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!!!

Winding down and winding up!

Some people like their yarn in skeins. Some people like it in cakes. But I often wind mine into balls. Even if I start with a center-pull skein, eventually it gets tangles and the easiest thing for me is to wind it into balls. I can watch TV and wind yarn until I’m done. And I’ve gotten pretty good at it! They’re usually fairly spherical when I finish. Now if only I had a yarn bowl…

This month has been crazy busy! But the main project I’ve been working on is a knit sweater. I’ve never knit a sweater before and it’s going pretty well. It’s a simple pattern – rather like a T-shirt – and I made it so I didn’t have to purl, just knit. The bottom part is knit in the round and the top part is in garter stitch.

And it’s made out of dishcloth cotton yarn!

new sweater

new sweater

The blue is trim around the hem, the cuffs, and the neckline. I’m on the last sleeve and very anxious to finish it!

Go out and push yourself. Try a craft you’ve never tried before. Paper mache? Beading? Quilling? You just might find a new favorite obsession!

Let’s go create something.

chron·ic: [kron-ik] adjective

chron·ic

[kron-ik]  

adjective

1. constant; habitual; inveterate.

I have Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome.

I also have a fiber addiction.

Neither of these adequately describe who I am, but it’s a good starting point.  I do not want to write a blog about Chronic Fatigue (hereafter known as CFIDS). So many other people have done a much better job than I could. I also do not want to write a blog about sewing or knitting or tatting. Those have also been done. What I want to share with you is how one of my chronic issues (fabric and yarn) combines with my other issue (CFIDS) and how I balance the two. Perhaps you will find ideas that help and inspire you. Perhaps you will share a laugh with me… or a tear. Perhaps we are best friends… perhaps we will never meet.

“Life is short, pain is long, and we’re all here to help each other.” ~Stephen King

Let’s go create something.