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Inspiration

 My hand is still sore, but at least it is healing.  Frustratingly, it’s sore enough to keep me from doing much with it.  It really stinks being such a klutz!

So instead, I’ve focused lately on my volunteering at the kids’ school.  They have this really cool program called Art Awareness where volunteers come in to a classroom for an hour a month to give basically an extra art lesson.  We talk about a different art concept (like balance, color, texture, perspective, etc) each time, show prints of some famous art pieces and discuss how they relate to the topic.  Then we do a hands-on art project demonstrating that month’s topic.  It’s a really cool program that I’ve participated in for several years now.  And even after this long, I’m still amazed by the kids each time.

Kids have no fear when it comes to some concepts…like color.  As adults, most of us are a little more rigid that the sky must be blue and the grass green.  Kids, for the most part, don’t have this constraint as ingrained so they have no problems making the sky green and the grass blue.  I love this!  My favorite part of volunteering for this art program is watching what the kids do.  It both inspires and challenges me.

Now when my hand heals, I’m looking forward not only to crocheting again, but also sketching some new ideas and maybe even breaking out the paints again.  😀

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Ever had one of those days?

I’m having a lot of them lately.  Last week, I managed to burn the back of my hand cooking pizza for the kids (second and third degree burns).

This past weekend, I took the kids and my Dad and Stepmom to breakfast.  I’m not much of a caffeine drinker, but sometimes I just need that extra boost.  I ordered a tea and only realized after drinking half of it that it wasn’t tea but black coffee.

I also managed to sprain my index finger while assembling the new car seats for the kids.  Both of these injuries are on my right hand…and I’m right handed!  UGH!

This morning, I dropped the kids off at school and went to get back in the car.  Only I couldn’t figure out why the door wouldn’t open.  I could hear the “unlock beep”, but the door wouldn’t open.  It finally dawned on me that it wasn’t my car.  Want to know the really sad part?  The car wasn’t the same make, model or even color as my car.  So sad!  I definitely think this was deserving of a very large mocha cappuccino!!!!  (Is the universe is trying to tell me to get back on caffeine?)

So now, as I go back over this to fix all the typos my clunky, splinted finger has caused me to make, I’m desperately wishing I could relax with some fiber-y goodness…too bad my stupid right hand is out of commission!  😦

Guess I’ll just get back to my caffeine overload and catch up on some shows.  😉

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Spinning Update

One of my goals this year is to get Grace restored to running condition.  Grace is the Canadian Production Wheel my father bought at an estate sale for $20 or $25.  I LOVE MY DAD!  😀

This was what she looked like when he first gave her to me.  It’s not a great shot, but you can see the missing spokes and the general coloring of her at the time.  And if you look closely, you can see the broken pivot on the treadle.  (Maybe pivot is not the right word.  I’m still learning about wheels.)

The first thing I did was to clean her with Murphy’s Oil.  And boy did that make a difference in her appearance.  She lost that yellowy color and gained a deep, rich tone that I absolutely love (though none of the pictures below quite do her color justice).  Crazy as it might sound, it was while cleaning her that she told me her name was Grace.

My father helped find at least a temporary solution to the broken pivot.  It may take a while to find a more accurate fix or fashion one ourselves.  I certainly don’t have any metalsmithing experience and I don’t think he does either.  But at least it’s enough to get the treadle working again without constantly falling off.

In addition, Dad turned a new retaining pin as the original one had deteriorated badly.  He also fixed some of the spokes that had become quite loose, and he turned new spokes to replace the missing ones.  The new spokes are oak while the others are possibly birch.  But the stain matches quite well and at least this way we know for sure which ones are not original.  The overall weight of the woods is similar enough as to not cause balance issues.  And he did a FANTASTIC job matching the turning of the original spokes! 

And we may need to do something about the footman.  I’ve been told that it’s likely not original to the wheel anyway, but somehow I think the wood looks nicer than a coat hanger wire, so for now we’re trying to get this one to work.

We still need to do some fine tuning on the wheel as she seems to have developed a slight wobble.  And we need to find a drive band she likes.  Everything I’ve tried so far either breaks or she shakes off.   I’ve tried a few different brands of size 10 crochet cotton (different brands have different tensile strength) as they were readily available in my stash.  I wondered about the size 3 but as yet, haven’t tried it.  Any suggestions of what she might like?

Once we get her get her functional, the next challenge will be for me to figure out how to actually spin on her.  That could prove to be more difficult than getting her up and running as I’ve only ever spun on spindles!  Wish I could have had her running in time to take that beginning spinning class from Abby Franquemont at this year’s DFW FiberFest.  How awesome would that have been?!!! *sigh*  I’ll have to at least remember to take my Respect the Spindle book with me to see if I can get an autograph!  😀

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Goals

It’s only 12 days into the new year and it’s already a crazy one!  …wonder what that means for the year to come?

I managed to finally get around to setting my goals for the year.  Most people I know (myself included) fail to achieve their New Year’s Resolutions, so I’m going to call these goals instead.  They may seen numerous, but I’m aiming high!  Let’s see how much of this fibery list I can achieve this year:

Personal fiber goals:

  • have a larger stash output than input (only personal yarn included in this number)
  • finish, frog or otherwise get rid of those stagnant WIPs
  • make at least one item for myself
  • make at least one item for each of the kids (they’re growing toooooo fast!!!!!)

Spinning goals:

  • restore Grace (the Canadian Production Wheel my Dad gave me) to working order
  • learn to spin on Grace
  • spin at least one full braid, by any means necessary
  • finish spinning that blue romney I’ve been working on for.e.ver.

Design goals:

  • submit at least three designs for publication (this one actually seems like a lowball number, but like I said it’s already been a crazy year)   note: 1 of 3 done!!!
  • submit application for Associate Professional in CGOA (finally joined last October!!!!)  note: application in progress
  • test the waters and teach at least one crochet class

Too much?  Not enough?  Guess we’ll see.  Feel free to help me stay on track with this list!

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River Walk Wrap

My latest pattern to be released is the River Walk Wrap from Interweave Crochet Summer 2011.

This pattern developed as I was attempting to convert a knitted scarf pattern to crochet.  I wasn’t quite getting the effect of the knitted scarf, but instead stumbled upon something I liked even better.  Sometimes you just have to let the hook do the talking and sit back and listen.

I really utilized charts while designing this one.  (If you haven’t gotten into using crochet charts, I highly recommend it.  They turn the sometimes confusing written instructions into a visual diagram that allows you to actually “see” the pattern.)  After deciding I had finally made a swatch that was just right, I grabbed some graph paper and started drawing the charts so I couldn’t forget what I had done.  Gotta love those handy dandy charts!

I was so lucky to get to work with such a lovely yarn.  The Halcyon Gemstone Silk was sooooooo soft and lovely!  And silk!  Yummy!

As I don’t really have control over the name they give, I try to use generic descriptive terms, like Tunisian Entrelac Ruana (which became Sunset Ruana).  However, when I did a swatch in a sage green bamboo thread, it just reminded me of a Lotus Blossom.  So, for me, it now has two names…kind of like a first and middle name…River Walk (Lotus Blossom Lace) Wrap. 

Regarding the published chart, it is the chart for the gauge swatch, not the full wrap.  I’m guessing they chose to do this to make the chart larger and easier to see than the full chart.  There wasn’t really an easy place to mark a repeat on this one so I had originally charted the whole thing.  I hoped it would become intuitive as you got going with it and you’d be able to see what comes next.  If you have any questions on it though, I’m happy to help.  Just post a comment here or ask me on Ravelry.

Now, back to working on some new designs I hope to share with you in the upcoming year!  😀

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Over the Hill

I’m now officially “Over the Hill”! …and strangely feel really good about it.

Life has a weird way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it and so I’ve had a crazy year. Unfortunately, the blog fell to the wayside as a result, but I will do my best to get back on track. Besides, I have new things in the works and I can’t wait to share them. All in good time though.

I’m still celebrating (yes, celebrating) my latest milestone so I’ll come back next week to finally get around to posting about my latest pattern release that came out this summer, River Walk Wrap. Stay tuned!

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