Monday, March 31, 2008

Notes on Storm Cloud Shrug

I was shooting for the first week in April to finish this piece and get it posted, but I finished early and posted it today. It's for the EtsyFAST April Challenge: Storms. I had so much fun participating in last month's fairy tales challenge that I was overly excited about this one, plus I had a good idea. I knew I wanted to make a shrug, but it grew very organically from there. My small shrug became huge when I started the rows too long, then I wrapped them under the arms and added triangular sections before gathering and tapering the sleeves. I then added a section to the back and rounded out the opening, first gathering then adding a nice soft finished edge. This shrug became so complicated quickly for such a simple idea, but I could easily remake it without having to rip out the left sleeve (twice) due to miscalculations on size - needed them to match. The ombre color shifting is okay, but not my favorite part of this piece. I might try it in a solid color instead. It does get unpredictable at times.

I think the basic idea/inspiration behind the design worked. I wanted something billowy, dark, versatile, moody, brooding, tragically romantic - all that good stuff. And, killer with a pair of jeans!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hyperbolically Speaking

How exciting! The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project that I saw in Chicago is coming to New York! Read about it in the New York Times. Or go to the source, The Institute for Figuring.

I bought the latest issue of Craft magazine just for the article on Hyperbolic Baby Pants (hyperbolic pants being one of the permutations of hyperbolic crochet). Of course it should be baby pants!

Can't wait to try more of this myself.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain

When I was in Oklahoma in 2005-2006 (fall and spring), I spent a lot of my free time at a small park. It was a nature walk and running trail with lots of trees, and a surprising number of animals, situated on a near barren windy plain. There were some hills and this space was tucked in; the trees created a shelter, which, I suppose, explains the number of animals: foxes, quail, rabbits, hawks, turtles. I would run or walk there almost every night. 

I took a series of photographs there one fall evening around 4 p.m. I love the golden amber quality of the light during that time. These are just three from that series. I was playing with my crocheted organisms and the natural space. They were outsiders to this place just like me. They were trying to make sense of the place, hold on to it, and find root -- like me. I put them in trees mostly as places of refuge against the windswept plain. 

The bright artificial acrylic yarn that I used wasn't as much of a contrast as I might have expected; instead, the colors complemented the intensity of the blue sky and the fiery red-orange of the fall leaves. My pieces were no less natural than what was already there. Ensuring the documentation of these two pieces on that day was very important. I knew I was about to give the work away and I needed to have something that would last as a record for myself and to share. I made the work to give away. Not to just anyone, but to specific someones who would appreciate their strangeness and unique qualities. Not that yarn is a difficult medium to maintain, but I expect the work to droop, to get dusty, to be put away, to be attacked by cats, to be crushed and refluffed, to age and by getting rid of it I am absolved of all of those issues. I don't see it. It stays perfect against a blue sky with a crisp fall wind. It's not that I don't care about what happens next. Quite the opposite, I think moving it (a crocheted lump) out into the world is where it starts to get interesting and develop its own independence apart from me.

Todd and I talk about this quite a bit, very intensely at times. What is my project? Why am I making these, what do I want to do? For a long time, for me, it has been about perfecting technical challenges from my imagination and placing them, through a gift economy, with a friend that might accept the challenges of owning it and might appreciate the labor and imagination. (By gift economy, I mean as a birthday or holiday present in place of an itunes card or the like. It doesn't cost me money, but it acts in place of money spent for an identical purpose.) 

So how is this art? Is this art? Is this craft? Is it a hybrid? Is it photography or even performance or conceptual art? Maybe the latter or maybe none of the above. I took it one step further this year when I created a piece divorced of a planned recipient - the 500X show piece (see the first entry in this blog). I created it to be mine to enter in the open juried show. It was accepted and my secret life in crochet was partially exposed. Most people still don't realize that was mine or what lies behind it. My intention was to create more like it, but I haven't yet. Plenty of ideas, but my crochet has turned more practical lately with my current Etsy obsession. I'll turn back and explode with a force. With Etsy, I crochet daily and my speed and execution have never been faster. I just need to relax and refocus to determine what to make next, how to display/photograph/gift/or keep, and what it will be.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring cleaning - The Office

Here's something to be proud of! I cleaned/rearranged my office and found my floor. It's quite big. I'd lost it for some time. 

We moved in October and I keep cleaning the office, then discovering boxes that really go in here or holiday things that belong here or I buy new stuff that goes in here... and I lose the floor again. 

Finally, things are looking quite organized and proper. I love the light in this room and I think it is plenty big enough for me. 

My desk looks messy, but it's the hub of the room and I'm glad to have it fully functional. Everything is where I need it and can find it. I've been very busy creating and posting and it's nice to have a clean, clear space to work in. These photos are just proof that I CAN do it, when I choose to :) We'll see how long this lasts.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Colorful crocheted pins

I'm so happy with how this pins have been turning out. They look great all together! This is something I've been working on for the ETC (Etsy Texas Crafters) Spring Sample Trade. It's fun to play with colors and textures and to pick out just the right button. I'm going to add a spot to my Etsy store for a random sampling of 3 of these - or something like these! 

Over half of these were crocheted while I was in various waiting rooms during Todd's surgery and follow up. It feels good to be productive or at least distracted during uncomfortable times. Todd's fine and now I've got all these lovely pins. 

I really enjoyed the process of playing with the colors and textures of the yarns, trying different combinations, and selecting just the right button to pull it together. I plan to make plenty of these. I also surprised myself with how well the photography turned out. It makes a very compelling image. I'm starting to have more confidence in my abilities as a photographer.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

ASPCA - ETC Cares for March

Here's Bradley to tell you about my sale for the ASPCA!
Several of my crocheted hats are on sale down from $30 to $15 from March 14-18!
20% of ANY sales from my shop during this time will go towards the ETC Cares charity for March, the ASPCA. (Etsy Texas Crafters) 

Just to get things started I decided to have a sale!

Monday, March 3, 2008


I wanted to add Todd's pictures to my other pictures of the yard, flowers, and Bradley. Here are a selected few! By the way, we're not mowing the backyard on purpose (too many flowers!) but the front yard looks fine and proper - trying to keep it nicely mowed. Todd looked up the purple flower and it is called Cancer Weed. What an awful name! Look for more exciting outdoor backgrounds in the pictures of my crochet.