I strapped on the iPod, went for a walk and listened to CraftCast, my favorite podcast. Alison Lee gets great guests, has a fabulous voice, and really speaks to the heart of why people create. Since I am a (graphic) designer, I feel like I should be designing everything I work on, but I don’t. Especially with needlework, I buy charts or even – gasp! – kits sometimes. I enjoy the process of doing, and designing takes a lot of thought and trial and error. Usually, I just want to stitch.

I have designed some of my rugs, and I had an epiphany on my walk today. As I work on my 10 project challenges (which I am starting to wrap up my first one by cheating and moving some of the ongoing projects off the list), I want to have one self-designed piece per list. It can be a rug, or a punchneedle or french knot piece – anything I want. But I want to design it for me, not for any thought of coming up with patterns that might sell. As Alison says in her podcasts, it’s about finding your authentic self as an artist – that needs to come first.


Report from Cambria

What a great week! T and I drove down on Sunday as usual, caravaning with everyone else. We didn’t get a cabin this time, but a regular room in one of their buildings that was still very nice, with a gorgeous little courtyard. Because Cambria is on the coast, it is cool and moist all summer, and boy do the plants love it!

I had a fabulous teacher, Diane Stoffel. Every time she came by to give me individual instruction my rug became much better. I am working on a mermaid pattern by Pris Butler. The original pattern has the mermaid looking cartoony, and I wanted her to be more mysterious-looking:


I keep tinkering with her eyes, they want to look up but I want her to be looking at you. This rug is a lot of fun to work on, and I’ve got most of the hard part done so the rest shouldn’t be too painful to finish!

I attended one mini-class by Michele Micarelli. She is very creative, so of course there was no pattern on the backing, only her instruction to hook fun stuff (ribbons, yarns, nubby wools) in wavy patterns to create an undersea scene:

OK, this looks like total crap in the photo, but it is quite pretty in person, and also very fun and easy. And, it’s very tempting to buy fun yarns, beads, all sorts of embellishments – oh, I mean, to use the ones I already have. 🙂

We also hit the town pretty hard, and spent an entire afternoon in the two-story antique mall. I found a gorgeous needlepoint rug, about 3×5′ with roses. Although it is pink- and cream-colored, it isn’t too girly (really – DH even liked it. He asked me where we are going to put it, as if I had an answer to that!) I also scored two blazers, one is Laura Ashley and the other is Ralph Lauren, both insanely cheap, and both fit in the sleeves – most sleeves hang halfway down my hand, but these are perfect. Fate? Yep.

On the way home Friday, we drove down to Morro Bay and stopped at Lina G’s – the coolest knitting/embellishment store! She stocks not only exotic yarns, but vintage trims to use on hats. I’m on total crafty overload there – there is so much cool stuff, but I can’t even begin to decide what to do with it! I bought some funky yarn for my undersea scene, a pretty card, and a cool tassel (which I have yet to find a place for).

Then, it was time for T and I to head back up I-5, with the Weekly World News “bigfoot” crossword puzzle to keep us going.

An excellent week, as always!

Finally Finished!

Whew. I leave for Cambria tomorrow, and the rug is done (from the front, at least – close enough!) I am very happy with it, but also have looked at it too long and too hard and see too many things that bug me. But, it is the best craft project I have ever done, so that is an accomplishment.