Crafts and Projects

Knit One, Purl Two Sweaters

Here’s what my niece and nephew received from me for Christmas! I love making kids sweaters because they go so fast.

Olivia sweater

Here’s almost-four-year-old Olivia’s sweater. And there are my feet in the picture!! 🙂

ben sweater

Six year old Ben’s sweater is a little camo-looking.

Here’s the thing. My niece and nephew live in northern California…I’m just hoping that it gets cold enough for them to wear them. I know I’ve been to the park with them often enough wishing I had mittens. I hope they like them as much as I enjoyed making them! I even bought little labels that say “Hand Knit by Tracy Richardson”. Maybe they’ll save them for their own kids!! Just a thought.

Crafts and Projects

Magic Happens Here!

Magic

This is my craft room. I don’t get down here as often as I would like, but it is a very soul-filling space for me,

craft room

Here are the work spaces. I LOVE the color I chose for the walls. My sewing machine is 16 years old. I bought it used for $1000, but it is amazing, Will sew through almost anything and has tons of decorative stitches (most of which I don’t use).

Yarn

Yarn in all colors left over from other projects. I use them when making applique.

painted desk

My husband’s grandfather’s desk that I refreshed and updated with Chalk paint.

baubles

Design and pattern books and rick-rack.

Buttons

Old buttons that I buy in bulk at antique stores.

I need to get down here and do something creative!! I am always knitting something as I can carry that with me, but other projects require time and space. Maybe I’ll chalk paint another table?!? 🙂

Crafts and Projects

A few projects…

I finished a few things this summer…all pics on camera 8-2014 1282

A special pillow for my special niece, Olivia. This is made from recycled sweaters and over-dyed suiting material with a little embroidery, rick-rack and applique.

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Knitted dish towels. All from 100% cotton. These are fast and easy projects.

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And for me, a purple cotton cardigan. 🙂 I love knitting because I can take it with my on all of my travels and I always have something creative to do.

Crafts and Projects

Upcycling

No, this does not mean bicycling uphill. I’m not even sure it is an actual word. I’m very into creating things and protecting the environment, and I’ve been able to combine the two with Upcycling. It best describes how I turned these shirts, a suit jacket from Goodwill with some random buttons and trim from my stash –

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into this custom pillow for my nephew Ben – thus the ‘B’! Shhhh, don’t tell him, it’s his birthday present.

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And these lamps I bought at Value World for $4 apiece (I don’t have a before picture, but they were shiny gold) to these French country beauties in my dining room after I painted them with off-white chalk paint. I’m still not sure about the beads, though.

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Crafts and Projects

Knitted Tunic

I just finished this tunic that I designed. Every stripe is a different yarn and a different stitch. I actually copied it from a skirt pattern that I saw in a knitting store that I loved, except I didn’t really want a knitted skirt.

It was a lot of fun to make and I love the colors. It’s meant to be oversized and worn with a tank underneath. Now I’m circling back to a black winter sweater that I had lots of trouble with and just had to set aside. Hopefully I’ll get that done before Thanksgiving! So many projects!

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Crafts and Projects

Baby Sweater

It’s been a while since I shared some of the creative pursuits that I do other than writing. I don’t always have time to do a full blown craft or art project, so I do a lot of knitting because it’s portable. Also, I tend to like textile projects for colors, textures and patterns. Here’s a baby sweater that I made for my soon-to-be-born goddaughter, Lilianna.

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It’s so freaking cute (if I do say so myself!) that I want one for myself!!! I’m almost finished with a sweater that I’m making for myself that I also designed. Hopefully I can share pictures next week!

Crafts and Projects

Painting Class

Artistic talent runs in my family. My mother was a talented painter and wordsmith, my dad is excelling at watercolors and my children draw and paint and do graphic design and attend college at Columbia College Chicago for music and photography. While I’ve always had a certain affinity for textiles, part of me has always wanted to paint. Specifically, I want to paint luscious landscapes with oils. I figured that I first had to learn the basics, so I signed up for a painting class at Magdalena Gallery of Arts in the Carmel Arts and Design District. What an lovely place! I am having so much fun. Two of the other artists are my age and are very talented, but they swear that they started off just like me. The other student is a young lady who is benefitting from hearing all the ‘women’s talk.’ Got me to thinking about the book The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and how as women we should consider it our sacred role to share with the younger generation what it means to be a woman. But I digress!!

Here is what I did the first week in class.painting class 1-2013 003

I was secretly very pleased when Magdalena told me that I was very good at drawing!! I couldn’t do an exact drawing, so I aimed for the ‘feel’ of the flowers. In the second week I started painting the flowers, and although they arn’t terrible, they don’t look the way I imagine it in my head. Of course, I’m not finished with the painting, yet.

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What is really the best part of painting is not the finished product, but the ‘flow.’ My personal initiative for 2013 is to be in The Flow whenever possible, whatever I’m doing. I want to be so engrossed, and thus fulfilled, by what I’m doing that I lose myself in the activity and get in The Flow. Of course, what I really want is for my rose to look like this.

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Maybe someday I will be able to paint the cover image for one of my books! I just have to keep reminding myself to enjoy the process, because we are never finished.

Crafts and Projects

Wool Scarves and Mittens

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since May! So much has been happening. My son and daughter (twins) left for college in September and I finished the rought draft of my novel THE FIELD featuring Eric Horton, the older brother of Marcie from INDIAN SUMMER. More on THE FIELD to come in another post.

Here are some projects I’ve been working on.

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Santa brought me this jacket for Christmas and I knitted this scarf to go with it! Okay, I picked out the jacket myself and Mrs. Claus gave it to me!

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My new obsession is felting sweaters and making stuff with them. Felting involves washing old wool sweaters from Goodwill in very hot water so the fibers in the wool ‘felt’ together and make a fabric you can cut that won’t fray or unravel at the edges. I made these mittens for my cousin, but don’t you think they match perfectly with my old Lands’ End jacket? I may have to keep them for myself!

These are pillows I made from sweaters and rick-rack that I bought years ago at Tuesday Morning thinking that I would someday have a use for it.

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Having the kids go off for college was hard, but it’s the next stage for them and they’re having a great time! It also freed me up for my next stage in life! First step – take over the band room in the basement. I’ve transformed the space into my craft room. I can’t share pics at the moment as it is still a mess from various projects, but stay tuned! Craft on!

Crafts and Projects

Projects

I love this time of year. I know I am in the minority, but I’m not alone. I grew up in Chicago where it got cold in December and stayed cold until April. We had outdoor skating rinks and skiied all winter. Winters in Indianapolis are wimpy. It was 60 degrees today! There is no such thing as winter sports here. Someone from Michigan once told me the reason people in Indianapolis don’t like winter is that it doesn’t stay cold long enough for them to enjoy it. Interesting fact – Indianapolis is on the latitude with the most freeze/thaw cylcles. It snows, but it doesn’t stay for more that a few days. Not like in Chicago where I can remember coasting onto my ice covered driveway for two months because it hadn’t gotten warm enough for it to melt.

But the real reason that I love this time of year is that there is nothing else going on so I can do projects! In the Spring you have gardening, spring break, and graduations. Summer needs no explanation. In the Fall everyone gets busy with work and school until the ‘Holiday Season’ which basically starts before Halloween and goes until New Year’s Day. But in January, February and March we only have MLK Day, President’s Day, Valentine’s Day and St. Patty’s Day. Not much preparation required except buying a card, making dinner reservations and maybe a shamrock or two. Lot’s of time for me to MAKE THINGS! I am a crafter, though some people would call me crafty, and what I really consider myself is a Fiber Artist, since most things that I create are with fabric or yarn. In the 70’s I was into macrame and I made a table that hung from the ceiling with a plexiglass cirlce suspened by a metal ring. It was quite a conversation piece in my dorm room in college. When my children leave for college next fall, I am going to start calling myself a Fiber Artist (and author, of course!) I am also planning to reclaim the basement from my son who has turned it into a recording studio and band practice space. I am coveting a work table from the Martha Stewart Collection – call me Martha!

For Christmas presents this year I made mittens and scarves out of wool sweaters that I felted (basically shrunk in hot water in the wash). Pics below. I have to say I think they turned out cute! Then I made bags and pajamas and pillows! I am even making myself a jacket. I haven’t made clothes for myself in years, but I went to a new, high end fabric store (The French Seam) and found myself leaving with three yards of gorgeous watermelon colored wool. Bookstores, fabric stores and yarn stores are dangerous places for me. Did I also mention that I am making curtains and pillows for my family room? I’ve taken over the living room and dining room and since I like to have my projects out in the open until they are finished, and I have multiple projects going on at once (just like you readers who have multiple books on the nightstand) it’s a bit of a mess. My office is the same way. I’m a pile filer. I don’t agree with the people who say that if you haven’t completed a project within a year to discard it. I have at least three knitting projects waiting in the wings that I may not get to until next Fall, but I will get to them. To me its like when you finish a book and you’re at loose ends until you find your next book. One must always have a project ready to start.

So for those of you who love this time of year for the cold and the luxury of time to create, pour yourself a cup of tea or hot  chocolate and get crafting!

Felted Flower Pins
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
'Matching' mittens
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Scarf and Mittens
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Woolen Mittens
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pillow with Felted Flowrs