Sunday, April 24, 2016

North Carolina and knitting

I spent last week traveling to North Carolina and partaking in my passion of knitting. First up was a stop in Asheville staying at the Indigo hotel. It was a 1/2 mile walk into town which was perfect once we got our bearings.

We stopped into a gallery and chatted with a participating artist. He recommended the white duck taco for lunch and we were so glad he did. The flavors were incredible. We had a shrimp taco with tempura'd bay shrimp in a lovely curry sauce and topped with bread and butter pickles, so unique and wonderful.



On Saturday night we had an early dinner at rhubarbs and an early bedtime. I forgot how I no longer have the stamina for a red eye flight.

Sunday we had a wander in Biltmore village and then headed to Andrews and the Hawksdene venue where we caught up with friends from last years retreat.


I am a huge fan of unique sheep yarns and it was wonderful to touch the various fibers and visualize the colors, oh and purchase them.


One of the things that happens is show and tell which with so many accomplished knitters is a grand thing. You get to see up close and in person shawls you might want to make. This was Mary Scott's Serendipity and it's the shawl I just cast on. I'm going to use crystals in mine.

Carolyn who I met a few years back at bead and button is an amazing knitter and very gracious in sharing her many skills. She helped me out with using the knit companion which is a really useful tool for knitting with charts. Her lessons also made me realize that the real estate of the 12.9 inch iPad Pro would be arrives tomorrow.

It was a fabulous trip!


Friday, April 15, 2016

A knitting kind of weekend!

I'm off tonight to meet up with a good friend and enjoy a leisurely few days meandering through the Blue Ridge Mountains, knitting with friends, and soaking up the beautiful atmosphere at Hawksdene.

The venue is full of art to be experienced at every turn.  Big comfortable sofas in the great room are a gathering place for knitters.

The Unique Sheep team of Kelly and Laura host a wonderful event with lots of fun filled activities.  There will be silk scarf dyeing, knitting of course, at least one food related class, a beading class and lot's of good food.

There will also be yarn shopping with lots of gradient yarns.  There may be some lace weight in my future.

I will land tomorrow morning and spend the day in Asheville having a wander through the streets and undoubtedly into some of the eclectic shops there.  Dinner is at Rhubarbs which we discovered on last years trip.  Being a creature of habit it's nice to be able to return to a place that we enjoyed.  The warm spiced nuts are calling me.

It's also really nice to attend a retreat in a medium I love as much as knitting and being a participant rather than organizer or teacher gives me a lot of time to relax.  I'm looking forward to that.  Soon enough we'll be off on another great adventure.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Inspiration morphed

There are times I don't bead or I don't bead anything productive and then all of a sudden a beading streak will come along and designs and color ways seem to show up naturally.  Oddly these often coincide with being exceptionally busy and thinking no way you have time to design and then in the middle of that, it happens, you bead something you love.

The photo is of costume jewelry from a calendar, sadly I don't have the image and a Google reverse image search did not provide the answer (more on that in a minute)  I started out with this photo and had the idea to have fringe.  I had initially thought this was round, but I think it was actually a 2 dimensional piece.

I knew I wanted to use pearls in increasing sizes on the edge to create the curve and I had a stash of the new iridescent white ones which I love!

So I sat down and I beaded some craw elements with pearls on the edges and I connected them on the top and on the bottom and contemplated the fringe.....but as these things so often go, I decided on continuing the spines down coming gradually to a point.  The larger pearls were not part of the original plan, to the degree I ever have a plan, but when I added them in they were magic to me.

Now back to google image use and upload a photo to find similar.  I didn't find the original photo in my search but I did find this.  Now if I had posted both inspiration photos and asked you to guess which one inspired my finished piece....well I'm betting this image would be the hands down winner.  And since I can attribute this one, I will, it came from here and is titled as men's jewelry.

I am also knitting....and kitting and packing to go on a 5 day knitting retreat with a dear friend, in fact my friend who goes back the furthest in my life, from my Massachusetts, and pre children days, which is a pretty long time ago!  We try to meet up once a year and last year it was this retreat.  It's with Unique Sheep who do magical gradient dyed yarns.  The retreat is in the blue ridge mountains of North Carolina at beautiful venue called Hawksdene.  We enjoyed it so much last year we decided to do it again!  Last year at the show and tell I vowed to have something show and tell worthy for this year, something using their yarns, and I have two!  Of course I am dwarfed by many who are much more prolific knitters than I am, but I'm happy that I have the two I managed to complete this year.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Going Formal

I'm working my way down the list....

I've designed a number of earrings like this pair using the Romantica element with different types of embellishments and different drops.

It's taking a tad bit longer to write them up because I am taking the time to change the colors and beads to make them specific to the actual pair and not just a generic set of directions.

So even if you are beading the exact same thread path, if you are beading this pair the illustration will show a jetab2x crystal, green seed beads and a pave drop.

and if you're beading this pair the illustration will show a black crystal and gold rizo's and a heart shaped drop.

It's a lot of extra work, but once it's done, it's done and I think it will make the pattern simpler to follow.

These are for a class I designed called Going Formal for a cruise in May.  Since there is always 1 or 2 formal nights I thought it would be fun to make some fancy pants earrings to go with our formal wear.

You may have noticed the webstore is closed right now.  We had the good fortune to have sold all of our inventory between the website and Beading by the Bay and since we are 100% focused on our next two trips in May, we haven't had the time to replenish the webstore inventory.  I'm reasonably b busy with travel and guests through mid June and then we'll try to offer some of these earrings and maybe a few other kits.  

I continue to balance having fun with a scaled back bead career.  The next two outings are a cruise and a retreat in the South of Germany.  These are going to be combined with a trip to Rome and Naples, so some work, but also a lot of good times!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Wearable vessels

I'm not sure exactly where my fascination with vessels came about.  I just finished teaching Cryptex at Beading by the Bay.  I designed it because I wanted to try my hand at making hubble stitch both tubular and structural.  I was concerned about the sheer amount of beading it would take to complete, but people seemed to get on with it very well and I've even seen a couple of finished ones.

This one is called  Hidden Paradise.  I designed it two years ago while sailing on the Bead Cruise with Heather Powers.  I remember the inspiration now....It was a piece of fabric from Tina Givens with a bird house. I blogged about it at the time which tells me it was June of 2014 when I first came back from the cruise.  You can read about and see the fabric inspiration here.

I wanted to try to create it in beads and this is what I came up with.  Heather had the polymer houses and I thought it would be fun to tuck one inside.   I always think there should be a 'secret' inside a vessel.

When the piece is worn it has a lot of movement as the little dangles tend to bounce with your movement and catch the light.

I designed spaces into the top for the strap to feed through insuring it doesn't get lost.  The golden double wire ring at the top attaches to the house and acts as a handle to lift an reveal the little house.

This one should be a fun bead.  I predict some will finished and worn by the end of the cruise, perhaps not in class, but with a few hours of deck time spent beading I think it will be doable.

I love the bright fresh colors of this one, inspired directly from Heather's house.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mixed media a collage

Sometimes I take a moment out and attend a class in something that looks fun. This Sunday I joined the San Diego Bead Society's class by Carla Fox, a mixed media artist from Oregon. I missed her talk but heard it was inspiring.


Carla suggested materials to bring and was generous in providing things to add to the mix.

I cut up old clothes for my fabrics and augmented just a tiny bit with a trip to the fabric store. Beads were of course no problem and I brought along a fair number of other trinkets.

Carla had a lovely way of sharing her design process while walking us through the techniques and talking us through her thought processes. It ended up being a lovely outing and I came away with this colorful corsage. The half moon belonged to my Mom and I've always wanted to use it in something.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I'm giving a webinar!

My topic is Re-useable thread paths.  What exactly does that mean, anyways?

The way in which thread is passed through the beads creates the configuration in which they are held together.

To the degree I can repeat a known thread path but with different bead sizes, shapes and counts I can change the design without having to re-engineer the thread path.

This was the essence of my master class called 'playing with possibilities' where there were five elements (or thread paths) and 32 people explored variations in both the element and the arrangements of those elements to create different pieces.

Here are the two thread paths we'll be exploring.  The webinar will include two pdf file with detailed instructions for these two elements along with suggestions for variations.

Next weeks webinar will be a subset of those elements and will explore the different design opportunities that are provided through this design method.

This is a photo from a design session for my Bead Dreams piece called journey which used many variation of the two elements included in the webinar.

I loved presenting the master class which I've done twice now, once at Bead and Button and once in England last summer.  The excitement is palpable as people begin to explore their own creativity within a given thread path.  What ideas would you have?  Come join the webinar, next Tuesday, 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard time.  Through the power of technology, the entire live broadcast of my slide presentation and my speaking to each of the slides will be captured, so even if you're not available during the live presentation you can still watch it in it's entirety at  your leisure. To find out more or to register, click here.