Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Life in Pink

Happy almost the end of the week!  I don't know about you, but I'm feeling very tried after being on break last week.  That first week of re-entry is always a killer.

On the Needles

Pattern: Gretel by Ysolda Teague
Tuesday I sat during my lunch break knitting away on a hat and I noticed an interesting phenomena.  People were looking at me and smiling gently.  Do you think it is the green?  This is my own hand-painted worsted weight and I couldn't be happier with it.

The trail of smiling people continued until one person was brave enough to approach me to ask me about my knitting.  She loved the color and just had to know what I was knitting.

Knitting can be quite the community moral booster.

Also on the needles is a shawl out of sock yarn.  This is my hand-painted yarn that I showed you the other day.  So far I'm just knitting and improvised design, but I'm getting to the point where I either need to sit down with some math and graph paper or do something simple. I love the way the color is playing out.

On my Mind

A while ago, Mister and I went to see Elise Parker and the Poor People of Paris.  Elise is an amazing artist. Her vocals (in French) are evocative. She plays the flute, clarinet and saxophone.  She probably does more than that, but that is just what I've seen.  We are lucky that she is local, but for those not she has CDs available.  The other day in my drawing class, I heard the familiar sounds of "La vie en rose."  Sure enough my drawing instructor had picked up the CD and I was enjoying Elise once more.  I love this song, but it is a bittersweet song.  My father frequently listened to Edith Piaf and other French singers and this song was his favorite.   Ever since drawing class yesterday, I haven't been able to get it out of my head.

Event News Reminder

This Sunday, December 4th, I'll be participating in the The Advent Fair 9:30 until 1:00 pm at the Evangelical United Church of Christ, 204 East Lockwood Avenue Webster Groves, Missouri 63119.  

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cacophony of Color

The Art of School

Gothic Vaulted Arches of Chartres Cathedral - France
We have two weeks left.  If you are like many students (or can remember) that countdown sends one into riotous jubilation and also terror.  There is so much left to do in those two weeks and then we slam into finals week.  I'm both excited for the semester to be over (because of all the learning opportunities coming up) and also sad.  I've learned a lot.  I've struggled, grown, flourished in some areas and generally really came into my own.  I have noticed a difference in my daily outlook of life and simply my world has expanded.  I feel more and more inspired and more and more empowered.  All that for the price of tuition.

I have survived drawing thus far.  I still don't really enjoy it, but I don't mind it.  It is very hard work and the teacher pushes us to go a little farther each time.  We begin this week on our final drawing - a 12-15 hour drawing.  Oh boy!

Manet's Le déjeuner sur l'herbe (Luncheon on the Grass) 1863

Photography class continues to be a bright spot.  Hard work, challenging with the chemistry and technical side, but a lot of fun.  I'm busy working on my final project which is crafters working their magic.  I have one photo finished and ready to dry mount.  Still working on printing the others.  Bit overwhelming that we have a lot to do and not so much time.  I'll be putting in some late hours in the darkroom.  It is funny how I go around now mentally framing scene with my internal viewfinder...

Art history continues to make my heart sing.  I've found so many new favorites (I have put a few pictures of works here - I could show you so many more) and seen a lot of connections linking up between art and historical events.  I have a paper due this week and I'm very proud to say that it was finished last Friday.

From the Dye Pot

During my week off, I hit the color hard.  I had a lot of ideas kicking around and I finally had some time to execute a few of them.

A puddle of colors

Sock yarn
Spinning News

I also finished a few yarns.  First there was the commission yarn for Constance (fabulous logo designer).  This was so much fun to make.  I took some commercially dyed fibers, added my own dyed fibers and then made big lofty batts to spin.  The result is 484 yards of DK/Sport weight yarn.  I can't wait so see what this grows up to be.

Next is some holiday yarn for the coming craft fair/Etsy store.  I again combined fibers into carded batts and spun a neat textured yarn.  Currently this yarn is having a bath and then I'll count yardage.

Finally, I made a mini-skein of 41 yards.  This beauty brought red, blue and turquoise bobbin extras into a eye popping bit of yummy.  I can see this made up into jewelry or edging on another project.

Color seems to be in my muse to play with lately - I'm really enjoying it.  I'll say that for art school, it certainly has freed me to play more.  Which reminds me...

I found this gem of a video from Friday Studios in Sweden and had to share!  It perfectly illustrates the shift in my awareness that art school has brought forth - much like my internal photographer's viewfinder.  I find myself taking notes and picking up items (like the leaf for Constance's yarn)  for inspiration.  

Event News

This Sunday, December 4th, I'll be participating in the The Advent Fair 9:30 until 1:00 pm at the Evangelical United Church of Christ, 204 East Lockwood Avenue Webster Groves, Missouri 63119.  If you are local, stop by!  It looks like this will be a great event - artist and nonprofit groups will have booths with many goodies for holiday gifts.  

For those none local - today is Cyber Monday and I'm offering free shipping in my etsy shop- coupon code: CYBERMONDAY11

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Holiday Sales

Thursday night I'll be adding some handspun goodies as well as other special items for the holiday shopping season.

On Friday in my Etsy Store I'm offering free shipping for black Friday.  The coupon code is: BLACKFRIDAY11

On Monday, I'll also be offering Free Shipping.  The coupon code is: CYBERMONDAY11

For purchases made on these days, you will receive a gift for shopping with me. 

For local folks, on December 4, from 9:30 until 1:00 pm, I will be participating in The Advent Fair at the
Evangelical United Church of Christ, 204 East Lockwood Avenue Webster Groves, Missouri 63119

New Winner AGAIN
In other news, I had to draw a name again for the blog launch contest.  Our final winner responded and her yarn is happily on its way to her.  Congrats Gwen!

Musical Interlude

It has been busy around the cloisters.  Mister and I have our own separate hamsters wheels lately.  We did manage to jump off last Wednesday for a bit of jazz hooky.  Kurt Elling was in town and so we ran away for a few hours.  Kurt is a jazz vocalist out of Chicago and he is my absolute favorite singer.  His concerts are always high energy, a little punchy (they were seriously jet lagged), inspiring and a musical drink for your poor soul.   Kurt always manages to pick me up out of what ever funk I'm in.  He has the added benefit of being adorable too - in a funky jazz cat way, dig?

From the Craft Circle

This past weekend there was a gathering at a friend's house of crafters.  It was amazing!  We made jewelry, I spun some fall inspired fiber for a yarn commission, we knitted and we had a quilter present too.  Her quilt was AMAZING - all hand stitched and with a story as well.  Here is a little peek at the table from our activities.  There is something about sitting with talented people.  We enjoyed each other's company and told stories.

I love events like this - like the sewing circles of old.  I love being surrounded by creative people and hearing their stories.  I did some photography work while we worked for my final project at school.  I'm hoping that I captured what I'll need.

Holiday To Dos

I'm enjoying a break from the school routine this week.  I still had drawing class to attend, but the rest of the time has been mine.  It is amazing how long a week seems, until I fill it with my to do list.  The semester is screaming to a close, but I have a lot that needs to be created and turned in before the end.  It is a working week thus - a paper to write, photos to be developed and printed, yarn, jewelry and books to finish for the shop, etc.  For the holiday, Mister and I are staying in this year.  We are making a our holiday meal together, staying in comfy lounging clothes and watching a marathon of Star Trek episodes.  Black Friday will also commence without us.  At the most I'll probably head go to school to work in the darkroom.  In short a slow and perfect break for us both.  I'm grateful for the break and the chance to reconnect with Mister.

Have a very good holiday and if you do venture out - be safe and well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

If Only

Next week marks the start of the holiday season for many people. I'm looking forward to a week off school! My semester is roaring to a close.  We have two weeks after break and then comes finals week.  I won't have formal finals, something I'm thankful for.  Instead I'll have section tests in art history classes and final projects in the studio classes.  I have two morning class at my second school next week. For the most part the week is mine. I have plenty to do however - art history paper, design terms project, and working on items for a craft fair that is fast approaching. I also have some yarn commissions to finish spinning for and I have been dyeing up a colorful storm.

I am busy trying to cross things off my to do list. I finished binding some holiday books that are now up on Etsy.

I spotted this sign the other day. If only they were talking about sheep fleece.

Speaking of fleece...

This link has been making the rounds on Twitter. It is a historical documentary from Scotland which takes us form rooing (plucking the fiber from the sheep, predating sheering) to finished sweaters (or jumpers).   

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Winners

Congrats to new winners picked by random number generator!

Handspun yarn - emarci
Handmade book - Karey

I have emailed the winners and hope to send off their goodies soon. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Knitting Obsession

Still waiting for two of the winners from the giveaway to make contact.  Today is the deadline so watch for new winners will be selected tomorrow.

The Art of School

The other day I headed over to my school's library to check out the collection of architectural ornaments on display from Louis Sullivan.  Many of Sullivan's buildings have been demolished and the wonders have been lost. Chicago and St. Louis still boast buildings.  My school has the largest collection of his ornaments and many are on display.


After spending time looking, I headed off into the stacks of books.  I focused on the textile collection and what wonders  I found there. Knitting and crochet books long out of print! Weaving and spinning books galore! I also found historic books on wool and wool markets from the 1800s.  It will take me a ling time to work my way through the collection. I did bring home a few to get started.
copyright 1970

Lovely CPW (Canadian Production Wheel) depicted and used

You know you want this outfit - it is perfect to wear with your drop spindle!

I love libraries, they are such treasures.

Knitting News

This new pattern came out last week and I've been obsessing about it.

Autumnal by Hannah Fettig

I don't know when I first discovered Hannah's blog and her designs.  I've been watching and waiting and this one called my name.  It seems like the perfect garment (with a little shortening for my height).  Perhaps it would a a good project for some handspun yarn.  Hmm...I can see myself knitting and wearing this one.  Doesn't it looks smart and snug at the same time?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Fall to Dye For

Short post today - I've survived one test, but now I'm looking at the next one. Hope everyone is having a great week!

From the Dye Pot

Our friends the trees have put on their fancy colors for fall,

and inspired my dye palette....

My apologies for the bad title pun.

Then I started to dye some green bit of wool on a study break. No specific thing in mind for this yet, just experimenting with color.

I have some plans with dyeing - getting ideas and inspiration all over. Stay tuned to see what comes of it. I'm finding myself drawn to the kitchen and thinking about color continually.

Spinning News

I finished my raspberry yarn for my raspberry beret holiday knitting! I'm really pleased with the yarn - approx 270 yards of worsted weigh three-ply yarn.

I'll leave you with this little gem of a movie.  Have a great weekend!

I heard about this video on the Electric Sheep Podcast. If you don't know about this audio gem from London podcaster, Hoxton Handmade, run don't walk! You can also find her on Itunes.

Sheeped Away from Junaid Chundrigar on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Felted Sheep and Winners

Last week flew by and now I'm looking at two art history test for this week.  Yikes!

When Bad Things Happen to Good Sheep

I'm very sorry to report that my lovely handspun woven scarf was recently victimized by the washer AND the dryer. What started out to be a 16” wide by 51” long table runner is now a 11 1/2" wide by 42" long piece of something. 

Yes, my scarf was accidentally thrown in the laundry and this is now its state. I was devastated when I discovered it; it had already been a rough day. I'm over it now and much more pragmatic about it. 

Two weeks ago my number came up in the queue. Fiber people fear two things: moths and accidental felting. It is to be expected given the amount of wool around the house that something had to happen eventually.

Hopefully, it won't happen again, but really do you want to bet on those odds?

I'm thinking about what I want to do with my felted fabric. It has some qualities which I love - softness, texture and thickness. Do I make a bag, purse, etc?

The Art of School

I thought I'd share  four picture that I've printed lately in photography class.  The first two are from the farm day (it seems so long ago).

Aren't angora goats fantastic subjects for black & white film?  I love how the texture of their locks comes through. The dramatic lighting helps too.

The following pictures are of a spinning wheel a friend from spinning group scored at auction. It is a wheel from Wisconsin maker, Frank Fell circa 1900-1930. You can read more about this wheel on Tracey's blog

These two photos were used in my motion assignment for class and are part of our class critique. Our class critiques are getting better - we are taking more time to look at photos and give each other much helpful feedback. It is fantastic, inspiring and I alway learn something new. It could be very scary to have your work looked at with a critical eye. Thankfully, we trust each other and the feedback is both positive and constructive.

I thought I'd share this painting, "The Knitting Lesson" by French realist painter, Jean-Francois Millet. It is one of two painting that I'm comparing. I love Realism. Realism grew out of the late nineteenth century and focused on ordinary people doing ordinary things. Painters of this movement dared to vere away from historical and royal/upper class portraits and caused a bit of a ripple. Imagine painting peasants!  

Can't you hear the girl's double pointed needles clink? The St. Louis Art Museum has a few other works by Millet you might want to check out: "Woman Carding Wool," "The Carder," "The Knitting Shepherdess." I wish they were on exhibit, but at least we have the website.

Launch Giveaway

The comments are in, the jokes have been heartily enjoyed and winners have been chosen by random number generator.  I've emailed two of the winners, but don't have a way of contacting the others.  If you haven't heard from me, send me your snail mail address at thecloisteredlamb (at) gmail (dot) com

Winners will have until November 8th to contact me.  If I haven't heard form them then we'll pick a new winner.

Handspun yarn: TheQualityWatch 

Alpaca yarn: CootieMae (a pen name)

Stitch Marker set: Peppermint Mocha Mama

Handmade blank book: pawdua

Thank you everyone for participating!  I hope to do another giveaway in the near future.  I have a nifty new tool to help make the giveaway much simpler on my end.