Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Works of gratitude

If you have ever laid your hands on japanese craft/knitting/crochet magazines or books, you will know how lucky I am to have a friend with a kind hearted husband, who brought me a whole bag full from a business trip to Japan. 
He even went through the trouble twice! 

The books are packed with beautiful pictures, awesome projects and the writing.. ah well, looks lovely, too, even though I don't understand a single word! (In most cases I can figure out how to work from the pictures, crochet charts or sewing patterns, so it really is okay!)

I found out that he very much likes scarves and with the new year and the whole UFO thing, I finally got on to it, picked up the project that I had started a good while ago, but dumped for tremendous ugliness. 
I had a great idea how it would end up perfect and started knitting in a brioche pattern.

Literally just the next day after I started working on the scarf I found out from my friend that her husband is leaving for a temporary job in Switzerland THIS friday! Yikes - it sure still is freezing cold over there and people not just wear scarves, they NEED them.
I pushed the red emergency button and put that knitting into high speed gear and I am almost there, it's about 4 ft long already!
Now if you'll excuse me, have a great day, I gotta get back to my scarf knitting!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Flashback Saturday

All of us bloggers take plenty of pictures, even more since photos went digital. I have lost pictures with computer crashes, but just recently I have found pictures and I want to share them for more reasons than just because the are so darn cute! 
I discovered them on my online photo site Shutterfly and at some point Shutterly must have changed rules for users, because - what used to be not possible - I could get them back from the site to my computer.
Here are some of my favorites.
Lewis at the time was into nature, specifically bugs and had watched this little guy transform from caterpillar to butterfly! 

 I really enjoyed looking at the "old" hand knits, too.
My mom made this cardigan and it was a favorite for a long time.

The earflap hat grew with Fiona, lol, I believe she wore it for 4 winters - would you believe it?!
She did have a sweater that matched the scarf - all hand spun - unfortunately no picture of that.

I loved this sweater - made from space dyed hand spun merino wool, I still remember how soft it was! I believe it was one of my own early dye attempts!

Same sweater here..

Makes me realize that our lives are not just measured in years that pass oh-so fast, but also in what we create and what we are passionate about, may it be butterflies, tricycles, spinning, knitting and oh yes, definitely pictures as well!
Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Blue Changes

A little while after I was done with my dyeing yesterday I found some forgotten strips, that I should have thrown in with everything. In the end this turned out to be a good thing because it gave me the chance to really compare the old to the new strips. 
When I looked at the mellowed out wool pieces on the drying rack I was initially disappointed because besides evening out the shades I had also tried to go altogether lighter and I thought it did not happen.
But once I compared them side by side - above two strips are the new blues (one of them originally a houndstooth) - I found a real distinct difference!

I am very happy with the result!

Won't have a chance to pull some loops until tonight, it will be exciting to see!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Quest

Do you as an artist feel like one day you will be There? You will have achieved your goals and your work will be perfect? I seriously doubt that there is one of you out there who answers yes to that question. I am sure that even the teachers among you will be the first to tell me that they never stop learning. 
Since I started my journey into rug hooking three years ago a whole new world to express myself has opened up. I fell in love. Rug hooking gives me a creative outlet where I need to slow down. I have to pace myself, think about my visual goals and how I can achieve them. And oh boy, is there much to learn.
I wanna tell you about my biggest learning experience in 2012, which at first sight may seem minor, but  makes a world of difference. check out the two pumpkins, ignore the different frames. Anything click?
Omg - first go (above) I hooked a solid brown stem. Nice enough. Teacher told me it does not work, because I have a dimensional pumpkin, so I pulled out just a few loops, added some checkered brown (below) and 'bam' - there it was, my biggest "yes, I get it!" of the year - such small changes lead to making it right - wow! Can you tell that I am still in awe..?!
(yes, this is one of my UFOs and I will transform the pumpkin soon into a little pillow!)
At times I knit, spin and sew more, but the urge to pull some loops is great and grows with time. The internet feeds to that. When you browse the blogworld, you see so many beautiful creations that inspire, just look at my bloglist on the side!
 The other day I threw all of my three unfinished rugs on the floor so that every time I walked by I got the visual input and was reminded to think about where I wanna take them.
In the end I focused on the large rug with my kids drawings. I dyed up blue woolens for the background. Not sure if the color would work I started working around my first finished motives.
 This morning in our small rug hooking group we discussed it, because I just wasn't sure.
 Turned out my blues were too busy, as a background too distractive from the kids designs.
So we jumped into action and went from piles of woolen blues, some white and a tad bit of green...
 ....... to the dye pots...

...and got this!
 Shades of a more uniform lighter blue!

I ended up "marrying" all my blues and yes, I did pull out what I had previously hooked.
Now I am not-patiently-at-all waiting for my new colors to dry so I can pull the blues!

What are you learning these days? 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

2 weeks

It has been two weeks since my mom left us after her longChristmas visit and flew back to Germany. While I so much enjoy having her around, I do not get a lot done during that time.

It is typical for me, that I get into this crazy clean up mode, not just for cleaning up but also to distract me because I miss her!
After putting away all the Christmas stuff I wanted to finish. Yep. FINISH. Something unfinished, UFO-ish. And I found this:

Would you believe it... front and back done, sewed together, neckline finished, one sleeve half done. What in the world happened here for me to abandon this, I have no clue. It took me just 2 days to finish the sleeves even though I had to do some unraveling and re-knitting to make the half done sleeve a bit wider. It also took me two tries to get the cap sleeve right and to make it a perfect fit. The biggest nuisance was that it was too short! you do not want a wool sweater to end at waist length, especially when you have plenty of yarn! 

So I opened the side seams up to where you see my pinky, took out one row of stitches, which gives you live stitches so you can knit the other way and add onto the lower part of the sweater.
And voila - "Wintersun" is finished! I wore it for the first time yesterday when our temperatures dropped and you needed wool. Perfect!

At the Taos Wool Festival last October I had purchased some black alpaca roving that I wanted to spin up with a very dark hand dyed mohair from Kai Ranch in Texas. I normally go for bright colors, so this was something new for me and I had even kept it out of the stash boxes to get to it soon. Well, soon turned into four months, but I did manage to fit some spinning into my finish-clean-up frenzy and it turned out real nice. This has a lot more luster than you can see on the picture.
Since I am not the only one who does some de-cluttering in January I ended up with some bags of lovely yarns that a friend gave me (thanks, Marcia!!). One of the large wool balls really gave me an itch... no, I did not turn allergic to wool! - The yarn was colorful, but pale, muddy and boring even though it had many different colors in it. It screamed for me to over-dye and that's what I did. Nothing of the former dull mud is left, that's what a bit of magenta and purple and a half hour in the oven can do! 

You have not seen this either, the cowl that I have knitted for our sweet piano teacher - can you tell how she loves it?

There was another UFO on my needles, this cardigan that I was working seamless to show off the beautiful graduating color changes. The yarn is Sol Degrade by Lang, a stretchy cotton ribbon.

I'm looking forward to warmer spring temperatures, when I can wear it!

An empty desk is achieved, which is always a good sign... just some more letters need to be written!

 See you soon!

Sunday, January 13, 2013


 This is a good number, don't you think? 13 has always been the family lucky number: got married on a Friday the 13th, Lewis was born on a 13th, so good things are sure to come.
The year started off with a nasty cold/flu though, that held us in its grip for 2 weeks, so life can only get better now!

But before this we ended 2012 real nice. Right after Christmas we left the kids with Oma and the husband took me and my Nikon D80 with a new badass lens to California.
Hollywood and Palm Springs, enjoy some of my favorite impressions.. just keep scrolling!

 I tell you I was NOT close to this bighorn sheep - thank you, fabulous lens!
 Joshua Tree National Park - truly enchanted!

 I do knit a lot when I travel and went well stocked with yarns, so I was able to work on this hat for Lewis.

 I finished this shorty shrug for Fiona.
 And I made this one for myself!

 Not bad for a six day vacation I dare say!

We got back on New Years Day. Since then the kids happily started school and we are all working on getting completely healthy. No resolutions have been made - I never do - however, I find myself digging out UFOs and finishing unfinished knitting projects. The power of the subconscious, right? 
I will show you more next time, stay tuned.
Be well friends and a happy and lucky 2013 to all of you!