reading sketchbook |eleanor.

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I read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman about a month and a half back–I actually listened to it and the reader’s voices were incredible. The Scottish brogues really brought this story to life in ways I wouldn’t have experienced if I simply read the book.

I’m featuring this entry in my Reading Sketchbook because, for the first time in a good while, this was a read I just simply didn’t want to end.

What are you reading? What should I put on my To Be Read list?

More from my reading sketchbook here.

make | loom beading.

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I received this amazing beaded loom kit from Purl Soho last week and decided to teach myself a new craft. I’ve done a ton of peyote style beading but never tried weaving beads on a loom.

I’m really pleased with this pattern; once the loom was set up (abysmal process), the beading work is done up really quickly. In a few short hours, I’m about halfway done with this bracelet.

Snaps coming, soon. I can’t decide if I’m going to bead on a loo regularly or not… yet.

summer | read.

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This was me, literally all summer. I avoided a laptop for 8 weeks (minus prepping for one conference presentation) and dove headlong, all day, into books. My best friend and pooch, Jackie B. Lee, joined me in all those stories and relaxation.

As a result, the only knitting projects I got to this summer were three kind of matching, scrappy, striped sweaters for my nephews. I read so many great stories. You can see what I was reading at my reading sketchbook here.

Any recommendations for me to read this fall?

tracking journal | knitting + makes.

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I’ve been tracking the days I make something (a new recipe in the kitchen, a textile art, beaded jewelry) and the days I knit, so I can gain perspective on how much I actually do create in a given year.

It’s been a fruitful process because when I’m feeling like I haven’t been creative, I can go back to this book and see that I’ve been more creative than I realized. Maybe some day, I’ll be able to categorize what I make on those days, too.

I love how much impact this has–I can see I was making more than knitting in May, and that in June, I’ve picked up my needles again.

Do you track your makes?

make | peyote stitch earrings.

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I’ve been obsessively making these 3D peyote stitch triangle earrings for a few weeks now. I’m in love with the statement they make and the endless color combinations.

I also tried my hand at turning one into a large pendant that can fit through a chain around your neck and gifted it to my mum for Mother’s Day. I think she liked it and it’s end result makes me want to try my hand at another one.

Should I list some of these in my shop? Would you buy a pair?

sketchbook | reading journal.

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Here’s another entry in my Reading Sketchbook. I love that I’ve kept up with this little project of tracking my reads. Here’s what I record:

Page length, completion date, how long to complete, whether it is an owned book, a library book, a kindle book, an audio book, or something completed in the serial reader app, whether I loved it or hated it (often “liked”), whether it fulfills a reading challenge selection, was it a recommendation, and my thoughts/musings on the experience and story.

It has kept my reading grounded and moving forward. I love to look back and reads and recall certain details about the book and to remember when I finished it and how long it took.

Here’s, also, a peak inside my books completed shelf in my tracking journal. I’ve kind of become obsessed with tracking what I make, when I knit, when I read, how long I read for, and what books I’ve finished. I’m hoping, when I feel like I’m not finding creative space or down time, I can look back on this and realize when and where I was able to fit it in.

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What should I add to my to be read list?

See more of my tracking journal here. And my reading journal here. Oh, and of course, there’s a knitting journal, too.

make | batik take two.

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A few years back, I somehow managed to teach a batik class to a bunch of reluctant middle school students even though I had no idea how to batik. And while I figured it out–and quickly–let the record show that just because you love making doesn’t mean you can just, poof!, make something in the ways its intended.

I recently had the opportunity to become a “student” of a batik. I thought it would be a great opportunity to revisit this craft not as teacher who had no idea what she was doing, but as passenger seat learner. Instead of using hot wax, we used glue. I thought it wouldn’t work; I couldn’t get fine detail–something I had trouble with using wax and paint brushes.

Stay tuned for finished results.

read | challenge 2017.

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In 2017, I agreed to take on a Reading Challenge. I don’t normally participate in those kinds of things because I like to read what I want, when I want, but this one seemed interesting and reasonable and maybe a challenge is good for me.

The 2017 challenge prompted a read every two weeks or 24 books on the year in various categories, including a book translated from another language, one from childhood, one from school days, something more than 500 pages, a book that takes place somewhere you traveled that year…and on.

I started off slow–my first read was Tolstoy’s classic War and Peace, a 1300 page sweeping epic that actually took me well over 2 weeks to complete. And so, I got behind. I picked up steam in the summer, reading well more than a book every two weeks. But, still, it wasn’t enough to make up with starting a new job and picking a number of 500+ page novels.

I came really close. I missed completing the challenge by 5 books. And it prompted me to start a reading journal, in which I keep track of everything I read, when I read it, how long it took me, whether it was a library book, a kindle book, or a book I own, and some general musings on what I liked or didn’t like about it. I’m pleased it pushed me to really start keeping track of my reads in a unique way, and I’ll carry on.

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How do you keep track of the books you read? Do you at all? I never used to. And so, in this space, I’m going to also keep track of that process, too. Because this blog, while I hope I have a reader or two, has been a great long term companion to me, my makes, my likes, my pursuits.

See more (a sample) from my reading journal here. 

 

f.o. | mrs. kim cross stitch

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For those of you that know me personally, I’m a Gilmore Girls fan. Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino, the show’s creators, are my heroes. The pop culture references, book references, quick wit, and well -timed and brilliantly curated music selections were, and are, near and dear to me.

And so, when the opportunity to make a Gilmore Girls inspired cross stitch that didn’t feel silly popped up, I jumped. One of the show’s characters, Mrs. Kim, is anti all music that isn’t religious. And so, it was fitting to make a sign that declared she disapproved of my music collection, and hang it above a selection of our vinyl in the living room.

This pattern took one afternoon to complete–my favorite quick project with rich rewards. It fits in nicely with the rest of my art in the living room and I like that it can be kind of a cryptic message– so fun.

makes | shibori + sashiko.

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This is my first attempt at shibori, a Japanese practice of resistance dyeing on textile. Folding, bending, and clipping muslin cloth is meditative and the final results are gorgeous–rich in color, shape.

As an extension of my first dyes, I decided to try some sashiko embroidery on top, following the natural resistance dye lines I created. My stitches aren’t completely even in this first attempt, often a little wonky, but in just two sittings with my piece, I’ve already made great strides in consistency.

These first dye batches are small scale, but my mind is already spinning about where I could potentially go with this practice.

wip | first rug

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Recently, I found myself trying something new: punch needle rug hooking. It’s pretty amazing. After a few small, freeform rugs about 2 inches by 2 inches, I decided to dive into this much bigger 18 inch circular design.

I could envision this being the covering for a cool, round stool, or something similar. But in actuality, this will likely just be another practice piece. With the holidays coming, I have an idea for some cool hooked rug pillows to gift.

This piece is worked up on monk’s cloth using a bulky weight yarn and a Amy Oxford punch needle #10. You can purchase these incredible punch needles here–but be prepared to wait. Apparently the rug hooking craze is here and Oxford punch needles are in high demand.

What new makes have you tried?

f.o. | peyote bead church key.

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I love making these bottle openers for wedding gifts. They are really perfect–something most people need, but also not on a registry and unique to me. You aren’t getting more than one peyote beaded bottle opener at your shower, are you?

I completed this matte bead one back in early August, as a gift to a former colleague and friend who had been married in recent weeks. I never did get final snaps of the finished product, but I think she was pleased with the gift and I hope she and her husband have popped a few cool ones with it.

I really love mixing it up–sometimes making matte bead ones and other times all shiny, metallic beads like this one I made the previous summer for another friend getting married.

What are your go to small, handmade gifts?