Posted in painting

Creative Practice Guiding Principles

One: Honor and appreciate this moment in time, and your tools and materials

Working within your budget, acquire the best tools and materials that you can afford. This means cotton paper, a well made paintbrush and a set of paints in colors that you love.

Two: Show up every day

Art making can become an integral part of your life. Commit to at least fifteen minutes to paint, at a time and in a space where you can be free of distractions.

Three: Set an intention and take inspiration from a place of beauty: poetry, art, music, literature, nature, beautiful objects.

Four: Share your joy. Your daily exercises will be painted on small sheets of paper. Make multiples each day. Give some away to those you love.

These three exercises focus on broad brush strokes, mixing and mingling the paint on the paper, and watching how the colors resolve.

Guiding principles quoted from “Watercolor is for Everyone, by Kateri Ewing.

Home | Kateri Ewing

Posted in colorwork, knitting

Cast on Monday – Deep Stash

With the success of the rose window hat…..

……using this Tunis breed hand painted yarn, I am now keen to make matching gloves. The bright green sock yarn that I paired it with for the hat is almost gone. So I will need another coordinating yarn if I want to add colorwork to the gloves.

After a lengthy rummage to the back of my yarn closet, I came up with some two-ply wool in a pleasing shade of teal. This yarn is Palette, from Knitpicks. Almost a full skein, it has been languishing in the back of the stash for at least seven years. How fortunate that the color goes so well with the multi-hued Tunis.

You see that a cuff is underway. I made an I-cord about 7 inches long, joined its ends and picked up stitches all along. The 2 x 2 rib will give enough stretch. Now I must decide on the stitch pattern for the palm.

I plan to use a basic glove pattern similar to this one.

Instead of regular stripes, I will go with a mosaic, or slip stitch, pattern. I have a hankering to try this one, designed by Naomi at String Geekery. It is called Sea.

I like the vertical element and think it will work well in a glove.

Hm, best make a swatch first. See you later,

Laura Kate

Posted in painting

Study in Nature: Bluebird and Cherry Blossoms

Today I spent a leisurely afternoon following a tutorial by Kateri Ewing painting this bird. This little bluebird of happiness lived up to his reputation – he brought me happiness in the form of satisfaction with my efforts. I am happy with every detail of my work, except the cluster of blossoms in front of the bird’s left foot. That seems to be a hot mess.

On a more positive note, I highly recommend Kateri’s tutorials. She has a gentle, but enthusiastic teaching style and clearly loves water color painting. You can find the links to her classes here:


My local library has just acquired her new book, “Watercolor is for Everyone.” I managed to be the first person to check it out. The book is in the how-to genre, specifically, how to develop a daily creative practice. I know there are a ton of this type of book on the market. But this one seemed right for me. I was in immediate need of emotional support for my creative efforts.

Kateri’s book guides the reader through a 21 day program of making intuitive, process-based art. There are no reference images, and very few technical instructions. The most important instruction she gives is that you give up on your expectation for results. Just show up everyday and paint for 15 minutes, minimum, drawing on your feelings and your imagination.

The process is definitely calming and even meditative.

Over the next few posts I will share some of my results from these lessons.

Posted in colorwork, knitting

Another F.O. Friday

Well, it started out as a bad knitting week. The hat that I cast on the prior week was progressing. But it seemed to be pretty small for an adult hat. After I knit a few inches of the 1 x 1 ribbing, I took a quick measurement. My measurement suggested that it was indeed too small. So I started again, but knit the next larger size. In the bigger size, the ribbing took forever to knit. I rejoiced when I got to the crown. The colorwork was quite fun and I worked quickly to the bind off.

Immediately after I took it off the needle I knew I was in trouble. It was so big! There’s no way that this hat would stay put on my head. Even after washing and drying (I tossed it in a warm dryer to try to shrink it a little,) it was huge.

There ensued a few days of low spirits. (The news cycle, of course, made me feel even worse.) Eventually I stopped moping and tried to solve my problem. My first thought was to cut off the ribbing, pick up the stitches, knitting several together, and work down to the edge. But then I decided to fold the brim in half, folding to the inside and whip stitch it in place. That’s a little better. What if I added a hat band with less stretch in a slightly smaller diameter………..

I found a coordinating color yarn in my stash and cut six lengths. These were crocheted into a chain about 21 inches long. Stretching the chain slightly, I sewed it around the upper part of the ribbing, where a hat band is generally located.

Bingo! Problem solved.

And I have enough variegated yarn left to knit a pair of gloves.

Posted in painting

Red Doors

Last week I took my camera along during a walk through the neighborhood. My goal was to capture images of the trees dressed up in their autumn splendor. I didn’t do well. Every time I framed up a nice shot, the sun went behind a cloud. So the photos did not come out as wished. I did get a nice shot or two of this front porch scene.

I was drawn to the red door, accented quite smartly by two red chairs. Today I got out my water colors and painted this interpretation in my sketchbook.

It allowed me to practice painting shadows. But it was a poor consolation prize compared to fiery leaves of autumn.

Posted in quilting

Final Steps on Duckweed Sample

Today I finished up my practice sample for the Duckweed fiber object. This involved making the quilt sandwich and quilting.

I started with the walking foot and black thread. The stitching included wavy lines over the foreground and sewing around the duck. Next I switched to white thread and the free motion foot for creating the ripples around the base of the duck and outlining the duck’s wing feathers. I continued on my making white ripples to match the black ones in the foreground. To finish up, I used yellow-green thread to quilt the background.

As I worked, I began to like it more and more.

For the purpose of comparison, here is the inspiration photo.

And here is a close-up of my duck.

Making this piece was really good practice. I might do some things a little bit differently when I begin work on the main piece. I’ll give this project a few days rest and come back to it with fresh eyes.

Posted in collage, quilting

My Current Art Quilt Project

For the past couple of weeks I have been working on a new project. It’s inspired by this photo, which I captured in September at a nature reserve in Madison WI.

Mallards at Cherokee Marsh

I didn’t have any big expectations for this quick snap of a group of mallard ducks. But when I looked at it on my computer, I was captivated by the foreground – a mish-mash of colorful and spotted reflections. How might I create this look in fabric?

For this project I chose to use ring-necked ducks instead of mallards.

Male Ring-necked Ducks.

I love the black and white coloration and the crispness of its markings. Since this species of duck is also native to Wisconsin, I decided that it was a fair exchange.

For the background, I selected some commercially printed and hand-painted fabric. these were sewn together in strips. Next I pieced together the first three ducks.

Eventually details will be painted on the ducks with fabric paint.

I took a pause for a few days. I want to use the confetti technique to render the mottled foreground. But this is a very new technique to me. So it makes sense to practice first.

I put together an extra duck so I could practice painting his reflection.

I like the pose of this one.

The next step? Go to U-tube to watch some instructional videos on the confetti technique. I had done this already, but the second viewing helped me work up my confident. With the prepared fabric in hand, I applied fusible webbing to the backs and cut them up into pieces. For the next hour or so, I fiddled around with layout.

Practice block with reflection and confetti foreground.

Did I mention that the title of this work is “Duckweed?” I guess I forgot to say. When I was at the marsh, it was the duckweed that really caught my attention. It was growing about the pond profusely in an intensive shade of green. This is what I am attempting to depict with my confetti pieces.

I next fused the duck in place and stitched a piece of tulle over the whole sample. The purpose of the tulle is to make the quilting easier. Here is where I left off today:

I’m fairly happy with my work. But I want to try rendering the reflection in the confetti technique instead of paint. I also want to work on the shapes of the confetti pieces.

Posted in knitting

Here I go again: Cast on Monday

I am in need of easy knitting – especially for evening TV watching. Here is my latest cast-on.

The multi-color yarn was purchased at the Madison Northside Farmer’s Market. It is made from Tunis wool, spun and hand-dyed by the lady who raises the sheep. The light green is a Cloud-born fingering weight. (Former Craftsy yarn line.)

I chose a pattern called Rose Window

Screen Shot

This pattern is available for free on Ravelry.

This looks like a fun, quick and easy knit. Maybe sooner or later the weather will cool down enough to justify the wearing of a wool hat.

Posted in painting

Trying again Watercolor Canvas

On Thursday I wrote about a product called watercolor canvas. My experiment was to see how well watercolor paint could be used on this surface.

I concluded that the results were less than stellar.

Today I am doing a side by side comparison using watercolor paint and fabric paint. My reference photo is an albatross.

I chose this because of the water background and because it would be quick to paint.

First I gave the sheet a good soaking in warm water, laid it on a waterproof board and squeegeed the excess water out. I was trying to break or reduce the amount of primer/sizing on the canvas. After it dried overnight, I cut it in half and started painting.

Colors used were cobalt blue, turquoise, paynes grey and burnt sienna. There seemed to be no difference in this result versus my first attempt. It was clear to me that the canvas had been primed with paint – probably acrylic.

Next came the textile paint. This paint is acrylic so I had high hopes. As I normally do when painting on fabric, I mixed the paint with a floating medium to thin it.

Colors were sapphire blue, turquoise, burnt sienna, gray and white. The experience of pushing the paint/medium combination around on the canvas was not pleasant. It had the consistency of snot and clumped up quite a bit. I will admit that it dried just fine and did hold some of my paint strokes pretty well.

The conclusion is that neither media gave a good result.

So I will probably abandon the canvas pad for purposes of fiber arts. Maybe some of my art association friends who work in regular acrylic paint would like to try it.

Posted in knitting

First Friday, Finished Object

If my feet look relaxed in the photo, it’s because these socks were a delight to knit.

The long sections of leg and foot never got boring. How could they, with the ever-changing panorama of colors unfolding. The yarn was excellent – no splitting, no knots. This is one of the yarns I purchased at North Wind shop in Spooner, WI.

It was the ball on the left, Berroco Sox – a nice blend of wool and nylon.

I chose to knit a 3 by 1 rib pattern again. This time I continued with the rib after I finished the heel shaping. It circles the foot, which makes the socks hug it nicely. For the shaping, I used Hermione’s Everyday Sock pattern, available on Ravelry.