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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pink, Orange, and Color Theory

I've been thinking a lot about colors and color theory lately because a few weeks ago, there was a great article in the Washington Post's Local Living section (here) about the pink-orange combo, which you know I just love.  And I've been seeing a lot of pink in stores lately (actually scored a lovely dusty pink jacket for the spring/summer). Having just received the shipment of Petunia's wool, this year I'm really toying with the idea of dying some of it (even though its natural color is so beautiful).

I also came across a wonderful blog post about color theory by Tanis Gray on TanisKnits.  I really appreciated her first bit of advice to BE BRAVE in your color combinations while knitting (or crocheting of course).  It's frustrating, though, when you find colors you like and, when you go to buy more, you discover that they are discontinued because they are not "in."

For example, Pantone has decreed that Marsala is the color for 2015.  While I think it's a beautiful color, I lean more toward the "cool" colors, like a burgundy that has a bluish undertone (rather than the warmer colors with yellowish undertones).  Remember when discovering "your colors" was all the rage and whether you were a "winter" or a "summer" resulted in banishing certain colors from your wardrobe and makeup palette forever?!  I guess there's a part of me that still clings on to the concept :-)

I've also discovered that Dragonfly Fibers is actually just up the road from me!  Great article about the owner in a recent Washington Post article:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/inside-the-workshop-with-yarn-dyer-kate-chiocchio/2015/05/01/9a3aaf44-ed09-11e4-a55f-38924fca94f9_story.html

And you know how much I love the colors and yarns offered by Wandering Wool.  Mmmm, I think an internship in dying is in my future!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 2015

I have finally gotten to go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival!!  Every year it seemed there was some reason why I couldn't go, but this year was perfect.  The weather was beautiful, and a friend's husband volunteered to drive us there.  We went early on Sunday morning, so it took us only about an hour to get there.  I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, but if you've ever been to an outdoor crafts festival, it's pretty much the same but with mainly yarn and live animals.  Oh, and food, lots ... of... FOOD.  Mainly of the lamb variety, which still bothers me a bit considering, but I got over it enough when I came across a lamb sausage wrapped in puff pastry and Moroccan mint tea :-)

Along the path to the fairgrounds (it was held at the Howard Co. fairgrounds), a local group did a wonderful yarn bombing.



Then, how could I not visit with the sheep!

video

And these sheep were pretty awesome too by local artist Liz Printz (check out her page here for other examples of her beautiful work!)

(photo with permission from Ms. Printz)

Yarn, yarn everywhere.  These hanks by Sea Colors were tantalizing!


Even took home a little sheep of my own :-)  The Bees Folks had yummy honey, hand lotion, and these little candle gems



 
Hope to make it back next year!





Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Crochet, Coral Reefs, and TED

Watching 60 Minutes tonight and the segment on TED Talks reminded me of one of the first TED Talks I saw back in 2009 -- "The Beautiful Math of Coral" by Margaret Wertheim.  She's the science writer who, along with her sister Christine, founded the Institute for Figuring (the IFF), an organization dedicated to the aesthetic appreciation of science, mathematics, and engineering.  She's the one who started the crocheted coral reef project to draw attention to the dangers facing coral reefs around the world as well as the ability of only crochet to model hyperbolic planes and space (though I think now with 3D imaging on computers, that might not be a wholly true statement anymore).  And exactly what is a hyperbolic space?  Think lettuce and kelp -- they are natural examples of hyperbolic geometry - which is also found in the anatomical frills of sea slugs, flatworms and other underwater life found in coral reefs.  And what's really cool is that it was Dr. Daina Taimina, a mathematician, who discovered in 1997 how to make physical models of hyperbolic space using crochet; previously, many mathematicians did not believe it was possible for humans to construct such forms in the physical world. Sadly I missed the opportunity to help create the crochet reef that was on exhibit at the Smithsonian in 2010-2011, but you can see some photos from my 2011 blog post about the exhibit and a list of the contributors to the exhibit here.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Facebook Visit

So I'm still struggling to figure out how to utilize Facebook as a platform on which we can communicate. I enjoy spending time on Facebook as an individual, seeing what others are posting and sharing the patterns and posts that I think my friends will like. But on the ManyCreativeGifts page (www.facebook.com/ManyCreativeGifts), I usually try to remember to update when I've done a new blog post or received word about my beloved Petunia but haven't really figured out how to make that page a place worth visiting!  So I'm asking you to help me :-). Please visit my Facebook page and respond to my post requesting comments on what YOU want to see on the page. All commenters will receive a special thank you, which should be ready in the next day or two. THANK YOU!!

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Special Anniversary Discount

As I promised, we're going to be doing a little celebrating for the rest of April, and the first special involves 50% off in my Ravelry store (http://www.ravelry.com/stores/phyllis-serbes-designs---many-creative-gifts).  Just use the coupon code "HappyAnniversary" between now and 11:59 PM EDT on April 19th.  There's no minimum purchase required, so I hope you'll give one of my patterns a try :-)

Visit our Facebook page next Tuesday for the next little surprise!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Crochet is NOT Yoga!

Now, don't get me wrong, I love both, but I'm a bit miffed with all the "hey, we've discovered crochet" articles lately!  There was an article just the other day in the Washington Post Express magazine here.  Now, again, it's awesome that crochet groups and guilds (I'm a proud member of CGOA and Crochetville!) are popping up everywhere and that people are drawn to trying crochet and utilizing it in all sorts of different ways.  But, for those of us who've been doing it for a loooooong time, we know the mental and physical benefits of crochet, and yours truly here has been talking about them for 10 years now.  In fact, I'm realizing we just passed Many Creative Gifts' 10th Year Anniversary on April 5th.  Wow, well, stay tuned for some special celebrations throughout this month ;-)

But, I digress.  My main point is that we Americans seem to need to take ancient practices (yoga has been around for millenniums, and crochet is centuries old) and make them new and trendy.  And then we tire of them and have to find the next big thing.  Well, I know my dear readers, both new to crochet and old hats at it, appreciate the virtues of crochet and are not approaching it as a passing fad.  Each crocheter has her or his reason(s) for taking up the craft:  for relaxation, to do something tangible and useful with your hands, to give or donate special mementos, and on and on...  Whether you crochet by yourself for yourself or in a large group for charitable reasons or a bit of both, crochet means whatever it means to you, and as long as it remains meaningful to you in whatever way, please continue to embrace it no matter whether it's the latest trend.

Ok, off my soap box and onto the celebration!  For the month of April, I'll be having some really great specials in my Ravelry store and through this blog, so come back on Friday and see what's here!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Baby Hat Obsession

A number of my friends are having babies!  And boys, so I've been trying to find out-of-the ordinary ways to make some boy baby gifts.  I came across these two knit baby hat patterns that I just love:  Tegan by Julie Taylor and a scalloped hat from Marie Carlander's blog (don't worry, keep scrolling down her site for the English version).  I loved them so much, I really became obsessed with knitting them.  Plus, as beautiful as a crocheted baby hat is, it just won't have the same stretchiness that a knit one does. 

Now, mind you, I can do simple knitting, but using DPNs (double point needles) and a circular needle are quite new to me.  Joelle from Wandering Wool helped me pick out the right needles from Chia Goo (affiliate link below), and I like them a lot.  I've been using Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash because it's machine washable and can be tumble dried and it's just soft and great to work with. 

But, really, whether it's crochet or knitting, it's all about repetition and practicing.  Now that I'm on my fourth hat, it's feeling quite good. 




I think the skull pattern turned out pretty good too since it was my first try at using two colors and making an image in the knitting.  The dad-to-be is the sweetest guy but has lots of tattoos, etc., so I knew I had to come up with an edgy baby hat :-).  More pix to come!