What's on the Menu.....

Blog space Collections space Etsy space Ravelry space Facebook space TweetTweet space Get In Touch

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Secret Knitting, with updated photos, lol

First of all, I need to confess that I just got into big trouble for uploading this photo while the hubby was playing Call of Duty on X-box live, because it caused him to lag and die, lol.  So I can't upload the rest of the photos or he won't speak to me for the rest of the night, but if you haven't gotten to go check out my Ravelry project page for this puppy...go do it right now (no Ravelry account needed).  Seriously.  Why are you still here?? 

As you know, I troll Ravelry stalking my friends' activity feed to see the latest, newest, prettiest, funnest (?) projects and patterns out there.  I've seen some things that will knock your socks off, and some photography that let me know pretty quick that my old point-and-shoot sucked.  We eventually got a new camera, but there were so many options and buttons and to be honest I still don't know what half of them do so I sort of live-and-die by the flash and the 'natural lighting' functions. (Whew.)  Fast forward a few years to when my hubby went to school to get a degree in Web design, which led to our acquisition of Photoshop.  I've mentioned before that I've had some steep learning curves with Photoshop, but I've learned how to doctor my photos to look pretty much the way I want with a few simple settings, and I've gotten much faster.  These only took about an hour from camera flash to my project page.  Not bad considering my earlier efforts.  One thing that I've learned...you can make a pretty background with just about anything.  The background of that photo is just a white polo shirt draped across my bed.  But since I can't keep a white shirt clean to save my life, I probably won't be able to use it again :)

Tomorrow, my pretty mittens head out to Washington, to their new home.  I've started on my latest project and as usual, I immediately started to second guess my original vision.  But this time I told that voice to 'Shut the hell up', because I'm not going to let it scare me away from what I fell in love with and got really excited about when I first started sketching the idea.  Where does this new, bold version of designer-Cam come from, you ask?  Well, I've been working my way through the e-course (you know, the one I mentioned a couple times already), and it's been liberating!  Already I'm starting to network with other people in my position and that makes me feel better about where I am and how I feel.  I've responded pretty emotionally to several things that I've read because I was struggling with that issue.  I think I just needed the validation.  So here goes:

I am a fiber artist.  I am.  Others have tried to call me a designer, or an expert, or even a professional, and I've shot them down.  Why?!  Why was I afraid to admit that I'm an artist?  I think I was afraid that because I'm not at the level of the fiber artist that I admire and follow, that I didn't have the right to call myself that.  Who do I think I am to go out and create my own fan group on Ravelry?  Who am I to have an artist page on Facebook.  And when I first set it up, it was as a business page and not an artist page.  I've shunned that title for years, and without reason.  Here's a little background on me...

My mother is artistic, has beautiful handwriting, sews, cross-stitches, crochets, and could sketch and paint.  My father was recruited to draw for Walt Disney studios (but turned them down).  Mom said he could draw eyes like nobody's business.  I have always loved to draw and I've loved color.  I used to dump out my crayons and put them in color order before I could start using them, lol.  I took art in school until high school, where I had to give it up for Advanced English.  I never got to take it again, and it was pretty much beat out of me.  But it really wasn't, because it showed up again when I went to beauty school to become a manicurist.  I was very talented, and I really got into nail art.  I worked happily for years until the economy made it impossible for me to stay in the business.  That's when I started knitting.  Not long after I started altering patterns, and a few short years later I was designing my own.  I'm an artist in my soul, and being artistic makes me happy.  I love to be surrounded by color (and yarn, but that's another story), and I love to make beautiful things.  I find beauty in everyday things, like the jars of pickles I canned a few days ago.  So yes, I am an artist and I'm ready to embrace that and I'm not afraid of it anymore. 

Hi.  I'm Cambria, and I'm a fiber artist :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Secret Knitting: done!

Tonight, I finished my Heritage Silk Lace Mittens for Cascade Yarns and I couldn't be happier!  They are drying upstairs right now so I don't have much by way of photos, but I do have a couple to share. 

This was a real challenge for me.  I have never designed anything with lace before and I wasn't even sure if I could!  This pattern, like my Quilt and Cable Blanket, has been knocking around my sketch book for at least a year and I finally figured out how to get it out of my head and off my needles.  I can tell you that there were several elements of my original design that didn't make it into this one, but I love it just the same.  Originally, the inner mitten was going to be knit in lace-weight yarn.  The inner mitten and outer mitten were supposed to have matching eyelet holes, through which I was going to weave a beautiful ribbon.  In the end, I went with fingering-weight yarn for both mittens (at the suggestion of the wonderful Stacy from Cascade).  And I fought with the eyelets until I finally decided that it wasn't necessary to have holes on the inside.  In the final version, the eyelets are only on the outer lace mitten, and the ribbon is optional (final photos will include a ribbon). 

I have never worked with so many test knitters before, or designed a pattern with this many sizes.  My poor test knitters had to get the pattern in phases (inner mitten first, then outer mitten), be willing to keep photos and projects offline until I gave the go-ahead, and deal with my insecure questioning and follow-up emails, lol.  They were all fantastic.  The project also required that I create a spreadsheet to keep track of my testers, their contact info, and the sizes they were making.  I also added a tab to keep track of those testers who would like to be contacted about future projects.  How crazy does that sound?!  I need a spread sheet to keep my testers straight, lol.  That's totally surreal.

So, the pattern is speeding along the internet to Cascade, complete with a few photos that I thought might be helpful.  I'm going to look for the perfect ribbon tomorrow, and I'm gonna see if I can get some pretty photos for my Ravelry project page.  And then, I'm casting on for the first of three (hopefully...) designs for SSS2011. 

Oh, and don't be surprised if you see some uncharacteristically insightful stuff coming in the next few posts.  I've joined a fantastic e-course called Flying Lessons (button on my sidebar) thanks to my buddy Rain blogging about it, and it's been eyeopening!  Expect big things from Cambria W. Designs in the next few months!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Keeping with tradition

I have a major paper due tomorrow and I haven't started working on it, so naturally I'm blogging.  Keeping up with a well established tradition, lol.  And I think I'll be making it a tradition to do some canning in the summer and fall.  I love it!  It's really satisfying to put stuff in jars and have it sit on a shelf looking pretty, and then opening it much much later and having it still taste good!  I've been bitten by the canning bug.  This season, I bought the kit from Ball that has the wide mouth funnel and the extra large jar tongs, and the magnetic wand to pick lids up out of the hot water.  It was SOOO much easier to do these pickles than it was to do the assorted butters last fall.  I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a large bag of tomatoes to make salsa and put that up.  My only disappointment regarding the pickles...for some reason I thought I would be able to eat them after a few days.  I've got to wait 4-6 weeks!  I would have started them two weeks ago if I'd know that.

Alex started school at the Providence Center today and had a great time.  I didn't have as great of a time, because I was at PT working my legs off.  On a side note, I've been doing lots of leg lifts which I think might be working my abs as an bonus consequence.  I'll take it!  I graduated today from 1.5lb leg weights, to actual 3lb leg weights (woohoo!).  It sound pathetic, but it means that I'm getting stronger, which means that I'm closer to my goal.  I rode the bike for 10 minutes today and my knee only popped for the first minute or so, and then stopped.  That's progress.  Once we get over the popping, I can start running again.  Yay progress!

Speaking of progress, I'm almost finished with my last mitten for Cascade and the testers are starting to report in.  I'm really pleased with this one.  Oh, and I'm getting ready to order my yarn for the SSS2011 socks.  That's my next project.  Then there's Alex's sweater, and then I have a shawl to knit for a bridal party before the end of October.  Not exactly sure when I'll get Aaron's birthday blanket finished, but it sure won't be before his birthday, lol.  Well at least we have the yarn, and I did buy him a gym membership so I think I'm covered.