Sunday, March 29, 2009

Notebook antics.

I was in my notebook attaching the rejection letter to the first project page (yet another attempt at keeping things organized) when I saw the sketches that started the whole thing. It sounds arrogant, but I sometimes really like the sketches. It just isn't all that easy to reproduce them in thread. I thought it would be fun to see how things progressed:

Call for entry topic was: "With or Without Water".

First idea that came to me:

A "water is life" thing.

I envisioned a river-scape teeming with behind the curly stylized wave side of the figure and the sered, cracked fissures of a dried lake bed under the stylized skeleton half. Didn't draw it in because I couldn't figure out how to make the dry lake bed look like it was approaching the horizon (remember - no art training at all). So I started on the figure to see if I could at least get her to where I wanted.

So the skeleton is more of an outline than an empty cage form butI liked it. So much so that I didn't want to ruin it with color work on the waves. So I made another one.

This second thread sketch/prototype, as I like to refer to them, also served to see if I could repeat the figure satisfactorily. Ever have trouble making the same thing look the same way twice? sigh. I do.

I make my prototypes out of white thread so I can see all the stitches clearly (never try to use black or navy for this purpose unless you have a police-grade search light in your working space). Usually I then switch to another color for the final product and for this one I was going to use a blue body. I tried several variations on small test swatches and didn't like any of them. The white body made the blues in the curls pop. So I stuck with white. Glad I did. When it came time to make the heart/wings the white makes the figure stand out better against all that green.

The skeleton half of the body could have been made of that linen brown color that was used for the heart/wing background loops. I didn't think that the black lines alone wouldn't stand out enough. So white it was for that half too.

Next choice was black or white background for the photograph?

Dramatic but hard to see the edges of the wings/heart.


see the edges but loose the "haunty" feel.

Ah, White is more of a standard for these things (I think) so that's what went in despite the crap-tastic-ness of the photo quality. I know better, but I did it anyway. I swear by everything that isn't blurry; next time, professional photographer!

So that's how a faint little sketch becomes a final crocheted project in my little corner of the universe. This was fun. No one ever hears about how the design decisions happen along the way. Only my cats if I happen to be talking aloud. Hmm. Who knew?

Hook On!

Rejection, thy sweet sting.

I'm still feeling my way around the life in artistry and this entails wanting to enter competitions but missing the deadlines due to that old insidious subconscious saboteur "lack of confidence". Usually I just refer to it as sloth. But is it really being lazy if I complete an item and just not mail it in?

"Life Blood" - CALira '08

Well, no more! I finally applied on time to an actual hang-stuff-on-the-wall type competition. An international one to boot - the IX Triennial of Mini-Textiles in Angers, France. Dream big baby.

Good news! I learned how to say "No way, Josephine" in French!

and the fates have chosen to screw with me psychologically:

This is the fortune that was in my cookie/dessert received after the Chinese feast my brother and I had to celebrate my good news from overseas. Ooooo. Irony.

No I'm not some sugar coated optimistic junkie of a Pollyanna, this rejection was good news because it meant that my piece was at least submitted to be reviewed in the jury process. I thought for certain that they would simply chuck my file and send me a "Wrong venue, nimrod!" email of shame.

As you may know, I work fairly exclusively in crochet and both live for and relish the opportunity to cram crochet-as-art down people's throats. Uhh. I mean "to promote crochet as art at every possible opportunity". :-) The call for entries specifically said that the object must be made entirely of thread and be no larger than 4" square. I use crochet thread and work very small. Perfect! Right? I refer you to the photo above of the letter of "get-lost".

Once I got over the initial disappointment, I started to enjoy my attempt at subversion and the acknowledgment-by-review that I choose to see in all this.

First rejection out of the way. So many more to go.

Hook On!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Crocheted Soup Shoe

My 2009 contribution to today's Empty Bowls Houston:

"Let Them Eat Soup" Lira '09

Empty Bowls is a great concept as well as a noble endeavor. A fund-raising event for the Houston Food Bank where participates donate $25 for a meal of bread and soup and a handmade bowl chosen from a pool of donated work from all manner of local craft artists.

"Let Them Eat Soup" with bowl out of cradle

I also like the idea that my particular "empty bowl", as a 3D form created in an open mesh, serves more as reminder of a good deed and worthy cause rather than as functional object. Added bonus is I get another shot at forcing crochet as art down people's throats. Uhm...of course I mean "sowing the seed of crochet as a legitimate art form". ;-]

For photos of different angles see me at flickr

Live long and crochet.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Crochet Space Ship Appliques

Was born the year man walked on the surface of the moon (stop doing the math!) and just have this mad love/tender bemusement thing for spacey things. In particular, space ships with fins, flying saucers with glass bubbles, friendly aliens and the complete disregard for the actual scientific principles of astrophysics found only in 50's scifi "epics". An inverted fishbowl really can let you breathe in space, honest! Especially when it isn't attached to anything other than your head. ; -)

So I designed and crocheted both a saucer and a rocket. Had the idea for quite some time now, made one of the rockets for a fiber book I'm perpetually working on (3 yrs and running - woohoo!):

I've been a little fixated on chatelaines (pincushion/scissor holder combos for the sewing kind) so I thought I'd use the space ships for one of those. The chatelaines aren't really moving at my etsy site (who would have thought that businesses need to advertise?)

I still think the designs are fun and cute and want others to be able to make them too.

(D'Oh! By the way, the pattern is available at ravelry as a pdf dowload. Thanks to Kathy for the heads up.)

So, since I've also been on such an applique kick lately, I thought I'd write up the patterns. I know I've been sharing patterns for free, but they are very time consuming and it would be really helpful if I could generate a little income in these sucky financial times. But then, who wouldn't benefit from a little cash flow these days?

So please understand that I am not the greedy, money-grubbing, opportunist that I may seem to be; just one broke hermana with a hook and a vision: decorate the world the crochet applique way!

Hook On!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Wearing of the Green

Hmm. Now how did that happen? I was minding my own business and just happened to look up from my hook one day and it was suddenly March! WTF?! I had intended to do a "motifs through the ages" thing by posting something for each month of the year. Alas, but time can be a harsh mistress. Fortunately, this particular "mistress of crochet" is quite forgiving - especially when it comes to myself and those imaginary deadlines. :-)

So, March. (Forget February for now - ugly baggage in my attic about Valentine's Day anyway). Soo. Ah, of course - St. Patrick's Day. Now, what to make that isn't too much of a stereotype or worse yet a complete cliche. Something still green and fun. Hmm. Well,(to be perfectly honest)I made this last year but it is simple and the 15th doth approach fairly quickly soooo:

Clover Heart

C.A. Lira 2009

Heart – Green

1) ch2, sc1 in 2nd ch from hook, ch2 turn
2) sc in 1st sc , sc1 in turning ch of prev row, ch2 turn
3) sc in 1st sc, sc1, 2sc in ch, ch2 turn
4) sc in 1st sc, sc3, 2sc in ch, ch2 turn
5) sc in 1st sc, sc 5, 2sc in ch, ch2 turn
6) sc in 1st st, sc7, 2sc in ch, ch2 turn
7) scdec (including 1st sc), sc4, ch2 turn
8) sk 1st sc, scdec, sc1, scdec, ch2 turn
9) scdec (including 1st scdec), scdec (including ch), end off
10) insert thread in 6th sc (center), sc4, 2sc in ch, ch2 turn
11) scdec (including 1st sc), sc2, scdec, ch2 turn
12) sk 1st sc, scdec, scdec (including ch), do not turn
13) sc1 into the side of last scdec and continue left down to tip of heart (9 scs)
14) ch1, sc into the side of the next st continuing up and around (10 scs)
15) sc1 into each of next 3 scs,
16) slst into side of next st, slst into sc beneath center sc, sl st into side of next sc,
17) 2 sc into next ch2, sc2, slst to next st, end off

Wee Clover – darker green
Ch8, slst in 4th chain from hook (hub ch), (ch3, slst into hub ch) 3 times, end off.

Strap - Black
Attach into side of sc at right end of R6, ch11, slst into side of sc at left end / (beginning) of R6, slst11, end off

Buckle – Gold
Attach in 4th sc of R5, ch2, sk2 sc, slst in next sc, (turn 900, slst3) 3 times, end off

Tuck stem of shamrock under ch2 of buckle.

I made a chart but I don't think it's particularly helpful. I'll add it to this post anyway. Uhm. Later today (forgot to change it to a jpeg - dopey me)

So I hope you enjoy.