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May 09, 2008
don't cry for me, athens georgia
file under: leaving
I'll be happy to finally head home for good tomorrow, but I will miss some of the people here in Georgia terribly. This week has been one long drawn out goodbye, with more social engagements packed into these last few days than I probably attended all this last semester: supper with school chums, lunch with the Athens knitbloggers, supper with Hockey Mom and family, and more lunch with some of the same school chums just to drag the goodbye tears out a little more. It's excruciating. For three years I've thought of this part of my life as temporary and have craved my home so much, but it's going to be so strange on Monday morning to make my breakfast and carry it out to the porch (will it even be warm enough to eat breakfast on the porch yet? I doubt it) and watch the neighbour children get on the school bus knowing that I'll be doing that every school day for the rest of my life, not just grabbing time at home before heading back to Athens. There won't be any back to Athens. And yes, despite all of my bitching, that will make me sad. So, Georgia friends, consider this your open invitation: come to Windsor any time. We're good cooks, and we have a fold-out couch.
file under: durrow
I've received a lot (a lot a lot) of e-mails and ravelry messages since the demise of Magknits from people hoping to still have access to my Durrow pattern that was hosted there. I'm pleased to announce that Durrow is now available, still and always for free, over at Knotions Magazine. Thanks, everybody, for your continued interest in the pattern. And I promise that now that I'm done with the nuisance of grad school I'll soon have some brand new stuff for y'all.
March 16, 2007
in which our intrepid heroine announces some changes and asks you, the reader, for assistance
I've done some spring cleaning around the portfolio area of the website, shifting and re-categorizing and tweaking here and there. Everything that was not representative of my best work has been removed (*coughmyentirefirstyearofgradschoolcough*), and a lot of the new work has been added. The "in progress" page now features projects I am actually working on, rather than dead old sows I'd already left behind the barn to rot months ago. Click on "artwork" in the header and tell me what you think!
Next up is to update the knitting pages, and here's where I need some help from you guys: if you have knitted any of my patterns, would you be so kind as to allow me to display a photo of your finished item in my reader gallery? If I have specifically asked you before and you already gave consent, please take a look at the gallery and see if your sweater has actually made it in; I think I may have lost some things along the way. If you'd like to be included please e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) an image a minimum of 200 pixels wide, and include your name, website url if you have one, and a description of any modifications you made to the pattern. Thanks!
I'm also working on pattern support pages for some of the designs, most notably poor Mariah who, though I love her dearly, is full of flaws. The rewritten directions for the yoke and hood will be there, as will the directions for the 33" bust size. For Durrow there will be notes on making the neck not so too-large (whoops) and also a flipped cable chart for anyone who wishes to have their sleeves be mirror-image rather than the same. Please let me know if you can think of anything else that needs to be added, or if you've experienced difficulty with any other of my patterns that I might need to address in a support page.
But wait, that's not all. I'd like to start collecting data about where and by whom my patterns are knitted; I'm not asking for personal information and this isn't material I'll publish on the web, and I promise I won't use a photo of your face (if you send me one). I've been thinking a lot, in terms of my design work as it relates to my studio work, about the value placed on these different types of creative output, and about audience. I've reached a far greater audience with my sweater patterns than I ever have (and perhaps greater than I ever will) with my studio work, and I take part, however passively, in a sort of collaborative work with everyone who uses my patterns to make a garment. These collaborations are something I'd like to start mapping for myself, and although I'm not sure yet just how (if at all) this information will end up in my artwork, I think it's a useful exercise for me at this time simply to collect it, sort it, map it. So if you have knitted (or crocheted, le's not forget I've also got a crochet pattern out there) one of my designs and would like to add your information to my collection, here are the sorts of things I'm looking for:
-which design you made, and do you wear it? any thoughts or feelings relating to the knitting of the garment, was it peaceful, enjoyable, frustrating, did you knit it during a happy time, during a sad time? Feel free to write a novella or write nothing at all, it's up to you. I'm interested in anything you have to say about the experience of knitting this garment, and of wearing it
-an image of the finished knit, and a description of any modifications you made to the pattern (this is the collaborative part)
-if you still have the printed pattern and you've made any notes on it or marked up the charts in any way, I'd love to have a copy or scan of that
-if you and I corresponded at all to discuss the pattern and you still have a copy of that correspondence, would you please forward me a copy? I did not keep any of it and now I wish I had
-something about where you live, so I can mark your area on a map; the more you wish to tell me here the better, so I can get a sense of where my little baby spiders have flown off to (yes, all of my stupid analogies come from my childhood, why do you ask? don't make me tell you about the dead sow behind the barn, okay?)
-any other information or images you're willing to share
-written permission to use what you send me in a printmaking project (if you wish to give permission for some things and not others, that's okay)
Like I said, I don't know where this will end up, perhaps on a gallery wall or perhaps simply in my filing cabinet. But if any of the information you send me ends up in a print, I will send you a print from that edition. Deal?
March 10, 2007
the longer i stay away, the harder it is to come back and write here
the all about me stuff
I wanted this web page to be a creative journal and a place to record my work in progress and my thoughts around that work, but when people started reading it and leaving me nice comments and becoming my friends and stroking my tender ego, somehow it turned into just another self absorbed diaristic wank session. I don't want that, and so when I have a week as rotten and stressful and unproductive as last week was, I'm going to do my best to just avoid this place rather than fall into the bad old habit of wanky autolocution. So, forget last week like it never happened; I'm just going to pretend that the transition between Peter's visit and spring break was seamless. And this week will be productive, and I will have things to say.
I'm babysitting a dog this week for a faculty member, so even though I'm spending the entire spring break working in the studio (and writing an art history midterm paper) it feels like a holiday because I get to stay in someone else's place and shake up my routine. Oh, the wonderful sleeps I'm going to have with no roommates coming home in the middle of the night and waking me up with the slamming doors and clonky shoes! That alone is worth cleaning up a week's worth of doggy poop.
the studio stuff
One of my goals for this semester was to do away with all of the ugly, horrible prints that I started during my first year of grad school, when I was floundering around miserably and ruining everything I touched (I was really grateful for that project grant at the time, but looking back I realize that having a free thousand dollars worth of paper made me reckless with it, and I have an entire print drawer packed full of wasted paper). Today I cut up a large portion of those prints (slightly more than half) and started making small books out of them. I'm going to start carrying them around instead of the moleskine to draw in. I put together eight or nine books today and cut and folded paper for about a dozen more; none have covers yet but I brought one home with me anyway to start drawing in. Each book has twenty two-page spreads and I'm going to shoot for filling a book each week.
I forgot to take any pictures of the (almost) finished books, but here's the before shot:
In the morning I'll put up some scans of the three pages I drew tonight.
Tomorrow I'm going to dye a big pile of fabric that's later going to be printed and made into clothes. I'm also going to etch my big copper plate this week, and finish up a bunch of print editions that have been left hanging for a while (an edition a week has fallen by the wayside, but I'm going to be caught up and a little bit ahead by next week, which is another week off because we're leaving Wednesday morning for the Southern Graphics conference.
the wonderful friends I have
Mama E sent me this lovely gift in the mail, some merino (my favourite!) to spin and a bag to carry my knitting in (it's the one from her shop that I wanted, too, and she knew without asking that this was the one I would like best). Thanks, Erin! I'm torn between greedily spinning up this fibre right away and setting it aside until I get a little better, especially with plying. I'll probably end up going with option #1, because I'm not very good at being patient.
And look how beautifully Margene's colourway co-ordinates with that quilt that I (ahem) haven't worked in in a long, long time. Receiving this fibre actually inspired me to get the quilt out from under the pile of prints and do some sewing on it. I wish I hadn't decided to do this thing by hand (see above re: patience, and me not having any).
the knitty stuff
I have lots of knitty show and tell just as soon as either my life quiets down to where I can take some time off (and thus be home during daylight photography hours) or the sun starts coming up earlier so I can get some decent photos before my 8 am bike ride to studio. I've got a Wicked sweater that y'all probably didn't even know I was making that's been languishing on the nearly-finished pile (right on top of Forecast) for a couple of weeks. I've got a couple of other sweaters on the go as well, but of course we're already past wool sweater weather in Georgia, so those may get tossed aside for a while yet. I got a good chunk of the spring Interweave lace nightie completed during Peter's visit, and hope to be finished and wearing it by the time he comes again. I'm at the part where I have to do some math, though, since I don't really want the deeply plunging back that we don't get to see a photo of.
Here is something I think I can show you now:
Two spring designs I did for JCA Crafts; the one on the left is Artful Yarns Flora, the one on the right Artful Yarns Marine. (photos courtesy JCA Crafts)
February 04, 2007
at the edge of the bar sat a girl named Doris, and ooh that girl looked nice
My latest pattern, in Interweave Knits, Spring 2007.
January 23, 2007
week one editions
These were finished up on Sunday afternoon; I don't really have much to say about them right now, but I'm messing around with imagery ideas for a book I'll begin working on soon, and using the editioning challenge as an opportunity to try out some of those ideas. By necessity, many of the prints for this challenge will be small, in order that the constant need to make editions not overshadow my other work (which is all larger and more labour-intensive). These two prints are approximately six by nine inches.
And, psst. . . the spring Interweave preview is up. You can't see my project (or some of the others) very well, but it looks like a good issue overall. First in the queue, I think, will be Eunny's socks, because only Eunny can make frumpy old entrelac look so freaking HOT.
January 07, 2007
brought to you by the letter "p"
projects. promises. and a little procrastination.
Yesterday we spent the better part of the day cleaning out the undergraduate printmaking studio to prepare for the new term; I had thought it was going to rain all day so I accepted my colleague's offer of a ride, and it turned out to be sunny and 70 degrees, perfect for bike riding. Today it's rainy and cold, so instead of going in to the studio as I'd planned, to write and print out a syllabus for the course I'm teaching, I'm staying in the house. So, have I been responsible and written my syllabus already? Yeah, right. I slept off a migraine all morning, now I'm going to knit and watch some Naruto.
I have decided to make a resolution, of sorts, after all. As I was saying earlier, this is the semester when I could really allow myself to slack off if I'm not careful. But instead it should be the semester in which I experiment and play and just make prints like crazy. So Jessica and I are going to sign a contract with each other, to complete an edition of prints (minimum edition size: 5) every week, starting next week and ending when the semester ends. This means we'll each have about seventeen editions of prints by the middle of May, although we'll probably give ourselves the week off when we go to SGC, so let's say sixteen. I think this should be doable, especially considering the way I work, reusing the same woodblocks and layering the same elements in new combinations. I'm also going to re-establish my relationship with my old boyfriend, lithography, and he's an instant gratification kind of guy, quick and dirty. I've been bad lately for finishing up one print for critique and leaving the rest of the edition to finish later (which means never), and this might break me of that habit.
The other old love I'm going to be rekindling is etching. I've got two shiny new 24 x 36 inch copper plates waiting for me in the studio and I'm pretty excited; I've never really done a lot of copper etching before, only zinc. If I'm going to slack off and watch anime rather than prepare my syllabus then I should at least put the sweater down and knit something that I can soft ground transfer onto a plate instead. I think I can handle that even with the extra laziness brought on by the rain and my aching head.
Here's the last finished piece for 2006, my grandma's birthday scarf (yes, the one I was supposed to have finished for her birthday at the end of July):
It's about 3/4 of a skein of Misti Alpaca, and the pattern is a chevron lace (from our old friend Barbara Walker) in the end panels and something art deco-ish that I made up as I went along in the centre panel. I've been meaning to write up the pattern and post it here since xmas, but didn't want to take time out from my precious schedule of doing nothing all day with Peter by my side; now that I'm back at school, I'll try to get it done before the reading for my art history class gets too heavy.
I've all but finished Forecast, she's just waiting for buttons before she's unveiled. I'm itching for a photo shoot so if I can't get buttons soon I'll safety pin her up and show her to y'all anyway. I only had enough yarn for 3/4 sleeves, so I'm hoping it doesn't look funny; there's a chance there may be one more ball stuck in the yarn lockers somewhere but if so, it hasn't turned up yet (yes, I keep my yarn in lockers. Not full size school lockers, more the size of the ones at the bus station. They look more like school lockers though. Garbage-picked furniture is THE BEST).
After Forecast was off the needles, the night before I flew back to Athens I cast on for a new cardigan of my own design:
Of course, I foolishly believed that not only would I finish Forecast, finish my grandma's scarf and knit a pair of socks for Claire over the break, I also thought I would not only start this sweater but get so much work done on it that I felt the need to bring all the yarn for it home with me. I really ought to know by now, don't you think? I cast on for this the night before I left home, and all I really needed was one ball to get me through the airport (the ribbing) and knitting on the plane (one full repeat of the pattern, or one zig and one zag). Ah well. I didn't even open up the roll of Japanese paper I so carefully toted home on the plane, thinking I'd just start a 30 foot drawing in my free time over the break. Hah. Peter pretty much ordered me to list all of the projects I think I'll get done over the summer break and then only bring half of that home with me; I'm thinking a quarter might be more appropriate.
So, you want specs on the new sweater? It's Jo Sharp dk wool, wool that I bought so long ago I'd forgotten I had it so when it fell out of a locker one day it was like magic! The wobbly lace-and-cable stitch is one I've wanted to do for a long time: I had an awful, ugly, droopy cotton, frumpy, boxy pullover in this stitch (oh, and it was baby-poo beige, too, and long enough to cover my arse and then pull in at the hem so the belly bouffed out like a big ball; sex-ay!) that I wore anyway because I loved the pattern so much. I recently got paid for a design project and right away ordered Barbara Walker's stitch anthology #2 (having decided to pick up one more every time I get paid for a sweater until I have them all) and, lo and behold, this stitch was in it! And I was so excited!! The book showed up on the doorstep about 30 minutes before I left town to go home for the holiday and as I was flipping through it I squealed out loud, scribbled the pattern down in my pocket notebook and crammed the Jo Sharp yarn and some needles into my already overstuffed suitcase. I was nearly peeing my pants with excitement, let me tell ya: I can finally have this stitch I love in a sweater that doesn't make me look like some matronly refugee from a Wham video.
This will be a fitted little cardigan, with 3/4 sleeves, nice deep ribbing all around and a ribbed foldover collar. And big buttons to offset a wide ribbed button band. Some may say that lace in wool is a tad impractical, but I think for the south it will be perfect, especially during those months when they air-condition every building to such frigid temperatures that when you walk inside your teeth and skull ache and when you walk outside the heat hits you like a brick wall hits a crash test dummy and the sweat practically flies from your pores like great watery ribbons. Oh yeah, this sweater will be perfect for indoors on those days. When I get back home to a more reasonable climate, it'll be perfect for those late August evenings when you desperately want to keep eating supper out on the porch even though it's not really quite warm enough once the sun gets behind the tree. Not that I'll be sitting on my own porch in late August again until, oh, 2008. Sigh. But when August 2008 comes, baby, I'll be dressed for it.
December 15, 2006
Merry Chex Mix, everybody.
*edit: there was a mistake in my sock pattern: you should cast on 34 stitches instead of the 46 I tried to scam y'all with. It's fixed now; carry on.
I had big plans. Big, huge plans for little presents for my knitty readers, scattered throughout this week. Why? I'll let you in on a little secret: I hate xmas. Hate it, in all its consumptive excess and its schmaltzy sentimentality and utterly false goodwill towards humankind; hate it with a seething, grumpy fury. As an atheist child of a mostly-lapsed Christian family I'm pretty much obligated to take part in most of the secular rituals of the holiday, and truth be told I don't mind so much the visiting and the hugging people and drinking and having fun and the teeny-tiny oranges. But the colossal waste of money and the giving and getting of stuff nobody really needs and the tacky decorations and the unspeakably bad music just put me in a bad mood.
A few years ago I was at an early evening artist-run-centre board meeting and a board member came in with little picture books for everyone, saying that if she had to go to a meeting on the first night of Hanukkah then she was going to give out gifts. It was the first (and only) Hanukkah gift I'd ever received. And I got thinking: I have to take part in this holiday that I hate. Christians make a bigger deal about Hanukkah than Jews do, and elevate it to a more important holiday than it actually is, simply because it is close to xmas and shares the tradition of gift-giving. So I thought, since I'm not Jewish either, maybe this year I'll give Hanukkah presents instead of sitting back being driven mental by the pre-xmas frenzy (who said my thoughts had to run in a straight line, or make sense even?). So I was going to prepare a bunch of little patterns, fancy cable charts, all sorts of knitty goodies to give away to my internet pals.
Well. See, that's a lot of work, and working's not really been a priority for me since my return to Windsor. So my big generous plans have gone the way of so much xmas knitting: well-intentioned and full of love but ultimately not finished on time and will probably end up being forgotten about for a few months and then sheepishly finished up and finally given, with mumbled apologies, in June.
Yeah, you've all been there, right?
So there will be presents, but not eight. And not every day. And I'm not going to buy y'all the bottle of booze that I would have bought as a backup gift for you when I didn't end up finishing your xmas mittens. Instead I'll just give what I can now, and surprise you all with little presents throughout the year, to show you that I love you even without being prompted by schmaltzy advertising and false sentimentality. And in the meantime, let's all do something kind for someone else, now and throughout the year, because we want to and not simply because we're embarrassed to walk past that guy ringing the bell with all of these expensive gifts in our arms. Might I suggest, for starters, this?
I do have a wee present for you today, though. Robin asked for a pattern for the socks I made for High Energy Fetus, who surprised us all last week by suddenly upgrading his status to High Energy Baby earlier than expected. I suspected at the time that the little guy might have overheard his mom and I the week before, talking about how much she'd like to go for a bike ride, and decided to free Jenny up to ride again a little early.
I had to cobble together a memory of what I did based on the photo, since the socks are far away now, but it's a pretty basic sock so I think this will wind you up with a pair just like mine.
High Energy Baby Socks (that rock!)
Materials: just a wee bit of Socks that Rock sock yarn; make these first and you should have plenty left over to make a pair for the little one's dad or mom so they can be all cute and matchy.
One set of 2.75mm (US 2) double pointed needles; four or five, whatever's your preference. I use four, so this pattern is written for that.
Stitch holder or waste yarn
Work picot hem:
Cast on 34 sts, join to knit in the round and work 4 rounds in stockinette st.
Next round: work [yo, k2tog] to end.
Work 4 more rounds in stockinette st.
Next round: folding hem to inside along eyelet row, pick up the first st of cast on row from behind, place on left hand needle, and knit together with the first st on the left hand needle. Continue to the end of the round knitting one st from cast on round with one st from current round to create a finished hem.
Work leg pattern:
Purl 3 rounds.
Knit 3 rounds.
Next round: work [yo, k2tog] to end.
Knit 3 rounds.
Purl 3 rounds.
Continue to work in stockinette st until the leg is as long as you want it; I made mine about another 1.5 inches after the last purl round.
Knit across 17sts, place remaining 17sts on holder (for gusset) and proceed working the 17 live sts flat as follows:
Next row(WS): slip 1, purl to end.
Next row(RS): slip 1, knit to end.
Work these two rows for 1.25 inches, ending with a RS row.
Next row: p 8, p2tog, p1, turn.
Next row: k 1, ssk, k1, turn.
Next row: p2, p2tog, p1, turn.
Next row: k3, ssk, p1, turn.
Next row: p4, p2tog, p1, turn.
Next row: k5, ssk, k1, turn.
Next row: p6, p2tog, p1, turn.
Next row: k7, ssk, k1. 9 sts remain on needle.
Place held stitches back on needle and resume knitting in the round as follows: pick up and knit 9 sts along left side of heel flap; knit across 17 gusset sts, pick up and knit 9 sts along right side of heel flap, k4 heel sts. Mark this spot as the beginning of the round and arrange sts as follows: next 14 sts on first needle, 17 gusset sts on second needle, last 13 sts on third needle.
Knit one round even.
Decrease for instep:
Next round: knit to last 3 sts on first needle, k2tog, k1; knit across second needle; on third needle k1, ssk, k to end.
Knit one round even.
Repeat these last two rounds until 34 sts remain (9 on first needle, 17 on second needle, 8 on third needle).
Work even in stockinette st until foot measures 3 inches.
Decrease for toe:
Next round: k to last 3 sts on first needle, k2tog, k1; on second needle k1, ssk, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1; on third needle, k1, ssk, k to end.
Knit one round even.
Repeat these two rounds until 14 sts remain; at end of round, knit 4 sts from first needle onto last needle so that there are 7 sts on each of two needles. Break yarn, leaving a 10 inch tail, and use a darning needle to graft remaining sts with Kitchener stitch.
Now, do it all again. Then dance around the room with them on your fingers like sock puppets. Or not.
And please let me know if I've made any mistakes or typos; Pete walked in the door just as I was cut-n-pasting in the pattern, and I'm too smitten to proofread just now.
November 01, 2006
I've decided to participate in NaBloGAH!Mo this November. You know, that thing where you try desperately to keep up with reading the weblogs of all of your friends who are crazy fool enough to be composing blog fodder every single day for the entire month. And, you know, resist the temptation to skim it all, and actually read, all the while cheering on those other friends who are writing novels (y'all are nuts).
I'm not sure who I'm trying to kid. My continuance examination is scheduled for the 20th; I'm not too stressed about how it's going to go, but here's a list of what I need to have finished for it:
* finish this dress
* make a second dress of woodblock and letterpress printed Japanese paper; so far I've only done the woodblock printing, and the paper will have to be folded and refolded to print a small section of text over a large surface (I'll be printing the text both in iron oxide powder and transparent ink). Then after that it needs to be cut and sewn into a dress.
* a bunch of pillows (I'm shooting for six), appliqued, woodblock printed and embroidered. I'm working on the applique now and it's going fairly quickly.
* more prints. I don't know how many, six maybe? eight? These all have several layers printed already and just need to be resolved somehow.
* a new wall installation similar to the one I exhibited last week, only different. I'll reuse some of the components and make some new stuff.
* a small grouping (six or eight) of these drawings. I don't want to spend too much effort on these because while they're quick and easy I'm tiring of them; I really like them aesthetically but conceptually they're pretty one-dimensional, and I'm sort of over them already.
Can that really be all? It's so much work, and yet it all fits so neatly into six little bullet points. Those of you who knew me two years ago know just how crazy I am, and also how much I can pull off. So, let's wait and see. At any rate, reading will be a rare luxury for the next few weeks, so if you love me, post a few pictures I can skim to, eh?
My last knit design job for this fall has been delivered, and once I've finished up the math for the sizes I've got nothing new on the horizon; I haven't been submitting designs because I have to get through this hump of studio work first. Next semester will be much easier in the studio, and so I likely will have the time for knitting work. But I can't spare the time to put submissions together right now, so I can't see myself lining up any new work in the next little while. These two jobs are tough to balance because they both use the same mental skills and the same muscle groups, so when I burn out creatively from one, or give myself hand cramps with one, it's impossible to just take a break and turn to the other for a while. So. I have a few things coming out in the spring and then, I don't know. Perhaps I'll take a break, perhaps I'll start work on some things to self-publish (looser deadline, there) or perhaps I'll spend the entire Americanthanksgiving weekend swatching new designs and line up some new work. But don't all hold your breath, just in case.
While Peter was here over the weekend I indulged in a little bit of non-deadline knitting; I finished a pair of socks for myself and a matching pair for a friend, but can't show them off until my friend's socks have been received (so as not to spoil any surprises). I started a new pair as well and am 2/3 through the first, thanks to my three-times-weekly bus ride across campus to teach my class. At the rate I'm going perhaps I can wear them to my review on the 20th, if the applique-ing doesn't chew all of the skin off my fingertips first.
September 04, 2006
my fall sweaters for JCA
These are the sweaters that ate half of my first year of grad school. The cabled pullover is in Reynolds "Blizzard", a big, fat, luxuriously soft and warm alpaca blend, and the hooded jacket is in Reynolds "Whiskey", a lightweight wool that's perfect for colour patterning. I think you could probably get your LYS to order the pattern booklets if they don't already carry them.
August 31, 2006
a colleague just informed me that the semester is one-eighth over
Yes, this strikes fear into my heart. Let's not discuss it again.
So, with these out of the way*:
I can now get down to the work I came here to do. My 30-hour review is coming up this semester, where my committee looks at my work and rakes me over the coals and then decides whether I'm good enough to stay in the programme and get my degree. I'm not too worried, but I do need to get a lot of new work done. So now that I've finally shaken the sickness (the coughing seemed to drag on forever) and am between design commissions (with luck it will be a few days yet before the next box of yarn arrives), it's time to get down to work. I've been avoiding the studio so far, working at the house and just biking in to campus to teach my class. Yesterday was the first day of my new regimen: get up at 6:30, half an hour of yoga, into the studio before 9 and work all morning before going to the main art building to teach. Then, back to the studio. I got a lot of printing done yesterday morning:
I'm pretty excited about these so far. I'm forcing myself to print only on new paper rather than working overtop of old prints like I normally do. I will still use up the several hundred pieces of already printed paper I've got, but for the time being I need to do some work without all of that old baggage underneath it. These are printed from one of my old woodblocks using stencils to only ink up certain portions. Leaving white space in a print is also a new thing for me, and I like it.
*this is all I can show, since these are for JCA. Both of the yarns are new and I forget what they're called but I'll find out soon if anybody is burning to know. The stuff in the top piece especially is absolutely gorgeous and really nice to work with. This doubles as my neutral-coloured crafty project for Project Spectrum this time around, as it's all I've been working on outside of studio work. Now that I have a bit of time when I don't have a design project to work on, I'm trying to finish up a few older Spectrum projects that were oh-so-close when I abandoned them: Ms Marigold, Orangina and my gramma's alpaca scarf. Ms Marigold will be done by the weekend, so stay tuned.
July 28, 2006
Some things I've been making
I needed to do a piece for a fundraiser show for a Toronto gallery, and used the opportunity to make a sketch for a series of embroidered drawings I'm going to work on throughout the upcoming fall and winter. This piece is 12 by 12 inches, but I think I'm going to do them 8 by 8 from now on, since I'm happy with the small scale of the drawing but I think the overall pieces should be a bit more intimate. The matrices will all be household fabrics (probably mostly bedsheets and pillowcases, because I like the weight of these and you can get lots of hokey patterns) and the images will all have to do with industry in the area where I live (particularly the Big 3 automakers).
Project Spectrum, did you think that my dislike of purple had caused me to turn my back on you? Not so! I've been plugging away all month to produce this lovely half of a lace scarf, with a deadline of the end of this month. Actually, the deadline for the whole scarf, not just half, was the end of this month, but guess what? That ain't happening. If you are someone who recently chided me for giving half finished knits with IOUs in the past (ahem, MOM), just keep quiet, okay? I'll wrap it around some booze or something, show it to the birthday girl, then whisk it away again and have it finished before the weather turns cold. Promise.
I'm not going to point out the huge glaring mistake I opted not to rip back and fix (knitters will find it anyway). I'm trying to let go of perfectionism a little, so leaving this in is good practice.
The yarn is Misti Alpaca, and even though I don't care for purple this is really lovely, with subtle hints of blue and burgundy throughout. And sooooooooft. It will look beautiful on my gramma.
I've also been working on two new designs for next spring, and while I can't share too much of that with the internet, here's a peek at one of the swatches:
July 09, 2006
April 19, 2006
Stop the presses
Give that player two minutes for using the wrong cliche.
Dear reader, it's not you, it's me. There is so much to show and tell you, but I just don't have the time to regale you with stories right now. This is crunch week and we have an open house in our studios on Friday, so if you're in or near Athens GA, come on out and see our work and hear the Jaws of Life and meet the printmaking superstars, the Little Friends of Printmaking.
I've got laryngitis, just in time to have to be charming and schmoozy and talk about my work with people. Won't that be fun? (hell yes, she whispered).
But today, look, look!! Big Girl Knits hits the stands today; I'm officially a real, published designer, on paper. And as if that wasn't enough to get me jumping for joy (I jumped so much I missed the bus and now I have half an hour to waste), here's a sneak peek of my pattern.
The studio is smoking from all the activity, and I've got a lot of new stuff to show, but it'll have to wait until after Friday. Now I have to go to school.
February 22, 2006
No time to write. But here are some pictures.
I love the shaky line quality you can get by laying an image on the Wacom tablet and tracing it. This is for a letterpress/book project I'm working on; I'll be transferring this image (and a whole lot that look just like it) onto a photopolymer plate in order to print it on the letterpress, but first I have to redraw it with a larger pencil width, because I'm shrinking the images down tiny and right now the lines are way too fine. The good news is all flaws in the drawing disappear at the final size. Yeah!
After a long night slaving over a hot nitric bath, I have this, among other things:
I know it doesn't look like much has changed but there's a lot more on this plate now than there was. I etched some hatchy-marks in the darkest shadow areas; next is to put in some more for the less dark shadows, then put lots more false bite and plate tone over the whole thing. I pulled a proof yesterday (before adding these marks) and the lines were pretty wimpy, but they're deeper now. Way deeper.
And here's a little teaser of things to come: this landed in my mailbox yesterday.
Six skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in the black watch colourway. What's it for? Can't tell, it's sooooper seeeekrit. But I promise, after April I'll have lots of non-secret stuff to show you. Pinky swear.
February 15, 2006
An endeavour of Olympic proportions
Here's a peek of my Olympic knitting progress so far. I've obviously got to speed up; at this rate I may not make it past the qualifying rounds. But I have to get it finished, so I will. I'll have some time to knit in class tonight. That thing underneath it is a mushy valentine card that came in the mail yesterday from my sweet mom.
Today I made some butter tarts for the printmaking exhibition reception tonight (which happens at the same time as my 3-hour class, argh):
Note my half-assed fluting. I'm not so good with the pretty, but I've got the tasty down and that's what counts. It's only going to be art students and faculty at this reception, and they don't care what the food looks like just so long as there's food. Right?
The stray cat of the compound (I call her Mister Bunny but since it looks like the guys across from me have taken her in, I'm sure she has some other name as well) came in to visit for a while this morning, and made herself right at home. Here she is getting up on the bedside table to knock down my plush Canada goose.
Thank goodness she finally left. That girl is high maintenance.
January 30, 2006
Doing it for my country
This is a bandwagon that I was resisting jumping on, and I've been holding out on y'all about why. I've had two sweater designs accepted by JCA yarns for their fall 2006 line, and the time frame in which to knit the items and write up the patterns is very, very short. I'm also working on a sample and pattern for another design, which will be in Amy Swenson's upcoming crochet book. Oh yeah, and there's still that other thing, what was it? Oh. I remember. Grad school. So knitting for myself is sort of out of the picture right now. As is sleep.
But. My country is calling, and I can't refuse. I'm sure my mother will approve*. I've decided to make one of my JCA sweater designs (the more complicated one that's done on the tiny needles, because I am CRAZY) my Knitting Olympics project. The only glitch is that aside from a few artful photos to show off the gorgeous, gorgeous yarn I get to use, I can't really show my progress on the blog. So at the end of the Olympics, I am going to send Stephanie a photo to prove I succeeded (assuming I do. . . ), and the rest of you will have to trust that I'm not fooling and inflating how much I got done. Okay?
I can't even tell you how badly I want one of these Team Canada jerseys. But sadly, my paypal is empty right now and the deadline to order is tomorrow, so I'll just be writing "Team Canada" in Sharpie marker on an old t-shirt instead. I'm sure my country will understand.
* Just think about it -- it would be like as if we were doing it for the CN Tower, or Lake Louise, or the Toronto Maple Leafs... it would be like as if we were doing it for... Tim Hortons!
**Thanks to Kelly for the button!
November 04, 2005
Sorry for inconvenience
Until you people learn some respect, you're going to have to pay for any air you consume while in this store. Sorry about that.
I've been collecting found drawings and letters for years; you can see pictures of some of them on my flickr page.
Thanks for all of the compliments on Durrow. It appears from the comments that the ladies really dig Josh; I'm sorry to have to break it to y'all that he's taken. I also apologize for the cable charts not being up on the pattern page yet; I don't know what's happening with that but I'm sure they'll get it ironed out soon. In the meantime, I can send the charts to anyone who needs them, just e-mail me.
October 31, 2005
The sweater was started on Peter's birthday in April, and completed in September. I guess if I want to make him another sweater for his next birthday, I had better start now.
September 29, 2005
This just in
Moving on Saturday, whether I can arrange to get the bed right away or not. Right now I think it would be worth it to have to sleep on the floor for a night or two in order to be able to get up on Sunday and walk to the studio, rather than being stuck out on the edge of town with no bus to get me there. No more wasted days.
It's amazing how much of a mess I can make in a month and a half, especially considering I only brought half a vanload of stuff here, and a third of that went to the studio. The floor in my room is already covered in prints, fabric, yarn, papers, pencils, clothes and shoes. And knitting needles. Gah. I bet Peter's got our house all cleared out like the minimalist bachelor pad of his dreams in my absence, but it's comforting to know that it will only take me a few weeks to make it look like a herd of kindergarteners stampeded through.
Here's one for the Making Fun of Americans file: I set up my new account with Georgia Power yesterday, and the lady there asked me, "why don't Canadians have Social Security numbers? How do y'all pay your taxes up there?". Heh. Peter said I should have told her that we don't pay taxes in Canada, that the government makes enough money from operating the moose hatcheries that we don't need to. I wish I had told her that the Governor-General comes around with her fleet of dog sleds once a year and takes a portion of our seal hunt. Damn. I need to learn to think faster.
September 22, 2005
Frustration and close calls
Yesterday was sort of a low day. My afternoon class was the worst class I've attended in a long time. I won't go into too many details about it because I do like the professor and don't really want to complain about my program on the weblog, but everyone is pretty frustrated with what's going on in the class and yesterday was very, very tense. I made a really shitty drawing that was obviously and embarrassingly half-assed (that definitely has to stop). So. Frustrating.
After class I felt like I needed to do something productive in order not to have wasted an entire day, but didn't feel up to doing any studio work. So I stayed up late and pushed through on the Birthday Sweater, and I got it done. I had pretty much committed myself to having it ready for tomorrow (by making a date with the person who is going to model it for me), but had planned to finish it up tonight at knit night with the girls (you know, of course, that the only reason I submitted this design for publication was to give myself a deadline to work towards. And even then, now that the deadline is looming, I still had to step the deadline up a bit by arranging a photo shoot. Because that is the only way I can get anything done). And here's how much yarn is left:
Talk about tense. I was sweating all over by the end, not sure if I was going to run out. I even had to unravel my swatch, that's how close I was. I'm wearing the last bit of the yarn around my wrist today, just to remind myself of how stupid-lucky I am.
August 25, 2005
March 08, 2005
Time to renegotiate the terms
Sorry kids, but I'm just not going to have all those things finished by March 20th (you all knew that from the start, right?). Please don't roast me. I'm not a total failure, look:
I finished this skirt; all it needs are some i-cord belt loops so I can wear my belt with it. To recap: I took a secondhand acrylic sweater that fit like shite and cut it off under the arms, unravelled a sleeve and used the yarn to make a deep ribbed waistband. It looks pretty cute on; after the beltloops are on I'll have Pete take a picture of it in action.
Here's the finished back and two fronts of the Must Have:
You might not be able to see it in the photo, but I miscrossed the braid cable on the left front, way down about 5 inches from the bottom. So it'll be more than just a trip to sleeve island to finish this; I'll have to drop those nine stitches all the way down and recross the cable all the way back up. Yawn.
I also worked to the waist on the top down raglan t-shirt and bound off, only to discover that it's pretty much a total write-off: the body is too baggy and I want the neck to be bigger. It needs to be completely redone, so it's officially off the WIP Challenge list for now. After I finish my revised WIP list I'll allow myself to start a few things, and set a new deadline for finishing the things I'm dropping.
Also off the list are the green skirt and Evening Diamonds. The top I still intend to finish for summer and the skirt for fall.
The main reason I've decided to go back on my word and disappoint you all (other than the fact that I was crazy to make such promises to begin with)? This arrived yesterday:
A box of yarn! Am I going to show you the yarn? No way, it's a surprise. I've had a design accepted for a book, and a real deadline has to come ahead of my arbitrary one. The written pattern is due on the same day as submissions for Summer Knitty. So I have to start this now, and I should also start Peter's birthday sweater so that it's done in time for his birthday and for Knitty.
So. I'm still going to try to finish the rest of the things on my list, and won't be starting anything other than these two projects until my list is complete (I'm pushing the deadline back a bit, though). Here are the new, more reasonable terms for my WIP Challenge:
By March 31st I will finish the following things:
1. Must Have Cardigan
2. Girl from Auntie funnel top
3. granny square satchel
4. sassy red skirt (which needs to be unravelled right down to the crocheted part and redone)
During this time I will also work on two other projects:
1. Knitting, writing up and making charts for super-secret book pattern
2. Peter's birthday sweater, deadline April 9th, needs to be charted and written up by April 15th
But I won't be starting anything new.
I got something else done today that's been on my to-do list for a little while: look over there in the sidebar, there's a link to my new reader gallery! In there are all the finished Mariahs I've gotten permission to post so far (I know Michelle is reknitting hers, but I thought I'd put up the old one until the new one is finished). Does anyone else have photos I can add?
February 15, 2005
All the cool kids are doing it
Okay, MK is in for the WIP challenge, and has declared her works in progress outstanding in today's blog entry. She's even finished things already, so she's way ahead of me. Tracy and Jenni are also in. Anybody else brave enough to finish before you start?
You don't have to declare everything you have on the needles, or as many as I did. Just choose which works in progress you're vowing to finish before starting anything new, and post them on your blog. The reason I chose to finish nine plus one things is because I am a crazy woman and like to torture myself once in a while just to see if I can handle it (once I fasted for a week; once I listened to all the records I own in alphabetical order. Fasting was easier, and I have now weeded some crap out of my record collection that I never want to force myself to listen to again).
My ten WIPs (grammatically speaking, shouldn't it really be WsIP?) are everything I have on the needles, but only because I went through my entire stash and made some harsh decisions, and everything I will never, ever finish (and don't want to) I pulled the needles out of. Remember those black and red mittens? Those bitches were going to felt the first time they hit the outside air; they're off the needles. I had to say goodbye to a sweet little blue lacy top that I started six years ago on my first Greyhound trip to Atlanta, because I lost the pattern and it's really not my style anymore anyway.
I think we should all set ourselves some kind of deadline, but I'm not going to impose one for everyone else, because this is a personal challenge. I have set myself the deadline of March 20th to finish my nine things, for two reasons:
1. I am a crazy woman.
2. Peter has finally agreed to let me make him a sweater, and even given me some direction for what he wants it to look like. His birthday is April 9th, and I'm deluding myself that if I get my WIPs done by March 20th then I'll be able to design and knit his sweater in time for his birthday, and I'll be ahead of the deadline to submit it to Knitty's summer men issue. Hah.
3. We are going to Wisconsin next week, and since I don't drive, this means Peter is driving me to Wisconsin and I get to knit the whole way. I should be able to finish something in all that time.
I have made a little progress on Clapotis,
and since the web is full of photos of half-finished versions of this, this is the last picture I will show you before it's finished. I'm going to be putting it aside for a bit, because I should have been working on my Knitty submission (it's due today but I'm going to be late), but that has colourwork that isn't in a regular pattern I can memorize so I haven't been able to take it with me, thus I've been bringing easier things to knit on the bus and in class. Now that I'm past the colourwork section I can take the Knitty project instead; my deadline for that is now Saturday morning, because we are going bowling for my brother Kela's birthday, and wouldn't it be cool to photograph the finished garment in a bowling alley? Because it's going to look so damned cute with bowling shoes.
January 29, 2005
33 inch Mariah
As requested by Eilene, here are the directions for making Mariah with a finished bust measurement of 33 inches. Later on I'll make a special Mariah page and post the instructions there, but for now I've posted them to the knitalong group and here.
For the back, cast on 81 stitches and work the set-up row as follows: k3, p1, k2, p1, then starting at point "c" work the 22-st repeat (not the whole chart!) 3 times, then work (k2, p1) twice, k2. Your first and last stitches will be worked in garter stitch for the selvage, on wrong side rows work all other sts as they appear.
For the right front, cast on 41 sts and work the set-up row as follows: k2 (selvage), start chart a at point "d" and work to the end of the 22 st repeat (not the end of the chart), work the 22 st repeat (starting at point "c") once, then work k2, p1, k3. The first 2 and last 1 st will be worked in garter st.
Your left front will be a mirror image of the right front: cast on 41 sts and k3, p1, k2, p1, then work the 22 st chart rep (starting at point "c"), then work half of the chart repeat again (start at point c) to last 2 st, (you will end at one st before point "d" in the chart), k2. First st and last 2 sts are worked in garter st.
Work the sleeves as for the smallest size.
When you reach the yoke, after working the joining round you will have 327 sts.
Work the yoke decrease row a total of 20 times, so that you will be left with 167 stitches. Work the hood as for the smallest size.
*Note: the total number of stitches in the yoke were wrong, and although corrected numbers were sent in to Knitty I don't think they've been posted yet (corrected numbers should be in pink). Don't worry about it; you can work most of the rest of the sweater without needing to worry about the exact number of sts since you are only decreasing from the edges and where your original markers are. When you reach the top of the hood, instead of counting the sts to know where to place the final marker, simply place your marker in the centre of your row and continue the hood decreases to the end.