Sunday, November 25, 2012

As You Wish

My friend AMR is a self-confessed geek. She is one of the most intelligent people I know. And she has that slightly twisted geeky sense of humour. So I wasn't too surprised when her Christmas wish list included a request for a pi shirt.

"What is a pi shirt?", you ask? I asked the same question. My friend google soon provided an answer. It's a t-shirt decorated with symbols and numbers related to pi--that mathematical idiosyncrasy which describes the ratio between a circle's circumference and its diameter. There are plenty on the market. But you know me--why would I pay for something ready made when I can customise my own version? Besides, even though the layouts are very clever, a lot of the t-shirts are black, boxy and boring. I hope I can do better than that.

I started by checking A's size and preference in t-shirt colours and styles. Then I tracked a suitable one down at a clearance outlet for a few dollars. That way if something goes wrong I can always just try again. I already have lovely fine printable cotton fabric which goes like a dream in my inkjet printer.

Now for a bit of maths. I found a file of pi to one thousand decimal places. That should be enough to make a geek pretty happy and fill the background of my design. Next a diagram and formula. I don't have fancy design software, but Publisher was able to do what I needed. I overlayed the diagram and formula in black over a page full of numbers. I was able to match the ink colour quite nicely to the t-shirt colour.

Here's where the project is up to this morning.
Now I have to soak the printed fabric to get rid of any excess ink. When it's dry I'll use my lightest iron-on interfacing and finish it off by stitching the printed panel to the t-shirt. The final challenge will be holding back until Christmas day to see how it's received. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Festival Day

My day at the Merlynston Diverse Voices Festival was close to ideal.
I spent the day spinning and demonstrating to people of all ages.
The weather was fine. The people were friendly, helpful and genuinely interested in my work.
There was a great group of children who kept coming back to see what I was doing. Several of them had a go on my CD drop spindle. One girl--aged about 9, I think--stuck with it for a couple of hours until she had mastered the skill and then bought a kit to take home.
A woman told me she had "sheering a sheep; spinning and knitting a jumper from the fleece" on her bucket list. She too got started with a kit.
I had knitting needles and wool available so knitters could contribute to the bunting project.
I enjoyed watching people pick over the items on my stall, choosing just the right one out of the variety of colours, textures and sizes. I sold enough to justify the day in financial terms--it was already more than justified in terms of human value. I just wish I could find more opportunities like this in my neighbourhood. If I can't find them, maybe I'll have to help to create them.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lighter Things

Yesterday was a difficult day for me. I spent the morning supporting a friend in court--again. Once that was over I desperately needed to unwind. Morris and Sons was a short walk away. I had a few things on my shopping list and a few more on my wish  list. There was a sale on my favourite knitting needles. And I'm starting to get to know some of the staff there. All in all, a visit to the wool shop turned out to be a bigger priority than food. I think I made a good choice.

One of the staff proudly wears this tattoo.
I'm not usually a big fan of tattoos, but this made me smile. And some of her other body-art, though harder to photograph, is profound. If there had been a cafe, I would have been tempted to stay. But I'd spent more than my budget already and had follow up to do from the mornings developments. And I did need some food. So I moved on, with a lighter heart and purse.
Tomorrow is the Merlynston Diverse Voices Festival. Despite a tough week, I'm looking forward to it. If you'd like to have a go at some bunting, I'll have spare needles and wool available. The music should be great. And the Merlynston community is vibrant and welcoming. I'd love to see you there: Bain Reserve on Merlyn St. It's the Village Green near the train station. The Street Parade kicks off the day at 11.00 am.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bitten by Bunting Bug

Up until last week I had managed to avoid catching the bunting bug. "It's cute", I thought, "but I dont' have to go there." This weekend that changed.
I received an email from the organisers of the Merlynston Diverse Voices Festival. I'm going to have a stall there next weekend, so I was already interested in whatever they're doing. It turns out there are a bunch of knitters involved in creating a long string of bunting to drape around the Merlynston Progress Hall. Knitted bunting! Who knew?
Saving the Merlynston Progress Hall is a major community focus. Making a knitted contribution hooked me right in.
The pattern is courtesy of the UK Womens' Weekly. It's a neat little knit: stocking stitch with shaped decreases. Easy enough to stitch through without any stress; interesting enough to hold my attention for the number of minutes required to get it done in one sitting. I thought I'd start with just one. Next day, I've made three and I'm dying to cast on another. They're due in tomorrow, so maybe not. Then again, they might be able to add to the bunting on the day. And it's an ongoing project, so it's never too late to join in.
Of course, while I'm knitting away, I'm designing alternatives in my head: different stitch patterns; big bunting; little bunting; crochet bunting; what about a double-knit version! So I think I've caught the bunting bug. I don't know if there's a cure. What's more, I don't care!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Time and Travel

Somehow in the last ten years or so some of the discarded objects of my childhood years have become desirable. With labels like "retro" and "vintage", these everyday objects are now attractive, relatively rare and possibly valuable. It's taking me a while to catch up with the trend. And, having moved house more times than I care to count in my young adult years, I have few relics of those early days. So it was that I found myself scouring the back shelves of Vinnies yesterday in a hunt for suitcases.
I'm planning to share a stall with a few others at the next Made 'n' Thornbury Market. We need a way to tie our diverse product ranges into a unified display. Old suitcases could be the way to go. I didn't own any. Now I do. Thankfully these were sold to me as just old so I got them for a price I was willing to pay. I'd like do a bit of patching and cleaning without investing too much time and energy. If we decide to go with some other display theme they will be useful for storing my wares. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Something New

There's always something new around here! This time it's a badge machine.
I have hired it over the long weekend. I've just done a few practice badges using cut outs from a magazine. It's as easy as everybody said it would be. The woman who rents it out said her four year old could do it. Now I believe her.
So I'm off to the studio to look for likely candidates to be turned into badges. Christmas is coming. I have lots and lots of novelty fabrics in my collection. There are hand-dyes, silks and all sorts of other precious bits and pieces. This is going to be fun!