Yesterday, I learned a new word, courtesy of Australian macrame artist Honi Roberts (@knottedhoney on IG). "Macrastinate."
"Macrastinate... delay or postpone action;
I feel like last week I did the opposite of "macrastinate." I ignored a project that was giving me the fits. I was stuck, didn't know where to go next. So I do what I do when I want to avoid something... I went on an organizing frenzy and cleaned out my closet and drawers. Next on my organizing task list is all my and the kid's craft supplies. But this is Macrame Monday...
I finally did come back to the that project. A macrame wreath inspired by a wintery white wreath I saw on Instagram or Facebook (I've got to start Pinning these inspirations so I can give proper credit. If you know who I'm talking about, leave a comment). Did she need fancy jewelry or flowers? Turns out all this lady needed was a haircut. The solar eclipse must have found its way into my subconscious and affected the way I trimmed the rope. I call her "Eclipse."
I've become more interested in creating macrame jewelry. Wearable art. I am not one to wear a lot of bling or "in your face" jewelry, if I wear any at all. My personal style leans to the simple and minimalist. Lately, though, I have found myself drawn to organic elements like wood beads, copper, and fiber. So one night after the kid went to bed, I made this beauty.
I never thought mustard and lavender would make such a lovely combination. I love mustard, but the color has never looked good on me. Lavender is one of my favorite colors (and plant and scent). The delicate lavender paired with the punch of mustard looks beautiful against a white or black tee.
Finally, I began practicing knots from Lise Silva's Knot: A Book. I successfully made a cloud knot and a switchback knot. I plan to turn them both into necklaces.
Now I am off to "macrastinate." I can't wait to show you what I started yesterday. What have you been working on? Show me, and share your instagram page in the comments.
Earlier this week, I shared with you the almost-fail that was my work table (part 1, part 2). My studio is still half a disaster of a garage, but it's getting there. By the time I get the garage cleaned out and organized, the weather will have turned and I will turn my attention to creating an indoor studio.
Knot: A Book is written, designed, and illustrated by fiber artist Lise Silva. Her large-scale hangings and jewelry are beautiful and otherworldly.. She sees knots as meditation.
Like many of you, I have tried a variety of meditation practices and none seemed right for me. My thoughts would continue to spiral. And, quite honestly, it was boring, and I felt no more relaxed than before. Sleepy, maybe, but not relaxed. Once I found macrame, I found a way to meditate and create. The repetitive movements, the feel of the fibers, the beginnings and endings. My mind became quiet. I became more mindful of my surroundings and actions.
Lise Silva's book contains lovely illustrations and simple-to-follow instructions for 14 knots, including the True Lover's Knot and the Rising Sun Knot.
I've had a few works in progress this week, but I've reached a bit of a block. So I will set those aside and begin anew. I have some plans for macrame necklaces.
Stuff I Love
Like many moms and dads, keeping my coffee warm in the morning is a big problem. I have had mornings where I reheated my coffee in the microwave a few times before even taking my first sip.
Then I bought this Ello travel mug from Target. Sure it wasn't a favorite mug like my beloved yet broken Jonathan Adler utopia mug, but it keeps my coffee warm, nay, hot!
I found the perfect dress, y'all. The. Perfect. Dress. notPERFECTLINEN is a family business based in Lithuania. Everything is made by a person and not a machine. The colors are warm and earthy. And the linen is soft and perfectly imperfect. I ordered a sleeveless linen dress earlier in the summer. It was worth the wait. By adding a long-sleeved tee underneath or a sweater on top, I can wear the dress into fall. Add some wool leggings and it's good for winter. I love it so much, I ordered two more. I wish I had a photo to share. Keep a look out on my Instagram page.
Another incredible buy this week is a Danish secretary. I call him Mads. Mads is made from a gorgeous warm teak wood (that matches the wall a little too much, but I don't care). I still have to style and re-do the art on the wall. I can finally hang my Lisa Congdon and Ryan Berkley prints. The black-and-white painting on the top of the secretary is by the kid, from her dark period.
When we left off, I had just purchased the materials needed to build a table.
Step 1: Stain the tabletop.
I lightly sanded the surface of the plywood, then applied a layer of stain. Allowing the tabletop to dry overnight, I then lightly sanded again, wiped with tack cloth to remove dust, and stained again. This part was easy.
Now, the dilemma of the other side. The unstained side. Do I half-ass it and leave unstained? I am lazy and impatient. An idea comes to me. Let the kid paint the underside. That way, she can be involved in the process and I don't have to wait two more days to complete the table. The one mistake I did make was having the kid use tempera paint and not acrylic. Still, it's good enough for me.
Step 2: Put together the pipe base
Assembling the base was surprisingly easy. Too easy, in fact.
I attached the tees between the 30" and 10" pipe. I attached the 10" end to each flange and the 30" end to a cap (I should have done the reverse). I then attached an 18" pipe to the tees to connect two legs and repeated on the other side. Ta-da!
Step 3: Attach base to top
Only one more step and we are good to go. My work table will be done and the creative magic can begin. (insert screech sound effect here)
Not so fast.
I found a simple stool at the Reuse Center (one of my new favorite places for basket hunting). It's too short, only it's not. The table is too damn tall. I want to be able to stand and work but not all the time. It's also a bit wobbly. Because it's too damn tall. And because I didn't add any support pipe along the length. What do I do?
Feel free to skip the next paragraph as I ramble and rant about my many subsequent trips to various hardware stores.
I return to Lowe's and return the 10" pipes and exchange them for I don't even know what at this point. Nope. I return to Lowe's for more pipe. This has quickly become a running joke of "that's what she said" between Lefty and me. I bring the kid with me to Lowe's this time, and a lovely older woman compliments me on her behavior (#humblebrag). As a frazzled mom dragging my 4 year old through a big store, I really needed to hear that. Thank you, kind lady. Alas, this trip was also unsuccessful. I finally think I have it figured out. Where do I go? You guessed it. Lowe's. They have everything I need, except one goddamned pipe. I head down the street to Home Depot. No pipe. Time to pick the kid up from school. Drag the kid to another hardware store. The kind, and quite amused, worker at Agway suggested I just have my pipe cut to fit. If I give him the measurements, he can do it. Do I have the measurements? No. Are you still reading? You really can just skip ahead. I won't mind. After arriving at home, I enlist the kid's help to disassemble the table. I have enough pipe; certainly I can figure something out. One more trip the next day for 4" pipe. The kid helps put the table back together and ta da! No, really, this time. Ta-da!
Step 4: Use the table
Thank the DIY gods above (or whoever you pray to). It is not perfect; I may tinker with it in the future; but the table is done enough. And isn't that the case with a lot of our life. We just need to be enough. Done enough. Good enough. Happy enough.
I couldn't take a very good photo of the completed desk because the other side of the garage is full of junk and bikes and snowblowers. But this little area is mine. I can sit at my desk, open the window, and look out into the backyard and "decompose," as Lefty says.
And I did it all by myself. Well, with a little help from my assistant the kid. She used her screwdriver like a pro. Proud of that kid.
I love to hear about your failed and almost-failed DIYs. How did you save/salvage them? How do decide when to scrap a project and start over? Share in the comments.
For the past few weeks, I have been cleaning out our garage to create a little corner to serve as my "art studio." My husband has reminded me that I will only be able to use this space for about 2, maybe 3, more months, and then it will be freezing for the next 6 months. Still I push forward, (And I have a plan for my "winter studio," but let's not get ahead of ourselves.)
In my studio, I needed a worktable. Something to use as a desk for blogging and also a spot to take photos of smaller works. A full studio tour will come later. For now, let's get to the table.
Since the space is, ahem, rustic, I needed something rustic and industrial-looking. I got the crazy idea that making my own table would be cheaper than buying one (not necessarily, I would soon learn), and it would make a good blog post. Since I began my venture into macrame, I've become more comfortable at the hardware store with trips to purchase copper pipe. What about a table made with pipes. So I googled pipe tables and found several DIYs, from House by Hoff, Designer Trapped, and Apartment Therapy. Looks simple enough. So I sketched a drawing and set off for Lowe's.
Of course, I brought measurements with me. Unfortunately I did not know what were the standard measurements for pipe and board. Learning as I go here. A year ago, I would have given up. Hardware stores made me itchy. But post-med me had her anxiety in check. I can do this. So...
I would return to Lowes (and Home Depot and Agway) several times before completing the table, which I am now sitting at. It is still not right, but it is close enough for now.
Join me tomorrow as I conclude the saga of my table.
Every Monday I will share with you the macrame projects I have in progress,
as well as other crafty or creative projects.
Last week I completed work on a medium-sized wall hanging. Using copper pipe I purchased at Lowe's and bright white 6mm cotton string from Niroma Studio, I used square knots and horizontal and diagonal half clove hitch knots. When I start a piece, I have a general idea of what I want to do, but I do not sketch out a pattern or design. And often what I originally planned becomes something else.
One evening I made a quickie little key fob. I need to do more simple projects with basic designs. I often find I fly off on an incoherent tangent when I start to get too experimental. Simple works for a reason. I've always preferred simp[e. Vanilla ice cream, chocolate cookies, jeans and a T. Just because something is simple does not mean it can't be beautiful. I need to remember this going forward with my macrame.
Of course, there are times when simple and experimental work amazingly. On Instagram, I saw Anna of Mannacrame create some lovely weavy type knots in the center of her pieces. Her work inspired me to try it for myself. I decided to use some variegated crochet yarn (Sugar N Cream from Michaels) on a gold hoop (also from Michaels). After weaving and twisting and rearranging the strings, I settled upon the work below. I don't think it needs any embellishment. The beautiful intertwined rainbow of colors works well on its own.
I know what you're thinking. This is only your second blog post. Why a "week in review" now? Well, I'll tell you. It's Friday, and it makes sense to do a week in review post on a Friday (Saturday if you want to get technical, but c'mon.). And a week in review is easy-ish. I don't have to think so much to generate ideas about my week. I have a lot of ideas about my week, but I will only share a few with you.
After several weeks, I finished a coiled rope basket that I made from clothesline and crochet yarn. About halfway through, I realized I should've been using a basket stitch, but I still like the end product. This was a simple project that I could work on with a 4 year old running rampage through the house.
I've also been working on a macrame wall hanging, using Niroma Studio cotton rope (the softest, loveliest rope) on a copper pipe. All that's left is the fringe, and then she'll be ready to photograph. Most of my process shots aren't great because I've been working in the foyer and there is little to no natural light.
Now about my actual craftspace. I dream of a day where I have my own little perfect studio. (A tiny house art studio, anyone?) For now, I make do with what I have. My current space includes a little sewing corner in the kid's playroom, the aforementioned foyer, and the garage, which I have been transforming into a space to make stuff (and hideout when I need some alone time).
I will post about the garage transformation another day, but here's a little update. Yesterday, the kid and I went to Lowe's for galvanized pipe and plywood to build a worktable. I've stained the wood, but must return to Lowe's to exchange pipe for different pipe. Once the table is complete, I'll share with you how I built it.
Read Watch Listen
I have been in a bit of a reading drought this summer. But, this week I read Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I needed to read something powerful and inspiring this week, and Adichie's book fit the bill. Every new parent should read this book. Every person should read this book. An excerpt:
Tell her that kindness matters. Praise her when she is kind to other people. But teach her that her kindness must never be taken for granted. Tell her that she, too, deserves the kindness of others. Teach her to stand up for what is hers.... because her consent is important. Tell her that if anything ever makes her uncomfortable, to speak up, to say it, to shout.
So I guess I should start…. For the past few weeks, I have been full of ideas for blog posts. But now when I actually sit down to begin, I'm not sure what to do. Is anyone going to read this? People might actually read this! Does anyone care what I have to say?
Only one way to find out. Begin.
My interest in macrame and other fiber arts began in Spring 2017. My daughter was almost 4, and I was no longer a "new mother." I was crawling out of the forest that is the early years of motherhood and needed to find an identity other than just "mom." Being a mom will always be the primary and most important aspect of who I am, but it is not the only part. Before becoming a mom, I was a librarian, an editor, a person who worked at an office 40 hours a week. That wasn't my life now, and I really had no interest in going back to that life. So now what do I do?
Before becoming a mom, I had enjoyed sewing, quilting, and cross-stitching. A baby was all-consuming. I missed making stuff. I missed that sense of accomplishment that comes with creating something with my own hands. I had been seeing little weavings on some of the mom/craft blogs I followed, and I thought that looks fun. So I made a little loom with cardboard. Then I bought a bigger loom from Melissa & Doug. I found that through weaving I was able to quiet my mind. It was meditative. The colors, the softness of the yarn, the repetitive over and under, over and under.
The Macrame Madness Begins
Then I was sitting on our back porch, weaving. The houses in our neighborhood are fairly close together. I could sit on the porch and be a few feet from neighbors backyard. Our neighbors are wonderful and I enjoy talking to them, but I am also a private, quiet person. An introvert. How could I create privacy on our porch without being totally alienating to our neighbors.
In comes macrame. I googled DIY privacy screens and found A Beautiful Mess's post on creating a macrame curtain. A-ha! I went to my local hardware store, bought some dowels and some clothesline, and went to work.
I fell in love. With macrame.
I continued to experiment. I scoured the internet and the library for more information on macrame and knots. I wanted to learn everything. I couldn't find any workshops locally, but I found Elsie Goodwin's (of Reform Fibers) YouTube page and then her Instagram, which led me to Niroma Studio, Sarah Harste, Woven Whale, and all the other wonderful women who create such beauty. I wanted to be a part of this world. I want to make these beautiful objects. So that's what I'm doing. I'm still learning, not just about the fiber arts, but also about social media and starting a craft business.
I know what you're thinking. Not another SAHM starting a mommy blog? Yes, I am a SAHM but this is not another mommy blog. So what is The Common Knot? The Common Knot is where I will take you along on the process of honing a new craft and turning that craft into a business. I will chart my progress from hobbyist to small business owner. And I'll probably share things like what I'm watching, what I'm loving, and what's really grinding my gears. This is totally new to me, and I'm not sure where I'm headed, but I want you to join me.
Who Am I?
modern punch is me, Becky, mom of a kid and a dingo, wife for 20 years. I grew up on the Florida coast watching rockets launch from my backyard. Now I live in the beautiful Finger Lakes amongst the wonderful weirdos and waterfalls.
All opinions are my own. I am not an expert. I am not paid for anything. I have only one rule: don't be an asshole.