Elspeth McLean: Dotillism Artist

I am often very annoyed with Facebook. They constantly change things, it often feels like they are the “big man” watching your every move, and now I can’t check my private messages on the app unless I install Messenger, which I stubbornly refuse to do. I also don’t like when they arbitrarily change your privacy settings, and then you have to go back in and reset them the way you had them.

But…gripes aside, it has been a place where I can connect with family and friends and find new and interesting things. A few months ago, a friend of mine liked the Elspeth McLean’s page, and it instantly caught my eye. I have been following her ever since. A quick browse on her website will brighten anyone’s day. She does all of her work with a paintbrush, acrylic paint, and dots. I imagine she must find her work as stimulating, and at the same time soothing, as I find mine. Her site is going to me my go-to place when I need to get out of a funk. Enjoy!

And if you would like to follow me on Facebook, I promise to try to make it worth  your while too!


I love the story behind this site, as collecting knitwear ideas from random sources is something I’ve constantly done on my own. I love that there is a site to go to where it’s all in one place! These two friends also happen to be knitwear designers, and so their site is nicely curated to include helpful information as well as inspiration. Enjoy!

My Week in Links

My kids are ready to hit the surf!

My kids are ready to hit the surf!

I’ve been going through a burnout of sorts. All creative people deal with block at some point or another. I’ve found that mine usually happens when I’m especially stressed or worried about something, which has been the case for a few months now. Apparently, it has caught up to me. The good thing is I’ve found that it usually does pass, and there are things to do to help manage it and reinvigorate.

My first solution is usually to take a break, which I did the other day. I took my kids to the beach and had a lovely day with them and my family away from family. There is something about watching and listening to the waves roll in that always clears my head. My absolute favorite thing about living in LA is being near both the ocean and the mountains. I was so happy to see that my favorite beach (Zuma in Malibu) got great grades! This site has a long list of cities, so if you need a break, perhaps you will find something equally helpful on this site!

This is a great list that I think applies very well to maintaining creativity. My usual second solution to feeling burned out is to give myself some time to read or draw, visit museums, or otherwise soak in some new inspiration and reestablish routines. I relate to most of what is on this list, and would recommend these ideas to any creative person.

And of course, there’s no better way to relieve stress than to just keep doing what you love, which in my case is to knit and crochet. I finished a bag as a gift for a friend (photos to come soon), and I realized I’ve never learned how to line a knitted item with fabric. I’ll be referring back to this Craftsy blog post as soon as I’ve had a chance to go pick out some fabric.

Have a lovely weekend friends!

Summer Project: Stashbusting

Once you start knitting and crocheting, it doesn’t take long to build up a stash, both of yarn you haven’t started using yet, and scraps left over from finished projects. I tune it out for awhile, and then, when the mood hits and I find just the right project, I tackle it. Last week, I was in just such a mood, and found my perfect stashbusting project in Kristin Nicholas’ book. I wanted a project that would use up what I have around but also had a simple stitch pattern I could just power through. She says you can take years to knit up this project, and you can, but I was hoping to have it done by summer’s end, so I can have a cleared out yarn closet.

I’m enjoying this project so much, I may crochet another stashbuster and finally make myself the Wooleater, which has been sitting in my Ravelry queue for a long time. Both of these projects are especially good for stashbusting, because you don’t need specific amounts of any one color. You cann lay out all the yarn you’d like to use up, organize it by how you like the colors together, and get started.

What have you done to destash? Please share your favorites with me!

My Summer To-Learn List

I realized the other day, as I was cleaning and putting things away around the house, that I have been saving up things I want to learn. I bought a few books that I haven’t worked through yet, and some supplies I haven’t touched yet. I decided to make a list of techniques and projects I want to work on this summer, and to start working on them, one by one.

  1. Sew a quilt. Ever since I first saw Kaffe Fassett’s work, then met him, then devoured his books, I have wanted to try quilting. I don’t need to make a masterpiece, but I do want to learn how to do it and to use the fabric I picked out way back when.
  2. Brioche. I’ve seen various magazines feature amazing work using this technique, but I have yet to learn how to do it and experiment with it. This is one of those techniques I have an unread book for, so I plan to work through the book and at least knit a few swatches so I can get the feel of it.
  3. Entrelac. Again, have the book, just haven’t cracked it open yet. Because I love to play with color, I have high hopes that both brioche and entrelac will benefit me as a designer.
  4. Yoke sweater. I really love the look of these sweaters, but have never made one. They are such a traditional piece of knitwear, and yet still look so modern. The tradition of knitting and crochet is one of my favorite things to read about, so I think it’s time I celebrated that by learning how to construct a traditional yoke.
  5. More Tunisian crochet. I finished my first Tunisian project last summer, but this is still something I would like to explore further. I’ve seen people do beautiful things with it, and I’d very much like to expand my familiarity with it.
  6. Knitting and crocheting with beads. This, for whatever reason, has been a technique that has eluded me. A few years ago, when my mom got remarried, I wanted to make her a beautiful Lily Chin beaded shawl. The crochet hook I had been using to try to pull the beads through the stitches was too big, and the whole thing became such a headache, I scrapped it and just bought her a present. (I know, that’s the chicken way out, but time constraints did me in.) I learned the most important thing, however, which is that you MUST have the right tools. You must also be willing to spend some money because beads aren’t cheap, and unless you’re only using a few as accents, you need alot. However, I am ready to try it again, and hopefully this time, I will at least end up with a completed swatch or two.

Tell me, what are your summer projects and plans?

Designers Guild Looking Glass

Last night, I was finally reading the book I’ve saved until summer, and was surfing around looking for a place to buy a certain kind of dye when I stumbled across this site. (This always happens when I’m trying to find something specific.) It is a gorgeous site, filled with inspiration and color palettes, and I’m filing it away for future reference, even if I’m not working on house projects. I’m sure you will especially enjoy the international Window Display Competition posts – at least, I did! If, like me, just looking at fabrics and colors gives you the same thrill some people get walking into a candy store, you will want to bookmark this for a time when you can sit and surf. Enjoy!


This is not the usual thing I write about, but sometimes things are just so cool, I allow myself to go a little off-topic. We have tons of Legos at our house. My son can build for hours with them, and I’m quite partial to them, as I prefer to see him building with Legos instead of watching TV or playing video games. I’ve always loved the look of traditional Legos – the primary colors and how they look stacked against each other. It always reminds me of Piet Mondrian’s paintings. Tim Gunn has been quoted many times saying that he used to be an avid Lego builder, and it stands to reason Legos are a great outlet for creative types. I came across this link to make edible Legos, which is something I’d love to make as a surprise for my son during the summer. And since this is a yarn-centered blog, if you absolutely must KNIT your Legos, here is a free pattern. Welcome to summer my friends!


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