Progress - Tales of Painting and Teaching

I spent all of this last Thursday working on artwork, and here is one of the paintings I'm working on. I had these long canvases that my good friend Tom had given me when he graduated, and they had sat unused in the corner of my studio until now. I have six of these, and I'm working on a piece that I want to run the length of a wall. I was getting a little crazy from too many tiny paintings. Anyways, this is just the start of the first one.
I started to draw the lace just from looking at it, but I ended up having to take a picture of it to see the details for my drawing. I still had a hard time, I kept losing my place while trying to draw. Other than that, I am really having fun with this painting. The lace is the same lace from the last post -- the stuff at the very top center of the photograph.
Teaching has also been going swimmingly this semester. I really love life drawing. There is nothing like drawing from a live model. It is challenging and exciting every day. I loved taking figure drawing in undergrad, it helped SO much with my drawing skills.
Anyways I wanted to share some of my student's drawings with you:
For most of my students, it is their first life drawing class. They are all making great progress, and I'd like to think they are all enjoying themselves - haha.
If you would like to see more of what my class is up to, check out our Class Blog. I'm really loving using a blog for the class instead of handing out a bunch of forms and assignments. It keeps everything very organized and easy to reach. I'm hoping to put together a presentation for CAA next year that focuses on using blogging in the classroom, so the class blog has been a good test run for doing just that.

More Coals on the Fire

I found this little bag of vintage lace at the thrift store last week, and it is for sure going to be integrated into some of what I am doing in my studio. I can't wait. A lot of it is yellowed from the sun, but for me, it just makes it even prettier. I think I am going to tack some on to the top of one of my pairs of boots, or maybe on the pockets of one of my coats. All of this wonderful lace for $1!
I'm also chugging away on my Francis sweater. It helps that it is all plain knit stitch, it is excellent for mindless knitting. I love the color of this yarn too. It is a light mossy green (cascade 220) and it is the same color of a sweater of mine that I had for years. The sweater eventually got shrunk in the dryer, so this is its 'replacement' of sorts. It will have a cowl neck and 3/4 length sleeves when I am finished.
I am looking forward to this weekend. I am thinking of going into the city or going to Milwaukee. Either way, it will be better than sitting on my bum doing schoolwork. I am also in better spirits because I think I have finally kicked this cold I've had for a few weeks. Now I've just got to catch up on my paintings. :)

Simplifying, One Small Step at a Time

My apartment is starting to feel a little too unorganized, so I've been starting to try and tackle one small cleaning related task every day. I started yesterday with our cupboards. They were in a sad state of disorganization, so now everything has a place. I also cleaned out a bunch of random glasses and dishes that we were not using.
I also needed to make some space for my lovely gray Ikea dishes. They are so simple and classy at the same time. I don't know why I've waited so long to get a matching set of dishes. It gave me the opportunity to clear out all of our random dishes.I've also been trying to eat more fresh/natural foods again. We have been so hopelessly busy this semester that cooking has gone to the wayside. We are trying to make at least two dinners each week, and then we streeetccch out the leftovers for the next few days. Lunch today was leftover chicken breast on spinach with asian sesame dressing. Yum.
I can't wait for spring. I am getting so antsy for the weather to warm up. I really want to start my garden again. I am sure it will be much better this year, and I can't wait to be sitting out in the hot hot sun. :)

Inside-Out Cowl -- New Pattern!

Check out the new pattern in my Etsy Shop!

This lovely cowl is knit in the round, and is completely reversible. One side has ridges (as shown in the pictures) and the other side is less textural and features large ridges of purl stitch. It is bulky but not too bulky, and I designed it this way so that it could easily fit underneath a coat. It also looks great worn inside over a sweater. You have the option of making this cowl in two lengths. All of the photos show the cowl in the longer length. Lastly, I chose a machine washable acrylic/wool blend yarn that is very affordable for this project.

Catching Up

Can you believe this kitten? I was doing some homework today, and she just climbed into that basket and sat in there for about 3 hours. I'm home sick today, so I'm using it as an opportunity to catch up on some homework and things that have been piling up. I've also been editing some pictures that I had sitting on my camera, and editing pictures for my class' blog.
Last week Nate took me out for dinner the night before valentines day. We went the night before because neither of us enjoy really crowded places. I'm a lucky girl eh?We went to a really great Italian restaurant in town. Our food was really great, as was the wine. It even started to snow a little bit outside, so it made for a really beautiful winter night. Nate had some pasta with sirloin steak. and I had linguine with scallops, mussels, and shrimp in a spicy red sauce. In this pic it is buried under a pile of parmesan. We had to explain to our waitress we were from Wisconsin, so excessive cheese is the norm for us. :)It was a nice way to escape a little bit from the daily grind. If I am feeling better by next weekend, I am planning a trip into Milwaukee to visit my sister/ force her to do my taxes for me. I am lucky to have an accountant as a sister. :)

Handspun Notebook Paper Project

This semester has gotten off to a somewhat slow start for me regarding my studio work, but I am finally getting into my groove. I am starting a new project that involves spinning notebook paper that I've written on into yarn. It is in its infancy as of now, but I am making progress. Each page takes about 40 minutes to write on, cut, and then spin into yarn.

It is kind of tricky to spin at first, but I am getting the hang of it. It is surprisingly sturdy once it is spun up. I'll be posting more about this project as it goes on.
In other news, I've been fighting this cold and I can't shake it. Any suggestions on ways to battle this cold would be greatly appreciated. :)

Cassiemarie's Crocheted Soap Saver - Free Pattern

About this pattern:
This soap saver is perfect for holding bar soap, recycling small soap pieces, and for using up leftover yarn scraps. It will save you a little money as well. It is crocheted in the round from the top down. The drawstring is crocheted separately, and then woven through the holes in the top of the pouch. You can use the drawstring to hang the soap saver in your bathroom.

Materials:
- Size H Crochet Hook (Go up to a J Hook if you Crochet Tightly)
- About 35 Yards of Worsted Weight Yarn

Instructions:

CH- Chain
SL- Slip Stitch
SC- Single Crochet

1. CH 24, SL to join into a ring.
2. SC 2 rounds.
3. (SC 2, CH 2, SK 2 ST) Repeat 5 more times. This row forms the spaces that you will weave the drawstring through. (1 round)
4. (SC 1, SC 3 in the space left by the CH 2 in the previous row) Repeat 5 times. (1 round)
5. SC into the back loop of each stitch for 10 rounds. This creates a very elastic fabric that will stretch to fit most normal sized soaps.
6. To close the bottom of the bag, lay the bag flat and SC through both sides of the bag. Pull the yarn through the last stitch to create a knot and weave in the ends.
7. To create the drawstring, CH until you have a length of about 12 inches. Pull end of yarn through the last stitch to make a knot. This is your drawstring. Weave it through the spaces created by the chain stitches in the 3rd step. Tie a knot at the end to form a loop, insert your soap or soap pieces, and tie another knot to secure it.
Use of Pattern:
If you would like to post about this pattern on your website or blog, please include a link to this entry. Copyright 2008 Cassie Edwards - All Rights Reserved. You may use this pattern to crochet items for personal use or charity. You may not sell the pattern itself, or items made using pattern under any circumstances, neither individually nor in any compilation of patterns. You may not copy this pattern and post it elsewhere, not on a web page, nor message board, nor via e-mail, nor via any other electronic means. If you make modifications to the pattern, please only post the modifications you made, not the entire modified pattern. Thanks! :)

My Neck Will Never Be Cold Again - Noro Striped Scarf and the Gathered Scarf

So, I may have cheated a little bit. I took the pictures for these last weekend, but didn't get around to posting them due to having to read a 80 page essay on dialogical aesthetics. It hurt my brain.
I was on a scarf kick for a while because I only get to work on knitting while doing something else at the same time, and they are both easy patterns. The first is the 'Noro Striped Scarf,' but instead of using Noro, I used bulky weight Tweedle Dee yarn and size 15 ( I think) knitting needles.
I really love how soft and warm it turned out. It is knit in 1x1 rib stitch, so it turns out pretty dense, and is completely reversible. Definitely a winner.This second project is a total cheat as well. I have had this finished for about two months, and just now got around posting pics of it. It is the 'Gathered Scarf' and it is knit with Cotton Fine. I wear this all of the time, and should really knit one in another color so I can mix it up a little bit.
The biggest perk to this scarf is that it washes really well. I just toss it in the machine to wash and dry, and it comes out perfectly. Another win!

FO: Yellow/Green Chunky Cowl

This took me about one evening to knit, and then I let it sit for about four weeks without weaving in the ends. But, last week I bought a new jacket thanks to the super clearance sales going on everywhere, and I needed a new accessory to match it, so I finally finished my cowl.
I love how it turned out! It stands up well, it is reversible, and is snug enough around my neck that it isn't bulky under my coat.
And, it is washable. A big plus when it is going to be worn almost every day in the winter. :)Hopefully, I will get my butt in gear and write up a pattern soon! I have a bunch of patterns halfway written up, I just need to photograph them, proof them, and get them up on my Etsy site. :)

ETA:
I've now got the pattern finished!!
Check it out at my Etsy Shop!
www.cassiemarie.etsy.com

Visiting Artist Yvette Kaiser - Smith, and Crocheting Fiberglass

This week Yvette Kaiser Smith was at our university as a visiting artist. Her work was part of the show, Crossing Threads, Crossing Boundaries. Here is one of her pieces, it is crocheted fiberglass roving that is dipped into tinted resin.
Along with attending her artist's talk, I also got the opportunity to go to a workshop in which we got to make a fiberglass and resin sculpture of our own. Here is Yvette explaining the process of determining what kind of resin to use.
These are some of the samples she brought for us to see, and color cards for mixing up the resin.
This is Yvette explaining some of her techniques for 'posing' the sculptures she makes while they dry.
And lastly here I am posing in front of Yvette's pieces in the show. I got yelled at by a gallery guard soon after this shot for touching one of the pieces, right after Yvette herself told me to touch them. It was quite funny.