Monday, February 8, 2016

Searching For Creative Fulfillment

Recently I've found myself creatively frustrated. It has taken me until now to determine that the frustration runs deeper than just not having anything come off of the needles. I realized that I have somehow turned all my creative endeavors into work. Since being creative is what fills me up, and all my creativity has been turned into work, I have felt quite empty. I started abandoning social events because I felt too drained. I've also had a sinus thing going on, which hasn't helped matters, but has forced me to be quiet enough to do some intense introspection.

I realized that when Connor is at work, I make sure I am hard at work all day. (I work at home, so my time is more flexible.) And when Connor is home, I spend time with him. What I need in my life to be fulfilled creatively is time dedicated to doing creative things for the fun of it... when I am alone. After having a good talk with Connor and hearing him say things like, "Of course you should be doing fun things for yourself." I have finally decided to give in and let myself have some time to play.

I've been dying to paint for quite some time now. There are so many ideas in my head, but I've not let them out for fear of not staying dedicated to some arbitrary deadlines I made myself. I've given up those deadlines. (Like having more patterns out for Stitches West.) Patterns will come out when they are good and ready. Today I painted for a bit instead. Because I have such a backlog of ideas, I found myself getting a little intimidated by the time I would need and the fact that I haven't painted in, well, years. So today, in the interest of just starting, I decided to paint a still life.

My Granddad had found this glass Japanese fishing float along the shores of New Zealand after a storm. After my grandmother passed away, the house was sold and he moved to a smaller place. I was allowed to choose one thing from their house to ship home. Dad told me his wallet regretted not having any limitations on the offer since the float isn't small and the shipping was quite expensive. But I'm happy I have it.

So that's what I painted today. Something small and simple.

Here's a close up. It's not perfect, but it's better than I thought I might be able to do after so many years of not practicing. I used gouache paints for those who might be curious.

I'd like to give Ann Wood some credit. She often writes about the difficulties that she encounters as a professional creative. I especially liked her post when she decided that she needed to start sketching regularly. It inspired me to just start and reminded me that it is ok to start small.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Mr. Bear Ears Knits On

Connor has finished his second project! He now has a very warm 2x2 ribbed cowl out of Anzula's For Better Or Worsted in the Mariana color way. We used Purl Soho's Lovely Ribbed Cowl as a starting point.

This is the face of a man who enjoys the feeling of wool, silk, and cashmere on his skin. And since he has been wearing his cowl, I've been able to steal use his scarf.

I've also added this to his project page on ravelry. I didn't know that when I convinced him that he should have a ravelry page, I'd be maintaing it. I just tell myself he's Mr. Bear Ears, not Mr. Social Media.

I had bought him the yarn at Stitches West last year. I asked him if he wanted a scarf. He said yes, so I handed him the yarn and told him there was some assembly required. I'm proud that he rose to the challenge and made himself a cowl. (He decided he wanted the yarn to become a cowl rather than a scarf in the end.

We've been talking about what he might want to knit next. He's thinking of making fingerless mitts. I'm trying to talk him into knitting me a sweater. We shall see.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Impatient Knitter

It feels like an age since I was able to get something off of the needles. Although after looking at my ravelry page, each of my projects are only 2-3 weeks old.
Pucker: a bit harder than I expected. This is the first sock of the pair.

Logically, if I stick to one project, I will get it done faster. This isn't how "knitting brain" works. Knitting brain says, "You should cast on a new project. All your projects will come off the needles sooner if you do." Knitting brain is dumb and should be ignored.
The first plain vanilla sock in the pair. See those shadowy bars in the image? It's knitting prison. I will be knitting this forever.

Not helping all of this is that the project I've been most diligently knitting on, and was a quarter of the way through, had to be ripped out and redone because my numbers were not coming out right. In this case I added an extra increase in a mysterious location. The pattern is still correct. (Yay!) I still have to be precise when testing my own patterns, so ripping was the only way to go. (Boo!)
This shawl has been in the works for 2 years. If this iteration works out, I will high five myself.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Whiskey And Rye

I'm pleased to present my latest offering, the Whiskey And Rye socks.

The socks are knit top down and feature a slipped stitch chevron pattern.

This pair is knit in Miss Babs' Yummy 2-ply in the Biker Chick color. My test knitters all happened to have wild skeins of Miss Babs hanging around and chose to knit with them. I'm am pleased to say that every pair looked good. I'm pretty sure that even the wildest colors can be tamed by this pattern.

If you're interested in the pattern, it can be found on ravelry, craftsy, and my own bear-ears website. I've also set up a hashtag on instagram: #whiskeyandryesocks

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Yeti In Dunsmuir

This past weekend Mum, Connor, and I drove up to Oregon to visit Oma. On the way there, we stopped in Dunsmuir. Last time we were in Dunsmuir, we discovered the best chocolate shake in the world is located at Burger Barn, so this trip we made a point to leave extra early so we could arrive in Dunsmuir around lunchtime. We got there there by two (it's hard getting up in the morning) and after lunch walked around the town a bit.
This was taken towards the end of our walk

Usually we go see Oma in summer or when no storms have passed through, so to see the snow was a real treat. I know this might sound silly to everyone who is experiencing a white winter. I've lived my whole life in places that do not see the snow. We had brought Yeti with us. He was a present from "Santa" aka Mom.
A Yeti in its natural habitat

We had seen a man with a dog go for a walk while we were at Burger Barn. When we came out, we saw them walk back up a street labeled "not a through street." I was certain we could go through. We passed a pair of young boys... possibly through their non-fenced backyard, before slipping down a hill to the street below. After we crossed the street, a snowball landed close by. We looked up and the two young boys (8-12ish) were hiding behind a tree. Connor turned and presented his rear in an enticing manner, so another snowball flew by. Then another. Connor packed a snowball, lobbed it over, and it hit the older boy in the chest. Then it was on.
The boy on the left just threw a snowball when I took this shot. 

We spent a good 15 minutes exchanging snowballs, almost wordlessly. Every once in a while I'd make the call, "Car!" and the war would cease just long enough to let the vehicle pass by. Every one who passed had a great grin on their face. In the end, we told the boys they won before we continued on our walk.
I had a tough time getting my snowballs to connect. The boys had the high ground.

Eventually we ended up by the train tracks where Connor and Mum tossed Yeti between them to get a "yeti jumping shot."

As we headed back to the car, wet and cold, I tossed a few more snowballs at Connor. It was a fun day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Two years ago I started an instagram account, and for two years I've had "Make instagram logo for blog" on the list. I don't know why it took me so long to do it. I'm certain I've spent more time thinking about it than it took me to finish. Such is life, right? The logo is now in the side bar. And while I was at it, I removed some social media buttons to places I don't really use.
Fun fact: My father is pretty awesome. He developed the Qwikcards app. I use it to keep my to-do lists in order.

I've found myself wanting to put more time into my Instagram account recently. I started becoming more inspired after reading Angela's 2016 goal list on her blog Pans and Needles. #8 on the list resonated with me. I find myself working to take pictures of my projects in progress, but I don't get around to putting up a blog post because I want to write more than, "This is how far I am in my sock." Then I knit more and the photo feels like it is irrelevant. This led to a cascade effect where I found myself not wanting to work so hard to take nice knit pictures because I wouldn't get around to writing a blog post on it. And because I felt most images wouldn't be used, I stopped challenging myself to take better pictures. Instagram seems like the better place to put up the images that would otherwise not make it to the blog and I hope that helps me to challenge myself. Although, there may be the odd repeat between the blog and the instagram account... especially because I'm fond of the Mr. Bear Ears photos.
My account can be found at bear_ears for those who are curious.

On a slightly different topic, I'd like to call attention to the sock in the top left corner of the above picture. It is my newest pattern and I'll be releasing it on Friday. Keep an eye out for the Whiskey And Rye socks.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Mr. Bear Ears And His First Knitted Scarf

Connor had been diligently knitting away at his scarf. He thought he would have it done for next winter, but it got cold, so he became "motivated to finish" so he says. I'm pleased to show off his very first knitted project, a 2x2 ribbed scarf in Jill Draper Makes Stuff's own Rockwell in the Pacific color.
We decided that the only place the Pacific scarf could be photographed was in front of the Pacific itself

He's already received compliments at work. A co-worker told him they didn't know what a "manly" scarf would look like until they saw his. He was pleased to report to them that he made it himself. I'm so proud.

I'm also pleased to report that he is working on his second project already. It is Purl Soho's Lovely Ribbed Cowl out of Anzula's For Better Or Worsted in the Mariana color.

Since he is on his second project, I thought it was high time for him to join ravelry. You'll find him under the moniker mr-bear-ears.
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