The Holidays and Winter Aftermath – Effects on Art and Business

What is it about brutally cold winters and the aftermath of the Holidays? January was a month for wanting to hibernate. Like a bear. The week after Christmas and the first week or two of January usually finds me plotting my next year’s goals, coming up with a “theme” for the year and plotting strategy. Not this year, I floundered. I’d think of the year’s priorities for my creative and business life and five minutes later they would all change. What should I be doing? What should my goals and priorities be? Harrumph.

I’m going to blame some of it on the winter. I just don’t like being cold. It is also less painful than blaming all of it on me 😉 But, some of it was my review of 2014. I just didn’t make the progress I had hoped for a year ago. After some serious review of what I did and didn’t do, I decided I just cast my net too wide. To many fish to chase, too many ideas, goals and projects in the works, all at once. With so much that I wanted to do, I couldn’t focus on one thing long enough to do any of them. So, I spent a little time whining (not much, I’m not a whiner by nature). A little time being stern with myself. And a fair amount of time trying to suss out the cause of this “shot-gun splatter” syndrome I’ve had lately. Let’s face it. All of this soul-searching and mind delving stuff is pretty subjective. The bottom line? I’m tired of floundering and want to move forward. You can only stand at the fork in the road so long before you have to pick one. Even Gandalf finally made a decision based on nothing more important than the smell of the air.

So I decided one of my causes was too many distractions and my “theme” for 2015 emerged.

My Theme for 2015
My Theme for 2015

I made some decisions about what I want to focus on this year; buttons (obviously), wearable art (and all of it’s components), and growing the business. That will give me focus (well, more than I had) and still give me latitude. This could be dangerous but so is feeling creatively trapped. I still have some strategy issues to work out but, I have focus. Yea!

My hibernation (for want of a better word) was not spent sleeping though. I made my daughter some Dragon Paws.

Dragon Paws Fingerless Mitts for Ashland
Dragon Paws Fingerless Mitts for Ashland

I made some custom ones too.

Rainbow Dragon Paws
Rainbow Dragon Paws
Detail of Rainbow Dragon Paws
Detail of Rainbow Dragon Paws

 

I made a dear friend some hand warmers for her healing hands.

Healing Mitts knit for my Friend, Betsy. Pattern is Autumnal by Bo Jangles
Healing Mitts knit for my friend, Betsy. Pattern is Autumnal by Bo Jangles

I turned my “Simple Toe-Up Socks” class I teach into a pattern and it’s currently in the hands of my editor, so watch for that to be released on Ravelry soon.

I made some custom buttons

Aqua Fused Glass Buttons
Aqua Fused Glass Buttons

I have my taxes done 🙂

I played with fire. Yes, I need more practice 😉

A monthly challenge with GlassAct! sponsored by Reichenbach Glass
A monthly challenge with GlassAct! sponsored by Reichenbach Glass

My FiberArt Group has a Fiber Art exhibit hanging in Gallery 194 in Lapeer, Michigan this month and I have several pieces in that. The Artists’ reception was very well attended and we all got quite an ego boost ;-). Getting art ready for the show was hugely motivating and invigorating but, I’ll talk more about that another time.

Gallery 194 FiberArt Junkies Show, this month in Lapeer, Michigan
Gallery 194 FiberArt Junkies Show, this month in Lapeer, Michigan
Twinchies - mini art quilts for the Gallery 194 show
eight of us participated in the show, we all made “Twinchies” – mini art quilts for Gallery 194
One of my pieces, a detail os "Fleeting Shadows", acrylic, ink, and stitching on canvas
One of my pieces, a detail of “Fleeting Shadows”; acrylic, ink, and stitching on canvas
The "Twinchies" were fun and addictive, I got about 23 done!
The “Twinchies” were fun and addictive, I got about 23 done!

Meanwhile, my floundering turned into hyper-focus and the effects on my blog were the same. Ignored. Oops.

Spring seems to have brought me back into balance. I feel like I can move forward and still take a little time for life, tea, blogs, and chocolate (not that there wasn’t any before).

So, how have you weathered the winter, and the first Quarter of 2015?

Deb H

Art-scale Your Wearables
one button at a time…
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The Holidays and Winter Aftermath – Effects on Art and Business

Taiyo Dragon Paws

If you have visited here before, you may have noticed that I’m addicted to knitting Dragon Paws Fingerless Mitts, I can’t seem to help myself, they are potato chip knitting for me.

Dragon Paws knit in Taiyo
Dragon Paws knit in Taiyo

So, here is my latest pair. I used one ball of Noro Taiyo Sock yarn. The yarn did all the color work for me, no decisions to make after the initial picking out of the only skein used (most of the Dragon Paws I knit use 3 to 5 different yarns).

Beaded Dragon Wing Ruffles
Beaded Ruffles

For those not familiar with Noro, they are variegated (of sorts) wool or wool blend yarns, famous for having long color repeats with lots of colors. Usually, about 10 colors before starting to repeat and, not all the colors will repeat in the same order. The colors have long runs resulting in bands of stripes, one row to several inches depending on the project.

I wound the skein of Taiyo Sock into two equal sized balls (by weight, for the curious) and just started knitting the hands (two at a time on one needle), letting the colors come up as they would. I did the same with the ruffles, with the exception of looking at what color was coming up next and deciding which ruffle was the best fit for it. Letting serendipity decide what to do (and Noro’s own color sense) made this pair super simple to make – and fun. I chose the blue/green/black/brown color-way (#25) and decided the overall look was kind of an ocean side forest. I picked matt finished teal beads for the (very subtle) bling – no surprises there, teal has been my favorite color lately – and the results were better than I could have planned.

Casual or dressy, you choose
Casual or dressy, you choose

This particular pair was knit with a snug gauge, the same I use for socks (about 8 sts/inch in stockinette) and a 1×1 rib instead of the pattern’s 2×2 rib. I have been trying to knit a pair for me to keep for ages but they keep selling. I decided if I knit a pair to snuggly fit my small hands, no one else could wear them and I’d finally get to keep a pair! 🙂

the Dragon Wing ruffle
the Dragon Wing ruffle

Well, this sort of worked. I only have one to photograph and show you because I have already taken the mate to the yarn shop where I’m teaching the class in October to show as a class sample. If you are in the greater Detroit area, you can come knit a pair with me. To sign up for the class, click here. To buy the pattern visit Ravelry, my Etsy shop, Patternfish, or visit the shop, Heritage Spinning & Weaving.

Pure Fun!
Pure Fun!

Revel in color!

Deb H

Taiyo Dragon Paws