Category Archives: Ravelry

Spring Artfest and the Artful Umbrella Shawl

So, I know I am a bad blogger, but you can find me most days posting to my Studioloo Facebook page. 🙂

But also, I am hoping to blog a bit more now as I have setup a kitchen workstation to help me be in a more central part of the house to ensure that I update my website more, blog more, and overall inspire myself to be on the computer enough so no one sends a search party. The truth is that as an artist I am often totally immersed in what I do these days and I don’t feel as eager to post it all online – editing photos, creating buttons, web updates, etc. I do enough computer stuff in my day job so I would rather be felting, spinning, making making making. But I will find balance.

Some fun news though – this upcoming May 2nd, I will be participating in the Spring Artfest in Etobicoke, ON (Toronto) at Neilson Park Creative Centre – so come on out and see me – lots of new yarns and fibres and other fun things.

Spring-ArtFest-2014

Also, it’s official that I will be taking part in the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter’s Fair in September at the AUD in Kitchener, Ontario! I missed last year but will be taking part this year. Can’t wait!

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Other than that I have been working on a couple of things – a workshop I hope to be teaching this summer, and a new pattern that I just published on Ravelry – using one of my handspun art yarns and one of my bootsie-loo sock yarns. The Artful Umbrella Tree Shawl is a lot of fun, and I will be putting together some custom kits for it. It is a lovely marriage of my yarns and a really fun knit. It will help you expand your creativity and learn a few new skills while still being suitable for yes, a beginner knitter!

I will be photographing a bunch of new yarns soon – lots of bootsie-loo and some wire core handspun. For now I have posted a huge handspun art yarn update and there are lots of goodies ripe for the picking. Check them out here! Also, if you are one of my US customers, there is no time like the present to pick up Canadian yarns as our dollar is so much lower than yours. That is a great benefit I try to take advantage of when international shopping.

mosaicofartyarnapril2015

Spring is on it’s way and I am planning my garden – how about you?

xoxo

 

 

 

Inspired Weekend

It has been a really great weekend of getting work done! I have put a new face on the Studioloo website which I am quite happy with and will be putting up a lot of listings. I have finished so much work that is not currently posted on the site. I took a bit of a hiatus from the duties of running an online shop. It’s a lot of work – the photography, photo editing, writing descriptions of products, uploading photos, updating inventories, carts, e-commerce, FTP’ing information, website updates, and so on! It can be somewhat exhausting at times. But, I do love to get my work out to a broader audience than those in Ontario. I really enjoy selling my work in person as well – it’s nice to hear people tell you their plans for your yarns or how something you made will accent their homes.

I have done a lot of spinning this weekend. I think I caught the spinning bug remembering Janice Rosema, an incredible fibre artist who passed away last week.  She was a great inspiration to me and overall just a really sweet person. We are having a little spin-along in the Ravelry art yarn community HERE.  Feel free to join in or post your photos of your inspired works for Janro on Instagram or Twitter with hashtag #spinforjanro.  I also did a bunch of crock-pot dyeing of rovings and yarns and managed to finish a bunch of administrative work for shows I am applying to and so on. My to-do list is getting a lot shorter.

There has been a lot of snow here lately so I have been fighting off my cabin fever just working away on things, doing a lot of home cooking and watching documentaries. They have included ‘Sweetgrass’ – a doc about sheep herders going through the Rockies with their flock, a documentary about all of the craziness and politics of the Barnes’ art collection and it’s foundation, a documentary about the making of South Park and how each episode is done in only 6 days, and a bunch more.  I am a documentary addict at this point.

I have also been working away on my Beekeeper’s Quilt and have passed the 300 mark. 300 Hexipuffs! Holy cow – one day this will be a quilt. I also designed a few charts – one of Catbus (for Studio Ghibli fans) and a few for Adventure Time. They are below:

 

 

 

Have a happy Family Day or President’s Day long weekend!

 

Apparently…I am crazy when stagnant!

My poor little pup, Toasty, developed some kind of illness in the middle of last week and through the weekend so I stayed home with him…all….weekend. I have really come to the point in my life where I can’t ever stay inside the house for an entire day. I don’t know why…but it makes me insane…and makes me think about how I could be doing a million different things but I just sit there…and watch TV.  It’s bizarre but I think a testament to the human body and mind needing nature, activity and stimulation.

So, I looked at my to do list from last post…let’s see how I did:

1. Update Art Yarn page in the shop with all new art yarns.
2. Finish reading driving manual and look into booking test.
3. Review required updates to pottery guild website
4. Think about trip to US and PR stuff with husband, start a plan.
5. Determine packaging for wooden buttons and start packaging.
6. Dye sock yarn.
7. Photograph and update Ravelry with rebranding on new yarns.
8. Work on cowl pattern.
9. Walk every day.
10. Work on documentation database for work.

Ok, not too bad…I finished 4 of 10 things but also managed to finish a few things not on the list…like teaching the husband to weave the rope rug I have been working on so he can help me and as a result I finished 2 more circles and he finished a couple. Here are mine:

 

And, I made really good food, including lovely beef short ribs. Here’s a photo mosaic of the process:

On Sunday I finally broke down and had to take a walk. Toasty was starting to feel a lot better but still just wanted constant sleep so we packed him up in his own little, cuddly crate and walked the beach. It was a nice, inspiring walk and was very nice in that I felt like part of a busy, artsy city. It was quiet and had freshly snowed.

The swans that I visited throughout the summer were there. I photographed these babies in various stages of their growing up process. Now they just look like baby swans but in an adult size.

There were guys filming a music video, singing and playing guitar. They had a cool, little rolling track that the camera could move farther and closer on.

There was even a lady letting her wee bunny take a run around on the beach. He was wearing a cute, little purple sweater and I even got to give him a little cuddle but I only managed to photograph his butt.

Then I collected a lot of amazing drift wood, some charred and a bit piece that looks like a bird head from Beetlejuice or something. I love it!

 

And there was much knitting hexipuffs for my ever-loving Beekeeper’s quilt.

And, in the shop there is a big new art yarn update! Check out the shop here: http://www.studioloo.com/handspunartyarn.htm

Take a peek at these handspinnies!

Also, I am in the middle of re-branding, dyeing, and photographing a ton of new sock yarn and other yarns. But, my best friend, Mat of Manspun fame has also written a lovely sock pattern for use with my yarn.  It’s called Man-Tastic Socks! and works for men or women. It’s a fun knit and great with variegates, solids or semi-solids!

Pick up your copy here! http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/man-tastic-socks

 

Weaving with the Walrus

It was a fine New Year’s day spent at the Toronto Zoo with the husband. I took a ton of pictures with my new Nikkor telephoto lens that I am really happy with but I don’t have them edited yet. I will share some once I do. I spent the last couple of days prior to the new year just organizing things, planning projects and relaxing. I managed to pull a back muscle over the holidays which has slowly been getting better.

I picked up the weaving that I was working on some time ago and have started up on it again in an attempt to use up this giant basket of rope that I have collected over the months for this project. I was thinking it would be a rug but I think it will be too nice and end up being a wall hanging.

Here’s a shot of one of two circles I finished over the last couple of days.

I have more shots of this project on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/studioloo/coiled-rope-rug

I am thinking that beginning tonight I am going to start tackling a big to do list so I can feel more accomplished. For my own benefit I will list 10 things I need to accomplish over the next week or so.

1. Update Art Yarn page in the shop with all new art yarns.
2. Finish reading driving manual and look into booking test.
3. Review required updates to pottery guild website
4. Think about trip to US and PR stuff with husband, start a plan.
5. Determine packaging for wooden buttons and start packaging.
6. Dye sock yarn.
7. Photograph and update Ravelry with rebranding on new yarns.
8. Work on cowl pattern.
9. Walk every day.
10. Work on documentation database for work.

Work is sort of too quiet this week. Most of the clients have taken the rest of this week off, as well as a lot of the staff here. I am trying to keep motivated to work on a few things and use this down-time as best I can but it can be challenging after just coming back from holidays. I think I will feel more focused tomorrow as I have a meeting, and get to dig into some new things.

Tonight I will be working on some fun, secret things for a swap I am taking part in on Ravelry. The theme is ‘Mash-ups’ where you design a package for someone, secretly, and you mash up their 5 favourite fandoms. My partner’s fandoms are run and have a lot of child-like imagination so I have a lot of ideas. I see much photo-collaging, felting and assemblage happening tonight to put together a couple of the bigger projects.

Poor Week and Summer

It’s about time I update this blog. Admittedly I am so bad at blogging – I blame life…and well, Facebook. Somehow it seems so much easier to chicken-tap a little writing there. I have truthfully been taking a hiatus from a lot of places I used to write – Ravelry, and so on. I just feel like I want to spend more time living, not writing about living – so that’s what I have been doing.

But, this blog is sorely missed and I want to re-focus some of my wasteful energies to it. Because I have something to write about today, it seems about time.

This week I am decidedly poor. Well, not really, but I am doing a little project on ‘making due’. I have had a whole bunch of expenses with a lot of business stock ordering and preparing for lots of upcoming shows so my bank account is sort of complaining back to me. I am not truly too poor or anything like that but I am not wanting to spend money right now. I am just feeling anti-spendy. Mike and I have decided this week that we are going to not do a big grocery shopping – we are going to eat what is in this house. We might cheat to pick up some essentials though – eggs, milk, butter. But that is it – only those staples.  This will be a 7 day project and I will be doing little updates with our meals and what happened.

Today’s lunch was the first of these ‘poor man’s paradise’ we are creating. We found 2 frozen burgers in the freezer and had some hamburger buns left over from the BBQ the other day – so Mike BBQ’d them and I was tasked with making a side dish in the time it took him to BBQ. So, I came up with a salad made of…

– Cubed watermelon (leftover from a few days ago and packed nicely in the fridge)

– Pumpkin seeds (from the freezer, organic)

– Grilled pineapple (the rounds from a can, asked Mike to grill them for me while making the burgers)

– Elderberries – (from the farmer’s market – last year, frozen)

– Rosemary and apple mint (from my front porch herb garden)

The salad was really yummy and the elderberries melted and gave a bit of a nice coating on the grilled pineapple. It was really refreshing.

I will be posting a big huge art yarn update in the shop on Friday. Here’s a sneak peek:

 

Catching up to Myself

It has been a little while since I blogged. Life happens..I am really glad I am such an avid photographer though because otherwise I would forget half of what I do in life. So, here goes…the photo memories of the last couple of weeks.  I have erected a bird feeder in my backyard that has become a constant source of entertainment, and well, dismal panic. It all started about a month ago, where for two weeks the sole purpose of the feeder was to fatten up squirrels.

Being the lover all of things fuzzy and feathered, I am not one of those people who obsesses with keeping squirrels out of my bird feeder. For about two weeks though, no birds. But I think my complete lack of caring about what the squirrels did caused much gossip in the wildlife community and the birds finally overheard there was a shangri-la in my backyard. So, now I am overcome with mourning doves, sparrows, starlings and from time to time cardinals, crows, and yellow finches. How can this cause dismal panic you ask? Well, the other day I came out to check out the bird feeder and possibly refill it when I found…..a dead bird….a little house sparrow, in the bird bath. My face dropped and I was immediately consumed by the wonder of how this happened, and more like me, how did I cause this? Arg….Everyone around me has assured me that birds just die sometimes and it was nothing to do with the construct of my bird feeder, however, I have decided to remove the birdbath portion. No water equals no possibility of drowning.  So I am slowly mentally recuperating from that.  Not nice.

In the world of knitting, I finished a lacy cabled cape I had been working on and I am now on the fourth section of the Citron Shawl. I am planning on trying to make some progress on it tonight at Stitch n Pitch.

I think I have developed a distaste for working on really large straight needles. It is just not easy to manipulate and kind of makes my small hands confused and clumsy.

A couple of weekends ago, it was the summer spin-in day at The Black Lamb and we had a lot of fun. It was lovely sitting in the garden and spinning with great friends. We had a potluck and it was really yummy.I am always happy to marvel at the beautiful garden that Laurie and Steven have.

I feel like I have my spinning mojo back. It was gone for a while, perhaps just because I have a really big list of things to do, work is really stressful and the weather has been quite scorching for the last while. But, I have been spinning like a fiend since returning from spin day. I think it’s so therapeutic to be around people in a group doing something they enjoy. It’s hard not to be inspired.  This is my completed haul of yarns for Tour de Fleece. There are times where I think I really could have gotten so much more done, but I am happy to have finished what I have.

I am also really into corespinning wire right now. It’s a really nice and fun, functional technique. The fibers are spun around a wire and yarn core in a round horizontal motion. The finished yarn is moldable, sculptural, can be bent into shapes and used for art pieces, or for making baskets, jewellery, decor, or really what your creative spirit desires. Here is one that I just finished. I call it ‘Blue Moon Festival’ as inspired recently by an event in a book I just finished reading titled ‘Spinning Forward’ by Teri Dulong. I agreed with the reviews on the book which stated it was really predictable. This is true, but it is also the kind of heartwarming happy ending story you need to read sometimes to rekindle your sense of humanity. The only complaint I had was that the main character was a whiny, spoiled brat – but that is no reflection on the writer. Dulong’s writing has a lot of flow; makes you want to keep the book in your hands, and has a lot of charm, with the perfect amount of descriptive elements.

If you are interested in learning more about corespun wire, I started the August spin-along in the Novelty and Art Yarns group on Ravelry with a focus on this style of yarn. So, jump right in!

I have also been doing a bit of baking. I made banana bread and a dark chocolate bundt cake, which tasted much like a whoopee pie, last week. The cake is now a distant memory but there are a couple slices of banana bread still left, assuming it wasn’t snatched up for today’s office brown bagged lunch.

I have also been able to do a bit of hiking and taking some walks in nature now that the heat wave seems to be over for a bit. I learned something really interesting about young male mallards. I saw this duck and initially thought he was some kind of hermaphrodite or something because he looked very female but had the coloration, sort of, of a male.

As it turns out, and as most people know, when ducks are born, they all pretty much look the same. But, it takes quite some time, a few months, for a male duck to reach the level of maturity that his iridescent head feathers grow in. So, this duck is likely only a few months old and he is still undergoing his path to maturity. I thought that was really neat.  It was also kind of funny to watch this herd of different birds swimming along the promenade, following a little girl with a bag of bread crumbs she was tossing out to them.

I am also growing poppies. I have no flowers yet but I do have some adorable leaves popping up. I have never grown potted poppies before so I am not sure what to expect.

I went to Michael’s yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to find out they are now carrying the Stitch Nation (Debbie Stoller) line of yarns. They were originally only at Joann’s in the US. But, alas we now have them. I picked up a couple of skeins of Alpaca Love in the colourway Cobblestone to make something lacy.  It’s nice to see some more natural fibers at a big box store which don’t feel like a yak’s guard hair against your skin.

Alas, it is time to get to work…but I will leave this post with a couple of lovely things…I spun this yarn called ‘Secret of the Walnut’ with some beautiful walnut halves I picked up on one of my walks.

And, I received this lovely package from the Odd Ducks Swaps on Ravelry – the Element theme. Just look at the amazing cowl!

Of Dogs and Totem Poles

Yesterday I had a really great morning. I went to Woofstock! One of the nicest things about living in Toronto is that there is always something going on – and this weekend it is North America’s largest dog festival! The roads all around St. Lawrence Market are closed down and you get to see every kind of dog imaginable. It’s so fun. First the dogs take a stroll up the red carpet.

There are hordes of people with dogs, vendors, restarants, and it’s just a really fun, happy scene.

I will mention that I published my Totem Pole Socks pattern up on Ravelry as a free download – but then the rest of this post will be entirely dog related. 🙂

Grab it here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/totem-pole-socks

Ok, now on to the dogs!

First my favourite dog of the day – this sweet little girl in her roller cart:

She was so sweet, calm and gentle and her face had a way of melting your soul.

Funniest dog face of the day is awarded to:

Best tutu award….

Cutest toenails…

Best all-over face lick!

Best dachshund prarie dog stance! (This is a piebald – really rare..)

Most impressive fancy group of cute:

Best leash chompage:

Least amount of hair:

Today I need to get a little knitting in public done – WWKIPD was officially yesterday, but I am sure you can see why I simply didn’t make time.  🙂

Long Weekend Bliss, Knit Like a Jester and Stuff!

It has been a fantastic weekend! Saturday was spent hanging out at The Black Lamb and doing some letterboxing and hiking in Port Hope. We managed to find this letterbox hidden in the rock cut and it was just a nice afternoon, despite the flash rain shower that seemed to happen just as we were hustling to stamp the letterbox.

This letterbox is planted along the Ganaraska river which is littered with beautiful scenes like this:

After searching out this letterbox, we took Hwy. 2 toward home again and decided to take in all the country air and nature we could find. There is this big field of cows that I love to visit on this route and this time there was a donkey hanging out with them. He was so adorable and when I started to talk to him in my signature ‘oh my gosh cute!!!’ babytalk animal-lovin’ voice, he came running right up to me and was adorably sweet.  Case in point…

We stopped along a stony beach and hid a letterbox, near the town of Bond Head. Then, we made our way into Oshawa and the rest of the routes going back home. I saw this weird anomaly at a car dealership – cars in a dumpster.

Sunday was my day of focusing on web design and lightening the load of the day by drinking lots of summer beer and taking breaks now and then.

Today was really nice too! The weather warmed up and I got some spinning done, photographed the new line of Bootsie sock yarn that will be coming, managed to design and order new business cards and yarn labels and just generally answered a lot of emails that needed answering and got lots done. I got some time in at the pottery studio and have a load of thrown forms to carve and embellish. I am thinking up some new fun themes. There is still loads for me to get working on but I am trying not to overly stress myself about any of it. Today is the day of the floating dandelion fluffs.

I think tonight I will do a bit of spinning and planning out my knitting project for a knit-along that I am doing with Velma and Jacey of our friend Tracy’s court jester cowl.  This will give me a chance to actually knit something with my art yarn which I have been meaning to get to forever. Here’s my beautiful Tracy modelling her own design:

If you want to join in and knit this cowl with us, you can find more information here on Ravelry. Ok, time to get spinning this palette:

Spring of Creativity

First off, I was given a massive load of pure cashmere yarn and I am giving a lot of it away here because I simply don’t have the space!

It is starting to feel very like spring outside with the sun waking up so early, birds singing and that last bit of frost finally starting to dissipate. I have been really productive lately trying to prepare for late-April to early-May vacation, Maryland Sheep and Wool, Stitch n Kitsch and all sorts of other things involving yarn and artwork.

Also, I should mention, as many have asked, there is finally new Candy Sprinkles yarn up in the shop.

I have plans to do about a million things beginning with finally podcasting tonight. That is my big priority. There have been endless hurdles getting me to the next episode. Holy cow..hopefully we won’t talk forever. But, otherwise I have been really feeling inspired to work on pottery lately as well as spin. I feel like I just don’t have enough time! My knitting time has been seriously suffering. Can someone please win the lottery and buy me out as an entertainer of the arts or something?

Here’s a bit of what has been happening around Casa del Studioloo!

This is a blue/purple circular pinch bowl that I made by rolling tiny balls of clay and pressing them into a bisqued bowl mold. It’s a fun easy project for when you have days that your clay just won’t cooperate on the pottery wheel but you still want to accomplish something. Beside it are a couple of new yarns that will be heading to the shop soonish. One is my Oak Leaves in Fall for a challenge involving this photograph:

This is a bowl that I handbuilt and printed with a lace doily.

And, here are a couple freeform dishes that I made

I don’t want to overwhelm you with pottery photos however, so for those interested, the evergrowing photo collection of pottery is here.

I am starting to plan for a whole bunch of different types of clubs for yarn and pottery and tea and so on and so forth so more details to come on that very soon. 🙂

For the month of April I have started a ‘Make your own Supplies-along‘ in which you make some of your own creative add-ins for art yarns, share your methods and tutorials or just inspire us with pictures and ideas! So, join in!

Here are some loomed flowers I made:

This weekend also we are having an Easter Bunny Spin-along so, pull out your wheel and spin along with us! It’s the last day of the work week today! Woo hoo!

Longwood Gardens, Vacation Recap and Spoils in Winter

I am back from a very fun and restful vacation! Among my journeys was a beautiful visit to a lovely B&B called Sweet Water Farms. I would definitely recommend this B&B – the cottages and the house are so beautiful and they have really awesome dogs, which for me is always a super bonus becuase I love dogs! They also have sheep, fainting goats, horses, whirpools in the cottages, a hot tub, pool, nice breakfasts, etc. etc. etc.

Before arriving at the B&B however, I was treated to a lovely visit to Longwood Gardens, which I cannot begin to gush enough about. What a vision this place is! This is a massive property with a huge indoor and outdoor garden – all sorts of incredible and rare breeds of plant, flower, bonsai, tree, cactus, etc.  Right now they have a show called Orchid Extravaganza running. It’s amazing. Here are a few of the tonnes of photos I took. The whole set is here.

This was one of my favourite flowers:

Some of the orchids:

It was so nice to get inside the greenhouse, the minute you walk in the smell is heavenly. You feel like you are in the garden of Eden or that spring has just injected itself into your soul, right through your nose. I wish I could somehow express the delightful smell of this garden. They had a room with lovely, fragrant citrus trees.

 

I also didn’t know how awesome a nectarine tree is – they grow so interestingly, all spread out very wide. As such, the garden grows them against these gates to support their branches. I am not sure if you will be able to tell how this tree is shaped from the small photo below but worry not – here is the big one.

I was also dumbfounded by the hall of bonsais they have. Some of them are decades old. They looked like diverse forests, in a tiny format, in these little pots. This one has been growing since 1949 but the oldest I recall was 1929 (but that was only when I started to pay attention to the actual dates so there could be some even older).

Next to blow my mind were these great big flowers:



They look like a big fist before they come into bloom.

The entire garden has a romantic, beautiful feel to it and it would be an amazing place for events..they have a lovely ballroom, a giant organ the size of several rooms and you can peer into the back of it at all of the working parts, chimes and knobs.

I definitely have a lot more to talk about form this vacation. It was a lot of fun. I went to an amazing import/antique store, loads of yarn stores…did a little stash enhancement and just generally spent some good time away from the stress of the day to day 9-5. It was much needed and despite falling back in to the crazy schedule, I am still feeling renewed.

One of the nice things about coming home is that I received several packages from Ravelry swaps I have been part of. One of the greatest presents I received was my new Cloak of Ravens that was knitted by my swap partner.

It was from the Mythology swap, in which my partner chose to focus on Freya.
I learned so much about the Norse goddess Freya and wow, what a beautiful mythical being.

Here are a few pictures of my stash enhancement:
Schoppel-Wolle Ambiente (from Lovely Yarns in Hampden)

Claudia Handpainted in colourway ‘Red Wagon’ (from Nangellini in Philidelphia)

Alchemy Juniper (from Loop in Philidelphia)

Since getting back I have been feeling very much like getting lots of things done, prepping for upcoming workshops, etc. and I did manage to get a little shop update done yesterday.
There are a couple new art yarns here: http://www.studioloo.com/handspunartyarn.htm
A couple new sock yarns here: http://www.studioloo.com/yarnpages/bootsie.htm
A load of new spinning fibers here: http://www.studioloo.com/spinningfibers.htm

I am also in the midst of preparing the next Muststashyo podcast and shop update. So, much to do but I’m planning to have fun doing it.