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July Washcloth July 27, 2008

Posted by barn owl in knitting, washcloths.
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Whooaaa…been neglecting this blog horribly

I’ve decided to expand my knitting skills by making a washcloth each month, and here is the entry for July:


“Figure Eights” pattern, from an old Leisure Arts publication, Nifty Knits Dishcloths.

I used US size 7 needles, and Lily Sugar ‘n’ Cream cotton yarn, in Sage Green.


More Recycled Plastic Tote Bags February 3, 2008

Posted by barn owl in crochet, recycling.
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foxy bags

I think I’ve escaped the Winter Solstice holiday mode of creating these tote bags as gifts. I think. Now I’d like to sell a few, especially since I have several new pipelines for plastic bags of different colors.

Nothing like a cheap-as-dirt crochet hobby, and it keeps the immortal buggers out of the landfill and off the landscape….

Needlepoint Shorebirds December 28, 2007

Posted by barn owl in needlepoint, shorebirds.


I’m working on a series of needlepoint pillow tops for my bedroom, which is painted in pale blue-gray. I also wanted projects that I could take on airplanes, without running afoul of security measures that prohibit scissors and sharp needles.

The first design is a European Oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus, in flight, worked in tent stitch. The background is diagonal mosaic stitch. I’ve used inexpensive acrylic yarn throughout, to reduce costs and to increase durability and washability.

Crocheted Sea Urchin December 8, 2007

Posted by barn owl in coral reefs, crochet, echinoderms.
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sea urchin

Embryos of the sea urchin S. purpuratus have been used in classical developmental biology experiments, and continue to serve as an excellent system for addressing evolutionary and molecular developmental biology questions. I crocheted the sea urchin above from inexpensive variegated acrylic yarn, to provide the stiffness necessary for the “test”. I added beads, in the characteristic 5-fold radial symmetry, as well as yarn spines. The urchin was a prize for the top-scoring student in one of the classes I teach.

Background is a tote bag crocheted from plastic bag yarn.

Free Burma October 5, 2007

Posted by barn owl in Free Burma.
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Free Burma!

Armadillo Fabric Collage September 30, 2007

Posted by barn owl in collage, embroidery, Texas wildlife.
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I’ve been working on and off creating this armadillo fabric collage, with beads as embellishments. I plan to add flowers to the prickly pear cacti in the background, as well as a few butterflies. Maybe an embroidered tarantula in the foreground, and it will be complete.

I’m also working on a quilted wall-hanging, using a batik zebra piece…to go with the giraffes in the living/dining room area.

Litterflies Journal Quilt September 1, 2007

Posted by barn owl in collage, embroidery, quilting, recycling.
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Last November I attended the International Quilt Festival in Houston with my mom, my sister, and a friend; it was very inspirational. We all loved the extensive display of journal quilt pages, each about 8″ x 11″. I decided to start a series of journal quilt pages with an environmental theme, using issues of litter, recycling, pollution, and residential development as starting points.

The first piece I’ve finished counterposes the abundance of butterfly species we have here in South Texas, with the curse of litter that creates eyesores and health hazards in the landscape. I created butterfly shapes with plastic bag scraps, twist ties, aluminum foil, and gum wrappers, and added beads and embroidery as embellishments. The background is a hand-dyed, sun-printed piece of fabric created by my mom. Initially I tried quilting the piece in an embroidery hoop, which was a big mistake; when I switched to quilting without the stretcher, my stitches became smaller and more evenly spaced.


In the background is one of my tote bags, crocheted from cut-up plastic carrier bags and newspaper wraps.

Oikos Archipelago August 20, 2007

Posted by barn owl in collage, ecosystems.
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Back when I was more active in the mail art community, I started creating an alternate world called the Oikos Archipelago. Each island in the Archipelago would represent a different ecosystem, ruled or protected by an appropriate animal. I started to carve print blocks for the ruler of each island ecosystem, and to develop faux postage for mail art swaps.

Well, I didn’t get very far…only managed to carve the print blocks for Halcyon (a Kingfisher) and Lichen (a Caribou). I did finish the collage for Halcyon, and sold it to a colleague at the university art show:

halcyon kingfisher

I have a drawing finished for Pinch (a Fiddler Crab)-perhaps I should transfer it to a block and start carving again. Lichen the Caribou makes a nice Winter Solstice card image.

Crocheted Dorid Nudibranch August 11, 2007

Posted by barn owl in crochet, molluscs.
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I’ve made several of these dorid nudibranchs, using the hyperbolic crochet technique to produce the waviness; they don’t correspond to any particular species, but rather provide a way to experiment with different types of yarns, color combinations, and beads. Most of them are about 8″ long. Because of the colors, I call this one the Mardi Gras Nudibranch-the multicolored yarn is Mosaic Twist rum raisin, from Yarn Bee (on sale for $0.99 at Michaels!).

mardi gras nudibranch

Price = US$15.00

One and a half hours of Iyengar yoga this morning, with lots of different poses and work on breathing into different regions of the back and ribcage in each, as preparation for pranayama. Followed by a light lunch, and then swimming at the natatorium for 1.0 miles, alternating breast stroke and crawl. Now it’s time to tend to the whole wheat pizza crust dough, which I plan to top with fresh tomatos, basil, olives, red onion, and goat cheese.

Fish Dish Towel August 10, 2007

Posted by barn owl in embroidery, fish.
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My friends A and G in California have a Hawai’i/tropics theme going on in their kitchen/living room area (yeah, at least a few of my friends eschew giant energy-gobbling showcase houses, as do I), so I embroidered a couple tropical fish on a dish towel for them. Just simple chain stitch, with several strands of colorfast (I checked) DMC embroidery floss:

Fish towel

And I am so incoherent after 5 hours of hunting trochlear nerves and explaining those-who-exit-from-the-jugular-foramen that I think this post will have to end. I’m surprised I could even copy-paste a Photobucket link.