Thursday, December 9, 2010

Catching Up

I've been getting some things off the needles (and hook):
This is the Raj Vest started at the Jane Thornley, Mango Moon Workshop/Retreat 
in Petoskey, MI in September
The body of the vest is all knit with Mango Moon Yarns
but the ribbons threaded through are Interlacements Yarns

And this is my 2010 Afghan, made as part of the 2010 CAL/BAM Afghan project

Click on images for larger view.

I've finished crocheting and putting together my Night Sky Vest, but am still in the process of making some glass buttons to use as closures. Photos to follow.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Patchwork Triangles

Somehow, I never posted photos and comments on my Patchwork Triangles Capelet. I added a preliminary shot to my Free-Range Project Slideshow at the bottom of the page, but didn't write about it.
I made it for the September Triangle Mini KAL, in Jane Thornley's group on Ravelry. The project had to be a triangle, or contain 1 or more triangles. I started it at the beginning of the month, and then put it away when I went to Petoskey for Jane's Knitting Under a Mango Moon Workshop/Retreat. I picked it up again when I got home; it had to be done by the end of the month. It had started out as a long V-shaped scarf or shawl; but due to time constraints, getting low on one of my main yarns, and the shape that the piece was at that time, I turned it into a capelet instead. And just finished it at the 11th hour. 

I'm really delighted with the way it came out. I think it will be much more wearable than my original idea.

 The Shawl Pin I made to wear with it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Changing Leaf

     I've been spending almost all my time since October 8th, when I finally started my Fallen Leaf Frond Wrap, feverishly working on it as if obsessed. Of course, I get obsessed about most of my projects; but this one seemed to grab me more than usual. There were a few times when the section I was working on just wouldn't go well; times when it was so far off the mark that nothing would do but to frog and redo in another way, another yarn, another color or stitch pattern. And one time I really needed to step back and do something else (or Nothing else) for a day or two; let it marinate for a while until I knew what it wanted me to do. But even then, I kept going into the room where it lay and sat and stewed about it. I just couldn't let it be. 

I finally decided to just ignore anything minor, and even some major things that couldn't be fixed without frogging almost the whole shebang, and forged on as best I could. And the further I got, the more I began to really love the color transitions, in spite of being totally out of my comfort zone. But then again, color, in general, has always been my forte; whether working in glass or in fiber. So I guess it shouldn't surprise me that I was able to work so well in colors far removed from my usual palette.

So here is my entry in the Autumn KAL in Jane Thornley's group on Ravelry: 

Because I only used small amounts of most of the yarns, there's more than enough for another project. What shall it be?

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Good Stuff in Petoskey

It's been a couple of weeks since I wrote about my disastrous return from Petoskey, and I really should talk about the actual Jane Thornley workshop/retreat, which was wonderful. Upon arrival at the historic Perry Hotel, I checked in and went to our workshop room where I was greeted with the sight of 3 long tables loaded with Mango Moon yarns to choose for our projects. What an embarrassment of riches.

After looking at the samples of Jane's designs, I decided on the Raj Vest, and began choosing yarns accordingly. Other participants were making various versions of the Feather & Fan Organic Wrap, as well as other Jane Thornley designs.  After a lovely buffet dinner, most of us went back to the workroom to wind our yarns into balls, aided by Jane's husband John (dubbed by Jane "the Hairy Legged Swift" because he willingly and very ably can transform a hank of yarn into a usable ball).

The following 3 days were filled with knitting, learning, and socializing, not to mention eating well, which we did a lot of: Breakfasts and Lunches provided on site at the hotel, and Dinners out at a different restaurant every night. It was a fabulous experience, one which most of us are planning on repeating; it's just a question of when - September 2011 or 2012.

Many of the women there (BTW, did I mention that some spouses were also in attendance, they went their own way while we were knitting, but joined us for meals) actually finished or were close to finishing the projects they started there. Not I; I'm a slow worker, but here are pictures of one front and the back of my vest. You will note that they appear somewhat different, I've been testing 2 different sets of ribbons threading through the openwork. I've already decided which I'll use, but what do you think?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Petosky to Tucson, the Long Way/Wrong Way Home: The Saga of my return from Knitting Under a Mango Moon

Thursday, September 23, 2010
Well, I’m stuck at O’Hare Airport for 4 hours, continuing what has been a really lousy day. It started out OK, had breakfast with the other participants of the Jane Thornley Workshop/Retreat, said our goodbyes, and went back up to my room to finish packing. Unfortunately, by the time I finished and took my luggage down to load up the rental car, it was pouring. I had planned on a leisurely drive to the Traverse City airport (the first leg of my journey home), stopping along the way to take pictures of the magnificent Fall foliage. But that was not to be. It rained heavily and continuously all the way. So much so that I not only couldn’t stop, but ended up at the airport without having filled the gas tank, which was what I had contracted to do. So there was an extra charge for that.

I then had the worst experience ever at the security check-in, where they had me take almost everything out of my carryon luggage, including the C-PAP machine. None of this had been required at the Tucson airport when I started on my trip. (Thank goodness for that!) Then, in contrast to the 6 or 8 passengers on the way out, this puddle-jumper was quite full,

I arrived in Chicago to find that my flight to Dallas was delayed; enough that it was questionable whether I would make my connecting flight to Tucson. Which is how I find myself with 4 hours to kill; I’m now on a direct flight to Tucson, but it doesn’t leave till 6:35 (as opposed to my original 3:25 flight.) 
So I went and had a leisurely meal, and figured I’d spend the rest of the time going online. But to my surprise, I can’t connect to the internet; the free airport WiFi doesn’t seem to be working on my computer. So here I sit, composing this on Word, instead of directly on my blog, and instead of checking email and Ravelry, etcetera, etcetera.
Friday, September 24, 2010
I started this post yesterday in the airport, while waiting for my last flight of the day, but got interrupted by a new glitch. As I mentioned, I had changed to a direct flight from Chicago to Tucson instead of changing planes in Dallas. Little did I know that the 4 hour layover was going to stretch out to 8 ½ hours.

When boarding time approached, it was announced that our plane was inoperable, and we were switching to another at Gate 3 (the gate for my original flight) and a long walk from Gate 15 where we were. After waiting for the new plane to land and the passengers to get off, we then had to wait for the usual cleanup and maintenance before boarding. My mind is a bit foggy at this point, and I don’t remember how long all that took, but it was at least 8:00 before we boarded. Once we were on board, we sat and sat, until they finally announced that there had been an oil spill on the tarmac and we had to wait till it was cleaned up. Long story somewhat shorter, once they cleaned up as much as they could, all the international flights had priority. And by the time we were able to take off, it was around 11:00pm Chicago time.

By the time I got back to Tucson, retrieved my luggage and picked up my car, which I had parked at the airport, it was around 1am, and 1:30 when I pulled into my garage.  Allowing for crossing a couple of time zones, I was en route 17 or 18 hours or so. 

NOT an experience I would recommend.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Back to Fiber

I'm still putting in a lot of time on the torch, perfecting my technique, and trying out new styles. But I haven't been neglecting my fiber arts. Since my last post, I've finished 3 more projects:
 Which was originally named Denim Does It All, until one of the members of the Jane Thornley group on Ravelry said that it looked like a river flowing; and a new title was born.

It's the beginning of the month, so I have my 2 Afghan Squares to do for the 2010 CAL/BAM, 
and a few other WIPs to finish. I'll report on my progress as it occurs.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Beads on Parade

Now that I'm back into working with glass again, it's gratifying that my work has been so well received. I'm still playing around, to see how my style will evolve. But in the meantime, I have a sizable backlog of beads from when I was doing shows. These comprise 5 categories of beads:

Posted by Picasa
and Large Hollows
These are just samples of the types of beads I have available right now. For other images, prices, and information, email me at

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Welcome to my new Glass Studio

My new glass studio is up and running, and I've been working in it most days, trying to get my skills back to what they used to be. I'd say my efforts meet with success about half the time, and the other half is definitely a learning experience. I'm not sure if my problem is that my small motor skills are not what they use to be, or my eye-hand coordination; but I suspect that part of the problem is control of the flame. It used to be intuitive, but doesn't appear to be right now. I think tomorrow, I will try my other torch and see if there's any difference. In the meantime, you're welcome to join me in a tour of the studio.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Good News Has Become Even Better

I'm happy to say that I was wrong about my glass skills in my last post. I was just a little rusty, and while I may not be totally back to my previous expertise, I'm getting there. And although I didn't make a bunch of beads to embellish Road To Oz/Poppy Fields Forever, I did make one large bead to match the colors in it, which I made into a pendant. It picks up the colors perfectly, and is a good companion piece for the wrap. And it HAS become a wrap; it simply outgrew its designation as a wallhanging, although it is still definitely a landscape.

The Wrap, Back View:
Front View:
Crochet Poppy Embellishment:
Pendant Front:
Pendant Back:
There are  more photos (probably more than you want to see) and info on my project page; follow the above link to view them.

 Now that the wrap is finished, I will definitely spend more time at the torch, and see what I can come up with. Some of my other knit and crochet pieces are crying for matching jewelry. And I've already had some inquiries about buying my beads, so maybe I'll be back in business; but I will probably stick to my resolve NOT to do shows anymore. 

But of course, I will also continue with my fibercraft projects; there are still quite a few WIPs waiting for my attention. Who knows what you'll find when you next check this blog
Fiber, Glass, and even Wire and Metal Work.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

There's Good News, and.........

There's good news, and not so good news.  My glass studio is finished, 

but it seems I've been away from the torch for so long that my glassworking skills are a bit rusty. So I'll have to forgo making beads for embellishment on Poppy Fields Forever, and think of something else, which is what I would have done if the studio wasn't ready. If there was more time, I would play around a bit, and try to get back to my old level of expertise. But I still have more knitting to do, since I frogged a whole section yesterday. And glad I am that I did, too. I really like the changes I've made; it looks much better, feels much better, and I think it will hang much better, too.

Since I wrote that, I've done some more knitting, and it's going well and looking good. So maybe, just maybe, I will have some time to try my hand at the torch again. Who knows what may come out of that.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Poppy Fields Are Growing

I've been so busy trying to finish my Poppy Fields Forever project, as well as going on a brief trip to LA for a cousin's 80th birthday weekend celebration, that I've gone 4 weeks without posting. This project has taken on a life of its own, as so often happens. What started out to be a landscape wallhanging seems to have outgrown that idea; just like Topsy, it keeps on growing and growing.. It's still definitely in landscape mode, except that it stretches out way too wide, and now seems much more shawl like, as you can see.

The problem lies in the ends, which are way too long, and unattractively shaped, which makes them hang kind of awkwardly. So I've come to the unhappy realization that I've got to frog the top 4" or so, and redo them with shorter extensions. Although, actually, that's not all bad; it'll give me a chance to redo the right side, which has been bothering me since I finished it.

But I'm very happy with the overall look of the piece; it really evokes the look of my inspiration: the Poppy Fields in the movie of the Wizard of Oz. 
Now that I've made the decision to rip out the bad ends, I'm anxious to do it and get on with finishing. The deadline for this KAL is July 31, and I still have to find or make some beads or other form/s of embellishment which reflect the subject of this project: the Poppy Fields and/or other facets of the Wizard of Oz. My glass studio is almost ready; I'm hoping to actually do some glass pieces for the embellishment. Wish me luck.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Or: Poppy Fields Forever

Almost immediately after my last post, I suddenly got all fired up about the Road to Oz project, now subtitled "Poppy Fields Forever", and have made some great progress:

I have been combining both knit and crochet in this piece, using short rows for shaping in the knit sections, which I'd never done before. It's been a little tricky, because much of it is seed stitch, but it seems to be working. The advantage of crochet is that you can change directions anytime; building up an area at will, which is so much easier. I really like the way this is going; it's definitely a project that's pretty much telling me what it wants to be and how to get there. And, by the way; what it wants to be is a wall-hanging/shawl, in landscape mode.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Road to Oz

The other night, we watched the Wizard of Oz again, and I was blown away by the glorious colors of the poppy fields.

So I immediately went searching through my stash; and this is what I've come up with so far:

I haven't a clue as to what form this will take, but one of the things I'm considering is a wrap that will double as a wallhanging. And I'm thinking about possibly crocheting this, or combining knit and crochet in one piece.

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Look, Pro or Con?

In response to a reader's request, I have changed the look of my blog to, hopefully, make it easier to read. I welcome your comments. Is it easier to read, or not; and is it more (or less) attractive to look at? Any thoughts?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Two Down & I'm Good to Go

I had the 2nd cataract surgery Monday, and except for the fact that they were running way behind, causing my blood presure to go sky high and needing to be medicated for it (or they wouldn't do the surgery) it went well. And I'm seeing faster results than with the first eye. Same brilliant colors, but now I can see them with both eyes; and same ability to read, knit and crochet, use the computer, and drive without glasses. I'll see the doctor in 2 weeks, to check whether or not I will need any glasses at all, or if I can just go as is.

The only drawback is still having to put drops in both eyes anywhere from 1 to 4 times daily for the next 4 weeks. Small price to pay for the greatly improved eyesight. I'll have to see how that translates when I start working glass again. The work on the glass studio is moving along nicely, and next week an old colleague of mine will come by to help us figure out the fuel and ventilation requirements. I am so looking forward to getting back to the torch. (I'm sure I've already said that, but it's true.)

In the meantime, I've been making progress on a number of projects:
also known as the 1000 Branches Vest, as it's a pared down version of the 1000 Branches Kimono 

which is a vest crocheted side to side, using multifibers and alternating stitches ala Jane Thornley. 
It's my own design, and presenting a challenge to match up the front sides; but I'm getting there. 

and lastly, I've started working on 
Hyundai, Here I Come
a shawl to wear in my husband's car to ward off the AC.

So, as you see, I've been, and am, keeping busy waiting for my glass studio. When it's ready, I'll probably suffer Fiber Withdrawal symptoms, but things could be worse.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

One Down and One To Go (Cataract Surgeries that is)

It's been 3 days and many changes since my cataract surgery. The first noticeable change showed up on my way to Knit Night on Thursday. I kept thinking my driving glasses were dirty and needed cleaning, but cleaning didn't help. I then realized that I could see better without my glasses than with.

One of the signs of cataracts is often the loss of color perception, and after surgery colors are more vivid. I figured that doesn't apply to me, because I already see colors very vividly. NOT! By Friday morning, I started noticing that colors seemed so much brighter than usual; if I closed my right eye (the one in which I'd had the surgery) colors looked as usual. If I closed the left eye, WOW. And even with both eyes open, the brightness remained. 

Surprisingly, the third change is that I'm able to read, knit, and work on my computer mostly without reading glasses. This is surprising because often, even though the distance vision improves, you still need reading glasses. I imagine that there will still be instances where I will need some help reading small or faint print, but for now, I'm one happy camper. We'll have to see how my vision is when working at the torch.

The surgery on my left eye is scheduled for a week from Monday. I will be glad to have that over, too.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A New Chapter Begins

As I have mentioned, and alluded to in my blog's subtitle, I also work in glass. But when we moved permanently to Tucson, I had no glass studio, and so have been unable to do my thing at the torch for a couple of years. But that is about to change. We are at present setting up a workspace; and I am so looking forward to being able to create Artglass beads again, as well as small sculptures and vessels, not to mention pieces for shawl pins and closures.

In that vein, I needed some sort of closure for my 1000 Branches Kimono, and found the perfect Butterfly among my previously made beads:
To ensure that I'm at my best when at the torch, as well as all my other creative pursuits, I'm having cataract surgery on my right eye Wednesday, to be followed shortly by the left eye. The challenge now will be how to balance Glass and Fiber.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Translating Knitting Designs into Crochet

I've been wanting to translate some of my favorite knitting projects to crochet, mainly Feather & Fan, and some of Jane Thornley's. One project combines both: the Baked Squash Scarf. I made a few of them last Holiday Season, and I liked them a lot; but I really wanted to try my hand at crocheting one. This is the result:

I'm really quite happy with how it turned out, and I'm working on another one, as well as doing a vest simulating some of her stitch patterns. I'll post photos as they progress.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Those of you who follow TECHknitter's terrific blog already know that I won the prize she offered in a recent poll of her readers. She asked for suggestions of subjects they would like covered in future posts, with the added incentive of a prize to one lucky reader. The winner was chosen by random drawing, and I was notified Monday that I had won! The prize is a $20 Gift Certificate to a LYS (Tucson Yarn Co.) of my choice, AND a set of Addi Clicks interchangeable needles! Today is Wednesday, and I've received both already. How great is that? 

If you're not already a reader of  TECHknitting, I urge you to check it out. This blog should be your first avenue for How-To information on all aspects of knitting. It's well written, and includes great drawings illustrating the technique or other issue being addressed.