Friday, December 1, 2023

Black and Grey Wide Bracelet and Earring Variations

I've been working with the color black a lot lately.  Usually I'm super inspired by lots of bright colors and, for no specific reason, black feels very cozy right now.  I do feel like my jewelry stock is lacking in black options and I'm having a tendency to lean toward a black base for my personal style as of late.* It layers with all other colors easily, so, I'm just following my spirit and letting my hands make what they want. 

This is what has come of it. First, a black, gunmetal and grey wide pearl clasp bracelet. In the past I have simply striped the colors with one full row of color at time for this style bracelet. This time I striped the strips every other row by row. I like the busyness of the patterning and I think it turned out stunning. 

Wide St. Petersburg Striped Strips Bracelet

Next is a pair of "huggie" earrings. I really like this style for work, it's simple, clean, a little bit flashy but not dangly. I think I meant to make them a little tighter to the ear but I always end up worrying that it looks too short between the post and the backing so I did an extra row and it made it a little longer and it doesn't "hug" my earlobe. I also have to remind myself that one can't account for where holes are in ear lobes so it may be loose on me but snug on someone else. In any event, I love wearing this style so I made another pair.

Huggie Earrings

Last, I decided to make a new pair of beaded blob earrings. I haven't made any of these in a long time and they're just fun to make and to wear. I hadn't done a pair in this color range, I feel like they always end up having some blue in them so here's a nice change for this style. 

Beaded Blob Earrings

Lets face it, I created this colorway for something new to wear at tonight for Midnight Madness in Ann Arbor. I'll be set up at my friend's meadery, Bløm Meadworks 100 S 4th Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 from 5-11ish. This has been my one pop-up holiday show the past few years and even if I don't sell much I love the vibe, other makers and people that attend this event. A big thanks in advance to my friend Jenn for joining me as it's kind of a long day and it's nice to have company on the drive. 

*Sidenote, Bryan and I were laughing about this a fe days ago because when we first met, he basically only wore black and I barely had any in my wardrobe. I had never seen so many black tee shirts before! Now I'm wearing black a lot more often whereas he's been leaning toward more colorful outfits.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Combining Bangles

Back when I was trying to make lower priced "stuff" to sell I started making "tiny bangles" for $20. Even $20 didn't feel good when I sold them due to the amount of work that I put into these bangles. I had made enough to fill a display and they've been floating around my studio and pop-ups for years now, occasionally 1 or 2 selling. I've gotten really tired of looking at them and they tend to represent the years when I had a desperation to sell something, anything. Now that I'm in a really good place and only make what I feel inspired to make I've been cleaning out my studio and removing anything that I don't like anymore or I'll cut it up to reuse the materials. 

These tiny bangles were initially on the chopping block but I have a hard time cutting up anything I've made, even if it's something I no longer like. I created them to be an option to layer with other bracelets and each other. The issue is that being only 2 or 3 beads wide doesn't allow them to keep a good bangle structure. So they end up a bit floppy and unattractive (in my mind). I'd layer them for a pop of color with other bracelets but now that I barely wear jewelry they just take up space that I'd like to reclaim.

One of my recent studio cleaning days I decided I might be able to put some of them together to make the bigger bangles that I like better. I put the first one together (above) and now I like it! They're actually fun to play with which stripes and solids go well together. It's a fun practice of putting together colors and designs in a direction I wouldn't usually take. 

Creative play has become more important to me than making to sell. I'm seeing more and more artists and makers throwing in the towel because they can't make enough to cover time, supplies, studio, not to mention the amount of work it takes to constantly post on social media, update websites etc. When we have to make to sell instead of play and discover it looses all the fun. I was starting to have days where it was more fun going to work at my day job then hunkering down in the studio. Ok, that still happens too.

This year has started to be a lot more about playing and rediscovering why I love fiber art rather than making any final products. It's more about process, play, design, new techniques and color. 

Monday, November 6, 2023

Neutral Green with Fuchsia Leaf Lariat Necklace

I forgot to post about this piece, it's already at the "Made in Michigan" Holiday Show at the Lansing Art Gallery, along with the rest of its matching earrings and bracelets. I decided I hadn't made a leaf lariat necklace in quite some time and I really enjoy this color group so it eventually came to be. I picked away at beading it in the evenings and finished it just before the show's drop off so I completely spaced on posting it to my blog until I ran into the photos. 

See this leaf lariat neckace at:

Reception: This Thurs. Nov. 9, 2023 from 5 - 8 PM

Facebook Event for the Opening Reception:

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Join Me for Weaver Sessions Spotlight for Convergence Wichita 2024


I'll be talking about the 2 seminars that I am leading at the Handweavers Guild of America Convergence Conference 2024 this week and next.  If you have the time to hop on to Zoom for these you can put in questions about these seminars during the Zoom. If you can't make it, you can watch these later on HGA's YouTube Channel.

The first Session Spotlight I am part of is this Thursday, November 9th at 1pm. I'll be talking about "Hands on Finishing your Work" which is an extension of last year's "Finish and Exhibit That Piece!" I decided to propose 3 hours for this seminar because there are a lot of types of finishing and problem solving that can happen with fiber work and I wanted time to address pieces that attendees are stuck on. I had a number of people throughout Convergence 2022 tell me that they heard my class was really informative and helpful. Another instructor told me it was wonderful I was offering this since it was a common question from students of her weaving classes...which isn't part of what she teaches. This version encourages students to bring in their piece or send me photos of works that they are stumped on so we can look at different options and ideas more in-depth.

The Second Session Spotlight I am in is next week, Monday, November 13th. In this one I will be talking about my 90 minute seminar "Keeping Track of Your Digital Art Life." Whether you are a working artist or just trying to keep documents, notes and photos organized this class will be full of the processes I use to digitally file my entire life (which is mostly my artwork).

Saturday, November 4, 2023

5 Years Sober; One Day at a Time

I celebrate 5 years of sobriety today. I had a really good meeting this morning. I've knit 31 pairs of socks among countless other projects to keep my hands busy during meetings. Now, whenever I "accidentally" buy expensive fancy sock yarn I can confidently tell myself that it's a LOT cheaper than drinking. 

5 years ago I was a mess and I didn't see life ever getting better, I was just trying to get by...and doing it very poorly. I recently reconnected with a friend and found myself saying out loud to her "I didn't ever know that it was possible to be this happy."

Of course, something came up yesterday and it reminds me that I still have a lot of work to do to be better than I was. When I hurt others deeply I also hurt myself. I still hold on to too much anger and resentment in some areas of life. And I'm so tired of hurting and being uncomfortable and anxious. On the other hand the general day-to-day stuff in life has gotten so much easier.

So here's to 5 years sober and making it one. more. day. 

A side note on the bandana in the above photos of my very pretty 5 year coin:

This bandana is the first thing I ever recall winning, I was probably about 6. I've mentioned here and there that we showed horses growing up and I don't recall having an affinity for ribbons or trophies but this piece of fabric always reminds me that I was into a nice cotton fabric even at a young age. I'll always be thankful for the grounding nature fabric and the process of making fabric has always had for me. It's a simple thing but I find nice bandanas so useful. Today I'm wearing it as a neckerchief since it's getting chilly at work but not cold enough for a thermal neck gaiter. 

To thine own self be true.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Boatneck Batwing Lace Knit Top

As a casual knitter it's rare that I knit a sample swatch or hand wash... or follow any directions with my handknits. I often just end up making my own patterns up as I go like the last larger sweater I knit. However, the more I hang out with more professional knitters (mainly Sarah Peasley) and follow various knitters on Instagram, the more inclined I am to swatch and do things properly, which I did for this top. 

The open knit made me nervous which is why I actually started by following the swatch directions. I knit during my AA meetings and I was worried it might be too complicated to work on during a meeting. The swatch definitely gave me a feel for the pattern and it wasn't too bad to get in a groove. Like most patterns, once you get the hang of it, it's fairly easy to read your knitting. One direction is a straight knit which also helps keep it simple.

I've been eyeing James N Watts' patterns on Ravelry for a while but the ones I liked the most had sleeves and I don't really wear sleeves unless it's a cardigan or a hoodie. When this new Boatneck Batwing top dropped I checked to make sure I had some yarn in my stash to use and purchased this pattern. 

This yarn is by Anzula Luxury Fibers, Meridian, Lace 55% Tencel, 35% Alpaca, 10% Nylon in the colorway Tesla. It feels deliciously buttery in this knit.

When this was fresh  off the needles it looked too short when I put it on and I thought I would get around to knitting it again with a little more length. Once I hand washed it and hung it to dry it dried to a length that I like much better. I have a fairly long waist so unless it's intentionally a cropped top I prefer longer tops.

I wasn't sure how much I'd like this top in this color, or how much I'd like knitting it. Turns out I couldn't put it down.  It was fun and easy to knit, I have 1 or 2 mistakes that I just wear in the back so I don't have to look at them when I wear it. The color goes with my summer wardrobe and I'm sure I'll be knitting this again in another color....I'm going to wear it more to get the hang of it though. A big me-problem; I get it snagged on everything. I have the same problem trying to wear lace too, but overall, I love this pattern!

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

My Secret Little Crop #3; Super-cropped Cotton/Hemp blend

Backtracking to my summer projects...I can't get enough of this crop top pattern by Jessie Maed Designs. "My Little Secret Crop" knits up quickly and I found some stash yarn I wanted to try for a lighter weight garment...I also wanted it shorter to go with overalls. I started and finished this crop top in June and every time I wore it out it got compliments. 

Out at lunch for a date-day:

Waitress:  I love your top
Me: Thanks, I made it.
Waitress: You did? Do you sell them?
Me: No
Waitress: Would you sell them?
Me: No, I just knit for myself, it takes too long to knit to make it worth selling.
Waitress: ...[clearly disappointed tension]
Waitress: Oh, it even has a crisscross back! [walking away]
Me: It's a pattern on Ravelry if you learn to knit...
Bryan: I thought she was going to rip it off you. 

I thought it looked cute with my work pants, 
it was easy to throw on for a totally different look to grab dinner when I got off. 

I have a bunch of small balls of a cotton/hemp blend that I love. I know I used this yarn in red for the red leaf tunic I made years ago, I'm not sure what I have all this green for. Sometimes when I love a yarn I just buy a bunch, which is probably why this has been sitting in my stash. I have been good about not doing that kind of purchasing anymore, I have more yarn than I'll ever be able to use (yet never what I'm looking for so that's when I buy more). Anyway, the green hemp/cotton blend with a pretty Berroco variegated blend turned out really lovely. I wore this top a lot this summer.

Black and Grey Wide Bracelet and Earring Variations

I've been working with the color black a lot lately.  Usually I'm super inspired by lots of bright colors and, for no specific reaso...