Monthly Archives: April 2013

Maia dreams of birds

I mentioned in the last post that things have been very creative around here. Less zentangle than usual and flurries of other activities to abide by the “create every day” rule. Does spring cleaning count as creativity? That’s been going on as well. But mostly, daily tangling has been sidetracked by a flurry of knitting.

Friday was the first day of a KAL (Knit A Long) for the Dreambird shawl. To prevent abandoned wip guilt, I spent a lot of time leading up to last week finishing the yet to be named wrap that was on the needles. Both are shown in this post.

So… the Willow green/yellow wrap is done. Ummmmm. Kind of. I ran out of the yellow yarn and thought I was at the finish line. I finished the last colour stripe and bound off the wrap. And I took it outside to see if I liked the colour or not. I like it. I think. Maybe. Only one problem. Unless I shrink by about 3 feet and 100 pounds, there is no way it’s long enough to be a wrap for me. Lesson #3 on this wrap… triple read the ball band. I needed about 400 meters of the yellow. I had been looking at several possibilities and neglected to triple check. It was the other skein that was rejected that had 400m. This one only had 250m. Oops. Frog it or find someone tiny to give this to… hmmmmm.

The good news is that I have two balls of each of the yarns for the Dreambird. There will be leftover yarn, I’m quite sure. I showed the yarn choices in the last post about it. Yup, I did. Guess what? I knit the first feather and background sections and didn’t like the green. So much for swatching to confirm my choice, eh? Friday afternoon, I stopped by one of my favourite yarn shops and found a perfect sock yarn to use instead. Alpaca sock yarn… can you say soft? My feet might be jealous.

I took a picture of the progress so far. Four feathers done and lots to go. We had a bright moment in our dreary spring morning so I lay the wrap out carefully to take its picture and went to get the camera. This is the resulting photo.


OZAD – Days 14 & 15

It seems to have been a long while since I posted an OZAD assignment. If you were worried about being overwhelmed by too-frequent blog posts, you can stop worrying now.

ozad-14-1 One lesson a day… ummm… no. I accept that there just isn’t enough time in a day to accomplish everything I want. And I really do try to create every day. It’s just that there are so many things clamouring at me to create them. Among the usual weekly errands there has been a movie night, the testing of a new grain free recipe, a bit of geocaching when it wasn’t absolutely pouring rain and a geocaching event. There has also been a flurry of knitting which I’ll tell you about in the next post. I have come to the conclusion that OZAD for me is OZITMA (One Zentangle If Time and Mood Allow.) And, really, isn’t that better than being under pressure to de-stress? I know you agree.

Day 14 is titled Decorative Value. Shading planes with no discernible light source. Seems like it ought to be easy but I don’t think it was in the end. I started with the practice page for the Dyon, Chainging and Keeko patterns. I finished it several days ago and thought I was done with it. Today, when I photographed it and looked at the image on the computer I decided it wasn’t done when I finished it but that is the way it’s going to stay.

ozad-14-2a ozad-14-2b Next was the actual assignment using those patterns on a white tile. Yup. Might not be done this one either. I like it but I think I could have shaded the bottom layer a bit more as the decorative values aren’t jumping out at me.

The second part of this assignment was to pursue decorative value on a black tile. No surprise that Flux and Amaze showed up. Am I getting predictable? Mostly, I found it much harder to think in reverse so I used patterns that I don’t have to think about too hard. I’m not entirely sure I’ve gotten the decorative value thing under my belt. At least not when that was the assignment. I wonder if maybe I’ve forgotten how to do my homework.

Sometime between Day 14 and today, I worked on Day 15. Like I said… lots of other creativity going on around here.

Organic patterns. Yay!

Yincut is new to me (sort of) and I don’t really think of it as organic. More like a tile floor. Locar was a fun one to learn and I’m sure I’ll continue using it. Verdigogh reminds me of Douglas Fir branches. So much so that I can smell them. I like this one and really should use it more often. One thing I discovered with the two leafy, branchy patterns was that those fine cut details are very difficult to tangle behind. Especially with a cat trying to sit on the tile. Pandora has a different opinion about zentangle. She thinks Zen involves me putting the pen down and rubbing her belly. Now.

ozad-15-1 The first one included Yincut and it worked out not too badly. I didn’t shade this tangle at all. Just used the density of the patterns to further address day 14′s lesson on decorative value. I think it worked out a bit better with the Yincut definitely being on a plane behind the Locar. I think that aspect got a bit confused with the Verdigogh appearing to part of the same plane as the Yincut. Perhaps I should shade it and see what happens. Or maybe I’m just analyzing it too much.

ozad-15-2 The whole thing had a tile floor in the middle of an organic environment look to it so I did it again. The second tile reads as more organic with a sea floor feel to it. Sea weed and sea urchin. Jumped right from forest to ocean. My background isn’t showing here at all, is it?

Wet on Wet with Tangles

Last year, my son’s teacher asked me to help her with an art project for her grade 7 classes. First step: a private lesson for the teacher so she would know what to do. She got a demo of wet on wet watercolour painting to produce a colourful background. No pictures… just colours in shapes, swirls or streaks and let the water do it’s magic. I provided the watercolour paper, paint in a limited palette and painting boards for the students to use. Then, the teacher went to town with all her grade 7 classes.

Second step came after the watercolour backgrounds were entirely dry and flat-ish. The students were provided some guidance in choosing patterns, time to practice them on paper and then they were provided Sharpie Ultra Fine point markers. Alas, the arts budget is too small! During one of their art periods, they had a substitute teacher who commented later that she had never, ever seen a class so focused while working. The room was almost silent while they concentrated on their tangles. The final result was a collection of amazing pieces of art. I was able to see lots of them but didn’t have my camera. This one is my 2012 Mother’s Day present from Aidan. I think it’s pretty wonderful. zia-by-aidan

OZAD – Days 12 & 13

Day 12 was a challenge. Balance… I’m a klutz. Harmony… only if you give me a big bucket to carry the tune. Variety… that I can manage although I admit to being hooked on a few favourites. For example, one of my favourite easy dinners is in the oven right now. The kitchen smells divinely of roast chicken, onions and garlic. Does it get any better than that?

Back to zentangle though… balance, harmony and variety. The exercise using tangleations of Beelight and Bales just didn’t work for me. It didn’t work so badly that I didn’t even bother scanning the several attempts I made. No matter what I did, the tangles ended up seeming much too busy. Balance seemed to be lost to a blob of sameness as there wasn’t enough variety between the two patterns. I’m pretty sure all the tiles were singing way off key. Shading didn’t help. I will need to revisit this challenge someday but before I get frustrated, I’m moving on.

Deconstruction and reconstruction of patterns was a much more appealing lesson on Day 13. I spent a morning filling a page of my journal with a huge mess of many patterns, each morphing or blending with its neighbours. The end result had a lot of satisfying little sections but overall, it was a confuzzlement of practice tangling. Not scanning that either.

ozad-12 But this one, I did scan. Florz and Onamato are patterns I only use occasionally so it was a refreshing exercise. I tried to keep it very simple and only added Tipple to the decon/recon mix. End result feels a bit like something you might on the ocean floor and I’m resisting the urge to ocean colours.


Dreaming of Birds

Finally, spring has sprung. The sun has been shining. The temperature has been well above freezing. The buds are swelling. I saw spring bulbs pop out of the ground in a neighbour’s garden. The birds have been singing their hearts out. The weather has been teasing us. It snowed on April Fool’s Day and I barbecued in the snow again last night. But… spring is coming. I can feel it.

dreambird-yarn Still need another wrap. KAL starts next Friday. Yarn has been chosen, and swatched. Yes, Stuart, I’m taking your advice. I’m pretty sure I won’t change my mind at the last minute. The pattern sits on my desk in front of me.  Can’t wait to cast on. Want to join me? The pattern is Dreambird by Nadita Swings on Ravelry. The pattern is available for purchase through Ravelry (about CDN$5 after the exchange). The photo really doesn’t do justice to the lovely, subtle colours of the yarn I’ve chosen. Misti Alpaca, in a dark, cool green and Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn. Did I mention that I can’t wait to cast on?

willow-sail First, I have to finish this one. In addition to being another layer to wrap around my neck this piece has been a second exercise in getting continental knitting into the muscle memory. The pattern is a wickedly simple but effective one called Sonnensegel by Ulrike Altrogge, free on Ravelry. When I chose the yarn, I thought that the solid was a lighter tone of the green fleece beside it. Beautiful spring willow green. Exactly what I need while the grey muck of winter’s end is hanging on. I was indoors under fluorescent lights. I should have taken the skein outside for some real light. Lessons in yarn selection that I’ve learned in the past but apparently forgotten. Always check in natural light. Hmmmm… it’s very yellow, isn’t it? Second lesson – if you start knitting and the colour is wrong, stop knitting! I continued anyway. Should have frogged it early on and chosen a different solid. Too late now since it’s a fuzzy mohair blend and I’d sooner rip out my eyelashes than try to frog that. Don’t get me wrong, the colours are lovely together, very vibrant. But yellow is just not my colour. If I don’t finish it before I start the Dreambird, I’m afraid I won’t pick it up again and I’ll have another WIP that gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. Then again, maybe the yellow is greener than I think. Really depends on the lighting and the proximity of the green fleece. I’m going to continue knitting and decide when it’s finished.

Zentangle by Scratch

The lunchtime art club has been over for a while but one of the kids brought this and I had to share it. She was given a scratch magic doodle book. You know the stuff… it’s got bright colours underneath a layer of black that you scratch off to reveal your very colourful picture. She decided to use her book to create zentangle inspired works of art.


Phrases “far out” and “neat-o” come to mind. I think they would be probably be misunderstood by the 11 year old who created these pieces of art. I shall stick with “holy doodle!” Aren’t they wonderful?”