May 30, 2012

African Stripes String-Along

African Stripes will begin July 1st.  What will your first necklace color combination be?

Eight years ago I did a Tribal Stripes necklace when I was exploring patterns that run parallel to a bead crochet rope.  I've wanted to do a more in depth exploration of that theme for some time. I also wanted to give it a more contemporary look but still maintain an ethnic African feel.

 This String-Along will be two 50" seamless necklaces, each done in 5 to six sections over an 8 to 10 week time frame.  The String-Along participants will receive one (or even two) sections a week via email.  All will be asked to join a Facebook Group and share their inspirations, colors, and rope progress as well as comment, share and join in the Group progress.

That said, there really isn't any pressure to keep up or even finish the project.  It's your work and your decision on how you approach it.

The first necklace will be a mud cloth design in only two colors.  The second will be multicolored, drawn from African beadwork.

If you are a member of Pinterest, you can see some inspirational ideas on two boards.  Mine is here....  and another is here...
Otherwise, a Google search of images will give you something to work with.

Just be aware that I have only a vague idea of what the finished pieces will look like.  This is called a String-Along as I'll be designing a section, stringing it and crocheting  it.  We'll all find out together how the necklaces look as the weeks go along.  It's a string-along as you'll be stringing your sections right along with me.  There could well be an oops or two, but I'll try to see that they aren't big ones.

Native Stripes - Bragging rights

This example of Native Stripes personifies the "make it your own" principal that I tell everyone who uses my patterns.  This is such a bold graphic interpretation of the pattern set, yet still has the look and feel of the original Native Stripes necklace.

Bettina Mertz of Austria says, "Here is my way to crochet Native Stripes: I changed all patterns in black and white and did the bead soup in stripes of two colors, every block in a different combination." She also notes that she always has to make earrings to go with her necklaces.

May 25, 2012

Trip East May 2012

 When we left Arizona, the cactus were in full bloom and it was already heading towards 100 degrees.
 The beads got packed into their canvas bags, then into the trailer.  Close up the house and hit the road.  It seems to take longer each year when I keep thinking it should all be a quick system after 11 years of doing this.

Last year the little teardrop trailer got severely crunched, not once but twice and had to be replaced.  This trip a quick inspection showed that the accident had also crunched the car's hitch which meant a trip to an iron mongers for a whole new, custom made/installed hitch.  At least I got some crocheting done while sitting and waiting for the work to be finished up.  The car got more of a housecleaning than the house did before we shut down.

We were lucky to have quite beautiful weather the whole trip.  My skin said, "thank you" as we drove into Kansas, green growing things, and some humidity.  A winter in Arizona leaves me a flaky, dried out 'ol crone.  

Dodge City.... I remember reading Louis L'Amour cowboy books with my son when he was in middle school. It was fun to be able to drive through the center of Dodge City and imagine what it was like as a wide open frontier town when the Earp brothers were there.  Sort of a reverse trip as the Earps went from there to Tombstone, where I spend the winter.

I had to laugh as we followed the sign to a Scenic Overlook just outside of Dodge City.  Where else would a feed lot and beef packing plant be considered scenic.

 For once my daughter was not running off to some design show in May and we got to visit for a bit in Chicago.  This is one of the "Corncob" buildings, right downtown Chicago.  Count up 53 floors and that is where her apartment is.  It's pure 1960's inside, metal cabinets and all.  However, she did mention that living in pie slice wedges has gotten rather tiresome.  All of the apartments are triangular wedges.
 Each of those ellipses is a balcony.  If you have enough nerve to walk out and look over the railing, this is what you would see - the Chicago River.  It was rather fun to watch the series of bridges go up to let the sailboats through.  From that high up they looked like a hoard of insects moving up the river as each bridge opened.

We took a few extra days to unwind and visit the  farming family in central Illinois.  All of the planting was done for the year, as early as anyone can remember. All the away across country we kept hearing that things were 2 to 3 weeks warmer/earlier than normal.  April was the 5th warmest on record!  I love the patterns that the emerging corn makes in the fields. OOPS, the farmer in the house corrected me - it's soybeans not corn growing in that field.... tecknicalities!

Farm equipment get bigger and bigger.  Couldn't tell you what this was, but it sure was bright blue and the tool box had wrenches that were almost as long as I am tall!

I think the old wooded corn cribs are beautiful.  It's sad to know that this one is slated to be demolished.  Any one in the market for beautiful weathered barn boards... lots of them.  It was like walking into a time warp.  Inside was a huge floor scale and the central belt driven grain elevator.  Walk next door and the more modern shed was filled with 1950's & 60's tools, supplies and equipment.  Other than dusty, it looked like the farmer had just walked away
By the time we arrived in New Hampshire the yard was a total disgrace to the neighborhood. It looked more like a hay field than a lawn.  Most of the spring blooms had already passed and seed pods are all that's left.

The house is now opened up, pantry stocked, beads are put away and the lawn is partially hacked back.  Now I need to get out and deal with bushes and beach roses that need to be cut back as well as apply a liberal amount of vinegar to weeds that are growing in the drive and other places that they shouldn't.

Some of the unpacked piles on the floor will have to wait a bit to be put away as other needed errands and outside chores get done first. At least the mice didn't nest in the bed this year and it's always good to be able to sleep in a familiar bed after a diet of strange motels.

May 5, 2012

Heading East for the Summer

The beads are packed, the studio has all clean horizontal surfaces and it's time to shut up the Arizona house and head east for the summer.  We should be in New Hampshire around the 20th of May.

See you on the other side.... of the country....

I was in Tucson yesterday, celebrating birthdays with my two sisters.  For the first time I got to see the Saguaros blooming.  They are quite early this year and a beautiful sight.