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.

sketch | summer knitting projects.

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I’ve mentioned before that in 2018, I began keeping track of my knits and the color inspirations for them in a knitting sketchbook. What started on a tiny whim has turned into a project I can’t ever see myself stopping–visualizing the garments I’m making and the potential color combinations I want to use is not only helpful and informative, but I’ve loved looking back on previous entries to see what projects I gravitated to, and what colors, at a given time.

I’ve used ravelry to keep track of my knitting for a decade (or more?); that won’t stop because the knowledge gained from other knitters there is invaluable (yarn substitutions, other color interpretations as inspiration). But to have something tangible to go to is huge.

Here is my most recent f.o. (a Flax sweater for my oldest nephew) and my current project (a Eugene sweater by Whitney Hayward). Clearly, after creating a bunch of top down stripes for my nephews, I wanted to add one to my wardrobe.

See more from my knitting sketchbook here.

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?

knit | scrappy sweaters.

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I always have a ton of odds and ends from various projects–little bits of really nice yarns that I can’t bear to throw out and don’t know what to do with because the leftovers aren’t quite enough for a hat or other small accessory.

I decided to use all my fancy bits of Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage and Malabrigo Yarn Rios for some scrappy, striped sweaters for my three nephews; they love bright colors and figured it was a way to get really nice, superwash merino wool garments on them!

I’m using Tin Can Knit’s Flax Sweater pattern because its so great for stripes and the garter details on the sleeves gives it a bit of interest and is a little less boring to knit than a straight stockinette stitch. Also, I’d never used this pattern before and it’s been on my list forever. Every knitter needs a few Flax sweaters in their life, right?

Here is my 3 year old nephew’s sweater in progress–he loves pink and I thought this bright pop of tosh in espadrilles would be much appreciated by him. His little brothers features blues and coppers and grays, and the oldest boy’s will be greens and maybe orange. I love how these are coming out. I tested out my color stories in my knitting journal to see if I’d like the way they looked. It’s a great way to visualize before you knit.

You can see more snaps of my knitting journal here.

How do you use up the rest of your yarn?

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?

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.

journal projects | tracking makes.

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I’ve really gotten into tracking things. Coffee consumption, cool ideas, how much I make things, how much I read things, etc. I’m not into tracking other habits of mine and find that some can be a bit too much and unsustainable, but I’ve found a rhythm for me.

One journal to track when I make something, when I knit, when and how much time I spend reading every day, what books are on my to be read list, which books I’ve completed and when, how much coffee I’m drinking every day (it’s a lot and I don’t plan on changing), what gigs Sean and I go to and what venues they were at, a headline for each day of the month, a savings tracker and a wish list and rewards system, and things I’m crushing on every month.

One journal to track the books I’ve completed, when I completed it, how long it took me to read, whether it was a recommendation or my own choice, if I loved it or hated it, whether I own the book, musings on it, and my own artistic rendering of the book’s cover.

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One journal to track the specifications and color stories of my knits (and in the future– my sewing projects). It includes a drawing of the item I knit, the color palette I want to use, the yarn used, the needle size, and any notes about the pattern itself.

This has been a goal of mine for awhile; to have some tangible proof of the things I do, and how to do them better, more often, or to know when things get crowded in my life–whether I’ve had to back off on some of my passions. It’s a barometer and also a log of the things I make. And I hope it makes me a more thoughtful maker and consumer.

What do you keep track of?

You can see my tracking journal here. And my reading journal here. And my knitting journal here.

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. 

 

block prints | light to dark.

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As previously documented, I’m stuck on block printing. It seems to be a make that’s stuck–I keep trying new things, experimenting, and envisioning new blocks.

Here’s a small block I made of a circle with an x through it. I played with light to dark colors here, with a mix in between. I’m actually quite pleased with the result and want to print it again, on a larger scale or a different color cotton. Dark fabric, light print would be amazing.

Eventually, I’m thinking of turning these into little zip cases for notions and other bits and bobs you carry around in your purse. What do you think?

inspiration | notes.

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I have a lot of sketchbooks. Ones that are half filled, ones that are entirely filled, ones never touched. I start them, I stop them, sometimes, I finish them, whatever that means.

But, nothing is more special to me than the way I conceive of my music podcast, available at my other love, P+C. It’s a labor–and a form of art–to pick the list of potential tracks, to draw out what I think the artwork should look like, and to eliminate and create the final track list.

Occasionally, that book also turns into a sketchbook or a space to dabble–with new, small scale block prints, or quick little drawings.

What kinds of lists and sketches do you keep?

sketchbook | defend.

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I’ve been working on a First 100 Days sketchbook as a way to address my pent up anger and to try and put this time, and these feelings, into my artwork and express.

I recently made a #nodapl block print–an issue extremely close to me as a Native American. It should be an issue important to all Native Americans. This is my sketchbook reaction to recent news that the pipeline easement would be granted.

Resistance continues.