In the middle of November I started to draw what was happening in my head. Well, it wasn’t only in my head. Some of the ideas that flutter around in my head come through my hands, or at least get started to see if they want to be fully birthed. Not all of the ideas mind you. My brain is a veritable factory of creative ideas which one person cannot possibly bring into being. I must be choosy.

I do love to have the time to sit and ponder each of them, like rolling a river pebble over in my fingers gazing at all sides and wondering if I have what that particular idea requires, or whether it should wait a while or perhaps be tossed back into the vast idea pond. Spinning wool is a lovely place to ponder and mull and work through the idea backlog.

The difficulty is that I’m forever attaching a weighty criteria to the ideas. Is this meaningful enough? Does it have an artistic flair? Is it original? Or is it someone else’s idea that I think I can do my version of? Will I have to purchase other tools or items to make this? How much time will be involved? Is it do-able within the framework of my life? Will I have to leave hearth and home for a week in order to see this idea come to fruition?

The heaviest weight I put on creating something is that big word Art with a capital A. I have an ongoing love-hate relationship with this word and for many years have preferred to remove the consideration of whether I’m producing Art, off the table. I really just want to be delighted, and if what I’m making delights me, then it shouldn’t matter whether it is deemed Art by me or by anyone else.

So I sit there at my wheel, or stand twirling a spindle, enrapt in delight as I do so, and I’m thinking of all these other things I “should” be devoting my time to.  I kept drawing the little illustrations off and on over the past few weeks in hopes of getting somewhere. It dawned on me recently, as it has done numerous times before, that what I’m holding in my hands is more often than not, THE THING I’m to be doing. Whew. Such freedom and Joy! Just look at the final drawing in my little story and that happy smile on the idea bulb’s face! “Finally! She’s got it!”

Here in the midst of our busy holiday making, I hope you can find some time to be delighted. It doesn’t matter if you are making world-changing Art, or just spinning some fluff into string. Stay in the de-Light as long as you can, eschewing those pesky thoughts that you should surely be doing something else more weighty and monumental. Pay attention to what you find yourself paying attention to (Jessica Abel’s thoughts here).

Deep dive into what’s right there in your hands to make and bring to life. It is likely the Big Idea 💡 you’ve been after all along.❤️

Pensieve Paintings


Some day, and maybe someday quite soon, I want to paint really big abstract paintings. Yeah, this is nothing new. I have wanted to do this for many years. All kinds of reasons blocks rise up when I go to actually make these little ones on a larger scale…i don’t have time, no one would want to buy such a thing, i don’t have room for big canvases, translating watercolor on paper to acrylic on canvas will not work, where will I store them, yada yada yada, blah blah blah.


There’s nothing like a huge undertaking, like a wedding, or making one’s mother-of-the-bride dress, to heighten your sense of desire for realizing other dreams. Some day. Yes. Some day soon. After the wedding. Before autumn arrives. Yes.


Until then, I will continue using my sketchbook as a pensieve…a place to deposit the ideas that swirl around in my head, the color I see in the skies, the land, the world out there as well as in here. They are not meant to “be” anything, to represent any particular place or event or even subject. Just color, worked quickly so that my analytical brain can’t break in and take over.


Until the day when I can sling paint on a large scale, I will make page after page of these small ones. Sometimes I fit two on a 9″ x 11″ sketchbook page. Sometimes, in smaller sketchbooks, there is only one per page, or per spread. Different papers, different applications of the paint. Add some pencil here or there, or not. Totally free. Simple and easy. So satisfying. Just for me.

A Recent Conversation


Curiosity: “Hmmm…I wonder what my line drawings would look like embroidered?”

Reason: “What, really? Ok, seriously…you’re not thinking of starting something new are you?”

Curiosity: “Why not? It would be fun! Just give it a go, and see what comes of it.”

Reason: “Jen, come on…you have so many projects going now already!! You do not need to add any more. Besides, you know how you hate feeling pulled in so many creative directions!”


Curiosity: “But just look at those stitches! Look at all the colors of thread, floss, yarn…not to mention the cool stitchwork, the embellishing I could do with buttons and beads…”

Reason: “Yeah, well surely you realize just how time-consuming embroidery is! You can draw 50 drawings in the time it will take you to finish one embroidered drawing! Please be reasonable here!”

Curiosity: “I don’t care if it takes me forever, I just wanna try it! I’ve thought of this numerous times in the past and never actually tried it. I just need to explore it a bit, see where it leads. I may just need to get it out of my system.”

Reason: “Well, you and I both know that sometimes your “just trying it” turns into months and years worth of work.”


Curiosity: “…months and years worth of PLAY! and enjoyment and fun and oh have you seen Rebecca Ringquist’s work? Ooooh….now that’s an embroidery I could get into. Or at least try some of the elements she uses. And then there’s LiliPopo Sketches…oh and Jenny Hart…”

Reason: “Oh golly, I can see you have already succumbed. You’re gonna be pulling your hair out and untangling tiny threads and wishing you had even more time to do all the creative stuff you get yourself into. Don’t come running to me when you’re fretting!”


Curiosity: “OK…I won’t. This is so cool…do you see this? The layers of fabric are like collage…the machine stitching I used to baste the fabrics is like an underpainting, then the stitches of lines I have drawn from sketching at the Ciener Botanical Gardens downtown, and I can’t wait to embellish with some beads and buttons maybe…and then……..


Let Go


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!


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…


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.


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.


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.


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.

*Crochet Your Heart!


(Last year’s Valentine’s Card. I’m working on this year’s!:)


I think I might like Valentine’s Day even more than Christmas. Well no…maybe it’s a tie. What I like is that Valentine’s is simple. Or can be. Just a little gift to let someone know you “heart” them. And of course, the chocolate is pretty cool too! crochetheartpin Last year I designed this CROCHET HEART as I was wanting to teach a friend how to make a simple one. I searched the web for one I liked and couldn’t find just the right shape or find it simple enough for a beginning crocheter. So I designed this one, made several into pins last year, and have been wearing mine each day here lately. Feel free to use this little pattern (click on the link above) and share it with friends. Fronts&Backs

(Ugh. the color is ghastly here! So sorry!)

To make the pin, you simply crochet the heart using my pattern here, then single crochet around the edge with something sparkly. Add a pin back and a button or decorative brad to the center. Et Voila! But there are so many other things you could do with this pattern!! Since I may not have time to make all of these, I drew them for you! Working with various sizes of yarns and hooks, you can make this heart large or small!! So, big yarn and big hook = big heart! Small yarn and small hook = small heart! Garland&Flowers Small hearts make for great pins, attachments to cards and gift wrap, and even a lovely heart garland for your window or mantel. You could also make some heart “flowers”, hot gluing them to a stick and placing them down in a pot.:) HeartPurse Bigger hearts can be made into sachets and purses for little girls. Simply crochet TWO of them and stitch them together. For the purse, stitch it up only around the sides and bottom, leaving the top humps of the heart open. Crochet a chain as a handle onto the little purse, or just sew a ribbon on. You can even decorate it with buttons or beads if you like! heartSachet For the sachet,  just prior to sewing up the entire seam around the edge, stuff it with stuffing that has been spritzed with your favorite perfume or scent. Place one in a drawer to scent your clothing. Hang one from a clothes hanger for freshening the closet! Pin&Wands   Ooooh…and I saw on one of my favorite crochet blogs, Tangled Happy, a Crochet Heart Wand made with two hearts, stuffed a bit, with a sparkly pencil for the stick!! Add a few ribbons and what a cute valentine gift for a girl! IMG_3782 I also found online a wonderful pattern for KNITTING a heart! I was so tickled to see it was from a favorite blog I follow, called The Sitting Tree. Do check out her blog with a cup of tea in hand. You’ll enjoy every minute there! All of the above ideas could be made with these knitted hearts! I’m sure there is much much more you could do with them… CrochetYourHeart …Leave YOUR ideas in the comment section so we can all benefit! And HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!

Dreaming in Yarn


Recuperating from major surgery affords one a lot of time to think and dream. In between the bouts of discomfort and the fog of pain meds, ideas drift through my hopeful head.

Shawls and capelets to knit and crochet, drawings and paintings of knitterly things seem to waft through the air as I convalesce.

I’ve taken to sketching them all down in my journal…who knows which ones might become reality one day?


I’m nearly finished with my second Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl! Only a few more rows of this spectacular lime green and I’ll show you the result. This one, however, is not a magic cake of leftover sock yarns, like the pattern calls for and which I made last time. I simply chose a ball of Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn, which stripes the yummy colors on its own. I have a few other variations to Paula Emmons-Fuessle’s wonderful pattern that I’d like to try. It’s one of those super patterns that inspires many variations…you’re getting so much for the price of the one pattern.

I’m also nearing the end of the European Pillow Sham crochet covers. I’ll share this with you as well.

However, these dreamy yarn ideas are begging to have a go and it may need to be sooner rather than later!

We shall see.

In the meantime, I’ll keep dreaming…

Creative Pensieve


Harry Potter: “What is it?

Albus Dumbledore: “This? It is called a Pensieve.

I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling,

that I simply have too many thoughts

and memories crammed into my mind.

— Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter discussing Dumbledore’s Pensieve.

Several years ago, when I read the above in one of J.K.Rowlings’ renowned books, I immediately thought, “That’s what I need!!” I had actually been doing this to a certain extent in my sketchbooks. But I began to create Creative Pensieves in the form of books (rather than a cauldron of water) to hold all the “brilliant ideas” that came floating into my head, clamoring to be made. Since I couldn’t tend to them all at once, I decided to write them down, sketch them out, paste in, whatever the idea was so that I could come back to it at a later date. For some of my yarn projects, I actually made a scrapbook, titling it thus.





I have scads of these Pensieves around the house. I have one for Genevieve books I’ve written awaiting  illustrations and…publishing…????


I have sketchbooks with ideas for larger works…



I have composition notebooks which are my daily writing books, but are filled with ideas for making stuff, for poems, for sewing stuff, as well as the yarn designs that crop up along the way…




Timaree says she does this too…writing down the ideas as they come. Perhaps its not as elaborate as the scrapbook. It doesn’t need to be. But it’s a great way to hold onto some of those creative no-see-ums when they’re buzzing around your head and you don’t want to lose the idea. It helps in several ways:

1.  It eases the frenzy of all those ideas banging around in your mind. Writing or sketching them in a book, allows you to breathe a bit easier knowing the idea(s) is captured there for a later date.

2.  When the idea first comes to you, it may have this “brilliant idea” quality. If you write it down, then it can simmer. When you look at it again you can decide if it still has that brilliance or if it may be something you can let go of.

3.  If you ever hit places where you are bereft of brilliant ideas, then you have your Creative Pensieve to dive into and find a cool creative project.

The one hitch to having these Creative Pensieves sitting around is that they might start to talk to you. You have to watch out if it starts saying something like, “Okay…I’m sitting here…waiting for you to do something about this…all these great ideas you’ve never done anything about…come on, get with it!” DO NOT listen to it if you hear negative chatter like this!!!

If you do hear something like that, immediately change it’s tune to this:


**Just another way I live artfully. I hope you are living a life of art as well, and loving every minute of it!

How It All Begins


This is how an idea for a design begins. With a little sketch. A few notes. Just a beginning. You can see from this initial sketch and notes that a few things changed by the time my Di-Vine Yoga Socks Pattern was completed:

*I ended up using a yarn, slightly thicker than worsted weight…Aran? (The wrapper calls it worsted, but it is definitely a bit thicker than that!)

*I did not like ribbing, and instead used Garter stitch. It looked SO much better (to me:).

*Originally I thought about knitting small leaves, sewing them on, and then connecting them with a chain stitch vine. But my whole reason for creating my own Yoga Sock design was to have a QUICK knit. And having to knit 5 or so leaves, then sew them on, would not’ve been a quick knit!! So I settled on the chain stitch to be a continuous line, “drawing” the leaves as well as the vine. Just what I wanted.

I love the Paper App for the iPad. That’s where I sketched the above image. I have one “book” in the Paper App designated for Knit & Crochet design ideas. I love the simple tools and colors. It’s an awesome app for drawing, sketching, note-taking, etc. You should try it!!

Di-Vine Yoga Socks (Knit)

Di-Vine Yoga Socks (Knit)

The Gathering

Every new idea begins with gathering your supplies.  It’s one of my favorite parts of a knitting project! I’ve got an idea for a pattern to offer you, totally FREE, and it requires yummy colors in cotton.  Actually there are several ideas I have in mind for these cottons.  Most of these are Cotton Classic colors which are to DIE FOR!  And underneath, there are some Peaches & Cream cottons in super colors too!  Stayed tuned for more and more patterns and ideas for you to knit!

Someday, I’ll begin the crochet basics!  I keep wanting to turn my attentions there, but I just can’t let go of all the fun scarf-like ideas for you knitters.  We’ll get there (to the crocheting) I’m sure of it.  Just not right now:)

P.S. To view the entire painting propped up behind this little basket of yarns, click here!