Luscious Gracious! Look What We Made Today!

A blog devoted to the art of the Luscious Gracious clan.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Why I Still Love Film

The lack of posting does not reflect a lack of what we've made. In fact, we have been too busy making things for our show next month at The Artist Within to have time to post. So here is a quick post about film. Stay tuned for an on-line version of our show.

I shoot many pictures digitally these days, as many photographers do, but I still prefer film. Recently I developed some B&W and got back some slide film that reminded me why I still love film.

1. Ilford SFX - This film has an extended red sensitivity. Almost infrared, but not quite. Here are some recent nature examples. I also like to use it for people as it makes for a nice milky skin and dark spooky eyes. These shots were taken at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

2. Kodak VS100 - This saturated slide film is my favorite slide films. Awesome colors with a little bit of warmth. These are also from BTA.

3. Kodak Technical Pan - One of my all-time favorite films. Also, the second of my favorites that Kodak has decided to discontinue! I still have a few rolls & buy them whenever I find them. Tech Pan is a wonderful film that can produce a high or low contrast negative with varying amounts of grain depending on what exposure & developer you use. I go for the high contrast side. You could also even make it into high contrast B&W slides, before there was Scala. So now that Tech Pan is gone, I will have to shoot some other Black and White, and use photoshop to try to get the contrast I used to love from this film. Here are a few of my last TP shots. These are from Sedona, Lost Dutchman State Park, and Papago Mountains looking over Phoenix at sunset.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Birthday Knitting Warning

So, yes, there is a bit of a warning on this post. It is chock-full of birthday related knitting, almost all done by me (Kiki). I just hope that everyone* remembers to pick up the needles when my big day rolls around. Unless you just want to give me the yarn, which is fine, too. Look for a shopping list cleverly disguised in this post.....

It happens to the best of us. We age. Sad as this fact is, I think it is much worse when our children get older. What happened to my rosy-cheeked, sweet smelling angel? Well, I'll tell you. Our baby is 8 years old now! Impossible to grasp. An her "baby" cousin just turned 4. How does this happen? At any rate, to celebrate we took this former baby, now a certified nature nut and animal lover, to the pet store. She got 2 hermit crabs and 1 severe rat bite. We spent her birthday here.

But this isn't a personal diary blog. It's a look-what-we-made blog! So, in honor of birthdays, let's look at some Birthday Knitting!

Easter is a special day in our family. Lily Grace, our own Easter Lily, was born on Easter Sunday 8 years ago. Although her birthday will rarely actually fall on Easter, we still treat the holiday as an extension of her special day. She usually gets a stuffed platypus, and this year Mr. Platypus was joined by these little bunnies.

I made them from a free pattern and stuffed them with wool roving. They are made of Debbie Bliss merino dk that the girls and I dyed last month with Illanna and Letoya. Here are some other examples of our work dyed with Kool-Aid and Paz egg dye, fittingly displayed in an egg carton.

Keeping with the egg theme, we also made Ukrainian Pysanky. Wow. What an experience, I am addicted, and want to do this for a living. It is a wax-resist process similar to batik, and reminds me of more carefree days of dyeing fabrics with things much more toxic than Kool-Aid.






Now, I ask you knitters out there, what project really expresses the love you feel for special (very special) people? Something you reserve for only the most deserving of your clan? That's right. Socks. The un-loved among you may never experience the joy of a handknit sock, how it caresses your foot with whispers of ... something. No, really, they are really cool. I've made lots of socks, but none for my family. I, of course, have several pair (being the most deserving person I know), and even made some for Cute David for his October birthday last year (o.k. - here's a hint - don't send a bachelor the lovingly knitted socks along with 3 pages of written instructions on how to care for said socks. It somehow cheapens the gesture).

But the Hall Hartley sock drought changed this year. Steve got these socks after he refused to wear the tie I made for him from the same yarn (I am sure Papa & Connor wear their green ties on a regular basis). The socks, while fine on their own, make him look like Shrek when he wears them.

It serves him right, I think. I made myself some, too (man, I bought a lot of that yarn...).

And for Lily's birthday, both she & her sister received these beauties made of my current fixation, Cascade Fixation. It is the only cotton yarn I can bear to knit with, ever. Cotton is dry & gross-feeling. It is my sworn enemy. Not a good thing, this cotton aversion. We live in the desert, after all, and woolen garmets can be a teensy bit warm when the mercury climbs higher thatn 120 degrees. So, Cascade to the rescue! Something about that 1% elastic cures the cotton ickies. I am considering making an entire ensemble out of it - tank, long skirt, socks, hat, cardigan, purse, wrist bands, and shawl - for my summer wardrobe. Wonder how it would look as a kimono? slippers? car cozy? kitty bed?

I had used some Fixation a long time ago, and just thought it was o.k. Everyone can thank Illanna for turning me on to its sock possibillities. She even gave me her leftovers. I made these socks for Steve, just because. He really rates. It wasn't even his b-day.

Someone else did receive a little Fixation fix for her birthday. Bet you can't guess who received these wristbands...

They cleverly spell out Jessica Knits in Fair Isle. I use the knitting-with-two-hands technique, with one color being knit Continental and the other in the English method. This is especially effective if you are pushing a cart through CostCo at the same time. Baby, I can multi-task, even without a pattern. I love, love, love those little Clover Japanese 22 cm circulars. So cute, so effective.

The lucky birthday girl also received this Steve original.

Recognize the yarn? Yup, hand-dyed. He made up the pattern using those same great needles and the magic of Power Numbers. He even wrote the pattern. Watch out, it may be very popular soon. This bag has many uses, including ice pack holder and unruly yarn ball containment system. And each stitch exudes his love and true nerdiness.

Ms. J. is not the only recepient of b-day wristbands. Steve received one in January out of his sweater yarn. Yes, just one. He has large wrists.

And that "baby" cousin? He got some too. Connor, the King of Costumes, is currently obsessed with pirates. And really, who isn't? He is now the proud owner of two, count 'em, two pairs of Aunt Katie wristbands. One pair cleverly spells out "Captain" and "Connor" (again, no pattern), while the others display scary skull and crossbones, which I adapted from the book Style Your Own Kids' Knits by Kate Buller. They are made from Cascade 220, I think (Good old Cascade. May they never go out of business). Unfortunately, we mailed these wristbands to NJ before getting a picture. So for now, here is another view of Jessica's in the headless portrait style of Illanna's blog.

And finally, Dear Letoya recently turned 19 again. No socks for this girl, her feet are too cute. She received these uber-trendy flip flops with her portrait on them.

I know, more trashy yarn, but these put the FUN in funky. Everyone wants a pair, you know you do.... And remember, birthday knitting strikes without warning.

*by "everyone", I of course do not mean you, gentle reader. I mean my Everyone, my Everything, my Beaker, the person who changed my life on that magical birthday 16 years ago. Everyone else, just remember to do something nice for yourself on your own special day. Don't fret about being another year older. Like they always say, it's better than the alternative.

All My Wooly Love,