, but with the ultimate softness of alpaca. It knits at a gauge of about 5 stitches to the inch on size 7 needles. Fleece Artist does genius color work with their dyes. There is a swatch now in the shop, and maybe the cowl soon - depends on how many holiday movies we watch, and who is mixing the drinks.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's a tradition

I can be pretty sentimental. Traditions are very important to me. So important that I keep creating new ones. Most of these traditions are connected to holidays. In addition to our extended family Christmas traditions (opening presents on Christmas morning, followed by big breakfast of egg bake and sticky buns, for instance), I seem to need traditions that have been created by our nuclear family, for our nuclear family.
Maybe, more accurately by me, for me.
It is for me that I purchase identical tree ornaments for each of my daughters. It gives me so much comfort to think that when they decorate their own trees in their own homes, they will have a similar set of ornaments, and will think of each other, and of me.

It is for me that I am making a set of Judy's Colors Christmas stockings, one per person and in the order in which they joined the family. Not only are they very beautiful on my mantle - but also a reminder of home, should they be taken to another house some year. It happens.

Last year I added another tradition of weaving a set of 4 kitchen towels, one for each daughter's house, and one for mine.

Only problem is choosing who gets which towel. I think I might wrap them in identical boxes, and let it be random. I might be keeping the white one for myself.  I am not worried about blowing the "surprise". It is a new tradition - but they are expecting towels. And, they never read my blog.

For the technically curious: these towels are woven with an "M's and W's" threading. Louet linen warp, cottolin weft.