This past weekend was the fifth annual Knit City yarn festival here in Vancouver. It’s an incredibly fun weekend every year, and people come from far and wide to buy yarn, take classes, and relish in our collective crafty love. I spoke at the kick-off of the very first one, and every year people come up to me and tell me about their crochet adventures. This year included! It’s awesome.
I picked up a couple of skeins of gorgeous SweetGeorgia yarn and a hefty skein of self-striping Caterpillargreen yarn that I’ve already cast on. I caught up with some friends from Toronto I’d love to be able to see more of, and reconnected with local friends I haven’t seen in ages because of the super intense summer and fall I’ve had.
And I took a class.
A full-day class.
On tapestry weaving.
You might recall I’ve dabbled with tapestry weaving before. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing, so I thought a class might help fill in some blanks, and indicate the places where I was totally wrong in the way I assumed it’s supposed to be done.
Janna Maria Vallee taught the class, and I loved every minute of it. We got to take home our looms, and I intend to finish my garish sampler (I obsessed a bit too much about the four colours I’d use, and chose wrong!), and see what mood will strike when it’s time to make another.
Do you weave? What’s your favourite project you’ve made? What’s your favourite resource for learning?
Craftsy classes are just $20 this weekend, which is a pretty incredible deal. Every class involves hours of video instruction, downloads, and teachers who answer your questions. (My crochet classes are included in the sale, of course!)
The sale ends Sunday, so now’s a great chance to stock up for the chilly months!
I had an idea last week when I was writing the Weekly Digest, and the idea was about art journaling. I’ve been wanting to really commit to giving an art journal a shot, and I don’t want to let my cluelessness about how to actually do it get in the way anymore.
I’ve heard from quite a lot of people recently about how they, too, want to give art journaling a try, but also don’t really know how or where to start. So it became really quite obvious to me that we should do this together. And what better way to do something new together than to commit to do it together every day for a month?
Of course right.
I’m starting today, along with several dozen people if the number of clicks from my newsletter is any indication. Want to join in with us? Here’s the gist:
- Every day for a month, spend at least a few minutes art journaling. You get to decide what that means for you – part of the fun in doing this together is that we’ll get to see all the different, hugely varied things people make in their journals!
- Post about it every so often. Tag your social media posts with #dailyartjournal so we can all follow along (and feel free to tag me at @kpwerker!).
- There is no number 3.
If you’d like to get occasional emails over the course of your month with encouragement, tips, and prompts, sign up right here.
I took a one-night pottery workshop a few weeks ago, and left knowing that I wanted – that I needed – to learn more. As it happens, Greg has long wanted to learn how to make pottery, too. So we did what any couple with unusual work schedules would do: we signed up to take an eight-week pottery course on Wednesday mornings.
It seemed like such a good idea at the time! I figured I’d catch up on missed work on Wednesday evenings, no harm no foul.
I have to say, though, that this class has been totally stressing me out.
It’s not that pottery is hard. I mean, pottery is hard. But that’s not what I find stressful. I’m totally comfortable with a steep learning curve, and I enjoy being humbled by my inability to catch on quick.
Part of the stress comes from my lovely situation of having lots of work to do. I’m in the midst of a freelancer’s dream: I have lots of work – not too much – and it’s all enjoyable. And that means taking off every Wednesday morning is not the grand stick-it-to-the-man adventure I’d thought it would be. It’s more of a when will I get all my work done aaaaaaah kind of thing.
And part of the stress comes from my desire to work at my own damn pace, thank you very much. Halfway through the course, more than half of our class is behind. I skipped out on class this morning because I needed to work, and the lesson I missed involved making handles. Only thing is, only one or two people in class actually have mugs made to stick handles to.
If I were to do this properly, in addition to every Wednesday class I’d spend an evening or two every week in the studio practicing. But since Greg and I are both taking the class, and we have a kid with an early bedtime, it means we’d have to manage for each of us to be out for an evening or two each week, and not on the same nights. It makes my head spin. And anyway, I usually want to be in my pajamas within five minutes of my kid’s early bedtime anyway.
It’s more than that, though. This class has reminded me of the way I prefer to learn how to make things. That way being: try, try some more, fail miserably, try some more. At my own pace. I want to get started on something and push the limits of whatever that something is, and only then, once I understand the limits, do I want to learn about the next step to take.
I’m a pain in the ass student is what I’m saying.
And I know it. It’s why I love teaching myself how to do so many things, in the comfort of my own space, without someone else telling me how I should proceed.
I joke that I have an attitude problem, and I’m sure it sometimes seems like I do. But really, I just know how I learn how to make stuff, and I think it’s perfectly reasonable to allow myself to proceed in the way that works best for me.
In an ideal world, I’d have my own personal pottery studio five steps away from my house, and I’d make some magnificent messes in there and learn from all sorts of sources, and mostly play around until I come up against limitations I can’t overcome on my own; then I’d seek out help.
Given that it’s unlikely I’ll have a pottery studio five steps away from my house anytime soon, it’s quite possible I’ll set this pursuit aside till I have a far more flexible schedule. Maybe when I’ve retired.
M.K. asked the Maker Concierge about making postcards, specifically, but this information will help you get started eco-printing on paper of any size (and, in some cases, on fabric). Just apply what you learn to postcard-sized paper (or cut larger paper down to postcard size) to make pieces to send to all your favourite people!
Eco-Printing Tutorials Online
Books & Magazines
Tips & Notes
I’ve read mixed reports on what people think of using watercolour paper for printing, and some people say that any heavier weight paper will work. My impression overall is that there’s quite a lot of trial and error involved. So roll up your sleeves and get ready to experiment. Try cutting down larger pieces of paper to keep your paper costs low.
From what I can tell, the process of eco-printing on paper and on fabric is much the same, with some minor differences in preparation. I see a slippery slope here, is what I’m saying. :)
In the Honolulu, HI Area
I’m not finding anything local that’s specific to eco-printing, but you might check see if The Green House could be a resource.
Back in November, I took a clay workshop and made a mug (which I totally use, much to my continuing satisfaction). A few months later, the same studio held another one-night workshop, this time including some wheel time. Wheel time! OMG.
So I made that lopsided bowl at the top of these photos, using a potter’s wheel for the first time since I was a kid at summer camp. And since there were only two wheels but about ten people in the class, during my non-wheel time I made the other two bowls. The ring bowl now sits on the ledge above my bathroom sink, where I use it every day.
When I got home after the workshop, I told my husband I’d woken the pottery beast that had been lying dormant in my brain for many, many years. I was ready to go deep. I was ready for a proper, weekly workshop.
Then he surprised me by saying he’s always had a fantasy about pottery, too. I’d had no idea!
Which is how it came to be that next week we’re starting a pottery workshop together.
No, of course we haven’t been dreaming aloud about converting our garage into a pottery studio. That would be insane.