Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Fates

Finally, finally, finally. I have finished The Fates piece at last. Here are a couple of quick snaps to give you a general idea.

This is the first time I have worked in a tondo format. It definitely appeals to my desire for symmetry. I was also very happy with the brocade border - a piece of fabric that I got at the Swap-O-Rama-Rama in Seattle last spring. And the stretcher it is mounted on was found at the hospital thrift store in Steveston - just the right size and only a dollar! The piece measures 20" square.

My embroidery skills are fair to middling, but working this piece helped improve them. And as far as what it all means, I will have to ponder it a bit. I know what I had in mind when it started but inevitably time and the process of working changes things.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wendell Castle's 10 Adopted Rules of Thumb

Wendell Castle is quite an extraordinary furniture maker. I have been carrying around the following list of his 10 Adopted Rules of Thumb for several years. Since I am currently without an internet connection, and must make do with the jittery computer the local library has to offer, I thought I could offer Wendell's list as an alternative to a regular post. I think they are applicable to any creative pursuit.

1. If you are in love with an idea, you are no judge of its beauty or value.
2. It is difficult to see the whole picture when you are inside the frame.
3. After learning the tricks of the trade, don't think you know the trade.
4. We see and apprehend what we already know.
5. The dog that stays on the porch will find no bones.
6. Never state a problem to yourself in the terms it was brought to you.
7. If it's offbeat or surprising then it's probably useful.
8. If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it.
9. Don't get too serious.
10. (And my personal favourite...) If you hit the bullseye everytime, then the target is probably too near.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tidal Pool Scarf

This scarf was whipped off in a couple of hours, using a wrap and drop garter stitch, and multiple strands of yarn.

I was inspired by the beauty of the tidal pools of Lasqueti Island.

Not included in the time taken are the little purple starfish beads I made out of Fimo. But they didn’t take long either, and were fun to create. I attached them by threading all the beads plus starfish on the thinnest strand of the yarns I was working with and knitted them in randomly as I went. This was the first time I had knitted with beads and I didn't particularly enjoy the fiddliness. But I ascribe that to just not being very practised at bead knitting.

One thing I like about this project was that it was a great stashbuster. The yarns used had been traveling around for a LONG time. And they are a pretty international bunch too: light blue viscose from France, multi-coloured slubbed cotton and viscose from Holland, a Merino woven tape from the odd ball bin in a San Francisco shop, lime green cotton and rayon from a thrift shop in Tsawwassen, and a purple Cotswold (from England) single handspun by me about 15 years ago. Beads from Japan and Czechoslavakia round out the medley.

I would have used more beads and starfish for total galoptious-ness*, but they added quite a bit of weight and I like a scarf that’s light on the neck.

* Galoptious is a great word I thought was unique to our family, but I found it in Finnegan’s Wake, so it must have Irish origins. It means over the top ornamentation.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Resurrecting A Sweater

I started this sweater back in the early days of 2008. It originally was a hoodie I made for my ex-step daughter. She wore it once and got chocolate on it, so, as 11 year olds do, threw it to the back of her closet to languish indefinitely. I found it while cleaning her room (achh, why, oh, why do I do these things?), decided that an 11 year old couldn’t be responsible for a handknit sweater, unraveled the whole thing, washed the yarn, and set about knitting Anna Bell’s Bridie sweater from Knit Knit.

I quickly managed to finish front, back and sleeves. Then it was summer and all the shit with the prince happened. The sweater waited forlornly in the bottom of my knitting bag until a couple of weeks ago, when I pulled it out, realized that it was almost done and I just had to finish the button bands.

Easier said than done, due to the odd angles. I knit and ripped, knit and ripped. Luckily I was quite enthralled by the multi-coloured, multi-layered buttons (which seem impossible to photograph) so they kept me going until, finally, the bands fit.

I do like the finished product, even though it may not be the most flattering shape for me. It looks better with the bottom three buttons undone, but it any case is cosy and has already garnered a few compliments. I love the colour, probably my favourite blue.

Now I am at work on Wendy Bernard’s Yogini Bolero in AllHemp6. Like knitting with string, a bit hard on the hands, but luckily it’s a small garment.

And just for the dog lovers out there, here’s a totally UNphotoshopped picture of Keiko in mid shake. I wish I could do that!