Studio Wednesday on Thursday

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Last weekend I nourished my creative spirit as much as possible as I adjusted to my new schedule. I dedicated myself to creating and finishing a necklace for my “Grow” polymer clay pendant. With the help of my brand new mini bead spinner, I threaded a bead soup of pale blue, green, yellow, ivory and crystal seed beads onto my hand dyed silk cord. It was a little tricky at first to slide into the rhythm of needle and spinning bowl but I finally got the hang of it and then the beads literally jumped onto my needle like eager participants in play. As I eased myself into the flow of the spinning beads, I was reminded of my early school days when I loved jumping Double Dutch. You really couldn’t think about it, you just had to close your eyes and navigate by your inner compass and spacial instinct. In other words, jump in!  Once my cord was saturated with tiny beads, I started crocheting a simple chain stitch, catching one bead in each chain. I made 3 strands like this and tied the ends together.

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My next step was to create small bead caps/cones by weaving the beads in a herringbone stitch. I covered the knotted  silk cord ends with my beaded caps.

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I found a small textured silver toggle clasp in my stash and attached it to the silver loops coming out of the bead caps. I’m still deciding whether I like this clasp for this necklace. It is very easy to put on and take off the necklace so that’s a big plus. And it’s small size goes well with the delicate feel of  the necklace. I’ll have to wear it a couple of times to see how it works.

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Using 20 gauge sterling silver wire, I created a curled spiral bail for my pendant and threaded the strands through the curls.

Curls of soft misty colors. Silvery rebirth spirals. Crystal drops of rain.

Spring is here.

Yarn Adventures

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I find that as I get older, winter’s icy fingers burrow farther into my bones and muscles and no matter how many wooly layers I wrap myself in, I just can’t get warm enough. So, before the holidays, my desire to steep myself in warmth gently nudged me to seek out one of my passions that was now buried in tote bags in the back of my closet.  Balls of yarn in colors rich as jewels – amethyst, carnelian and ruby – spilled out onto the floor all around me like found treasure as I rummaged through my bags. I sat down with my long metal crochet hook and my big round balls of yarn and created long strips of color blocks that I then wove together with a tapestry needle, one by one. As my blanket grew, it cocooned around me, warming my body and my heart with the rhythm of the colorful stitches.

I was happy when I finally finished my blanket but sad to give up the meditative state of the needles so I dug back into my bags to unearth another ball of yarn in a gentle sage green with silky flecks of brown, green and blue. I created a scarf and then when that was done, it was back to my yarn stash. Now a ball of shiny ruby red. Another scarf. Hey, this is as addicting as beading. I wrote about making the blanket and 2 scarves here.

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Before I left for my annual holiday trek to Michigan, my Mom told me not to bring any art projects with me because she had gone to the knitting store and picked up something for us to do. Oh joy, another adventure in knitting!  As the fairy lights twinkled like stars on my parents’ Christmas tree, I made my first pair of mittens out in snowy Michigan. While I was happily knitting away, I thought that it would be so nice to be able to wear my mittens while I work on my computer. So, I studied the mitten pattern and adapted it to create a pair of open mittens, that is, with no tips on the fingers. I know that there are knitting patterns out there for a pair of fingerless gloves, in fact, Dave has a pair where the top of the mitten flaps back to reveal the fingerless glove. I just wanted something simple with an opening for my fingers so I could type unrestricted. I used a double strand of wooly yarn for thickness and warmth and was able to make them in one evening. This is a great project for using all of those bits and pieces of yarn left over from other projects. It’s fun to use 2 strands of different yarns to create interesting color and texture.

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As we enter this last week of January, I feel a stirring in the inner chambers of my heart that whispers of thawing and melting. Perhaps it is just coming from the creative visualization that I’ve been doing for my frozen shoulder or just plain ol wishful thinking but I’d like to dream that spring is not too far away.

Studio Wednesday

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It’s a wild weather day outside, pouring rain, whipping winds and temperatures……..in the 60s.  I spent most of the day in my studio but instead of crouched over one of my worktables, I cozied up on the couch with my knitting and crocheting projects.

I love to use a lot of different colors of yarn but then end up with a gazillion little threads to weave in. There’s something very meditative about the movement of yarn and needles. Click, clack, click. With every stitch made, I send love and warmth into my creation.

The photo above shows an afghan stitch (or Tunisian stitch) with a gorgeous purple, red and orange variegated yarn. You use a special long crochet hook and start off by making a chain of stitches. Then you draw a loop through every chain stitch, leaving the loops on the long crochet hook. Once you’ve drawn a loop through every chain stitch, you place the yarn over the hook, draw through one stitch, place the yarn over the hook, draw through 2 stitches and repeat drawing through 2 stitches across the row. Then you start all over with drawing a loop up through every stitch. So, you’re basically repeating these 2 rows throughout the whole piece.

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This is a seed stitch which is a knit one, purl one stitch across your row. Then, on your next row, you do the opposite of the row before. Where there is a knit stitch, you purl. Where there is a purl stitch, you knit. It creates this wonderful bumpy texture. This yarn is a sage green with little flecks of silky blue, tan and green threads.

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This is also a knit one, purl one stitch but where it differs from the seed stitch is that you line up all of the knit and purl stitches. So, on your second row, you knit where there is a knit stitch and purl where there is a purl stitch (from the first row). This is called ribbing and is commonly found at the wrists and waist of a sweater. It creates a very elastic texture and the purl stitches recede so that it looks like all knit stitches on both sides of what you’re creating. My yarn is a rich deep wine red with flecks of silky red threads.

I had some very exciting news today. My son, who is in the Air Force, is finally coming home after completing his tech school training in Texas. He’ll be home tomorrow afternoon and will meet his one month old daughter, Ella, for the very first time. My heart swells just thinking about this very special moment.