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Monday, 29 December 2008

Challenges

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, celebrating with friends and family. To all those that sent messages, thankyou, I do love to hear from people, even if I don't always respond quickly.

My challenge for Christmas was to weave rugs for my mother and mother-in-law. This was successfully achieved, sorry no pictures...only just achieved.....steamed at local dry cleaners on Christmas Eve, and picked up just before leaving for Christmas Eve party....

I have difficulty giving presents, not that I don't like letting things go, I just get the sinking feeling that they won't like the gift. I think sticking to a non-wearable item was good and they did like them and admire the work.


I'm not particularly attached to the things I make. I find that once made and exhibited in some way, I'm happy to let them go and find a home and move on to the next challenge.


Speaking of which, my LYS has a summer knitting competition. I chose this sort of watermelon red for mine, the real difficulty is what to do with it before February, when the competition ends. As the results will be donated to charity, they need to be useful in some way. At the moment can only think of icords...don't know why. Wish me luck. For more information see http://www.woolybutt.com.au/


For my summer reading I have found a new magazine. It's called 'Yarn Forward', is English, is not expensive and has some really interesting articles.

For example, it had an article on steeking! Must try it some day!



There were a number of exhibition revues which looked wonderful.



The actual knitting patterns, I thought were rather tame. This is not a drawback for me as it is generally the articles that are interesting, but if you're looking for patterns, I'd check before buying.



As this is the 7th issue, and comes out monthly, I thought I'd wait to the next issue to see if it is worth adding to my favourite magazine list.



Textile Fibre Forum arrived on my doorstep, this week. Yes, I know, it is late, it was very nearly a tragedy as I'd forgotton to renew my subscription. The situation is now rectified and I'll be reading as I lounge at the beach.

I did like this photo which is one of the tutors at Geelong Fibre Forum this year.

















Challenges for next year:

1. Build an extension for our house
2. Get son number 1 through year 12
3. Start Diploma of Visual Art

I think that's enough!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Side-tracked again for Christmas




I haven't blogged for a few days. With a wide variety of events, some wonderful, some feeling on the disastrous side, my motivation is low.

Saturday, however, was lovely, with the guild Christmas party at which I was presented with my 20 years badge. I knew I was getting close, and, it was a nice surprise to get my badge along with another member who had introduced me to teaching and we share a passion for the library and related matters.

Sunday's market, for me, was not good. Last year I had done very well, with people buying presents. There were plenty of people, plenty of good comments and interest, but no sales. This is extremely disappointing and I'm still trying to figure out what to do. Next year we're trialing opening on Saturdays, instead of Sundays. Hopefully, I'll be able to figure what to sell in February when we restart.

I did start some weaving. I took this lovely yarn, picked the colours from my stash and have warped up enough for three knee rugs, two of which will be for my mother and mother-in-law for Christmas. The first is a straight tabby with black for the background, just to get me in the swing. However, I've threaded for an 8-shaft twill and will weave different background colours for the other two.

I do miss weaving larger pieces, and, despite not having woven on this scale for a while I'm feeling very happy. I am a weaver and it really calms and revives me.....it's also a great stash busting exercise. If the tabby works out, I have two very large boxes of blues and greens which may well contribute to a pile of knee rugs for my stall.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Just a little side track

Ever get that feeling that you don't know what you're doing? That's me this week. So I decided to have a play with Tunisian crochet.

I learnt this intriguing cross between knitting and crochet only a few months ago. I really like it, however, the fabric can be quite firm. Great for a blanket...I've seen one that another SnBer made for their little one, however, I felt it could be limiting.
As usual when you think that there's a limit, you either have to reassess your ideas, or, someone else reminds you that there are no rules or spinning (read tunisian knitting) police.
I had this lovely fluffy yarn and a 12.5mm beautiful Lewis Harper tunisian crochet hook. (Lewis Harper, wonderful woodturner, often seen at Bendigo and other woolly meeting places) They combined beautifully, and I managed to produce a lovely scarf, which requires a little blocking and some sort of finishing.
The pattern for this was the basic 2 row 'base row' of Tunisian crochet. I started with this and then went on to the pattern I had selected, but returned to the base row and continued it. Love the fabric....feeling better.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Magazine heaven

Four of my absolute favourite magazines are all out in their latest editions. I'm in heaven.




Looking through them has made me think about what I like the most and why.

Selvedge was the first to arrive and I do like the stories of these wonderful enterprises where industries are kept alive. There was a wonderful article in the British magazine 'Country Living' (September 2008 issue) titled 'Bolt from the Blue' which was about a couple who've reopened a woad mill and are selling the dye and dyed products.


This article on handwoven woollen blankets also had that flavour. You just want to go and live on an island somewhere. (or a small Scottish town on the coast - oops sorry, that's the movie 'Local Hero' - favourite movie, great Mark Knoffler music)


Then Yarn magazine has this article on Ruth Marshall who has knit this Amur Leopard completely accurately as she works at the Bronx Zoo.





I'm not usually a fan of exact reproduction, except where beauty and heart come into play.


Her website http://www.ruthmarshall.com/ is worth a look.


Object magazine feature indigenous art in this issue, however, I chose this piece as something quirky.



And Vogue Knitting has a lovely article about Nicky Epstein.

Her aesthetic is very different from mine, but she is exploring knitting in her own way.






So, what is the common factor? I think that it's the passion behind each of these. People finding, following, exploring something they feel passionate about. Shouldn't we all be doing that? Would it work?

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Fibre sponge cake

Yesterday was our last Experimental meeting for the year and I thought we could do another fibre sandwich, except that we would have a theme. With a wonderful sponge cake maker in our midst, it wasn't hard to decide on making a fibre sponge cake as a celebration of all things experimental.

These 'sandwiches' are a group effort, where everyone brings along fibre, or extras, in this case, related to our theme. The resulting batt is divided amongst the participants.



We had cake, jam, cream, icing and sprinkles on our cake.


And this is my resulting skein.








And we did have the real thing, as well. Thanks to everyone who came for making it a lovely afternoon.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Last skeins

Well, they're finished. I filled two bobbins and managed to ply off three skeins. Thought I could do it in two....how does that work?


The first bobbin, which was spun in long lengths of colour has meant that the 'background' colour stays the same for awhile but completely changes by the end of the bobbin, as can be seen from the very blue last skein.


To try something new, I divided each colour in half and then took a quarter and blended on my handcarders with a quarter from the previous colour and another quarter from the next colour and spun them in order. I did this for the second bobbin.


I did manage quite a few splits, (sorry, didn't count them) and at the end just completely blended them together. Again, I'm going to have to knit it up to find out how the colours work together.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

The odyssey of fractal spinning

Fractal spinning does appear to have created some interest and I must admit to it being slightly addictive.

I used the skein from the red to make this neck warmer complete with buttons.


I knit a young friend a hat from 'Hats - a knitter's dozen' called 'Chill chasers', which is actually a hat with a draw string that converts into a neck warmer. She is off to France (mountainous and snowy regions) for Christmas and, like most Australians will feel the cold. So her early Christmas present will hopefully help her enjoy this wonderful trip.


However, in the process, I sort of got the idea about neckwarmers and quite liked it. They seem very popular and I can understand why now. The little bit of yarn required (50gms about), simple shape and then it would really add some lovely colour to all those winter coats. So, I knit one.


The hat has already gone onto Etsy and the neckwarmer will today, after I take a couple more photos. I did feel that they needed to be worn, so a photo of me (yes, ME) is accompanying the entry. I just hope it doesn't scare anyone off!


I have started, what I think, will be my last fractal spin, for the moment. To be honest, it has been a useful stash buster, but I do think some different yarns might be in order. I do need a bit more texture!
This is a bundle of very mixed colours from First Editions and it will be interesting to see what happens.
I'm spinning the second bobbin, which does tend to show a bit more of the colour mixing and at a quick glance, when walking past, it looked just a bit muddy.
All will be revealed!