A Colorful Knitted Cowl

One of my favorite times of day during the workweek is when I am able to settle down onto my cozy sofa in the evenings and pick up my knitting. Just picking up my pointy sticks immediately brings me to a place of meditative calm, a place where I hear the whispers of my deepest creative dreams. I love getting lost in the yarn-y world of color and texture.

One of my latest projects, a linen stitch neck cowl in oranges and browns, was inspired by Jane Thornley’s Winter Forest Evocative Guide.

A couple of summers ago, I shared some yummy batiked fabric here. To add extra texture to my cowl, I found myself ripping off thin strips of the “seed pod” fabric to add to my knitting. What a great idea, Jane!

This is a fabulous little piece that knits up easily and is perfect for jazzing up a solid colored shirt or sweater.

Next up: a feather and fan wrap whose colors speak of sea and sky.

What are you creating today?

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Winter Woods Vest

In January, I treated myself to a yummy gift, a year’s subscription to Jane Thornley’s Inspired Knitter’s Club. Ever since I discovered Jane’s website last year and then attended one of her retreats in Taos, NM, Jane has inspired me to unfurl my free range knitting wings and soar into a world of color and texture. Jane describes her vision for the Club:

“Inspiration is air to the lungs, light to the spirit…..Here is a book in monthly format that captures the essence of the creative muse for knitters, beaders, weavers, spinners and dreamers alike. Packed with photos, concepts, ideas, inspirational journeys both internal and global, tips, techniques, stitch spells and color delves this is like a feast for the creative spirit.”

In this “vestal creation”, Jane teaches how to move from darks to lights with a textured stitch calling to mind the forest floor during a woodsy walk. As I’ve been enjoying that very activity every Sunday, I’ve drawn much inspiration for my vest color palette.

I’ve created the button from polymer clay, using black, white, translucent, and silver foil. I discovered a love for making buttons and am now looking at the cardigans hanging in my closet with that in mind. Hmmm….

Now that my vest is finished, I am turning my creative thoughts to another project – a feather and fan stitch wrap in vibrant blues and greens. With spring fast approaching (yay!), I need some colorful yarn on my needles!

“I see knitting as art, as viable as any other, and no matter what the tool or preferred palette, in human hands, magic happens.” ~Jane Thornley


From the Studio

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A brand new knitting project. I love to pick out my yarns.

With the Jane Thornley free-form “Come Spring” vest pattern in hand, I’ve chosen a similar color palette as the pattern photo because I love the vibrant greens and browns of this lovely season. One of my art friends directed me to a great website for purchasing good quality yarn at affordable prices. I purchased all of my yarn (pictured above) from them except for a ribbon yarn, called “Copper Penny”, I discovered while browsing at Joann Fabric’s one day for art supplies.

So far, I’m liking the contrast between the stripes of rich color.

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Last week I picked up a beading book at the library. As I have been getting into a more personally expressive and organic, free-form flow with my beadwork, I have lost interest in books and magazines devoted to beadwork patterns and other artists’ designs. However, the title of this book, “Shaped Beadwork: Dimensional Jewelry with Peyote Stitch”, caught my eye and my interest.

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In the book, Diane teaches how to make geometrical shapes in peyote stitch, starting with flat one-dimensional shapes and then building upon those to create 2 and 3-dimensional sculptural shapes. So, I started at the beginning of the book and made a triangle. Geez, that was fun. How about if I make another one? Cool! Then I sewed them together and created a little triangular pillow. This little shape is fascinating me. I find myself picking it up and turning it over gently in my hand every time I walk by my beading tray.

Now, what shall I do with this little shape? Make another pillow for a pair of earrings?  Use it as a focal shape and free-form around it? Use it as a component in a mixed media necklace? The infinite possibilities bloom in my imagination with wild abandon like the riot of pink peonies in my garden. Hehe Interestingly, my thoughts also lead me back to memories of how much I enjoyed geometry class and its spatial language.

All this from a little triangle pouch.

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The start of another journal page. I had vaguely remembered someone mentioning or reading somewhere that you could paint on used dryer sheets. This so appealed to the recycling devotee in me that I collected some sheets after a weekend of laundry chores. After dripping, brushing, and wetting paint across its surface, I let my sheet dry and then ripped a piece off to create a waterfall shape on my bright yellow page. I then glued some dried tulip petals at its base and drew some water swirls around the petals with a white gel pen.

This page is far from finished but it has a good start. As I glued and painted my “waterfall”, I thought of water and its symbolism to feelings. I thought of how my page could represent my getting in touch with feelings that are frightening to me and how I sometimes relegate those frightening feelings to a very deep place inside of myself. Can I ride my tumbling waterfall into the depths of myself and explore some of those feelings? I wrote:

I tumble down the waterfall inside of myself

to get in touch with my feelings.

From the Studio

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I’ve decided to rename my weekly studio post because Wednesdays are now a pretty busy day for me between work and a physical therapy session right afterwards. So, instead of limiting my post to being published just on Wednesdays, I’m expanding my vision to include other weekdays as well. In other words, I can post when I have free time during the week instead of trying to cram it into a half hour before bedtime on a full day!

For the most part, I’ve always been much more comfortable with having specified days or times for when I do certain things. The Capricorn part of me is soothed by structure and schedule and knowing what to do next. That said, there is a part of me that craves just flowing along with the ever changing tides of my life. I’m trying to develop that side of me a lot more these days. It requires more of an openness and an intuitive sense of what I need for balance.

I finally completed my free-form bracelet. I’m sorry to say that I was in such a hurry to mail it that I completely forgot to take a picture of it! Oh dear. Well, all went well with its finishing. I created a variation of a bead and loop clasp where I built up around the loops with peyote stitch so that the “holes” actually became part of the bracelet’s structure. I attached 2 coppery pearls as part of the clasp.

As I observe the unfolding beauty of Spring around me, I am being inspired to create a new free-form bracelet in a color palette that will reflect all of the budding and blooming going on. I love this part of the process, the choosing of harmonious colors and the laying out of the selected beads on my tray to see how they look next to each other. I’m thinking of delicate spring greens and tree bark browns and grays with a sprinkling of forsythia yellow, hyacinth purple and white along with azalea purply-pink.

What do you think of my color palette so far?

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I finished my second Ripple scarf, the one knit in the pink/peach colorway. As I have grown accustomed to having something on my needles now (and loving it!), I just started a pair of sweet, cotton candy pink baby socks for my granddaughter, Ella. Made with a simple eyelet pattern (yes, yarn overs!), they are knitting up pretty fast.

I purchased the 2 Jane Thornley patterns that I wrote about last week, the “Come Spring” vest and the “Knit a Beach” vest. I’ve decided to start with the spring vest. Jane suggests using a gorgeous silk/wool blend yarn from La Lana. I like the colorway she has chosen, especially wonderful for this time of year – apple green, pine, teal and brown. The back panel of the vest is worked up in a hand dyed ribbon yarn blending all of those colors. Time to go yarn shopping!

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Last Saturday I spent a lovely Art Day with 2 dear friends. I worked on the next 2 pages in my art journal, cutting out magazine images into “inchies”, that is, one inch squares. I glued them onto my purple/brown painted pages in a grid pattern and then brushed and wiped a light, muted blue green over the images so they would blend into the page better.

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The next day I collected a bunch of tape rolls – electrical, paint and some sort of grid tape – from all over the house. I cut and placed tape pieces on my next 2 pages in a random design and then sanded, gessoed and sanded some more. Green blue paint was gently wiped over and then sanded.

This was a very interesting and fun way to create a background!

I’m learning that art journal pages can be created with a wide variety of materials that you can find around the house.

The ordinary arts we practice everyday at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.

~Thomas Moore