Another knitted toy – baby penguin

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Just the other day, I was taking a walk and came upon a pile of granite along the side of  the walk.  I was minding my own business, when a slight rustling caught the corner of my right eye.  So, I turned to see what or who was trying to catch my attention.  And peering out from the shelter of the rocks was this little baby penguin…she couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old.  I wondered where the parental units were as adult penguins are known to be doting parents.  

Here’s a few interesting facts about penguins.  All penguins, male and female, share the incubation duties, with the exception of the Emperor Penguin.  All penguins are countershaded for camouflage, i.e., they have a white underside and a dark upper side.  A predator looking up from below (such as an orca, leopard seal or shark) has difficulty distinguishing between a white penguin belly and the reflective water surace.  The dark, usually black, plumage on their backs camouflages them from above.

Penguins either waddle on their feet or slide on their bellies across the snow, a movement called “tobogganing”, which conserves energy while moving quickly. They also jump with both feet together if they want to move more quickly or cross steep or rocky terrain. 

When mothers lose a chick, they sometimes attempt to “steal” another mother’s chick, usually unsuccessfully as other females in the vicinity assist the defending mother in keeping her chick. In some species, such as Emperor Penguins, young penguins assemble in large groups called crèches.

The baby penguin pattern is from an old 1981 book, which I will post in a few days. 

I’m going now, and hope the quote below brings a chuckle out of you 🙂

wcfields

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Yarn Therapy and Cancer

 crochetingyarnmousecrocheting

Earlier this year, I was browsing through a knitting magazine (Interweave Knits) and read a short article on how crocheting helped one nurse through her cancer treatment.  Was it the crocheting or working with yarn that helped in the healing process?  Or maybe it was the actual crafting of something from a ball of yarn/string?  Well, it’s actually all of these.  By engaging in the creative process, an area deep in the brain called the amygdala is stimulated to release endorphins and other neurotransmitters and hormones, thereby, reducing pain, promoting sensations of pleasure and comfort, bonding, and relaxation.  This relaxed state, then, triggers the immune system to function more efficiently.   

Studies have shown that people who are ill engaged in the creative process ,  have lowered blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and decreased need for pain medication.  For more information on creativity and healing, visit my other blog titled “Creativity in Healthcare“.  There’s alot of information there, so check it out.

And here’s the story from Interweave Knits (Spring) I mentioned a few paragraphs ago…

Boredom of seemingly enless hours of chemotherapy is almost as bad as the accompanying nausea and weaknessgrannysquares, according to one nurse diagnosed with cancer. “I couldn’t stand just sitting there doing nothing for hours on end…it was horrible.”  She took comfort with string and hook – crocheting afghan squares.  For this nurse, crocheting gave her a sense of normalcy, “I had something productive to do again, and when I got caught up manipulating the yarn, I could forget where I was and what I was really doing there.”  As her chemotherapy went on, her pile of afghan squares grew larger and she began feeling better.  “As the blanket got bigger, I got stronger…the chemo was doing its work and I was doing mine.” (Nurse undergoing chemotherapy in Hatboro, PA. Interweave Spring 2008; 13(1):24.

What I’m working on right now? 

cjA replica of my chocolate standard poodle, CJ, aka. Cowboy Junior.  Here’s a picture of the real C.J.   Of course, the knitted toy version is much smaller, more obedient, doesn’t stamp his front paws when he doesn’t get his way, and generally quieter. 

 

The yarn I’m using is Lionbrand Homespun Earth.

homespun-earth

It’s snowing…on wordpress!

I love the snow flurries available on this blog!  After the snowflakes melted from my eyes, I was quite surprised to find Mr. Frosty inside the house in front of a Christmas tree!  From his expression, he’s also very surprised!

mr-frosty

I found the Mr. Frosty knitting pattern a long time ago on the internet, and now is no longer available.  Since I really like this knitted toy, I will type it out for you, so check back in a few days to a week for the pattern… yes, it may be that long before I can put it on my blog…life tends to get in the way sometimes!

Fingerprint Portrait done!:)

In the previous post, I wrote about knitting fingerpuppets of the presidental candidates, Obama and McCain, and how the creative process led me to paint ‘fingerprint portraits’ of both people.  These fingerprint portraits are now in a gallery, and have received several commissioned fingerprint portraits.

Here’s an example of one.  The first image is the canvas with just the background painted – no ‘fingerprinting.’  The second (click on thumbnail for larger image) is the finished painting.  

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The portrait was commissioned by a Mom as a gift for her 13 year old daughter – it’s this young girl’s life story, so far… her favorite colors are lime green and turquoise, which I used for the background.  I love how the background came out – it’s cheerful, happy, sunny and textural. Email me if you want to commission or want more info on ‘Fingerprint Portraits’ at marti@martihand.com.

I found the cutest knitting site for knitted toys a few weeks ago at Mochimochiland, and knitted the 3 varieties of grass below – fescue, zoysia, and bermuda.  It’s fall here in Atlanta, and grass is growing strong!

grass

Fingerprint Portrait commission

contemplating_sm‘contemplating’ by Marti Hand. I did this sculpture in early 2008 working from a live model.

A few posts ago, I knitted finger puppets of the presidental candidates, Obama and McCain.  During the creative process of knitting the finger puppets, the idea of painting fingerprint portraits of Obama and McCain evolved.  Scroll down a few posts and see the puppets and fingerprint portraits. 

From that ‘aha’ moment, a few people have commissioned fingerprint portraits as gifts.  The portraits are unique in that they are a visual and written story of that person’s life, whether she/he is 100 years old, 12 years old, 44 years old or newborn. 

Check back soon for a look at a commissioned fingerprint portrait – I’m sure it will be verrrrrry interesting!  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll take pictures of the portrait in progress…

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dishing up fingerless mittens

fingerless-mitts

I’ve been busy dishing up fingerless mittens in this wonderfully simple and pleasing pattern of cables.  Here’s the link for this lovely pattern

As I posted a few weeks ago, I looooove fingerless mittens – so easy, fast, useful, practical and fun!  I am planning to start a victorian pair of fingerless mittens with beading, as an experiment and to challenge myself.

 

And now I leave you with this quote from Rumi…

rumi

Have you figured out your “particular work?”

Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1272) is the Sulfi mystic and poet best known for his poems expressing the ecstatsies and mysteries of love in all its forms-erotic, platonic, divine.

Knitting and art

paton-chunky-tweed

My first post described the similarities between knitting and creating a painting.  The act of knitting also helps in the thinking process that goes into the initial phases of a painting, at least for me.  To begin a painting usually entails 3 elements: reading, imagery, and thinking.  These three components, then, swirl in my mind/brain during a ‘percolation’ phase, which can last a few days to months.  Then, I get the ‘aha’ moment, and I know how I want the new painting to be.

So, how does knitting fit into the ‘percolation’ phase of a painting?      

The quietness of knitting, the background noise of a low-volumed TV, repetiveness of knitting and purling, and the relaxed state of mind relaxes the entire physical body.  It’s as if the body is breathing a big, long and deep sigh – ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  Knitting is soothing for the mind, body, spirit and emotions.  And that is what I need, i.e., a relaxed state, to think about starting a painting.  At the moment, my mind and brain is in the ‘percolation’ phase of a new painting, so check back soon.  In the-mean-time, join me at my other blog Creativity in Healthcare and website Marti Hand.com – see you there!

Btw, the yarn in the serving bowl is Paton’s Chunky Tweed, and this is what I’m having for dinner tonight 🙂 – Yummy~