Life Skillz

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As I reach my late 20′s, I find myself lacking in some pretty important skills.

1. Cooking
2. Gardening

So, my hope is to take some classes to learn these valuable life skills.  Lucky for me, living in Austin means that there are plenty of resources available to me.  Cooking and gardening classes happen all the time, and we have a lot of shops that cater to people looking to include more healthy choices in their life.

I have already begun growing some veggies (which I am VERY excited about); here’s what I’ve got growing so far: Roma tomatoes, bell peppers, jalepeno, and onion.
 

I’ve also started a Pinterest board for gardening, and I’ve had a food board for a while now.  And although I pin things daily, it’s rare that I put the knowledge and advise they give to use.  I want to change that!

Back Online

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Update!
Spinning Colors
After a bit of a hiatus from running my shop, Spinning Colors, I have decided to open it back up.  Originally, I had closed it up due to the fact that I was unable to give it my full attention while focusing on school, and now I have decided that it is time to revive it.
It’s a dream of mine to own a studio doing what I love, and I feel that by putting more effort into this venture I can make it successful.
I have not yet set the date for a grand re-opening, but it will come.  At the moment, I am taking my time to do things right and get everything situated how I would like before I rush into opening the shop back up.  More news to come on that topic at a later date.

Crochet
I am revamping the Rugged Ripples pattern and will soon have it available in the patterns section of the blog as well as on my designer page on Ravelry.  There’s also a special something coming up concerning that pattern, so be on the look-out for that as well!

 

Overall, I am excited to have a fresh start on the blog as well as on the shop.  And I welcome you to follow along!

Kindle & Knit

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I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!  My family and I celebrated the holiday by staying home and having a great dinner made by my mom.  Simple.  I love simple.
One of my favorite gifts was an Amazon Kindle, and I gotta say that I am falling in love with it.  1) Browsing books online is one of my favorite past times; 2) I wanted to keep my physical library to a minimum, but don’t like getting rid of books; 3) I can buy and read books anywhere; 4) It’s lightweight.
In all honesty, I was a little worried that it would take time for me to get used to the screen, but the Kindle has a screen unlike a computer or phone. . . it really is like reading something on paper.  I also worried that I wouldn’t like the lack of page turning (it’s something I love about reading from paper books), but pushing a button isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. :)  The one and only thing that I will miss that the kindle cannot replace is the smell of books.  Ah well, life is about give and take anyway.

Enough of that – I’m gonna prove to you that I still knit.

Abalone Cardigan

Pattern: Abalone by Beata Jezek
Yarn: Hand dyed (main) and Araucania Nature Wool Chunky (cc)

The sleeves turned out too big for me, but I intentionally knit the body a little bigger so that I could close it up in the front if I needed to (with a shawl pin).  Either way, I’m pretty happy with it and I’ve almost completed another project which will be posted soon!

In the meantime, give me book recommendations!

Let’s start over

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Wow.  It’s been months since I’ve written a post here.  I have been enjoying the mini-posting over at my Tumblr blog, but I gotta say – I kinda miss writing more than a sentence or two.
It’s not that I haven’t thought about it, but I just feel as if it takes too much time to write out a proper blog post complete with photos.  In actuality, it doesn’t take all that much time. . .

SO.  I feel that the best way to approach a new blog post is to just share what’s been going on in the last few weeks instead of trying to remember everything between this post and the previous one.  I’ve got great news, good news, and bad news to share in this one so try to keep up!

Bad news (let’s just get it out of the way, shall we?)
I’ve closed down Spinning Colors.  I’m pretty sad about it, but it wasn’t doing well because I don’t currently have time to dedicate to the shop to keep it stocked and current.  There is still plenty of dyeing going on around here, but it’s just all personal for now.  The decision isn’t set in stone, but for the time being, it is the right thing to do.
I want to say that I really really appreciate all the support that I’ve gotten from folks over the last couple years, and you have driven and inspired me in ways I can’t describe in words.

Good news
I got a job.  It sort of came out of the blue one day, but I’m pretty stoked about it!  I’m working in retail, and I’m surprised at how much I like it right now.  I can be sure that I’ll have a paycheck, I don’t get filthy (as I did when working around food), and the people I work with are awesome.  Can’t beat that!

Great news
First – Monster is rocking the school scene.  He’s a quick learner and has been doing great with reading and homework, and currently has multiple “best friends” (meaning every friend he has is his best friend).  So cute!
Granted, it’s only kindergarten, but I’m really glad that it has made such a great impression on him because he’ll likely carry his good attitude about school throughout high school. . . at least that’s what I’m hoping for. ;)

Second – I’ve had my work put up in multiple shows this past fall!  I had two photos selected for a photography show, and 2 felt pieces selected for a fiber art show.  I’m pretty excited about all of it!

Here is a video by Bobby Scheidemann of the most recent show (fiber) called Gallimaufry.  Don’t know what that is?  I didn’t either at first, but according to my dictionary.com app it means: 1.) a hodgepodge; jumble; confused medley.  2.) a ragout or hash.

I’m gonna go with #1.

And here are photos of my most recent felted work:
Grounded by Stephanie Gage Grounded by Stephanie Gage (detail)

The piece is titled “Grounded”.  Materials are handmade felt and yarn.  As with a lot of my work, there is embedding going on in this piece (the yarn in this case).  The spiral created by the yarn is a really bold form, but overall, the piece is really subtle.  I really love this one.

Well, that’s the update for now!  Hope everyone has great holiday. :)

This post has fiber. I promise.

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Two posts in two days!!!  Let’s not get crazy, shall we? ;)
This post is going to be photo heavy. Enjoy it.

School:
An update about Monster’s first morning of school.  It’s only 9:30 am, and I cannot wait to pick him up and see how his day went!
We got up super early, so we had time to squeeze in a couple of Mario Kart races;  the morning was off to a great start!
He was super excited about his backpack and getting to school,

Superhero pose! (this is his superhero pose, btw)

and even when we got to the room he was super great.

Monster in his school seat

But alas, the time came for his dad and I to leave the room and the tears welled up in his eyes. . . and then in ours, but we held them back to be strong for him.  He cried a little because he wasn’t sure of the new environment, but I think he did a little better after we left (we peeked in without him noticing).
I really really wish that I could call to make sure everything is going well, but I can’t!  I miss him right now and I hope he’s having more fun than not.  He should have a good day, because today is music day, and if he takes after me the music will make everything a-ok.

Intermission. . .

Let the fiber love begin

As of late, I have been in a spinning craze.  I’ve updated the shop with all sorts of goodies, and have been at my spinning wheel every day cranking out bundles of pure yarn bliss.  Some of it is my hand dyed, some of it is not – I really enjoy spinning fiber dyed by others because every dyer has their own “eye for color” that varies from artist to artist.  I won’t put any yarn details here, but if you want to know yardage and what-not, head over to my Ravelry stash.

Spinning Colors

“Black Cherry”

“Pine”

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Funky Carolina

“Lily”

“Tarnished”

“Colorful Heart”

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Southern Cross Fibre

“Katoomba”

And of course there’s more. . . but you get the point! ;)

Last but not least

I am selling my wheel!!! No, I’m not giving up spinning.  I’m ready to upgrade my wheel a little so that I may explore more aspects of handspinning and my Julia doesn’t offer everything that I am looking for.  If I could keep the Louet Julia AND get the wheel I want, I would certainly do that, but in order to buy a new wheel I need to get some money by selling my current one. :(  So sad!!!

Anyway, if anyone is interested, please let me know – and tell your friends!

Louet Julia S11 details
Included:

  • Louet Julia wheel (no missing parts)
  • Lazy Kate
  • 6 bobbins (3 came with the wheel when it was originally purchased)

The lazy kate is missing two of the three caps, but this does not affect its use.

Retail value is $787 (via The Woolery)
I am asking $650/obo I’m willing to negotiate.
I would prefer pickup in Austin, Texas, but am willing to ship (buyer will pay for shipping costs).

These images can be seen here.

Thanks for tuning in! :)

A New Beginning

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School
Usually I talk about what’s going on for me at school, but tonight I’m talking about someone else.  My oldest son.

It’s the eve before Monster starts school, and I’m a bag of mixed emotions!  I cannot believe that he is going to start school.  It’s kind of hard to believe that I have a 5 year old (going on 15), and that my little boy is quickly becoming a big kid.  I’m scared of what he’s going to learn from the other kiddos at school, but also confident that he’s being raised well and knows the difference between good and bad.  I just really hope that his first day goes really well because it’s the first impression that really counts!!

Wish him lots of luck for tomorrow!

My Monster

PS – The next post I have will involve fiber. ;)

A Finished Knit!!

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I’ve been on a knitting hiatus for a while, but I’m happy to say that I’m BACK!  I finally finished a pair of socks for Monster that I had started sometime last fall.  The sad part is that it only took me a few hours to complete the second sock.

Luckily, they do fit him right now but we’ll have to see if they still fit when Winter comes along.  If not, he’s got a younger brother!

Panopticon Socks

Details
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Sock “Franklin’s Panopticon”
Pattern: Followed instructions according to “8 stitches per inch socks” by Ann Budd

And I even have something special going on the needles right now!  An upcoming bag designed by the one and only Snowden Becker.

Falling off the Earth

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This post is a collection of my thoughts and concerns from the last few weeks.
I promise I haven’t really fallen of the Earth although my posts here seem to have indicated it.  In reality, I’ve been overcome with things to do and I have too many tasks going on, and I think I’ve found myself at yet another crossroad in my life.

Lately, I have become extremely scatterbrained (instead of just a little bit like usual);  I find it really difficult to remember little things such as a conversation that I held only a day ago – because during that conversation I was also thinking about something else that I need to get done, or an idea that I need to make sure to write down before I forget.  In terms of my knitting and crocheting, I have felt blocked every time I have tried to start a new project – as if I’ve forgotten how to do it even though I understand and remember all the motions.  Even though I want to make something, I feel as if it’s lost some of its appeal to me because for the last few semesters it has turned into a daunting job instead of a relaxing hobby.  I don’t like this feeling of being unfocused.

I have gotten to the point where I feel as if a stick has been thrown into the spokes of my life, and I won’t be able to move onward until I decide the best way to remove it.

For me, I have determined that the best way to remove the stick is to choose a single subject to major in.  At the moment, I am majoring in both Fibers and Photography, and not only do I think it is unwise to have two different focuses to be identified by in my artistic life, but I think I should lessen the burden on myself (and my living space) by choosing one or the other to focus on.  The decision that I have made is to focus on Photography.
I have a lot of reasons as to why I have chosen Photography that I won’t go into right now, but inevitably I think that it will create space in my life that I desperately need both emotionally and physically.

I will continue to do fibers work because I do love it, but it will not be what I focus on as a working artist.  I enjoy the processes of fiber arts, and the colors and textures are always interesting to me, but I don’t see it as a subject that captures me as conceptually as photography does.  My mind sees “pictures” all the time, and I feel that I can best interpret, express, and share those mental images through a photograph.  In speaking for myself as an artist, I feel the need to be able to speak about the work I create in a way that can not only cause reaction with an audience, but also to feel a deep connection to what I am trying to share with others.  I need to feel that I am creating a sort of message instead of creating something that is only aesthetically pleasing, which is how I feel about my fiber art.  This is not to be confused with how I feel about other fiber artists, because I can find meaning in many other artist’s work, but I feel that I personally don’t convert my feelings and thoughts into fiber art successfully like I can through photography.

So overall, my decision to narrow my focus will give me clarity in my life.  I also believe that I will be able to enjoy the simple act of crafting something through knitting, crochet, spinning, etc. and it will bring me more joy than it has in the last few months.

Felted Bag #1

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As part of my desire to learn more about wet felting, I took a class that allowed me to felt around a template.  When felting around a template you are able to create a seamless, non-flat project.  So, I made a bag!

Felted Bag

The fiber was hand dyed, and the light green “zips” are bits of handspun singles that were leftover from when I plied some yarn a while back.  The lining is a batik fabric, but unfortunately I can’t claim it as my own because I bought it from JoAnn’s!  I have gotten the urge to do some batik though. . . but that’s a whole ‘nother post.  Here’s a shot of the lining:

Felted Bag Lining

I’m pretty proud of it considering it’s the first one I’ve made.  For the next bag I’ll take more time to add an inside pocket (or 5) and also figure out a way to close it up;  I think I’ll want to add a flap to close it instead of only a zipper.

ETA:  One of the most useful resources I’ve used to learn more is the website: Felting Lessons.  She has great, free videos that will guide you through the felting and fulling process.

Tumblr.

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I’m just popping in to talk about my photography blog that I’ve started.  Since I use this blog mostly for personal life and knitting, I wanted to start another online journal to keep track of my experiences and inspirations concerning photography.

If you’d like to keep track of my photography, you can find it here: Life in Millimeters

Fibers
I am working on a monochromatic wall hanging that I’m hoping will come out as I want it to.  I’m still experimenting with what I can do with felt, so there’s something new at every turn!  This semester has really been a breakthrough for me because I believe that I have found my focus in terms of my medium, and I’m really excited about what the future holds for me right now.

Knitting/Crochet
Keep a look out for a new crochet pattern that I’m preparing – it should come out really soon.  I just need to find time to write it out!
Other than that, the latest project I have finished was the slouchy hat featured in the previous post.  More knitting to come soon – I hope. :P

Puppies!!
Last but not least, Staci is a part of the Basenji Rescue program and she’s got a puppy looking for a home!  I gotta say, if I wasn’t always on the go I would have snatched him up already.  The little guy’s name is Whiskey River, and if you’d like to know more you can check out Staci’s blog at Very Pink.

More photos of the puppies are here at my flickr set.