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. ūüôā

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!

ausheader

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

 

 

 

Busy Bees of Summer

Summer is finally here! Lots has been happening around Studio – major house renovations and all sorts of stuff. I know the website has been a little quiet lately, and I have been opting to take a bit of a hiatus from Ravelry, Facebook, and any other social networking. I just find it all a bit overwhelming and it tends to detract from actually getting real things done. So, these days I am focusing things, getting lots done, and focusing on more in-person shows, and stuff. But, very soon I will be revamping my office to allow me to do more daily website updates, blog updates, etc. I still likely won’t be on social networking much – except for Studioloo blurbs and pictures on Facebook and Instagram. It’s really working out nicely for me not to spend hours of my day scrolling through stuff. We have to balance life…not make ourselves too available all the time. For me, it’s especially important as I have a day job, dogs, family, and so on.

Last weekend we had a big yard sale and managed to knock out Phase 2 of cleaning out the garage – getting rid of old artwork and antique stall stuff that we no longer want to hold on to. It was a fun, successful day. Having a yard sale is a great way to connect with neighbours and meet people.

 

Most of what I have been doing lately has centred around home renovation and preparing for Twist Fibre Festival in August. I have been dyeing loads of yarn, and still have a lot more to dye, and I have been washing loads of fleeces from my haul at Maryland Sheep and Wool.

This week we are also putting in hardwood floors in our living room, and painting away all the ugly beige. My to-do list is a little bit of a nightmare but I am working through it.

So, if we haven’t chatted in a while ….this is why. I will return to civilization shortly..I promise.

Peeping From Under the Covers…Frolic Time!

Well, it’s been a busy, quiet Winter, and I have developed some bad habits but despite this unrelenting snow, I am¬†going to kick my life back into gear. I guess we all feel this way at this time of year. I have been wasting my time¬†doing so many things…facebook….playing games on my iPad where I am far too committed to building fake towns, and feeding fake animals and destroying blocks and things. That…needs…to….stop! Now! But, the good news is that I have not¬†only been wasting time. I have been doing a lot of cool things that don’t happen on the internet.

I have been a supreme hermit and I am pretty sure that my friends are likely convinced that Mike is keeping me in a cage¬†in my studio, but that’s not the case. Trust me, I am still shaving my legs and making art and having fun. I have really¬†fallen in love my our new home and I have been working on it most weekends and evenings. I have been reading more, watching¬†lots of documentaries, having date nights, playing with my dogs…including our new rescue dog and so much more.

But, it is time to balance and come back into the light. I have a bunch of plans to accomplish things I have been wanting to work on for some time, and I have an action plan.

So, this period of quiet is over, starting with the upcoming Knitter’s Frolic. So, I am going to start blogging again, and updating my site. I am planning on scaling back some parts of Studioloo…things I need to abandon to create anew. Looking forward to growing and changing more and more.

DKCposter_halfsizeAlso, my show schedule so far is updated: http://www.studioloo.com/upcomingshows.htm

 

 

Ebbs and Flows of Felt

It has been a very eventful week, full of memories, perspectives and lessons. For some time I have been emotionally preparing for good things, and bad things. A very dear friend of mine, Sue, had been in the hospital fighting the return of breast cancer after a stroke, and the onset of lung cancer and pneumonia. It has been a couple months of reflecting on life and taking in how much I am learning in my thirties. Mostly I am learning to love, and to listen. I do a lot in my life, and often I feel like the world can be hungry to know everything about me, but I have reached a time where I kind of want to be quiet, do what I do, and not worry about the repercussions of being less available. So much time is spent on things that promote our lives, that we often lose a lot of time to live them. I don’t want to do that anymore. I am still trying to shape what that means for me, as a person, an artist and a small business owner.
Life events seem to happen in waves, and I was fortunate enough to get to spend some time at a felting workshop with Marjolein Dallinga of http://www.bloomfelt.com this week. I have taken a felting working with her before, a couple of years ago, and I found her to be a breath of fresh air, with a lot of great advice, methodology and inspiration. She shares her work, herself, and her space with you and brings a wash of relaxation and makes you want to think differently. As you massage wool into sculptural forms, you reflect and think about a lot of things. I have been doing just that this week …unplugging as such. I was thinking about my friend Sue, her family…my dear friends, and how their lives will change. She passed away on Wednesday surrounded by her family. I thought about our time together, and how I last saw her only a couple weeks ago. She was in pain but lit up so much when I visited. She was able to talk some, and understand me. She was able to express frustration with the speech recovery being so slow, and the pain she felt. I held her hand and felt very connected and tried to show her how much I love her. I have great memories of laughs, and sweet things we have said to one another. I will always treasure what she gave me in life. She was a funny, bright, chipper woman, with a lot of love and pride in those around her. She was a gift.
As I thought of this, I felted….carefully massaging layers of fine merino wool, tossing it around, rolling it in my hands, forming it. I listened to the different questions other felters asked Marjolein, and how she answered with rules, grace and patience. She has a way of guiding people to do the right thing for themselves, if they are open to it. She teaches you not to be obsessed with the product, but instead to celebrate the process. I love the process, but running a business can often lead you to worry too much about the product. Marjolein assigned us to use colours we didn’t like, that we would not normally choose. She pleaded that we not take pictures during the workshop, which I love, because it keeps the space and time very sacred to those in the room. She asked everyone to be quiet, focus on the work, and she battled the distractions around us. It was the time I needed to get through these things I have been feeling – worrying about a difficult client at my work, worrying about Sue and her family, worrying about my family, and my show schedule. One of the women attending the workshop had been talking about her blog, and asked Marjolein if she was on Facebook. Marjolein responded that she wasn’t and that she was ‘old fashioned’ and didn’t really spend much time on the internet. She told us about another artist she worked with who said that she spent 20% of her time on her art, and 80% of her time online, promoting her art – Facebook, Twitter, website updates, shop maintenance, newsletters, photography, image editing, uploading, networking……as it was discussed, it make me feel kind of nauseous…thinking about how much time I spend doing this stuff, and how it is far from enough for me to be in the top yarn spinners or ‘random artist description’ group. I have been at this for almost 12 years now, and I do well at it….but it is changing, as I am.
I know I may be quoting Marjolein way too much in this post, but she said a lot of things I needed to listen to, things I have been thinking about, seemingly at the time I really need to hear them. As she showed us a slideshow of her work, she talked about getting accepted into a prestigious show one year, but then the next year, not getting in. She then gave a really good analogy of how art careers, or pursuits sort of move in a figure 8, or an S-curve. When you go up, you have to go down a bit, only to go up ahead, or perhaps down, but then back up. This is about popularity, notoriety, success but can have so many factors – trends, judges, luck, etc. It’s something to think about. You are allowed to take a break, then come back strong, then take a break – have a child, change careers, go to school, work on your health, breathe.
I may not be a frequent blogger, but know that I love my work, and that I will always continue it – there may be times I am really active, but then other times where I really need to travel, smell the ocean, get lost in the woods or knit something for myself. There are days all I want to do is roll around on the floor with my dogs and have a crush on my husband.
If you ever have the opportunity, I definitely recommend a workshop with Marjolein – she’s a wee bit of amazing wrapped in soul food –¬†http://www.bloomfelt.com/
I will end with something I have been reading more since this workshop – the knowledge of Mongolian felt making, a blessing –¬†http://feltnomadic.com/a-traditional-mongol-felt-blessing/

 

Studioloo’s New Navigation and Plushies!

I try to life live in a ‘good thing a day’ kind of way meaning I like to try to make little improvements to things as much as I can, when I can. So, I spend some time making the navigation of Studioloo more visual, with less text. It’s always the designer’s toss up to decide if you want to gamble on using images instead of text because I think when you take any kind of technical education or have technical job experience, you always think of these users who really want to buy your stuff but their computer might be from 1982 so the graphics load really slowly and they only have 800×600 screen resolution. I am slowly stepping out of these dark age concerns though because I really like the look and feel of images better.

So, the shop now looks like this, and I like it better –¬†http://www.studioloo.com/shop.htm

 

As I noted in my last post, it’s going to be a busy weekend with Saturday in Brampton at Art in the Open and Sunday in Peterborough at Lang Pioneer Village’s Festival of Textiles. So, if you are in the area of either , come on out and visit me.

Yesterday I also received exciting news that I was accepted in Visual Arts Mississauga’s Art in the Park show on September 22nd. ¬†This is a beautiful space with indoor and outdoor galleries. Last year’s show was a lot of fun with food trucks, great artists and live music. I will be out on the lawn.

vamshow

 

I have placed a few new handstitched plush toys in the shop. Grab them now or they are destined for Art in the Open tomorrow.

All available plush can be found here: http://www.studioloo.com/toysandplush.htm

Have a lovely weekend!

Summer buzz!

I know this blog has been really quiet, and I sort of have too. I guess that is what happens when life it this crazy whirlwind of summertime activity and building my house into the happy little nest that I need to make my brain work. I have been on many adventures so far..making the nooks of this new house more comfy for me, my husband and our fur-family. I have a lot of fun things coming up however. I updated the ‚Äėupcoming shows‚Äô section of the website so you can keep up with me. A great place to find me or my stuff is the Art in the Open event every¬†Saturday¬†in front of the Rose Theatre in Brampton. It works in conjunction with the Farmer‚Äôs Market so you can see me, get yarn, and stock up on awesome produce in one fun morning!

 

The studio is coming along nicely with most parts pretty much ready for production work now. The last thing to get done really is the installation of a big restaurant kitchen sink that I indulged in to allow myself an easier place for all of the dyework. This week I am hoping to get it all setup so I can start dyeing up some new yarns. I am going to have a new line of bootsie-loo sock yarn and lots of mini-loo mini skeins fresh off the presses in a couple of weeks.

This upcoming weekend I will be at Art in the Open¬†on Saturday¬†and then heading down to Peterborough for Lang Pioneer Village‚Äôs Festival of Textiles. I will be selling my wares and doing art yarn spinning demonstrations. There will be a lot of other fun things going on ‚Äď natural dyeing demos, live music, animals, historic buildings and other fun museum stuff. It‚Äôs a great way to spend a¬†Sunday.

 

This summer has been nice but really busy. I am looking forward to taking a bit of vacation soon because things have been really non-stop, but in a good kind of way. I have been working a lot and trying to find a new balance living in a different city with a different routine. I have not been online a whole lot as I have so much real life stuff to get done. I think I am somewhat addicted to working on projects around the house. There is just so much to be done, in phases. The next big project will be putting my library together ‚Äď a room I have dreamed of having for ages. It‚Äôs safe to say that I have a lot of books and it will be nice to have them in their own little home where they belong. That way I won‚Äôt feel so guilty for having so many books. I think it will be a nice room to relax in, leave your troubles at the door and get lost between the covers of a good book.

It‚Äôs also almost Wordwide Spin in Public day ‚Äď September 21st! So, I am in the process of doing a lot of planning and populating¬†http://www.wwsipday.com¬†with lots of activities!

Minimize to Maximize Life

This month has been an interesting project on living within my means deeply, as well as living with minimums. It started with money – we decided we would spend very meagrely after embarking on home ownership to be able to replenish some savings, setup the emergency fund, and have a security blanket in case of any disasters. That has been okay actually. I find that I don’t do a lot of shopping anyhow. I haven’t been to a mall for anything other than banking in longer than I can remember. I am just no longer the mall type. Most of my shopping is thrifting, online and now yard saling. It’s just more challenging and fun…actually feels like an activity instead of a zombification of consumerism. ¬†I like old stuff, stuff that needs work, stuff that meant something to someone at some time and will eventually mean a lot to me. ¬†Beyond just money, I have been living meagrely in terms of creation, creativity and hobbies. That has been the biggest challenge. I have left myself only the basics for everyday living – 2 knitting projects, 1 basket of fibre …I spin a little bit of it into the same yarn in progress every day….a couple of books, 1 book of word puzzles. ¬†I have only about 10-12 outfits which are not currently packed. I think that not having a vast studio to pull inspiration from is the most challenging part of all of this. I have been drawing a lot of mental pictures for what my new house will become and I scare myself a little when I think about the big projects I want to take on. ¬†But, I do have a sense of ‘all things come in time’ and you make little improvements as you are able to.

This has been a whirlwind few years for me which I don’t see stopping any time soon…and that feels great. I have so many personal goals to achieve for myself, my body, my business and my family. Things are going to just get more amazing.

If I am a little quiet over the next month or so, it’s because I am getting situated in a new home, and a new life to prepare to make this space, and myself, the best version it can be.

April 27th – DKC Knitter’s Frolic and Stitch n Kitsch

Happy Spring!

This Saturday Studioloo will be at 2 shows!

DKC Knitter’s Frolic¬†

Marketplace: Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre
6 Garamond Court, Toronto, Ontario

http://downtownknitcollective.ca/wp/?page_id=14

 

Stitch n Kitsch in Waterloo

http://www.stitchnkitsch.com/

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