Thursday, March 31, 2016

Brave Intuitive Painting

I've been busy making things, although not busy blogging about it.  I finished the cross stitch towel with the pears, and it is currently seeing use in the kitchen.  I like to actually use the things I make; I know some people think that handmade things should be saved for "best," but I think handmade items bring beauty to our everyday lives.  To me, the best compliment that a maker can get is for something she made to be so loved and used that it gets used up.

I've actually made two more cross stitch towels in addition to the pigs and the pears (sounds like a band name, doesn't it--The Pigs and the Pears).  This first one I gifted to my friend Elaine for Easter, hoping that she would like it.  And she did!  I thought it looked nice and spring-y--appropriate for Easter.

This second one (sorry for the crummy picture) I made just because I liked the design.  I'm not sure whether or not I'm going to keep it for myself or put it in my "giftables" box.

Now I'm working on a border for a towel that I designed myself.  Here's my progress so far.

Further updates as they become available...

I bought the book Brave Intuitive Painting a couple of weeks ago, and I've been exploring some of the ideas in it and working on a couple of canvases.  (Flora Bowley is also one of the guest instructors in the year-long mixed media course I am participating in, Wanderlust.)  I bought both of these at a local thrift store and gesso-ed over what was originally there.

So far, this has been an interesting journey and evolution.  I just keep adding layers and colors and marks, trying to go with the flow.  Sometimes I feel like it's just really ugly crap that I'm painting, and sometimes I feel like it's starting to come together a bit.  But really, I don't think either one has really gelled yet.  Flora says to trust the process and just keep adding layers, so that's what I'm doing!

I may set these two aside for a bit and start on two more canvases.  

This one is actually the cover of an art journal that I made, following the instructions from another of the Wanderlust instructors.  I think I like this one the best, and I think it's about done.  Anyway, I'm going to quit fiddling with it for awhile.

Constructive criticism is always welcome!

Monday, March 14, 2016

More Cross Stitch Towels

I finished my cross stitch pigs project, and it's now ready to be put in use and into the rotation in the kitchen.

Aren't they cute?  I enjoyed this little cross stitch project so much that I started a second one as well.

Here's the picture of the finished towel from the booklet:

I'm also working on the first sock of a pair; I'm teaching a sock-knitting class at my LYS, the Red Barn Yarn Farm.  Gotta finish up the cuff of the first one by tomorrow afternoon so we can move on to the short-row heel.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Cross Stitch Pigs

Yesterday I got the urge to start a new project, so of course I obeyed that urge!  (Never mind the approximately 50 projects of different types I have going...)  Years ago I cross stitched some kitchen towels that I have used ever since, and they are getting pretty worn out--the stitching is completely gone in some spots and the towels themselves are getting fairly threadbare.  I've been wanting to make some more, in particular this one with the pigs in the upper right-hand corner.

I know, I know, it's kinda corny and cutesy, but, darn it, I like it!  For some reason, those pigs just make me smile.  Plus I like making something I know is going to be used.  (See the designs with the vegetables in the middle?  Those are the ones I stitched years ago that are all worn out.)  I've probably had this booklet for close to twenty years now.  And those pigs are just as relevant today as they were twenty years ago!

Anyway, here's my progress so far:

My husband helpfully told me that from a distance this appears to be bloodstains.  Thanks.  Thanks, honey.

In other creative news, I got this book in the mail today.  The author's approach to making art is based (somewhat, at least) on exploring your personal symbology.  At first I thought, "Oh, I don't have any personal symbols," but as I started to think about it, I realized I really do have some symbols that keep showing up in my life and artwork.  A door, face, sun, moon, stars, meander pattern.  Then I thought, "I won't be able to come up with any deep meanings for these symbols."  But again, as I thought more about them, the meanings just started popping up.  This is cool, because it really gives me a place to start when it comes to art journal pages and canvases.  

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Spinning Saturday

Today I had an urge to do some spinning, so I dug out this hand-dyed roving from the Hello Yarn Fiber Club, in the colorway "Ships and Whales and Icebergs."  I got this fiber in a swap on Ravelry not long ago, and I think the colors are just beautiful.

The last few times I've spun, I've chosen small amounts of roving and tried to spin a soft-spun singles yarn.  It's tough--getting that balance between enough twist for it to hold together and just a bit too much so that it kinks back on itself.  Plus getting the thickness even isn't easy when the wheel is set to draw the yarn in quickly!

Here's the finished skein, unwashed:

You can see that it's starting to kink back on itself a little bit, despite my best efforts.  I'm getting better at it, though; this skein is definitely more even than my first attempt a few months ago.  Practice, practice, practice!