Let Go

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I woke up this morning with these words in my head:

“Sometimes we have to let go of the original plan in order to allow the newer, cooler design to come out.”

I was remembering meeting some new folks on Sunday, having lunch with the couple after church. The young gal had a crocheted purse that was lovely. I commented on it and asked her about it. She said she had made it, but wanted to get the left bit down into a triangular point. When she couldn’t get it the way she wanted it, she just left it curvy. I told her it was awesome just like it was.

I wonder how many creations/discoveries/inventions are actually due to the artist/scientist/inventor “missing the mark” and then changing course?

Good thought for life as well. 🙂

***May we each have the grace to let go of the original plan so that the newer, grander one can unfold!

Yarned In!

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I don’t know what comes over me! If there’s even the slightest prediction of snow accumulation above one inch, I seem to go into a trance. A yarn trance that is. Creative cogs in high gear, I pull down yarns from various sections of the house, putting them in my big white bowl to see how they get along with one another. It doesn’t make sense…I DO have several, in progress projects that could well be completed if I used the impending snow storm hours to finish them!! My Rhubarb Blanket is just inches away from being done! A pair of socks only needs the foot and toe parts to complete a whole pair! Hitchhiker Shawl languishes midway. Surely I could just sit and knit happily on any of these!!! But no…

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Woolly ideas, like sheep dancing in my dreams, go traipsing through my head. Pattern books are pulled down off the shelf. Knit and crochet magazines get rifled through. Loose leaf printed patterns off the internet are looked at. Ravelry is scoured.

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The search? Tunic. Vest. Cardigan? Not? As is typical for me, I cannot find just what I want. So I shift into an even deeper trance of making it up as I go. I know what I want. I see it in my head. Lots of colors. Bulky yarn leftovers. A warm, woolly something to knit in the coming snow storm…to wear in the days after.

WildHare4 Fair isle. Yes! Who better to guide me than Kristin Nicholas and her expert and marvelous book Color by Kristin. Stitch patterns and charts are poured over, some decided, some not. A desire to create as I go is much more satisfying than having it all planned out at the start. The snow will guide me. The colors and yarn will show the way. I have only to begin.

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And so I do as the first flakes fall. No matter that we only get around 2″ and then some sleet and ice. But schools are closed. Everywhere is white. Snow means knitting. Hours and hours of knitting. Who cares that there are people in this house who need me to get up and go do things for them!? Sorry folks, if you need food or clean clothes…I’m “yarned in”! Quite literally, if you saw me sitting in my corner-of-the-studio chair, you would see me buried under piles of fluffy wool much like the snow falling down all around out the windows here. The only difference is that this fluffy stuff in my hands is sooo colorful!

It’s all bits of this and that. Leftovers from other projects. I feel certain they will be happy together…but I really won’t know until I knit them together. Fair Isle and bulky yarns are a bit tricky…keeping the floats loose enough is a challenge. But I don’t care. The snow trance has hold of me good, and I’m “yarned in”. Hemmed in by wools, size 13 round knitting needles, and a wonderful book from which to pick and choose all sorts of delicacies as I go.

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I’m about half way finished! And it is now snowing again outside, two days after the first “storm” hit us. There is more predicted for the weekend. I think I’ll be yarned in for a few more days! I think I like that! But my family might not. They look over at me, roll their eyes and shrug their shoulders. Then they open the pantry to search for something to eat. 🙂

***P.S. You can follow my progress on Instagram, if you like! I’ve called this my Wild Hare Tunic! It’s a play on words, as in “wild hair” when you get a crazy idea and run with it.

Stashbuster Mixed Media Cowl

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Before my Art Show in November, I made several of these and they have been well received by many folks there buying them for gifts or for themselves. I wanted to type up a tutorial for any who might be interested in making one (or LOTS) also. It’s a great way to use up your existing stash. In fact, I made it my mission to ONLY use what I had on hand…little bits of this, leftovers of that.

M&MMakeCowl The first thing I do is gather up my yarns. Mortimer and Millicent wanted to oversee my photo tutorial efforts, giving invaluable (and sometimes annoying) suggestions and critiques along the way. 🙂 I like to put the yarns in a white bowl so I can see them sitting there together. I pull anything and everything that tickles my fancy: solid yarns, variegated yarns, fibers with a bit of bling, textured yarns, etc. I don’t worry too much at this point whether or not I’ll actually USE them all…this is the fun part of putting color together! There may be a yarn or two that just don’t make it into the finished cowl. Or I may just use them all!

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I choose a bulky yarn as a “base” or anchor. Since I’m using either a size 13 knitting needle or an N crochet hook, I want the stitches and yarns to be rather chunky. But this doesn’t mean I can’t use worsted, DK or even fingering weight yarns. I just have to combine the thinner yarns to approximate a chunky weight. I’ll demonstrate this a bit in the photos.

If I’m knitting a Mixed Media Cowl, I cast on 40-50 sts. This is a wide range that you will have to determine the number based on how thick your yarn choices are AND based on how generous you want your cowl to be. I’ve made them anywhere from neck huggers to cowls with a bit of drape. You choose! The knitted version is simply garter stitch all the way through.

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If I’m crocheting a Mixed Media Cowl, I chain 45-50. Again, this all depends on the above factors. This one is a 50 chain Cowl, which is a bit more generous than some I have made. I use single crochet stitches THROUGH THE BACK LOOP. This allows the crochet to have more drape to it than regular single crochet.

So, here we go:

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I began with the “base” yarn, a chunky yarn combined with a very slim shiny yarn just to add interest. Chain 50.

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Sc in the second chain from hook and in each chain across. I like to crochet into the “butt” of the chain thereby giving a nice edge that looks like bind off in knitting.

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Attach a new yarn or set of yarns. Here I’ve combined two different worsted weight yarns. Together they are somewhat close to the thickness of the “base” yarn. I attach the new yarns just before finishing off the last single crochet stitch. Then, with the new yarn(s), finish the sc, CHAIN 1, and turn your work, ready to go on the next row!

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I work single crochet THROUGH THE BACK LOOPS at the same time crocheting over the ends so that I don’t have to weave them in at the end.:)

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I work two rows of each color or set of yarns. This time there are THREE yarns held together:  a worsted, a textured, and a thin “bling” yarn. Continue working sc tbl, and crocheting over the ends.

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Continue working in this manner until you have the height you desire.

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I worked 7 groupings of yarn, giving me approx. 6″-7″ depending on how much you stretch the fabric out. This crochet stitch looks a bit like sideways ribbing and has a lovely ridge on both sides.

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I end with the “base” yarn again. This is certainly not necessary, but I think it finishes it off. This last time I held a different shiny yarn with it for variety.  I only work one row of this. Weave in all ends.

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The cool thing about this cowl is that you do not need button holes! Place your buttons where you like and you can button it up in two different ways:

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With the buttons vertical, straight up and down (as pictured in the selfie above:).

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Or with the buttons and cowl diagonal, hugging the neck a bit more. Either way is lovely I think!

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Of course, Mortimer and Millicent had to try it on too! They were so upset that it didn’t fit them! Then they thought perhaps I had made them a cozy blanket, only to be dashed again when I explained this was a Cowl for PEOPLE not mice! (I may need to go make a couple of cowls, mice size, for them as they are a pouting a bit.)

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Choosing the buttons is REALLY fun! Go to your button box, mix and match, or find inexpensive buttons in shops you frequent. They add just the right touch!

Wear, smile, and have a beautiful, artsy day!!

*New Shawl Pattern!

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I absolutely love shawls! I love wearing them and knitting them, crocheting them and designing them! Here’s a new one I’ve just uploaded to my Etsy Shop for any who would like to make this colorful shawl.

S&RShawlBack This shawl is knitted from the top down to the tip of the triangle, alternating colors to create stripes.

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Then eyelet rows become the perfect way to weave ribbons through the shawl.

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It is then topped off with a wide-ribbed “ruffle” and a picot bind off edge.

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A perfect pattern for a beginner-intermediate knitter!

Click Here to read more about the pattern and to purchase.

Are you on Ravelry? I am as Drawn2Knit! Let’s be friends there and knit together!

I hope you enjoy this pattern as much as I enjoyed creating it!

Art To Wear!

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There have been a hand full of times when I have envisioned, planned, created, and enjoyed the result so much so it makes me float on clouds for a few days. This  may sound a bit arrogant, but it isn’t meant to. Perhaps it is the reward for a creative person when they are able to see a long-term project come to fruition.

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Somewhere in mid-April I had several capelet/shawl ideas pop out in sketches. Here’s the one for this capelet I’m calling Spring Has Sprung.

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I set about gathering yarns I had on hand, leftover bits of this and that, mostly cottons, bright springy colors. I relish that part of the process…picking the colors and textures that will somehow blend to a pleasing whole in the end.

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I choose an edging from Kristin Nicolas’ book and begin there. I work my way up adding stripes of colors, a decorative eyelet row, intarsia the flower centers here and there, finishing off with a stand up collar mirroring the stripes at the bottom. This is only the beginning.

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I like to think of the basic cape as a painted canvas on which to now collage whatever I’d like to. Crocheted flowers, knitted leaves, embroidered stems, buttons, beads, etc. All of this gets added to the “painting” in yarn.

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It is satisfying work. I love the process. I love seeing it evolve. I love that it takes a while. And then, I love to wear it. Art for my shoulders…so fun and fulfilling.

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I even made a clasp for the capelet out of an aluminum stitch holder. I simply bent the wire out to allow for my chosen beads to slip on. I bent the wire back and voila! A lovely clasp for my new Spring Has Sprung Capelet.

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**If you’re interested in seeing a couple of other Art To Wear pieces I’ve made, click here and here!

More views…

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*Please honor the fact that this is an original design! It is not to be copied or duplicated in any way. I am toying with the idea of typing up a pattern so that others can make one for themselves. In the meantime, simply enjoy viewing it as you would a painting. Thank you!

An Artful Life

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As each day marches on beyond the health ordeal I’ve recently gone through, I begin to see some of the shake down or repercussions of it all. It might be described as having experienced a sifting of sorts, and what remains in the sifter is the pure wheat. It’s an ongoing process though, and I’m just sharing with you as I go along.

I can’t remember if I’ve ever told you about my achilles heel: an inner drive to have a career in Art. I call it my “achilles heel” because it has plagued me for many years now: An overarching desire and longing to have an established career as an Artist in a particular creative path. The thing is, as much as you may not believe it, this career in Art has always eluded me. My definition of “career” has a lot to do with being gainfully employed by a full-time endeavor. I have chased down numerous paths (portrait artist, knit & crochet designer, exhibiting/gallery artist, art & yarn teacher, etc.) and none of them have really “taken off”, or at least met the expectations I have in my  mind for what a career in that vein would look like. I do realize the flaws in this type of thinking, but there it is, for better or for worse…I have wanted (and if I’m honest with you, I still do want) an Art Career.

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But it has become clear to me in these days following sickness and surgery, that what I truly want far more than a career in art, is a life of art! And though it may not seem to be too different, there are significant differences in how I think about the two. I won’t type it all out here. I’ll let you read through my poorly photographed list I made in my writing journal. Some of these might resonate with you. Some may not. It has been good to put the two “focuses” side by side and see the difference.  They seem huge to me. I think the one that most excites me about having an artful life, as opposed to a narrowly focused career, is that I am free to hop in and out of all the things I love to make whether it’s drawings and paintings, or knit & crochet designs, or Genevieve illustrations, etc.

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The freedom of this makes me giddy! And whenever the siren song of “must have career” begins to play in my head, I recall that my artful life allows me to be who I am, creative ADD and all! In fact, an Artful Life is really what I’ve had for many years yet couldn’t see it because of my drive to establish a career. Perhaps now I can let go of the career-path dictums, and just enjoy what I have.

I’ll be posting on this topic, An Artful Life, as I continue to flesh out what it means (for me) to live Artfully. I do not in any way mean to say that if you have an Art Career you can’t have an Artful Life! Or vice-versa! But I’m just exploring, for my own benefit, the differences as I have attempted for many years to establish a career in a particular “art”. It has seemed that I ran into roadblocks so many times, or that I had to choose only one art to focus my marketing and selling energies.

**So…do you have this affliction? This drive to establish yourself as capital A Artist in a particular area of the arts? Does it plague you? How do you deal with it? Do you find freedom from having to have an Art career and if so, in what way? I’d love to hear… 🙂 Or, if you do have a career in the arts, do you feel you are also able to have an artful life? Please leave your thoughts in the comments…I might quote you in upcoming posts.;)

Resurrection Shawl

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When I received the diagnosis that I had Ulcerative Colitis, and the medicines that were intended to put it into remission, I had such hope of recovery! I wanted to make something through the recovery period that would be a part of  my healing and then represent God’s faithfulness to me as I wrapped it around me.  The above drawing is what I sketched out as I envisioned this shawl. I was also asking my Father that I might be well enough to wear it on Easter Sunday. I drew this in mid March.

As events played out, I was unable to wear this Easter Sunday. I had my colon removal surgery on Good Friday and was in the hospital on Easter. I couldn’t knit during the three weeks I was there, too many pic lines and iv’s going in and out to make it a comfortable endeavor. But when I got home, I began, very slowly to continue work on what I was calling my Resurrection Shawl.  Here are some pics of different views of it. I have been so pleased with how it turned out. Crocheted flowers appliquéd onto a loosely knitted simple shawl. I used all kinds of things to knit with: lace, ribbon, and all sorts of colors and textures of yarn. A few things changed from the original sketch. It was so fun to see it come to life.

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And this past Sunday, I felt well enough to go to church and sit with my church family to worship. I wore my Resurrection Shawl as a testimony to my Heavenly Father’s faithfulness to carry me through a rather horrendous ordeal. He is still carrying me…knitting me together one day at a time. 🙂

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**I am beginning the process of combining my three blogs into one. It may take a while, but you will start to see some changes here at Drawn2Life as other Pages are added, and blog posts are slurped in.  I’m very excited to have all my creative loves under one roof! Like the tagline I recently changed at the top: “Drawing, Knitting, Illustration, Crochet…it’s all Life, it’s all Good!”

From Vision to Reality

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From this sketch of an idea before starting to knit…

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To the final version in reality!

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Husband took these photos on a blustery day at the top of our neighborhood, in front of Mr. Whicker’s farm.

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Being silly ’cause I love my new sweater very much!

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Here are some up close photos in not so good lighting. 🙁

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As the sweater evolved, I felt it needed a band at the bottom to lengthen it. Seed Stitch at the bottom kept the edge from rolling AND seemed the perfect stitch for a flower sweater.

I LOVED doing the embroidered lettering!

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The stems and leaves made ME laugh!

I had to keep trying on the sweater to see how it draped and thus how the stems should flow. 🙂

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And of course, I had to take Brown Sweater’s photo on Genevieve, the name of my dress form. I’ve had my dress form a bit longer than illustrated Genevieve has been with me. I must like that name, a little bit.

**Do you see how I “wrote” Emerson as the stem of the last flower?

That little flower is also the period at the end of the quote,

“The  earth laughs in flowers.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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This will be the perfect thing to wear to the Art Show at my school this Thursday.

It’s going to be a grand evening!

A Favorite B’day Card

I received this card for my birthday from my husband’s brother and his wife.

I love it!  It is so…ME!

And all the CurlyGirlDesigns Cards are simply merveilleux!