January 29, 2008

cowl = cow + l, rhymes with towel

Thanks everyone for your words of encouragement on the last post. It's refreshing to know that others struggle with the same things. The blogging community is a wonderful, inspiring place, but it poses a trap in the temptation to blindly follow others' work. I think that Blanche said a true thing: we create "unique art by building on or breaking down what already exist[s]." It's the consciousness of that process that I want to work on most.

After all that, I feel somewhat phony posting a project so directly inspired by others' work! After seeing the lovely cowls of Jenny and Ellybeth, though, I couldn't wait to make one for myself. Finding the right yarn slowed me down a bit - originally I thought green, but greens are tricky and nothing I found would suit. I settled on Nature's Choice organic cotton in Walnut, using a textured stitch to liven up the "putty-colored yarn" (my sister's words - thanks M).

window-pane cowl

While I love the way the cowl turned out, I'm still not quite sold on the yarn. I was excited at the outset - an all natural yarn that's readily available and doesn't cost a fortune! As soon as I started knitting with it, though, it began pilling. It is very soft and drapey and the stitch pattern distracts from the pilling somewhat, but still . . .

I shouldn't complain too much, though - seeing as I've worn it with everything the past 3 days! I wanted a more drapey, pashmina effect than the "orignals," and I'm quite pleased with the window-pane stitch I developed for it. It also looks great with the sewing project I finished up this weekend - but more on that later!

Note: Title is taken from a conversation with the 6-year old twins I babysit for. "Whatchya makin'? A cow?!?"

January 23, 2008


One of the things that is becoming more important to me is that of recording my own inspiration. As much as I love all of you, I do have somewhat of a mockingbird complex - I tend to mimic and imitate those artists that I find beautiful, losing track of my own "voice" in the process.


Now of course, there is "nothing new under the sun" - art is not made in a vacuum, and we all work from inspiration and influences. I don't claim to be immune from that. What I need to work on is being conscientious about finding and recording inspirations from my daily life, instead of living vicariously through others' work.


Simple as it is, this is somewhat scary for me. Most of the people I know would classify me as someone with a defined sense of personal style and asthetic. So to admit that it's not always the case, to revisit and critically analyze that definition, is something very daunting indeed.

January 17, 2008


Now, normally I'd have to take issue with Eliot and argue for January as the cruelest month. This batch of links has tempted me to reconsider, however . . .

1. frozen lake, 2. Joyeux anniversaire, 3. beginning., 4. Photo Swap

January 16, 2008

catching up

Thanks everyone for your sweet words on the Lady Susan dress! And thanks especially for all the advice on cleaning the machine - I'll definitely be trying your ideas!

It feels somewhat ridiculous starting a new year playing catch-up, but heh - story of my life. Here's a glimpse of what I've been up to:

belated Christmas

Christmas here was quiet, but lovely. Spent at home with the few family members still in the area - and plenty of long-distance phone calls! Many lovely gifts were received by all, including some books and a new camera for me (whee!).

"i love a piano"

My sister's birthday. She's a jazz musician (vocals and guitar), so I made her an Irving-Berlin-themed bangle which I love, and I hope she does too. Made with Casey's tutorial and an old music theatre encyclopedia - it was too much fun picking out all our favorite Berlin tunes and finding space for them! (More pictures here.)

"there's no business like show business"

Lots of outings, movies, and theatre. Our parents took us to see Wicked, which was very entertaining (and talk about getting a soundtrack stuck one's head!). Hephaestus was, like everything Lookingglass does, fantastic. It was more circus than play - think Cirque du Soliel woven into a story, and happening only 20 feet away (often closer). Excellent choice, using circus arts to tell the story of the exiled cripple god . . .

And here I am, left only slightly dazed and confused after all the activity and inspiration of the past weeks. There's a lot of work I've been neglecting - organization and paperwork stuff, business stuff, portfolio stuff. I'm slightly daunted but energized for the work ahead, ready to get down to business. Happy new year, all!

January 10, 2008

lady susan

Phew! It's been forever since I posted! My sister has been on break from college, and we've really enjoyed just kicking back, seeing the city, and watching old movies. Before I go into any of that these dress pictures are long overdue! Here at last is the Jane Austen bridesmaid dress, a private commission I took on during December, using red velvet and Jenny Chancey's Simplicity 4055.

lady susan.1

My client has almost the same measurements as me, so I took the liberty of taking some pictures before I handed it off. Thanks so much to Tracey for helping with the photography! Incidentally, all of the pictures were taken at my sister's dorm - pretty fly for college housing, no? Anyway, the lighting/camera weren't the best, so a majority of the indoor pics didn't turn out. It's just as well, I suppose, as we did tend to get carried away . . .

lady susan.3

lady susan.4

lady susan.2

A lot of my interest in sewing stems from the costume world. As a young literary-minded girl I swooned over the romantic fashions of costume dramas, and for some years in junior high, I wanted to be Kate Beckinsale's Emma. Besides, all of us like to play dress-up every once and a while, no? So it was really fun to revisit that fascination with this dress.

Overall, it came together nicely, but the dress certainly has left its mark - literally. Not only is the studio filled with red velvet fuzzies, but my poor machine bed is now stained pink! I tried using rubbing alchohol which helped, but the plastic seems to have absorbed some color. Moo.

lady susan.5

(Btw, kudos to anyone who recognizes the novel this post is named after! I thought the dress's crimson color was well suited to the brazen lady.)

January 3, 2008

i'm still here

flickr favs, 1-3-08

Happy New Year, all! Yes, I am alive - just enjoying some R&R with the family. I'm getting into the swing of things again (there's nothing like cleaning out the studio to get one's jive on), so I should be up in full posting mode again soon. But before the madness begins, sit back with me and enjoy the serenity of these pictures.