Headless chickens?

Running around like a chicken without a head?
One armed paper hanger?
Keeping too many plates in the air?

And so on…..
I’ve been busy. No kidding…
I keep thinking about posting and yet I’ve chosen to paint instead of make a blog post. I don’t regret that decision in any way. I always want to write and post here but when the choice comes down to painting or making a blog post, it’s been no contest. Today the blog won out as I don’t have the time to get involved in a new painting. I’m really enjoying painting. I am really working hard on getting better at portrait painting.
I have set up a new palette with new and lovely paints.
I have some new pens (those white ones rock my world!)

And I’ve been taking Craftsy classes for watercolor portraits. This one in particular has helped me a lot. Layering. I need to layer more. I get dark too fast so I’m working on lightening up and layering more. We’ll see how it goes as I continue.

If you want to follow along, I post a lot of my painting exploits on Instagram.

Hopefully I’ll pop back in soon and tell you about my spinning exploits, teaching, and a wrap up of TdF.

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Tour de Fleece 2014

Are you ready?
I’ll probably start off my tour finishing a couple of little projects but then I’ll be right onto the big pie in the sky idea that I’ll get a lot of spinning done. It might happen. Though, I don’t expect to get everything in my spinning bag done. Want to see what I’ve pulled out so far?

Southern Cross:
I have a sweater’s worth of Paua that needs to be finished. I think there are 5 more bags just like the one here. And I want to finish off that Yellowstone. There is also 12 ounces of Uluru on SW BFL that I have my eye on so that might get added to the pile before all is said and done.

Hello Yarn:
A bunch of SW Merino in Curiosities and Wensleydale in Smells of the Sea.

Spunky Eclectic:
Panda in Oatmeal for a shawl I’m working on but now I’m addicted to this fiber so I pulled out Monet and Oh That’s Rich. I also have Shetland – Bad Boys – Wensleydale: Lime Beginnings and a bunch of Moulin Rouge

I’d have to quit my job to get all this done. We all know that’s not going to happen. I just picked these items out of my stash to work on. We’ll see what I get done. I might even add in new things.

If you have time, head on over the SCF, HY, SE tour and chat us up. Show us the gorgeous yarn you’re making from out fibers.

Get your wheels ready and warm up your fiber. Let’s get spinning!

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It’s been a while….again….

We all know by now that when life gets busy I drop stuff and one of those things is the blog. I could have planned better and had a few posts all ready to go but that never feels right either. I like my blog too much to make it something that I’m forcing myself to do.

My crazy list of spring shows has come and gone.

A big trip to teach in Denver has come and gone.
Now I’m home and ready to relax a little.
I’ve got my pile of fibers
This is just a small section that I’ve pulled out for the Tour de Fleece

My projects
I’ve finished projects recently and made headway on others…and even started some. I need to gather them up.

My sewing
I have a pile of sewing waiting for me. This is a circle skirt made from a discontinued fabric. I told myself a million times to make sure the pattern was going the right way and….

I haven’t gotten much doodling done. Too busy to doodle. What a sad state that is. I’m hoping to doodle more this summer and maybe even complete some full size paintings.

Goats (the 2 tiny ones ran when they saw the camera)

Old ducks
Represented by a few because they don’t seem to care about the electric fences and will hop them… trouble.

New ducks
9 new baby ducks that are growing so fast! I forgot how quickly they grow! This lot is extra cute though. They stay huddled up together ALL the time.

and the garden we share with my parents

It’s gonna be a good summer y’all.

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Making travel palettes

A little bit ago I posted about palettes: HERE. Within that post I linked to a tutorial on how to make a custom palette out of an Altoids tin. Brilliant little idea. I knew I had to do it. I have tins laying around. Being a packrat has to be good for something right?

I pulled out my little tin that held Altoids gum and I made a little 12 hole palette similar to how they did in the tutorial. I was running out of the little bit of clay I had so I don’t think I gave it great partitions. It will suffice though. I thought I could do better and with a smaller little tin…. I pulled out the tiny old Altoids tin with a sliding top. I laid in the clay about 2/3rds full. Flat. Then using the end of one of my pens, I made little indentations. It’s tiny. It will only hold 8 colors but sometimes that’s all a gal needs. Especially if you know how to mix.


So what did I put in them that made me think they’re going to suit my needs?

Sour Cherry Tin:
top row: Cadmuium Yellow Deep, Yellow Ochre, Sepia, Cerulean, Prussia Blue, Cadmium Oxide Green
bottom row: Cadmium Orange, Alizarine Crimson, Mauve, Burnt Sienna, Ivory Black, Burnt Umber
Tiny Altoid Tin:
top row: Sap Green, Cerulean, Ivory Black, Burnt Umber
bottom row: Mauve, Alizarine Crimson, Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre

Maybe in another post I’ll talk about the colors that I absolutely HAVE to have, the colors that are important to me, and then the colors that I fill in around it when I have room. For now, I hope you have found inspiration to make a tiny little take along kit for yourself.

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Favorite new gadget.

My new cable needle ring.
Yes, cable needle ring. Usually I do cables without a needle but sometimes a pattern has you working 5 over 2 stitches with bulky yarn and that really needs a needle. Usually I just grab a spare DPN but I splurged at SPA this year and bought myself a cable needle ring. This very unassuming little ring:
This thing is perfect. It slides the stitches on and off so easily and when not in use, it rests easily on my thumb.

And when I have to put the knit up, I just hook it in there and it stays.

If you want of your own you can get them on Etsy HERE from Leslie Wind. Or you can catch up to her at a show and pick one up. Really a brilliant little gadget that I’m happy I have.

The knit by the way, is Halliard being done in Spunky Eclectic Targhee Biggie. I’m enthralled with this pattern. I’m hoping I get enough knit time that I can get this sweater done before the weather turns too warm.

Giveaway results!!!
Rachel (although she wanted number 13) ended up as #8 on my list of names. As it turned out, 13 was not her lucky number this time, it was 8. Thank you guys for all the commenting. I might have to do this again sometime.

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Baby Sweaters

Y’all seem to be popping them out.
If only it were as easy as popping right?

I’ve made 2 little sweaters lately. They’re like potato chip knitting. A minimal amount of yarn and a little knitting that result in a warm baby. It doesn’t get much better.

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket
Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Sporty
Colorway: March 2014 Club – “Making Tracks”
Notes/Mods: None. This pattern is perfect as it is.

Pattern: Baby Sophisticate
Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Fat Panda
Colorway: Steelmen
Notes/Mods: tons. My gauge was way off and I knew it. I just wanted the look and shape. I made up the rest as I went along.

I have at least one more baby sweater to make. Possibly 2. I just need to decide on yarn and pattern then I’ll be on my way. Potato chips.

I haven’t forgotten the Giveaway – I’ll draw a name on Tuesday….if you have entered you have a couple more days

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Watercolor Palettes (with a Giveaway!)

Palettes are easy. A whole bunch of colors right there in a neat little package. Perfect for the carry along or just to have them right at hand. They’re not all created equal though. I have opinions and I figured I’d share them.

Koi Palettes
12 pack and 24 pack
You might think this is overkill to have 2 palette packs but I don’t see it that way. The 24 pack stays at my desk. The 12 pack travels with me. I like the 24 pack very much. It has many the colors. I have gotten used to mixing a lot of my own colors but the 24 pack gives me a wider range especially when I start mixing. So, the colors are pretty vibrant. It doesn’t take a lot of layers to get some depth should I want it. I really enjoy these palettes. They also come with sponges and water brushes which can be handy. The one draw back for me with this palette is that it’s squares are not refillable as little squares but I can buy little tubes of color from Koi and refill them that way. (more info on that at the end of the post)

Art Alternatives Pocket Set
I’m not entirely sure how I ended up with this set. I think maybe I meant to give it to the kids. Oops. The colors are good but they’re light. They are definitely not pigment packed in any sense of the definition. If you have a heavy hand and want light washes, get this set for that. Otherwise, it’s probably not worth having when there are other fantastic palettes out there.

Winsor & Newton Cotman Colors
Vibrant, pigment packed, inexpensive and refillable. This is my oldest set and I really do like it. The colors are great and it’s a nice little set. Seriously. Get this one if you only need 12 colors. The Koi is almost as good but these little pans of color are bigger and refillable. For the money, this is probably the better set. You can buy little water brushes and a bag to keep it all in. That may be the one draw back if a waterbrush is important to you. There isn’t place in the kit to put one. You probably need a little bag to carry this and your pens, pencils, and paper anyway. Right? They also make a studio set and a student set as well. There are 24 and 45 colors in them. All refillable.

I have a bunch of Winsor and Newton Cotman colors and Grumbacher in little tubes. Watercolors in tubes are gummy suspensions of color. Very good and lovely but over the years I’ve come to prefer having a palette of dried colors. So what do I do with all the tubes of color? I just put them in a palette and let them dry out. Voila! I have my own pans. You can buy empty pans and palette sets from someone like Daniel Smith or you can make your own from empty tins. Look at This cutie from a tiny Altoids tin and another one that uses a larger Altoids tin and some store bought pans. This last one is particularly genius because you can remove one pan, clean it out or exchange it as needed. There are companies that make tins and pans for you to fill yourself, like this one from Dick Blick. If you have a tin, you can buy little pans or make little pans from Sculpey.

While I enjoy the ease of buying a ready made palette, there are definitely colors that deplete faster than others. Being able to refill them with little blocks or with a tube of color make all the difference. There are other palettes I have my eye on right now. Pro colors that are super rich and just full of pigment. No “hues”. But as time goes on I’m getting pickier and will probably want to fill my own palette as I see fit.

Oh, and if you’re looking for a bag to put it all in; you probably want a waterproof or water resistant bag. Something with rip stop nylon. Look in the kids section for diaper bag accessories. Wet bags will make a great case. Alternately, if you want something with more adult appeal, look in the makeup bag section. Better yet, go on a makeup buying spree when someone is having a “buy the makeup get a free makeup bag” deal. This is how I got my little bag. Thank you Christian Dior.

These are not the only palettes available. These are just the tip of the iceberg. The ones I mentioned are student grade so there is a whole level above and a whole level below them. There are so many companies making palettes and really good ones too! You don’t need pricy to be good but sometimes cheap is an indication of blah colors. If you have an artist supply store nearby, go and look at what they have. With any luck they will have samples out and you can see for yourself.

What about this giveaway?
Turns out I had purchased the Sakura Koi set in 24 colors for myself a long time ago and never used it. So I have 2 sets. One not used….fresh and awaiting someone to use it. Do you want it? Comment here or send me an email at the usual place. I’ll do a random number generator kind of thing and pick a name at random who will get the set. It will be just like the one shown up above but it will be fresh and unused.

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