Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

By Diane of Lady Dye Fiber Arts & Design

Happy New Year Everyone!

January 1st is the day that we set out to make our New Year’s resolutions. For those of you who make resolutions every year and keep them, I congratulate you for your commitment. And for those of you like myself who have struggled in the past to keep your resolutions, I want to provide you with a different perspective.

For the past two years, I have made no resolutions because I find them to be daunting and impossible to commit to each year. I have had friends in the past say, “Diane, just break those long term resolutions down to smaller ones?” This sounded so great but that didn’t work either. So here I was two years ago, in a place trying to improve myself inside and out and not meeting my resolutions.

Therefore, I decide to use my creative mind and made a “Scavenger Hunt” consisting of a list of things I have never done before and I had a year to find people, places, and organizations to complete them. Sounds pretty exciting, eh? Well, for me this scavenger hunt has changes my life for the best inside and out.

Consider these Scavenger Hunt questions:

  • Find and item of yours that you are holding on to that you do not need and give it to someone who needs it more.

  • Teach a skill to a person that someone taught you how to do.

  • Search for a place or person to help you save a minimum of $350 for the year.

  • Walk, run, bike, or do any other physical activity for 30 minutes or more to a place you have never been and take photos of that location and share it those images with someone.

I challenge you to look beyond the goals and resolutions and view this year as a creative search inside you for learning and teaching new things to yourself and others by seeking out opportunities for change in a different way. The very thing you are trying to resolve may require you to think beyond the obvious and search the unknown in order to make the change within you.

Monday, November 15, 2010

New York Sheep and Wool Festival

By Diane of Lady Dye Fiber Arts & Design

In October, I made the journey to Rhinebeck, NY with my best friend and knitting buddy to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. It was my second time going but this year I went on Saturday instead of Sunday. The New York Sheep and Wool Festival is the Mecca for the knitting community. People from all over the country and world make their way to fairgrounds to see all breeds of animals but mainly to get some good deals on yarn and knitting accessories. Not to mention, this festival is by far the best Fiber fashion show you will every see!

Instead of making it a one day trip, we decided that it would be great to spend the night in Rhinebeck. However, all the hotels were booked months in advance for this special weekend. I guess I was the designated bed & breakfast finder because I spent a week looking up bed & breakfast places for us to stay at all through the Catskill Mountains. Well, I found one in the beautiful city of Purling, NY. We stayed at the Bavarian Inn & Restaurant, a family business. We had so much pre-party fun hanging out at the Inn with drinks and knitting by the fireplace and talking with the locals.

Overall the trip was great and there was so much beautiful scenery all around us I had to take pictures. I did have a great time at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival despite the shoulder to shoulder comfort I received from the thousands of fiber enthusiast who showed up. At first, I thought I was going to buy yarn for my etsy shop however, I left with yarn and roving for myself which felt so great! It has been a long time since a purchased fiber for just for me and I have to say it was money well spent :)

Are long drive to the Catskills Mountain in NY. The different color leaves were all around us and the sky turned blue for just this moment...then it rained the rest of the trip that Friday

The Bavarian Inn & Restaurant where we was quite the experience

Having a good time at a local restaurant. I decided that a beverage and knitting made the perfect meal :)

This kid was so adorable! Ms. Llama was the main attaction walking around with all the knitters :)

Our drive home from Boston watching the sun set was amazing! Those look like mountains but they are actually clouds. Truly an amazing sight to see!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Time Management and Logo!

I have discovered in the last couple of months how important it is to manage your time. Being a fiber artist, working a full time job to pay the bills, and other obligations can be difficult to manage. It doesn’t matter what career path you are on, being able to effectively and efficiently manage your time is key to success and to decrease stress.You need time in order to get what you want out of life.

I had to take a moment a couple of days ago to reflect on where the time had gone since May of this year? Don’t get me wrong, I was reflecting in the positive rather than the negative. I wanted to take the time to appreciate the accomplishments that I made and realize that it was effective time management that got me to complete several tasks at work and in my fiber arts.

From moving my team at work to our new space across town to teaching natural dye yarns at the Eliot School, I was able to spend more time dyeing yarn and knitting. From becoming a new member of Boston Handmade to supporting the re-branding of my colleagues work uniform, I was able to spend more time with my Little Sister Tiffany. Through all the internal chaos that goes into relocating to a new office to stocking up my inventory on my etsy store, I was able to spend time with family and friends a lot more in the last couple of months than I have in the last 5 years.

Time Management:

1. Can help you find the time for accomplishing the items that you want and need to do.
2. Actually saves you more time in the day. You cannot save time or keep it for safe keeping so you have to use it wisely.
3. Can help you reduce wasted time and energy, help you become more creative and productive, and enable you to do the right thing at the right time. This will of course lead to more balance and fulfillment in your life.

And in the process of all this amazing time management, I was so thrilled to finally have a new logo thanks to my best friend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Logo!

By Diane of Lady Dye Fiber Arts & Design

My best friend just completed my logo. I absolutely love it and am looking forward to printing collateral. Check it out! I couldn't be happier :) She actually sketched it out and colored it in and left a space below for me to fill in my information which is so great if you want to switch out anything in the future. If you are interested in getting a logo design, I would be happy to put you in contact with Nicole.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Even the Most Experience Knitter Can Make Mistakes

By Diane of Lady Dye Fiber Arts & Design

I have been knitting for several years now and I can still remember the first time I made a hat. I made it too small that it actually looked like a “mini-royal crown” sitting on top of my big head. Back in the day I felt that doing a knitting gauge prior to starting a project was just plain silly. I always thought I could tell how many stitches I would need for a hat, socks, scarf, and just about anything. But it never dawned on me then that nothing ever seems to fit when I didn’t do the gauge?

As the years have gone on and I have become the gauge-awareness knitter, I feel a joy inside me that my beautiful knitted items can actually fit me and those individuals I make knitted items for. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times that I choice not to do a gauge and it turned out fine and there have been times when I didn’t and I have paid the consequence but overall doing a gauge in knitting is very important.

Why would I say this, well, in my last blog post, I was working on a beautiful cropped cabled hoodie from a pattern in Vogue Knitting magazine for my best friend. Vogue Knitting has absolutely amazing knitting patterns and the designers they have are truly talented. I had worked on the sweater on and off for a year (as goes most of my knitting projects) and I felt it was time to finish it up before the yarn disintegrated.

The first thing I did before beginning the project was to complete the gauge and after that, I knitted away. I am very pleased to say that I have finished the cabled hoodie however, I had more frustration not from it being too small or too big but realizing another important fact about knitting: not all knitting patterns are accurate.

I know some of you may be thinking, “Diane of course this is true and you should know this so why are you mentioning it.” Well, it’s the reality that no matter how long you have knitted and have used a pattern and have received excellent results of your end product, it’s always important to read a knitting pattern before you try and take on a gorgeous yet daunting task to work on a project that may challenge your knitting skills especially from Vogue Knitting.

When I saw the pattern in Vogue Knitting, I rushed to WEBS in Northampton and picked out the yarn and never thought twice to look up on Ravelry to see if other individuals had worked on this pattern nor did I check Vogue Knitting magazine to see if there was an errata. Had I done that, I would have realized that more people had challenges and required some tweaking and not only those who were knitting the same pattern but the designer who created the pattern also made changes since it had been published in Vogue Knitting.

I do consider myself to be an experienced knitter but I realized that even the most experienced knitter can make mistakes. I encourage anyone who is attempting to work on a pattern that is breathe taking at glance, to check the sources out to see if there are any pattern changes prior to knitting. In doing so, you may find that you will not want to take on the challenge to knit the pattern or you can buckle yourself in tight and knit away. In the end, I am happy that I did tackle my way through the pattern and I completed something absolutely beautiful. I hope to upload some of the final cropped cabled hoodie in the upcoming weeks.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Oh the joys of knitting!

The last couple of weeks have been so busy for me that I have not had time to do any blogging. I spent the month of July dyeing some yarn as well as teaching at the Eliot School a class on natural dye yarns. The class I taught is always a joy to teach because I get to see new students learn about non-chemical dyeing of yarn. I only teach the class once a year but the students I had were amazing students. I look forward to this fall and winter. I will be teaching beginners knitting, intermediate knitting, and knitting for kids. And who says life isn’t busy :)

I have managed to find time for myself to do some knitting. I have been working on a sweater for about a year now…well it’s mostly due to my procrastination this year of getting this sweater completed. I purchased the yarn at WEBs in the Northampton last year with my good friend Nicole (and this sweater is for her).
The pattern that I am doing is a cropped hoodie sweater that looks so gorgeous however, the pattern is not so easy to read or understand. I am almost finished with the sweater. I spent Friday night knitting the majority of it until 1:00 AM while watching the movie Pride and Prejudice. Keep your fingers crossed that I complete this next week!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Boston Handmade New Member

By Diane of Lady Dye Fiber Arts & Design

BH: What is your background?
Lady Dye Fiber Arts & Design: My name is Diane and I live in Jamaica Plain, MA. I have five brothers and two sisters and come from a very close knit family. I was raised by my grandparents in Highland Park, IL from a very young age until my early teenage years in which my family then moved to Conyers, GA. I graduated from Georgia College & State University with a B.A. in Political Science and Mass Communication with a concentration in Print Journalism in 2001 and I have a M.A. in Public Administration with a concentration in Non-Profit Management from Suffolk University. I currently work for The Boston Foundation and love my job.

BH: How long have you been doing your artwork/craft?
Lady Dye Fiber Arts & Design: I have been in the world of the fiber arts since December of 2002 when I first learned how to knit. From then on I became passionate about everything fiber. I have been knitting for the last 8 years, crocheting for 6 years, spinning and dyeing yarn for 5 years.

BH: What first made you want to become an artist?
Lady Dye Fiber Arts & Design: As a young girl, I was always interested in crafts. It wasn’t until I received a sketch pad and colored pencils at Christmas way back when, did I begin to understand art and drawing. I was very crafty growing up and I would often times sew my doll clothes by hand. Eventually, the ideal of being an artist slipped away for several years until my close friend Nicole gave me my artistic niche back when I moved to Rhode Island in 2002. We both knit and overtime, I developed my love of the arts again thanks to her.

BH: Please describe your creative process?
Lady Dye Fiber Arts & Design: My creative process for dyeing yarn is really inspired by the changing of the seasons. It’s so amazing to see the transition of Mother Nature every year and the colors that surround us. I look forward mostly to spring and the fall where I get my inspiration for which fruits and vegetables I will dye my yarn with but also for spinning my yarn. During spring and fall, I often enjoy walking around outside or looking at what people are wearing and draw inspiration from the colors surrounding me.

BH: What is your favorite color?
Lady Dye Fiber Arts & Design: My favorite color is blue…all shades of blue!

BH: Why should people buy handmade?
Lady Dye Fiber Arts & Design: Buying or receiving items handmade is a treasure and I find that people value these items more because someone took their time to craft something unique.

BH: Name your top five books and movies?
Lady Dye Fiber Arts & Design: For movies it would have to be: The Color Purple, Fried Green Tomatoes, Schindler’s List, Roots, Anne of Green Gables (although it’s a series I love it!). My favorite books are: All Souls, Happy to be Nappy, Fried Green Tomatoes, the Harry Potter series, and Taming of the Shrew and yes…it’s a play but a great play!