Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Getting to know my knitting machine!

I've had to start a new set of work. This is a bit strange as I haven't finished any of the other works yet. With next week being the week before the market, I will spend that time finishing off what I can, and, hopefully, I'll have a variety of work to add to my market stall.

So I've started working on another set of textile pictures, this time working with the textures and ideas around the 3D5S trip to Melbourne Cemetery. Working in the same way as previously, I'll use the knitting machine to create fabrics and add them to a canvas. I've found a slightly different shape at riot: a long rectangle.

The back fabric is going to be more textured and I'm trying to master Lace knitting on the machine. It's seems just like Tuck knitting but with an extra bit on the machine, that I don't really know what it does! Anyway, I achieved a very nice pattern and will easily be able to do three.

I also would like to use up some handspun scraps. (Is any handspun a scrap!) so I need to use them by weaving them in on the knitting machine. I haven't done this for quite some time, and I'm not sure I'm doing it correctly. It is however, virtually impossible to find any information on this technique, if your own instruction manual feels slightly inadequate! I'll get there, but I must go in search of a really good technical book for my machine!

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Silver jewellery & silk scarves

I spent yesterday playing around with Precious Metal Clay in a lovely class full of friends. This clay is moulded just as you would any clay, but when fired parts are obviously melted away and you are left with pure silver.

We all made at least two pieces: a lovely filagree heart or round shape; I made a heart! and, a flat shape with texture, which I turned into a round not quite bead that I'm going to use to add to a very special bookmark for the owner of my borrowed and hopefully soon departing weaving loom.

Over the weekend, I did manage to dye the rest of the silk and wool in red/blue/purple shades. Not actually as striking as the green, but still successful. I have made a start on that scarf. I'm knitting the middle stitches combining with the wool. The edges are silk only, but as an added bonus, instead of knitting straight rows, I've done a couple of short rows so that hopefully it will have a little flounce.

The green scarf I was happy with, in the end. I started by doing a thin angled scarf. (K2tog at the beginning of the row, Increase 1 at the end of the row. Knit back.) I started playing around with this, making a larger end, and finally, I pulled it all out and went back to the original idea.


Saturday, 27 October 2007

Heavenly silk!

I did manage to cut up enough silk for two scarves.

The first is already dyed with yellow and blue. Some old Supracen dyes from college. Best result I've had for some time.

I've decided to use wool with these two as I think that they need a bit of extra bounce. I have spun some fine (well almost fine!) merino top and for this I plied it together before dyeing. The second I'll keep separate and dye together and only use the wool for the central part of the scarf.

This weekend is 'clean house weekend'. Hopefully, I will be left with a packed sunroom and beautiful house.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Sidetracked again!

I do have a serious addiction to buying magazines. Not your trashy (cheap!) 'woman's magazines' but textile magazines, fashion, various art magazines, design magazines and even music has managed to appear in my collection. I'm also considering resubscribing to Spin-off and Handwoven, having got over being a bit jaded with their repetition and a certain lack of innovation.

A design magazine, 'Lino', that I discovered relatively recently has a new edition out on the shelves. The padlocks are on the front cover, and inside is an article by a couple of weavers. The first weaver had the same basis for some of her work in the 'nature vs nurture' and this is her response.

This is mine from the Old England Sculpture Award. I was quite surprised to see this reference and I loved her other pieces as well.

I've also been trying to knit a scarf with my liquorice allsorts yarn. I thought it would be easy, but it's proving a challenge! This is where I've got to trying 'all sorts' of different stitches to get the right effect. I think I'm happy with this one, except it's a very stiff fabric, so I'll try it on larger, (I'm already on 7.5mm needles)!

Should be cutting up silk fabric!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Partners working from home!

Dear hubby decided he'd work from home yesterday! Consequently, I had the pleasure of his company for morning tea, and, the annoyance of not being able to get at the computer for the whole day!

I have spent the last couple of days weaving. Two black pieces, one of which has totally changed the way I'm looking at this series. It's one material used throughout the whole 75cm with the gold wire all the way up. By the way, this gets curled around my plyers with added skill after my jewellery classes with Carol.

I'm using this gorgeous black tape that looks like video tape, except that it's black. Nice to weave with and very striking.

I then created another using the basket weaving materials my sister had given me for the 'Nature vs Nurture' entry to the 2006 Old England Sculpture award. They were little bits and fit really well into the format.

I've enough warp on the loom to create six, so only two more to go. I should be working on some silk scarves, hopefully Thursday.

I'm still considering why I'm blogging, except, that it's a good record of work and it's like reporting each day to your boss. I have to have done something to show, and that seems to be working in a very pleasant way. Working from home can be difficult as there is always plenty to distract, especially husbands wanting to go out for a coffee!

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

What you can find in your garden!

Having been away for three weeks over a good growing time things have happened in my garden. OK, it's taken me a week to discover it! I don't remember this plant flowering. The big tree that has shaded this area is only just recovering and regaining its leaf cover after losing most of its' leaves due to the drought, and the remaining leaves were looking very distressed. This might account for the flowering, also, this plant might also be stressed and is flowering in desperation. Anyway, it is a beautiful purple and tightly curled, and I don't know what it is except that it is a native! Isn't Mother Nature wonderful?

I didn't have a long time to weave, however, I did manage to get quite a bit done on the next woven memory, basic black. I included gold wire for highlights and really like this one. I'm falling in love with my new loom and enjoying the way it has been designed to make my life easier. All I need now is to dismantle the borrowed loom and get more space!

As I sit and weave, I'm generating more ideas for the next one and the next one. The idea that you need to sit down and work each day, I think is very true. Not only is it good for technique, but the process enables you to be more in tune with the materials and the loom. For these works, that are designed as I weave, this is really important. You can't always see how something comes out until the end.

I had a go at knitting texture from my Cemetery pictures, all I discovered, apart from alot of lovely patterns was that a Marle yarn (light and dark together?) is really the best! That's all!

Monday, 22 October 2007

Exploring Texture

This weekend was full of meetings. A HWSG general meeting during which we have a teaching committee meeting. All went well and a few issues I had with the Spinning Certificate were sorted out in a satisfactory way.

The line that we need to walk between the people we should pay - tutors amidst a volunteer organisation where alot of people give alot of their time is always difficult. We do need to be professional in our recognition of the skills of the members we ask to teach and this is going to be more of an issue as there are less and less volunteers, but if we can settle issues well now, then we have some basis for decisions in the future. (I hope so!)

The other meeting was 3D5S where we were to explore textures in response to our trip to the cemetery, however, I decided to show my textile sketchbook from my trip. I blocked it on Saturday and am very pleased with the result. So we spent our time exploring some of the stitches in this. I do want to sit down and look again at the Cemetery pictures and perhaps do some samples from that. A fun day, nevertheless. I always feel revived sharing with others of like mind.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Pictures from the Kimberley

All over the place today. Down at the school helping with book club, my penultimate! To an opening of a piece of weaving done by a group of Somali women in conjunction with the community health centre. It was a joyous event which culminated in some singing by one of the women who was joined by many of the other women. The wall hanging they created is spectacular and hangs in the large lobby area in the health centre. I couldn't stay for the food as I headed to a friend for lunch, textiles and playing with her borrowed knitting machine. This only serves to confirm that I need to practice and play with mine more!

I did get my photos back from Photocolor. I'm still sorting them out, but here is a few for you.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

What do you do on a holiday?

Textiles, of course! As I've just finished off my knitting from my holdiays, I thought I'd write about the textiles activity in my holidays. The Kimberley is an amazing landscape and hopefully amongst the four of us (hubby and boys - all armed with cameras), we've been able to capture some of it. My film will be developed by Friday so I'll add a visual feast to subsequents ponderings.

My plane trips were the forum for tatting and I kept to that. No problems taking it on board, though only children passed comment. Surprisingly few comments from adults, even when I was knitting in public I received surprisingly few comments. There was little craft evident in any of my travels.
I was glad about the lesson at the HWSG as I was able to interpret the book. I certainly enjoyed this activity. The only problem being that my fingers tried to be in knitting position, not tatting position. I need to also think about how I might use this technique in my work.

My knitting proved to be far more interesting and frustrating than I expected. Frustrating, as the linen I used was determined to be in one continuous knot. I put a sock around the cone, which merely delayed the inevitable knot. (I didn't have pantyhose - which I have heard might help!) Anyway, we got there and I did enough knitting to have a good sized piece and I didn't cut the thread!

For the knitting, I decide on the linen and cast on 90sts. The aim was to be influenced by what I was seeing. I also wanted to try some of the stitches from 'Creative Knitting' but only if they fit into the main aim.

I proceeded as follows:

1. Shoreline - basically garter stitch, but adding in short reverses every now and then to reflect the breaking and choppy waves.

2. Aerial view of mountain ridges. These branched like trees which I didn't quite manage to capture. I used YO to create defining lines and k2tog to create ridges.

3. Mud flats. Large areas of and in wedge shapes.

4. Boab Tree nuts. This was a Creative Knitting Stitch, Bell, which created holes with hoods. Sort of round boab tree nuts!

5. Stairway to the moon, an interesting effect of the moon rising over mud flat at particular times of the month. I used the bell again, only larger, to create the moon and a knit,purl ladder on a garter stitch background.

6. Boab trees. They are striking and everywhere. Groups of odd shaped bobbles to form the bulbous trunks.

7. Ridges, always in the landscape. Knitted back and forth in a long line, slowly decreasing and increasing, folded and picked up starting stitches to join.

8. Bungle Bungles. Absolutely amazing scenery made up of rounded features/hills/mountains/monoliths, I don't really know what to call them. They're striped from different layers of rock and soil and weathering. I used the YO method to create rounded forms (well almost!) with knit and purl stripes.

9. Cockburn Ranges. Sloping rock fall/slopes topped by dramatic straight rocky cliffs. St. St slope, with a ribbed cliff top.

10. Closer examination of rocky cliffs with trees on top. Wrap yarn around needle serveral times, knit same number of stitches together. On next row, knit into each wrapped stitch - should end up with the same number of stitches! Repeat exactly, add couple of garter stitch rows, repeat with a shift. A fancy crossed throw for tree-trunks and little bobbles for the tree tops. (I really liked this sequence!)

11. Tussock Grass. Shell pattern.

12. Salt pan. areas with between (2 sts, couple of rows) to try and create a cracked look.

I finished off with a garter stitch heading, and as you can see, it needs serious job!

It didn't always work, but if you wanted to repeat the piece to get a more polished finish, it could easily be done. I learn't new stitches, created something totally free form and had fun!

It was a great exercise which I am determined to both use as inspiration and repeat the exercise whenever I can.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Weaving at last!

I'm weaving at last! Not for very long, only about an hour, but enough to get started on another 'Woven memory'. That's what I call this series, after the major work I did called 'Woven Memories', which won the 2005 Old England Sculpture Award. Yes, I know, two years ago now, but it was quite a buzz.

I'm not as happy with this so far. It's wider than any I've done before but I will be doing a bit more finishing than usual, as this is meant to hang on a wall rather than a garden. I've also not woven for a while, so for a first it's not so bad!

Went into the city today, so I called in at Craft Victoria to see what their latest exhibition was. A very interesting look at gloves. Of most interest was a series of glove dolls, very quirky and some very naughty. I loved them all! Also was some most unusual pottery. These are the sorts of exhibitions which fire the imagination and give encouragement, especially when you're seeing really out there work. I feel that it just gives me permission to do exactly what I want! I love going to exhibitions.....must go to more!

I had a look at their shop, which is always full of interesting stuff and I noticed no small sculpture! Perhaps this would be my way into the Craft Victoria shop. I'll have to think a bit more about this. It would be interesting to try to do perhaps about half a dozen and show them. Of help would be more work with Paverpol, which started this whole blog. Must order some.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

My favourite magazine arrives!

One of my favourite magazines is 'Selvedge'. It's from England and is horrendously expensive and I have to just hand over the money and not think too much about it. It is, however, a wealth of fabulous images and interesting articles. The ads alone are worth looking at.
The current issue was at the Newsagents and, of course, I had to have it.
There is usually an interesting image or article that immediately catches my eye. This article on 'camouflage netting' had the most interesting pictures. I'm already thinking of some interesting weaving, tying things on a very open weave! I haven't read the article yet, but I will!

Monday, 15 October 2007

Return from the Kimberley

The flight from Darwin to Melbourne left at 1.30am (yes, AM), we arrived in Melbourne at 6am, (with minimal sleep) and finally arrived home! A quick shower, pack the car and I was at the 9"x5" market by 8.15am. There isn't much to say about this, except that I'm tired.

The market, however, turned out to be a success, with a lovely lady, also a great model for my scarves, who bought two of my scarves in the last hour and turned a very quiet day into a quite alright day. I have decided that for the Christmas and Summer period I need to turn my table into an Art table with a few scarves, rather than a Scarf table with some art, the latter would be for the Winter months.

So the plan, in terms of work, is to make a new range of silk scarves....they are a beautiful gift. More woven memories, but more substantial works. More textile pictures, with a new theme and for the fourth week...something else! At least I have a plan.

As well, I need to get some entries together for the guild exhibition. This week I think! And, of course, look at my photos from my trip, block the knitting I did on the trip and generally contemplate the whole experience.

I did manually blog when I was away and I'll do an extra post with some photos to deal with that. I did have fun. And, of course, photos will turn up all through subsequents posts.

PS It was a fabulous trip