Studio Dreams

Can I tell you a secret?  Don’t tell my kids!

I’m planning a knitting studio!  Yes, really.

My oldest daughter is going off to college in the fall.  It’s not exactly that I’m happy to see her go, but, she’s going, so I want to make some big changes upstairs in sleeping arrangements.  I have a cunning plan.  An extra point to those of you who got that reference (hint, think Black Adder).

I’m going to take the biggest bedroom (which, oddly, isn’t the master bedroom!) and make it a studio!

Before we go any further, you may wonder why my master isn’t the biggest bedroom.  That’s a good question!  I have four bedrooms, the master is the 3rd smallest (not including the bathroom, which is on the smallish side).  I do have an entire wall of closets (not walk in).  Both of the bigger bedrooms have walk in closets – once of them even has two walk ins.  I can only think that in 1973, when my house was built, the era of huge master bedrooms hadn’t yet begun.  I suspect my builder thought he was brilliant when planning so many closets.  And, believe me, I’m very grateful for them!

Back to the secret plan – I’ll bet you can guess which one I’m confiscating.  That’s right, it’s the one with two walk-ins.

Youngest daughter will move into oldest daughter’s bedroom, and I will take her lovely room (which, as it houses a teenager, isn’t currently lovely at all).  When oldest daughter is home, she can sleep in the studio (note to self, research futons).

I have big plans and a nice little pinboard going.  Go take a look.  I’ll wait here.

I’m thinking big worktable, new laptop with printer, lots of yarn storage, everything neatly organized.  And a place to keep my spinning wheel out in the open where the cats won’t mess with it.  I will do a lot more yarn making!

Believe it or not, this will be a kitty free zone.  Kitties are welcome for supervised visits, but if I’m not there, the door is firmly closed with them on the outside.  Oh, it will be heaven.

I’d love to hear other fiber artists’ ideas about studio design.  Please do comment!

I have some lovely color scheme possibilities- I’m think a sort of apricot-y coral-mango, which will be warm and energizing.

How about this?  It’s monochromatic, so should be very relaxing.

Ranunculus Petals

Or this one?  Too cool perhaps?

RanunculusBrights500

Or this?  Lots of energy and perhaps would stimulate creativity?

ClippedHues605

Or this really springy color group?

Cut Spring

I got all these from Design Seeds.  She is an amazing colorist!

This is my current favorite (maybe just for today).  This is from Muse Digital Design.

freshMangos

Follow my pinboard to watch my ideas develop.  This is going to be really big project and I will probably change my mind about it all a dozen times.  I really do want input on the whole project, from color to layout to fiber studio must-haves.

If only I could figure out how to get a big sink in there…

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New Year’s Resolutions Indigo Kitty Style

I’m not normally one to make any kind of New Year’s resolutions, but I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to learn and accomplish in the upcoming year. Here’s a preliminary list.

Fair Isle – I picked up a gorgeous book at Half Price Books the other day, called Colorwork Creations. It’s subtitled Knit woodland inspired hats, mittens and gloves.
Here’s the cover
ColorworkCreations
Charming, right?  There are so many lovely patterns inside, for example chickadees, butterflies, ducks, cardinals, snowflakes.  Hard to choose one to start with!

I did purchase a kit from Knitpicks a while back for the bright woodland mitts. That seems like a good starting point for my fair isle adventures. I have a knitting date with my friend Wendy, who is a Fair Isle Queen for Jan 3.  Starting this project right out of the gate!

Here is a picture (from Knitpicks site) of the mitts.
woodland mitts

I’d also like to do more spinning and become more expert in using my Ashford Traveler spinning wheel.

Then there’s  hand dyeing fiber.  My business partner, the wonderful and brilliant Cheryl, gave me a very nice book for my birthday about dyeing.  It’s The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes.  This looks like a lot of fun.  I plan to dye yarn and roving using acorns, coffee, blackberries, red cabbage and more.

Here’s the cover.

handbook of natural plant dyes

What a great gift!

Did you know you can use dandelion root to dye fiber red?  I’ll be paying the kids to get me some roots in the spring (and making the lawn look a bit better).   I can’t wait to get started!

I’d like to knit more fingerless gloves, we have a goal to have 50 pairs ready for next winter.  They are big sellers for us and a fun and easy knit too.

I want to write a pattern for a lace shawl and some cabled and lace cowls.  So many pattern ideas, I could probably work 24 hours a day and still have stuff rattling around in my brain!

And all those things should keep me busy for a good part of the year.

Wishing all my readers the best for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013.  Keep on knitting (and spinning, and dyeing, and crocheting)!

Lace Shawl Design

I have taken the Craftsy plunge and signed up for a class! Lace Shawl Design with Miriam Felton was my choice, as I hope to sharpen my skills in this area. I love many things about Craftsy classes. For a very reasonable cost you get access forever to the lessons, it’s easy to watch part of a class again and again until you “get it” or if you were interrupted (thanks, kids), and there’s a cool way to take notes that are saved in the lesson so you can find them later.

Miriam is easy to listen to and watch as she demonstrates what she’s teaching.  Occasionally she seems the teensy tiniest bit nervous, but that just makes her even more human and endearing.   I have finished lesson 4 of 13 and have learned a lot about charting lace.

I easily charted a very attractive pattern called Openwork Leaf from Barbara Walker’s wonderful book Treasury of Knitting Patterns.  However, I am having quite a lot of trouble charting Fluerette from the same book.  The stitch count changes and I am having a  murderous time figuring out how to chart that.  So, I am going to take Miriam’s advice and knit a swatch in the hopes I will understand the pattern enough to chart it correctly.  It’s a really pretty lace; the pattern is described as an “charming old French lace pattern (with a ) delicate, meshlike quality”.  Sounds ideal for a shawl.

Another thing I like about Craftsy is that you can ask questions, the instructor and other students will answer, so I know this will be resolved in the end!

I met my business partner and friend, Cheryl, along with our  friend Christel to knit yesterday.  We spent an hour and a half catching up and knitting away on our various projects.  I’m working on a scarf for my lovely sister, Linda.  It’s almost done and then I plan to knit a series of cowls for my kids.

They asked for cowls last year and I just never got them off the ground, so this year I am committed to them.  If my daughters actually ask me to hand knit something I am certainly willing to do it, especially something as easy as a plain ribbed cowl (which, to be truthful, I will probably find a bit boring ).

Cheryl brought a cowl she knit from some of my hand spun yarn to our little knitting group yesterday.  This is the first hand spun yarn I’ve created that I’ve seen knit up.  I was stunned and really amazed at its beauty.  It is so much more than I ever dreamed!  What do you think?

And here is a close up.

I have an idea for a series of lacy cowls.  When will I have time to write up those patterns?  I see many days in the near future with very little housework getting done (oh, let’s be honest – no housework being done).  Hope no one minds sandwiches for dinner (over and over).

Inside Spring

It’s not quite spring yet here in Indianapolis, but I have a raging case of spring fever. I’ve made a pretty terrarium that sits on my dining room table, and last weekend I bought a couple of small phalaenopsis orchids to sit with it too.

I’ve got orchids on the brain, I’m afraid. I went to the Orchids by Hausermann greenhouse on my visit to Chicago last weekend. Their annual open house is Feb 24 – 26 and March 3 -5 this year.  Our new family tradition is to visit the weekend prior, to avoid all the crowds, and we still see all the fabulous plants and get a blast of springtime.  I stupidly forgot my camera, but I do have some photos I took at home.

Phalaenopsis 'Kitty Face' - I didn't buy it for the name, I swear

My spring fever is also manifesting as an irresistible desire to repaint the entire first floor of the house.  I’m sick to death of tan, and ready for something fresh and lovely.  Pink, turquoise and fresh bright green are my picks, poor Craig will be living in a Barbie tea party for a while, I guess.  Something like this, with turquoise added.

Add turquoise and you've got it

Love the site I took this from – Design Seeds.  She has dozens and dozens of beautiful color palettes you can use for home decor, weddings, the sky’s the limit.  She’s a color genius!

So, Lydia has been press-ganged into painting, my downstairs powder room is now a shocking pink shade that puts me in mind of an orchid everytime I go in there.  It’s pretty and clean (for the moment – nothing stays clean long in a house with 3 teenagers and 7 cats!), and I am liking it a lot.  Still many hours of work ahead, but Lydia is always looking for ways to make money, so, I will bribe her to paint a little every weekend until it’s all done.

I’ve been knitting a bit, the Mae Geri scarf is all done, and the new project is called Little Shells, which I’m knitting in a 100% silk yarn from Alchemy.  The yarn is Silk Purse, the color is Dylan’s Blue Depths, it’s a lovely watery silvery blue, nice for spring!

Little Shells Shawl - color is off, but pattern is clear

I have a new foster kitty now, her name is Felicity because she is so pretty and sweet, super friendly and loving.  She has really great markings, they make me think of a reticulated python.  She is only about 7 months old, already spayed and ready for her forever family.  I’ll be kissing her goodbye soon, I imagine.

Felicity is a very pretty girl

Going outside to enjoy a bit of sunshine now!  Maybe a cup of tea and a bit of knitting (I have things in a little tangle right now – got to sort it all out before I can move forward – shouldn’t talk and knit at the same time when I’m doing a tricky part I guess!).