Friday, 26 June 2009

Missing Sunday post

With the Ivanhoe Makers Market last Saturday, I forgot to photograph and post about my new mittens. So much so, that I sold one of the three I had finished.

So here they are:

1. Red Onion and Alum mordant dyed fingerless mittens with moss stitch panels.

2. With the yarn 'Country Silk' I made these mittens and added little 'lambs tails' all over. The photo doesn't show it off very well.
All these are now at Incube8r in Smith St, waiting for the right person or the next market.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Review week

My blogging life has slowed to a trickle, changes in routines and competition for computer time (I compete with THREE males for access) have been responsible for this situation. With Review week over and a two and a half week break before I start my next semester studies, I'm hoping to re-organise (read tidy-up/clean-up) to enable more regular blogging.

As I mentioned, this week is Review week. We each bring in our folio of work and talk to a group of four teachers, two of mine and two of the other wonderful teachers, and they 'review' the work and talk over with you, the first six months. There is no 'mark' as such, but you do need to have done work.

My main problem was the amount of work I hadn't finished. I seem to be working, but not finishing. I was concerned, however, none of the teachers were. They liked what I was doing and saw the amount of work I had put into what had been done so far. It was a lovely session and very affirming. I've been feeling good for a little while now about what I'm doing, yes successful markets and positive teachers does wonders for the self esteem.

So I thought I'd show you some of my work.

I have three subjects where folio work is important: drawing, sculpture and painting, each has a wonderful teacher and in the case of painting, two teachers. They are all amazing artists in their own right and we all feel very privileged.

Drawing has provided real solid progress. I hadn't expected this, as I've done drawing over the years and approached it from the practice point of view, I hadn't really expected to learn so much so early. I've included the last picture for the semester and it represents alot. It's in colour, something I've always had difficulty working with. I was happy with the result at the end of the class, and I was shown and understood how I could have improved it further. Such alot!
Sculpture was really what I started this course for. I wanted to understand the process and learn techniques that would be useful. We had to do, in the end four sculptures: a cardboard mockup, which we would translate into a wooden structure, a found object sculpture and we also carved into polystyrene.
None of these were finished. However, I am very pleased at their progress and they will be completed both over the next two weeks and early in next semester. Saving time at home to do work is going to be important for this subject.
My found objects, eventually, all came out of the workshop, those odd knitting needles, empty cotton spools, that for some reason I'd kept?, and all those swatches that I've done over the years provided a wealth of colour. See, all you doubting Thomas' swatching is useful!
I'm calling the piece 'Landscape'.
My polystyrene wall piece is from the drawing I did as a result of my visit to the Yayoi Kasuma exhibition in Sydney. This has been such fun carving into polystyrene and the piece I felt that I knew where I was going. Further sanding and painting is required.
Photographing the work has also provided a really good idea about the finish. I want to paint it show varying tones of grey to highlight the height changes. With the sun on the work, it really shows the possibilities. It has no name, yet. (Suggestions welcome)
The last work is my painting. I have struggled with painting. This is the first time I've used oils and my first canvas. To say I was happy is almost an understatement. I called it 'Thursday Afternoon' (thanks to Aileen and Dina - I'm not really good at names) as it is the view out of the 6th floor window. It was my 'landscape' for the first year exhibition and drew lovely comments from many.
These pieces represent a major leap for me, To be able to show them and to think they represent the first six months of four years means alot.
All the inspiration I can give is for everyone to follow their dream whatever the challenges and barriers, it can be an amazing journey.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

News flash

Just a few items of information, just to keep you all up to date!

1. I had a wonderful day at Craft Hatch, successful on many levels, including selling three hats......I hadn't sold a hat for sooo long.
2. Nothing was finished for sale, so no pictures. I thought it was a good week and was surprised on Sunday, alot must have been started?
3. The first year students of the DVA have an exhibition called 'Landscape' on at the moment. It's at the Pigment Gallery on the 2nd floor of the renowned Nicholas building on Swanston st. (corner of Flinders Lane). I have a painting in it. The opening was yesterday and it's a wonderful showcase of all our work, and it's good!
4. Buttonmania is on the same floor and their sale is on! I'm going down there today, as it only lasts till Saturday. Definitely don't want to miss this one.

Saturday, 13 June 2009


Yep, today is World Wide Knitting in Public day (WWKIP). There are people gathering all over the world to knit in public, be proud and have fun. Here, in Melbourne they'll be meeting at Fedish in Federation Square from 12.30pm on. I'm hoping some of them will make it onto the trams and take it to the people!
You may have noticed, so far, no 'I' in any of this, well 'I' will be at Craft Hatch in the City Library in Flinders Lane from 11-4pm.
I did manage to finish my Harrietville fibre sandwich yarn fingerless mittens. These were more of a trial than they were supposed to be, I even changed the very simple pattern and am now happy.
The pattern is a mix of moss stitch and stocking stitch. I tried a chequerboard effect and it looked a bit messy. The stocking stitch columns tamed it just enough. Don't you love the buttons I added!
I'll be wearing them today at Craft Hatch and I will be knitting.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Buttonless mittens no more!

I've got through the pile, and these are the mittens I finished this week.

More purple, this time with cable down the side.

The black moss stitch, with the coloured embroidery.

And another red onion skin fingerless mittens. The yarn had copper coins as a mordant.

This week I'm excited, I get to stock Incube8r on Friday and Saturday is Craft Hatch at the City Library.

More yarn, more mittens!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

A beautiful day

After a very slow start yesterday, I finally made my way out to my workshop. My attention was grabbed by the moss growing in my garden. We have had rain for the start of winter. Unfortunately, as my gardening friend tells me, not enough to water the ground very deeply, but as you can see enough for moss to grow.

I love moss, it's beautifully fragile and on a bright sunny day just glows.

So I sat down with the door open to suddenly hear the most beautiful twittering just outside. A small flock of honeyeaters had discovered the correa outside and with their most elegant beaks were gathering nectar. They're tiny with dusky yellow belly and delicate markings and like all small birds easily frightened, so no pictures for you.

I did go out this morning to take a picture of the correa to discover that what must have attracted them was the first blush of flowering as most flowers were not fully formed or open. So hopefully, they will be back!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Embroidery on knitting

One of my favourite knitwear designers/writers is Montse Stanley. Sadly, she died in 1999, but her work lives on through her books, most famously her 'Knitters' handbook'. She collected books and knitting tools, including the first time I read any mention of knitting belts. This was donated to the University of Southhampton and is in their Library collection. Unfortunately, it is not accessible online (well, I couldn't find anything more than a description, tantalisingly, of the collection).

I did manage to pick up one of her books at a HWSG Textile Bazaar. Note to self: after missing the May bazaar, DON'T miss the October? one, always worth a visit on the chance of finding something.

I have been wanting to use some of her techniques. I always found that while dated, her aesthetic is closest to mine of any of the designers I admire. Strong lines, and texture seem to be her strong points and an encouragement to her readers to design.

I decided I would try this very simple technique of one of my fingerless mittens. These are always useful for trying small techniques and this gives me a way of producing lots and mitigating the boredom factor.

It starts with a moss stitch fabric, over which another yarn is woven. I chose a black fabric with the fibre sandwich yarn.

Please don't ask about the fingerless mittens I'm supposed to be knitting for myself from this yarn. Having always being worried that using my own hands for the mittens I might make them too big, I have largish hands for a women, what do I do when making my own.....make them too big! They will be done by Craft Hatch on Saturday........

After a few attempts, I finally settled on this pattern, which I am very pleased with...... Now to sew on the buttons......