Finding Time

Sometimes there are days when you just run out of time. I've been noticing this occurance a lot while I've been doing the 100 Day Challenge. Some days one gets too busy to work on anything. I especially feel this way between work and home life.  

My routine usually consists of getting up, driving, working, driving, showering and then either relaxing or going to bed. I'm not trying to make excuses, but I don't always want to be felting and accidentally stabbing my fingers. And I don't always want to be taking some picture of the socks I'm knitting to show you I'm making something. I like doing my little watercolors, as I said in a previous post. Hopefully my schedule eases down a little soon and I can show you more of what I'm doing.

This has been your weekly update. Until next time... 

P.S. I wrote this at a pub. We'll see how coherent it is. Haha

Sick Days

It can be rough for an artist to get sick. Monday I had a stomach bug, and Tuesday I developed a sore throat (however that may be the result of the dust and roofing at work). So, here we are on Wednesday, and not much progress happened in the past week. Unless we’re talking about my socks.

When I’m sick, I have a couple of rules: If I’m throwing up, I’m not going and if I have a fever, I’m not going. However, a sore throat, cough, or a runny nose doesn’t usually stop me from doing what I need to do. Sometimes that doesn’t include art, though. I was able to do a painting last night, so it’s something. I just need to get back to felting. Soon enough. New ideas are coming.

Thinking about being sick made me think of this post from 2013 about me being sick.

Until next week, hopefully, full of fewer sickies and more artsies.

My 100 Day Project

Just a reminder that I started my own 100 Day Project over on Instagram. My hashtags are #100DaysOfShowingUp // #100DaysOfArt //#100DaysOfFiberArt Please check it out! @captnshamrock

This past week I wasn't able to work on a felted creature until yesterday.

Even so, it was a false start. 

But, I believe that progress is made even if I show up for 30 minutes to an hour every day and show off what I’m working on.

I DID do a couple other things this past week: 1) I started a new pair of socks (some of the fabric is shown in the first image) and 2) I did a small watercolor study. 

 Giraffe Skull

Giraffe Skull

I haven’t done watercolors in a long time, probably not since before I graduated college. Doing a small quick study showed me that I still have a little skill there which makes me super excited. I’ll be adding a few to my 100 Day Project. 

So, that’s it for this week. More to follow soon! Thank you for all the support, it really boosts my confidence and keeps me writing/making art. 

Showing Up

The hardest part of my day is waking up. I have two alarms set four days a week: one at 4:45 and the other at 5am. The 4:45 one breaks me out of whatever deep sleep I was in so I can slowly start moving towards being fully awake. The 5am alarm is the final push to get me out of bed. I never hit the snooze button because I know I'll just go right back to bed and miss work. In fact, I keep my phone across the room so that it forces me to get up to turn it off. 

Showing up to work isn't too much of an issue. When people are depending on me I always try to make it a point to be early or on time. But what happens when you need to start showing up for yourself? Personally, when I have plans to work on something on a certain day and then don’t force myself to sit down and do it, I’m disappointed. I was depending on myself to show up. I didn’t . This is something I need to work on now and in the future, ESPECIALLY if I’m going to make art a full-time thing. 

A lot of creative marketing blogs and podcasts discuss the idea of showing up for your audience. That's what I've been trying to do for you these past few weeks. If I have something to show you, and I show up to present it to you, the more likely it is for you to want to continue to see what I'm working on. And that's all I want. (Hopefully, my start time can be a little later than 5am, though.)

So, check this out!

I made another Mini-Felted creature (fox/wolf?). He measures 4" x 2.5" x 3.75". I haven't quite decided on a name yet, but he looks like a Frank or Frankie to me. I'll sit with him just a bit longer to decide, but I think that will be his name. As soon as he has a name, he'll be up for sale.

I would love to start having some audience participation in naming some of these creatures. Do you have any suggestions on what to name this little guy?

I Made a Thing

I'm rather enjoying the concept of Wednesdays becoming my blog days. Let's hope I can keep this up!

It's been a long time since I've really made and completed an original piece of art. Sure, I’ve finished lots of knitting, but it’s not of my design. I guess I finally got fed up last Friday/Saturday. I buckled down to make something.

Meet Maxwell.

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He's my new Mini-Felted Fox measuring 4" x 2.75" x 2.5". He's the first in a series of Mini-Felted Taxidermy, an idea that has been bouncing around in my creative brain for too long now. Finally, he has emerged. Which leads to my next thought.

Idea Debt. I read an article on Idea Debt about a month ago and was filled with dread…I have Idea Debt. Basically, it's the concept of imagining and talking about something you desire to create or do for so long that it is established as “real” in your mind. Therefore, you just don't do it. It's a whole lot of thinking and not a whole lot of doing. That's how I was starting to feel about these Miniature Taxidermy pieces I'm kicking off. Hopefully, that has changed and I start to make more art.

I'm definitely feeling more positive this week and have more confidence in myself after posting pictures of Maxwell to Instagram on Saturday. But, I did have to get up the courage to put a price on him. (Yes, he is for sale. He's $45 + shipping. I hope to create a shop page on here soon, but for now, contact me if interested! ) I believe that in order to be taken seriously, one has to have the courage to just go for something and do it. I simply needed to set my mind to it, and - voila! - new pieces!

Yesterday, Elle Luna, an artist and designer, posted on her Instagram about the 100 Days Project.

This could not have come at a more opportune time! To participate in the 100 Days Project one picks an action and then does it every day for 100 days. I reposted Elle’s picture and asked who would join me on this journey. I might not be picking a specific medium since Fiber Art is pretty broad, but I figured if I'm at least working (not thinking!) on something every day for 100 days that I might bring a few things out into the world. Want to see what I'm doing during my 100 Days? Follow me on Instagram @captnshamrock and/or Like my Facebook Page! The journey starts April 19th!

That's all I have for this week. Hopefully, another felted creature will be here next Wednesday!

 

Heartlines

Just keep following /The heartlines on your hand / Just keep following / The heartlines on your hand / Keep it up / I know you can / Just keep following / The heartlines on your hand

This song by Florence and the Machine has been floating around in my head for a little while. I don’t think that I had really listened to the lyrics until one occasion recently when Dylan and I were driving back from Arizona. It was a Sunday night, and I was dreading the thought of going to bed only to have to get up in a few hours for work in the morning. Dylan was singing the song to me as it played and at that moment, the meaning of the words really hit home.

It’s been while since I’ve written on my blog. Partly because I have switched jobs and found it difficult to scramble some time and thoughts together to write about. I’m now working for a well-known fibers company. It seems that when you really put out your hopes and desires to the Universe, it listens. While I’m just pulling orders and not designing or getting to make anything, and the commute is rather a grueling journey, I’m in a much more positive environment for my creative self. But now that I’m only working 4 days a week, Thursdays are my Fridays and I’m trying to use the extra time to create things.

Except that doesn’t always happen.

Most of the time, at least, the past two months, when I’ve been trying to work on things some part of it doesn’t work out. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make molds for miniature animal heads for a while now. I think the silicone method we tried will work, however, it is very time-consuming. I have a couple more ideas to try.

I did do some natural dyeing with The Northwoods Hat kit in Logwood from A Verb For Keeping Warm that Dylan was so kind to gift to me for Christmas. And I did finish felting antlers for my deer. I just need to figure out how to attach them. All in due time.

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On top of all of this, the house seems to be a mess a majority of the time, and I’d rather work in a clean environment than a messy one. 

However, all of these things are excuses. It’s not that the house is too messy that I can’t make things, it’s that my brain thinks it’s too messy so makes up an excuse to not work on art. Just like when in school and you have that huge test to study for... when all of a sudden - THE ROOM IS A DISASTER I MUST CLEAN EVERYTHING!!! It's not that I don't have the time in the evening to work on things, but sometimes I am very tired of being on my feet all day, and driving does take the mental energy out of me. I think there is a lesson in discipline here somewhere...

Progress happens, but it's slow. I feel passionate about what I want to do, I just have to keep on doing it. I know something will come of me making my art. Just because I can't support myself on it now doesn't mean that I will never be able to. I just have to keep following the heartlines on my hand, just like Florence says. Keep it up. I know you can. 

This Week's Progress

I feel like I would never get a blog post out this week.  Between work and other activities, it's become harder to be able to sit down every other morning to post something...excuses, excuses.

Reading books counts as progress, right?  Good, because I've been better at reading since moving than I every was in Arizona.  It just works better with my schedule.  I wake up in the morning, get ready, make my lunch and then sit down with my coffee and read.  And then at work, during my lunch break, I eat and read.  I finished one of the books I received for my birthday, Blog Inc., on Tuesday.  It was an interesting book, full of helpful tips, but not much I really feel like I can apply here.  This is my artist blog, I'm not really looking to earn money off of it (though it'd be nice).  

The next one I'm reading is Art Inc. in the same format as the previous book.  I have a feeling it's going to be similar to the book I read with my morning coffee, Art/Work.

I finished the Jeweled Cowl Wednesday evening.  I plan to block it and hand deliver it on Saturday.  

And now it's time to chug my coffee and get going to work.  Have a great weekend!

Sweater Sleeves

I thought that I might have my Driftwood Sweater done by this week.  However, the sleeves are taking longer than I thought they would.  Instead of doing them one at a time, I'm working them with the Magic Loop technique, so both at the same time.  (Check out this article on all the different ways to knit in the round.) (Remind me to put a picture here.)

One of the guys at my job keeps asking if it's done.  And honestly, it's just because I haven't had time to work on it.  Life has been crazy or I fall asleep.  Remember that whole falling asleep thing if I stay still for too long?  Yeah.  Friday is my last day of this temp job, and then it's on to a dental appointment on Monday and then California for a couple of weeks.  I couldn't be more excited (not the dental appointment, just California).

New Sweaters and More Socks

On Friday, the yarn for my Driftwood Sweater arrived!  Of course I had to go straight home and wind it all into balls so I could start on my new sweater.  And that's what I spent the rest of the evening doing...winding yarn and starting my sweater.  It's quite easy and addicting to work on!  Clearly...look how far I am. TkVMdvSb7AyYL4Xc.jpg

Just a little more of the body, and then the sleeves and button band and I'm done!  One of the people at work walked by saying, "You'll be done with that by Christmas!" To which I replied, "No, I'll be done with it by next week!"  I'll give you all the details about the yarn, etc. when I'm all finished.

On Sunday I was able to teach another sock knitting lesson!  This time it was with Amanda, one of my Fibers classmates from ASU.  We parked ourselves in a Starbucks after picking up some yarn and needles for her, and spent about two hours working on her first sock.  And it was a success!

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She updated me on Monday that she had even gone ahead and done a second one!

Also on Monday, part of my knitting machine arrived!  I'll tell you more about that another day.  For now, I'm just super excited to learn how to use it.

Sock Knitting Lessons

I mentioned previously that I was teaching my friend and classmate Chelsea how to knit socks.  On Monday night we finished her first sample sock! Before...

After!

We used Kate Atherley's Top-Down Training Sock pattern. Kate's Knitty.com article, Socks 101, is also really good if you're looking for a simple equation to start knitting your own socks.

In other project progress, I finished my Homage Shawl yesterday afternoon and started on my Traveling Woman Shawl. I'm looking forward to this weekend when I can go through my new stash additions from the San Diego Yarn Crawl to pair up with patterns and to show you!

Anticipation

Ever have projects that you just anticipate the end?  The ones you can't wait to be finished with and hang on the wall, or wear, or whathaveyou?  Mostly for me, I can't wait to finish so I can start the next one.  I try to keep projects lined up, especially if I have yarn or other supplies lying around. I'm not quite actively anticipating any projects at the moment.  There are a couple I have in the back of my mind that I'm thinking about.  I have my yarn that I got in Alaska that I want to start working with, but that's the only one I can really name off the bat what I want to work with right now.

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I'm going to make a Traveling Woman Shawl from it.  I think it's very fitting since I did get the yarn while I was traveling in Alaska.

What are you anticipating?

On Bringing Patterns to Life

I finished my Ishbel scarf/shawl in a week.  And I love it.  And I wore it before I blocked it...actually, I still have yet to block it.  But that's okay, because I was cold the day after I finished it, so I just put it on.  I can't wait to block it and see the pattern come to life even more. That's one thing I love about finishing projects and blocking them.  After you finish something, it's kind of lumpy and weird looking.  But after you wash it and stretch it out and pin it down to see your work, it's amazing.  Before I really got into knitting almost all the time, I was lazy and didn't really block anything.  I'm still bad and don't make swatches (oops), but I always try to block my work now.  And if I don't, it just seems to sit around.  I have one project, Ship to Shore Shawl, that I finished on the Alaska Cruise.  It's been sitting in my closet with my other finished shawls, but hasn't been blocked.  I just need to do it when I do my Ishbel.  There's something so satisfying about blocking.  You're done.  All done.  And then you go and enjoy what it is you've made or wrap it up to give away. So gratifying.

In other projects, I've been working on Hexipuffs for the Beekeeper's Quilt I started over two years ago.  Since Arlyn has started on hers, and I was coaching her through how to start them (really, it was taking pictures of me doing increases on my needles with a different project while I was in the car on the way to Tombstone), I've picked it back up and made a few.  It's a nice little thing to make while I'm working and in between projects.

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Knitting Downtime

Yesterday, one of my co-workers made the comment that I must have a really boring 8 hours.  And I'll be perfectly honest: I do.  But I try to occupy myself when I'm not answering phones or working on social media.  Usually I write these posts, browse Facebook for things to post on my page, glance at Ravelry for any new patterns to put in my ever-growing queue, and knit.  I don't like spending all my downtime on the internet, nor do I have any books on my Kindle that are begging for my attention.  So I knit.  I can put it down at a moment's notice if I need to do something, and I can still be totally aware of my surroundings. I started the Laughingbird scarf the first week I started this job.  I don't always work on it, and sometimes when I do I can only put a few rows in.  Some days I'm bored of it, and others I'm totally engaged in it.

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I can't wait to see it when it's all blocked.  I'm hoping that I can get another project going (maybe with some nicer yarn) before the San Diego Yarn Crawl.  I also am looking into getting a project back from Slipped Stitch Studios.  I'm kind of obsessed with their Lost at Sea fabric they've been using for their products.  I have bought way too much stuff of theirs in that fabric and am about to buy more.

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I'm looking into getting the Double Knit Plus Bag in Lost at Sea.  I know I have a ton of project bags that I've made myself already, but I really want this one...because of the fabric.  Believe me, if I knew where to find it, I would buy it all and make so many things with it. ...right after I wrote that, I just went and searched "Lost at Sea Fabric" and I found places to get it.  Damn.  There goes more money down the drain.  I really want to just buy 10 yards of the stuff.  It's a good thing my sewing machine is in storage...obviously that won't stop me from buying it.

I mentioned in a previous post I talked about knitting at work.  It just reminds me of my internship when Susan would say "Okay, enough work, let's go knit." And we would sit down and work on our projects, either personal or for the store, and if someone came in, I was able to pop up and help them.  That's something I really miss.  But no one has made a fuss here yet about me knitting on the job, so until they do, I'm going to do just that. And buy my new project bag.

Drawings and Drizzles

On Monday I discovered that Spoonflower was doing something called the Spoon Challenge.  It's a tool to create the habit of making art every day.  What's nice is they choose a theme for the week and then prompts to draw.  I started this Monday and the theme is animals with the first prompt being Platypus. wGyUAqRcqk7eL8Pm.jpg

Essentially, because I'm working when I do this, I'm planning to use whatever I have at the desk I'm using.  (I don't know if I mentioned this before, but doing temp jobs is interesting in that you're working at someone else's desk with someone else's pictures and things.) Also, while I do have access to a scanner here, I just wanted to take snapshots and upload the doodles quickly. The quality isn't the best, but it's not suppose to be a grand work of art, just exercises for me to work on. Anyway, I haven't done much drawing in a long time, so I hope to hone a little bit of skill.  Yesterday's prompt was Hedgehog.

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It's nice to have something like that to work on during the day in addition to knitting when I don't have anything else going on.  Especially since I'm not able to make bigger things like my felted taxidermy or printing fabric.  I'm looking forward to knowing what I'll be drawing today.

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Yesterday we had some serious downpours.  While I was getting plenty of warnings for flash floods in the area, I was sitting behind my desk watching the rain begin to fall.  It was around lunchtime when it all began.  The even darker clouds started replacing the ones in the already overcast sky.  And then the rain came.  And then the phone calls started.  I think over the course of 30 minutes, I had received about 11 calls about things leaking within the mall.  Crazy!  And I was the only one in the office, so there wasn't much I could do since all the maintenance people were working on other leaks or making sure water wasn't flooding into other areas.  So yes, it was a crazy afternoon and I wasn't able to take a break until an hour after my normal lunch time.  So, while I would have liked to be home with coffee and knitting and watching the rain, instead I worked hard to make sure I kept everyone happy.

On the plus side to all the rain, however, I've been seeing a lot of dragonflies today.

 

Do What You Love Follow Up

Because I don't have much to show you project-wise, I'd like to address some other topics regarding progress.  In last Thursday's post, I was throwing out the "Do what you love" line and discussing that a bit. I had totally forgotten some wise words from one of my favorite authors and artist, Austin Kleon.  (Seriously, I need to just carry his books around with me everywhere so when I'm feeling off track I can just read something out of it and - BOOM - back on track.) In this particular post, Kleon answers a question from someone regarding keeping your day job, even if it's not what you want to be doing.  He also addressed it today during his Office Hours.  While I based my college career off of "Do what you love" I totally understand his point about it not being able to pay the bills.  And I understand it's pretty cliche nowadays.

I get that if everyone did what they loved, not much would get done depending on what it is so-and-so loved...I know people who love numbers and business who do it all the time.  And they're lucky.  That's something the world needs all the time, business people and accountants and whathaveyou.

BUT!  I do think the world needs Fibers.  Obviously we wear them every day.  But that's a job for fashion designers...right?  I'm more art based...but wouldn't you like to have a unique piece of art in your home?  That's the real struggle for me.  What if there isn't a demand for art like mine?  Wouldn't I be right back to doing something for the money instead of for the love of it?  I'd also like to teach workshops someday, spreading my love of Fibers.

For now, I'm job hunting with keywords that would possibly satisfy my need to work in an environment working with fibers.  I had a perfect one that I applied to, followed up and followed up, and was finally told that the position was filled.  I was disappointed because I felt that I was perfect for the position.  Back to the drawing board.

I think I meant for this post to go somewhere else, but this is where I'll be leaving it for now.  Basically, I really want to keep doing what I love and figure out how I can survive by doing it.

Knitting Plans

After the last couple of weeks, I feel as if I haven't made a whole lot this week.  I was thinking about it last night and I average about one knitted item a week and am usually working on some other project at the same time (usually unrelated to knitting).  Typically I'm not a one project knitter.  I have a scrap blanket in the works, and plans for another blanket.  When I was working on my Embrace Sweater, I kept that one at home and took another project (I think it was my Doctor Who shawl) out and about with me. Right now I'm solely working on a Sea Foam Cowl that I'm using up some stash yarn with.  Last week I was moving (*gasp!*) all of my stash into my new storage unit, because, you know, I'm moving.  But, I made sure to pull out some yarn I totally forgot I had so that I had something to use this summer.  This is due to me realizing I was almost done with my list of projects I had planned for last year.  I think, also, that's why I started working on one thing at a time.

I was also a bit bad, and bought some new yarn last week.  I couldn't resist it.  It's Wanton Fiber's Tart in the Koi colorway.  It's Alpaca and Silk...so soft and heavenly!  It came all wrapped up like this:

Wanton

And when I opened it....ERRMERGERD.  I love it so much.  It's sitting next to my knitting spot as motivation for me to finish the Sea Foam Cowl and start knitting with the Tart yarn.

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I've already planned what project I'm going to make with it.  I've been wanting to make Purl Bee's Bandana Cowl.  With a little math, I was able to adapt the bulky gauge pattern to comply with my new sport weight.  I hope to finish it before my trip to Alaska, because it's going to be super warm and soft up against my neck.

I also made more project bags on Monday.

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I made a total of 7, two are the foxes.  I made a second one for a coworker who also knits.  I really hope she likes it because it's a total surprise.  The two on the far right are for Den because I gave her a refresher on knitting.

So, there's really no excuse why I shouldn't have a tutorial for these.  I was good a took pictures to make a tutorial for tomorrow's blog post.  That's all I have for you today, so please stop back tomorrow for the project bag tutorial!