Category: design

kira makes charts

knitting chart

I’d much rather be working on this than working. Lace and cable knit shawl design!

Though, after thinking more about what I want this dream-shawl to look like, I think I am going to try to make a “simpler” shawl to start with. Since I haven’t designed anything before, and I don’t want to be overly ambitious and bite off more than I can chew.

This second-but-now-first shawl is more geometric than organic/botanical. I have been thinking about either offering it as a for-purchase Ravelry download or trying to submit it for publication somewhere.

Downside of publications is that I can’t show any pictures of it online, if I want to submit it. Boooo… But, it would be amazing if it was accepted for publication.

And, if it’s not accepted, then I can post all the pictures I want, and offer it as a self-published pattern. Independent knit designer, what?


kira makes a visit to the asylum

I received a mass of files from my very old computer circa 2004-2006; it’s like a weird nostalgic treasure-trove of projects from a decade ago. Most of the images are so tiny and low-res, or odd filetypes, or don’t even open anymore.




I had an interactive digital portfolio from back in the day (doesn’t actually show a lot of work; the project was actually to make the interactive aspect); I wish I could do a walkthrough of it, perhaps if I’m ever able to open it (it was made in Macromedia Director… I know, right?)

It was abandoned insane asylum themed, complete with crows cawing, electricity crackling, and mysterious creaking doors. Digitally scribble-drawn scenescapes, spattered with grit and grime, and your choice of 4 appropriately eerie songs to accompany your stay. A suspicious-looking service elevator transports you to the different levels of the asylum, featuring small galleries of photography and videos.


The whole ever-so-spooky thing kind of makes me giggle now… but also makes me wistful for the days that I actually MADE things. I need to squeeze more time for making things into my life. Photography, stop motion videos, animation, sculpture, drawing… I miss actually doing stuff.

Plus, I found some old files from when I was first learning 3D Maya (oh dear, that was a decade ago). I was making chess pieces based on the zodiac symbols. I remember I had some sort of system for which symbols I chose for the pieces… but I think the reasoning behind assigning Pisces, is evident in the filename: FISHOP. *bah dum tchiss*


kira makes ombré French knot pendants

Now that the holiday and end-of-year busyness is over, I can post some photos I’ve been sitting on. I made these ombré French knot pendants as winter gifts for several people, and now that the gifts have been given to the recipients, I can post the photos online. Woo.

French Knots 01

I started by tracing the inner edge of the pendant frame on some cloth and dividing each into 3 or 4 sections, depending on how many colors I was working with (3 shades for the orange and blue pendants, 4 for the purple and green). These lines gave me a rough idea of where to change to the next shade of embroidery thread.

French Knots 02

The pendants were made by filling in each segment with French knots. Working a few knots in each color above and below the divider line made for a more blended ombré (the exception being the blue pendant, as the shades were more diverse and has a more segmented look).

French Knots 03

After the embroidery for each was complete, I removed the fabric from the hoop and carefully cut out each pendant piece, leaving enough of an edge of fabric to wrap around the frame pendant piece. The frame pendants were easy to work with, assembling quickly and held in place with 3 prongs on the back of the frame.

French Knots 04

Finished piece. The green one looks like moss.

French Knots 05

All of the pendants, together.

This was good practice in working French knots. At the start of the project, I wasn’t sure if I had difficulty with French knots (they seem to be tricky for many people), but definitely have a lot more experience with French knots now! Haha… For anyone wanting to create a similar project, or simply improve their French knot skills, there is an excellent tutorial at Sublime Stitching.


kira makes Snail Mail My Email (backdated post)

This post was saved in my drafts and published, so here it is:

As I mentioned at the end of the last post, I am participating in this round of Snail Mail My Email.


The first request was simply one word, so I decided to cross-stitch it on some Aida cloth before popping it in an envelope and sending it through the mail.


kira makes ponderings

For most people, the big question isn’t “when did you start drawing?” but “when did you stop drawing?”
— from “The Cognitive Benefits of Doodling”

I haven’t posted many words here lately. In fact, it’s mostly just been images for the #drawlloween challenge. I have been participating fairly steadily, only delayed a few times posting here, since I’ve mainly been posting them in the shared album on Facebook.

The challenge has definitely gotten me thinking. Particularly about my current blank page phobia.

The first drawing I made small on a whim. A tiny ghost. Because I didn’t want to spend a lot of time making an elaborate ghost, and the typical “ghost” shape is a little boring. And tiny is cute! So I got out the smallest tipped pen at my work desk (Micron 005) and easily doodled a tiny little ghost on a pad of scrap paper, snapped a picture with my iPhone using a penny for scale and uploaded it as-is. Quick. Simple. Done.

The next day, the prompt was devil. Thinking the same method, I doodled a tiny devil in just a few seconds, snapped the picture, uploaded it, and was done. Easy.

Drawlloween sheets
(For reference, each sheet is only 4.25″ x 7″)

Sometimes, the doodle would end up wonky; attempting to put too much detail in a small space, lines overlapping in confusing ways, etc. But since the drawings were so small a quick to do, scribbling them out (or just moving to a different part of the same sheet of paper), and giving it another go was not an issue. Hardly a thought passed, apart from, “Ah, let me try that again.”

Unlike when I am trying to draw “for real”… I get too serious, agonizing over everything, holding it as precious. Worrying about if/when I mess up. All of this to the point where I become paralyzed with the anticipation of ruining it before I even lay pen to paper. I don’t know what I think will happen… the worst case really is that I scrap the drawing and start again fresh.

But in my mind, there is the fear.

Fear that turns every small worry into something huge. That if I fail at something, then I am a failure. Fear that turns each penstroke into a symbol of my worthiness. Fear of the judgement of others, even if no one else actually sees the work. Fear of being discovered a fraud (see imposter syndrome). How can I call myself an artist, if I am no good?

Well, sillyhead, how can you call yourself an artist, if you don’t make any art, altogether?

Which brings up another writing I read recently, “You Can’t Run From Yourself Forever”

“In that moment, I also felt the disengenousness of being an artist that didn’t make art.”

I know the solution is to just do it. Just start. Somewhere, anywhere. It doesn’t matter where. Just take the first step.

These tiny doodles are like the tiniest of baby steps. But at least it’s in the right direction.


kira makes mermaid (in-progress)

I usually hate sharing works-in-progress (unless they are crafts-related, like knitting or embroidery).

When I was in school, my video instructor exempted me from having to show my works-in-progress; at the time, I was very grateful, since I hated showing my work before I had reached the point of “completion” (art is never really “complete”.. it just reaches a point where you’re satisfied enough to stop tweaking it to perfection), but ultimately it was a disservice in terms of when I entered the “working world” and had to keep clients up-to-date on projects. I am still very reluctant to share incomplete works, but I figure that’s a good thing to try to get over.

So, screenshot of latest thing I am working on:

mermaid, in-progress

She had been floating around in my brain (hah, floating.. accidental pun) for the last week or so. Not sure why. I suppose this mermaid is born of the ache of longing and waiting and dreams, and enduring.

I remember Aubli + I had, at one point, years ago, discussed the original story of The Little Mermaid, where after her transformation, each step felt like walking on sharp knives, and the excruciating pain suffered with each movement. And oh, how the prince loved to watch her dance. So she would. And at the end, her sisters trading their long hair for a knife to kill the prince and drip his blood on her feet so she could stay human; and refusing, she dissolved into seafoam and light.

There was another mermaid story, actually written by Aubli in 2004, that also has had a place in my brain since then:

    once there lived a mermaid who was inexplicably born into the middle of a desert. the spirits of the desert were baffled at it, and did not know what it was, but waited to see what it would do. and the mermaid did not know what she was either, but she dreamed of oceans and seas and great expanses of water.

    she told the spirits of the desert about her dreams, and the spirits replied, “this is a wasteful thing to dream of. a place where the entire ground is covered with water? you are an extravagant and wanton creature.” but still they watched it, to see what it would do.

    as time went by, the mermaid’s fins grew dry and wilted, and she began to cry, because this is a reflex of mermaids. left in an barren place they cry themselves rivers upon which they escape to the sea. the mermaid did not know this, but she cried nonetheless, and the water began to puddle around her.

    the spirits of the desert are always thirsty, and at this they drew closer. but when they drank the water and felt its taste they drew back in surprise.

    “this water is salty, and salty water is worse than no water at all! now we are thirstier than before… what a horrible creature you are, to make such a thing!”

    and the spirits whispered to the winds and the sands, and the mermaid’s tears soaked into the ground and evaporated into the air, and were soon gone completely.

    and so the mermaid lay there, and her tail grew dry and scaly, and writhed weakly upon the sand. and she wondered why, try as she might, she never seemed to get anywhere at all.

    but every so often, deserts have flash floods.

    and that is all…