Copper Goodies for Art Walk

If you are going to the Surreal Expressions Opening at the SOAP Gallery on Champion Street in downtown Youngstown tomorrow night, be sure to stop by my table to see my latest creations: Copper Goodies… Odd shaped hooks, dangles and charms. All were made with copper wire,  except the napkin rings… they’re nickel silver.

Yes, I will be one of the Art Walk vendors set up outside. Hopefully the weather will cooperate so we can enjoy live music on the loading dock.

I will also bring small art and some buttons, but not the machine this month. I might bring a few pieces of jewelry, too.

I am seriously trying to reduce my inventory of buttons already made, so here are this month’s Art Walk specials:

  • Small pins, 25 cents each
  • Small magnets, 50 cents each, 3 for $1.00
  • Large pins,  $1.00 each
  • Special backs, $2.00 each, 3 for $5.00

Thanks for reading, hope to see you there!

Mad for Mittens

I’ve gone bonkers for fingerless mittens.  So far, I have purchased three pairs, chopped fingers off gloves, and taught myself basic knitting to make four pairs out of yarn.  I have experimented with thumb holes and partial thumbs and played with stitch counts to adjust the size.   Then I switched to crochet thread and picked up a hook to make this black pair. I like the copper bracelet on top. Should I make one for the other hand?

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I like the Bernat® Handicrafter® acrylic crochet thread because it is as soft as yarn but firmer, if that makes sense.   The light weight thread will make fingerless mittens ideal for mild weather wear in late spring so I bought “crisp linen” and the variegated “adrift” colors yesterday, as well as spool of Aunt Lydia’s® Iced Bamboo™ crochet thread in a color called Pink Ice.

I also searched the internet looking for patterns.  Tell you true – if you can knit or crochet two squares, you do not need a pattern to make a simple pair of fingerless gloves!

That’s all it is… a simple square of any stitch design is folded in half, then sewn up the side with about two inches left unsewn for the thumb hole.  (Most patterns say sew down one inch from the top, leave one and a half inches for the thumb opening, then sew the rest of the way down.  For my hands, I like a little more on top, say an inch and a quarter, with a two inch thumb hole.)  There is no “right” or “left” hand, both are made the same.

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So, how big do you make a square?  Well, that depends on your hands, if you want them to fit snug or loose, how heavy or stretchy the yard is, and if you plan to wear them alone or over a pair of gloves.  I have a seven inch wrist and the measurement around my knuckles is 7.5 inches, so a 7 inch squares turns out best for me.  My first pairs were made bigger and the mittens felt too loose. For the black pair, I used 6.5 inches square.   Of course, they don’t have to be squares.  The length can be varied.  I also prefer to knit in the round on double points for knitted versions to avoid sewing the sides.

Oh I have gone bonkers, completely mad for fingerless mittens.  The thought of sewing some just popped into my head.  Of course, the fabric would need a bit of stretch… fleece, jersey knits, recycled T-shirts?  Stretch denims? Oh… what about that velvet knit in my fabric bin?  They could be adorned with lace…

Knotted in Memory

I do my best thinking while my fingers are busy doing somewhat mindless repetitive work. The house is quiet, save tunes softly playing and occassional traffic on the street, neighborhood noises in the background. I think about everything. My mind wanders all over everywhere, back through time, and ventures into future possibilities. One thought leads to another with not much rhyme nor reason.

The unfinished macrame project was boxed after the jute was cut to some excessive lengths, with a dozen cords folded over a three inch brass ring and secured by one of those wrapped jute things with a name that eludes me. I am knotting from memory as macrame was a craft done in my youth oh so many years ago.

I am recreating a hanging birdbath that I made in 1977 (or bird feeder in which to lay full heads of dried sunflowers, if holes are drilled through the terra cotta planter dish so rain won’t turn the seeds into soup). The design is different – six sections instead of four, different pattern of knots – but the size and purpose is simular.

I don’t know what happened to the first one. It was hung in a tree on the far edge of a huge lawn near the front cornfields at that rented farmhouse across from the Courtney’s out on Winona Road. I cannot remember seeing it again so odds are that it was accidentally forgotton, left hanging in the tree when we moved over to Depot.

My fingers tie the knots, square knots and those half things that make spiral twirls, simular knots by the same hands while my thoughs skip back through those 35 years, how I thought my life would be and how it ended up, circle round and back again, reality tainted by hopes and dreams, nothing ever as it seems.

: : : LATER : : :

Company stopped by so I clicked off for a visit. A neighbor’s mother came bearing gifts – dried flowers, box of art & craft books, and a big bag full of counted cross stitch kits and transfers and pinking shears and all sorts of goodies. I promised to pass on what I won’t use… yes, on to my sister.

It is always a trip when people come in who have never been in here before. They usually react one of two ways. Some people look around like the place isn’t up to par. (One quote from a relative: “you live like you’re on welfare” and okay, so I rebelled from the look like a magazine spread decor? The funny thing is my child rebelled against my laid back comfy style to go all prim and proper, with tastes like my mother.) Others, like the older couple who came by today, check out the paintings and handmade things and make comments like “this is cozy” and “this reminds me of places I used to go to when I first started getting high” (?) and how they like the “old stoner” tunes.

Okay, so I still listen to Janis Joplin? I think Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young was on the CD player when they walked in. I do listen to modern music, just depends on what mood I am in and right now, Janis soothes me.
The macrame is ye done. I snapped the photo with an old 16 inch diameter hat box lid before tying off the bottom. It might need some adjustments and I’m not exactly sure if they sell 16″ dia. terra cotta dishes to go under pots, might have to get a 14. But, then again, a 12″ dia. bowl fits fine so maybe it will end up hanging a spider plant instead of a birdbath. I cut the bottom tassle at about 30″ so overall, I don’t know… it is about as long as I am tall.

Something twirling in my mind that maybe I shouldn’t write out loud, almost hate to even put the thought to the wind. It is a viable solution to a common problem, a logical alternative, what most people do when money is too tight to live on their own: they hook up with someone and pull resources, cohabitate or get married, work together for the common good, enjoy each other’s company. I don’t want to say it out loud because I know what it means if he goes for that option and chooses someone else instead of me. I would have to say goodbye and I am too knotted up in memory.