Mitered Squares and Op Art

I have always had a thing for optical illusion. Those collages people do with thousands of tiny photos fascinate me, as does Op Art and Impressionism. When you look close, you see all the individual elements, and when you step back, you see the big picture. It follows then, in knitting, that I’m a sucker for mitered square projects. I’ve made mitered square blankets in the past and am currently working on this one. I would love to replicate some of Li Shurui’s work next. Her body of work is highly focused on the plays of light and color, which of course, speaks to me on yet another whole level. Many of her paintings look like photos that have been manipulated with filters, but in reality, they are acrylic paintings. Enjoy!

Gifts to Make

I like to do a little holiday crafting for my closest loved ones. I learned the hard way to be selective so I don’t overwhelm myself and turn something that should be fun and loving into added holiday stress. I’ve moved away from seeing how many gifts I can crank out toward picking one or two stunning projects to give to the most special people in my life. But however you like to plan out your gifting, a word to the wise: START NOW!

Aside from the giving, the most fun part (in my opinion) is figuring out what to make! So for all of you who support me and read my blog, here is my little holiday gift to you! A list of the coolest patterns I’ve been bookmarking all year! I hope you enjoy browsing the list, and if you make any of these, please share your photos of the finished pieces because I would love to see!

  1. Being the art lover that I am, and Op Art being one of my favorite movements, this blanket speaks to me even though I don’t currently have anyone to make a baby blanket for! But I’m thinking it could also be a pretty awesome throw. Check out the pattern on Ravelry to see what other people came up with in color combos!
  2. This sweater is something a teenager with a forward fashion sense would enjoy. Big prints and images on sweaters and sweatshirts are very popular, so if you are looking for something for the hard-to-please teen category, this is definitely NOT grandma’s knitting!
  3. A classic go-to gift, fingerless mitts with a twist!
  4. Socks are so much work, but such a lovely gift for someone truly dear to you who is worth all the knitting time! For an extra-special pair for your extra-special someone, I recommend anything from Ravelry’s Tour De Sock, but I especially love Fields of Flowers.
  5. Technically, Minion things would be listed as children’s gifts, but I know plenty of adults who would enjoy having these too. Crocheted items usually work up quickly, so if you need a gift in a hurry, or a fun gag gift for a white elephant party, Minions are a fun option.
  6. I’ve never done Tunisian entrelac, so I have no idea how complicated (or not) this project would be, but it is so fantastic, I had to include it! Plus, I would love to learn how to do this, so I consider it a gift to myself AND the person who gets the FO. However, just given the size, I would recommend starting this gift this year in preparation for gifting next year.
  7. A tote is always useful! I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t have a use for this bag!
  8. Shawls are always a lovely gift, and this designer has a beautiful variety.
  9. And last, but not least, the classic holiday gift: a scarf. But not just any scarf – why do boring rib when you could explore the magic of illusion knitting?

I hope you enjoy the ideas I found. I tried to link to the original source of each pattern, but if you would like to see color ideas or projects other people have completed, these can all be looked up on Ravelry. Happy holiday gifting!

Two Artists

It is unfortunate that when I was in art school, we did not spend much time studying current artists. Of course I love the classics, but Jackson Pollock was probably about as recent as we came. My friend and I spent Friday touring Expressionism in Germany and France: From Van Gogh to Kandinsky at LACMA and were talking about how sad it is that some of these talented and now-famous artists never lived to be valued in their own time. Van Gogh created a few thousand works, but only sold one in his lifetime. I certainly do believe in studying the classics, but I would like to show more support to current artists by visiting their gallery shows when possible, even if I can’t afford to buy their works. Here are two of my recently-found favorites, one of whom is local to California.

Mark Grotjahn – especially love his Butterfly series!

Damien Hirst – I love pop and op art, so I relate to his Spot series and also his Spin Paintings.