Monday, October 31, 2011

Last Call!

Last call for entries to the Launch Contest!  Have your comments in by midnight tonight!

Happy Halloween,

Mandy

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Free to All

This past weekend, Mister and I visited the St. Louis Art Museum not once but twice! Friday evenings are the perfect time to relax and see the museum. Hours are extended to 9pm and sometimes they even have live musical performances. I needed to do some research for one of my art history classes.

We were back on Sunday to see the Monet exhibit, which was fantastic! After his death, a triptych was found in his studio and broken up to be sold to three different museums. The only other time the work was reunited was in 1980. Picture if you will, forty-two feet of waterlilies, Monet's distinct color and brush work and then times your reaction by a million. It was stunning and not to be missed! I don't want to get on my art soapbox, but I do not think his work should have been separated. By doing so, the original intention of the artist is changed....but that is a can of worms for later.

Speaking of famous artist, today on the Diane Rehm show, the authors of a new biography on Vincient van Gogh were on.  Don't miss it, you can find show notes and listen here.


One of the things that I most love about St. Louis is the many things which are free. The Art Museum is one such treasure, "Dedicated to Art and Free to All."

On the Needles

Knitting colorwork has been on my list for 2011 New Year Intentions. I wondered if I would get to it yet this year. I cast on for some mittens last week which will perfectly fit the bill.

Meta Mittens are lovely colorwork (knitting with more than one color together) knitting which feature a sheep in the design. How perfect is that?



I found color work a bit awkward at first. I'm an English knitter. For you non-yarn folks, I use my right hand to carry my yarn and I "throw." 


Throwing - English
Picking - Continental
Knitting two colors involves carrying yarn in both hands, so I'm English knitting with one hand, and Continental knitting (or picking ) in my left.





It was difficult at first to get the hang of it. I worked it for about an hour then took a break to attend my Crochet Club. When I returned, I found the most amazing thing. I was much more adept at using both hands and I could even get some speed on my needles. Perhaps my brain needed some time to chew it over.

I started this project last week with double pointed needles (DPNs), but this weekend switched to magic loop method (long circular needle). SO MUCH EASIER! I love my DPNs for socks, and I'm happy to finally have a project that I like to use magic loop on. With carrying two strands of yarn having only two needles to worry with is much better.

Also on the needles is a project that I'm slowly making progress on. I've ripped it out many times in tweaking my design. A friend asked me to design a hip dance scarf for belly dancing. I originally was going to do the whole thing in crochet. Due to wrist pain, I've had to modify it a bit. The major portion is now knit and I'll do some accents, drops and coin work in crochet.




Spinning News

A friend recently took a trip to Minnesota and look at what she brought back for me!
Two colors of lovely Icelandic wool! 

Icelandic Sheep Breeders of North America

Icelandic sheep sport a dual coat, meaning has undercoat and course outer hairs. The wool is considered to be more primitive or rustic. It isn't soft like Merino wool, but has a lot of personality and wildness.


I've been working on spinning up some fiber for a hat which will be a bit of holiday knitting. I found this delicious raspberry fiber and it is spinning up beautifully. I'm aiming for a worsted weight yarn to knit a beret (yes, I know, a raspberry beret).

Technology at Its Best

As my computer reminded me this weekend, don't forget to regularly back up your files. My poor computer is almost reached its lifespan. It is common only to remember to back up only after all is looking lost. Thankfully, I had a fair warning and backed up.  


Baaaaaaaaaa-d Jokes

Hope you have been reading the jokes that have been coming in with the giveaway contest. I have been taking special delight on reading them out loud to Mister. He even agreed that some of them where quite good. Keep your entries coming, you have until Halloween to enter.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Case of the Stolen Lamb

Mister and I recently finished watching the television series of Sherlock Holmes, played by the magnificent Jeremy Brett. I thought of Sherlock when I heard of a case that he might have been interested in investigating.

The Art of School

Last Friday, I attended the annual Sculpture Walk on Campus. This event is a the culmination of a lot of time for the artists. Students submit a proposal to their professors and spend a summer class session working on their projects.  This year twelve proposals were accepted. The sculpture walk gives the artist a chance to discuss their work, take questions. It ends with a banquet. The work is also juried and prizes are awarded.

Earlier in the week, I was walking across campus to the art building when I spotted sheep atop a small hill in the center of the common area. Of course, I went in for a closer look.

When I went closer I saw the flock was made up of an unexpected material. Thousands of plastic grocery bags. I loved the addition of the horns on this guy.

Such an interesting concept. Wool is a natural, renewable resource. Yet synthetic material has threatened its use and existence I throw bits of wool out in my garden to help choke out the weeds and to naturally decompose. It was interesting to hear the artist, Aurora Bihler, talk about the use of plastic and other "disposables." I loved what she titled her piece.



I introduced myself to Aurora to thank her for her work. It is great to have sheep on campus, and I appreciate the message.  I do get the urge to take a wool shawl and drape it on one of the sheep. Aurora kept a blog of her project, Reduce, Re-ewes, Recycle.  


I am not the only one that has an eye for sheep on campus.  Sometime between Thursday evening and Friday morning someone stole the lamb. Aurora was going to report the theft to the campus police. This is the photo I took Thursday morning of the stolen lamb. Shame on Ewe, indeed!


Just for curiosity sake, I Googled punishments for theft of sheep. If convicted, punishments varied widely. During biblical times, the thief would need to pay four sheep for the one that was taken. Other examples included monetary fines, prison time, and in some other examples execution.  Hopefully, Aurora will get her lamb back and no one will be executed.  


Off the Needles


I finally finished my fingerless mitts that I showed you last time.  I used to think that mitts were a bit silly. After all, when I'm cold, it is usually my fingers that need the protection. They are perfect for when it is a bit chilly in the office, but I still need to use my hands. I'll be using them quite a bit tonight as I work on things for school.










Don't forget the enter my giveaway contest. You have until Halloween to enter. Hope everyone a great week!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Launch Contest


After nearly a year of work, I'm very pleased (and relieved) to announce the launch of my new site.

The Cloistered Lamb will incorporate my blog with my shop.  My shop will feature handspun yarns, hand bound books, textiles, jewelry, fiber for spinning/felting, and knitting supplies.  Hey, a girl has to pay for art school somehow!

To celebrate the grand opening of my shop, I am offering free domestic shipping.  Enter coupon code: GRAND

I must thank Mister for his mad programming skills for the website.  He spent many hours accommodating me.  Couples usually count decorating as a marriage tester, but for techie couples website building is the test.  Mister never lost patience with me, even when I'd ask for something to be moved a millimeter to the right.  Thanks Mister!

My new logo was designed by talented graphic designer, Constance Cafazza.  Constance took my design ideas and exceeded my wildest dream!  Thank you Constance!  




To celebrate, I'd like to share my gratitude by having a giveaway.


There are FOUR ways to be entered:
  1. Leave a comment below.  Yep, that's it.
  2. In honor of Mister, comment on this post and share your favorite sheep joke.  Don't be shy, we all love a sheep pun.
  3. Share the contest with your friends on your favorite social media site (Facebook, Twitter, Ravelry, etc.) then leave a comment letting me know you did so.  While you're at it, bookmark the site.
  4. Leave a comment and tell me your favorite artist, art, material, etc - you get the idea. 


1. One lovely skein of handspun Bluefaced Leicester wool/silk blend 2 ply yarn, 135 yards

2. In effort to support my local farms, I'm donating one skein of alpaca light fingering/lace weight yarn.  Colorway is Cornflower blue, 219 yards.

3. Set of six handmade knitting stitch markers.  Glass beads, fresh water pearls and base metal findings.



4. Hand-bound Coptic Stitch Blank Book
The book measures  4 1/2 " x 6 1/2" 
72 pages (front and back)
 With unlined white paper with a few watercolor pages for wet media






Four winners will be chosen by random number generator.  I will ship anywhere in the United States.  Winners will be notified by email (when possible) and first name posted on the blog along with your prize.
Have your comments in by Monday, October 31, 2011.

Thank you for helping to celebrate my new site!

Good luck in the contest,


Friday, October 14, 2011

Almost There!


I've almost made it through the week.  Until next week, friends, I bring you

My Favorite Thing


Amazing how addictive these games can be!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Midterms


The Art of School or The Art of Surviving Midterms
a.k.a. Spinning, knitting, weaving, and other art preempted this week.





Yes, folks, I'm in the middle of midterms at school.  While most of my classes do not have exams (that was a few weeks ago and a few more coming in a few weeks), I do have projects for my various studio classes.  It would seem logical to spread them out and not clump them mid-semester.  But alas, no one checked with me on this front.


I had four photos due today for critique in photography class.  I love critiques in this class; it is an inspiring and exciting day.  I counted it up and I spent over five hours in the darkroom getting ready for this critique.  True, it was our first time working independently on printing, but wow!  It takes a lot of time to get the prints just right.  The shots below needed a lot of special tweaks after finally getting the major parts correct.  Light, detail, color tones, and everything needed to be just so.




I have some drawing work to tackle this evening.  Portfolio reviews are on Friday.  I need to finish filling this in and blending it, work on my sketchbook as well as two other drawings.  Oye.

I also need to get a start on two papers for art history.  One paper will be exploring Chartres Cathedral in France.  I think I really need a field trip for the paper to be good.  I'm very much looking forward to researching this lovely Gothic building!  My other paper is comparing and contrasting two works from the St. Louis Art Museum.  It isn't a hardship to have to go there.



Of course all of this work is cutting into my knitting and spinning time.  These poor little mitts out of my 90 yards of alpaca, bond and mohair handspun have been on the needles forever.  But it is midterms, ya know?







Driving to school has provided some spectacular views of the sky - here is the early morning fog rising off the Mississippi River.  I wish I had stopped to take pictures, but here is one off the phone.


 Midterm Favorite Thing





Since the stress levels and busy levels have increased, I felt the need for comfort food.  I made a batch of my mom's chocolate chip cookie bars.  Mister, who isn't in the middle of midterms,  appreciated the comfort as well.  He, poor dear, is in the middle of writing his dissertation.  Anyone that has ever been engaged with this process, or has supported someone through this process will understand the video.  This one's for you Mister!





Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Four Legged Gifts

So today is my birthday.  Yippee!  I remember as a child, I would look forward to my birthday for months.  Now, I often forget how old I am.  No really.  I often have to ask Mister.

When I was growing up, the tradition was to have an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins.  It was the same each year - mint chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate cake, that lovely fudge icing and horses on top.  I was horse crazy as a girl and I never grew out of it.

Fourth birthday
When Mister and I were brand new, he asked me what I wanted as a gift.  I told him a pony.  Under the Christmas tree that year, I got a pony.  Each leg was individually wrapped with lots of tape.  My little plastic pony took me a long time to unwrap.  For our first wedding anniversary, I received two paper origami ponies.  Mister is a creative gifter to be sure.

My herd from Mister
This past weekend we were at a fair and got to visit with an alpaca and her cria (baby).  I told Mister that this year, I wanted an alpaca for my birthday.  I wonder if he'll find a plastic one or learn to fold one.  The challenge is on.