Thursday, January 31, 2013

31:365 Works in Progress . . .

Some beading, a sweater - in the bag is a single sock needing a mate. The yarn on the right is some of my handspun.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

30:365 Rain in January


This is the "pond" in my yard. Actually, it's one of three. It all really needs to be regraded, but for now and the foreseeable future, I'll be having a pond every time it rains. If it was a little bigger, I'd have my own skating rink when it all freezes tonight :-D

29:365 Old and New . . .


This is a water tank. Chicago's skyline used to be dotted with them all over the city. They are a remnant of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. Not so many left now - estimates in 2006 ranged from 144 to 178. There is a great article from the 26 July 2006 Chicago Tribune if you would like to read more about them. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

28:365 Global Warming . . .


Looking South on State Street, with rain and temps nearing 50 at the end of January. It's not good . . .

Sunday, January 27, 2013

27:365 Yarn . . .


I opened the door to the "yarnoire," and this was right in front on me.  It's a cloudy, grey day here, and these colors were soothing somehow, and just what I needed to see.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

26:365 The Baby Wolf . . .

This is my Schacht Baby Wolf loom after three hours, some steel wool, some elbow grease, and a 1/3 of a bottle of spinning wheel oil (general concensus was that it would do as "machine oil."  :-)  ) All heddles have been faced correctly for my left-handedness.  All rust is removed from the heddle bars, as well as some Texsolv heddles that I didn't like.

Here's how it looked before:

Loom before 
I still have a little minor cleanup - some dusting mainly, and then I'm going to fold it up and let it rest until Fiber Retreat in March.  I'm so excited to be taking class from Jeff Reynolds that weekend!

Friday, January 25, 2013

25:365 First Snow . . .


It's nearly February, and this is the first measurable snow we've had in nearly a year.  Fresh, white, new - a little muted and soft - it's early - it's cold.  Shot on my way to the train this morning.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

24:365 Winter's Moon . . .

Through the branches of one of the trees in my yard. I played with the color a bit.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

23:365 On the Shelf . . .

Candles and great books - what more can you ask for?  :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

22:365 St. Brigid . . .


This sweater has been on my needles since 2009. It's an Alice Starmore pattern called St. Brigid. I had a false start and had to frog and cast back on for the smaller size, and then got side-tracked. For nearly four years :-D
Cables are my thing. I love them, and these are quite challenging - five different charts and three row counters going at all times. It's very slow going. The front is on the needles now and since yesterday I am only half way through the first repeat. I figured out that it takes me at least 11 minutes to knit a right side row, and at least 7 for a wrong side. No wonder it's taking so long :-D
The yarn is Queensland Kathmandu Aran in an amazing deep blue that is challenging to capture correctly. This is close, though.

Monday, January 21, 2013

21:365 It's Cold


It's really cold - single digits - and this is the first dusting of snow that has lasted more than an hour.  This is in my backyard.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

20:365 Happy . . .


This is some detail from my Shelf of Joy.  That's my mom holding me in the photo.  We're on the porch in Riverdale.  I think I must have been about 2 years old - and my mom looks happy, so it was probably before my dad died that year

19:365 Anonymous Vampire

That's the name of this pattern. It's a shawlette. The yarn is a light fingering weight, Zitron Trekking Hand Art in the Ireland colorway. I've discovered that I don't like light fingering weight for socks, so decided to knit this shawlette with it. It's a long weekend here in the States and I didn't take any other photos for this day!

So yeah, finally some knitting content  :-D   I've been working somewhat steadily again on my St. Brigid sweater, which I started I think three years ago . . .  I made the larger size and realized it was going to be to big, so I had to frog and start again, and then other things got in the way.  I've been trying to pick it back up for all this time and have finally succeeded.  It's slow going.

Here are some other views of the Anonymous Vampire (a free pattern on Rav). 
Anonymous Vampire_01
And a closeup of the lace
Anonymous Vampire_03

The lace is simple yet effective, but I have to say that large patches of garter stitch and I just don't get along very well.  I discovered this on the last Baby Surprise that I knit.  I made the larger size, which is supposed to be a shawlette, but the way I knit, it's a shawlette for a child, I think.  I got gauge, but it's still very small - almost too small for a scarf.  I blocked it with points - kinda like vampire fangs  ;-)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sorry Might Do You Some Good . . .

I'm always so disappointed when someone I like or admire turns out to be someone other than who I thought they were.  I realize that's completely naive on my part, particularly when it's someone in the public eye.  I've seen more than one actor on a late night show totally blow themselves out of the water and into the land of jerkdom.  But being an asshole is certainly not limited to celebrities - I know this first-hand. 

Still, I was saddened watching Lance Armstrong lay it all out to Oprah.  I suppose we are all greedy in our own way, but here was someone who had so much - who appeared to have it all - but wanted more . . .  obviously there are other sides to his story and how he became the person he is and why he has chosen to come clean now, after he did so much damage and inflicted so much pain on many of those at one time closest to him.  I think he's sorry, and I'm doing my best not to judge - but my trust is gone . . . I can't help but wonder if he's only sorry he got caught.

My friend, singer/songwriter Kristin Cotts was playing at Uncommon Ground not long ago, and today she posted this video on her FB page, dedicating it to Lance Armstrong.  I wanted to share it with you:


18:365 Orchids . . .

These are in the back end of the lobby of the building where I work. They don't like you to take photos . . . These were a bright spot in winter.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

17:365 Magic . . .


I did this deliberately and found that it was far more interesting than the shot that was in focus . . . This is the beading and sequins on an old jacket.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

16:365 Rushing Off to Work . . .


In the basement of the Thompson Center.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

15:365 Woolen . . .


It's really green and it's spun "woolen," which is never my first choice (I prefer to spin "worsted") and which I'm - obviously - dreadful at :-D The fiber is Jacob - not one I will ever need or want to spin again - too crunchy. I would never want this next to my skin.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

14:365 The Day Begins . . .

Through the plantation shutters at Petterino's, getting ready for the day.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

13:365 Wish . . .


I needed this angel's words of wisdom today.  That's a turkey feather, and the art is a beautiful orchid angel print that a friend brought back for me from a trip. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

12:365 Color Palette . . .

These are the bits of silk I bought yesterday. I love these colors - neutral and yet all strong enough to stand on their own or blend to work together.

Friday, January 11, 2013

11:365 A Rainy Day , , ,

In January, in Chicagoland, with temps around 50 F. I pass this pine tree every day on the way to the train.


An Artist's Date . . .

What a great day!  I took myself on an Artist’s Date. It’s been awhile since I’ve written Morning Pages (that sort of comes and goes for me), but it’s been even longer since I’ve done an Artist’s Date. These two things are huge components in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, a phenomenal book for anyone wishing to explore their creativity on any level. It’s not just for artists :-)

Anyway – the book is loosely structured into a 12-week course (for lack of a better term), and once a week you’re supposed to take yourself out to have some fun :-D You must go alone. It can be an hour, or an afternoon, or whatever suits you, and it can be pretty much anything you want that will feed your spirit. I've fallen out of the habit, but today, I cabbed it over to Vogue Fabrics (wish I had had time to go to Manny’s Deli while I was over there!) and rootled around in the store . . .color and texture everywhere. What a wonderful hour I spent!  It was a feast for the spirit.  :-)

I don’t know if it’s that I’m shooting another 365 Project or some other catalyst, but I have so much creative work inside me trying to get out right now that it’s really amazing to me. It’s a fountain of stuff!  Ideas just keep coming and I’m loving it very much.  After what seems to have been a long spell of just going through the motions, all this creative energy is a welcome gift.  When there’s something to share, I will :-)

Today I was emailing with a friend about the Process vs. Project debate – always an interesting topic, particularly for fiber artists. :-) I think a lot of people are driven one way or the other – but I’ve found that both pieces are important for me.

When I'm knitting, I love the outcome (usually :-D) - the Project. I also know that if pressed, I can knit a plain vanilla sock in a day. The technique is there, but it's not very much fun for me. Pounding through the Process to get to the Project makes it "just a sock" somehow.

Although both parts are important to me, the Process is where the sexy stuff is – it's stimulating and engaging for me. The Process is the soul work – where the Project is nurtured and takes shape, and where I begin to see myself and trust myself and my instincts. The process of searching for what I want to make, tumbling through the stash yarns to find the best match, touching the skeins, feeling the fiber content, wondering if it will work, choosing, swatching (sometimes ;-) ). And then, it's like slipping into the water . . . weightless . . . sliding easily into a comfortable rhythm, losing myself for awhile, and coming out the other side of the Process with a soothed soul, a calm spirit, and a Project in the bargain.

Process! Project! Can you have one without the other?  As I think more about my own creative process, it ultimately leads me back to childhood. I have to go back to when I was a kid, when I was always doing something creative – music, acting, playing, coloring, dancing, writing, imagining. I always wanted to draw and paint; unfortunately, however, I was behind the door when they passed out the traditional “fine art” talent, (stick figures are about it for me, and even those are dicey most days . . . :-D) and so throughout my life, I have sourced and gravitated toward the art that I can make. Music always, and for a long time primarily. Oh, and I was a champion colorer (I confess that there are crayons and a couple of coloring books hidden in my sunroom – surely I’m not the only person who sits down once in awhile to color?).

I could certainly never draw or paint the images in my photos, but I can see and frame a photograph in my mind before I shoot, which is why I nearly always have a camera in my hand. Growing up, embroidery was huge for me, and I’ve been knitting since I was 7 or 8 years old adding spinning, weaving and assorted other arts as an adult. All of these things that I create with are often very solitary, and I think one of the reasons that I enjoy them so much is that I grew up as an only child. When you are an only child, you learn at an early age to be self-sufficient and to enjoy your own company, and it seems to me that that ability to be able to be still with myself has made a great difference for me in terms of how I approach the art that I make. Having learned it in childhood, I am easily able to be alone with myself now, and allow that still, small voice to move through me.

Contrary to popular belief, we are all creative. Yes, really, and yes, all of us. It makes me really angry that so many children are told that they can’t sing or can’t dance. It’s not true. Everyone can sing and dance. Granted, there are some people you would pay money to hear and see, but music is one of the greatest creative joys there is. In my crazy extended family everyone loves to sing and dance (even the boys), whether or not we are any good at it – and we all do both as often as possible.

I even draw stick figures once in awhile ;-)   Soul food indeed.

It doesn’t matter what your art is. It’s not always music or painting or knitting or dancing – for some it’s keeping a beautiful home, or teaching, or cooking a gourmet meal, or listening, or raising children. These are all arts in their own way.  It's been awhile since I shared this - it's on my ledge where I see it every day.  If no one has told you this lately, I am telling you now:

I believe in you as you step forward in your life.
I'm inspired by you for keeping your dream alight . . .
for facing the challenge and achieving your goals.
I'm proud of you as I watch the bright light of your spirit embrace the world.

I think it's up to each of us to find the things that make our hearts sing. And then, it's up to us to do them :-) 

10:365 And While We Are Dreaming, Time Flies . . .

The flotsam and jetsom of a life . . . pieces of the past, hopes, an angel, a kiss, Germany, Colorado, Scotland, Egypt, home, solidarity, the land barge, and was I ever really that young?  Or that thin?
Shot on January 9th - I fell into bed last night, utterly exhausted and not having had the camera in my hand all day  :-S

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

9:365 Wishing Only Wounds the Heart . . .


Kinda how mine felt this morning, but this, too, shall pass . . .

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

8:365 Cityscape . . .


So many buildings here - the old traffic court, an office building, the Westin, and bits of Marina City and Trump Tower. It's already lighter at 5. I love that :-)

7:365 A Frosty Morning . . .


I ran all the way down the block to catch the train, and then stopped to snap this! I still made the train, but just in time

Sunday, January 6, 2013

6:365 The Last Day of Christmas . . .

This is the last day of Christmas. I didn't decorate as much as I usually do. I managed to get everything onto the sofa in the living room. Next step, get it all back downstairs and packed away for another year :-)

5:365 Saucers of Snow . . .

This is the most snow I've seen this winter so far. The flakes were huge and wet. It didn't last long, but it was beautiful :-) 005_365.010513

Friday, January 4, 2013

4:365 Cheers . . .

004_365.010413 Synchonize your watches! A virtual drink with a friend far away. The perfect way to start the weekend

Thursday, January 3, 2013

3:365 We're On Our Way Home . . .


The tail end of Christmas - Italian lights still on the trees, and a blue as blue can be sky.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2:365 Homeless . . .

This is someone's entire life - in a red shopping cart. It's rare to see a cart without its owner, but he or she was nowhere to be seen this morning in the bitter cold . . .


1:365 Happy New Year


Here I am, back in the groove with a camera in hand.  It felt good  :-)  A day spent with friends - both old and new - coaching beginning spinners, and coming home with some yarn treasures - cashmere, silk and some ribbons and glitz.