Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Stay-cation

I was so tired I was literally asleep on my feet. No more late night "parties" coupled with weekend workshops for me! Now, catching up on much needed rest, I am again reminded that it will soon be time to take that "Stay-cation" I mentioned in a previous post. This is just a stay-at-home vacation instead of going away somewhere. We have been having extreme heat here, and I am trying to stay inside with the AC. Taking my mother out for adventure is out of the question unless it cools down. As promised, here are the various ideas that I have accumulated and plan to schedule into a weeks time:
  • Movies to watch on the TV, with seriously scrumptious munchies and beverages, good for a few thousand calories I would think
  • Catching up on reading at Barnes & Noble, hopefully not bringing home too many books and mags
  • Eating lunch out a few times
  • Quick and easy dinners
  • A few exciting creative projects
  • One short out-of-town outing returning the same day
  • Date or other quality time with the spouse besides watching TV together
  • Visit a local Farmer's Market
  • Visit a local museum
All of these are easy enough to do. With a bit of prior planning, the stay-cation will be just as fun as a real vacation. It will take the same prior planning, taking care of anything that might cause frustration or distract us from the plan. What needs to be done first? As with any vacation, there are a few things that need to be taken care of:
  • Bills all paid
  • Laundry all clean
  • House cleaned and Beds changed
  • Yard cleaned, mowed, etc.
Yet, there are additional considerations when staying home that make it more like getting away:
  • Creative projects planned and ready to play with
  • Grocery shopping done
  • Special little touches prepared, like the serious munchies mentioned earlier.
Oh yes, one more thing, ...Tell the hubby that I am not available for work, only lascivious living for the next week. ...Maybe longer. ...And maybe I'll have such a good time I won't come back!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Cobweb That Caught the Sky

COBWEB: A flimsy, insubstantial snare spun by a special breed of spider to entrap its prey

After weeks of repair and remodel, I needed an outlet for a gentler creative side of me. Picking up knitting needles once again after months of neglect, I vowed that I would just simply let them and the yarn take me to places I have never ventured before. I did have in mind something sort of Rodarte, who I have venerated ever since the sister's 2008 lines came out. Based on nature and totally radical knits, they represented for me a no-rules way of creating something out of nothing more than an idea. Characterized by loosely knit webs of fine mohair capturing bold areas of color and heavily textured, they have captured my spirit, which has always been a voice in the background begging me to give it a try.

The yarns seemed to just fall into my hands. Even though I had planned for another use of a wild diva that looks like bits of wool tied to hologram metallic thread and nylon cord scraps, it called to be a companion to the more sedate natural tan silk fingering weight that I have been hoarding from Artfibers for years now. Artfibers has the most gorgeous stuff I have ever seen in one place. All their yarns are spun to order. Amazing, yarn heaven, and it is worth a visit if you are ever in the San Francisco area. Then, a painted pastel nylon ribbon that had insisted on coming home with the diva (for some reason), entered the mix. And that was it. Just three yarns, ...quite a change of habit for me since I am usually working with anywhere from six to ten in any one project.

After trying several large needle sizes on the fingering weight yarn, I settled on a #13. At that point, I just began by casting on three stitches. The only thoughts for an end result were perhaps to make a cropped vest to go over summer tops for a little cover. From then on, all I kept in mind were basic rectangular shapes that roughly met my measurements. Free of regard for any sort of edge consistency, I simply knit until the pieces were relatively the same length. Individual stitches were another form of abandon. I threw in short rows, drop stitches, and varied knits and pearls to add more irregularity, and jigged and jogged the hems and edges. The yarns were picked up and dropped at will, creating shapes that drift like clouds of diva yarn and held by patches of ribbon that look like the sky. Yarn tails fly free like the tails of kites.

Once the pieces were of a relatively matched length, I cast off the back and fronts, and joined the shoulders as well as at the sides. To give a bit more shape and weight for a nice drape, I crocheted a single row of chain stitches to the edges with the ribbon yarn, and added a tie of the combined yarns braided together at the front.

I have written up a downloadable pattern/guide for those of you special spider types, who want to give this a try with more guidance than I have given here. You can find it on Ravelry as the Cobweb Vest, or my Etsy store, or by simply emailing me a message.

Monday, July 4, 2011

It's Hot Out and I Am Too!

After a long blogging dry spell. I am getting back into the fun of it. I am also moving ahead with a list of great projects. I didn't get to do the Bootcamp again this year, with too much on a priority list of home repair/remodeling, and that was such a slow down for me personally. Sometimes life is just like that, but we have to keep on. Once the "Cobweb" was completed, I was inspired to write it up as a pattern. Pattern writing is a challenge. I have to keep asking myself what a beginner would want to know and did I include everything that is essential for success. Now that is scratched off the "To-Do" list, I am surging on to other things. Already on the needles is yet another Rodarte inspired top. That yarn I over-dyed earlier this year just kept telling me that it wanted to be completely free in a wild knit. Well, it is well on it's way to completion. In fact, I thought I was putting the finishing touches on yesterday, and then as I tried it on, it told me it wanted more. Now, I am planning to add a little skirting to it as soon as I get the side seams sewn up.