Time

TimeforLife

I am realizing anew that there’s a time for every season under heaven.

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(photography courtesy of Hazel Kuehn Photography)

There’s a time for celebrating.

And a time for grieving the passing of an era.

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There’s a time for illness.

And a time for healing.

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There’s a time for making marks.

And a time for white open pages.

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There’s a time for stitching.

And a time for ripping out.

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(photography courtesy of Hazel Kuehn Photography)

There’s a time for gathering.

And a time for letting go.

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There’s a time for making the usual.

And there’s a time for trying something new.

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There’s even a time for going to the beach.

I’m glad it’s that time!

I’m ready for it. I need it.

Looking forward to being with family and the restorative sound of the waves, warm sand in my toes, and days of walking, reading, stitching, drawing…

or not.

There will be time for everything.

A ‘Nother Blog…

BeginningBowl&Tunic

I know, I know…another one? Really Jen? Yes, really! This one is a quiet space for sharing the grace I receive through knitting and crocheting. So please visit me there and sign up for posts to drop in your email box, if you like. It’s a “twin blog”…like the second sock you knit. You’ll understand why when you visit:

A Knitter’s Grace.wordpress.com

Another Sketchbook Chat will be coming soon…so stay tuned! 🙂

Thanks, as always, for following this crazy gal’s creative jags. I really do appreciate it!

A New Pattern: Roomy Tunic!

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I’ve actually had this pattern out in my ETSY shop for a few weeks and just have not taken the time to let you know about it. I’ve been wearing mine and loving how it fits and how comfortable it is. The added cowl is just perfect for the cold weather we’re having.

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This is a terrific pattern for beginners! Simple shapes, simple stitches and the embroidery is optional, but it is certainly not difficult! I love the look and feel of tunics, like Patsy’s Perfect Tunic from last year which is a free pattern written for you in the blog post. The Roomy Tunic uses seed stitch as the accent to stockinette and works up beautifully with the Calypso yarn by Tahki Yarns. You can find this yarn locally at Knit One Smock Too in Winston Salem, NC.  Click here to read more details about the pattern you might want to know.

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In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m offering this pattern and all others in the shop at HALF PRICE!!! So from now through Monday, you can purchase Roomy Tunic for only $2.50!! Just use the coupon code ILOVEYARN2 to receive the 50% discount.

Enjoy!!

Hallow the Moments

Hallow
verb hal·low \ˈha-(ˌ)lō\
Definition of hallow

transitive verb
1
: to make holy or set apart for holy use
2
: to respect greatly : venerate

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The last few days I’ve been thinking about this phrase…Hallow the Moments. It felt like familiar marching orders. Like a tune I’ve heard many times before just in a different key. A thread I’ve followed for many years, but now has a new color. A food I’ve loved, but with an added spice.

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It’s Artful Living. Looking for Beauty in everyday places. Creating something to honor those moments where exquisite loveliness is found…even if it is in humble surroundings or painful events.

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Hallowed Moments. They certainly present themselves to me unbidden. But most of the time I have to be purposeful about looking for them. I plan on doing more and more of this in 2016.

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At the root of Hallowing the Moments is a sort of brief pause where I breathe into the landscape of my life at any given moment and I embrace it, take a mental picture of it, draw it, look for the beauty in it, create a space for presence, God’s presence there, enlarging that moment, putting a stake there to say here, here it is, a moment of beauty, a space of grace.

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From that root will grow all manner of creativity. It may be simple contour drawings, or broad swaths of paint, watercolor splashes, or charcoal portraits. It may be knitted garments, crocheted designs, embroidered art, perhaps more books. It’s exciting to be on the brink of a new year of making. A year to make space for love and light to break through.

Hallow the Moments with me! Join me in searching for beauty and creating something to honor it. Let’s spur one another on in our endeavor to Live Artfully, hallowing the moments of our lives.

Happy New Year dear reader!! Thank you, thank you, for your visits here!

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Hallowed Moments:

*The first sketch is a continuous line drawing made a couple of mornings ago when the phrase Hallow the Moments came marching into my head. I thought…well, this is as good a place as any to practice it. I’ve been here in this same place morning after morning for so many years. Is there anything new for me? Is there anything here, in this ordinary moment, to see? to hear? A simple continuous line, wonky, funky, untamed…slowed me down, allowed me to see that even in a rather frenetic place such as my studio sunroom, peace can be enjoyed.

*The second drawing was made before Christmas as I enjoyed a drawing “hop” with two of my favorite local artists. We have done this now for two years: we travel to each other’s homes to draw our Christmas trees or decorations, eating treats along the way. Definitely a moment to respect and set apart as special.

*Knitting socks continues to be a fascination for me and a lovely opportunity for breathing into my life and throttling down the the busy go-go-go pace. Stitch after familiar stitch brings about a new and interesting pattern.

*I have moments where my inner landscape is in need of broad swaths of paint, just paint. My sketchbook becomes a paintbook. Rich color in simple bold strokes restores my sanity in anxious moments.

*This last drawing in charcoal is something I will tell you more about soon! I worked on it yesterday and I’m sure I’ll be refining it in the next couple of days. But it is created from a photo, taken this Christmas, of my husband with two of my nieces. It was a beautiful moment of fun and goofiness. Definitely worth savoring many times over with a charcoal drawing.

If Knitted Socks Could Speak

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I’m thinking about socks these days. How much I like to knit them. How much I like to wear them. How they go so many places as they’re being knitted. How they go even more places once they’re knitted and on my feet. They seem to be the perfect humble work…both the knitting and the wearing goes unseen mostly…and yet provides the most daily warmth and comfort of any of the other knits.

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I imagine unraveling a hand-knitted sock, and letting it tell of all the places it had been while being knitted. Like a typewriter whose words are bound up in the ribbon, circling and looping round and round, forever sealed up. I like wearing a little bit of my recent history even as my feet carry me and my newest sock-on-the-needles project bag wherever I go.

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This neon pair started at the beach this summer. They’ve seen a lot of life as well as times of neglect as I tended to other projects, both knitted and painted. They don’t seem to mind. The lure of knitting Christmasy socks propelled me to finish the final inches of the second sock. And now I’m happily knitting in all sorts of lovely holiday memories into this pair which I hope to have finished by Christmas Day. That will be quite a feat (feat, feet, ha!:) for sure!!

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Perhaps you’re knitting socks too! Or crocheting them! Do tell of the capers yours socks have gotten into over the duration of their stitch-life!!

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And…Happy Sock Knitting!

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The above sketch was made in my Yarn Project Only sketchbook. I’m thinking about logging the start and end dates of each pair of socks and all the significant and not-so-significant  events of my life as I knit them.

The Real Intent Behind an Art Show

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There are numerous reasons why artists want to have and be a part of Art Shows. One may be a very simple desire to recoup some of the cost that goes into the making of their creations. Another might be to go beyond that and actually make a profit. Some artists may wish to develop a following, extend their list of collectors. Others desire to receive favorable reviews of their technical expertise. But I have a feeling that most artists and creative folks have a desire and intent underlying all these things.

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I cannot speak for every artist. But as for me, my real intent in having an Art Show is so that you might see what I see. Regardless of whether you walk out of the show with anything in your hands, my desire is that you might get a glimpse of the beauty, joy and wonder that has been found in living an everyday life in an everyday town. Sharing what I make is not about “See what I can do”, but rather “See what I have seen”, and “Revel in the beauty that’s right under our feet.”

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(detail of larger Freeform Crochet Landscape)

Art Shows, museums, exhibits and galleries are meant to be reminders to us all that no matter how bleak life may seem, beauty still exists! If you find yourself fearful in the aftermath of the Paris tragedy, weighed down with personal concerns, heavy hearted with unwelcome news…go find an art showing somewhere. Spend some time taking in how that artist sees his/her world. Let that art speak to you and remind you of what is true, good, and wise. You just might leave with a lighter step, a brighter countenance, and hope for what lies ahead.

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You Are Invited!

Jennifer Edwards

Annual Art Show & Book Signing

Saturday, November 21, 2015

4-7 pm

Southwinds Gallery

West Mountain Street. Kernersville, NC

*21 New Paintings *2 Embroidered Line Drawings *Freeform Crochet Landscape *New Card Sets *Book Signing *and more!

An Artful Life Primer

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The topic of this book began to take shape soon after my sickness and surgery in 2013. It was June. I’d been doing a lot of thinking, knitting and drawing as I continued to heal, grow stronger and get used to life without a colon. I stood at the sink washing dishes in the beach house where my husband’s family goes for a week of vacation every year. As I washed dishes, the thought came into my head that I no longer wanted an Art Career. Numerous and varied attempts to find my niche seemed to fall flat and be frustrated by life’s demands. It occurred to me there, with suds and dirty dishes in hand, that what I really wanted was an Artful Life.

An Artful Life, to me, meant that ALL of life would be infused with creativity. Or at least with an eye for seeing the beauty in it, no matter what came my way. An Art Career could be, and was, constantly interrupted by domestic duties and often sidelined by health crises. An Artful Life, on the other hand, would be possible, if I lived all of life as opportunity for seeing beauty and listening to what it had to say to me. I realized there at the sink, that I had already been doing this for many years. I had somehow learned to use my pen and knitting needles to draw the beauty out of my circumstances and knit it into my heart.

After a second, and then a third surgery to deal with issues arising from the first one, I began to pen a very basic outline of what I was doing to live this Artful Life. I realized I had been developing a practice, a daily habit, of showing up to the page, the sketchbook, the wools & cottons, and working out what I encountered in life. It didn’t matter if life was boring or repetitive, exciting or painful…ALL of it could be scoured for beauty. Creating something, ANYTHING, in and through life’s days became a vehicle for seeing, capturing, releasing the beauty that I was convinced was there.

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This little book is all about my practice of creativity. It is very simple, perhaps too simple, in its straightforward three-fold approach. But I wrote this with you in mind. I want you, no matter your creative background or dependence on rulers for a straight line ;), to be able to engage in a practice of living artfully. Indeed, this practice doesn’t even require that you know how to draw or knit! Simple acts of creation are all that is needed. It will change you. That’s fairly bold to say. To practice creativity on a daily, or multi-days-a-weekly basis will transform you in astonishing ways.

Beauty comes to us in many forms and surprising packages. We need to train our eyes to see it, our hands to capture it, and our hearts to be transformed by it. Beauty is everywhere, in everything we do and experience. Even in washing dirty dishes.

An Artful Life Primer: Practicing Creativity to See, to Listen, and to be Transformed

Available on Amazon

Cast On

ThaliaCozy

Here’s where it all starts. Make a slip knot and begin.

Cast on a desired number of stitches and then work the rest of the piece from there.

There’s no way around it really. You have to cast on. Even if it’s only two stitches. Or two hundred. This is how we begin.

BriocheCastOn

Yet it can cause a good bit of consternation. Which cast on should I use? The pattern may or may not say. If I’m designing, I must consider which one will yield the desired edge both in stretch and in braid. For folks new to knitting, the cast on, once left behind for rows of knit and purl, is often forgotten when the next project is begun. How did I cast on? If I use Long Tail, then just how much yarn do I need to leave in order to have enough for the cast on? So many questions and uncertainties.

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It is true also in drawing and painting. How shall I begin? Where do I start on the page? What medium will I start with? Do I fill the whole page? or only part of it? If I start here, will I have enough room for the subject? For some, this very beginning part can create such a storm of questions that paralysis sets in all too soon.

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Yet for me, the beginning is perhaps the most exciting part. Two needles, or a hook, and some lovely yarn. A blank page and a pen. Such possibilities. Anticipation. A bit of chocolate helps!

Even if the initial idea gets frogged only a few rows into it, or the sketch needs to be started over again, the fun is in the diving in, the beginning, the start of something new. This is one of the many reasons I love making things. Each and every day I have an opportunity to start something fresh and new and exciting and different,  in yarn or paint, on needles or in a sketchbook, with a hook or with a canvas.

EmbroideryStart

Looking around at my studio right now I might have to admit to too many beginnings. I know I will finish them. I usually do. All in good time.

But right now, I just have to start a new crochet design that’s been banging around in my head. It all began with casting on another shoulder cozy (first photo) and in no more than four or five rows my fingers knew this yarn was wanting to be crocheted into something else entirely.

Ok. So here we go. Starting something new. Again.

Perhaps you can start something new today! I’d love to hear about it if you do!!

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Notes on the above photos: First photo’s yarn has now been frogged and is being crocheted into a new vest design. Second photo is the start of a brioche cowl I have finished and plan on teaching in October (watch for details about the classes in my monthly Knitterly Arts Newsletter!) Third photo is a line drawing of a recent visit to our Ciener Botanical Gardens. Fourth photo is the beginning foundation chain and first rows in a recent crochet design I hope will be available in pattern soon! Fifth photo is my first foray into embroidering my own drawings. Should be fun!

Dreamy Poncho Revisited

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Several years ago I designed this poncho from leftover yarns in my stash. It is one of my favorite things to wear when the temperatures turn cool and is often a conversation starter. Sometime last year I started a second one using all greens and have just recently finished it. While it is still too warm here to wear, it sits on Genevieve (my dress form) waiting for the day to be taken out for a twirl.

GreenDreamySelfie

It is  truly a dream to knit from beginning to end. I love to play with color and this gave me the opportunity to see what could be done with one color. I had no idea I had so many variations of green yarns! Even the variegated greens offered delightful pops of blues and other colors here and there to add a little spice. You are never bored with this knit! Every color and texture provides a new vista as you work the simple stitches.

I love wearing this both ways:

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As a poncho, with points down the front and back. (Please disregard the NON-matching skirt Genevieve is wearing!)

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Or as a cape (or wrap). The collar adds just enough drama to the simple construction and finishes it off nicely at the neck.

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For this version of the poncho/cape, I changed a few things. The original pattern was written with this in mind, so I didn’t have to make many changes at all to the pattern. I just added the new photos, and a few extra tips to make the knitting it up even simpler. Here’s what I did differently in this version than in the first one:

GrDreamyStitches

The original version had only garter and stockinette stitching alternated back and forth or to suit the type of yarn used. This made for very quick knitting, especially since you are using size 11 needles.  But for this version I wanted to add a variety of stitch patterns, especially when I worked with the smoother yarns. So I randomly chose garter, seed, stockinette, basketweave, two-color rib and so on to add interest and texture in the body of the poncho.

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The original version had edges knitted in stockinette. This allowed the edges to roll and I do love rolled edges! But for this one, I decided to work the edges in garter stitch so that they would lay flat.

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The original version was laced up (one of my favorite features of this design!) using organza ribbon. This version has grosgrain ribbon for the laced up front. You could certainly use buttons or any other closure here, but I really like the added detail and color you can achieve with the laced up look.

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From now until the end of September, I’m offering this pattern for $1.00 off its regular price to those who purchase the pattern through my ETSY shop. If I knew how to offer a discount on  Ravelry I would certainly do it. But for those of you who see this offer here on my blog or via Instagram, you can use the code DREAMYKNIT to receive $1.00 off!

And I would LOVE to see a photo of your Dreamy Poncho once you’ve knitted it! I know of a couple of them that are in the making right now and I can’t wait to see their versions. I’ll share them with you when I receive their pic!

For now…may all your Knitterly Dreams come true!

Knature & Knitting

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I often stand in a place of beauty and I see it in fibers. Wools, cottons, silks, acrylics pop out of the landscape or garden I’m viewing. Colors and textures get translated into yarns. And when I go to my favorite LYS I see them: the bright colors of cocks comb and cosmos, the lovely hues of hollyhock and lily, the golden wheat of Mr. Whicker’s field, the rich tones of our plum tree.

Tea&Cozy

But this time, it worked the other way ’round. I picked two balls of a cotton tape yarn purely because of the lime greens morphing into every shade on its way to black and back again. I knew it would make for another wonderful Shoulder Cozy. I had knitted one with Rowan Bamboo Tape (shown below) and loved it in the hot weather. This one would be perfect for early fall here, when days are bit cooler.

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And then, on my walk one day. I saw my finished black/green Shoulder Cozy lying underneath a mailbox in our neighborhood! What? Oh! A beautiful leafy plant growing all around the base of it in the exact colors of the Lang Sol Degrade yarn I had used to knit it. Lovely.

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A pleasure from cast-on to bind-off and even in adding a touch of crochet to finish off the top and bottom edges. Not too fussy. Just right. I’ve already worn it a few times, but now it hangs at the shop, hopefully enticing folks to sign up for my class on all the many ways you can knit this Shoulder Cozy!! And hopefully to entice them to pick up some yarn to make one while they are there!

ShoulderCozyDelGrade

I’m already pulling the yarns from my stash for the next one. I love this pattern for its simplicity and versatility. It can be worn as the capelet shown here or as a cowl for warmth and a touch of color around your neck. Mindful knitting at its best! No charts to follow or complicated stitch patterns (although you could certainly add a few stitch patterns here and there if you wanted to!). Just knit and enjoy the colors and textures flowing through your hands.

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<sigh>