Wander the Web 39

Inspiring, fun, thought-provoking, and crafty links to round out the week and jumpstart your brain. 

I was on the hunt for a washcloth pattern that would look great in variegated yarn and decided to try something that’s been on my knitting bucket list for awhile, Entrelac. The Garterlac Dishcloth was a great and addicting introduction to the technique. Pretty sure that I’m going to be making a lot more of them. 

Sprawling Ink Cityscapes by Ben Sack

Coconut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies might be on the menu this weekend. 

Romain Laurent’s Looping Portraits 

Learn about circuits and electronics with conductive play dough. The site includes “recipes” for the dough and tutorials for building circuits that would be great for kids of any age. Totally going to make a batch. Science is awesome and occasionally unexpected.

Adventures With A Drum Carder

I blame the Romney I bought at last Saturday’s spinning guild meeting. The fiber is lovely, soft, and clean but it still needs to be prepped for spinning. Unfortunately, I have no way to prep said fiber which prompted the last minute decision to rent the guild’s drum carder. It’s definitely large and in charge. So large, in fact, that I brought it home in a rolling duffle bag. Just what exactly I’d gotten myself into? Then guilt set in because there were only 2.5 ounces of Romney compared to the enormity of this hungry machine. The guilt didn’t last long because I started to remember all the alpaca, angora, and random bits of wool that have been sitting un-prepped and un-spun in my stash for years. And what about all that roving? Maybe I could experiment with that too. See ya later, Guilt.

The first thing to hit the drum was some random bits of practice grab bag wool. Before feeding it through the drums, I pulled the chunks apart to thin them down a little. Didn’t worry about color or anything else. The wool went in until the drum was full and there still half a bag left to play with.

The colors blended beautifully though there are still random spots of solid blue after 3 passes through the carder. Looking forward to spinning it up and seeing the finished yarn.

Since this was my first time using a drum carder, or a carder of any kind, I’m amazed at the transformation. Before, there were just squishy clumps of wool I didn’t know what to do with. Now, I’ve got something that I can’t wait to spin. Also, the process was a blast. Get to play with wool and fiber? Check. Get to play with color? Check. Get to make stuff? Double check. Me thinks that I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and I have no idea how deep it goes.

Since making those first 2 batts, I’ve done a little more research on how to properly use a drum carder. How to clean one too. The best info I’ve found is a 3-part series from vampy.co.uk. Part 1 is all about the basics of how a drum carder works and the necessary accoutrements. Part 2 is about carding raw fleece. Part 3 is about how to blend fibers. Now that I’m armed with a little more knowledge, I’m ready to play around, experiment, and make more batts. 

Hello, Angora

Spun by Yarn Marm

Spun by Yarn Marm

This month’s fiber guild meeting was a crash course in spinning angora. The Yarn Marm came by to demo and spread the love of Angora Rabbits. She also brought along a giant, fluffy ambassador named Albert. FYI, angora rabbits are larger than you think. 

Spun by Yarn Marm

Spun by Yarn Marm

During the demo, several skeins of Yarn Marm’s handspun angora made the rounds around the meeting. Every single one of them was soft, fluffy, and absolutely luxurious. Most of the skeins were a simple 2-ply but a few were plied with thread. Of all the skeins I handled, the thread plied skeins were the most exciting and inspiring.

Spun by Yarn Marm

Spun by Yarn Marm

In the mid-levels of my fiber stash, there are several ounces of angora from two lovely rabbits named Harvey and Roger. It’s straight off the bunny with no further processing. Besides from lovingly petting it, I’ve had no idea what to do with it until last Saturday. Can I spin it as is without turning into roving? Yes. Is there a way to wash/full the yarn to prevent shedding? Yes. Now that I’m armed with a little bit of knowledge, I’m ready to dig the angora out and start spinning. So what that it’s probably harder to spin than superwash merino? I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. 

Wander the Web 16

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Halloween has passed and we’re right at the start of November. How are there only 54 gift knitting days left? Good luck.

Oh, here are some fun things to distract you.

The Caketrope of Burton's Team - Hey, zoetropes are amazing and this one is even better because it’s made of cake.

Horror Story by Grant Snider

Make 4 Simple Goals before 2014 

Whimsical Illustrations from Everyday Objects by Javier Perez 

Duolingo - Never to late to start learning a new language or brush up on an one.

Wander the Web 3

Because one cannot survive on cute cat photos alone. 

3-D Printed Food - NASA gave out a $125,000 grant for the development of a “universal food synthesizer”.I wonder how long it will be before we get a Star Trek style replicator. via Brown’s Edible Examiner

Pretty Vacant - Rietveld Landscape, a Dutch design office, built a foam screen to showcase the space and potential of vacant Netherlands's government offices.   

Oscillate - “My goal with "Oscillate" was to visualize waveform patterns that evolve from the fundamental sine wave to more complex patterns, creating a mesmerizing audio-visual experience in which sight and sound work in unison to capture the viewer's attention.” - Daniel Sierra

A How-To Guide: Accelerated Learning for Accelerated Times - Tim Ferris’s basic method, DiSS, for learning and mastering any skill in a short time period.

May is for Writing

Every month I’m picking one skill to practice everyday for a month and updating my progress every Monday. I call it Project Incremental. Read up on how it all got started. 

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Lately, the end of the month has been a curious time for me. I’m often staring off into space or making  lots of “hmm” noises. Sometimes, I’m resting my chin in my hand, staring off to the side, and murmuring all at the same time. Why am I acting so weird? I’m trying to decide what I’m going to do for my next monthly Incremental Project. It’s not like I don’t have a list. I just can’t settle on any one thing until a day or two before it’s time to start.

The project for May was obvious but I didn’t realize it at first. Writing. Daily writing at that. There were no less than three things telling me to focus on my writing though there seem a lot more in my head. 

The strongest push came from last week’s 4th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week. 7 days worth of blogging about knitting, color, aspirations, and more knitting. I almost didn’t participate but decided to suck it up and try anyway. Last week pushed me to try new things and to think about the blog and my writing in a different way. I made an infographic for the first time and tried a wordless post. The wordless post was the hardest of the whole bunch. I wanted so much to write a few sentences about Trouble the Cat and enjoying curiosity but I let it go for the time being. Not writing made me realize how much I need to write. It’s not a question of wanting to but needing to. 

The second push to writing came from ZenHabits and a timely post entitled, “Why You Should Write Daily”. There was just too much sense for me to ignore.

The Alchemy of Writing” and its second half were what first put the daily writing idea into my head.  Tim Ferriss interviews Fred Waitzkin, the author behind Searching for Bobby Fisher, about writing and the creative process. It’s inspiring and makes me want to get typing.

Now that I’ve decided to write, the only question that remains is what to write about. It’s Day One and I have no clue. Suggestions are greatly appreciated. The plan so far is to start with OneWord.com as a warm up. You get one word and 60 seconds to write a few sentences. Afterwards, I’m dedicating 15 minutes to writing...something. Maybe I should just randomly bang on the keyboard and see if something intelligible comes out.

March is for Photography: Recap

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Every month I’m picking one skill to practice everyday for a month and updating my progress every Monday. I call it Project Incremental. Read up on how it all got started. 

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Hundreds of photos. Untold megabytes of hard drive space filled. Hours spent reviewing photos. Even more hours spent editing. A few dozen photos that I’m proud to show. My incremental project studying photography in March went pretty much how I thought it would. Except that it didn’t. I thought I’d read up on photography terms, learn about ISO and f-Stops, peruse photography blogs, and study lots of technical details. I didn’t even crack open the manual for my camera. Shame on me. I thought I was going to do all all those things because I thought they were what I really needed to become a better photographer. 

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Almost a month later, I’m sure that I still need to learn more about the technical side of photography. I just skipped over an important first step during my planning - becoming comfortable with my camera. I was fine taking photos on the back deck or the porch during the day, areas that I had decent control over, but I was really self conscious outside of those spaces. So, I started hauling my camera around everywhere I went. Didn’t always bring it out but I got used to the idea that I could snap a photo if I wanted to. 

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Always having my camera at hand has led to some of my favorite shots. During spare moments, I’d look around for the small details, the Everyday Magic as Tammy Strobel calls it, and try to capture the moment. I started to document my days like going to knit night or doing late night cross stitch. I’m seeing things that were passed over before, like this tiny and therefore adorable pinecone, because I wasn’t paying attention.

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There’s still a lot for me to learn about photography but I’m happy with the first step I’ve taken. Maybe I’ll finally get around to studying some of the technical details in these last few days of March.

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Previous March is For Photography Posts

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

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March is for Photography: Week 3

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Every month I’m picking one skill to practice everyday for a month and updating my progress every Monday. I call it Project Incremental. Read up on how it all got started. 

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Taking a photo a day - especially, a photo I want to show off - is hard. There, I said it. I didn’t start out thinking this project would be a cake walk but I didn’t realize how difficult it would be. A few days into March, I started following the daily prompts from Fat Mum Slim. Some days were easy and some I’m still haven’t figured out. No surprise, I fell behind. I was determined to catch up on Friday so I grabbed my camera and headed outside. The original plan was to take photos to match each of the prompts. They weren’t any easier. Thankfully, I was in the right time and place for the 15th’s prompt - explore. I took it and ran. Those other prompts? What other prompts?

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Magnolia Cemetary

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Last Saturday morning, my mom decided it was time for an impromptu road trip down to Mobile, AL. It only took an hour of frenzied packing and primping to get out the door. The drive was easy and the weather glorious. Nothing like a 4 hour drive south to breezy 74° weather to lift your spirits. 

Part of the reason for our trip was to visit the historic Magnolia Cemetery. The cemetery was originally established in 1836 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. At its founding, Magnolia Cemetery sat on the outskirts of town but is now near downtown Mobile. It was quite the paradigm shift to be standing between graves more than a hundred and fifty years old and seeing shining skyscrapers off in the distance. I walked past the graves of Confederate soldiers, infant children, state governors, veterans, and entire families. Some of the stones were were still as easy to read as the day they were carved. Other markers were cracked, broken, and worn. The names, dates and epithets almost lost to the world. A humbling experience to walk among the reminders of the dead.

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Historical information cited from magnoliacemetery.com

March is for Photography: Week 2

March 3 - Key

March 3 - Key

The March photo-a-day challenge continues and the challenge part is definitely right. It’s a lot harder than I thought it’d be. Somedays, the prompt is no help - fear, I mean you - and I have no idea what to photograph. Then there’s catching the right light, arranging a nice composition, and the final editing. Never mind any technical mishaps. Maybe I’m just over thinking the whole thing. 

Annoying as they are, the difficulties did lead me to a photography epiphany. Most of the photos I post here and the great majority of photos I take are posed and stylized. For every photo you see, I took at least 5 other variations that didn’t make the cut. I edit and crop and resize them just so. The photos don’t always turn out like I hope but they do get the point across. What’s more, is that I’m comfortable with them. March, I’ve discovered, isn’t about taking comfortable photos. I do want to learn more technical details and better understand my camera’s inner workings; however, I want to break out my box. I want to tell stories. I want to capture the small, daily details. I want to pic up my camera and be spontaneous. Not be chained to the regular, stylized routine. 

I didn’t even realize that I was stuck in a photography rut until I read a post about capturing unprompted moments on camera from A Beautiful Mess. Following other people’s daily photos helped too. The ever talented Leethal has been posting photos on her Tumbler. It’s inspiring and makes me keep trying.

March 5 - Under

March 5 - Under

March 6 - Chair

March 6 - Chair

March 8 - Favorite

March 8 - Favorite

March 10 - I Want

March 10 - I Want

March is for Photography: Week 1

March 1 - L is for...lion!

March 1 - L is for...lion!

Every month I’m picking one skill to practice everyday for a month and updating my progress every Monday. I call it Project Incremental. Read up on how it all got started. 

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In like a lion and out like a lamb. We’re only four days in to March and, so far, the idiom stands true. After the outright pleasant Spring-like weather in February, the temperatures dropped and March has seen fit to grace us with snow flurries. Nothing stuck but the snow did it’s best to cling to the windshield while The Bearded One and I were driving around town. I’m hoping that the weather returns to its pleasant self by the end of the month. I’m also doing my best not to get sick. Bring on the vitamins and warm, wooly layers!

Besides from snow, March also brings with it my new incremental project. February was all about yoga which I have come to love and greatly enjoy. Have no doubt, that a daily yoga practice will continue behind the scenes here at Chez Strategos; however, March’s main focus will be on photography. Almost every thing I’ve learned about photography up to this point has been completely through trial and error. Some of my photos, I’m very happy with. The rest, well, I pretend they don’t exist. It’s time to level up. 

March 2 - I Made This

March 2 - I Made This

Usually when I start these projects, I have a decent idea of how I’m going to spend the month and what resources I’ll be using to learn. I’m coming up a little short this month. So far, there’s Shoot It! Craftsy class with Caro Sheridan to learn from. I bought it months ago when it was on sale but haven’t done anything with it. I think it will be helpful but I’m not sure if it’s exactly what I’m looking for. Also on the to-do list for this month is finally reading the manual that came with my camera. 

Know of any good sources to learn photography? I’d love some recommendations.

March 4 - Lucky

March 4 - Lucky

The one thing I know that will help me improve my photography skills is practice, practice, practice. Sunday, I found out about Fat Mum Slim’s March Photo-A-Day Challenge from Leethal. The daily prompts should help me focus and keep me motivated through the month. Now, I’m playing catch up. It was a happy accident that two of the practice photos I took day yesterday - the lion head and my hand knit socks - match the prompts for the first two days.  Hey, Neighbor Cat counts for today - Lucky. This is an unintentional win. The blossoms don’t count towards the challenge but I like them. 

Onward to better photos!

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February is for Yoga: Week 4

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With three weeks down and one to go, learning yoga this February has been a success so far. I’m stronger. I’m more flexible. I’m more aware of how I move and how I breathe. When I started the month, I was looking forward to all of those things; however, what I didn’t expect was how much of an influence yoga would have on me. When I step off the mat, I’m not packing up my practice and putting it away for the day. The thought and the focus travel with me. After I climb out of my car, I do a quick check to make sure I’m standing up straight with relaxed shoulders and not hunched over. Hello, Tadasana. Sitting at my desk, I’m constantly relaxing my shoulders since they tend to tense and creep up when I’m knitting or perusing the web. Before yoga, I never really noticed what my shoulders were doing. Just that they were tense and needed some love. I love this newfound awareness and control. 

In this last week of February, I hope to keep this awareness going strong and continue my daily practice with gusto. I’m going to keep learning. I’m going to keep pushing myself. I’m going to keep breathing. Though March is fast approaching and I’ll be picking a new incremental project to focus on, yoga will continue flowing through the background.

Yoga February: Week 3

Every month I’m picking one skill to practice everyday for a month and updating my progress every Monday. I call it Project Incremental. Read up on how it all got started. 

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Two weeks ago, I packed large duffle bag and took to the road for some much needed fun and time in Atlanta. The weather was nice and the traffic light during the two and a half hour drive. Still, I was thrilled to get out and stretch my legs after being in the driver’s seat for so long. Last month, before my daily yoga practice, “stretching my legs” amounted to plopping into a different chair and stretching my arms and legs out as far as possible while looking for a tv remote. The process didn’t really work but at least I wasn’t stuck in a car anymore. Now that I’ve got a few different yoga postures, asana, rattling around in my brain, I put them to use and actually stretched. Child’s Pose, aka Balasana, did wonders for my back and relaxing in Corpse Pose, aka Shavasana, eased away tension. It was nice to feel refreshed after a long drive instead of longing for a nap.

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I kept up with my practice while I was in Atlanta. After following along with different flows, I practiced individual postures daily. It’s been great getting to know the specifics and figuring out the proper way to do and which muscles to use for each pose. Every day I’d pick 2 or 3 poses to practice so I could put them to good use later. After watching tutorials on different postures, I can tell you that there is so much more going on than what meets the eye. It’s definitely worth the time to learn the postures outright and you’ll get so much out of your own practice once you do. I’ve learned a lot from YogaWithAdriene and really enjoy her videos. 

I’m back at home this week and yoga practice continues. I’m still focusing on learning the individual postures but I’m also going to try learning the proper sequences of Ashtanga yoga. Maybe this is the week I’ll finally remember how to do a full sun salutation.

Yoga February: Week 2

Every month I’m picking one skill to practice everyday for a month and updating my progress every Monday. I call it Project Incremental. Read up on how it all got started. 

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Really, we’re on week 2.25 of February, instead of Week 2, since this month just had to start on a Friday but lets not get caught up in technicalities. With the exception of this past weekend, which I took off from yoga to give myself a chance to recover, I’ve done yoga everyday this month - 9 days. Doesn’t sound like much much these little steps are combining into larger things.

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For me, a daily yoga practice goes something like this:

  • Dig through the folder of links to youtube videos of various yoga flows
  • Move furniture out of the way so I can see my laptop screen from the floor
  • Consider vacuuming...eventually
  • Yoga!
  • Return furniture to it’s original starting position
  • Back to the daily grind

While the routine stays the same, timing varies. Sometimes I’ll start yoga when I wake up and sometimes in the afternoon after I’ve run errands. The actual yoga part of the routine can last 10 minutes or 40 minutes. Depends on my mood and how many other things are on my to-do list. I’ll also randomly add on extra stretching that focuses on my shoulders, arms, and wrists to prevent any knitting or spinning related mishaps.

Even after just 9 days of a daily yoga routine, I can already notice a difference. Yoga isn’t just about stretching or increasing flexibility and mobility though it certainly helps. Practicing yoga trains you to be more aware of your body and the way that you move. For example, I thought I was standing and sitting up straight. In reality, not so much. There were a few days of soreness as my back finally got with the program and stopped slouching.

Now that I’m experiencing yoga’s positive effects, I’m looking to learn more. I don’t want to be blindly dependent on youtube video or podcasts. The two can be great, helpful sources but I want to practice yoga somewhere where I don’t have to move furniture around, in places without wifi, where I don’t have to look up at a screen, or worry about following someone else’s pace. I want to learn the individual poses and the proper form. I want to move through my own flows. I want to be able to do a Sun Salutation all the way through without looking up what comes next. Looks like the rest of the month is going to be fun.

February Is For Yoga

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Every month I’m picking one skill to practice everyday for a month and updating my progress every Monday. I call it Project Incremental. Read up on how it all got started. 

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Halfway through January - the month of boring but utterly necessary de-cluttering and cleaning - I started wondering what the goal would be for February.  Cleaning will continue since it creates the ever important mise en place for doing great things; however, cleaning is now a routine and not the focus of the day. I kept trying to think of potential goals, none of which sounded appealing, but it wasn’t until I was finding a spot for my new yoga mat that I decided. Of course, yoga. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Insert face into palm.

I’m not new to yoga. I’ve done the DVD thing and the Wii Fit thing and even the occasional class but nothing serious in the past year. The urge to learn and practice yoga seriously has been growing in the back of my head for months. The Bearded One only encouraged this thought by getting me a new mat for Christmas.

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Part of my preparation for daily yoga has been hitting up the internet for a little research. I had no idea there were so many branches and variants. My previous conceptions of yoga were of something slow, quiet, and meditative. It was really exciting to find examples of strong, vigorous, and active yoga practices. I’m really interested in Ashtanga Yoga but I’m also going to try the other branches to see what works best for me. Regardless of what I choose, if the last few days are any indication, February is going to be a great month for yoga. 

Swatches

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I may or may not have watched a few video tutorials about crochet on CreativeBug.com. It started innocently enough. The hour was late. I was bored and looking for some entertainment. Yes, I watch how to videos for fun because I like learning and knowing how stuff works. Anyway, up to this point I had watched tutorials on making soap, double knitting, thrummed mittens, stamping, book binding, and whatever else looked interesting. One thing I hadn’t watched were the crochet videos. The first time, I had one eye on my knitting and one eye on the video. Something sparked my interest and, the second time around, I had a hook and cotton yarn in my hands.

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Previously, all I knew about crochet was how to make a chain for a provisional cast on to use with knitting. I soon figured out how to hold the yarn and hook and set to working swatches. I practiced single crochet, double crochet, triple crochet, and even half double crochet. On other swatches I made spaces, increased, decreased, finished with a few rows of fan stitch. Thanks to this tutorial from The Dapper Toad, I got that whole Magic Circle thing to work but I’m sure I’ll still have look it up every time.

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Crochet intrigues me because the resulting fabric is so different from knitting. Crocheted fabric is thicker and more structural. Crochet and knitting look nothing alike. After knitting for years, every row of crochet seems like binding off. It’s a fun thought even if it’s not necessarily true. With crochet, I want to make things that I would never consider knitting: sturdy baskets, trivets, mandalas, and cute little embellishments. The Bearded One is particularly excited about durable crocheted slipper soles. 

Surprisingly enough, I think learning to crochet has made me a better knitter. Crochet has given my hands a little extra training that should make continental knitting and two-handed color work much easier. If only knowing how to read a reading knitting pattern meant I could read a crochet pattern. They’re still greek to me. 

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Needles and Wool

Normally, whenever needles and wool come up in the same sentence, knitting is the first thing that comes to mind. I carry around knitting in my purse. There is an untold number of slightly finished project sitting around my house. Don’t even get me started about yarn. It’s safe to say that I have knitting on the brain. So, at 2013’s first fiber guild meeting, I was presently surprised to learn about a different crafty combination of needles and wool - needle felting. 

To needle felt, you really only need 3 things: a foam pad, wool roving, and a needle. It’s that simple but you can’t use just any needle. The necessary needle definitely isn’t a knitting needle or sewing needle but a thin piece of metal with barbs and a sharp point at one end. Once you have a small ball of roving and the foam pad to work on, just start stabbing. It’s vicious. It’s cathartic. It’s occasionally a bloody experience if you spear one of your fingers.  When the original ball is compacted, add more fiber, keep stabbing, and slowly sculpt the wool to it’s final shape. Then you can add color, embellishments, and numerous details.

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I got to experiment with needle felting by making a heart shaped pincushion. Other guild members made hearts that looked sculpted and delicate. My heart looks like one of those chalky, valentine candies that I eat every year because they are inescapable. I’m tempted to add some sort of abbreviated and completely inappropriate message. 

Repeatedly stabbing a defenseless ball of wool was pretty fun. Plus, I only pricked my fingers a few times and didn’t draw any blood. It was really interesting to watch wool transform from something soft and fluffy to compact and solid. The finished heart is still soft and definitely wooly but very different from the cushy yarn I’m used to working with. FYI, sculpting wool is definitely harder than it looks. The felting process is easy but requires patience, an eye for detail, and practice. It’s not that different from knitting after all.

When I left the meeting, I knew I had fun but wasn’t sure if I wanted to try needle felting again. The heart’s been on on my desk and I keep coming up with all these things I could make. Cool, geeky things. Plus, I’ve got lots of roving leftover from finished skeins of handspun. Looks like I’ll be getting some felting needles soon. 

Drawing Incrementally: Week 3

Every month I’m picking one skill to practice everyday for a month and updating my progress every Monday. I call it Project Incremental. Read up on how it all got started. 

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How many weeks do you have to do something for it to become a habit? I’m voting for 3 since, at 2, this would become the day I’d have to fess up for not making my daily goals. Last week, I owned up to doing all my sketches at the last moment. I waited because I wanted to learn something and get better instead of just filling up my sketchbook. In 14 drawings, there was no progress but I wanted to keep going. So, what happened last week? Nothing. Didn’t even flip open my sketchpad or sharpen a pencil, however, I did do some research and added something new to my toolkit.

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It’s not new pencils or a kneaded eraser even though I did buy both of those things. It’s a workbook called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. The reviews were good, the results look amazing, and the book is in its second edition. What convinced me to try this book though was how straightforward the author was about learning to draw:

“Drawing is always the same task, requiring the same five perceptual skills that, with practice, become integrated into the whole skill - called a “global skill - drawing.” - Betty Edwards

I’ve always had “the practice.” I’d sit down in front of an object with my pencils and paper and start sketching. The finished drawing looked like what was in front of me but wasn’t quite right. The proportions were off or the shading blurred out the detail or the perspective was jumbled. I thought it I just practiced enough I could solve those problems. Learning to draw isn’t just practice, practice, practice but knowing what to practice and focus on. Seems simple but the simple things can easily be over looked.

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So I’m starting at the beginning of the book with the 3 drawings meant to gauge future progress and skills. I managed an okay drawing of my hand and the corner of a room. Haven’t gotten to the self portrait yet but I will. It won’t be amazing and I’ll probably just embarrass myself but it’s a start.

Drawing Incrementally: Week 2

Every month I’m picking one skill to practice everyday for a month and updating my progress every Monday. I call it Project Incremental. Read up on how it all got started. 

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What do a spaghetti fork, a fork, a bottle of italian seasoning, a straw dispenser, an olive oil pitcher, and a jar of preserves have in a common?

The answer, I drew all of them last night and at the last minute. So much for drawing everyday.

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At least I managed to pick up the slack. The only sketch I managed to do close to on time was “Monday’s” sketch of a knife block that I actually drew on Tuesday afternoon. Why the shirking of daily drawings. I could caulk it up to waiting till the end of the night only to decide I’m too tired. What really happened was that I didn’t feel like I was learning anything or getting an better. Where’s the progress that’s supposed to keep me motived? I just wasn’t seeing it. So, I slacked off and drew 6 things at the last minute because I said I’d draw 7 things from my kitchen. Accountability, what would I do without you? 

Why keep drawing if I’m not seeing any progress? One, two weeks of sketching isn’t going to make me a master. I need time and I need practice. Lots and lots of practice. Two, I’ve got to start somewhere. Three, I’ve wanted to be able to sketch and render and doodle for as long as I can remember. I want to record what’s important, tell stories, and make art. Four, I’m inspired. In Reader, I have an Art folder which follows the blogs several artists. I see their work and want to develop my own style to tell my own stories. A few of my favorites in no particular order:

  • Yuko Ota - I’ve followed her work for a few years and her art manages to be both cute and badass at the same time. Also, Johnny Wander rocks.
  • Donovan Beeson - She posts regular sketches/journal combos to The Intangible Blog. The images are wonderful, almost daily snapshots of her interests and adventures.
  • Abigail Halpin - Cute, whimsical, and fun. Her work makes me smile.
  • Lucy Knisley - Comics! about food and travel and daily life. The occasional Harry Potter reference doesn’t hurt either. 
  • Marc Taro Holmes - His blog is a combination of watercolor and sketches that focuses on documenting the spirit of place.
  • Kate Bingaman Burt - Simple, biographical drawings of her daily purchases. I like to wonder at the stories behind her spending. 
  • Genine D. Zlatkis - Fun, colorful, and expressive watercolors, paintings, and sketches. Also, really awesome hand carved stamps.