Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
It was not my day for clothes shopping. After walking from one end of the centre to the other by various routes several times over, I had tried on dozens of different options. None of them were right. In one of the "big girls" shops, I saw a tunic top which looked like a possibility. The one on display in my size was black. When I asked the assistant about colours she looked bemused for a minute or two. Finally she suggested she may be able to get it for me in grey or brown. I shook my head and left the shop. By this time I was tired, frustrated and my feet hurt.
I decided to stop at the Art Supply store before heading for home. Suddenly my day brightened. Here were assistants who know the meaning of colour and were happy to help me shop to my heart's content. I've been wanting to paint up some colour studies for my own reference, and to help with my teaching. I spent at least half an hour discussing types of paints, pigments and papers with the women on duty. I forgot about my aching feet. I also forgot about my budget--oops--but I came home with these:
Watercolour paper and artist's quality acrylic paints in primary colours plus black and white. One more colour wheel coming up--I can never have too many colour wheels! What a pity I can't wear them.
By the way, I did get lucky on clothes at a factory outlet the next day. I found half a dozen items, only one of which is black. Now I just need to find the courage to wear them.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
From what I could tell, this elderly lady was only going to the local shops. But oh! what style: metallic gold high heeled shoes, layered pink chiffon suit with fluted rolled hems, glossy black handbag, plenty of gold jewellery . . . I didn't feel right about photographing more than this, but you can imagine the coloured and set hair and carefully applied make up to match. And all on the Number 86 tram at four o'clock on a weekday afternoon. If I'd been driving, I would have missed it all.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
I've had a bit of a browse through it. These colour exercises might just have to be what I weave as soon as I get a chance to get back to it. On the other hand, I kept myself busy with my drop spindle throughout the morning. The fine angora-merino blend I've been spinning is also claiming first spot on my loom. So we'll see which project wins the race. Or then again it could be one of the many other ideas that are buzzing around in my head. Meanwhile I have several more books to glean ideas from when I'm not spinning.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
I've been doing lots of walking--which is very good for me. And I'm remembering the benefits and drawbacks of public transport--lots of drop spindling happening! My friend L has been incredibly generous in letting me borrow her car too. I joked to her the other day that I only really need half a car, but which half? After some thought I decided that a diagonal half from the driver's side in the front to the passengers side rear would be ideal--not sure that there'd be much of a market for the other half, though! That got me thinking about three-wheeled cars. Here's a real cutey I found courtesy of Wikipedia:
I can just see myself driving something like that, though I would like a canopy for the luggage space. Fuel efficiency would be great and I'd just have to smile every time I caught sight of myself! Oh well, I can dream, but I'd better keep doing my research in the real world too.
Friday, April 23, 2010
It's time to sort out what I've done, label it properly and tick it off the list. Then I can see what I need to tackle next. The bonus is that I'll know how close I am to finishing--or not!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Walking is always great way of noticing small details around the neighbourhood. Here's a bit I picked from one of the peppercorn trees in the local park. I love the delicate drooping leaves and the teeny tiny berries just starting to form. At least I'm guessing that's what they are.
I looked up the peppercorn tree when I got home the other day. Turns out it's considered a weed, since it grows so well locally that it easily takes over bushland. And the "pepper" bit is very real--I was surprised how strongly the leaves smell when I broke off a piece!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
My first dilemma: the most efficient way to piece this design would be to work in rows: each row alternates a plain square unit and a unit made up of two triangles. On the other hand, Neighbourhood House is all about participation. Piecing the quilt in blocks--each made up of one Friendship Star--would be more inclusive and would give more people a sense of ownership of the project. Since the stars interlock, though, there'll be an odd row between each clear star block and only half the stars can be pieced as blocks. Oh well, I think it's still worth going with participation and ownership over efficiency.
You can see that my drafting is still done with paper and pencil. I've played with the idea of getting one of the software packages, but I haven't bitten that particular bullet yet. Sketching designs out by hand is time consuming, but it's a way of getting familiar with the pattern and anticipating the piecing process. I find it relaxing and absorbing. I don't know if that would be the case working on my computer--then again, I'm enjoying blogging well enough.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
I've lived in Melbourne more than ten years now, I should be used to the weather, but the first cool days always catch me by surprise. Intellectually I know that summer comes to an end and t-shirts are superseded by long sleeves, jackets and scarves, but somehow I don't really accept the truth until it happens. Then I find myself unprepared. There have been cool weather clothes in the shops for a couple of months, but I haven't bought any.
On the other hand there is always plenty of wool in the house! I crocheted myself this little scarf on the first cold day:
It's hand-spun merino and dip-dyed by me. I'm really happy about how the colour patterning has turned out. Now I just need the Autumn weather to come back so I can wear it!
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Now to arrange them so I can keep all this colour for future reference:
I glued down the little bobbins onto a page of black card--I ended up trimming the excess white cardboard so it would all fit nicely. I still had a bit of carded fibre left over and I'm not in the mood for more mixing today. I'd like to tick this task off the list--much as I've enjoyed it--so I've arranged some of the excess fibre in the middle of the circle. It will be good to be able to see the difference between how it looks before and after being spun.
The glue for the outer circle is drying as I type. When that's secure I'll glue down the rest. I don't want to be worrying about bumping things out of position. Then I can clear off that section of my table and decide on my next project.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
It's a blind hem foot--as it turns out, I had one a lot like it in my work box which I'd never used. The relevant detail is the little vertical ridge which you can just see in the lower right of the pic. That works as a guide to keep the stitch line straight against a fold of fabric. In my case, I'm hoping it will keep the stitch line along the ditch where the seam allowances are folded away. I'll have to try it out. My blind hem foot had an extra little horizontal piece which, though fine for blind hemming, would probably get in the way of my quilting, so we swapped. Since I wasn't using mine anyway, I'll either be in the same boat as before and keep looking for the elusive "ditch foot", or my problem will be solved and I'll have a new tool to help me with my quilting. I guess that means I'm going to have to do some quilting today.
Friday, April 16, 2010
The sample is not blocked--I'm still seriously thinking about a mobius neck roll and by definition a mobius cannot be blocked on a flat surface.
So from left to right we have:
- reverse stocking stitch
- stocking stitch
- double moss stitch
- moss stitch
The stitch definition is not as good as I would like on the moss stitch samples, so I think I'll try smaller needles if I decide to go with that option. At this stage, though I'm still inclined to go with the stocking stitch / reverse stocking stitch idea--I'm dreaming about how "snakey" a smooth mobius neck roll would look with it's dynamic drape. And besides, stocking stitch will be so much smoother to knit. I'm enjoying this process so much that I'm inclined to spin up some more yarn to do a moss stitch version as well. But there are still plenty of folio samples requiring my spinning attention. So I will have to alternate those with the thrill of designing or they'll never get done.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
We spent the morning blending coloured tops for a colour wheel--I can never have too many colour wheels. The next exercise was blending and matching colours from a marvelous coral reef photo.
In the afternoon we created a design board. We used it as a source to blend colours and textures to use as inspiration for creating yarns. Since I'd left my pictures at home, I chose some more from T's box of magazines. I stuck with my personal challenge to go outside my usual palette: I worked on mixing three colours--
- the deep dark brown of the lizard's belly: red and black with a hint of yellow;
- the olive green at the top left of the pic: citrus yellow and black--unexpected!
- and the burnt orange of the fried dumplings on the lower right: more red, yellow and black.
For someone who has tended to avoid using black in colour mixing, it was an enlightening experience. I bought a jar of black (Currawong) landscape dye before I went home to reinforce the lesson.
As often happens, by the time I was packing up to go home, my stuff appeared to have multiplied exponentially. T was kind enough to give me a ride home. As a bonus, we got to have a quick coffee and chat. I'm afraid I talked her ear off--it's been too long since we caught up. So, all in all a very worthwhile day. Today I'm exhausted and there's even more stuff on my table to be dealt with. Was it only last week I managed to get it all cleared!
Saturday, April 10, 2010
- what else? A flicker to clean my carders, do I need to bring some fibre? Better make sure my bobbins are in there . . .
- OH, and remember, I'm going on the bus, so take it easy with all the good ideas!
Friday, April 9, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Confession time--I'm not known for my frilly pink tendencies, but these three pieces of fabric were in the top of my "silk box". I don't expect any of them will actually be used, but here they are in their pretty inspiration. Now I just have to wait for some colour swatches--apparently a paint swatch from Bunnings is the thing! Then I can start playing with colour. Nine months out from the wedding, it all sounds like a lot of fun. And if all goes smoothly and there aren't too many last minute changes, it could continue to be lots of fun. Though I've experienced enough wedding preparations to know that somewhere along the line will be some complications and even tears.
Now as for today's realities--putting pretty baby pink aside. I have spinning and knitting to work on and a quilting class tonight. Oh, and no car. In non-textile news: my car was involved in an accident on the weekend--thankfully only the car was damaged, and the people are all ok. But it will be a few days before I know whether it will be fixed or written off.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
What to do with a large clear table? Well, as it turns out, L brought along a few jewelry items needing attention, and there's a possibility of my teaching a jewelry making class at one of the (other) local Neighbourhood Houses. So out came the beading boxes and tools. Here are some bracelets I made yesterday--the camera hasn't really picked up the sparkle factor, unfortunately--and a mermaid brooch from way back that was in the bottom of a box: I've been asked to show a small variety of my work to the House Manager, so this is a start. Most of my beading efforts end up as gifts and most of what I make for myself is in a narrow range of styles, since I make to suit my own taste. So I'm going to go nuts for a few days and just make some different things. I'm looking forward to it. Then I'll reclaim my big table again.