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The Virtual World of Jake Rowell | CTN 2017

Aloha all! For this blog post, I’m going to deviate from my normal yarn/knitting focus, and I’ll be writing about a great convention that hubby, Jake Rowell, and I participated in the weekend of November 17 – 19th. CTN Animation Expo has been running for 9 years in the Marriott Convention Center in nearby Burbank, California and could very well be the animation industry’s top convention.

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CTN Expo centers around wonderful panels from leading experts in the entertainment industry, demonstrations on various artistic techniques, recruiting efforts from many studios, as well as a venue for artists to sell their books, prints, etc.

Over the years it has encompassed much more than traditional animation and has included CG animation, interactive games industry, and this year – the virtual reality medium. Jake was invited to share the award-winning projects that he has worked on: theBlu (produced by WEVR) & Jon Favreau’s Gnomes & Goblins (produced by WEVR and Reality One). We had a special venue designated as the ‘VR Room’ in Parlor 131 of the Burbank Marriott Hotel.

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Welcome to The Virtual World of Jake Rowell

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We started setting up on Wednesday, November 15th. Steve Galle and Ramiro Duran of WEVR were kind enough to help with the VR Cube installation while we worked with the furniture delivery & artwork set-up.

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We went well into the evening hours for calibration and testing of the system. The system uses 2 sensors (called Lighthouses) mounted at the top of the cube, across from each other. In this photo, one of the sensors is mounted in the right top corner of the cube – looks like a square black box.

On Thursday, we worked on more preparations and in the evening Jake and I were invited to a VIP Event to kick off the CTN Festivities.

This year, the presentation was with animation producer Don Hahn, director/animator Glen Keane and legendary basketball player extraordinaire, Kobe Bryant. Kobe and Glen worked on an animated short film, Dear Basketball, based on a poem Kobe wrote during his final season with the Los Angeles Lakers. A poignant and honest tribute to a sport and world he loved so much, to a mind and spirit that would not quit, and to a body that had driven too many miles with too many injuries.

Here’s the link to the short I found on youtube with Kobe Bryant narrating to John Williams conducting the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl earlier this year (yeah, that sentence has way too many wow factors in it . . . )!

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And then we were off and running! Friday started with a bang and I met with Registration each subsequent morning to find out what slots were taken. They handed them out first come, first served and we sold out each day.  By Sunday morning, we were sold out before I even got to the Registration table at 8:30am! We had people stopping by to add their name to the standby list, and word-of-mouth had spread that by Sunday the list had more names than we were able to show. Wow – just wow . . .

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We were thrilled to have Lead Artist, Eric Foos, who worked on the Gnomes & Goblins Preview, fly out from his home state of Ohio to work with us on the first day. Eric had never attended CTN before and was truly inspired by the art, artists & energy of the expo.

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We loved seeing people’s reactions to being in VR and the projects – many of whom didn’t know what to expect. We opened each session by explaining what roomscale VR was and what to expect during the projects. We told them this was THEIR time to experience VR and ask questions of the director and the crew who worked on it.

People LOVED having one-on-one personalized time with Jake and the crew. They asked questions while in the headset and many stayed for a few minutes afterwards for more conversation about how they can get into the industry, technical aspects of the projects (UnReal? Unity? Refresh/Frame Rate?), how to monetize these projects and more. My favorite reaction was from a European man who was so speechless after the session that it took him a few minutes to compose the words to tell us how awesome it was.

Then, each ticketed guest received a sealed special bag with some swag from Jake (signed prints from AstroBoy, Call of Duty or Superman Returns!) as well as signed posters from theBlu and G&G.

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One of the videos we had looping on the monitor:

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We had evening time set aside for our friends and colleagues, again, many of whom had never done roomscale VR. CTN was a great way to re-connect with our friends – some of whom we hadn’t seen in years! (click/hover over the photos to see names)

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theBlu and G&G Producer Max Geiger & Jake
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Lead Artist Gennady Babichenko, Creative Lead Neel Kar, Neel’s wife Camilla Kydland, Christina (me) & Design Director Nghia Lam

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On a related note, this summer Jake has honored to be selected to be one of the featured artists in “The Artist Within: Book 2” by Author/Photographer Greg Preston! Greg was also here at CTN and had his “hot-off-the-presses” book available for sale.

Just a little history: about 10 years ago, Greg published his first book that showcased renowned artists in their studios. For this edition, Greg has over 100 amazing artists and he visited our home this summer to photograph Jake. We were so excited to see the book and had it on our swag table for folks to look through.

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On Sunday,  CTN founder Tina Price and Greg Preston organized an amazing book-signing that had over 20 of the featured artists in attendance! I believe I heard it was the largest book signing event ever at CTN. Here’s a group photo taken by fellow featured artist, Michael Peraza (front row, second from left). Michael and Patty (front row, 2nd & 3rd from left) are featured on pages 188-189 of the book. Group photo is used with permission.

Jake was seated in the front row, second from right (Greg Preston is standing behind him in the red shirt).

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Jake was seated next to incredible artist William Wray (pages 254-255) who was kind enough to join us for lunch afterwards. We learned that William worked on Space Jam with Christina back in 1996! Small world, huh?

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Both William and Jake got to meet legendary artist Drew Struzan (pages 236-237) at the book signing. If you’ve ever seen the iconic movie posters for the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future and Harry Potter franchises then you’ve seen Drew’s artwork.

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Also on Sunday, CTN Founder Tina Price came by to check out the VR Room!

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By Monday morning, the event had ended and we were back in the room to tear down. Funny how things tear down much faster than they are set up!

Whew – what an amazing weekend! We want to extend our gratitude to the following people for making our first CTN experience so memorable:

Tina Price, founder – CTN

Emily Chang, talent coordinator – CTN

Nic, Tylie, Kara, Ron, Mario and the rest of the CTN/Marriott Staff in Section 14/15 who checked in on us daily, helped us with anything we needed, and basically were beyond awesome. Many many thanks.

The amazing artists, developers & crew who helped us with the VR Room and the entire weekend event: Nghia Lam, Steve Galle, Ramiro Duran, Eric FoosMax Geiger, Jon Finch, Mauricio Hoffman, Neel Kar, Gennady BabichenkoDaniyal Mirza, & Kathleen Rendon

Neville Spiteri, CEO & Co-Founder –  WEVR

Jon Favreau – creator, Gnomes & Goblins

Greg Preston, author & photographer of The Artist Within: Books 1 & 2

Donna Macanan, Event Coordinator for Burbank Marriott Hotel

Patsy Ramirez of A1 Party Rentals in Covina, CA.

Steve Reissner of Westside Production Rentals in Culver City, CA.

Mahalo Nui Loa to our friends and family whose constant support and love mean the world to us!

[Now back to our normal yarn & knitting posts . . . ]

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Crafts, Knitting, Photography, Travel, Yarn/Roving

2017 Yarn & Fiber Colors – Weeks 35 – 48

Aloha!

Happy Fall Season. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday here in Studio City, where it topped out at 94 degrees Fahrenheit!  It quickly turned about 20 degrees cooler so all the trees in our neighborhood decided to shed their leaves. It’s nice to have cooler weather finally.

I’ve been creating more new colorways and here are a few posted on AlohaBlu.com.

So, this September, the host cities for the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympic Games were announced, and for the 3rd time ever, Los Angeles will be a host in 2028! Yes, it’s 11 years away so there is plenty of time to prep, but still an honor to be a host city again. I dyed up a colorway – appropriately named 2028 – inspired by their logo.

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Staying in my hometown of Los Angeles, here are new colorways inspired by the Gemstone/Mineral Collection at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. I took these photos this summer when we visited the museum with our niece and nephew! This is FERROAXINITE and FLUORITE – beautiful colorways in purples and burgundy.

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I added a couple more colorways to the collection with CHRYSOCOLLA and REDDINGITE!

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On my personal/photography Instagram account, I posted a picture I took while cruising through Alaska years ago. I had such great feedback that I decided to make a new colorway: RIDING THROUGH GLACIER BAY 🙂

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This summer I participated in a Knit/Crochet-A-Long with the Facebook Group, Love, Peace and Yarn, and we made the Wonder Woman Wrap! It was so awesome to see what colors everyone chose – some paid homage to the classic character costume, while others – like me – took a more modern approach. I dyed two colors for my wrap: Courage Red (a pretty wine/burgundy) and Warrior Gold. The yarn kit is still available on the shoppe.

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As some of you may know, my parents like to send me photos of their travels and I love to turn them into yarn and fiber. Here are a few from my folks that I dyed.

FALKLAND ISLAND PENGUINS.  Though the weather was cold and sleeting, Mom and Dad took a 4-wheel drive tour through a peat bog to a penguin colony and took photos of these cool creatures.

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YELLOWSTONE BEAR was captured on film by my Dad! Can you imagine being this close to this guy – or looking up and seeing up above you in a tree?? I thought his colors would be great for fall projects.

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Here’s another photo Dad took at a museum in Seattle. Beautiful works of GLASS ART!

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Along with my parents, I have other artists in my family from whom I draw inspiration. Our godson, Kai,  drew an image of a dragon (he loves dragons) and when my hubby saw it, he wanted to do his version – so art inspiring art. Once hubby Jake was done with his dragon, he framed it up and gave it to Kai for his 9th birthday. Here is a collage of both artist’s work and my yarn/wool interpretation of GODFATHER/GODSON DRAGON.

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I later decided to dye up an oldie-but-goodie this fall, called MEMORY. Years ago I had a fiber friend ask if I could create a colorway for her based on a memory of a walk through the woods. I loved this colorway so much that I dyed it up again!

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I was excited to add a new sock yarn base to the shoppe, called Lanikai. It’s a lovely superwash merino/lurex yarn so it’s deliciously sparkly. Here are a couple skeins available on the shoppe: PUMPKIN SPICE and ORPIMENT.

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I also dyed up a Holiday Collection. Coming from a multi-national, multi-cultural family I thought I’d do a selection of yarn to honor the various holidays we celebrate during the end of the year. Sending lots of love, joy and peace to my Catholic, Christian, Protestant, Jewish & Buddhist families in the USA, Philippines, Netherlands, Switzerland and Japan!

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I recently spent some time with my sewing machine again to make some project bags after falling in love with this beautiful purple batik fabric! I paired the bag with a vibrant purple sock yarn skein, and the kits sold out already!

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This past weekend, I was able to finish up a custom order for 3 hand-dyed, hand-knit socks in the Lanikai base.  Fruit Stripe Gum Socks and Pay Day Socks are by Leah Oakley. Find her patterns on her pattern store on Ravelry. Here are the final socks:

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And finally, some of my sock patterns were recently published on Knitpicks!! I also have Smocked Socks, Vertigo Blinds Socks & Shoreline Socks available on both shoppes and Ravelry. Here are the direct links:

www.knitpicks.com/cfPatterns/IDP/IDP_Pattern_List.cfm…

www.ravelry.com/designers/christina-rowell

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More to come, so check back soon ~ Mahalo Nui Loa!

Come join the AlohaBlu Yarn & Fiber Luau group on Facebook for weekly updates.

Shoppe: AlohaBlu.com

FB page: www.facebook.com/AlohaBluShoppe

FB group: www.facebook.com/groups/alohablu.luau

Ravelry patterns: www.ravelry.com/designers/christina-rowell

Etsy shoppe: AlohaBlu.Etsy.com

Photos: society6.com/alohablu

IG: alohablu

Crafts, Knitting, Photography, Travel, Yarn/Roving

2017 Yarn & Fiber Colors – Weeks 25 – 34

Aloha!

It has been a busy summer so far and the Fall Season is proving to be just a busy. We’ve had a few family events before the kiddies went back to school so it was nice to see our nieces, nephews and godchildren. Amazing how fast they grow up!

In September I’m aiming to release some colorways from my Holiday Collection as well as some new Gemstone/Mineral colorways – so stay tuned!

As far as sock projects are concerned, I’m working on finishing up a couple more patterns that were recently accepted into the KnitPicks Independent Designers Program, so I will be busy wrapping those up to send out the final versions – exciting!!

More to come, but in the meantime, here are the colors for weeks 25-34.

 During my Senior Year in college (any fellow Cal State Fullerton Titans out there?), I had an internship on a TV show being filmed on the Warner Bros. lot here in Burbank. It was the first half of their second season, became wildly popular and ran for about 10 seasons! I created a colorway called I WAS AN INTERN ON FRIENDS, and posted a fun video story on my AlohaBlu group.  This is a 6-stripe colorway inspired by the show’s logo. I was gifted the cappuccino mug and bag for Christmas from the production staff and have kept them ever since.

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I knitted a pair of shorties socks for myself (wearing them as I type this) and experimented with a rolled cuff, a K2P2 cuff and reverse St stitch for the sole.

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Back in June we visited the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County with our niece and nephew – Hannah and Mason – who were visiting from Ohio. I made sure to visit the Gem & Mineral collection to take photos and I found a handful that were wonderful and interesting.  Here is the first of this collection in hand-dyed yarn. ORPIMENT is a mineral that was used for centuries as a pigment in painting and sealing wax – this was before learning that the mineral is arsenic. Another one of nature’s beautiful-but-deadly combinations . . .

This is a tonal yarn dyed using an immersion technique with shades of pink, orange, gold with a final overlay of light brown.

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When I switched to this new blog layout, I promised a new colorway was coming inspired by the panorama photo at the top of the blog page. Here is MAKENA BEACH SUNSET – photo taken by my hubby Jake on one of our favorite beaches on Maui. This panorama photo captures the sailboat on the left side to the sun setting on the right. We were married on this side of the island, not to far from this very beach. Mahalo Nui to my awesome hubby for the photo!

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I started a new collection this summer of yarn colorways based on food and drink – and yes, I made myself hungry each time I had to dye something! I made sure to take photos of these delicious dishes beforehand and ended up with some fun colorways such as Coconut Pecan Caramel Waffles, Mango Sorbet, Coconut Lime Pie and Chocolate Mousse Cake! I ended up creating a set of Menehune Mini’s called DRINKS & DESSERTS – the set includes 10x – 10gram center pull balls of fun. No need to wind them, just pull the top string to start crafting. Perfect for scrap blankets, hexipuffs, scrap socks, etc.

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As you know, I contribute to the Addicted to Sock Knitting eZine – patterns, interviews, photos – whatever fun thing Debra comes up with, I’m in! This past summer the eZine was dedicated to Harry Potter and Debra asked dyers to come up with a new take on HP-themed yarn. I found a beautiful image of Hogwarts castle online (click here for image) and dyed up a tonal yarn inspired by the nighttime castle. This is ALOHOMORA, the unlocking spell in Harry Potter.

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Speaking of tonals, this next colorway was inspired by a photo I took during a black-and-white photography class I enrolled in at Pasadena City College many moons ago.The assignment was to take photos of shadows , and the lines and shadows created by the sunlight coming through these vertical blinds made for an interesting photo. I processed the film and print by hand (in a dark room) and loved how it turned out! I decided to create a colorway in self-striping, variegated and tonal yarn. This is VERTIGO BLINDS, from the photo of the same name.

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 If you’ve ever seen the movie, Charlie’s Angels, with Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu, then you’ve seen this garden before. One of the most famous areas of the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is the JAPANESE GARDEN where I took this photo. The koi ponds and replica house are just amazing – not to mention the adjacent Zen Garden.  For this colorway, I used an immersion dye technique and ended up making a Ghost Gardens Shawlette for myself!

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Another one of California’s well-known spots is Santa Monica Beach. We don’t visit very often but when hubby’s brother and sister-in-law visited a few years ago, we headed out to the pier around sunset. I took this photo of a SANTA MONICA SUNSET at the beach park and loved the cloud patterns, sky color and palm tree silhouettes – perfect for a colorway!

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This next colorway was really fun to do! A few years ago, my parents traveled through Asia and visited Vietnam. One of the great things that they do is visit cities that have well-known industries (like hand-blown glasswork, lacework, ceramics, etc) and visited an embroidery business in Vietnam. They loved this piece so much, they brought it home with them and it now is showcased on their living room wall. I loved the handcrafted nature of this embroidery as well as the colors so I snapped a photo and created VIETNAM EMBROIDERY.

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Rounding out the last of the food collection yarns are COCONUT LIME PIE and WINE ON A VINE.

The former is a fun speckled yarn inspired by a super delicious and no-calorie dessert (yes, being sarcastic) from Lei Lei’s Bar & Grill on the fabled North Shore of Oahu.

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The latter was inspired by a photo I took while wine tasting at a well-know region of New Zealand called Martinborough. We visited 2-3 different vineyards and each one was wonderful! I snapped this photo of the grapes turning color and thought it would look lovely as yarn and wool.

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Come join the AlohaBlu Yarn & Fiber Luau group on Facebook for weekly updates.

More to come, so check back soon ~ Mahalo Nui Loa!

Shoppe: AlohaBlu.com

FB page: www.facebook.com/AlohaBluShoppe

FB group: www.facebook.com/groups/alohablu.luau

Ravelry patterns: www.ravelry.com/designers/christina-rowell

Etsy shoppe: AlohaBlu.Etsy.com

Photos: society6.com/alohablu

IG: alohablu

Crafts, Knitting, Photography, Travel, Yarn/Roving

2017 Yarn & Fiber Colors – Weeks 10 – 24

Aloha!

I’m trying out a new theme for this blog and the header photograph is a panorama photo taken by my amazing hubby, Jake. And yes, this will be a colorway soon 🙂

The past few months have been amazing and I’m still getting used to the new shoppe platform as well as keeping the Etsy shoppe. It has been a wonderful – albeit scary – learning experience and I have come to learn that both platforms have their pros and cons, just like everything in life. I’m so grateful for all the support from my fiber friends, non-fiber friends and family as I go along this fun journey of mine.

I’m super excited for the summer and have some fun things planned. We do have some family coming in tomorrow so I might put the shoppes on vacation mode or else just know shipping will be delayed a few days for in-stock items.

I’ll keep you posted on summer plans, but for now, here are the colors for weeks 10-24.

Starting with the most recent, I had dyed up this colorway in cotton yarn years ago and finally got around to dyeing it in wool. We were driving around pineapple fields on Oahu one year and I just loved how the sunset was making the fields a beautiful reddish color. In addition I did take a photo of a pink pineapple at the Dole Plantation which was astonishing to me since all I’ve ever seen were yellow! Here is PINEAPPLE FIELDS in yarn and wool.

 

This past week was Pride Week here in Los Angeles so I dyed up my RAINBOW PRIDE FLAG colorway. This was my very first self-striping colorway and I don’t dye it up very often. One of the first skeins I did dye was used for my Love is Love Sock Pattern. This years’ yarn skeins have already sold out, but the pattern is still available on both shoppes, Ravelry and Knitpicks.

 

For the Spring 2017 “Addicted to Sock Knitting” eZine, indie dyers were challenged to come up with a colorway based on their favorite children’s book. The book I chose was Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess and the Pea and created both a self-striping yarn and variegated yarn. The pre-orders are now closed, but here are the two versions I created.

 

You know how I love sunsets and I couldn’t help but create a colorway from this photo I took of a SAN CLEMENTE SUNSET. We have family living down in Orange County and we visited them just after Thanksgiving last year. So so pretty!
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This year I started a new dye collection inspired by food and drink.  I just completed my final dye session and will be creating a new set of Mini’s (!) soon. In the meantime, this is a colorway based on a fabulous dessert we had at the Blue Bayou Restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland!! This is CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CAKE and the dessert was divine . . .

 

I expanded my Sports/Team self-striping yarn this year and found many colorways can be used for a variety of teams: football, basketball, baseball, hockey, racing, local schools, etc. Here are a few that I dyed up and can be suitable for schools/teams in Los Angeles, Alabama, Ohio, Indiana, South Carolina and more. These are now available in the dyed-to-order section of the shoppe.

I dyed up this one because I love these colors!

 

ROSE GARDEN is a self-striping colorway created using 2 different dye techniques! The inspiration came a few summers ago when we took our visiting niece to the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Gardens in San Marino, California. The Rose Garden was exceptionally beautiful and the photo I took of Alayna walking through the garden reminded me of beauty, romance, innocence and young love that I knew I had to create a colorway.

 

This next colorway is an oldie-but-goodie and it has oh, about 13 different colors in it so I don’t dye it very often. I did do a gradient yarn too, so the colors don’t repeat – I thought it would be fun for a shawl project! I took this photo at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific and just love all the colorful fish and plant-life – not to mention the coral and rocks. I ended up spinning a small skein of the wool and love how the colors came out using a Navajo ply. Some skeins/braids of AQUARIUM are available on the shoppe.

Here is the Rambouillet/Silk yarn I spun:

 

My first set of 2017 mini’s sold out, but I was ready with my ‘Spring Set’ of MENEHUNE MINI‘s! I do have a couple of these sets available on the shoppe. These are 10x 10-gram balls of hand-dyed sock yarn that I already made into center-pull balls. You just pull the top yarn to start crafting!

 

Remember how I said I was doing a food/drink collection? Well, here’s a fabulous one from Oahu: MANGO SORBET. Jake and I were staying on the North Shore one trip and often dined at a restaurant called Ola’s at Turtle Bay Resort. It was a family owned joint, right there on the beach where you can enjoy drinks or a meal while watching the world go by . . . Ola’s recently closed but I’ll always remember the view, the food, the awesome staff and their wonderful desserts.

 

Since we are talking about Hawaii, here’s another one – inspired by a super special drink called the LAVA FLOW. I had my very first drink at Duke’s on Waikiki Beach with a handsome man who would later become my beloved husband Jake. After he bought my first Lava Flow, it became an instant favorite and to this day is still my favorite tropical drink. I always loved the pinks and red of the drink and thought it would be a fun colorway for yarn and wool.

Just after I dyed up this colorway, my friend Chantal said she needed a pair of custom socks for her niece in Africa and they NEEDED to be pink! Well, how perfectly timed is this?? I used Lava Flow in sock yarn and used black yarn for the personalization. I was told recently that Zozi loves her socks!!

 

Continuing with the food theme, this new colorway was inspired by a breakfast I had while visiting with an old colleague. Jake and I met my old Producer at a well known waffle place in the next town over and though I knew this was incredibly sinful, I couldn’t help myself. I ended up only eating half this (it was already a half portion), but the whipped cream and caramel sauce on top of crunchy waffles was so worth it! This is COCONUT CARAMEL PECAN WAFFLES and luckily the yarn and wool are zero calories!

 

This next one is another oldie-but-goodie and ironically, I was with the same Producer when I had this dessert! AVOCADO CHEESECAKE seemed rather odd to me when I was first presented with it at an Indian vegetarian restaurant.  But, after the first bite, I realized why it was such a hit. The raspberry and mango sauce were a nice touch and the creamy cheesecake was amazing.

 

The final two colorways were inspired by photos my parents took while visiting the Seattle Art Museum last fall. My parents love to travel and I always ask them to keep an eye out for interesting photos that I might create into yarn. Dad took these amazing photos and I am told they have even more for me from their most recent European trip!  This one is called FILMSTRIPS and apparently the artist took these rolls of film and handpainted (!) each one in different colors and patterns.  It definitely made me nostalgic for the days when you would take your rolls of 35mm film into the drugstore to get processed – ha!

 

The last colorway is AFRICAN ART TRIBUTE – inspired by this wonderful exhibit showcasing African art and culture.  Dad snapped this photo and thought it would look great in yarn & wool! The exhibit is now closed, but my parents were grateful they were able to see it.

 

Now for some projects . . .

Back in January I posted a new colorway called CHINESE GARDEN. I used an immersion dyeing technique and was thrilled with the outcome that I ended up dyeing a skein for myself and knitted up a shawl using the Ghost Gardens Shawlette pattern by Kelene Kinnersly. I just love this pattern and already have plans to make another one!

I am fortunate to have a customer who loves my Yin Yang Socks and I’ve made a few for her already. She challenged me with translating the pattern into a hat and scarf for her. I finished the hat already and did a snug cap design. I’m still working on the scarf and am using a double-knit approach so the pattern is reversed on the back – so far it’s working well but it does take some brain power (at least for me!).

I have also been working on a few custom order socks and finished a pair just last night!

And a few spinning projects. . .

This one I knit into a pair of shorties socks and have quickly become one of my favorite pairs! It’s hard to see, but it’s a Rambouillet/Bright Nylon yarn so there is some sparkle in it. The colorway is BOX OF CHOCOLATES.

I’m in LOVE with Rambouillet wool and dyed up a braid in my SATURATED SPRING colorway. I spun this up in a laceweight yarn and don’t have a pattern in mind yet . . .

This was my submission for the June SPINNING BOX – the theme was Sunsets and I snapped this photo on Maui while hubby was driving. My submission included 1 oz of Merino/Tencel roving, a photo of WEST MAUI SUNSET and a Hawaiian Islands Mango Maui tea bag. I spun up a small sample for myself!

More to come, so check back soon! Mahalo Nui Loa!

Shoppe: AlohaBlu.com

FB page: www.facebook.com/AlohaBluShoppe

FB group: www.facebook.com/groups/alohablu.luau

Ravelry patterns: www.ravelry.com/designers/christina-rowell

Etsy shoppe: AlohaBlu.Etsy.com

Photos: society6.com/alohablu

IG: alohablu

Knitting, Photography, Yarn/Roving

Launching the new AlohaBlu.com!

Aloha! After much anticipation, my new website is live! For this site, I wanted to share the products I create, but also show you the images that inspire the colorways. So, the new www.AlohaBlu.com will be part shoppe / part gallery and I hope you enjoy the views.

The first colorway I posted was inspired by a photo taken last year on Maui. THE COLORFUL MR. G is a brightly colored gecko who we found sunbathing near our room. I dyed up some yarn and roving, and even created a video about the colorway which you can see on each product listing on the new shoppe.

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The next colorway is a new take on an oldie-but-goodie: DARK UNIVERSE 2 uses similar dyes as the original, but these yarn skeins are kettle dyed rather than handpainted so they result in a wonderfully random pattern!

Years and years ago when I was first starting out in my film career, I was able to go on a ‘field trip’ with other team members to JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in Pasadena, CA. After getting information on space, stars, constellations and galaxies, we left with packets of material including fabulous photographs taken from high-powered telescopes. I was amazed at how colorful outer space was and this colorway reminds me of those bright accents of color against a dark background.

I also created a video for this colorway, which can be seen on each of the product listings.

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It’s time for MENEHUNE MINI’S! This set of 10x – 10 gram mini balls are from my European collection. These colorways were inspired by my travels through Italy, France and Switzerland. I’ve already wound them into center-pull balls so all you have to do is pull the top yarn and start crafting.

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Here are some of the inspirational photos that I took on my travels:

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Lastly, some extra skeins of immersion dyed yarn:

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All available on the new AlohaBlu.com!

For sneak peeks and other videos, join the AlohaBlu Luau Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/alohablu.luau.

Hawaii, Photography, Travel, Yarn/Roving

2017 Yarn & Fiber Colors – Weeks 1 – 9

Aloha! Happy New Year, Happy Chinese New Year and Happy Almost March!

I hope you had a lovely holiday season and a wonderful 2017 thus far. Hubby and I did a big loop for the Christmas holiday, first by traveling from Los Angeles to Florida to surprise my 97-year old grandmother for the holiday! She was happy to see us and it was Jake’s first visit to her beautiful hometown of Sarasota.

Next, since we were already on the East coast, we traveled to Ohio to visit with Jake’s family. After a brief stay, it was back to California for some sun and fun.  We’ve had lots of rain since, which is fabulous for combating this multi-year draught, but the cold weather is something we’re not used to. LOL!

Lots of colors and plans this year for AlohaBlu. Firstly, soon I’ll be launching a new shoppe which will have the link AlohaBlu.com.  My Etsy store will still be active and you can find it at AlohaBlu.Etsy.com. I’ve been working on the layout for the past month on the new shoppe and am excited to launch it!! I will be posting new colorways on this one as soon as it’s active.

Secondly, I’m also launching a new Facebook Group: AlohaBlu Yarn & Fiber Luau! I’m hoping to share more about my products, show you a bit about me and AlohaBlu as well as get to know you better! Feel free to join and I’ll add content in the next few weeks.

Ok, now for some colors!! Here are the colorways for January and February:

As I was rooting through Mom and Dad’s vacation photos, I came across this wonderful image of a fountain from their trip to ASPEN, Colorado. I loved the pinks/magentas of the trees, against the green hills with the gray concrete street. I did this colorway as an immersion dye which will result in a random pattern!

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CHESHIRE CAT was inspired by our 16-year old niece’s drawing. When she showed me this image, I immediately asked her if I can make it into yarn (she gave me the quintessential teenage response: a thumbs up). I thought Hannah’s color palette was just amazing and scoured my dyes for the perfect match.

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This colorway happen to coincide with the Chinese New Year so that was serendipitous! CHINESE GARDEN is one of the many gardens you can visit atThe Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Here they have acres of various gardens and multiple buildings housing precious artwork. I took this photo of the Chinese Garden, which is artistically designed to combine Chinese culture with Henry Huntington’s style. Learn more about the Chinese Garden @ www.huntington.org/chinesegarden.

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Back in November, during our Maui trip, we had lunch at the Hana Ranch Restaurant which was fantastic! Along one wall was this whimsical display of colorful UKELELES, and of course I thought of yarn immediately.

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I touched on this colorway in the previous post, then decided to add it to the shoppe so I created a few more skeins of STUDIO CITY SUNSET AT VENTURA BOULEVARD, clearly one of the longest titles I’ve yet to manage. 😉 My hometown of Studio City was aptly named since many movie/tv studios used to be housed here. Over time, most of the studios dissolved but there is still one here today. CBS Radford Studios is located near where I took this photo and produced some well-known TV shows in its 91 year history: Gunsmoke, Gilligan’s Island, Mary Tyler Moore, Hill Street Blues, Seinfeld, 3rd Rock from the Sun, CSI: New York and That 70’s Show to name a few. It’s always fun to watch some of these shows and see our happy haunts on screen!

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Another colorway inspired by our latest Maui trip: HAWAIIAN MACARONS. Jake and I visited a gourmet market at the Shops at Wailea and in the display case were these wonderful confections with names like Cookies & Creme, Guava, Melona, Mango, Toasted Coconut & Lilikoi. I knew I had to create a colorway for them.

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For Valentine’s Day 2013, my hubby gifted me a box of chocolates, handmade by a local artisan. They were so pretty that I had to take a photo of them and didn’t want to eat any of them. Eventually I did of course and they were amazing!  I re-create BOX OF CHOCOLATES each year for Valentine’s Day.

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Another one of my parents’ vacation photos, EVENING AT NANOOSE BAY, was taken in Beautiful British Columbia. I’m such a big fan of shades of blue so I was eager to dye this up. When Dad told me this was one of his favorite photos, I wanted to be sure I did it justice. (He did like the end result – whew!)

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My most recent colorway was inspired by hubby’s photo from our trip out to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. We arrived mid day, with the sun overhead so it was illuminating the bright red/brown/orange rocks and the ridges below. We’d love to visit again during warmer months, though WINTER AT BRYCE CANYON, was rather pretty!

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In my next post, I’ll share some of my finished projects (5 pairs of socks knitted so far in 2017) and new updates!

Stay tuned!

Yarn/Roving

Immersion Dyeing Workshop!

Aloha all!

One of the great things I have learned from living with an artist hubby and working with professional artists is that they are constantly learning: attending workshops & courses and gathering reference materials to expand their skillset.

So, when an opportunity for me to expand my skills as an indie dyer, I decided to take it! This fall I enrolled in the “Dimensional Dyeing” online course with Brenda Lavell of Phydeaux Designs. Brenda’s dye style is ‘immersion dyeing’ which is a different from mine, so what a great way to expand my dyeing knowledge. I have always wanted to try immersion dyeing and now can add that to my wheelhouse.

I have to admit, I was a bit timid and anxious at first since I’ve been so comfortable with my own style. But Brenda was very supportive with all of us and it was wonderful to watch everyone’s creations come to life. We all shared our works-in-progress as well as our final yarn for each session.

 Here are my final pieces from the class.  Some of these will be available in January 2017 on www.AlohaBlu.com.

The 3 on the left use Brenda’s formulas, the far right green is my own.
I wanted to dye up a military fatigue green and was quite pleased with the outcome. I love how it actually pairs well with the skein next to it.

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 For the second dye, I used Brenda’s formulas to create these. Love how they pair so well with each other. The blue tonal was recently used for a woven scarf for a Christmas gift.

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For the third dye, I tried my hand at speckled yarn as well.  Speckling is quite challenging but I had an epiphany one day and ended up using a simple tool that really helped to get the speckling more controllable (at least to my liking). The gray tonal on the left was used for my hubby’s woven scarf which turned out lovely and he really liked it!

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Our fourth dye was quite fun. The far right skein is a rainbow colorway using Brenda’s formula. For this session, I had my own colorways in mind that I wanted to try out and was so excited to see how it would look using the immersion dye method. I’ll go into more detail in the following photos.

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The far left skein is my STUDIO CITY SUNSET AT VENTURA BLVD colorway. I took this photo in my hometown during the summer and had it earmarked for use as a colorway. I loved the outcome and have since re-created it using the same method. This might also be the longest colorway name I’ve come up with thus far – LOL!

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The second and third skeins of the five pictured were inspired by a photo I took while on Maui back in November 2016. Hubby and I were at a gourmet grocery store with a collection of pastries and pies in a display case and I was immediately drawn to these colors! This colorway is HAWAIIAN MACARONS and the flavors listed on the display were Cookies & Creme, Guava, Melona, Mango, Toasted Coconut & Lilikoi (gasp!).

The big skein is a sparkle lace weight and I decided not to use black dye in this one. For the smaller skein, I tried the speckle technique using the same colors but adding some black speckles this time.

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The next skein I dyed up was super fun and a bit challenging. Brenda asked us to go “Mad Scientist” (meaning, go experiment!) with this session so I did! I took the undyed DK weight yarn and separated it into a self-striping skein on my warping board. I dyed 1/2 using Brenda’s formula as a tonal dye, and the other 1/2 as a speckled dye. These are two very different techniques so it was a bit more time consuming. The tonal dye originally came out too red for my taste, so I tweaked it a bit and it came out a dark gingerbread color! Once I put the skein back together, it looked like a GINGERBREAD HOUSE colorway, and so it was named.

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The students in the class are wonderfully talented and it’s been great interacting with them. Please visit their shops and check out their amazing creations:

Phydeaux Designs 

alu yarns

Dragon Spindle Designs

Hooker’s Corner Creations

Krityum Handmade

Mythic Cache Fibers

Potions Yarn

sewhappyjane

The Violet Valentine

Wonder Woven, LLC

Yarn Buffet

The Yarn Market

Happy Holidays to all! See you in 2017!

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