project spectrum archives | Main
May 31, 2007
watch me go from performance art to knitting to project spectrum to shameless commerce all in one long-winded post. also, I will attempt to distract from the fact that I've been silent for weeks on end with lots of pictures.
I helped out my old chum Kelly last weekend with a knitting performance she was doing in conjunction with Artcite's 25th anniversary bash. It was great fun, both to have a long overdue visit with Kelly and to spend some (again, long overdue) time at Artcite, hanging out with Windsor people and soaking up some local art scene. Check out Kelly's post on the event for the full scoop. She was making a big Round Thing which many people could knit on at the same time; by the time we bound the Thing off on Saturday afternoon it was this big (bike for scale):
I promised some real knitting, friends, and I am not here to disappoint. My arse has been practically glued to the porch chair for two weeks, hands flying, and I've got plenty to show for it. I've even been working on some green things for Project Spectrum (in typical fashion, these are getting trotted out on the last day before a colour change. Because I'm a lazy slag that way).
That green bit on top of the pile is Carrie Bostick Hoge's lace nightie (pdf link) from Interweave Knits. I worked on it a lot in the car on the way home from Athens, but pooped out when I got to the part where I had to do math in order to make the back higher than the pattern calls for. It's currently resting quietly in the project bag. The rust-and-Noro sweater is also resting, as it's too hot to think about a sweater like this, never mind knit on it. The blue is Zephyr Style's Wicked, cardiganized and minus the pocket: this has been two unwoven ends, some buttons and a good blocking away from finished for MONTHS, sitting unnoticed in a pile somewhere. It's currently blocking on a mattress upstairs, which under our current weather conditions should take a mere month or two. I might add the pockets later if, when I get back to Athens, I find the Calorimetry headband I also made from this yarn and wore all winter, but I have a feeling I might have already unraveled it for the sleeves.
More Project Spectrum knitty goodness:
Stefanie Japel's Orangina. Again and still. I pooped out on this last year because I thought the ribbing was too tight and ooky-looking on my belly flab. I ripped it and was doing the bottom in stockinette instead until I realized that looked stupid, so now I'm reknitting the ribbing (on the same size needle as I did the lace, can't remember if I went down a size last time or not; guess that's why one should take notes). And if it makes me look a little frumpy, well then I'm frumpy. Gotta embrace it, I guess. (a small aside, private to Ancient Stainless Steel Circular Needles: hate you. Loathe you, in fact. Loathe you even more than Shitty Splitty Recycled Cotton, but especially hate the two of you together)
And because apparently it's all Stefanie all the time around here of late, here are two more projects currently in heavy rotation in the front porch knitting pile:
The cropped cardigan with leaf ties from Fitted Knits. I acquired Stefanie's book a while ago and have been meaning to tell y'all how much I love it: I'm currently making two sweaters from this book and am just waiting to buy dye to get my yarn ready for a third, and I won't be stopping there. I love these designs, love the myriad of beautiful, flattering sweater shapes that can come out of one basic construction technique; love love love the no-sew try-it-on top down raglan construction and the fact that all of the designs are wearable and I can easily picture them blending into my wardrobe (yes, pretty much all of them). The incredible intense blue yarn is from Rabbitch, who apparently is trying to kill me with colour; the eerie blue glow could be seen right through the package, and the mailman didn't even want to touch the thing. I'd hoped to use this yarn to make this sweater, and when it arrived it turned out to be perfect (I love it when that happens). And a sweater with minimal coverage on the front is definitely needed to keep this colour from coming up and strangling me. I plan to wear this with my favourite and most awesome dress, and it is going to kick some serious ass.
This lovely, sproingy red merino wool started as an ill-fitting Goodwill sweater, and first became this, then this, and then this. The Forecast sweater was finished by the time I realized that all that garter stitch made me look lumpy (are you detecting a theme here?). This will be its final incarnation, I'm sure of it.
Project Spectrum turns to red and black tomorrow, and I plan to start designing and swatching for a project using these yarns I spun this spring. It's for a piece that may (or may not) be part of my final thesis show next year, and will be a lace sweater with super long sleeves that hit the floor and then pool out wide, with text knitted into the lace. In UGA colours. Of course I don't have nearly enough yarn spun yet but I've got enough to get started with the pattern drafting.
And finally, because I'm really just a capitalist pig at heart, here's a new drawing (worked on top of a print that didn't quite make the cut for the edition) that I just listed in my etsy shop, along with some more of my older prints at super-duper cheap prices. I'm about halfway to getting that Lendrum I need to finish the above project, and this project.
Also, I'm doing a little outdoor show in beautiful Londonontario on June 9th, with a whole bunch of other artists down in Wortley Village. If you're in the area I'd love it if you'd come down and knit with me for a while and shoot the breeze. London has never really supported me all that well art-buying-wise, but it's been a long time since I did an outdoor show, so I think it'll be a lot of fun. There's nothing I love better than roasting in the sun with needles in my hands while watching the wind send all of my art flying.
April 01, 2007
goodbye, winter blues
I had every intention of triumphantly unveiling a lovely two-ply yarn at the eleventh hour of the February/March round of Project Spectrum (blue, white and gray), spun out of the beautiful merino that Mama E sent me a little while ago. I spun it all up as fine as I could on Friday night, intending to ply it on Saturday night after I was finished at the studio. But after wondering all day Saturday why my abdominals were feeling so sore, I sat down at the wheel, began treadling, and suddenly figured it out. It seems to be a combination of the double treadle and the very long draw, and it's giving the old belly quite the workout. Is this normal? Maybe I should try a different chair or something. Too bad I don't have a different chair. Actually, maybe I should just leave it the way it is. I ate a lot of potato chips and Clif bars on my trip to Kansas City.
So, spinner/knitter people, I have a question: I started with 4oz of fibre here. It's going to be a 2-ply and once plied will be about 16-20 wraps per inch. Can I get a shawl out of this? A little one?
As usual I've committed to something and then been a total slackass about it, but that's certainly nothing new so let's just move on, hmm? Although I suppose if I looked back over the last two months and tallied up everything I made or worked on that had blue and gray in it (many prints, actually, two or three dyebaths, a good chunk of my sketchbook project) I'd find that I didn't slack that much after all, it's just that I wasn't really thinking of those things as specifically for Project Spectrum. I have to remind myself that the project is a way to think about the things we do normally, our everyday living, crafts and hobbies, in terms of an overall colour scheme and hopefully find inspiration in looking at colours in ways we normally do not, rather than a list of rules and tasks we have to complete. So, hey, I'm doing great! Bring on the pink and green!
I did finish the secret blue knitted thing (at knit night over at Courtney's, which is the best time to finish something because then you can hold it aloft and cry "woohoo" and get congratulations and ego strokes from people who care, rather than just showing the roommate's cat or tossing it behind the laptop with ends not yet woven in and looking around for something else to cast on, pronto) but for the time being that's still a secret. I also started something else, also secret (no guessing!) with the leftovers.
The next round, green, pink and yellow for April and May, should be easier, if only because I can at least pick up some of the many green knits I already have on the needles, and I've got fabric I dyed yellow and green waiting to be printed on and sewn with. Colour inspiration is all around me these days: in the last week or so every single thing has flowered in Athens, it's suddenly as lush and green as June around here (perhaps because the University of Georgia, in a spectacular display of waste and wealth, waters its grounds all winter long), there are more shades of hot pink flowers on shrubs and trees than I thought possible, and the whole world seems coated in a thick layer of yellow pollen. Hoping to get a jump on Project Spectrum this time around I went outside and found a lovely pink-and-green backdrop for my bobbin of blues to rest upon; there was plenty of yellow out there as well, but having a grimy splotch on the front of my t-shirt from wiping the pollen off my glasses is bad enough, I don't particularly want it in my yarn, thanks. Now that I look at the photo, though, it seems that when I dropped the bobbon on the ground it picked up one of the wormy tree-flowers, the source of all that is yellow and lung-clogging; you can see it there stuck to the yarn at about two o'clock. You just can't escape the stuff.
March 13, 2007
thinking about projects
I haven't forgotten about Project Spectrum, I just haven't had a lot of time for projects that aren't part of my studio work, and my studio work hasn't really contained much gray and blue of late. But last week I spun up some pale gray singles for one of my fellow grads:
It's about the weight of a sock yarn, at least in the parts I was able to keep consistent.
I'm also knitting something blue, but it's a secret right now so we're not going to discuss it. I know some of you will recognize this yarn but just keep hush, okay?
Yesterday I mixed up a fiercely intense blue and added a blue layer to enough prints to fill a drying rack:
Today I'm going to be printing on some of this:
This is the fabric I dyed on Sunday; the plain ones are cotton and the florals are poly/cotton bedsheets that I overdyed. Yesterday I bought some fabric paints and I'm going to see if I can block print with them. Most of this will become clothes, and any that get too stiff with the printing will be pillows.
While shopping for fabric paint I came across something I didn't even know existed: fabric markers. Y'all, I was SO EXCITED, grabbing handfuls of them and shrieking, I can draw on my clothes just like in my books! Jessica said, you have to draw on your clothes every day. Heh. Not bloody likely, you all saw just how long printing an edition a week lasted (I'm still hoping to get back on track with that but I think Jessica has given up; it turns out that an edition of prints a week really cuts into our time for other work too much). Anyway. I'm excited about being able to just pull out a marker at any given time and draw on my clothes while I'm wearing them, and it'll be interesting to see the patterns of where the drawing pools in the areas I can easily reach (left sleeve, shirt hem, fronts of skirts). The whole purpose of dying and printing these fabrics and making these clothes is to use wardrobe as another way to make my art and my everyday life a seamless whole, so drawing on my clothes makes perfect sense, and also means that I can make some of my existing clothes be a part of my project, rather than just setting myself up for more sewing than I really have time for right now.
So, I'm thinking about this: I am going to a printmaking conference next week and it is four days long. Would it be offensive to take one nice white, 3/4 sleeve, button down shirt and wear it every day so that I can draw on it during the conference and have the drawings grow as the week goes on? My skin is on the dry side and I don't really sweat all that much, and I wear undershirts (really, I don't get stinky, and I usually wear an undershirt two days in a row without problem, which some might find gross but I challenge those people to carry all of their laundry to the laundromat in a backpack on their bicycle for a few months and then tell me what's too gross to wear again). I could probably find time on Tuesday to crank out four a-line skirts out of the new fabrics I just dyed and have a uniform of sorts to wear, and then people would start to recognize me (hey there's the girl who keeps drawing on her clothes). I think that would be a lot of fun, but do you think people would find the shirt thing offensive? (and, should I care? because I kind of don't).
September 03, 2006
some finished things
Ms Marigold, worked in a recycled olive green cotton overdyed with blue. I don't think I've ever knit something for myself that turned out such a perfect fit. This is a leftover Project Spectrum project, finished!
A new skirt, cut off a thrifted dress that was too tight around the ribcage. It's flared and a little stretchy, and I think I'll be able to ride my bike in it (my new main criterion for clothes). Check out the beautiful pashmina that Ghita brought me back from Nepal, draped over the mirror there.
I added a wee bit of vintage lace (what exactly makes something "vintage"? I think this may just be a pretentious marketing word for old. . . but it is old, at least) to the hem. It makes me happy, and makes me want to add lace to the hem of everything.
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.
June 30, 2006
June ain't over yet, eh
I'll admit it. Knitalongs are nothing but a big project killer for me; nothing makes me NOT want to do something more than knowing that I'm supposed to be doing it, with everybody else, on a deadline. I don't know if the Windsor riverfront biking and walking path truly qualifies as a hiking trail (I'm guessing not), but there sure were a lot of people walking down there on fireworks night, and I knit a little on my trek along sock: Pomatomus from Knitty, in Trekking XXL, colour 38.
My June Project Spectrum knitting, Ms Marigold, is painfully close to being finished, just a few rows of neck ribbing to go. Provided the fit isn't disastrous (in the pre-ribbing fitting, my boobs pretty much flew out the front of the sweater), expect modelled photos soon. This weekend, maybe.
June 21, 2006
and all the skies, so brilliant blue, turned suddenly to grey
It's been raining all morning, and since the only umbrella in the house has gone off to the library for the day, all of the errands that I put off yesterday are going to have to wait. I've been working on some blue projects for June, and a gloomy day like this seems an appropriate time to show them.
I picked up this ugly green cotton pullover a few months ago at a small-town Christian thrift store in Georgia; the clothes in this store were separated into rooms, one room for "children", one for "moms" and one for "dads", exactly the sort of place where I usually succumb to the temptation to flaunt my heathen lifestyle. Somehow this time I managed to resist.
Because green is just so last month, I unravelled the sweater and dyed the whole lot blue instead:
Also in the same dyebath, this lambswool with a strand of spandex, recycled from a Gap stretch sweater I got at the buckapound (is it any wonder why I'm so damned cheap when I can get good soft wool for a dollar a pound?). I assumed the spandex wouldn't take the dye at all, but it actually took more than the wool, and ended up a bright dark thread, which you can just see if you squint:
The cotton is well on its way to becoming Ms Marigold.
This morning's rainy day indoor project:
Five half-pint jars of peach salsa. They've just come out of the kettle, and hearing all of those lids popping from the next room is one of the most satisfying sounds there is.
June 08, 2006
brought to you by the colour blue
Today is a special day, the anniversary of a happy and sad event, an event that shook up my whole life and changed it forever. It's not something I can write about, just something I mark privately and celebrate quietly. I spent some time wandering about the house thinking about how glad I am that I'm here, and while I did that I took photos of some things that are blue.
June 02, 2006
Blue knitting for June
Scouring Value Village's sweater racks last night in search of some appropriate materials for Project Spectrum, I hit upon an excellent score: a lovely deep blue Shetland wool pullover which, together with this previously reclaimed gray lambswool, will soon become Eunny's deep V argyle vest. Swatches to come, after all the kinks have been washed out.
I also picked up this cotton/rayon lace sweater that has a little shimmer in it, because in the harsh light of Value Village I thought the yarn might be just the thing to make Anna's Cherry cardigan. Now I'm not so sure, though; the rayon part is slippery and I think it might end up being very splitty and irritating. I seem to never learn with the recycled cotton yarns (ie that one shouldn't even bother). I shall have to see how it feels once I've got it all unraveled, I suppose.
Those of you who guessed that Alice the camel-hair yarn is becoming Bridie guessed correctly. I have high hopes for this sweater changing my life, transforming me into someone more poised and elegant, someone with controllable hair, someone who doesn't drop the "g" from "ing" endings, and who doesn't say "fuck" except for when it's really, really warranted; someone who could conceivably be someone's teacher. Because, in ten short weeks, I'll be someone's teacher. Gah!
May 30, 2006
Some last-minute green projects
Saturday's yard sale netted us enough to buy ourselves supper and coffee, lunch the next day and more coffee, and about twenty bucks worth of plants for the garden. So on Sunday, we finally pulled up the tarp that's been making us look like the Sanford and Son of the neighbourhood for almost a year now, and after rejoicing for a moment in the sight of all that dead grass (or "F-U", as a fellow grass-hating friend likes to call it), we dug up about a third of the yard, turned in some peat and manure and got down to the planting. The long-term plan is to move the steps from the side of the porch to the front and replace the porch, but for now we'll plant the garden around the nonexistent new steps, pull the godawful siding off the front of the porch and slap a coat of paint on the original railings that lurk beneath.
We've decided to scrap (for now) our plan of having this front garden all native plants in favour of just getting it filled up with things we know will spread fast. Here's the map of what we've put in so far, which I'm pretty sure I'll need to refer to next spring since I can't ever remember what I've planted from one year to the next:
1. sedum (the little kind that looks like worms), from Owen and Pat
2. blue-eyed grass, from Owen and Pat
3. primrose, bought with yard sale profits
4. ajuga, bought with yard sale profits
5. some kind of lily, came with the house
6. bachelor's button, came with the house
7. spider wort (purple flower), from Owen and Pat
8. mystery plant (that spreads like crazy) from Owen and Pat
9. another mystery plant from Owen and Pat
10. columbine, two kinds: a dark red one and the lighter red one that's native to here; bought with yard sale profits
11. daisies, from Owen and Pat
12. honeysuckle, came with the house
13. forsythia bush rooted from a branch stolen from the bush on Caroline's parents' old property in Kingsville, after someone else had bought it
14. we think this is some of the echinacea, from Mikell's place
15. spider wort (white flowers) from Owen and Pat
16. cardinal flower, bought with yard sale profits
17. hosta from my old place in London; this is its fourth and final home
And the bonus plant, so tiny I missed it when assigning numbers: siberian aster, bought with yard sale profits (I keep wanting to type "winnings" there)
The mystery plant (#8) is pretty, whatever it is.
Because Monday was the hottest and most humid day of the year so far, clearly it was time to do some canning (hey, I'm a rocket surgeon now, remember?). I put up a small batch of kiwi chutney, just in the nick of time since we've just run out. Here's a little photo essay of my afternoon, minus the boiling water and sweat (I also decided to boil up a pile of potatoes for home fries, since I'm some kind of glutton for punishment. Today I'm making salads, and we're eating a gloriously cold supper).
Being rather fond of superlatives I'll quite happily state that this chutney is the best ever; we eat it two ways, either on top of a tomato and chick pea curry, or spooned onto a chunk of 4 year old cheddar on a wheat thin (a staple at our parties). The recipe is from the Bernardin Guide to Home Canning.
May 23, 2006
give the frog a loan
Hey, what's this thing here? Wait, let me get all this dust off, it doesn't look like this has been touched in a while, whatever it is. It looks like some sort of diary or something. Hey, wait a minute! This is MY diary! And there are still some empty pages in here! Guess I'd better write something in them, eh.
Canada's not quite how I left it, but still a fabulous place to be. I've been kept incredibly busy since I got back: there's just so much tea that needs drinking here, sunshine that needs sitting in, hockey games that need watching, naps that need taking. I've still been able to find a bit of time in this rigourous schedule for knitting, though. And since I just signed on (better late than never) to Project Spectrum, I guess I'd better have something green to show.
Over the May two-four weekend I re-started my Orangina, which had been languishing in a bag since last summer. This is a totally mindless lace pattern, easy as pie and perfect for knitting while watching the Edmonton Oilers kick arse or Twin Peaks dvds borrowed from colleagues (hey, I told you, I've been busy!). The yarn is a recycled cotton that's a bitch to knit with (commercially made cotton sweaters are almost always made with several strands of unspun cotton thread, which means that if you get too caught up in, oh, say watching Twin Peaks or something, you can split stitches all over the place), but it's going to be totally worth it to have a lacy top this colour. I was inspired to break out the bright green for this by Crumpet's lovely Orangina.
In other knitting news, the Opal tigers have been kept busy making the rounds of coffee shops:
I thought this yarn was going to be so, so awesome. I wanted it badly, badly enough to go looking especially for it at MDS$W (how geeky does it make us that I asked a few brand-new acquaintances if they'd seen any Opal Tiger sock yarn and they were able to tell me which vendor had it and where I could find them, even though that vendor only had about two balls of the stuff? GEEKS! And I ran straight down there to get it, too). But now that one sock's ready for short-rowing and the other is past the heel, I'm wondering where the heck I'll ever wear these tacky things. Ah well.
Further proof of what a complete slackass I am: I received these artist trading cards from Melanie back in April and I'm only getting around to showing them to you now.
I've been working on some atcs of my own and will have a bunch ready to send out soon. Anybody else want to trade?
Something else I've been meaning to show you: Melanie also did some quilting inspired by the linework in some of my recent woodcuts. Very cool.
One more for May's green theme, then I've got to go sit in the sunshine some more. Somebody's gotta do it.
A new kitchen scrubby frog for my collection.