Monday, 24 September 2007

Just a quickie!

Such a long list of tasks to get done before we go. It's done. I'm going to bed and resting. No textiles, unless buying sandals for reluctant no. 1 son counts. I'll be offline for three weeks (Broome and the Kimberley), so I'm going to blog in hard copy... that is if I can be bothered...oh for the holidays.....

Only two more sleeps to go! Well one, really.

Last minute rush preparing to go on a wonderful three week holiday. I needed to complete all the work required to have my market stall ready. Seeing as I arrive back in Melbourne at 5am on the Sunday and need to set up between 8am and 10am on that day, everything had to be just right and in boxes and labelled. I'll probably sleep through most of the market!
I did manage to finish the front cables of my jumper. This just goes so fast. 5.5mm needles, I need to use those often! And I've started the sleeve.
Isn't photographing texture with an automatic camera when you want to take the photo inside just disappointing. The flash just flattens everything. I had to go outside, not a great drama as it is lovely and sunny, but I didn't really feel that I should have. I guess I should learn how to use the camera better, or get a better camera!

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Packing for the holidays

I didn't actually do anything yesterday. I called in on the Spinning Certificate students to go over their last class and ensure they've organised their exhibition, which they had and is well under way now. They've finally got their act together.

I did, however, start to pack for our 3 week holiday by organising what I will take in the way of textiles. The first is two plastic tatting bobbins (pink and blue! who chose those colours?), which along with yarn and a book from the local library, I'm hoping to take on the plane. The HWSG had a demonstration morning, as they do on their meeting day, which gave us a taste of tatting. I enjoyed this and hope to be able to follow it up.
I'm also taking one of my favourite books: Creative Knitting by Mary Walker Phillips. I still think that there is nothing quite like it, despite the fact it was published in the seventies. She explores stitches and yarns all in the name of art. What's not to like. I'm hoping to create a piece responding to my holidays.
The yarns I'm taking are a linen, red mercerised cotton and a linen/cotton mix. I hope that this is enough. I'm not sure of the textile options in Broome and the Kimberley, which is where we're going. Leaving Tuesday. Looking forward to it!
I'm going to have to start doing most of my blogging in the morning, as I think I'm putting a dent in our download time, along with no 1. son when he accesses his myspace page, which apparently has music on it. Anyway, we'll do that and see if it makes any difference.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Slow day, good company

I felt a bit slow today, too much to do, it will get done tomorrow! Had morning tea, turned into lunch with a friend who was working on her textiles. I watched and commented, nicely I hope, and had another look at her beautiful botanical drawings book.

Botanical drawing keeps cropping up and I feel the need to follow it up. Classes, Durer, practice, all need consideration.

I did manage to find the energy tonight, while the two big boys are at football and the littlest is watching/playing his gameboy.

I'm quite pleased with them. I need to cover the back and add a hook. I haven't worked out the price yet, and it will be a test to see what the reaction is.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Warping a new loom with nylon wire

Today was the meeting of the viewing committee for 9"x5" market and what you hope for happened. Of the ten people who applied we had an absolute gem. A lovely Japanese ceramicist who created the most quirky, interesting and unique peaces. She had a love box, which had two interlinked people, when unlinked revealed a beautiful heart. No hint of cutesy or anything vaguely girly, just good humour and real cleverness. She bought along about a dozen peaces, I would have happily lived with any. She will be a most welcome addition to our market.
I've finished warping the loom and now have to tie-up. This is the part of a countermarche loom that is not welcome. I am going to devise a series of hooks and loops to hopefully streamline the operation. I'll see what they have at Darn Cheap, or else the local hardware.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Textile pictures here we come!

I've continued to work on these textile pictures, in between warping up the woven memories. These are turning out better than previously. Unfortunately, the picture isn't really good. I created three, each with a different coloured yarn as the base, as follows:

1. Machine knit fabric in the selected colours: tan rayon, hand-dyed wool and a commercial yarn.

2. Machine knit copper wire and yarn together.

These are the first two layers, which I staple gunned to the canvas frame. I then found some handspun that matched and I've wrapped it around. I still need another element which I'll work on tonight. I think I need to return to the original inspiration of the violin.

I'm up to denting but have discovered I put the whole beater on backwards. Change it around tomorrow. I am falling in love with this loom as it has been a breeze to warp on my own. Nylon wire is forgiving, however, I feel certain I can continue successfully warping on my own.

Heaps of washing to sort out. Still tired from all that driving in the last two days.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

A Birthday skein

Last night I drove down to our holiday house at Phillip Island to sort out a new hot water service. I did manage, however, to finish the Experimental Spinning birthday skein. Last night I discovered the lolly bag that I'd forgotton about...thanks Tammie....So sitting there spinning and eating lollies! I finished it today when I got back home. It's a mix of fluffy wool and mohair. Then plyed with dark blue cotton. It's just a bit of fun, but I want to make something to remember the party by. It's only about 28gm, so I thought maybe, a little pouch. Need to wash the skein and think some.
I've also managed to paint the three, black and start warping my nylon. I need more space, it's an extremely slow process when you have to climb over things and you can't get in the right position. I need to disemble my borrowed loom and get my workshop back!

Monday, 17 September 2007

Getting ready

Today was spent mostly paying bills and writing contributions to the HWSG newsletter, Treadles. Just in time management wins again!

However, I did manage to seal my three small canvases with Gesso, the stuff that painters use for their much larger canvases. I'll paint them black after this is dry. I decided that I'd better dry them properly, after my last effort and hung them outside my workshop door to dry.

I then managed to wind the warp for the next series of Woven Memories. This will be wider and longer and woven on my new loom! All very exciting. I found the nylon wire at a wholesale store that was clearing out all it's leftovers from decades back.

It's lasting forever, but I will be sad when it finally comes to the end, as it must. Fishing wire will
have to fill the gap, but will I be able to find something as fine and so cheap!

Sunday, 16 September 2007

An afternoon at Melbourne General Cemetery

Another group that I'm part of is 3D5S, which is an inspiration and discovery group. This month we made a trip to Melbourne General Cemetery. I've been there before to take photos and find it full of texture and shape, but also age and decay. There are lots of stories, much that is sad, especially the plots where there are lists of children lost. I'm always taken by the solemnity and also just how big it is, right in the middle of our city.

We found the Elvis memorial, John King's grave, Walter Lindrums grave and the Bourke and Wills monument. Lots of different nationalities and the most amazing monuments.
I'm hoping that from all the photos will be a collection of shapes and textures that we can translate into knitted samples. This is for the next meeting in October. (3rd Sunday at the guild!)
I've been musing on the process of blogging and I'm finding it quite interesting. It forces me to go to my work every day, to document it and plan for the next day in a way that works very well for me. Working at home, there is always something else to do, this ensures, at least for the moment that I have to do something everyday. It's been fun too. I do however, wonder if there's anyone reading this. However, I'm going to keep going, regardless.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

When I knit for me!

Today I went to the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria monthly meeting. I'm a member of the Teaching Committee and we have our meeting as well. Unfortunately, there are a number of issues to be dealt with and the next few meetings might well be a bit traumatic. However, it is generally a good day and I catch up with friends and finish the day with coffee at Filous (French bakery, good coffee, great conversation). I did manage to give my Experimental Spinning group and 3D5S group reports, including a long essay on the Experimental 5th birthday party. I also showed off AB bear modelling the violin scarf sample and the grown-up version. A bit of fun.

I've also decided on concentrating on weaving my 'Hangable Art' and doing slightly larger and perhaps more refined versions. I'll try and wind the warp tomorrow. I'm feeling quite positive about it and hope to get at least a few done for the next market.

I have, however, decided that tonight I'm going to do my own knitting. It's been awhile, but I think it's about time. At Craft Victoria's scarf festival, by a weird turn of events I won the Patons Speed knitter of the year and the prize was $100 worth of yarn. This is a difficult dilemma when you're a spinner and knitter with a stash, and, it was the end of the season when some were no longer available. Very generously it was also at wholesale prices. I ordered just two yarns and got lots!

This is the jumper I'm working on for me in the Cleckheaton Country Silk in the brown colour. The pattern is from Vogue Knitting Fall 2006. When I've knit the cable I'm going to dye it, probably red which should overdye nicely. I will test it first. But I love the pattern and the Country Silk is knitting up very well.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Jewellery on Friday

With my trip to the violin maker post-poned to next week, I was at a loose end this morning. Could have done some cleaning, instead, I decided that setting up my new loom (Varpapuu Finlandia 8-shaft Countermarche floor loom- recently purchased) would be a good idea. It was, however, confirmed that I need to find a home for the Glimakra I've been baby-sitting. At least, I need to take it apart. I can't move in my workshop (read converted garage). But it is will follow.

Friday afternoon was better, as I spend time with Carol at Shacara Beaded Jeweller ( learning new techniques. This is a very adhoc arrangement, which works quite well, as I learn how to work wire whilst making presents for my nieces and young friends. The bracelet created today, is herringbone wrapped and was quite simple.

I'm hoping to apply it to a sculpture I'm going to be working on using yarn and rocks!

Carol has a beautiful shop above my local woolshop: Woolybutt, ( where Lorraine and Carol provided a consultation session about my 'Hangable Art', which I had taken along to show Carol. More work to be done creating a wide and new range, I really need to warp up my loom.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

It's that sort of day

It's that sort of day. I've just spent an hour looking for my camera, I've booked myself to teach on a day when I won't be in Melbourne, I don't like the work I've been doing and I just want to start again.

I started putting together my 'textile picture' and found that it started to look very amateurish. As today was a meeting of the steering committee for the 9" x 5" market, I thought I'd try it on our esteemed leader. She didn't really like it, but did suggest that perhaps it could be a smaller size to change from a 'picture' to something that might just fill a small space. This isn't a bad suggestion, however, I'm feeling just a little fragile. Hopefully, a trip to the violin maker for a photo session and, of course, afterwards.....will cheer me up.
I feel like I should just make scrunchies or maybe handspun, cotton face cloths. These aren't terrible ideas, but are they any better?

Knitting Violin Lace

I've had to blog this morning as darling hubby decided to do some just-in-time management for a workshop he's presenting today, and was up late using our computer. It did allow me time to finish my samples, so I can't really complain. So now the kids are off to school and the washing is on!

What I've done is, I think, knitted lace. I'm really happy with my sampling process. The black is the first sample and it probably was a bit too tall. Any way too much black.

So I thought I'd try with a wool that I'd dyed a reddy brown. It was purposely uneven which also suited this purpose.
It might have turned out a bit wide, and, I'm definitely going to have to block it to look really good.

Figuring out how to keep those loops in the right place was hard as I haven't done a lot of charting. Remembering to keep the loop in the same place means having to knit two together next to it working on two stitches that become a loop and a stitch.

I think that makes sense.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Knitting with Copper wire

I've started my textile picture. I managed to paint the canvas black, though I think that maybe a textile background would be better, a thin layer of felt maybe. I've spent the afternoon producing a strip of knitting on my very old, but faithful Singer knitting machine. I used a combination of copper wire and a rayon yarn I have in my weaving yarn stash.

So far, I am happy with that and have attached it to the canvas with my newly purchased staple gun. I love tools!

My next part to this is to knit a lace with that beautiful curve. It's taken me ages, but I think I've got it about right. I will try and finish that tomorrow.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Violins as Inspiration

Well, a restless night spent trying to figure out what went wrong with my stall. Finally, coming to the conclusion, yet again, that I should do as I wish. This means that I would like to create non-winter items and, in particular, try creating textile pictures.

The major problem with this has been that I don't want to just stick fabric or yarn on a canvas without any more intention than to 'make it look nice'. I need to have inspiration and direction. As it happens, a group that I convene, 3D5S, (3 dimensions, 5 senses), has recently been on a trip to a wonderful violin maker. It was a terrific trip....I've seen the photos! Unfortunately, I had to miss that day due to family commitments, however, the photos have been inspiring. I'm hoping to go back this week and take some pictures of my own.

I've decided to use this as the inspiration for my first textile pictures. There are spirals and shape and texture. I can use fibre, constructed fabric, copper wire and silver wire to create beautiful pictures.

I'm excited by the adventure.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

9"x5" market

Part of my life as a textile artist is the attempt to run a craft market stall as a way of generating a regular income.

After today, I'm not so sure of my grand plans. I didn't sell a thing. First time ever. For those of you who are thinking 'so what'. This is just my second market, the first one closed after only about a year and a half. This one is new and it is only the second market. The first being a great success. So I'm quite a newbee at this and don't really appreciate this little setback.

Further information is that I'm also on the steering committee and am committed till February. It has been a sunny day and it is the footy final season. I've got lots of scarves. We'll see. October is the next one.

I need to think about what I might like to have that is not dependent on cold weather. More decorative hangings, cooler type scarves, I'll be searching for answers over the next two weeks before we head off for holidays.

If you're reading this and you're local, come along and have a look. Small, quality and interesting.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Designing yarns

Today I've been teaching design at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria as part of the Spinning Certificate course that they offer. (As well, I've convened the course for the two years of the current intake).

This particular design component had two parts: firstly, analysing commercial yarns and then looking at including all sorts of materials to create textured yarns.

I've included a picture of the commercial yarn we chose to analyse (top) and my attempt to replicate it (bottom). I was really pleased with my effort, though, I didn't get the fluffy bit, I really nailed the bullion component. There were a few really good ideas, the one I really would like to follow up is the creation of the continuous bullion or corkscrew. This was created around a stable core yarn, in my case, sewing cotton.

Further to the yarn there is a soft mohair plied as if to create a boucle and then another binder.

The students had fun with a wide variety of yarns created. We then looked at texture. Having run out of time we focused on pulling fabric apart and carding it with top or fleece and then spinning that.
It was good fun today and the students responded really well to the challenges of this very different approach to spinning.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Fibre sculpture and me

Having discovered a new product (?) here in Australia that just might answer all my wildest dreams, I thought I'd like to share it with the world and thereby start my own blog.

The product is called Paverpol (website in Australia:

What does it do? Apparently it enables fabric sculptures to be rain, wind and sun proof, thereby allowing you to create outdoor sculptures.
Why is this of interest to me? Well, as well as a lot of other fibre activities, I create textile sculptures. The first few with wire and plastics (fairly outdoor tolerant) and the latest was handknit and machine-knit. Not necessarily the best material.
Above is a picture of my last entry for the Old England Outdoor Sculpture Award, run as part of the Banyule City Council Festival in March this year. It is called 'Figures in the Landscape' and is a tribute to 'Blue Poles' by Jackson Pollock.
There are 8 poles, just as in Blue poles and they are covered in Handknit and Machine-knit tubes with knit cubes attached. It was fun to make, however, it took alot of spray paint to cover and it really isn't finished properly, that is why 'Paverpol' might help. I'll do some further investigation. I'll try and keep you up to date with my experimentation.
Well that is my first entry. Hope you like it?