Tuesday, December 22, 2020

A long year, a lot of makes

 I am incredibly grateful for the fact that I am happily contented by making stuff.  I can't really remember what I made before the age of ten when I learned to knit, but perhaps my early adventures in play doh shaped my creative desires.

It's been a long year and a lot of making.

I started listing in my mind the things I completed and I thought I'd keep track of them in a year end post.  Covid combined with a year of almost retirement (I taught once in February and once virtually in October) left me a lot of time for making.


Sweaters (7)

Volition, Ranunculus, Love Note (two),  Garden Gate, Cumulus blouse, His vest

Cumulus blouse with Rosales necklace

Love Note sweater for a six year old

Casapinka's Breathe and Hope

Socks, 2 pair of Urth shorties, 1  pair of lavender shorties, 1 pair of Urth ankle length (gifted), 1 pair of Evening in Paris (gifted)

hats (7 gifted) and one crown

Lighthouse Hat pattern
1 scarf (gifted)


1 beaded tile for Museum of beadwork

3 Amarissa pendants

2 Bell Mabel pendants

1 solaris (Miriam's design)

1 peace sign

1 Sabine dodecahedron  pendant

1 sabine shawl pin

1 painted lady bead embroidery

5 shrink plastic pendants (sold and gifted, kept 1)

3 shrink plastic heart pendants

1 shrink fairy wing pendant

1 Rosales pendant (for Autumn memories retreat next year)

1 feather tree with shrink plastic oranaments

15 pair of peace and love and word earrings from shrink plastic

2 shrink plastic challenge pieces (coral for a tidepool challenge and a floral challenge)

1 pair of woven pearl earrings


1 pair Elope pants and top by Tina Givens in pale pink linen

1 gypsy jacket by Tina Givens

1 kimono jacket in a watercolor floral fabric

1 vest

a skirt for a six year old's birthday

10 pouches and a  yarn minder bag

5 clear front project pouches

1 pencil pouch for my daughter's drawing pencils

6 tula pink paper pieced medallions

a bazillion masks

and 1 repaired baby blanket

That is one heck of a lot of makes......

I decided this week that a little focus and finish was in order which is how Miriam's solaris pendant got done.  I still have a second Sabine rivoli pendant and a Franklin compass rose.

I have a new shrink plastic project that wants some time as well as a Bella pouch by sew sweetness that I'd like to make. 

I have a Place for Everything bag By Annie and of course my Tula pink sunrise quilt which needs attention.

Knitting plans are my urban jacket from Christel Seyworth, Pink Fizz by Andrea Mowry, and a white linen ranunculus.  I have a cowl I'd like to do as well, we'll see.  In process are a pair of color work socks.

Of course I hope travel will be some part of next year which is always a better opportunity for knitting so I may front load the year with some sewing.

I am not even sure how to process this year of makes.  While at times it felt like I was flitting and not focusing, the year in review would argue that I was pretty darn productive.  Much of the making was gifts for people I love and I can't think of a better way to spend time. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

A threadbare baby blanket and it's third repair

 Thankful for my making history that I keep here.  I was able to go back and find the last time I repaired this blanket for now six year old Layla.  You can read the history here.

The blanket was made with a bulky cotton yarn whose name I don't remember and was made from the pattern Baby Chalice blanket.  One of my favorite to make.

Daughter Lucia reached out in October letting me know that once again the fibers were at risk of totally disintegrating and what might I be able to do.  I posted on facebook and called out for advice from all my lovely knitting friends.  Whatever solution there would be would need to be quick as Layla loves sleeping with her blanket and misses her night time routine without it.

As it was UPS became a big delay, arriving 5 days after being mailed, so time was of the essence.

I had one skein of yarn and I thought I might make some crocheted medallions to attach to the surface. I was able to make twelve but in the end I didn't love it as a solution.  I did stitch one down to a corner and left it because it shows the original yarn and I decided it was a nice bit of history.

I carefully cutaway the frayed stitches which left a lot of white space between the lace but also revealed the underlying shape of the lace as it had been knit. (the previous repair entailed stitching the lace down to a white flannel backing)

Then I used a zig zag stitch to outline the edges and hopefully keep them from unraveling further.

I was inspired by the Japanese style of repairing broken pottery.

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold — built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art. 

I decided then to fill in the white spaces 'cracks' with love of all the people in her life.

I had a tula pink variegated thread and after adding all the names in pink I surrounded them with variegated hearts.

Today, three days after it arrived I packed it up in a priority mailbox and sent if off.  I hope she loves it!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

The making continues.....

 I am so grateful that being a maker is at my core.  I'm not sure what I would be doing during this time of staying home if I weren't able to create.

I had a couple of months where I got myself a tad overwhelmed with the frantic beginnings and learning curves, but I've settled in and am happily working my way through projects.

When I left you I had just finished ranunculus....almost.  But it turns out I didn't really like the twisted knit ribbing and I thought the entire sweater was too long.  So I ripped it back with an after thought lifeline, threw in some decreases and did an cord Bind-Off.  While I was at it I decided there must be a better way to join the two ends of an icord when working in the round and there is!  I used these directions.

Then I turned my attention to fabric project bags.  The dog print was a request from one of my daughters for a pouch to hold her drawing pencils.  I bought this fabric on an early March outing to Roxannes in Carpenteria.  Friends Carole of  Creative Castle and Heather Kingsley Heath who was teaching at the time accompanied me.  Little did I know what a last outing it would be!  I was glad to use the fabric.

It turns out I like working with beautiful fabrics and small projects.  So I gathered up a collection of fabrics for my other daughters birthday request.  Two of the bags were from a tutorial by the Missouri quilt company on installing a zipper with zipper tabs.  They are beautiful and while the inside is lined they do have interior raw edges. Next time I'll learn to do the lining so that seams don't show, but I love the fabrics together.  The clamshell and small tote bag are patterns by Sew Sweetness.

This is called Kismet and it challenged me quite a bit but I perservered and I'm happy with it.  I'd like to make more of these for sure!  The pattern comes with three sizes of round and thee of the rectangle.  This is the smallest size at about 6 inches across.  You can buy just the pdf tutorial or you can purchase a video to go along with it.  In the end I purchased both since I"m new to bag making I wanted to see it done.

We went off for a short travel break in the airstream and this is my favorite airstream position and pastime.  This is Breathe and Hope by Casapinka with a yarn kit from Four Purls with Emily's yarn.

My airstream knitting time was well spent and I can now add Breathe and Hope to my finished shawls.  I'm wearing it over a Cumulus sweater in Malabrigio English  Rose held with a Lang Mohair.  It's one of my favorite sweaters to wear.  

And now a bit of beading.  This is Solaris by my good friend Miriam Shimon (who by the way is launching her new website store soon, stay tuned.)  Miriam has never met a crystal or pearl she didn't know how to bezel and these tiny navettes are nestled together to make a beautiful pendant.  I'll show you next time!

I'm busy getting ready to teach six classes for the virtual Beaders Dream retreat.   Virtual classes is a  whole new learning curve and I'm busy getting some video prepared so I can demo the fiddly bits close up and personal.   Two long weekends in October and then some time off.....lol, I've been 'off' since I came home from Tucson in February, the last time I taught.  But I did build 90  Amarissa kits and step up my zoom game with a microphone, lights, and a document camera. So plenty of learning to keep me busy.

Until next time, take care of yourself and each other.  I love you.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Ranuncululs is Done

 Well let's see, a few weeks back I made my list , let's see how I'm faring,  I don't consult the list daily or even weekly, I just carry on with the projects that were documented there.  It's really nice to revisit it and see that I am getting things done.  I've also embarked on making some healthy living changes but that's for another time.  I don't want to exit the other side of the pandemic and have regrets based on coping behaviors.  I just have to explore new coping mechanisms and I am.

So onto what's done. I finished my Bead museum tile which I wrote about here.  I finished a bead project for a deadline, I finished 3 more colorways of Amarissa for the Beaders Dream retreat which will now be virtual, I started my beaded object from the beaded object class with Heidi Kumlli, I finished two pair of shrink plastic earrings that I gifted, I made about 12 masks for friends and family, and I finished Ranunculus.

Ranunculus Midori Hirose in Kestrel


Mark's vest 'His Vest' from Churchmouse in Malabrigo

Amarissa in three colorways for Beaders Dream Retreat

Masks for Tracy

Gypsy jacket from Tina Givens in light weight linen

Breathe and Hope for by Casapinka in Emma's yarn from Four Purls

I have to get going on some birthday socks, I'm doing 'Dreaming of Paris' by Joji Locatelli  and finish up Mark's vest for his September birthday.  I've cast on Breathe and Hope which wasn't on the list and started a  Tina Givens Gypsy coat which was sort of on the list.

My compass rose, dodecahdron and Tula pink sunrise quilt are all languishing.  But all in all when I look what I have accompmlished it's a lot.  Making is keeping me mostly sane although there are days the worry of our future weighs heavily.  One of my children is a hair stylist in Califonia where they have been re-shut down for the last four weeks with no date for re-opening.  

I'm also preparing myself to teach a retreat via zoom.  I'm glad to have the skills I need to participate but I was so looking forward to the energy that happens when we all get to be together, not this year.

I put in a full morning of work on my bead business readying myself for the virtual retreat and now I shall spend a little time sewing.  What are you up to?

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Grateful for the support of my community

 Of all the making things I do, one became a career for me.  Starting when I left my corporate career I became a full time traveling bead teacher.  It was a good life.  I supported myself well, traveled and met many many people.  

I also became part of a community.  A community of other traveling bead teachers. It's not your normal job, there are a LOT of things that go into making it successful enough to make one's living.

It starts with being proficient in beadweaving, requires a solid design sensibility and moves onto to all the things it takes to bring your design into a teachable state.  There's illustration, photography, sourcing supplies, kitting efficiently, the sometimes dreaded marketing, making travel arrangements, creating contracts and then there is the teaching itself.

Many aspects of this require technology so we need to constantly be flexing that technology part of the brain.  The one that didn't require technology in the past was the arriving at an event and teaching in the classroom.

Covid has thrown a curve ball, elminating our ability to gather together, yet a beaders life goes on.  Quickly, very quickly teaches and students adapted to an online class platform called zoom.

Which was great, but then I'm retired, well except for 2 to 3 engagements per year, those I wanted to do in person to see my colleagues and people who have attended classes many who I have spent a lot of time with over the years.  I wasn't anxious to take on the technology required to join the bead zoom classroom.

 But Covid had other plans, the Beaders Dream Retreat I was looking forward to, out of necessity has become a virtual retreat.  This is great news really because it will open the classes up to more people which is a good thing, but......technology.

So here is where my smart, kind, generous bead community has come together to share their knowledge, hold one another up, encourage one another, answer questions, offer to be available to practice, suggest the best technologies and best practices for this new way of being in a classroom.

I truly could not be more proud or more grateful for the friendships and support of this community.  It makes me teary eyed to be part of this group of men and women who of course need to focus on their own success but are willing in every way to make sure we are succesful as a whole.

So to my friends in this community, I thank you so much for your guidance, for leading the way and for helping me play catch up. I love you all!

Amarissa is my very bohemian pendant I will be teaching at this retreat.  It's small in stature, but it is incredibly wearable and suits a wide array of tastes.  I wear mine with my heavily embroidered Johnny Was clothing and I love it! I always say a nice long dangly pendant makes me tall and thin, at least in my mind.

If you are interested in hearing more about this retreat hosted by Beki Haley, have a look at the Beaders Dream Retreat website and stay tuned for details.  

Monday, August 10, 2020

Fondling yarn

 So we've been through the whole planning cycle of in progress projects, the rule making, the studio re-arrangement and then.....then I fell in love and it was not to be helped.  I was helpless, truly.  My friend Diane Ciolek posted a photo of her Breathe and Hope shawl from Casapinka and there was no resisting, I was head over heels.

Today the yarn arrived from Four Purls.  Emmas yarn and it is soft and squishy and the color is brilliant. It's a merino silk blend and I can't wait to cast on.   

But some rules are not to be broken so I will only be fondling this until Ranunculus is off the needles.  Which is motivation right?  I have two sleeves to do and to day in the same mail was the 16 inch size 9 circular needle I needed for the sleeves, so there you go, no excuses, I will be knitting sleeves like a mad woman.  Plus which I really really like the way this Ranunculus is turning out.  I'm getting better at sweater sizing and this one fits me better than my first one.  

I stil have Mark's vest which is 2/3 done, but that can play side by side with this shawl because I just cannot wait to see the colors show up in those stripes, swoon,

Then my friend Heather had to tempt me with another pretty sweater....Tenga by Kaitlin Hunter and I have yarn for a Calyx as well so who knows whawt  will be next. Tenga is bottom up with a bit of lace at the hem and Calyx is top down with a lace panel down the front and then across the shoulder and down the sleeve.  I am really enaomared with sweater knitting at the moment!

But I do still bead and this sweet pendant got it's marketing trial today.  We actually went out for lunch, bayside in San Diego, beautiful breeze, distantly spaced tables, excellent food.  The Fish Market San Diego.  The hostess fell in love with my pendant and lost her train of thought, so I think that is success.  It is called Amarissa and this is my favorite color way, well except for the gray and aqua one, that might be my favorite and the silver one is pretty too.  

Here is Amarissa with a Light Turquoise frost rivoli on grey.  This pendant plays really nicely with all of my Johnny Was clothing.

So excuse me while I go fondle some yarn!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Creating a new space

I woke up on Tuesday deciding that I needed to change up my studio, as in seriously change up.  It's been a bead studio for a long time and the bulk of storage is still devoted to beads, but now there is sewing and shrink plastic and the need for computing and printing remains, and I have a new silhouette for cutting that needed a better home.

Plus which my large center table had become a catch all for everything and the visual clutter was unsettling.

The two main areas, computing and sewing I totally flipped.  The sewing corner was dark which is not as much of an issue for computing.  It was also up against a corner which made me feel a bit claustrophobic, and the need for the ironing board made it tight quarters.

I've had this particular desk for at least 15 years.  A long since discontinued IKEA desk that has served me very well.  In it's new role as the computing desk those drawers hold paper and labels and mailing supplies.  It's also super deep so it feels really spacious when working on it.

Here is the new sewing station.   The grey cabinet to the right and underneath holds sewing notions and patterns.  The rectangular ironing board is directecly behind my sewing chair so it's easy to get too. I ordered some Tula pink fabric to cover it and make it a colorful element in the room.  I also moved the large cutting mat to that end of the table.I took the remaining leaf out of the table.  When I held classes here the space was important but I don't see the need for that anymore.  I also removed excess chairs leaving only one at the table and one for each of the work stations, computing and sewing.

Those are masks waiting to be cut, one project at a time on the table.  The space is so inviting now and ready to be used.  I realize old habits are hard to break and sometimes a creative storm takes over and creates a creative mess.  For now though I'd like to try working this way.The tall cabinet is for books and the long cabinets hold mostly beads, with one cabinet now dedicated to shrink plastic supplies. The set of wooden drawers holds prisma pencils and alcohol ink pens for drawing on shrink plastic.   The stack of fabric folders holds the sheets of shrink plastic and various embellishment possibilities.  I used to want to keep the counter tops clutter free but I think now it is better to stage in progress projects here and then remove the one to be worked on to the table.  Now here is the key....when it's done being worked on put it back!  

There is a half wall with posts between what is essentially two rooms. You can see this best behind the desk with computer.  On the other end I hung ikea shades to give more of a separation.  I use a nail on the post to hang some of my favorite makes.  Having a little inspiration out is always nice.
I feel completely re-energized in this new space, ready to work on one project at a time!  Today will be finishing up masks for a friend.  I may cut out a muslin for a dress I want to make or I may decide it's a day for knitting.  I'll let that decision unfold.

I am beyond grateful to have this perfect space for all my making supplies.  When we looked at this house, this space was a complete mess.  Mark recognized that to convince me about this house that promising to do this room first would be wise and that is exactly what we did.  It's evolved over the years but it's a great space.  Someday we'll want to move but I really can't quite imagine my makers life without this beautiful room.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Over committing my time

I have figured out part of my issue  with too many makes and it's that I totally underestimate the time!  

Let's just start with an example.   We're having some work done in the house today so we'll move into the airstream.  Work starts around 9:30, ends maybe at 4:00 or 5:00 and I also need to do a grocery errand.

So what did I bring to the airstream.

MyTula pink sunrise quilt paper piecing. 
    one center panel to stitch 
    fabric to be cut for next medallion

    I've gotten to the mindless round and round of the body, 9 more inches until the ribbing

Urth sock
    I've turned the heel, picked up and decreased the gusset so now it's all foot until I get to the                             toe, 3 1/2 more inches.

Beaded Pendant Amarissa
    Third color way close to complete - then all three colorways need  beaded ropes.....

Well at least I won't be bored!  But truly that is too many things in too short a time.  Likely that knitting will wait it's turn until this evening.  Although I love to knit in the airstream so I may knit a few rounds.....

Now that I have a vision for my beaded object class I've been busy  acquiring some of the things I need to make it happen.  I am becoming an expert at one-click or in the case of Apple Pay the two click! I have a couple of more things to source and then I can begin the prep work.  First though I need to watch the provided videos as they have a lot of good information.  That should get some time this week. Perhaps I should get a notebook and sketch some ideas.  Not my usual approach but in this case it may be appropriate.

I'm also mask making which is something I really like.  It's small and satisfying.  Mark often joins me sewing masks on the featherweight while I use the Juki.  It's kind of endearing.  Little ones seem to like having matching masks to their parents so I've accommodated that request this week and will make a couple of more matching sets for a friend and granddaughter this week.  I'm not sure why mask making is soothing.  I guess because it's somethign I can do to help and the fabrics are so nice to work with and it's something we do together and it's something I do for my friends and family.

Yesterdays makes with some Tula Pink and some Kaffe Fasset.  I love the bold florals of the Kaffe fabric.  the pale pink with the little birds is for the youngest mask wearer per request. It's called Pinkerville Cotton Candy Fairy Dust!  Is that a grand name or what? Oh and the plain black in the back, that is for the man of the family, no bold florals for him.

Here is some more Kaffe for the next round of mask making this week.

It is funny that I worry about time when in reality I have nothing but time at the moment, not a real deadline or outing in sight!

Friday, July 31, 2020


I've heard of gratitude journals of course and have participated in online gratitude challenges but I'm not sure that in my past busy life I really ever internalized the importance.

This week has been a mix of emotions and I think to some degree the putting to pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard to write about them brings them more into focus.  My overwhelmed ness (spell check suggested the separate 'ness' so I'm going with it) was as real as my feelings about accomplishment.  Two very opposite ends of the spectrum.

In the middle was my figuring out why I was so stuck in one particular project I've undertaken.  I've got several sets of friends that I chat with during the course of the week and today while chatting I had the opportunity to explore what might be at the  root of the impass.  The insights shared were very helpful and I was able to view the project in a new light.  I have renewed energy for it and will be spending time exploring how to proceed.  What was missing was an idea that grabbed me with excitement.  So thank you dear friend, for providing that.

Which brings me back to gratitude.  I am so incredibly grateful for the friends who are walking this journey alongside one another.  Who can provide a bright spot of enlightement when you think  there isn't one.   I am grateful for the friends who feel vulnerable enough to share their struggles and are open to hearing whatever wisdom I might have to offer them.  I think when it's a two way street then trust becomes a permanent bond and love grows.

Which brings me to my Bead Museum tile.  On their website the museum of beadwork describes the beaded square project. 

As part of our core mission the Museum of Beadwork explores ways in which beads build relationships, and bond us together. To this end the Museum of Beadwork is mounting a new community project which grows out of a desire to commune on a joint project while safely sheltering; marking this very particular time we are going through together, apart. The end result, which will be exhibited at the Museum of Beadwork, will be a bead based ‘quilt’ visualizing the individual and communal experience of this distinct moment in history. 

Several of my  friends who I talk with on a regular basis during this time gave me words.  Given the core mission stated by the museum, these particular woman are all connected to me through beads.  I captured each of their words on Shrinket petals and decorated each one.  I surrounded them with a band of gold and added my 'LOVE' letters below. The words are Trust, Kindred Spirit, Similitude, Friendship, Love,  Tenacity, Embraced and Peace.

I wish for each of you to have something that you can be grateful for.  It's not an easy time for sure but for me the remembering to be grateful has been huge.  

I'm off to bead!  A third colorway for Amarissa, a cubic right angle weave tassel pendant. 

 It has a Bohemian feel because apparently starting with the Bohemian Collection three years ago and my love of all things Johnny Was I am not yet out of my Bohemian period!