Friday, March 25, 2011

It's the Pits

Tax time. Really, it's the pits. I force myself into my work corner that is now piled high with papers, and wear my eyes out, fry my brain and mentally berate myself for not having kept up with it all for the past year. Having your own business is wonderful freedom for anyone who rebels at any sort of confinement most of the year but for those who simply take their W-2 and fill in a few blanks on 1040 EZ, tax time provides a moment to be grateful for being an employee. Every year I vow that I will be more organized, and keep up with all the income and expenses. However, it is more my style to label a box with the current year, and fill it up with receipts and notes that in the end require hours of sorting.
This year, the inner voice is stronger than ever. It talks to me of creative pursuits to come, tantalizing and teasing as I struggle to focus on the tax software and endless numerical entries. As I engage more and more with the left side of my brain, the right gets more seductive as it tantalizes me with visions so enchanting that I make promises to pursue them once I am through and mail off the offensive papers, forcing my attention ever onward. Needing a time out yesterday, I decided to try something new and used some Procion Fiber Reactive Dye to over-dye and hand-paint some yarn I had on hand. I am going to make a totally organic vest that resembles the bark of a tree. Hopefully, it will not make me resemble a tree. It will be completely left brain: no pattern, no direction, random stitches, and no particular shape. ...And when I run out of yarn it will be done. ...Maybe.

Making my senses tingle and promising appeasement for my left brain appetite, I happened to discover that the Creativity Bootcamp that I had such good results with last spring is going to ensue again this May 15th. The new slideshow shows most of what I did for last years challenge. I promptly signed up so that I can create along with all the other artists. This time however, I am planning ahead so that my creations do not take me as long to do. This is a project per day challenge, and knitting a sweater is just not suited to that time frame. However, I will plan projects like shawl pins, buttons, jewelry, and anything else that can meet the 24 hour criteria. Perhaps even the acrylic paints will come out of the storage box, and it would be fun to creatively journal the process that will last for 2 weeks. I urge anyone who seeks to bring out and charge up their creative spirit to join in.
Just for fun, here is an easy visual test to tell you whether you are a right brain or a left brain thinker.

right brain vs left brain

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another shrug!

I adore sleeveless shrugs and vests. They are so perfect for keeping just cozy enough, allow for maximum movement, and I don't get my sleeves wet at the kitchen sink. My latest knitting project was a runaway color scheme. I blame the wild artsy side of me for that deviation. What I began to be a variety of mossy greens and shades of gray, suddenly took off with an outrageous will of it's own to become jade when I tried a row (just a row, LOL) of that seducing color to add some "pop." "Pop" is a term which describes bringing out the character of the piece by contrasting and activating the other colors and textures that accompany it. How could I have known that jade would be so addictive and satisfying? Well, when the creative spirit is tapped into and turned on, there is no telling what can happen. Letting go of a plan and trusting to intuitive guidance is where it's happening!

This shrug is yet another following the Woven Woods pattern from the Winter Forest Evocative Guide by Jane Thornley. The pattern is easy to follow, as it is made of of simple basic shapes, and relies on ombre technique to build character. I do mean build!!! This technique utilizes yarns held together to morph from one color into another, bleeding the colors into each other like a watercolor painting. At times, I had four yarns working into fabric at once. The fabric becomes more dense and textural. This is where the uniqueness and beauty of the fabric grows. Done all in seed stitch, ombre plying tends to break up the "knit, purl, knit, purl..." stitch monotony. Rows build up quickly for a fast knit. ...Now I just need to create a pin that it as special as the shrug!