Friday, July 25, 2014

Great Things To Look At

Happy Friday, everyone! While I'm working on a fun project using the Berroco yarn to the left, I thought I would provide you with a few links and tips to really wonderful designs I've come across during the week.

If you haven't yet seen this awesome fall designs show from Lion Brand, you're in for a treat. While I admit I'm not the biggest lover of 100% acrylic yarn, they do have a time and place, and while yes, Lion Brand does promote a fair amount of its acrylic yarn through this show, there's also a lot of other great yarn they produce, and these designs are just super no matter what yarn one uses. Of course, I provide full disclosure: I design with many of the Lion Brand yarns, and especially love their LB Collections line. So, sit back and enjoy:

And if you've still got a little more fall preview to spare, I would urge, urge, urge you to check out Louisa Harding's new books for A/W 2014. They are simply stunning - great use of color and pattern : EsquelEventyr (check out all that fur)Nightingale (so many stunning accessories), Odense, and Susurro (just so decadent). Some of her best work, I think.

Now don't forget to head on over to Andrea's at Wisdom Begins in Wonder and see how everyone's Tour de Fleece spinning is winding down (bad, bad pun I know).

Monday, July 21, 2014

And Then There Was Pink

I'm currently working with both of these yarns - which one is
considered "pink" and which one "orchid" by each of their
respective yarn companies?
I have traditionally been a black kind of gal. Still am in many respects (no metaphors intended). Nevertheless, I have been taken with color over the last several years, and recently with pink. 

Pink! Just writing the word makes me squirm. And yet I have been drawn to it (one of my recently published designs, Tunisian Lace Curtains, was created with pink hemp lace weight yarn). I have made blankets with various shades of the stuff. I've created paintings with the color. I cannot tell you from whence the swell of pink love (or at least, appreciation) stems; nevertheless, I like the color. Sort of a lot at the moment, if truth be told.

A quick check of the cultural associations with pink: Pink Panther, Pepto Bismol, Barbie (gah, squirming again), pink Cadillac (both the actual car as well as the song), Pink Floyd, pink bubblegum, pink flamingos (now so retro chic), and hysterical 60s pink holiday trees. Currently pink is associated with women and girls; blue with men and boys, but it wasn't always this way. Since blue was traditionally thought to be a calming color, it was associated with girls and pink, the more lively color, associated with boys. Of course, in the 21st century, that's all changed.

I've been pinning lots of pink images on one of my Pinterest boards for quite some time, and I leave you with a few select ones. If you're a pink fan, enjoy! From left, top - bottom center: Palace of the Winds in Jaipur, India, a beautiful image from a building in Dubai, pink sheep in Scotland farmer-dyed with non-toxic dyes, a wash of rose paint.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Design Backstories this Fee-Fi(ber)-F.O. Friday

Hello my fiber lovin' friends - it is once again that Friday fiber arts time of the week. I thought I'd provide some background to the three recently published designs I blogged about on the 1st. All of them can be found at (although only one has thus far made it to the Ravelry database):

1. Boxed Sorbet Blanket: Designed in connection with an article I wrote for the same e-zine/edition about the difference between three different crochet stitch clusters, this blanket's inspiration is one of my own paintings: Tunisia Tryptich: Pink Blocks (scroll down once at the link to check it out). Made in Berroco Weekend (of which I posted a photograph here), I thoroughly enjoyed this blanket's design process. Not only did I see so much more in the painting while staring at it for several weeks (!), but the Berroco yarn is wonderful to work with, and the colorways are just so yummy. I really did think about gelato a lot while making this project (when I wasn't drinking copious amounts of coffee). 

2. Colorblock Plum Scarf - did a wonderful job photographing this lovely summer scarf made in Fibra Natura's 100% flax yarn (again, blogged about here). I think they even used one of their editors as the model! This is a very easy project - one that is perfect for traveling. It's light weight and fairly mindless, yet the end result is fantastic. I would highly recommend flax or linen or a very rustic, nubby cotton/silk for this scarf. The key to this project's success is definitely in the yarn texture, so do keep that in mind. 

3. Tunisian Lace Curtains: Last, but definitely not least, my wonderfully lacy tunisian crochet curtain panels. Don't let these panels fool you: a generously-sized hook + lace weight hemp yarn = a light, airy outcome. The stitch pattern is easily memorized and there's not a difficult stitch in the bunch. The absolute keys to project success here lie in blocking aggressively to bring out the beauty of the lace as well as the fiber, and choosing a tonally related yet different colorway for the rod pockets. 

I must give a shout-out to Tara Swiger. I met her during a local crafty event in December, 2010. That's where I first saw her excellent yarn and knew I wanted to make things with it. While we've both come a long way since 2010, and the main focus of Tara's business has veered in a slightly different direction, she's still providing wholesale this great hemp laceweight (and you can find out where to purchase it here). I so enjoyed working with it. 

Now I hope you will head on over to Andrea's place at Wisdom Begins in Wonder and see what fiber stuff everyone is spinning/weaving/hooking/sticking this week. We are in the middle of the Tour de France, so it's a safe bet there will be lovely Tour de Fleece spinning to ooh and aah over. As for moi, I'm finishing up a project using this:

Stay cool and calm everyone, and carry on with the fibering.

Monday, July 7, 2014

It's Monday - Time for Melange

My July 4th cake - a lot like last
year's July 4th cupcakes. I did
manage to finish up using the
red + blue icing.

Hello everyone - we are post-July 4th holiday weekend here in the U.S., and I hope everyone had a great time. While I was busy with projects (like, all day!), I actually took a cooking time out around 5:00 pm and made myself this version of bangers and mash (chicken apple sausage with parmesian/garlic potatoes baked in the oven, along with some rustic grainy mustard mixed with a little apple butter) as well as the cake. Can't go wrong with chocolate cake and homemade white icing. We also had a great evening for fireworks - this was the last of our sunset at about 9:15, an hour before the light show:

The gold/pink-ish color on the buildings in the distance is actually the remnants of the day's sun. Sunsets never cease to amaze.


Isn't this Louisa Harding beaded
Grace and Mulberry Silk just stunning?

 It has been difficult in the first half of this year to not  talk about all the projects I'm working on (and continue  to work on - see above). I can only imagine how  others interpret all of the yarn I've been trotting out yet  don't seem to have any finished projects to show for it.  Just wait ... and of course, I revealed three newly  published projects on the 1st. I'll have more to say  about them at the end of the week, but please do take  a look at yet another photo of yarn currently on the  needles/hooks. I certainly am not complaining about  all of this yarny goodness - it's been a real pleasure  working with so many varied yarns. The nature of  designing (at least for me) is one of some secrecy.  Even if I were not contractually obligated to remain  silent until publication, I am always closed-mouthed  about what I'm currently doodling or drawing. I know  that might seem counterintuitive in our social media-  saturated world, yet it's the way I am. Everyone's got a  process, and that's mine.

At least for the moment.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

It's July

Remember these from last year's
Independence Day? We'll see what I
whip up this year.
Happy July, everyone! For my Canadian friends, happy Canada Day; we'll celebrate on the 4th here in the U.S. - so summer is officially in mid-swing.

For those of you who are regular readers, thanks for your patience while I worked out the newest blog color scheme. I had a darker blue background that, the more I kept looking at it, the more it just wasn't really doing it for me. I am much happier with the lighter color scheme, so this is it for now.

Tunisian Lace Curtains (and
psst: it's my photo!)
Speaking of new things, I can now finally share with you some recent projects, since the official launch of has occurred ... like ... today. If you haven't heard anything about it yet, do please head on over to the site and have a look - it's a new digital-only crochet magazine with great projects and articles (some by yours truly!) and I am so pleased to be a part of their inaugural volume. Not only did I write a nifty feature article for the premiere issue (Bobble, Puff, or Popcorn?), but I have three super designs in the issue - Tunisian Lace Curtains, Colorblock Plum Scarf, and Boxed Sorbet Blanket (which compliments the article). Previews of all of this can be see at the site here. You'll need to subscribe to the digital magazine in order to see the complete article and patterns; they have several subscription options available (tablet only, laptop/desktop only, combination of both). I am in good company - this volume also features designs from Angelia Robinson over at QuaternityKnits and Marie Segares of Underground Crafter fame, just to name a few. It's a new publication, and the
Colorblock Plum Scarf
editorial team is just a wee bit busy, but I wish them a hearty congratulations and nothing but success.

Boxed Sorbet Blanket