As many of you are aware, I tend to work on long laborious projects. I love elaborate and long projects. They give me a chance to really explore a technique or process and I feel a huge sense of accomplishment upon finishing one of these endeavors. However, sometimes, I really just want to churn out a bunch of items in an evening. This feeling is where my new found hobby of crocheting adornments found its genesis. So, yeah, I've been making avocados, feathers and a even few little houses...
Actually, I've been crocheting little house rings to be more specific.
These were my first forays into the hand-held housing market. The pattern has definitely evolved and as soon as I finish my own version of the burbs I will share the instructions for these simple and satisfying edifices with you!
If am hooked (pun intended) on anything above all else, it has to be crocheted vegetables (and fruit)! After all, I began my blogging career by sharing my love of creating sinister veggies with you all in 2005. Although my imagery might have evolved a bit since then, I still love a nice piece of crocheted produce...
Enter the life-size avocado brooch. Oh, and it also sports a three-dimensional pit!
This California grown (read = crocheted) creation looks quite fetching affixed to one's lapel. So much so that as it happens, I am wearing one of these green lovelies today. Let me just say that many a co-worker has commented on my big green crocheted jewel as I strut on by, "Nice avocado."
They're just jealous. But really, there's no need for them to feel so green, as I am listing a few of these fantabulous brooches in my formerly defunct Etsy store, Monster Crochet. Yes, it's alive! Oh, I have lots of plans for my little corner of the interwebs. Don't you worry! This here avocado? It's just the beginning...
There will be lots of jewelry, accessories, patterns and handspun...Oh my! I'm sooo excited!
I cannot believe it's October! Jeesh, I feel as though I have raced through the year working, traveling and making stuff every waking moment. It's all a bit of a blur...
Despite the fervor, I have gotten a bit of spinning done...
Definitely channeling jewel tones at the moment! The blues and greens are wool as is the bottom pink/purple colorway. The top pinkish hank is spun from recycled silk sari fiber.
Spinning recycled silk sari fibers is awesome. I love this stuff! The colors and textures of the silk sari "fluff" are just wonderful!
In addition, I have also been crocheting and weaving. I'm not knitting much as of late, but I'll pick it up again soon. I always do. However, check out my latest thready crocheted creation...
She's my version of a little matryoshka. I plan to back her in felt and make her into a pendant as she's only about 2 1/2" tall. My daughter (who is 19 now...can you believe it?) has claimed her already. Some things never change!
Although I seriously lack the musical genius of Chopin, I am currently caught up in a practice which he perfected, the etude, whereby technique or technical conundrums were explored through focused compositions. Essentially, these were explorations meant for technical study, not intended to be anything more. I love this practice and have immersed myself in my own set of etudes recently.
My etudes center upon the technical aspects of thread crochet. Those who know me, know that I have a penchant for skinny threads worked with teensy steel hooks. I have always found something very intriguing about how such an ordinary material, cotton thread, can be transformed into works of wonder such as lace, doilies (for which I also have a penchant) and images created from a simple series of blocks, my beloved filet crochet. At any rate, thread, experimentation and technique go hand in hand for me. Thus, I am in the midst of a thread-etude.
Pictured above is my favorite crochet space: the coffee table that sits in front of my sofa. Here you can see the current thread-etudes that I am working on: thready flowers and a feather. Incidentally, the feathers qualify as an etude because I was exploring the technical aspects of thread and how its properties could represent an organic form. Initially, I had no intention for the feather's ultimate use. I was just having fun.
By the way, are you guys digging my Jesus mug??? Ahhh, I digress.
In addition to having fun making them, the thready flowers have become a way for me to explore motifs and how they fit together. Basically, I've become obsessed with motifs. We can blame this on my woven projects (i.e., the now ubiquitous and motif heavy diamond shawl) or we can just say that I have the creative attention span of a gnat as I am always searching for some unfamiliar technique to try and embrace. Whatever the characterization, I am completely cracked out on thread right now. In fact, I may need to place an order for some more DMC right away!
I am in the midst of a personal creative renaissance and it feels so good! It's been some time since I've felt such an overwhelming urge to constantly create, experiment with a variety of processes and mediums and churn out work with abandon. I leave the cube farm at the end of each work day, primed to make stuff! As such, I've been immersed in my usual foray of fibrous activities: crocheting; knitting; weaving; spinning and playing around with the dye pot. In addition, I have also begun to dabble in photography as well as paint and make sculpture again (my art group is back together working on a large project and I'm loving the energy I have for the endeavor). At any rate, each evening I flit around my work space from project to project making progress on parts and pieces before heading to bed with a sense of satisfaction and last night was no exception. I bring you my latest little experiment...
I crocheted these lovely little feathers (about 3" in length) in a variety of size 8 perle cotton colorways (more in the works) and a US size 6 steel hook. After completion, I stiffened each feather with commercial fabric stiffener found at the local craft store (not sure that I love this stuff, but I am working on thinning it down so it's not so "Tacky Glue-y"). Any advice that you all may have regarding this type of product is definitely welcome! Finally, I attached jump rings to the tops of each feather and strung each one on a ready-made pendant. Voila! A pendant that I can create in a matter of hours!
These are so dramatic when worn. I just love that they are simple pendants that make a statement. Here's a larger view of the "sparrow" colored feather (thread procured from Sarah's Colorwave Yarns)...
And the "cardinal" feather (thread for cardinal and amazon feathers was procured from Artfabrik)...
And finally, the "amazon" feather...
Now, I off to take my lunch break in order to crochet more of these in the SoCal sunshine!
I have always been obsessed with accessories. ALWAYS. Jewelry, hats, scarves and shawls are part of my daily donning. As you all know, I make many of the shawls and scarves I wear, but recently I thought I'd try my hand (and hook) at some jewelry too.
So, I crocheted a pineapple and attached it to this stylish ready-made pendant!
C'mon, you all know I like me some fruits and veggies! Although this one lacks the iconic eyeball, I still kinda like it!
I whipped this up in an evening using DMC perle cotton in size 8 and a size 6 steel hook. All I can say is thank the lord for my daylight lamp! At any rate, it was a very satisfying quick crochet.
Methinks I now need a Carmen Miranda inspired fascinator! Woo hoo!
Even though I was not blogging last year, I was working on lots of new designs; spinning, weaving, crocheting and knitting with abandon. Throwing myself into fiber has always been my way of coping with life's conundrums. During my life sans blog, I also spent an enormous amount of time living out of a suitcase. Therefore, my creative regimen adapted to a life of anonymity on the road. Honestly, the last year of making while traveling was very freeing. I made what I wanted when I wanted and I didn't care if anyone saw (or commented) about anything I was working on. In addition, I also taught myself to scale down my work into manageable components that could travel easily. As a result, I began to work much more with motifs, piecework if you will, components of larger pieces than I ever had before. After all, small stuff is easy to throw into a carry on and work on while sitting in a seat in coach or the passenger seat of our xTerra.
As an example of this new way of working, I sought to scale down a work that has become commonplace in my pantheon of projects: the diamond shawl. Already technically weaving on a small scale via my lap looms, I intended to further reduce the scale of my woven modules for I loved the idea of throwing the pieces into a quart size plastic bag and working on them without covering my entire lap. As such, I ratcheted my working loom size downward from the 14", 12" and 7" diamond looms I usually worked with to a 3.5" loom. In addition to a smaller sizing, I sought direct inspiration from my ubiquitous travels. You see, I used to work conceptually rather than gathering direct inspiration. My older work was really derivative of words and complicated formulations of ideas. The last year or so, I've attempted to simply my creative process by working directly from a landscape, an image, a color, a feeling. In short, I am trying not to overthink the process. I just want to jump in and do.
So, I figured I share a WIP with you that is a direct result of these creative transformations: The Surf & Turf Diamond Shawl.
The diamonds are small and the colorway is a reflection of landscapes I've been basking in for the last year. For example, the blues, blue-greens of the ocean and sky set against the greens and browns of the earth on Santa Cruz Island (Channel Islands National Park).
The blue of the sky and the sand of Kelso Dunes at Mojave National Preserve.
And finally, a landscape framed by metal aged in the salt air on Alcatraz Island.
Can't wait to show you all this FO upon completion (hopefully this weekend)!
Since launching this blog a few days ago, I've received a few inquiries about my banner above. So, I figured it's time to show you more than just the detail. This Travel Wrap is my latest crocheted FO.
Oh, but it isn't merely crocheted. This cottony piece of goodness is really my first successful foray into Tunisian crochet! Most you know that I adore charts and Tunisian crochet seemed the apt method to tackle the color work.
I crocheted each square individually and then attached them together using plain old single crochet. Then I used sc again to create the red and blue "hopscotch" border around the edge. This is a wonderful project to tackle while traveling due to the fact that it's lots and lots of little squares (each one is 5" x 5"). It's even more wonderful to wear about my shoulders in flight with the AC blasting from the vents above my head!
Currently, I travel a lot. When I say a lot, I mean that I sleep in a bed other than my own at least 2-3 weeks out of every month. In fact, my dear daughter suggested that I have a GPS implanted underneath my epidermis so that she can track me down at all times. It's not that she truly cares where I am sleeping at any given time, as she is 19 and considers herself an accomplished adult. No, she just wants to be able to reach me easily in order to ask me to transfer more money into her bank account or purchase something for her online. Accomplished, yes. Adult? Not quite yet. Ahhh, I digress.
Anyway as you might expect, this type of on-the-go existence can be pretty exhausting. Conversely, it is also pretty amazing. I have the privilege of experiencing much of the world's wonders while I'm still relatively young and healthy. I'm lucky. However, as a result of this polemic state, my mind constantly sways from one end of the spectrum to another with regard to the subject of home, family, friends, as well as my creative mindset and workspace. I love being on the road. I love experiencing places foreign to me, locales that have become fairly familiar to me as a result of my travels and spending time with the friends acquired afar. I also love being at home, spending time with loved ones while easily slipping back into my LaLaLand lifestyle. I am a born and bred Angeleno after all. At any rate, when I'm on the road, eventually I really miss home. When I'm at home, eventually I begin to get the travel itch. Josh Homme calls this state "the bittersweet curse" and I couldn't agree with him more. I definitely suffer from it.
So, sitting here in my hometown, thinking about dinners with friends, plans for the weekend and a host of creative endeavors I am currently involved in, I still cannot help but think about my next trip. I'm trying to lessen the work-related travel for the summer as the mid-west and the east coast are generally steeped in a level of summer humidity I'd rather not subject myself to. However, this doesn't preclude me from hitting the road with my guy, doing a bit of camping and exploring closer to home. The love of my life, Steve, also suffers from a bit of wanderlust, so rarely do we end up at home weekends in a row. Nope, we're out and about searching for amazing locations from which to draw artistic inspiration.
Steve is an amazing photographer. Me? Well, many of you are all too familiar with my creations. Together we make a pretty good pair, hell-bent on exploration and discovery. Needless to say, our vehicle tends to be loaded down with his and hers camera equipment. Unlike Steve, who makes art with his camera, I use mine to record a visual record which informs my fiber-based creative exploits. Nature has become massively interesting to me over the years and I take lots and lots of pics lest I forget anything extraordinary I've seen on the road...
All of these lovelies where taken with the camera on my trusty iPhone (my favorite camera, read Regina is lazy). Beginning at the top row - all four of pics were taken at Yellowstone National Park, WY (my most recent for-fun-only jaunt), second row from the top (left to right) - moon over Big Sur, CA, Death Valley National Park, CA, last two pics were taken in Mojave National Preserve, CA, second row from the bottom (left to right) - Mojave National Preserve, CA, Natural Bridges National Monument, UT, Monument Valley, UT, Death Valley National Park, CA, bottom row (left to right) - Yosemite National Park, CA, Crater Lake National Park, OR, Joshua Tree National Park, CA and Pinnacles National Monument, CA.
Okay yes, my schedule is a bit schizophrenic, I have a tendency to walk around in a zombie-like state when ferrying myself from meeting to meeting about the cube farm and I generally have no idea what freakin' time zone I happen to be in, but despite this the discoveries Steve and I have made together have been so worth these drawbacks. I never arrive home from a trip without a billion ideas dancing about my gray matter, directly inspired by the landscapes, textures, colors, flora and fauna that I've experienced while traveling. I almost always run my spinning wheel into the ground after one of these journeys, trying to recreate some texture or suite of colors that I've observed along the way. It's just awesome.
Monster Crochet has become a fond memory, a record of her past. Here now, a fresh start filled with creative endeavors, stories of a daughter stumbling about her newfound adulthood, a partner to cherish, a career that may force her into an early grave and travel hither, thither and beyond in a profusion of planes, trains and automobiles...
LadyLinoleum, meet Regina Rioux. She's you, only older and definitely wiser.