About Me

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Life and the creative process are about the journey, not the destination. I love working with colour and texture and can get totally 'lost' in the creative process. Variety keeps my creative juices flowing. We are currently traveling full time in a 40' motorhome and bouncing between visits with a son in Albuquerque NM and a son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter in Calgary AB. In between we are busy exploring this great continent on which we live. It's a challenge working from my mobile studio but I am using our travel time to learn new skills and refine existing ones.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Socks, Socks, Socks!

1st & 2nd pair - 2009 - 2010
In January 2009 we headed out for a epic journey in our motor home and knowing my inability to sit for long periods of time without something to do with my hands, I made a stop at the local yarn shop before our departure.  At that point in time I hadn't had knitting needles in my hands for at least 20 years and I had never tackled 'socks' - lots of sweater, hats, afghans - but no socks!  That winter I completed my first pair and if you didn't look closely the 'different' heels weren't noticeable.  They have served me well now for three winters and before Christmas I happened to notice that they were getting thin on the toes.  Oh - oh!  What to do?  I checked the toes of a subsequent pair of socks and they too were getting thin on the toes - but not the heels! 

3rd pair gifted 2010 - 4th pair 'Hallowe'en' above 2011
As I completed my fourth pair - my fall 2011 pair in hallowe'en colors - I mulled over what to do and after a bit of research decided to take a different approach for each pair.  One pair I did a duplicate stitch in the worn area, the second pair I ripped out the toes and reknit the toes using both the old yarn and a new strand - double thickness.  I think I like this method better than using the duplicate stitch, one of the suggested reinforcing methods I found.
My 'hallowe'en' socks were a toe up pattern from Cat Bordhi's book "Personal Footprints" and I really like the fit of that pair.  I was too far along to 'reinforce' the toes but as the 'kroy' sock yarn I used is heavier than the yarn previously used I will see if they outwear pairs one and two.  Bonus - the yarn was 99 cents a ball in a clearance bin in Michael's last fall - $2 socks!

5th pair - a keeper at $2!

Since Christmas I have completed another pair of socks from 'Kroy' wool, this time using several patterns to get what I wanted.  Last year I knit a pair of socks for a gift and used the short heel shaping and discovered that for my foot this heel shaping just wasn't enough 'depth' for my high arch as this stitch pattern doesn't have a lot of give to it.  However I loved the mock cable design in the pattern - the Nutkin Sock on www.Knitzi.com.  I just did a narrow band of ribbing at the top rather than the fold over, proceeded with the leg design but when I got to the heel I consulted another of my reference books "Sock Knitting Master Class by Ann Budd and  used the instructions for the heel flap with the standard Sl 1, K1 reinforcing stitch.  Although I don't wear out the heels it was a chance to try a new technique.  I completed the sock with a side decrease and kitchener stitch bind-off.  I was just completing the second sock when I made my toe discovery!

So on to yet another pair of socks!  This pair is back to a toe up pattern form Cat Bordhi's book but this time I am trying something new.  Instead of using Cat's toe shaping I used a reinforced toe pattern that I found while researching repair methods.  It basically is a round toe and used the same reinforcing stitch as the heel on my previous pair.  I think I'm going to like it.

Do you get the idea that I'm hooked on knitting socks?  I'm still fascinated with the variety of technique used for shaping and it's a great way to try out new stitch patterns....and my feet love the warmth when the weather is cool!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Ramblings

I want to wish everyone a happy and productive 2012. I've been quickly scanning the blogs of a number of on-line friends and I am amazed at how ambitious everyone seems to be. I continue to struggle to find blocks of time to focus intensely on my art and have to keep reminding myself of what a wonderful gift my travel experiences are. That said, I have decided that this year I'm going to choose a word to remind myself to find the time to DO something creative every chance I get and to not get discouraged.  I've had many great ideas over the past year but nothing to show for them! 

Some people choose a focus word for the year and I've been mulling this over and the word that keeps coming to mind is 'PERSEVERE' – to persist determinedly and steadily in an action or belief, usually over a long period and especially despite problems or difficulties, continue, keep at it, carry on, keep trying, stick with it.

On the other hand, maybe I'm being too hard on myself.  With a new granddaughter and two grandnieces last year, I've knit and smocked and quilted for them.  I sewed fabric books to help start new family traditions.  I've invested volunteer hours to help our RV friends in NK'Mip win the ribbon for best float in the Christmas parade.  I actually sold a couple of paintings earlier in the year.  I've learned new skills and now can creating beaded jewelry.  More recently I've created and remodeled a wardrobe for our upcoming cruise (RVing clothes and cruising clothes are not synonymous!)  Al1this and over 10,000 miles on the motor home, many hours of hiking and sightseeing, many new friends and experiences......!

Part of my action plan may be to rethink the media and format that I use.  I love to work large – but maybe I should explore working small; I love to do free motion and other machine work – but maybe I could explore more handwork;  I love to work with fabric – but maybe I should revisit other media…watercolor, pastels, acrylics…on paper for the moment because it is easier to store, keeping in mind that I can also use these materials on fabric if there is a theme or series that evolves.

 Another way for me to maintain a focus is to commit to having pieces finished to enter in a show or to have a number of smaller items prepared for sale over the next year.  I've missed a couple of opportunities this past fall because I didn't have enough items ready in time!  The Fibre Art Network (FAN), a group of western Canada fibre artists to which I belong, has two shows coming up this spring and I plan to have something finished for at least one if not both venues.