Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Colds

Hah! That got you, huh?

No typo here. Not only was the house 59 degrees this AM, but I have a cold as well. My week of vacation has thus developed slight bruises, but it’s not completely rotten.

In fact, we had a great Christmas in San Francisco. Visited the post impressionist exhibit at the de Young and a couple exhibits at the SFMOMA. Shopped for yarn, fabric and buttons. Finally found the buttons at Britex for my Noro sweater. Art Yarns is a fantastic new place on Sutter. Even The Artist had a good time!

I think the most impressionable thing was Christmas day. Although it rained, we were out tromping around Chinatown and North Beach. Grant Street and Stockton were full of life and extremely busy, (need a haircut on Christmas day?) whereas Broadway and Columbus were barely waking up. We did get to see the wild parrots swooping around on their way back to Telegraph Hill.
Stella in Chinatown
On our way back, we spotted a French Brasserie, Cafe de la Presse, at the corner of Grant across from the gate to Chinatown and had a late lunch. Jam packed. Wonderful food. Best latte I’ve ever had.

Day after Christmas was just packed with shoppers around Union Square. Even so, it was nice to get away to a big city for a holiday.

By the way, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

‘’Twas a Week Before Christmas…


… and I bought myself an embellisher.

So instead of showing what it looks like, I’m showing what it does.

Fuzz Ball

That’s black raw silk and gold paint with wool roving embellished on top. The machine has 12 needles with little hooks on the ends to push the wool fibers into the silk. It should be a lot of fun to work with. I look forward to combining my yarn scraps with my fabric scraps to make gorgeous new fabric.

I’m finishing up my Christmas cards, so it’s back to work.

By the way, thanks to all who voted for me. Flying Carpet was far from winning. I think you really have to be into social networking and your designs must be very literal, rather than imaginative and cerebral to win the Spoonflower contests, but it’s still fun.

And the Artist? He’s working on the pipe organ and just finished two autoharps.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vote for Me This Week!



Flying Carpet

Vote for me this week! My fabric is in the Time Travel contest at Spoonflower December 9-16.

The Flying Carpet takes you wherever you want to go - the past, the future or just up the street. The process is fused wool fibers done in the wet felting process. When I first made this in my fiber art group, I was very disappointed with it. Then, I stood back to look at it and decided to upload it to Spoonflower as a fabric design. It became something entirely new, with a completely new feeling! It looks like an Oriental carpet!

As one very thoughtful admirer commented: This design has a marvelous fuzzy felted feeling about it. It makes you want to stroke its soft surface as you close your eyes and make a wish to be transported to another Time and Place!

Thank you in advance for voting.


And as a follow up on another fiber project, my quilt, Body and Soul, has taken on a new name for the month, Temporarily Santa Cruz, and is in the This is Santa Cruz show at the Santa Cruz Art League.

And The Artist? He’s in the show, too.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Days Lost. Where do I Find Them?

Well, I lost a few days, and I realize that as you get older, each day becomes more precious.

How could this happen? Well, I got a bad cold and spent one day in bed. Although I was able to finish two books, it disturbed my normal flow of Life. My head is still all fogged up, I breathe like a dragon (see those flames coming out my mouth? They are really cold germs.) and I'm generally confused. I actually left my knitting bag in either a meeting room or in someone's office. (Not yet found...)

Sick Room Accessories for a Fiber Artist
Books count as fiber.
So do tissues.

You see, it was The Artist's Open Studio, where he presents all his work to the public in our backyard (and my studio) in hopes they will purchase something. It was very nice, but I shook hands with lots of people. I also have that exercise class with lots of moms with small kids. The Artist wants to know why I only get sick at his shows. (This is, unfortunately, true.) The weather is changing. It just happens this time of year.

Anyway, there are things happening besides my cold:
But I just can't find those two days and can't figure out where to find them.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Happenin' Stuff

Open Studios for The Artist this Weekend

That's the operative event. Everything else stops. Rather, all personal activity for the week revolves around Open Studios. Last night when I came in all hot and sweaty after my Jazzercise class, the lights in my studio were blazing.  I knew what it meant. Time to move the furniture, knitting, yarn, fabric, paint, and all half-finished projects out of my studio and to somewhere else for the annual Presentation of The Artist to the Public.

"Okay, sweetie," I said, "Let's turn off the lights and cut down on the electric bill. I get the picture." We ate dinner. We returned to the room. I saved dessert for later to reward myself. He actually sat there and watched me pick everything up and move it. Fortunately for me, he sets up a room  about six inches inside the real room, so I can mash some things against the wall and not quite move everything. I thought he was crazy when he first suggested this, but it works well. (Notice the purple wall of the studio behind the green "booth" panels.)

Exhausted Artist Hiding his New Work

"You know, you could stop all this next year if you were to apply to Open Studios and were accepted," he said at one point. "Then you could keep the studio as it is and not move much. A consistent body of work. That's all it takes." Well, I'm not quite ready.

I finally have a photo of my watercolor fabrics combined into a quilt. (I who do not make quilts made it.)

Watercolor Quilt

I truly love the colors and the graphics. If you would like to purchase the fabric, you may.  (Link to Spoonflower on the fabric below.)


I'm back on the Laddered Turtleneck knitting project and have yarn for a Blossom Blanket. (Great name, huh? All pinks and purples.) Hope to get a lot done while I sit around in the back yard for two weekends. Well, actually, I'd rather be busy selling The Artist's stuff.

I took a class in Drop Spindle spinning last weekend. Lots of fun, but I don't know if my fingernails can handle it.

Tomorrow evening? Avocado minicupcakes, apple minicupcakes. Get those internal engines revving!

I ran into an old friend this evening. She told me that I never change. I always look the same. Like a little girl. What a wonderful compliment. It's just the way I feel. Thank you, Bess.

I think it's dinner time. Talk with you later.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fiber Finish

This time it's the quilt I've finished.

The first fabric that I ever put on Spoonflower in 2010 was from a small watercolor painting that I did in a class in maybe 2000 at the Art League. I thought it would make the most wonderful fabric: bright, geometric and colorful. It does make a great fabric. Later, I combined two other paintings I did after that class into a one-yard "cheater" quilt for a Spoonflower contest, thanks to software help from The Artist. I thought they would make a great front and back to a quilt. They did.

But, I had no binding. For that, I had to paint another watercolor. The watercolor set I use, by the way, is a set of Pelikan paints that I got for an even more ancient Art League class. Since all the watercolors are straight from the pans, and not mixed, they always look bright and vivid, with the usual watercolor gradients.

I finished painting the binding in late summer, then finished the quilt and sewed on the binding. I'm not a watercolorist and I'm not a quilter, but I love this quilt. The sewing has problems, but the design really lends itself to making an easy "cheater" quilt that really shows well and vibrates a little.

I plan to "hang it high" so you can't see the mistakes, but only the beauty.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tieing up loose ends

It seems I have several loose ends to tie up. Knitting, sewing, life. (LIFE?)

Anyway. Remember all that crochet yarn my friend in NYC sent to me? I mailed some back east to my cousin (along with some pear butter I made) and she seemed to love it. Then, I gave a whole bunch to a friend who does inkle loom weaving. (A real expert in it - has been doing it for 30 years and has a loom for just about every year she's been weaving! Even her grown kids weave!) She really liked it. Said the black was perfect for guitar straps and the teal is a great color for her. (Check out her blog and Etsy Shops> and Blog>

OK. Now, on to my knitting loose ends. I've given up for a while working on my "New York Beret" on size 5 needles in white mohair. I think the needle size is just too small and my eyes just too dim. This is the second time I've put it away. (I know. My eyes don't get any better while it sits in a bag.)

So, I started the sleeveless shell in black cotton and "Splendora", as I call it. (It really has another name, as you can see in the photo.). Much larger needles - 8 and 9 - and since it's sleeveless, should knit up much faster. There's still that Blossom beckoning... Got a new book for it, but that grams to meters to yards thing has me stumped.

Lastly, my quilt. I've finished all the sewing and just need to take care of the thread loose ends and put on a quilt sleeve. Maybe I should design a label on Spoonflower. Although I'm not a quilter, it does look good, especially from afar. (No photos yet.)

Now, my loose ends in life. Finish my books (all 100 of them as yet unread...), make a will, pay off the house. What pie in the sky for today. How about something down to earth? How about go for a walk? Hey, it's 93 degrees! Why not? The knitting store is just the right distance for a nice walk in the sun.

Then, it's back to make avocado mini muffins for the Open Studios reception for The Artist for tomorrow. (Can't post this without a note on Life with The Artist, huh?) By the way, his student is back at "real" school and finished two instruments while at "independent study" school with The Artist. She said that her experience "far exceeded her expectations". That's my artist. What a guy!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Knitting Thrill

Well I'm just thrilled that I was able to get to look at my blog. I just have to keep it up!

The Artist has had an independent study student for the month of September. They've been great for each other. She has brought out an interest in teaching to the artist and shown to him that there is hope for today's youth. (That's age showing.) She has done very well and made two pieces. They will probably appear in a show together.

We're getting ready for Open Studios. This will be The Artist's 10th year as a participating artist and my 10th year as "Artist's Assistant": the beginning of my life in The Arts.

With that lead-in, what am I working on? Knitting, sewing and reading, what else? (But I'm thinking of taking up spinning and weaving!)

I finished a hat last week with some yarn leftover from my purple Noro sweater. And I still have more yarn left, enough for a second hat or even a third. They will all look completely different because the varigated yarns start and end in different places.

Hat Unfinished

I also knitted a teal necklace from some crochet yarn that a friend found at a flea market in NYC. I like this one; I thought it needed a little something, so I added metallic.

Knitted Necklace

I'm waiting rather patiently (for me) for some yarn to start another project. It's been ordered but has yet to arrive.

The big event for the weekend is to finish the one-yard quilt from fabric I designed and had printed on  I finished the watercolor of the border over Labor Day and just received it yesterday. It's all quilted, but the border remains. I'm not a good quilter, and I don't particularly like to quilt, but I like to design. The front and back were actually painted several years ago when I took a watercolor class. The originals hang on the wall in my studio in little frames.

Reading? I just received a box of books in the mail from my dear friend and fellow book devourer, the ex-bookseller. Great authors, and a big thank you. Must go take advantage of them...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ode to Labor Day weekend - Why does life get so complicated?

Or - am I getting old?

These silly computer programs keep changing, so that it gets harder to do those simple things in life like updating a blog. Every time I try to do it, the options change. What does all that "Changes to Make It Better!" stuff mean? Who cares? Just keep it so I can understand it. (Remember, guys. I used punch cards, so I was there at almost the beginning.) Somehow, my email address has been removed from my blogs. I can't get to see my blog. Silly things. Who do I call? No one. Waste time to figure it out? Beg a college student for help?

A friend of mine asked me yesterday, "Remember when we were younger and we were told that computers were going to take over everything, and would do everything for us and make our lives simpler and we would have a shorter work week, like 35 hours instead of 40? That hasn't happened." No, it hasn't. Sometimes it seems like things have gotten worse. Maybe it's just that "labor" is not for the aged, or else I'm starting to feel my age.

I'm lost without a knitting project. I need something to start. I certainly have enough yarn. I just have to decide what it will be. A friend sent me some boxes of yarn picked up at a yard sale. Two boxes of crochet yarn. (Crochet yarn! Whatever will I do? Knit it? Learn to crochet? Give it all away?) A box of heathered silk and wool yarn (not my colors). Some black and white angora. (Rather nice and much more "me".) All discontinued, but very nice yarn. The crochet yarn would make great market bags or bikinis.

I still love best the yarn that my cousin sent. Finn. From her own sheep and spun by her.

I'm finishing up my indie-self-designed quilt on my indie-self-designed fabric. I still need to design and print the border. I'll do that this weekend. See if you want to see all of my designs. Search for not-enough-time.

The Artist has had a good week. (Oh, that's right, it's not just about me.) He has an independent study student who is building a couple things with him between semesters going into her senior year at college. He was videoed for a Community Television show on woodworkers.

OK. I'm outta here. Not enough time.

Time is
Too slow for those who Wait,
Too swift for those who Fear,
Too long for those who Grieve,
Too short for those who Rejoice,
But for those who Love
Time is not.

--Henry Vandyke (1852-1933)

I guess I rejoice. Uncomplicatedly, though.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Yarn, Yarn, Yarn

I'm beginning to become a yarn junkie. Fortunately, I like to finish projects.

The one above is nearly finished. It just needs buttons, which I can't seem to find in town.

The red one above is knit in seed stitch on huge size 19 needles. I'm on the final sleeve. It was advertised as being able to be made in 8 hours. Ha! 88 hours is more like it. Well, 48 hours. But I've run into that type of project before. As long as I realize that it's not really 8 hours, it's OK. Besides, my little hands can't sustain knitting on size 19 needles for a straight 8 hours. The diameter of one needle is greater than the diameter of my thumb! I probably should have gotten wooden needles, not that it would have been any easier. Oh, well.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Welcome Back!

Gosh, It's been so long since I did this that I can't remember how!

Just where have I been? Well, I got tired of doing that blog all the time. Who really cared what I had to say, anyhow? But, I'm back. The Artist decided that I needed a web site, so he created one for me: . That sort-of forced me to revive my blog.

So, between April 2009 and June 2010, I have done the following:

  1. Aged one year.

  2. Read about 20 books.

  3. Visited Santa Fe and the Grand Canyon over Christmas

  4. Finished painting the door in the office (two months ago - see January 29, 2009)

  5. Knit a sweater, the back of which is now being blocked.

  6. Knit half of another sweater which is currently in process

  7. Won a trip to Squaw Valley and visited there over Memorial Day weekend

  8. Had at least one tooth capped and broken another (like I said, I aged one year)

  9. Visited the Scottsdale Art Festival again with The Artist. (No prize this year.)

  10. Designed and sold fabric (hence, web site)

  11. Gave two talks with The Artist on "Creating a Booth for an Arts Fair" and "Creating an Artwork Display for Open Studios and Beyond", both of which were very well received.

  12. Have a gopher-proof raised bed garden and rock wall made from rocks that The Artist and I have collected through the years. Unfortunately, it's not cat-proof.

  13. Had a wonderful visit from a childhood friend who now lives in London.

  14. Gotten back in touch with a relative through the miracle of The Internet. (Well, it's not really a miracle.)

I've had a great year. Welcome back. Drop me a line.