Lace and Kingfishers

I've been painting and knitting a little. *laughs*

I showed 2metaldog this shawl before I'd finished it and it's made from KnitPick's "Alpaca Cloud", which is just about as soft as you'd expect from baby alpaca. The beads are 0/8 seed beads in iris colors (green, blue, purple, and pinks and cores in those colors too), and I used size 4 needles (3.5mm). The pattern is Knitty's Aeolian Shawl, I just did the shawlette size and it was a really beautiful knit.

The charts are solid, and the pattern is interesting enough that I didn't get bored through it at all. The edging was especially fun to do, and the beads really lend weight to the whole fabric that my usual lace doesn't have. I really love the swing and heft of it, even after it got blocked.

Finished but Not Blocked
This is pre-blocking, and it looks a bit like a butterfly right out of the chrysalis. Kind of wrinkly and soft as anything, but you can't really see the lace structures in this, as they're just bunched up. It was kind of worse *on* the needles, as usual, and difficult to see. But even like this, the weight of the beads really brought out the edge a bit more than normal. I was impressed by that.

A little closer
I suspect that I should apologize for the glaringly PINK background, but it's my biggest bath blanket, and i like using a clean surface for blocking larger lace projects. It was so dry here that only two hours after I'd pinned it down it was bone dry. It is sized perfectly for casual wear. It also made it really easy to see the open structure when it was down.

The beads are actually quite beautiful in the structure with light through the back, as they shine...

As always better in person that in a picture, but it's fun to share what I've got.

kingfisher notebook
The last thing was a king fisher I'd been mildly obsessing about painting for the last few months. I finally got brush to watercolor base on a composition notebook yesterday afternoon, and this was the result. I really wanted the bird very clearly defined and detailed. There are trails of white dots along head and wing, and the feathers turned out much better than I'd even hoped.

I always love bird claws against branches. *laughs* And it's fun to make the "far" background all vague to just keep the attention on the bird itself.

One thing I realized is that nearly all the paintings I've sold have been ones that I've made up off the top of my head, without referring to more traditional layouts or trying to stick to traditional rules of how things should be placed. They were just pictures that were interesting to me.

I'm finding that the same thing is probably true of my writing as well. So long as I truly love the story, the characters, the particular plot or idea, the story goes really really well and easily. When I don't it's like slogging through molasseses. Of course, when I'm just too tired, it's hard anyway.

Today was almost all church stuff, between church in the morning, talking with folks. Having someone come up to me all agog about the show in the Hospital and saying, "It's like knowing a celebrity! I know the artist of those paintings!" The secretary of my eye doctor gushed happily about having discovered my paintings there, too. That was pretty fun. Someone else that was having dry eye problems commiserated with me happily, and it was fun to have someone that even knew all the medications I was trying. *laughs* I enjoyed it. The evening function was the planning meeting for this spring's Mississippi trip, and since the work trip is during Jet's spring break we're going to have to accommodate him as well. So I might end up on a beach in Biloxi this spring instead of working, but will likely help with the meals instead as Jet's not allowed on the construction site. We have plans for NASA, maybe some road tripping toward Texas, and the weekend stay in New Orleans will be... uhm... interesting with a 10-year-old.

I also had a heck of a time trying to escort Jet and his friend back to his friend's house on our bikes. The friend had a stunt bike, and my mountain bike had a nearly flat tire. *laughs* And, yes, it was just as challenging as you might expect to follow a 10-year-old on a stunt bike. There was one harrowing instant when Jet slammed into someone's fence when he didn't make a turn that his friend made with ease, but Jet was fine, and he managed to slow just enough to not bruise or hit too hard.

Jet and I were talking about it later and he said that he figured it was easier for me because I had experience, and I agreed. I just said that yeah... experience said that there was just no way I was going to be able to make that curve at that speed. Whee...

John's also organizing his family reunion this coming summer. Folks from the East Coast and West Coast are all congregating *here* so we have to go check out the places they're going to stay while here. I'm helping him out a bit with the assessment of the places this coming week. That should be interesting.

Blocking really is magical - it's one of my favorite things to do, along with dyeing, because the transformation is just so huge. I think I've got before and after blocking shots of almost all my shawls on Ravelry, because it's so fun XD
And to add, your Aeolian looks gorgeous, too. I'd love to see a close-up of the beads, if you ever feel like taking more pictures.
I just took some, it takes a little time for me to get them online and up, but I'm working on that!

Thank you! I try... it seems to help my confidence, honestly. *laughs*
That shawl turned out beautifully (like there was any doubt of that *snorts*). I really like the almost picot edge of it. I don't know that I'd have the patience to ever do something like that.

The painting also turned out really nice. I like how the bird has a sort of I see you looking at me thing going on.
The funny thing is that the points on the edge are just because they're blocked in! The edge could actually be just curved if it were blocked that way, there is extra increases along that pattern, so it would have to be at least a scallop shape, but... the picot part is actually from the pins just stretching at those points!

Thanks about the painting! It was fun to try and focus on him that way..
The shawl was amazing with all the little details before it was done but now... wow. That's so beautiful! You and ID have so much talent with needles. *is in awe*

I like the way you used the colors in your painting, they mix and match so well. The bird really stands out yet integrates well with the background. Very nice!
*beams happily* Thank you!!

And I'm very glad that the painting pleases. It was fun to try and create that contrast too! It's also cool knowing that you were able to see the shawl in person when it was still lumpy and shapeless. *laughs*
The shawl is GORGEOUS! I am so impressed - I can only crochet, I've never been able to master knitting, and none of my crocheting is ever anything that fine or detailed. I stand in awe.

I am embarrassed to say that I've never blocked anything I've done - but I have two afghans now that badly need it, for the first time (a yarn I had never used, and will probably never use again!), and I admit I am a little nervous about it... Part of the problem will be finding somewhere I can lay them out to dry that won't invite kitties to camp out on them, since they seem to adore laying on anything I have crocheted, and these are not for me (they are for vets at the local VA, and I'd like to get them there as cat hair-free as possible.)

I'm also awed by your mad painting skills! Even when I made my few (and rather sad) attempts at painting, watercolors were always my downfall, I could never master them - they always turned out muddy and dreadful. Some time when you are not quite so busy, might I commission you to paint me a blue heron or an egret? I know we share a love for those lovely birds.
Yes, it's difficult to find blocking space where pets won't just automatically go. *laughs* Will closed doors work?

Watercolors are just a strange medium. They really have to be just laid down once and left or they'll always go muddy. *laughs* Just like the background "leaves" for this one...

The watercolor paper only seems to encourage my futzing with it, but the Shuen unsized papers make it impossible for me to go over it again. So that really helps me!

I would be very happy to do a blue heron for you! I do love them a great deal and I've had ideas percolating for a very very long time with respect to those graceful creatures.
I could close off the spare room (the only extra room we have) but the hubs has it discombobulated right now, halfway through the process of painting (and stalled permanently, it seems.) I'd have to put drop cloths on the drop cloths to find a clean enough space to spread the afghans out! But that may be what I have to do.... I really want to get them to the vets before Christmas.

I would adore and be so honored to have one of your paintings of a heron. Living here on the coast, surrounded by rivers (we live less than a half mile from one of the Chesapeake Bay's tributaries) they are omnipresent, and have seemed a good omen in my life for many years now, every time they appear. In my old condo, there was one, a large and stately elder gentleman great blue, who spent a lot of time in the little pond in the center of our development, and he and I spent many hours observing each other at fairly close range. There is a special reason I am particularly fond of the white herons (really just immature great blues) and white egrets, as well, but I will have to share that in a message.

afghans and paintings
The shawl looks beautiful, Phyllis. And I have the first (?) lace shawl you knit, I think. And I love and admire that each and every time I wear it.

You are doing some more interesting and beautiful paintings. Glad to hear that you are receiving such nice comments from your showing in the hospital. They are all well deserved. Keep going with your painting, along with your writing and knitting. And keep on enjoying your family as you do, I know. Love, Isabel
Re: afghans and paintings
It's one of my first few... yours is handspun, though, red... *grins* So a lot more work, even, than this one, as this was with commercial yarn. Very very happy you enjoy it so much!

I think the best thing about the hospital show has been people who've been there for less than happy reasons and getting something of a respite with the paintings... that's been worth more than even selling them in a way.

hugs! Thank you so much!!