Absence makes the heart grow fonder???

FIVE MONTHS??? How did five months go by so quickly???

I’ll tell you how. A cruise to Mexico with my husband, followed by Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then a cruise to the Caribbean with my best friend. Then my birthday and Valentine’s day. Throw a couple of chemo appointments in there and winter just flat got away from me!

It’s been a busy few months as you can see. In addition, I’ve taken on the internet marketing and some proof-reading for my husband’s book publishing business. We had so much fun on the cruise to Mexico, we decided we need to increase our income so that we can take more cruises!

But on to the creative bits! I’ve been busily crocheting. A new grand-daughter is due in July, so she got a blankie for Christmas. I’m working on a couple of shorts for Greg. And he’s finally getting an afghan of his own for TV night cuddles. Of course, a couple of chemo caps are in the works, too. And today I tie-dyed some fabric to make me a shirt. I also dyed a slew of yarn samples. I may start a business hand-dying and selling non-animal yarns. It’s very hard to find pretty yarns that contain no animal fibers, and I KNOW I’m not the only person with allergies, so that may happen some time in the next few months.

Whew. No wonder I didn’t get around to writing the blog. And I didn’t even take pictures of the crafting! I hope you’ll all forgive me.

On to this month’s book review:

“Knitting Block by Block” by Nicky Epstein
(150 Blocks for sweaters, scarves, bags, toys, afghans, and more)

This lovely hardcover book was sent to me by Blogging for Books. It is a very versatile book. All of the patterns are for squares and it contains cables, color work, embroidery, entrelac, beading – almost any kind of knitting you can think of! It also includes patterns for items that can be made from the squares – toys, bags, etc. I like the idea. You can make a square to see if you enjoy the pattern before committing to a huge project. Squares can be put together into a blanket or turned into pillows. Every page has a color picture with written instructions and graphs, so if you’re just learning to read graphs, this could be a great teaching tool. The only real complaint I have is that the book doesn’t lay flat. I prefer stitch books to be spiral-bound or binder-bound so that I can lay the book open and it will stay that way. But if you’re looking for some new ideas for old stitches or some altogether new stitch patterns, here’s a book chock-full of them. Check it out!

ISBN: 978-0-307-58652-0

I’ll try to do better moving forward… Got to get back to my once-a-month posting at least. I hope you all had a joyous winter and are starting to see Spring peeping around the corner of your world.

Let’s go create something!

Crafting Art

I know I’m a bit late with this post… I do try to get one out (at least) per month, but nothing much happened in September. I didn’t want to write a so-busy-but-here’s-what-I-made post again… So I was waiting for inspiration.

Today it struck.

Someone posted a picture on Facebook of a local crafter/artist’s work and I got to wondering… What’s the difference? What makes it art? When is it a craft? Is there a difference between the two?

My first instinct was to say that art exists for the aesthetic while a craft serves some sort of purpose. But then what about a wall quilt? I’ve seen some amazing quilted wall hangings that I consider art… It’s certainly not keeping the wall warm (although I guess it could if you lived in a really drafty house), but it’s really no different than the quilt on the bed. The construction and techniques are the same. But there are also quilted potholders, which seem “crafty” to me. Where is the line? How do we tell the difference?

Of course, I went searching for the answer. Most websites defined “art” as something that is open-ended and freeform, coming from the imagination of the artist, while “crafts” are about following a prescribed formula or recipe to achieve a finished product. Therefore, “art” is unique while “crafts” can be reproduced.

But I’ve been in quilt classes where everyone used the same pattern with different fabrics and some turned out to be works of art while others did not.

If we give a creator paper and paint, are we not prescribing that they paint a picture? What then, makes it art? Is it the intent? Why is Jackson Pollack considered an artist while your average three year old is not? They turn out similar work…

I don’t have an answer for this quandry. I’ve always thought of myself as a crafter rather than an artist, yet other people have told me that my finished products are art.

What are your thoughts? Have you created art? Crafts? Can you tell the difference?

My husband says the only difference is in the attitude and the price tag.

On another subject, I have another book to tell you about. “Knockout Knits” by Laura Nelkin. (I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.) Laura has designed some YUMMY knits with all sorts of fun techniques including beading and lace. These patterns are ART by my definition. And she makes it look so easy! I like the way the book is laid out, with the easier projects first so that you can get an idea of what you’re doing. The book contains patterns for cuffs, mitts, scarfs, hats, and shawls – all my favorite accessories! Laura writes as though she’s talking to her friends over a cup of tea — warm, friendly, and encouraging. Some of the patterns include charts, so if you’ve never read a knitting chart, this is a nice way to learn. The color pictures are gorgeous and there are instructions for all the stitches in the back of the book. I wouldn’t recommend this book for a novice knitter, but if you’re getting tired of K1 P1 and want to stretch your skills, this could be the book for you!

So grab a book (or twelve) and go create ART! Or CRAFT! Or something!!!

Where did the month go???

I can’t believe it’s the end of May already! We took our first trip away from home since my diagnosis. Unfortunately, it was to attend a memorial for the mother of an old friend. But we got to see a lot of people and share some laughs and memories. Before the trip, I made two shirts for my DH, finished adress for me, made a blouse for me, and did all but the hand work on a skirt and blouse set. It felt so good to be back at the sewing machine!

But that trip wiped me out. I spent the next week just laying around not doing much more than some crocheting. Thank heavens for reruns on TV and old movies.

I’m working on a sweater with some silk blend yarn that I snagged at a sale. This is the pattern:

http://www.yarnspirations.com/pattern/crochet/crochet-motifs-tunic

The yarn is a burgundy tweed. I hope it will look good when it’s done! I plan to put it over a black tank top and wear it when we travel.

Yes, we’re travelling again! We’re headed to our favorite bookstore next month in Gold Beach, Oregon.
http://www.oregoncoastbooks.com/

This place is fantastic! The top story is all used books and they usually have a rack or two of 25 cent books, so we really load up when we’re there.

Speaking of books…

That’s my next creative project! After planning for 7 years, I am finally going to write my first novel. It’s a murder mystery set in a college theatre department. If you’re interested, you can read more about it here:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/death-plays-a-part-a-mystery-novel/x/612921

I’ve written the first few pages and really like where it’s going so far…

Wish me luck!

Now go create something!