Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Slow.

Everything is slow right now. Knitting slowly. Reading slowly. Moving slowly. The three of us have all been sick with this nasty cold which makes me want to just stay in bed, eat soup, and knit lace. I don't know why lace. Maybe finishing my Luna Moth got me on a lace kick. And I knit lace very slowly.

So, the Duchess Raglan is still sitting around with half of one sleeve, and I picked up this scarf that I thought was on its way to the frog pond:



This is the Haruha Scarf by Tikru (whose designs are fabulous!) that I started back in November. The pattern is for fingering weight yarn but I'm using a worsted weight merino silk blend from my walking distance LYS. It's a fairly new yarn for them. I guess it is just called Silk and Merino, the brand is Yarns Northwest, which is a division of the wholesaler Russi Sales, and they're the people who own the LYS. Anyway, it's lovely, soft and drapey and is perfect for scarves. I would love a little sweater from it, but I'm afraid it would wear terribly, being a loose and soft single ply. The end of the scarf that rests in my lap as I knit is already looking worn. It's so soft and pretty though that I don't care. I only bought two balls of the yarn which will make a short and rather wide scarf. I think it will look ok tied - it would be about ascot length. We'll see. I got as far as this photo shows and thought that would be too short, so I thought I'd frog it and make mittens mittens from Knitting Little Luxuries. I think this yarn would be a good substitute for Louisa Harding Grace. But, I'm liking knitting this pattern, so I'm going to just keep going.

That soup I mentioned that was simmering on the stove last time I posted...well. It smelled wonderful while cooking but came out quite below par. Think lima beans floating in chipotle water. Bleh. I froze the remainder of it, thinking I could turn it into some better soup later. It just seemed incomplete. But, last night I tried yet another soup recipe from the same book, Super Natural Cooking, and it was wonderful. Exactly what a houseful of sickies needed, and quite appropriate for Project Spectrum, too. I reduced the amounts of everything by 50-75% to make a smaller quantity, went about putting it together slightly differently than the book, and made some necessary substitutions since I only had 1 cup of stock and no fire roasted tomatoes. Here's my interpretation.

Toasted Wheat Germ Soup

4 cups of vegetable stock and/or water
5 large cloves of garlic, very coarsely chopped
1 very small yellow onion, thinly sliced into crescents
1 carrot, diced
1 can diced tomatoes in juice
1 can white beans
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. adobo sauce
1 tsp. basil
salt and pepper to taste
shredded parmesan for garnish

Heat the oil in a 3 quart or larger soup pot, then saute the garlic, onion and carrot until the onion is soft and translucent. Add your stock and/or water. I had 1 cup of stock and three cups of water, so I turned the heat down to low and let this simmer for a long time to let the flavors come out.

Heat a dry skillet or wok over medium heat and toss in the wheat germ. Stir or toss constantly until it smells warm and fragrant, but not too long. This was my best guess for the toasted wheat germ the recipe specified. It didn't say how to toast wheat germ, and I was too lazy to look it up online. Add the toasted wheat germ to the soup pot and stir well. The wheat germ will expand a little bit and give the soup some body and a toasty flavor, besides an extra nutritional boost.

Add the can of tomatoes, including the juice. I didn't have fire roasted tomatoes, so I added the paprika and adobo sauce for a smoky flavor and left out the red pepper flakes the recipe called for. (I keep a container of chipotles in adobo sauce in the freezer, since I never use a whole can at once. That way I can just scoop out what I need for a recipe and the rest stays frozen and doesn't spoil.) Add the basil. Simmer until hot and the flavors are blended.

Drain the can of white beans (I had Great Northern beans in the cupboard but any variety would work) and rinse well. Add to the soup pot and stir carefully. Canned white beans are easily turned to mush, and you don't want that. Simmer gently until the beans are hot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with shredded parmesan. Mmm!

As usual with food, I don't have a photo. The book didn't have a picture of this one either. It was good though! Nicely spicy and warm, and the big chunks of garlic had simmered long enough to soften and mellow. I always like a lot of garlic and spice when I have a cold, and this was perfect.

I'm contemplating a PS Fire-themed knit. The laceweight that I thought was fiery was actually a different color than my photo and memory were telling me and won't work. So it's either socks or mittens next!

Friday, February 22, 2008

spring fling knitting

So, the rebellion against boring sleeves that I mentioned the other day was this:



The quickest little knit ever, the Anthropologie-inspired capelet from Peony Knits, in Plymouth/Indiecita Baby Alpaca Grande. This took just a few hours spread over several days and 1.5 skeins of yarn. I had bought three skeins a couple of years ago for a different capelet pattern but couldn't get gauge, so the yarn had been sitting in my stash waiting for a project ever since. I only used half of it for this, so now the rest will keep sitting, I guess, or I might make a cropped cardi for Mina. This little thing looked so tiny when I took it off the needles that I was afraid it wouldn't fit me and tried it on Mina instead. She immediately wrapped her arms around herself and snuggled it with the happiest smile on her face. On her the sleeves are elbow length and the bottom band hits just at her waist - it looked really cute. So maybe she'll get the other 1.5 skeins of cloud-light softness. This stuff really is like knitting with clouds.

I made only two modifications to the pattern. In the original, there are only supposed to be four plain rows from the underarm to the bottom ribbing, but you can see that I lengthened that quite a bit so that it would end at the right place on me, just below the bustline. I also prefer it stockinette side out rather than reverse stockinette, so I knitted it that way with the yarn overs happening on the knit side rather than the purl side (which is easier anyway). I'm quite happy with it, and wore it all day today. The alpaca is so warm that I went outside just as you see in the photo and felt fine. Well, as long as I was in the sun and the wind wasn't blowing. Yes, see that behind my left shoulder? That's SUN! It's the Great February Fake-out here in the Northwest. It happens every year. We get gorgeous spring-like weather for a week or so in the middle of February, and then it will return to rainy, dismal usual weather until June. By next week I'll be wishing I'd finished those bulky merino sleeves sooner.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Luna Moth

It started out small,



and then grew shapelessly as lace seems to do.



It seemed like it was going to look just like this forever. As the rows get longer, lace drags on for me. The shawl took a long nap on my project desk, getting picked up for a row here, half a row there, sitting for months with a minor error that was finally fixed for good last week and the final few rows were completed.

Just off the needles, the yarn felt pleasant but the lace looked terrible. It looked small. I got to experience the magic of blocking lace for the first time, the million little pins (which I don't mind a bit), the slow unfolding of the pattern as each pin is placed. Even in my damp climate, the cottony yarn took less than 24 hours to dry. I had been prepared to wait all weekend. I block my knits in the only location that is both carpeted and out of reach of cat and toddler - the loft above the second bedroom. I climb the ladder with a soggy heap of yarn, crouch in the semi-dark and pin everything into place, then climb down and wait. When I climbed back up to check on Saturday morning, I didn't expect the shawl to be dry yet. When it was, I excitedly removed all the pins, then scooped it up and stood up quickly, eager to see it in the full light in front of the bathroom mirror. Smack! That was the back of my head hitting the sloped wall/ceiling behind me. I was so excited I forgot I was crouching just beneath the high slanted roof of my funny tall house.

Even if I hadn't hit my head, I think I would have been dizzy with the prettiness of this lace anyway.





The Luna Moth Shawl, by Shui Kuen Kozinski. Just under five balls of Elann Callista, a DK weight blend of cotton, linen, and viscose. Overall this pattern was easy and would have been quick to knit if it wasn't for my knitting ADD. (I just can't stick to a single project. It's not in my nature.) The finished shawl is about my wingspan in width and falls below my knees at the longest point when it is resting on my shoulders (I am 5'3"). I haven't actually measured it. I had planned to wear this with jeans, wrapped round and round with the point off-center the way I wear my flower petal shawl, but it doesn't wrap around quite as far as I had imagined, so now I'll have to play with styling options. I love the look of triangular shawls when they are spread out, but I'm thinking I might be more of a rectangular stole girl as far as wearing them, unless they are huge. I'll play with this one and see.

I haven't forgotten Project Spectrum or Thing-a-day, though I have pretty much fallen off the wagon with the Thing-a-day bit. Being away from home over the weekend helped me lose my momentum. It was worth it though to see family and take Mina to the zoo for the first time. I stayed home from work with her today since she has a bad cold. She hadn't been sick in 11 months, and I think this is only her fourth time being sick in her life, so we tend to make a bigger deal out of it since it is so rare. She isn't in daycare because J works evenings and can be at home with her while I'm at work in the daytime, but even so, when she is sick, Mama stays home too. Even with wiping her nose every 90 seconds, I managed to try two new recipes today that are in line with my Project Spectrum goals. (There was just lots of handwashing involved!) I made Vegan Cocoa Applesauce Bread this afternoon, and there is a pot of Baby Lima Soup with Chipotle Broth (from the current fave cookbook, Super Natural Cooking) bubbling on the stove right now. Mmmmm.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obsessed.

With this sweater, that is.



It's from the Fall 2008 collection of designer Yigal Azrouƫl, and I've been staring at it for days trying to figure out the construction. I'll get it, or something passably similar, eventually, and then it shall be mine.

Here's a random fact about me: I stalk style.com for the runway slideshows and obsess over every detail. I save photos for later reference. But when it comes to actually buying clothes, I'm totally, incredibly cheap. No way would I ever pay for designer clothing. But, DIY and knockoffs? I'm so there.

Which is why I was so excited to find out about MetaPostModernKnitting. Have you seen it yet? Go! I'm hoping for great things from this new online mag - I think it will only improve with each issue. It's a fabulous idea. What less would you expect from a group of knitting librarians?

As for my own knits. Well. I'll have things to show you as soon as photos can be taken. A finished and blocked Luna Moth, and my little spring fling knitting cast on in a moment of rebellion against boring sleeves.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

a list of lists

I haven't been very productive this week, at least not with photogenic projects. So, here are some lists, for my own record-keeping and for anyone who likes to read such things.

Thing-a-day so far:
1. journal pages and ATC
2. heart dishcloth
3. soup and journal page background
4. pancakes; finished Gretel
5. journal pages
6. secret thing for gift
7. journal pages
8. journal pages
9. watercolor with Mina
10. watercolor and waffles
11. sketch at dinner
12. sweater design sketch
13. paper valentines
14. ?

Reading:
1. East Wind Melts the Ice - Liza Dalby
2. The Vagabond - Colette
3. 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel - Jane Smiley
4. Journalution - Sandy Grason
5. A Year in Japan - Kate Williamson

Listening to:
1. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer
2. Frankenstein, via Craftlit podcast
3. Ratatouille musical score (don't ask)
4. Death Cab for Cutie (still)
5. The Decemberists (still)
6. Radiohead (always)

Knitting:
1. Luna Moth shawl (should finish tonight!)
2. Duchess Raglan
3. Kiri (PDF link)
4. Kusha-like scarf

Hibernating:
1. Second plain STR sock
2. Haruha scarf
3. Jitterbug socks
4. Scribble lace scarf
5. who knows what else...

Just Finished:
1. reading Empress Orchid by Anchee Min
2. listening to The 13th Tale by Diane Setterfield
3. knitting Gretel

Planning:
1. to be in Seattle each of the next two weekends
2. what to knit with lots of red DK weight cotton/viscose
3. some small dyeing projects
4. to sew some skirts

Monday, February 11, 2008

Gretel, and other nearly-forgotten knits

Well, the grand plan to finish the most recent sweater over the weekend wasn't realized - I hardly knit at all. It was one of those totally lazy weekends where I didn't do much other than watercolor and cook with the girlie, read an entire novel (Empress Orchid by Anchee Min), and spend a Sunday afternoon out and about, wandering through shops and having a late lunch. I couldn't even be bothered to recharge the camera batteries when we noticed they were dead on Sunday morning. But, we're still in luck - J's cell phone camera takes surprisingly good photos, and so I have a small picture of Gretel:



Yes, it looks like I'm being eaten by my hair. Actually it was just really windy, and I was looking down and to the side watching Mina proudly carrying her new book after our afternoon browse through the best used bookstore in town. I thought J was taking pictures of Mina all afternoon, but it turns out I was in a lot of them too. I had no idea throughout several hours of intermittent photo snapping until he said "hmm...discard that one...Mommy looks like a Muppet." What? Oh well. I know you can't see much in this picture, and it doesn't get any bigger, sorry. Here's a progress shot that shows the cables better, though:



This is Dream in Color Classy in the In Vino Veritas colorway. Yes, the same yarn I used for my last FO, Wicked. I love this yarn! Look at those squooshy cables! The color is more accurate in the cell phone pic above - I had the hardest time getting it right with the regular camera. (I never did.) This hat is covered in lattice cables. Yes, it's a lot of cabling! I did it without a cable needle, otherwise I would have gone insane. It was no problem at all once I figured out that darn T3R/right purl twist thingy. I think that's the stitch that killed my Koolhaas attempt the week before Christmas. Now that I've mastered it with this hat, Koolhaas should be a piece of cake and J will get another hat after all. I'm pretty proud of this hat. I don't think there is a single tiny mistake anywhere on it.

The Duchess Raglan is still languishing, just waiting for sleeves.



Since I took this photo I've added a few inches, bound off the hem and done about an inch on one sleeve. I didn't alternate skeins all though the body of the sweater and it looked just fine. Then I figured out that the fourth skein is slightly darker than the first three, so I'll have to alternate it with the remainder of the third one on the sleeves to blend it a bit. The exact same thing happened with Mina's Swing Thing. I had to alternate yarns every round on the sleeves and it annoyed me. That's the only reason this is still sitting around. It came out a bit clingier than I had intended, but this yarn, the Merino Bulky from handpaintedyarn.com, does grow a little bit after a dunk in the sink, so I'm hoping it will be ok.

I didn't do anything too exciting for Thing-a-day this weekend. Like I said, just watercoloring and cooking with Mina. I consider that meeting the requirements of half an hour a day on a creative project. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) I've been feeling a bit achy and low energy, but I'm doing my best to keep busy and not sink into a heap of apathy on the sofa, as I am wont to do at this time of year. There ARE signs of spring out there - I've seen plum blossoms, ranunculus, and crocus. I've see twitterpated juncos (you know, from Bambi - all the animals falling in love. Twitterpated!). I've also seen, of course, the RAIN. Rain rain rain! We have a long spring here, beginning about now and staying cool and rainy through June. At least that means that the handknit-wearing, layering season is also long. I think I'd better finish those sleeves and start a cardigan.

Friday, February 08, 2008

the sound of paper

The best thing so far about Thing-a-day is that it has prompted me to revisit my main pre-knitting love, my art journals. I've only been knitting for three years, but I've been keeping journals for more than twenty. Sometime about five or six years ago, I started branching out from my purely written journals to include experiments with paint, pastels, papers, stamps, colored pencils, and ink. I used to spend several hours at a time playing in this way, learning how to use the different materials and figuring out what I liked and what I didn't. My art journals have always been primarily about creating backgrounds and surfaces for writing as a way to enhance the mood or further convey my meaning. Sometimes the colors and images will spark an idea to write about. Sometimes I go to the page knowing what I want to say and choose my visual elements accordingly. Sometimes I just like to play, and I make backgrounds that never get used for anything else. That's fine with me.

When I found out I was pregnant in February 2005, there were several other difficult, personal things going on in my life at the same time. It was a very rough period, and instead of turning to my journals the way I always had, the words and the images all dried up. I didn't keep a pregnancy journal the way I thought I should. I didn't write much after Mina was born either, and she doesn't even have a baby book. What I did instead was knit. A lot. I had learned to knit about a month before I found out I was pregnant, and so that's what I did my entire pregnancy. That's what I did in labor. That's what I did after she was born, and that's what I still do a whole lot of the time. Over the last three years, I've painted a page here and there. I've written a page here and there. But the constant outpouring of words that has been my outlet, my solace, my way of thinking since I was 12 years old is still missing.

Since knitting takes time, and since Thing-a-day is about making a Thing each and every day, knitting isn't a very good fit for this project. Not my style of knitting, anyway. The projects that interest me can't be completed in a day for the most part. So, I turned back to the other thing I know and love to do. The journal.

I've already shared my Day 1 page with you. Here are a few more pages and some words about how I did them.



This background is from Day 3, the same day I made soup (in yesterday's post). I'm not sure which I am calling my official Thing for that day, so you get to hear about both of them. Flipping through the journal, I found a page that had a soft green watercolor wash and nothing else. I think I did the watercolor in November 2006. More than a year ago. One of my favorite completed backgrounds in this book had torn and crumpled tissue paper on it, so I decided to use that idea again. I tore up some white tissue paper and stuck it down with fluid gel medium applied with a stiff-bristled brush. I made sure each piece was firmly attached but not fully saturated with the gel medium. After that was dry, I went over it with a wash of silver metallic watercolor. I have a set of Prang metallic watercolors that are one of my favorite supplies to use and only cost $2.50. Mina loves them too:



She wants to paint every day now, it's so cute. She also has a little sketch book that she asks us to draw in for her. We draw penguins and she colors in their tummies. But after seeing me painting and writing in my book, she's finally showing more interest in coloring by herself in hers. While I wrote the page below, she asked for a pen and her book, and covered a page with silver scribbles, looking up at me every now and then to see if I was still writing.



I had painted this page and stamped the numbers in November 2006 or maybe January 2007, with a specific purpose. I just never got around to finishing the idea. For my Day 5 thing, I added a little to it and wrote about what the original purpose was, why it didn't get finished, and what I thought about that. I've blurred it here to make it less legible, though you can probably figure it out if you are determined to do so. That's ok. It just feels strange to me to put actual journal stuff out there, clearly visible. So I blur it to hide myself a little bit. Anyway, The background of this was black watercolor crayon and violet tube watercolor. There is something goldish and iridescent on the right hand page that has rubbed off a bit onto the left. I think it is probably Twinkling H20 (my aunt gifted me a set of 12 pinkish earth tones last fall) though I'm not sure which color. The numbers are stamped with black pigment ink. The stamps come from Ma Vinci's Reliquary. I have quite a few of her alphabet sets - they're the best, and her service is great. I think the 30 is the small Ancient Mariner set and the 13 is the medium Love Letter set. So that's where I left the page whenever it was I started it. On Tuesday, I used a graphite pencil and scrawled some words on the background (the names of the tarot Major Arcana up through card #13, if you want to know), and then used a silver Gelly Roll and a black Pilot Precise V5 (my favorite writing pen for many years now) for the main writing.

After I finished this page, I realized the rest of the book would get filled up this way, all out of order. This page is something like 15 pages behind the one I did on Friday. That is not my usual style at all. At. All. I like to read my journals from time to time, and I like them in order. So I felt like the first page of the book needed a warning:



Alright, one more and I'll be caught up, ok? This little doodle shows the other style I like to play with. Not layery, not saturated. Simple, with a lot of white space. I can never choose which of the two to call "my style", so I just use whichever feels right at the time. Last night was definitely a simple kind of night. I was tired and didn't feel like doing anything at all.



Just watercolor pan and watercolor pencil. A sort of doodle to show how I was feeling. That's my Thing for Day 7.

No, I didn't forget Day 6. On Wednesday I did something completely different from anything I've shared so far, but it's part of a gift for someone who might be reading. I can't post it now, because even if I didn't say who it was for, she'd figure it out. Hopefully I'll do the second part as another Thing for the day this weekend. I'll try to get some knitting photos this weekend as well, and hopefully finish my Duchess Raglan to show you next time. Have a creative weekend!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

the Project Spectrum "diet"

With Fire as the first of the Project Spectrum themes this year, I knew I wanted to do some cooking. At Christmas I got two new cookbooks to add to my shelf full, and I wanted to try some new recipes. Inspired by in-depth yet engaging information, fresh ingredients, and exciting flavors in Super Natural Cooking (my new most favorite food book), I had already planned to re-vamp my pantry and add to my repertoire of usual vegetables. When Sarah of Bella Knitting (Caryatid on Ravelry) suggested a PS Elements "diet," much of it was right along the lines of what I had been thinking anyway.

One of Sarah's goals for the Fire months is to bake her own bread rather than purchasing it. I would love to do that, but realistically, it's a little too ambitious for me. We're happy with our favorite dark whole grain bread, but we do bake other things regularly - pancakes, muffins, and quick breads especially. Mina loves to help in the kitchen, and she especially loves making pancakes. We make a couple of big batches each week to keep in the refrigerator at all times and heat them up as needed. It's the most perfect way I can think of to get a toddler to happily gobble down a variety of whole grains and fruits. Mina has been known to request "pancakes and peas" for dinner, and I accommodate her. Her food requests always make me giggle, and she's got great taste for a two-year-old, so I generally let her have what she wants.



These pancakes were my official "Thing" for the day on Monday. I modified a recipe to remove the processed ingredients and replace them with 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 3/4 cup spelt flour, 1/4 cup wheat germ, raw demerara sugar, and organic milk and eggs. I do use real eggs and dairy in my baking a lot of the time, although most of what I make can also be easily made vegan and I keep a box of Ener-G egg replacer on hand and have found that it works just as well as eggs. Pancakes are incredibly forgiving, and once you know the basic proportions of ingredients you can sort of do whatever you want. Anyway, these ones came out hearty and filling without being too dense. Whole wheat pastry flour is lighter in color and texture than standard whole wheat flour, so these weren't heavy like you might expect. This was my first time using spelt flour, so the flavor was new to me. Spelt is apparently a type of wheat. I don't know much more about it than that. We usually like our pancakes fairly plain, with just butter or sometimes some fruit. But these ones really called out for some pure, full-flavored maple syrup (of which we had none). I even thought at the time that spicy or smoky maple syrup would have tasted good. Is there such a thing as chipotle maple syrup?

My other PS cooking so far was a new recipe for me, from Super Natural Cooking (of course) - Roasted Tomato and Paprika soup. Very fiery sounding, isn't it? Not only was the recipe new, but the method of preparing it was new. Usually for soups I just throw everything in a pot on the stove and simmer it. For this one, you roast the tomatoes, red peppers, onions, and garlic in the oven, puree it afterward, and then mix it with the broth and paprika. I think this one would have been outstanding had I had 1) tomatoes in season that actually had some flavor, and 2) smoked paprika like the recipe calls for, rather than regular paprika. It came out a rich red-orange color and pleasant flavor, but definitely did not live up to my expectations. (Although the house did smell wonderful from the roasting garlic and red pepper.) I didn't get a picture of this one as it was night time, and my kitchen is quite dark. You can see in the above photo the orange countertops. The floor is also dark orange-red clay tile, the lighting is orangish...so yes, photos in the kitchen usually come out orange.

I have more Thing-a-day goodness to post. I've decided that instead of going chronologically it makes more sense to group like things together so that I can label them and find them again later. Next time will likely be more of the art journal. I promise knitting after that - I finished my Gretel on Monday night, and I have a sweater that is just missing sleeves. Hopefully the weekend will be favorable for a photoshoot.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

February fire

Last week, with Thing-a-day looming, I was a little worried that it would be hard to fit in something creative every single day. I knew the extra inspiration of Project Spectrum's theme would help, but I was still a little worried.


Some of my fiery art supplies

It turns out that being creative every day is easy. It's documenting it that is the most difficult part. Carrying a camera around and capturing my day is not second nature to me. During the dark months of the year it's especially difficult since I am only at home in the daylight hours on weekends. I set up the scanner last night which will help with some things, but most three-dimensional objects will still have to wait until weekends to be photographed.


February projects begin

On Friday night I started going through art supplies and ended up not getting everything out as I had planned. There was too much! I don't have any dedicated project space at home. We just don't have room. But, I did scribble and scrawl with some oil pastels on the background of the above page. I added the torn black paper to tone down the fire (I am not a big fan of brights) and create a writing surface, then used a metallic burgundy gel pen to write. For me, projects like Thing-a-day and Project Spectrum aren't so much about producing a ton of finished products, at least that isn't the main purpose for me. I see them more as a way to remind myself to take the time to make creativity a habit, a daily habit. Lately I've been falling into a routine of plopping down on the sofa with some mindless tv knitting once the girlie has gone to sleep and I've finished cleaning up. Mindless knitting is great, but there is a lot more I could be doing. So, for this month at least, that is my focus. Every day. I have completed at least one thing each day so far, but I've also worked here and there on other projects and realized that I am creative all day long. There are some days for which it's difficult to choose which one thing should be my Thing for the day. And that's good!



This little ATC is also from February 1st. The background is card stock colored with pigment ink stamp pads and metallic acrylic paint printed on with bubble wrap. The heart is polymer clay. I made each of the pieces separately for different purposes a long time ago, and just put them together on Friday. The heart already had the holes in it. I just sewed it to the card stock with copper thread.

I'm out of time this morning, but I will share more later. My "thing" for February 2 was a heart-shaped crochet dishcloth, simply because I needed a dishcloth. I don't have a photo of that one. I do have more journal pages and pancakes though. Stay tuned.

Friday, February 01, 2008

February One

Here it is, February 1st already. Two huge create-alongs begin today, Project Spectrum and Thing-a-day, and I'm participating in both of them! Two at once sounds like too much until you realize that these two fit perfectly together. So for February I'll be attempting to make at least one creative thing every single day. Many of those things will just happen to be red/pink/orange and/or related to the element Fire. So there - two birds with one stone.

I'm trying not to plan too much in advance - I lose interest if I have to be held to a pre-determined plan for too long. But there are a few things I would like to do. Some knitting, some cooking and baking, some paper art, some necklaces, some photography, some candles... I'd really like to get back to a lot of the things I enjoyed but abandoned once I became a knitting addict. Don't worry if that is what you are here for - there will be lots of knitting still!

I realized that I have stash yarn appropriate for one shawl for each element. Several choices in some cases. I haven't decided yet if I'll do it. I generally have so many WIP's that a whole shawl in two months is slightly ambitious for me. I'd have to exercise some restraint and stay focused. Not so good at that. It still seems like a fun idea though, so who knows. And who really cares (but me) if I add to the pile of half-finished knits?

Tonight I plan to pull out all, and I mean ALL, of the red, orange, and pink art supplies - paints, pastels, pencils, papers, everything - and see what happens. I'll at least make a mark in a sketchbook with every item. I just might also pull out this:



This yarn has been calling out to become Juno Regina since the day the pattern was published. I know the theme isn't very fiery, but I think it would do. (And in person, the yarn is less earthy than this. I think it works for fire.)

Yes, I did see Liza Dalby last night, and I plan to write about it. Just not while I'm at work. I need to be able to think better. The talk was interesting, educational, and inspirational. It gave me a lot to think about and the possibility of another project in addition to, perhaps, a clearer thesis idea. I also got my books autographed as I mumbled/babbled something that I don't even remember - silly me! I'm quite shy and quiet in person, not nearly as wordy as I can get sometimes in writing.