Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
The official launch will be at the House Birthday party on Monday 9 August, but raffle tickets are on sale already. And there's a whole other team of people from the Neighbourhood House managing that side of things: counting and labeling tickets, keeping lists, counting money . . . Did I mention I love working with a team!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Look, here's my sock:
- Yes, I'm pleased with myself.
- Yes, it was easier than I expected, when I finally got to it.
- Yes, the instructions were lovely and clear.
- Yes, I'm going to make more.
There are just a few loose stitches on the other side (the side you can't see in my proud pic). I'll be a bit more aware of the tension there next time. The one sock took just about one ball of 8-ply (DK) yarn. I have another three balls of this same yarn, so I could end up with two pairs. My toes will be so warm and I'll be ready to try a finer yarn.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
- First I had to manage knitting in the round without tucking a needle under my arm;
- Then I graduated to double pointed needles: three and then four;
- Holding the needles from below, rather than from above was the next challenge. That allowed me to manage a rib.
Now it's time for the real thing! I've done a cuff; I'm working a bit of a leg and then it will be time to turn the corner. this is it and so far it's really not a problem. I'm thinking of this as a demo sock, so I'm not worrying too much about guage and fit. And I'm working it in 8-ply (DK), so it's going really quickly. I just want to get through the steps one at a time to demystify the process. Then I expect I'll be off and racing.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Now what to do with the rest of a slow day? I was thinking I'd take the train into the city and buy the tuning fork I need for my mandolin lesson this evening. I could take some knitting and do as much or as little as I like. On the other hand, the local news tells me there's been a three hour power outage on the City Loop this morning. Perhaps I'd better avoid the trains. Looks like I'm not the only one whose had a slow start to the day, and I'm guessing mine was less frantic and frustrating than the commuters' and Metro staff.
Monday, July 26, 2010
There's just a tiny bit of this mohair left, so these wristies will be just a little more than woolly bracelets. I found the blueberry pudding set almost too warm when I wore it on the weekend.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
By the way, he really was wearing that hat--all day--it was part of some competition or other. And, no, he didn't get paid any extra to wear it. I asked. It wasn't quite right with the apricot stripes on his uniform shirt, but what the heck.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Later on today I'm going to meet my friend L at the train station. We're off to the Craft Fair, which includes the Victorian Quilters' Annual show. But there's at least an hour of good spinning left in the morning before I need to think about heading out the door. I mean to make the most of it. First a coffee, then I'll be back to the wheel.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
OK, to complete the task I need to get a big cardboard box out of the car. I got one at the hardware store in anticipation of this occasion and it's been rattling around in there for weeks. A bit of clever construction work with some packing tape and scissors and I'm off to the Post Office.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I went on to spin about 100g of bulky wool from fibre I bought at Bendigo. That's plied and ready to wind off this morning. And I got a bit of dyeing done. Over all it was a productive day. You might have noticed, though, no mention of paperwork--that's back on today's list along with more spinning and dyeing and the quilting I mentioned earlier.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I added some black yarn and made a twisted cord. Then I wrapped the two ends together to make a tassel and dressed it up with some beads. I haven't worn it yet. It was made in a burst of creativity before I left for Bendigo on Saturday. I'm a bit ambivalent about it: does it look too much like curtain tie back? I guess I won't really know how it works for me until I put it on and wear it around for a bit. Anyway it was fun and used up the last of that batch of yarn. Now today I'd like to do some dyeing as well as find a bit more space amongst the chaos. And I'd better get some paperwork sorted.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Oh, it's nice to be wrong when it means I have a super-cute new little piece of equipment to enjoy! Already my brain is generating variations and possibilites and meanwhile I need to make a few more little squares to memorise the pattern of interlacing.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
If you're looking for Charly at the show: she's in the Flower Shed, right down the bottom of the showgrounds, past the back gate. Can I say, her fibres are even more spectacular than her green plush bunny costume. Note to self: when in doubt, try letting go and having fun.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
By the way, I happen to know that there's still an incredible amount of that fabric at D's place, so get onto her blog if you'd like to play. Or let me know if you live locally, and I'll happily pass some on to you. I think I signed up for 2 bits and got about 6, so I'm more than happy to share and save on postage. It's a short pile cotton velvet with the all over floral print.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
W had brought several parcels all wrapped up in plastic bags. This came out of one of them.Out of another bag came a portable record player and an album of perfectly preserved 45 rpm singles. Before I knew what was happening, the room was filled with music and one by one the women began to clap and dance and snap their fingers. All this in and around and between the sewing machines, the mending and the cutting of fabric.
For a while I managed to hide behind my camera, capturing the movement. I was amazed at how women like those I see in the street: covered, restrained, careful; started to show their warmth and delight--in their own space, with their own music. All of a sudden I was the awkward stranger. Those who know me best will be able to imagine how strange and how awkward I felt when I was energetically invited to join in: trying to overcome my personal "freeze" to join in the shake and shimmy.
We have only a few more sessions together before the group takes a month break for Ramadan. My challenge is to come up with a design that will allow the group to put something of themselves into a quilt which will be in public view for their community and the wider community for years to come. Just now my awareness of my own limitations is heightened, as is my awareness of the beauty and strength of what I'm trying to help to capture and display.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Initially the set-up looked very professional, with a row of electric heating elements across one end of the teaching area, all lined up with their respective ingredients. It was all too much for the old hall's wiring, though. There was a frantic and doubtful half hour while the safety switch repeatedly tripped, the pots wouldn't warm up and the phone system and other equipment rang and beeped their alarm at the unusual demand. Eventually compromise won the day: the ambitious array was dismantled and pots were relegated to the gas stove, back hallway and corner bench. That left the teaching table free for arranging and labelling our skeins and samples. We spent the rest of the day dashing between table, pots, buckets and kitchen sink. The Eucalyptus pot was the slowest and most surprising. There we were at the end of the day, distributing and bagging up our samples before going home; stretching tired limbs and waiting for the rich orange-brown colours to come out of the big boiler which we had filled six hours before with fresh green leaves.
Today, you guessed it, I'm rinsing. The Eucalyptus is pretty much done. I don't think a bit of residual smell will worry me at all there. The peach leaf samples are in the sink now. I'll leave the tumeric samples until last. I have no idea how long it will take for the smell of rich curry to dissipate; but the matching colour is worth it.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
I said, "it's not textiles". Well, that's true so far, though, as you can see in the pic it's nestling amongst my usual sea of textile stuff on the big table. And I will need a strap to help me hold it: now let me see . . . card weaving, braiding, twisted cord, macrame . . .
Thursday, July 8, 2010
This is one of the bunny rugs I started some time ago. There should be a link in the previous sentence to take you to the spot in this blog where I posted about it. I don't want to face that reality just now. On the positive side, here it is: complete. There's a layer of hot pink starry flannel, backed by a layer of pretty purple starry cotton; all bound together with a strip of lemon yellow. I think that's three bunny rugs done and five to go. I also think that if I want to improve my completion rate I'm going to have to change my approach. I love hand-hemming, but I can feel a batch of machine-stitched binding coming on. Apart from getting the job done faster, it will make me more confident in guiding those of my students who are horrified by all those little fiddly stitches around the edge of a completed quilt.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Yesterday I started a new project at Newlands Community Centre. It's a quilt project with a group of Arabic speaking women. The morning went quickly. It's going to be a challenge, but in a good way. I now know three words of Arabic. I'll sound more excited about it when I have fewer other things to worry about . . .
I came home to the news that my friend R--let's call him my foster son, since that's how we operate--had been admitted to hospital. That's a long hard story and I'm worried about him. I thought about him a fair bit during the night and didn't sleep all that well.
When I woke and went to the kitchen to make myself a coffee this morning, I heard a definite dripping sound--please don't laugh--I traced it to the bathroom,which was awash. I can only think this is the next installment in my DIY drama. I'd hoped that particular saga was over. Apparently not. I'm not going to get myself out of this particular spot of trouble with my usual energy and ingenuity. Instead I'm going for the mature wisdom approach--when DIY goes bad twice in the same project it's time to call a professional. He's booked to come tomorrow. Meanwhile my friend L can give me a bed for the night and I'm going to call the hospital.
Monday, July 5, 2010
It's a teeny tiny stitch holder: About the length of a teaspoon! It's like a miniature knitting needle with a springy strap and a little end cap to secure the stitches. It looked just perfect on a cream wool newborn sized cardi. M reckons she's had these at least thirty years and was surprised at my fascination. Oh, so cute and functional--there's nowhere for the stitches to get snagged and they're not going to fall off.
Well, we knitted a little, chatted a little, enjoyed our coffees and headed our separate ways home. But I took a picture of this clever cutie with me to share.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
I came home with enough plaster to fix many, many holes--3 kg is the smallest tub available.
I love the name: "Final Finish". It has a tone of assurance about it! I need that. You can see the patched wall in the background. This morning I'm trying to convince myself that it's safe to have another go at installing that cupboard. I have to confess that patching my wall was easier than patching my confidence. I'm going to carefully map out the territory lurking behind the plaster before I even think about picking up my power drill. Wish me luck.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
The inner two skeins in the pic are cram-jar dyed. This is more random, because the skein is pressed into a confined space to combine with the dye. For the red-orange skein I first used a warm red along with about a third of the skein of yarn; then the warm yellow and as much more of the yarn as I thought would take up the amount of dye I had poured in. Finally I tipped a little bit of cool yellow over the top. The colour change is slow and fairly regular, though not as predictable as it would have been if I'd used the dip-dye technique. The blue-green skein second from the left is more jazzy. I was getting to the end of my dyes and the end of my energy for the day. I had soaked the skein in soda ash to prepare it to take the colour. When it was readyI just poured the blue into the top of the jar where the yarn had been soaking. I tipped a bit of yellow into one corner and got ready for bed. I couldn't resist having a look after half an hour or so, and found that the colour had all stayed in the top part of the skein as it was crammed into the dye pot. I turned it over and added a bit more blue dye. I decided to leave it at that. I quite like the lighter and white areas as part of the colour scheme.
As if all this variation in the rhythms of colour across the skein wasn't enough, I'm now anticipating what will happen when the yarn is turned into fabric. Whether I knit, crochet or weave it, the colours will combine again in different ways depending on the pattern I use and the size of the piece I make. In weaving, there's the added variable of the colours of two different yarns interlacing with one another. Oh, it's exciting to think of all the possibilities!
Friday, July 2, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Yesterday morning this was a box of unconnected quilt blocks and squares. A couple of quilters had done some extra work to make spare triangle units. If you want to know how it looked, you can find it on the Quilters at Sussex Blog. Four of us got together at the Neighbourhood House yesterday afternoon to see what we could do about putting it together into a quilt top. Within three hours the job was done. It was so easy compared to doing it on my own. For a start, setting a time and place for a job helps me to get some focus. Then the company and wisdom of others is great for my motivation and problem-solving. While someone stitched, someone else pressed and another trimmed. Here are the details. We had cake and cookies and cups of tea and by dinner time I had a completed quilt top to take home. Today I'm going to drop into a couple of quilt stores to see about a border. Then there will be another team get together to do the basting. If yesterday's effort is anything to go by, we may even get to start the quilting on that day.