New knitting pattern released: Fat Baby Dino

Hello hello!

I’m excited to announce the test-knitting phase of my latest pattern is complete and the stuffed-toy pattern, (complete with video tutorials) is now available on ravelry.com and the Multicraftual etsy shop! For more information on this pattern and to see pictures of completed projects, visit the multicrafual blog.

This brings my total number of published knitting designs up to 5 with two more shawls in the test-knitting phase. Stay tuned for more pattern releases!

My designer page on ravelry.com
My designer page on ravelry.com
Chaz one of the four feline co-hosts of the Multicraftual video podcast meets his new friend
Chaz one of the four feline co-hosts of the Multicraftual video podcast meets his new friend

An update letter to my dear readers

Dear readers,

Has it really been four months since I opened the virtual door to my studio and shared what was going within it? Wowzahs.

Let me tell you, I knew this year would be busy but I really miss sharing my day to day – or at least week to week – progress with you. I don’t think there is an easy way to catch you up on all my work but I will try my best to give you a taste. I apologize for the poor quality of the photographs : I’m using my phone camera to maximize efficiency!

1. Illustration for the biology textbook has been an ongoing project since the Christmas/holiday season. This consists of researching, traditional sketching and working with digital illustration programs. I usually spend my mornings on this project. Below is a drawing in progress from the past week.

biology textbook illustration in progress
biology textbook illustration in progress

2. Next, I give you three 8 x 10″ oil paintings in progress that are being worked en plein air in my town, Portales, New Mexico. (They’re just sitting on my easel to dry between painting sessions… it’s the only place my cats don’t seem to mess with them!) They belong to a series of paintings of the Southwest I have been developing sporadically for the last few years . Working on them has been a nice complement to my “Portraits of Portales” project which I focussed on all autumn, and have tried to make a bit of time for in 2014.

en plein air paintings from Southwest series - in progress
en plein air paintings from Southwest series – in progress

I believe I have mentioned the “Portraits of Portales” project before and will certainly mention it again. My intention is to publish them in book form, rather than display them in a gallery. This will heighten the intimacy of the pieces and embrace my intention of creating a “keepsake” of this small town. But I will share more on that project at a later date. This week it has not been worked on so no progress pics here for you!

3. Also still in the works is my Crafty Coloring Book. I only decided this week that it needed to be pulled to the top of my priority list after the biology textbook illustrations. It’s delightfully fun to work on and provides a break from the technical illustration while still keeping me “in shape” drawing-wise.

portion of a coloring book drawing in progress
portion of a coloring book drawing in progress

4. Lastly, I have been spending my evenings finalizing three new knitted shawl designs. Two are in the test-knitting phase and the third is close behind. The motivation behind this project? A fast-approaching deadline!

Detail of the Happy Happy Shawl in progress
Detail of the Happy Happy Shawl in progress

On April 1st the Multicraftual Podcast Ravelry group will be casting on any of my knitted designs. For two months participants will post their progress and finished object pictures in the corresponding group discussion threads to win prizes. There will be coupon codes for discounted pattern prices and other random goodness distributed via the video podcast I host with my long-distance bestie Liby Ball. If you are interested in watching our podcast while sitting down with your own knitting or crocheting, go check out the Multicraftual blog or subscribe on iTunes!

As you can see, if you’ve read this far… I’m keeping busy! In fact… a little too busy. I’m the kind of person who can sprout in every direction and need intense pruning to look at all respectable. I’m currently reading “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen. Perhaps I will give a review on that when I finish it… hahahahahaha… first I will have to learn how to reign in my many projects, harness my creativity and GET THINGS DONE.

Wish me luck!!

If you’d like, tell me about what projects you’re working on and what creative activities you’re most excited about in the comments section below. Are you a see-one-project-through-to-the-finish-line kind of person, or a wildly-sprouting-crazy-face like myself? It’s time I get to know YOU more and try to enhance the online creative community.

Thanks so much for reading!

Jessie

Yarn Bowl Study

Today’s small study was inspired by a visit to my friend Liberty’s house yesterday. Her house is a quilty/crafty/shabby-chic heaven and I took lots of photos to work from in the weeks to come. Thanks Liberty!

My husband commented that the yarn ball on the right looked a bit flat. I hope some of my knitter friends may counter with, “but it’s a yarn cake silly! Tsk tsk.” I’m going to sleep on it before making any alterations. Feel free to give your input by commenting on this post.

Yarn Bowl Study, oil/canvas, 8 x 10"
Yarn Bowl Study, oil/canvas, 8 x 10″

Quilt and Lamp

I think vacation is the best recipe for making art. I’ve been back for four days now and I’m spending every minute that my body will allow in the studio. That said, yesterday was spent groaning around the house and podcasting… the aftermath of my first ever tennis lesson and two days painting. Yowch!

Since my second ever tennis lesson is this evening, I thought I better get back to painting today so that Friday can be spent grumbling around the house some more. Ha!

Here is my first finished piece this summer, although technically it is still Spring until tomorrow… I took the reference photo at my friend’s house this past year. It’s so cozy! The perfect painting to work on while the desert gets hit with heavy downpour after heavy downpour.

I have more photos from my friend’s place that will be used as reference material for more paintings soon…

Quilt and Lamp, oil/canvas, 16 x 20"
Quilt and Lamp, oil/canvas, 16 x 20″

Drawing Challenge? What drawing challenge?

Happy Thursday world!

I have gotten a bit off track today but since I make the rules here… everyone wins! The drawing challenge yesterday called for a comic, and today called for hmm… something equally neat to draw but for some reason I just couldn’t muster the motivation. That leaves me two days behind on the challenge with other drawing projects piling up on the side. So, today I focussed on one of those side projects instead. Pencil still hit paper, so I forgive myself.

My side project is a bit difficult to explain. Essentially I am part of a knitted-monster swap wherein I knit a toy and embellish it along a certain theme and mail it to a stranger along with a few other fun things to match the theme. In return, I will soon receive a package in the mail with a knitted monster embellished in ways that would please or delight me.) My partner loves the movie Fantastic Mr. Fox so I set out to knit a character for her and wanted to include some “character studies” drawings as a fun thing to include in her package.

Because you probably want to see the actual knitted toy component itself, here sits the villainous rat and a little bandit monster companion for the fox thieves. Note: Bandit hat is removable to reveal big scary white felt teeth. Bandit also comes with knitted black cape.

knitted toys, fantastic mr. fox rat and rebecca danger monster
Rat and Monster Bandit

Here are today’s sketches I’m going to include in the package… probably with little matt frames and plastic, as one might buy a print.

ink and watercolor drawing of weasel from fantastic mr. fox
Weasel (voiced by movie’s director Wes Anderson)
watercolor and ink drawing of rat from fantastic mr. fox
Rat (voiced by Willem Dafoe)

Butters

Hi Folks,

It’s been quiet on the painting front since returning home from my residency, but I’ve been busy in other areas of life. Honest.

Go visit multicraftual.wordpress.com if you are interested in crafting and want to watch my friend Liby and I in a new video podcast. We yammer on about crafting, we sing songs and put knitted garments on her cat pancake etc. Pancake is a star. The podcast is worth watching just for his expressions.

Crafting podcasts (and there are many: dramatic knits, stockinette zombies, 90% Knitting, the knit girllls, whatcha swatchin, yarnivore, craftstash, willow fairy knits to name just a few) are most often watched while engaged in knitting or crocheting yourself. As I recently explained to my mother, it is not meant to be captivating in the same way a tv show or movie is… rather, it is like sitting down with friends to knit and gab together. That is the best I can explain it.

In other news, the Brit (husband) and I are gearing up for a move into a new home July 1st. Same town. Portales. It means “porches” in Spanish. We like it.

The move means less time in the future with the neighborhood cat Butters. Since I got back from residency, Butters has been visiting me every morning for pats and scritches. His meow is a scratchy pathetic sound like something from a dying animal. But he is nevertheless quite talkative and affectionate. I will miss him (and frequently walk through our old neighborhood just to visit him).

orange cat picture
Butters, mi amigo
photo of orange cat on porch
on the porch

Dying Yarn and Roving

Hi folks! I wanted to share a series of photos with you that I took to document my first endeavor into dying yarn and roving. The big long strip of wool before it is spun into yarn is called roving. I spun the yarn pictured here using a drop spindle. I am still learning to use a spinning wheel but may post pictures of that process soon.

Roving in its natural color from the sheep before I spun it
This is the yarn I spun from the roving above
Using a drop spindle (not the same roving)
Part of the dying process using food coloring
Final product
A braid of roving before it is dyed
Wet, dyed roving ready to spin as soon as it dries