Sunday, November 3, 2019

Funky, Chunky Yarn Project

When I was a crochet kick a few years back, I picked up some mixed-fiber yarn from Bernat Mix Home. It has five different fibers in it~acrylic, cotton, nylon, wool, and polyester. At the time, I was hoping the company had more ideas for what to make with this funky, chunky yarn than just the blanket pattern on the inside label. But, I couldn't find any. Nor had any crafter played with the yarn and posted photos. Googling it today, I discovered many adventurous crochet lovers have tackled this unusual product.

The first project I made using the green yarns. I can't remeber now if I used one skein or two. My idea was to use it as a fiber bulletin board. I added a wooden dowel at the top with green leather cord. But it was so small, so strange, and so uneven I abandoned the idea of giving it to anyone. It's not totally bad when I look at it now. Maybe a funky wall hanging?

Last week, I went through my big bin of yarn (there's a reason I've been on a yarn diet!) and found the one I started and stopped in the blue colors (Wedgewood). Picking it up, I continued working on it the last week and, bit by bit, I've finished the three skeins I had. It's an interesting piece and Winnie, my denim whale, likes it. 

For both pieces, I just used a very simple single crochet design, back and forth. I chained a length that I liked and then just repeated. Using a 10 mm crochet hook helped get through all those thick textured fibers. The hardest one to crochet through was that bumpy part held together with some kind of black thread. Sometimes I felt l was only guessing where the previous row was as I inserted the hook to make the next single crochet. I was always happy to be done with that section and on to the other four fibers. Ironically, it's the most dramatic and textural on the finished piece.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Denim Pillow

This is my first real sewing project, done in one day, all by myself! In the learning process, I messed up the first one, but am so pleased with this one. It's made from one of my old shirts.


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Winnie the Blue Denim Whale

Earlier this year I found a super cute denim fabric whale on the blog Valaan Villapaita. The blogger, Mevrouw Walvis, had no pattern to offer but another inventive blogger Lacey created one here. I shared it with my sister who was eager to try her hand at it.

When I visited her and my Mom in California this March, we devoted an afternoon to sewing together. With one fabric whale already created, my sister Maria helped me cut and sew the beginnings my first whale and her second.

At home again, I worked on some details, including the eyes, but then my unfinished denim whale sat and sat and sat, waiting to be finished. A few weeks ago I brought the main pieces to my revived Sewing Group and the very talented Jodi helped me figure out what to do next and even machine sewed a flap to attach the tail.

This weekend, I decided to devote time to this neglected project. I had already named her Winnifred the Whale, nicknamed Winnie. I added more stuffing and hand sewed the underside of her tail. It’s far from perfect, but the work is done. “Done is better than good,” Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book about creativity, “Big Magic.” Unfortunately, I tend to be a Creative Butterfly, flitting from project to project, leaving a trail of uncompleted pieces in my wake. I’d like to work on finishing products before jumping into a new ones but that often doesn’t happen.

But there’s a real sense of accomplishment when you complete a piece of creative work, whether it takes days, weeks, months, or years. It feels so good to hold the work in your hands and declare it done.

Here’s to finishing all those handiworks shoved to the back burner of our creative interests!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Fluid Art class

Fluid Art is hands down the best art or craft class, in person or online, free or expensive, I’ve ever taken! It’s filled with so many levels and layers and I’m excited not only to do the lessons but also bursting with new ideas.

The above photos show one of my little accordion books holding some of my first “mini-masterpieces.” It's very minimalists but I love it.

Amy Maricle of Mindful Art Studio is the teacher—warm, open, kind, and very present for her students. We have a private Facebook group as well. Although I’m taking the class two years after it was unveiled, Amy and fellow students are encouraging and helpful.

We are working with Golden High Flow acrylics, which is a new paint for me. Up until now, I’ve mainly used heavy body acrylics. High Flows have an ink-like consistency that, with Amy’s guidance, can do amazing things. I was attracted to the class by the wonderful video promo and was hoping it would return me to my first love--painting. It has far exceeded my expectations! Not only am I learning new things, I am feeling different. More enthusiasm. More excitement. More focus. More discoveries. More painting!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Leaf Prints Journal

Here's my newest journal. I was inspired by other artist's small books and thought I'd cull some already made pages from my stash of acrylic paintings.

This one is just so cute and feels good in your hand. I experimented using an old cotton t-shirt for the covers and it turned out great.

Most of the leaf prints were made in 2008, 2009, and 2010 with a brayer or gelatin on 140 lb. watercolor papers.

Some leaves are from trees that are no longer around and bring back a memory, such as the Ginkgo trees near the front of the library where I work. 

There are still many blank pages awaiting a swirl of new leaf prints.