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Landscapes and Knitting

Landscapes and Knitting

Ruth did a post a few days ago about a landscape tutorial on the Start2 website. I hadn’t come across that tutorial before and thought Ruth’s paintings were brilliant, so having been stuck in a recliner for a week and half with flu, I was itching to do something creative so gave it a go. I had some thick but cheap sketchbook paper and also a variety of printer paper samples to try it on. This first one is the sketchbook paper:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this is the textured printer paper sample:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey need flattening and cropping. I was disappointed they weren’t as nice as Ruth’s, but if I’d seen them before Ruth’s I’m sure I’d have been more impressed 🙂 I wish I had the artistic skills to add to them to improve them. I’m at least going to look for a white gel pen.

Start2 is the online resource for Start, an arts for good health centre. I did a couple of courses there in the last few months, and just a few weeks ago started going to a knitting group there too. I’d only really done knit stitch until I started going, apart from one row of purl I’d tried and wasn’t sure I’d done right. We had a pattern for making a small camera or phone pouch, but of course I had the wrong sized needles and yarn, so I’m making mine a bit bigger. I started with knit stitch then tried alternating knit and purl rows. I’d only done a few when I got confused doing purl and was wrapping the yarn around the wrong way so went back to knit then tried again. Once I got more confident on week 2, I added in another colour, well 2 really because I had blue aran yarn and had to double up some 4 ply.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere’s a speckled beige colour which reminds me of Hob-Nob biscuits and a bluey grey, I think they work well together:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeing ill was a good time to practise my knitting. I thought I’d make a knitting needle holder. I used white aran and doubled up some blue 4 ply:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt wants to curl up so I pinned it down. I like this angle:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI even made holes for a drawstring:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m not sure what I’ll do for the bottom, I did try to make a square, but it didn’t seem right so I’ll wait till the next knitting group to decide. And I still haven’t learned to sew seams, so that’s next on the list 🙂

Creative Well-Being Site

Creative Well-Being Site

If you look at the forum, you’ll have seen my thread talking about an online Creative Well-Being site called Start2. It’s an online resource which has lots of exercises and activities designed to enhance your well being and improve your health and life. They can explain it better than me, so if you want to learn more, there’s a short video here:

You don’t have to register with the site, you can access it all without that, but registering gives you the advantage of uploading your work, saving your favourite activities and downloading exercises. You can keep all your work private or share it in the various galleries. The site has lots of categories with activities focusing on things like stress-busting and brain boosting, but you can also ‘search by subject‘ to find an activity for the creative mood you’re in.

One of the activities I started recently is the ‘Stitch Memory Journal‘. There are 3 exercises, each one a little more ‘advanced’ than the next, in a very simple way. You don’t need lots of supplies, just some scraps of fabric or felt, and some embroidery threads. Each exercise guides you through the activity with really clear explanations. What I found really interesting about these activities is that they get you to think the opposite to how you usually would, and really get your observational skills working.
The first one I did was a teasel. It sort of fits somewhere between Exercise 1 and 2 because I only used one stitch, but I also used a few small pieces of organza for the background and though you can’t see it, a small piece of brown felt for the centre of the teasel.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe second piece I did is probably my favourite, because it looks like what it’s meant to be, but was very simple to do. It’s my representation of Silver Birch:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I was going through the park taking photos for this activity, I hadn’t realised just how much it would really get me thinking. Instead of focusing on cramming in lots of detail, it gets you to think how you can simplify something. One of my favourite plants there is this ivy bush:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used a nuno felt sample offcut for the background, then cut lots of discs from some green patterned fabric and various greeny shades of organza, then overlapped to build up the picture:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI started planning my next piece. It’s only at the early stages of trying to get myself to not overthink it! There’s quite a bit of bright red dogwood (Cornus) in the park which I thought would make a good stitched piece. I played around with some photos in Photoshop. I used the Median filter to get some very simple areas of basic background colours:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd I used the Cut-Out filter to simplify the details to give me some ideas for stitches to use. This is one of them, but it needs a bit more thought til I can start:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf, like me, you spend more time trawling through the site than finding an activity 🙂 they have a facebook page where they give suggested activities:

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