Luscious Gracious! Look What We Made Today!

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

Monday, May 30, 2005

Sunshine Sweater!

My first sweater is from the Loop-d-Loop book by Teva Durham. It is the Ballet Tee made from my own hand-dyed yarn called Sunshine. I made it in less than 48 hours! Not quite as quick as mom, but I'm getting there!

I recommend this pattern to anyone who likes to knit!

Lucy

P.S. Dad says to remind you that there are 2 days left to post comments for the contest! Some people who are stacking the deck appear to be trying to limit the competition by commenting that today is the last day. You have until midnight AZ time tomorrow Tuesday, May 31. So leave me some comments and you might win!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Knitting Fever

OH, boy, summer is here in Phoenix!!!

Between the 114 degree days and the 104 degree fevers, it's amazing that anything gets done at all. The Hall Hartley girls are leaving their mark all over the valley, though, in the form of pukey parking lots!

Lovely thought.

Anyway, Stephen managed to miss out on some of the fun here. He traveled to balmy Indiana (70 degree highs) for a week of 1). Funeral business (we are very sad to say goodbye to his grandfather, Charles Church, who was an optimistic, kind man. He will be missed by too many people.)

2). Yarn shopping. Our favorite store, Mass Ave Knit Shop, in Indy had some great sales. So many, in fact, that Stephen had to ship home what he had bought!

3). Baby holding. He got to coddle various friends and family members. Kids, and babies, love this man. And he made some cool stuff while he was gone, too. Like this shot of his niece, Cali.

And here is Sith-Obsessed nephew Connor. A four-year-old with a serious Pez jones. Gotta love the cardboard crown. He wore it until it sweated away.

And while Dad was away, the girls did play. Lucy, in more lucid moments, finished her felted bag for her teacher, Ms. J. She added a silk photo of one of Stephen's photos, a flower. The yarn is Brown Sheep, and she designed the squiggly handle.

And Mom made some emergency wristbands for friends who will be missed this summer. Come knit with us by the pool, ladies!

Here's what Stephen made on the plane. I always crack up when I think of this man, sitting so innocently with his needles, as other passengers travel the aisles just to see what in the hell he's doing.

He's a little worried that he is adding so many leashes to collars for the women that he loves. Think it means something? This one is a big shoutout to Letoya, for getting him to Indiana so quickly. Thanks!

And Look, I get sloppy seconds. Leftovers make a little chain for me, too.

And here is where we are really worried about Steve. Apparently, like Anakin, he is seduced by the Dark Side. Yes, Crochet. Sigh. What are we going to do? Again, he likes the look of chains. Again, for Letoya (a bracelet).

Four Tanks In Four Days

Inspired by the Loop-d-Loop book by Teva Durham, I ACTUALLY USED A PATTERN. No, TWO patterns. The girl's got it down right, and I wouldn't change a thing. Although, on the next one I probably will.....

Here's Lily in the Ballet Tee, made of Ete by Phildar (a cotton tape, yes, cotton, but it feels ok to knit with) that Eleni and Ippolyti got us in France. They live on the same block as a Phildar store, and had never been in before....can you imagine? Hope that they are liking the results, and there are more to come.....

Lily thinks that she looks like a penguin in that picture....

Ms. Lulu in the Steek Vest, made in peach R2 Paper. It fits me too, but not suitable for all audiences, unlike the one that Ms. Illanna made. Fun, fun, to knit, and I have others planned. Great work, Teva!!!! You are right up there with Elizabeth Zimmermann in the pantheon of knitting goddesses. What an inspiration her work is!

Now, me. Umm, excuse the belly thing. I promise to finish it off with a crocheted edging before wearing it again. It's some old tape that I had around the house, Malindi by Filatura di Crosa, knitted on #15 needles, double stranded, Ballet Tee pattern again. And, below is a half version of the tee for a little Jamaican/German girlfriend of mine. She will be the cutest thing in Indy.

And finally, Lucy Jane finished her bear sweater, ends and buttons and all. And to all a good (cool) night.

Love,

Kikiluscious

PS Updates on the sidebar, Bound Off, and On the Needles.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

What Are The Odds

We are getting close to the end of the show and contest, but there is still time to play or purchase. Although, if you wanted Tie Me To The Bedpost or I Know You you are too late. They are one-of-a-kind pieces and they both were sold on Tuesday. I'm sure they went to a lovely home.

For those of you vying for a free piece of Luscious Gracious artwork, here is an update on the odds. Lucy can fill you in on the laws of probability and Lily can help you win at craps. So if you need advice leave them a comment and you'll have another entry as well. Looks like many comments are needed if anyone wants to have better odds than Alison. She has left more than half the comments!





So we have been busy making lots of stuff, but that will have to wait for another post. Today you will have to settle for the pretty graphs I made today.
Steve

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

We Dyed!

Hey Kool-Aid Man!



Before





During

After

Lucy

Lily



Lucy



Lily



Lucy



Kiki














Steve Made This Fish Necklace

And This Choker





Wristbands? Kiki, Of Course




Sunday, May 15, 2005

Updates

We have updated the website and blog. Off to the right under Gallery and on the Gallery page of the website we have added two sections.

On The Needles is a gallery of what each of the Luscious Gracious clan is currently knitting. We will update with our progress and let you know when something is finished, hopefully.

Bound Off is a gallery of recently completed knitted projects. We will profile some of these on the blog to give more details. Here are some samples of what we've put there so far.

Kiki

(This is Kiki typing, and if you aren't interested in some personal crap, and I can't imagine who would be, skip back to Steve's section.)
Big Green - This sweater is the ultimate in Before and After. As in, Before I got sick, and After resolving some Body Image Issues. Actually, it happened before I was diagnosed, not before I was sick. Being sick (much of my life) made me believe that I had a really fast metabolism and was just one of those naturally thin people (except for two brief 70 pound weight gains that resulted in two nine pound newborns). Ha ha....apparently I am really one of those "curvaceous" women that I have read about.....No, really, I still have no idea what size I am, what size I am "supposed to be", or what size is what. The truth is, with a disease that makes it impossible to eat, but then going on meds that side-effect you into a childless 70 extra pounds, and running miles and miles every day and then not being able to walk to the mailbox, and a bladder that hates fruits and veggies but loves McDonald's, it is a confusing world. So, when I initially gained so much weight, I went from a size nothing to a size really something. Quite quickly, as in, no time to readjust my mirror. And I couldn't for the life of me imagine what size I really was.
Hence, the knitting of BIG GREEN almost two years ago.

It really was a nice sweater (Elsebeth Lavold silky wool, in a beautiful ribbed and double seed stitch tank). I got the idea from the book Vintage Knits by Sarah Dallas when it first came out, but decided that I would just go ahead and draft it myself. Ha ha. Hear the Universe snicker. Even at my biggest, there was room for Steve to join me for a camping trip.
So, recently I was inspired by all of the pretty tanks that Illanna has been making, and thought that maybe all BIG GREEN needed was a little TLC.






I used a contrasting bit of Noro silk garden to crochet a three-strand cord to draw in the empire waist, and some more of it to severely "crochet up" the underarms and collar. Hey, I may not look as good as Illanna, but maybe my sweater is up to snuff (how's that for an antiquated term. Just let me find my pocketbook....).

And then, I added some glass beads to finish it off in style. Here you can see them blowing into a hopeless tangle. Not such a good idea after all.

Wristbands - Might as well face it, I'm addicted to ......Wristbands.
They are quick, I can use lots of colors, try out Fair Isle patterns and practice my two-handed, two-strand knitting, and write all kinds of dirty words on my knitting. What's not to love?

And, Steve calls me Wristbands. Cause I make so many. And all. Anybody want some wristbands?

Tank - Letoya, Illanna and I decided to have a little summer contest, and each make a version of the same pattern. You know how I loathe patterns (with disastrous results, see above), but this book was called something like "Big Tanks for Big Boobs" and we had to have it.

I made mine from "Loft" yarn made by Zitron in Germany (who the heck is that?). It's WOOL (I hate cotton), but it is spun in a way that makes it light and comfortable for even Phoenix summers, as long as I stay out of the sun or the shade or outside at all. No, really, even in these triple digits, I am comfy in it. I used right around 300 yards of yarn, and that included all of the extras I added to the pattern, like a tighter and higher back (couldn't afford to do that to my front) and extra length to avoid that belly-baring look that no one wants to see. The book is really Trendy Knit Tops by Joyce M. Wong (Leisure Arts, 2003). And we weren't supposed to show our results until the end of the summer (or something) and I cheated. Hey, I finished a whole sweater that FITS in under 24 hours. You guys are going to see it. Often.

And check out that skirt. Not only is it linen and extremely see-through, it also matches every single top that I own. Again, get ready to see it all summer, folks.

Turtle Lace - This was a going-away present for Illanna, who went back to NYC for the summer. We miss her already. The yarn is the Chinese cashmere that is multiplying in its bag. I never seem to use it up, no matter how many times I use it. Wish all my yarn were like that, but if I had to pick, guess I'm glad that it's the cashmere that is neverending. And the pattern is my own, natch, which I can give to you if you want. Really. Come on. Knit some lace.

Now back to Steve, and I am going back to dyeing some more yarn. For some more wristbands. And lace, maybe.

Steve

Pyramid Bag - Another going-away present for Illanna. This original design used 2 strands of wool that was felted once pieced together. The photos were printed on silk and stitched on after. Maybe someday I'll put the pattern out here. And if Alison really does go away, she can expect something too. Like wristbands. At least Illanna is coming back.

Lucy

Doll Scarf with Pocket - Lucy is almost done with her bear vest, so in the meantime she put this doll scarf with a pocket in the bound off section.

Lily

Best Teacher Wristbands - Lily & Mom made these fair isle wristbands for Lily's second grade teacher, Mrs. K. They say "Best Teacher" and have Fair Isle flowers designed by Lily as well.

Other Updates -

Knitty Calendar - The kids really liked the black and white Clapotis photo with the color background. Unfortunately, it goes the wrong way for a calendar. So they helped Dad redo it this way. What do you think? Is this their cover shot? (Kiki here again - Way to go, Alison! And Steve!)

Online Show - We have added a couple of handmade books as online exclusives for the TEXTure show. Check them out here and here.

Contest - Don't feel intimidated by the odds. Just because Alison has left a gazillion more comments than you doesn't mean you can't win. In fact, I heard a rumor that there may be more than one winner. So leave us comments. If you have technical difficulties, just e-mail Steve at stephen@lusciousgracious.com telling him that thar stupid comment thingy done broke.

Steve & Kiki

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

How we spent our HMD (Happy Mother's Day)

Date: 5/8/2005 Mother's Day (HMD Kiki!)

Location: Lost Dutchman State Park - Home of Superstition Mountain



Photographer: That's Me - Steve



Models: Who could go wrong with these beauties?

Lily a.k.a. Gracie


Lucy a.k.a. Lulu

Kiki a.k.a. Katiejo



Alison a.k.a. AT (Ambidextrous Thumbs)



Illanna a.k.a. We'll Miss You, Doodlebug



Mission: Take Photos for Knitty Calendar Contest

Results: How'd we do?


Not from Knitty, but still beautiful



This is Nakiska, I think.


Not from Knitty, but it isn't purple either.



This is Kyoto.


Still not from Knitty, but pretty in B&W.


That would be Cleo in Illanna's glasses.


Not knitty, but an awesome wristband Kiki knitted.


Clapotis, I know wrong way for a calendar!



Not Knitty, but she sure is cute!


Clapotis again. The shot of the day?


Still not Knitty, but isn't she beautiful?

Mission Accomplished?

For all you photo enthusiasts, the B&W was Kodak 400BW CN, the color was mostly Kodak Elite Chrome, crossed processed. I did the tweaking in Photoshop Elements. The ones with the circles are as they were shot, super secret lipstick filter was used. 1st Kiki & Illanna's sunglasses were digital Nikon coolpix 2500. Top shot & middle one of Kiki were Polaroid Type 67, 3000 ISO film with an old Land Camera. Perhaps the best shot of the day was taken with this camera, but after sitting in the AZ sunshine, it decided to disintegrate before I got it scanned in. Here is what remains.



The contest and show are still on for the rest of the month, so leave us some comments!

Steve

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Favorites

A couple days ago, we had a question about which pieces in our show are our favorites. Kiki & I struggled and kept changing our minds. It is almost as hard as picking a favorite child. Lucy & Lily, on the other hand, had no problem or hesitation. Lily's favorite is her "Turtle". And Lucy picked her "Penguin (Dookl, Dookl)". Aren't they modest? When pressed for a second favorite, Lucy picked "Flower Faery 1" , which is a photo of her and Lily picked "Pass It On", which we all worked on together. I love my kids and their confidence!

You may be wondering what is "Dookl, Dookl." This, of course, is the sound a Penguin makes. When Lucy was 1 or 2 and we practiced animal sounds, like everyone does with their child. She decided the Penguin says "Dookl, Dookl." She had a Lego penguin that she carried around saying "Dookl, Dookl." That was also about the time she discovered decimals, but that is a story for another day.

The contest is in full swing. We even had a new entrant, thanks Mel (glad you like the old photos & the lesson). The current odds, for anyone wanting to make side bets, are Creative Genius? 2:1, Illanna 4:1, Letoya 13:1, and Mel 40:1.

One commenter had trouble identifying what the photo on "I Know You" was. Here is a larger version. I also now included it on the details for that piece. I didn't realize we were making you play "What's This" on the artwork as well. I guess that is the downside of an online show, people can't walk up and take a closer look. Also, our whole website is designed for the old-fashioned 800 X 600 screen settings, because we are getting old and blind. So the pictures may look small if you have your screen set to something else. The picture is of a hand holding a rose. The curve on the left side is a hip. Can you see it? It is a little abstract. I was going more for mood than detail.

We will be adding some more online exclusives to the show very soon, so please stay tuned!

Steve

ps Thumbsuckers of the world.....UNITE!!! We need a union.

also.....Stay away from the licorice. Liquor is ok.

Kikiluscious

Thursday, May 05, 2005

What's This?

Tonight was the opening reception for our show in Muncie at The Artist Within, and today our online show had its first visitors & contest entrants. The current entries stand at Illanna with 9, Creative Genius? at 7, and Letoya at 1. It seems pretty obvious Letoya missed Lucy's probability lecture by the pool last night and no one explained it to her later. Either that or she just feels lucky! Anyway, a reminder of the rules, each comment gets you an entry!

Our commenters had a few questions, so let's just respond to all of the comments in the order received.

1. Thank you, glad you like it, the odds are with you now.
2. Yes it was.
3. Lily says thank you & to tell Max thank you as well.
4. Lucy also says thank you.
5. Random Simpsons quotes are always "Excellent."
6. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
7. Flattery doesn't get you extra entries, but it is still appreciated.
8. If you need help choosing, check out the pick of the day.
9. That is cruel! Right this second, if we are really forced to pick favorites, Kiki says "I Know You" and Steve says "Pass It On", but it is likely to change before this entry is complete. The girls will have to answer tomorrow, because they are asleep.
10. We have a funny story about rubbing elbows, but it will wait 'till our next knitting night.
11. I thought you had her beat, but then her internet access came back!
12. She doesn't, but have you met Lily's hermit crabs?
13. Thanks, I like that one too. Very Zoni.
14. Wow, maybe I changed my mind, Letoya deserves 2 entries for that one.
15. That's what we call him too.
16. Steve loves manual labor. Thanks on the compliment. That was the first thing I ever knit, maybe 2nd, I can't remember.
17. Thanks for posting our contest, but that'll probably hurt your odds.

O.K. enough old news, on to what we made today. Since we finished the show, Kiki recently made some gifts for some of our friends. I took crazy close-up photos like those What's This sections in old-timey pediatrician office magazines from when we were kids. So, since our 3 visitors have run out of comments based on our show, thought you might like something else to comment on. So, What's This? For Whom? A. Who has a mystery package on the way? B. Who likes orange and blue (or is it Blue and Orange?)? C. What is the Must Have fashion accessory on the Parisian streets for Little European Girls this season? D. Who has a Sanrio fetish almost as big as Kiki's? Bonus Question (not good for anything but laughs): Put 'em all together, and whattya got? Hint: No hint available. Morons.




I just remembered that any comment in the month of May counts, no matter what post you put it on. So feel free to guess what's this on this entry. Also Letoya left comments today back on the "Why I Still Love Film" (Thanks) and the "Birthday Knitting Warning" posts, so she is already up to 3, even without the free one I wanted to give to her. Maybe someone did fill her in on Lulu's lecture. Or maybe someone told her how to stack the deck at the school carnival cakewalk.

Thanks for all the glowing reviews, we heard some from Muncie tonight as well. Any Indiana visitors, please try to go see it in person. There is even a video camera there for you to record a message for us, since we are stuck here in sunny Arizona. So sad.

Maybe my favorite is "Chimes"?

Steve

Mine too, maybe. Or maybe "The Part That Ran Away", but I don't know. It's too hard. I really think that the wristbands are the best pieces. Hint Hint.
Kikikikikiki

Monday, May 02, 2005

Rest


Ideally, rest is what comes after work. But we all know better.
No rest for the weary nor the wicked.
Idle hands and all that.
But we keep ourselves going, that looming weekend or vacation beckoning in the near or even far, distance.
Someday.
Rest.

Ahh, it is not to be.

Artists operate at a million frames per second. Each finished project seeds the ideas for at least a dozen more. It is up to us to fertilize and nurture those idea-lings into full fledged pieces of something grand.
That is why we do not rest.

The show is up. The virtual show is done. We've all traded the flu 'round several times and still do not rest.

There is nothing to be done, yet we do more. It is the human way.

Enjoy this virtual tour. Buy some art! Check back for online exclusives (we are still working on those, you know, instead of resting). And, we are proud to announce our first-ever LusciousGraciousContest*. Good Luck.

Now go get some rest!

*Contest
Own a piece of Luscious Gracious Studios! Just post a comment on any blog entry during the month of May, 2005. Leave us an e-mail to contact you and you may be a winner! Every time you leave a comment, you get an entry. On or around June 1, 2005 we will randomly draw a name. The winner will receive a FREE piece from the show. Luscious Gracious will decide what the prize will be. In the totally unlikely event that the show is a complete sellout (dare to dream), or just 'cause we feel like it, we will concoct something super special for our winner.