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November 25, 2008
red and orange
I'm now doomed to get Simon and Garfunkel's "America" in my head every time I pee, because I foolishly pasted up a photo of the New Jersey Turnpike beside one of penguins. Right next to Mr. Flushy. Whoops.
November 23, 2008
glue stick heaven
We live in a 97 year old four-square Craftsman house. It's a pretty nice house, especially given what we paid for it, but it's got some serious flaws both structural and aesthetic, and we've got a to-do list as long as our arms and far, far longer than our budget will currently allow. Previous owners made some crazy-ass decisions in this place, and for 5 1/2 years now we've pretty much just been living with them. I mean, they cemented a toilet to the basement floor with chunks of marble, for crying out loud. They stuccoed half the dining room and plastered up fake brick on the other half. The whole upstairs is a patchwork of ugly linoleum flooring. They covered up the bathroom window on the inside without removing it or even taking down the blind first. It could take the rest of our lives to set it all right. And we have big plans, from building a photography darkroom (with toilet!) in the basement to finishing the attic and making it a master bedroom to knocking out some walls to make two bedrooms into a spacious second floor studio with bamboo walls and Japanese paper sliding doors to elaborately decorated ceilings and subway tiles in the bathroom and a broken-crockery mosaic backsplash in the kitchen; all stuff that future owners of the place will curse us for, no doubt.
So. Next weekend we're having a party, and I've suddenly decided that I can't possibly have people see our hideous and embarrassing bathroom (even though they've all seen it before). Because the longer we wait to rip out and renovate this eyesore, the more people might think we actually like it, and of course you know that like all new homeowners, we have far better taste than the owners before us. I think there's some kind of universal law about that.
Here, have a look at this bathroom and tell me it's not puke-inducingly bad:
Plastic-coated masonite fake tiles and artfully uneven faux-sauna wood trim.
A vanity that juts out in front of the doorway and also partially covers the floor heat vent. Smart.
And a barely functional jacuzzi tub with a shower head placed so that you have to sit down to use it. Sideways. With scrunched-up crossed legs because the tub is narrow. Oh, and the water runs straight through the wall and falls on the dining room ceiling below, which is actually in less danger of collapsing on our heads than the living room ceiling is (from before-our-time sink and toilet leakage) only because we never, ever use this tub. So it's not only an eyesore but also a totally unusable waste of valuable bathroom real estate.
A few days ago I floated the idea to Peter of painting the bathroom black. All of it, fake tile walls, wood trim, tub, vanity counter, everything. After some negotiations we settled on bubblegum pink, planning to leave only the toilet and sink unpainted and to spray paint the toilet seat a glossy red. But Peter had misgivings about the whole thing, which culminated in some marital strife (or, the living in sin version of marital strife, whatever that's called) right in the paint aisle of Canadian Tire and ending with me being bitchy and pouting at the mall and spilling my Tim Hortons tea on my skirt and using profanity right in front of a doe-eyed ancient old lady who happened to be wearing the least convincing wig I've ever laid eyes on. So. The upshot of all of this is that we decided to instead cut pages and pages out of the hundreds of old National Geographic magazines we inherited from Peter's mom and wallpaper the whole bathroom in them. Which, I might add, is a good deal more labour intensive than just painting it all pink.
Choosing images is harder than I thought it would be. I don't want it to be all gorgeous boring landscapes, or to be too wild kingdom. But I also don't want to use images that fetishize indigenous cultures, and I don't want a lot of piles of half-dug-up bones, and I'm hesitant to use images from stories that have to do with intense human suffering of any kind. Also this whole task is a bit risky for me because I freak out if I see a picture of a fish, especially freshwater fish. Especially dead ones or dying ones, so stories about Alaska or about bears are particularly dangerous. Hey, those fish are SCARY, y'all. Still, after going through not even a third of the magazines I have a big stack of pages to start with plus lots of smaller images and words that we'll cut and paste into something funny once the background layer is down. Then I can draw on the whole thing with markers later on too. The funniest image we've found so far is a man sitting on a Ronald McDonald head. The funniest photo caption: L'afrique le chic.
November 13, 2008
new, old, abandoned, in progress. in no particular order.
1: sweater recycling centre: set up a knitting machine in a gallery space. unravel discarded/secondhand sweaters directly into the machine and knit one long continuous panel (full needle bed width). cut and sew new sweaters from the panel. leave panel attached to machine, spread across the floor with garment shapes cut out. sort of like the study for a remnant factory installation/performance, only with knitting.
this one is a go just as soon as i get off my arse to find a space to do it in. right now it has to be a space that i don't have to pay for.
2: sarkasmatron: a giant box decorated like a carnival ride/vending machine, set up in a public space. sit inside and wait for people to put in a coin then dispense little slips of paper with handwritten sarcastic messages or insults.
this is something i've been talking about doing since ten years ago or more, back when i lived in london. i can't imagine it going over all that well in london. this project will probably never happen but it would be loads of fun.
3: listening project: listen to all of our records in chronological order. blog listening experience; host listening parties so others can join the conversation.
peter and i now have all of our records (587 as of last entry, not counting all the classical stuff which isn't being included in the project) entered into a database where we can organize them by release date. still working on expanding the collection but we should be ready to start listening soon.
4: waffle house north: buy the empty lot next to the mcdonalds at huron church road and college (or even better, buy the mcdonalds itself) and open a waffle house franchise. this will make waffle house the first thing travellers see when they enter canada via the ambassador bridge.
planning to start playing the lottery to fund this project; benefactors welcome.
5: wall of boggle: replace a wall in our house with stainless steel, then paint over it to match the other walls. glue magnets to the backs of thousands of scrabble tiles. fill the wall with scrabble tiles, randomly placed. play giant games of boggle.
peter and claire got bored one day and magnetized one set of scrabble tiles and stuck them on the fridge. i think peter has given up on the wall idea. not sure if i have but also not sure how to actually make this work in our 4-square craftsman house, which doesn't actually have many big walls.
6: footpath tapestry: have all of the people crossing a busy park or intersection carry a long (really long, skein long) ribbon, string, yarn, whatever. when two people meet one will pass his/her ribbon over, the other under. a weaving will be created across the space that draws its pattern from the way in which people move through it. kind of like a maypole dance only less uniform, stretched out over a broad public thoroughfare.
this too is something i wanted to do years ago, since my first year of university, inspired by jostling encounters with disconnected people hurrying across the space between university college and middlesex college on western's campus. after i moved to windsor i wanted to instead create a weaving (on a smaller scale) from patterns of traffic approaching and crossing the windsor-detroit border.
7: food spectrum: only eat red foods for one month. only eat orange foods for the next month. only eat yellow foods for the next month. and so on. see if my skin changes colour, or if certain colours cause me to lose/gain weight.
blue and indigo would have to be one colour or i might die from not getting enough to eat. i don't like blueberries.
8: wrapping: wrap all of my stuff with string or strips of cloth. or ask people to loan me things and then wrap the things i borrow in strings/strips of cloth. walk down my street and wrap all the things i see in cloth. maybe not people's cars.
i don't know what this is about, really, i just have been thinking a lot lately about wrapping things. i think my hands just want the feeling of wrapping things. i suppose if i just start wrapping things i'll figure out why i'm doing it eventually. anybody want to loan me some stuff?
August 25, 2008
I finally finished these prints I started oh, a way long time ago now, and got them listed up in my etsy store. These last few weeks I've spent too little time in the studio and too much on the front porch, although Peter's vacation time coming to an end coupled with cooler days should take care of that and get me more motivated to work indoors. We did complete much of our list of tasks around the house, including building this new set of record shelves, for which we've had the wood sitting around all summer:
The old record storage was a little shelf with a crate on top which had overflowed into another giant crate that's been sitting in the middle of our living room floor for a couple of months. But not any more! We're pretty excited about all that empty space waiting to be filled with new records. We're going to need to ramp up our record shopping in order to get some of those spaces filled up before we end up putting books and yarn and bags and stuff in all the openings, which you can see we've already started doing, a little. Old, cluttery habits die hard.
Of course, in order to get a good photo of the shelves I had to move an armchair (that doesn't quite fit so well into this corner anymore) and its side table out of the way, and strategically place myself so as to crop out two guitar cases, a xylophone, a heap of wool cloaks and a mandolin. This is how we live, just mentally editing out the clutter when necessary.
We're getting better though: in the last few days we've gone through almost all of the boxes of stuff that have been sitting in the tv room since we moved them out of Claire's bedroom, which used to double as storage since she rarely slept there but had to be converted to a real bedroom now that she lives with us. Also by the end of today we'll have that wonderful, sought-after thing: a clean, empty dining room table. Cue the children's choir. My so-called "home studio" is another matter, with unsorted piles of fabric and paper and giant snarls of thread and little hand tools I don't know what to do with and unfinished dresses and, beneath all that, drawings I really want to work on. I'm so tired of this being my life, this mountain of stuff in the way of what I really want to do with my time. Before we went on vacation we were decluttering like banshees, and donated to charity enough stuff to fill my old apartment, but it only takes a couple of lazy weeks to unravel that hard work. My goal for tomorrow is to clear out my working space again; my goal for the rest of my life is to keep it that way.
November 11, 2007
ravelry beta tee hack
I mentioned to Jess and Casey (of Ravelry) that I'd really like to see Bob on a t-shirt, but they must have either thought I was joking or they just didn't want to exploit Bob that way. So when my Ravelry Beta shirt arrived in the mail this weekend, I stuck poor Bob on a silkscreen and customized my shirt; I hope they don't mind.
Before anybody asks, no I won't put Bob on your shirt for you. As it is, I used one of Jess's photos without asking, and also he's not my dog. But I did make a few extra Bob shirts to send Jess and Casey by way of a thank you, because Bob's so cute I couldn't make just one print. I'd make a Bob shirt for Bob too but I think the print would be bigger than the shirt!
ps: speaking of silkscreening shirts: for the two people who are patiently waiting for super-awesome custom shirts from me, I'll be printing them tomorrow morning and they should be on their way to you by Tuesday. Pinky swear!
June 26, 2007
plumb worn out
About a week and a half ago our impending plumbing crisis became an immediate plumbing crisis when the water in the kitchen sinks stopped draining. Back when we had a plumber in to look at why the basement laundry sinks weren't draining (after about a year of emptying the sinks with buckets after every load of laundry) we found out that there's a big crack in the pipes underneath the basement floor, something we'd rather not spend the money to fix just yet. There's a clog in the line somewhere under the floor that's affecting the kitchen and dishwasher drainage but not the laundry sinks. After poking around the basement a bit, Peter had the crazy idea to reroute the kitchen pipes over to the bathroom on the opposite side of the basement so that the water will no longer drain out through the broken pipe, giving us a couple of years' reprieve on having to have the floor dug up to fix it and getting us off the hook completely for having to deal with the current clog. And we decided to do the work ourselves.
*an aside: I'm not sure yet if I can bear to show pictures of our disgusting basement even though I think we're total superheroes for doing our own plumbing and I want to show it off, but while I decide about that here's a picture of the old pipe Peter cut out from under the basement bathroom sink (the spot we're rerouting the other pipes into). See where it says "Daymond Centralia"? The former Daymond Centralia plant, like the former Centralia College of Agricultural Technology, was not actually in Centralia but in Huron Park, my hometown. Back when my dad and granddad used to work at Daymond, my dad was one of Canada's number one smartest dudes in the area of industrial knitting machines. Cool, eh? So now I have this piece of pipe that I want to keep, despite my brand new resolve to throw things out and stop being a packrat. Any suggestions on cool crafty things I can make with a piece of old pipe will help me justify keeping it and be greatly appreciated.
So. The pipes are disconnected and the kitchen sinks are currently draining into a bucket. Last Monday I rigged up a temporary drainage line from the dishwasher into the laundry sinks (using a piece of pool hose that we'd never gotten around to throwing out in the four years since we took out the pool) so that I could run the dishes, and felt rather clever and handy and pleased with myself when it worked without spraying dirty dishwater all over the basement. Tuesday and Wednesday evening were spent measuring, planning, buying supplies and finally cutting pipe and fitting it all together (I was extra excited to be able to get the brand new mitre saw out and set it up for this job: we bought the thing four years ago with some money my gramma gave us as a housewarming gift, vowing not to allow ourselves to take it out of the box and use it until we got the workbench set up, which finally happened last winter. Now I'm looking around the house for things to cut, because I love using the saw so much). Today I have to install the metal strapping that will hold all of the pipe in place (it's tied up with twine right now), drill some holes in a concrete wall, then take all of the pipe apart and bring it outside where I'll glue it together in sections with a respirator on. Then it's back inside to attach it all, glue up the last joins and woo! Turn on the water!
In the meantime, we've been spending the last few weekends in London, working on a major deep-cleaning and de-cluttering of Pete's mom's house while she's in hospital recovering from surgery. We spent three days there last weekend, making the kids help, then the two of us went back alone this weekend and busted our asses for four days getting more work done than I thought two people could do in four days. I left there last night with a sense of accomplishment for what we'd done, and a new resolve for getting ahead on all of the things that need fixing, cleaning and organizing in our own house. But jesus murphy I'm tired, and after the little bit of gardening I did this morning there's a part of me that just wants to slip into my usual routine of sitting on my arse on the porch, drinking tea and staring at the laptop screen. But, lucky for me, the yelling neighbours across the street just came out on their steps a little while ago and started in on their favourite hobby (yelling at each other), so now seems a very good time to go inside and drill some concrete.
May 18, 2007
friday never hesitates
Here's a print I never showed you before, made in fall 2006. This morning I listed this and a bunch of other new-ish prints in my etsy shop; there are some new t-shirts and other things to come after the weekend, just need to get my photographs all sorted out. So tell all of your filthy rich art-loving friends to go over there and help me buy a spinning wheel, eh?
I got tagged for one of those chain-letter things, the one you've seen going around with the seven random things, and while I usually don't like these things I welcome a little direction to help me compose an entry right now. I gather the rules are you write seven random things about yourself and then tag seven people to do the same; as I can't bear to pass on chain letters I won't tag anyone, but consider yourself tagged if you want to do it, and let me know in the comments if you do (if seven people do that then I'm totally off the hook here). I was paralyzed with fear at first thinking I'd have to come up with seven interesting quirky things that were both unique to me and wildly entertaining to y'all, but then I saw Alison's entry where she just talked about her day and stuff, and relief washed over me. So, here are my seven random things, off the top of my head:
1: Since coming home from Athens last week I've been contacted out of the blue by two childhood chums, one a classmate I haven't seen since grade eight and the other the boy I used to share a crib and all my birthday parties with. Both are people whose names I've Googled (yes, I'm using it as a verb, bite me) in the past and come up empty. All that hard work making myself the number one Jodi Green on the internet pays off! Now if I can just keep up with my resolution to answer e-mails more promptly I might just be able to keep in touch with both of them. Although, now that I know Christian's mom is reading my blog I'm all scared of saying FUCKSAKE as often as I normally do.
2: for my fellow Naruto addicts (you know who you are): last Saturday, on the way from visiting friends in Milwaukee to visiting friends in Chicago, Peter and I missed our exit off the highway. We got off at the next exit thinking we'd circle around and get back on in the opposite direction and get to our exit from the other side, but this was Chicago where such things are not possible and just because there is a way off the highway does not mean there is a way back on. Somewhere in the resulting forty minutes of circling, trying to find our way back to the damned exit from which we had about a five minute drive left to our friends' house, we found ourselves in some street or other and there, walking down the sidewalk, were two Konoha Jounin. No, I didn't get a picture, we were too busy being lost and pissy (nothing a whole lot of Chinese take-out and a hot tub couldn't fix later on, though).
3: I hate grass. This afternoon I filled yet another paper yard waste bag with pulled-up grass that keeps creeping back in amongst our plants and giant weeds. One half of our front yard is covered in a tarp (actually the pool cover from the above-ground pool that came with the house and got dismantled and dragged out of here pretty much the second the sale closed) right now, the half we couldn't get filled with garden plants before I left to go back to school last fall. We're hoping to get that all planted this summer so that next winter our yard can be tarp-free for pretty much the first time since the first year we owned the house. The backyard has had tarps, wood, pieces of metal and various pool parts and garbage (all left behind by the previous owner of our house) strategically places around to kill off areas of grass. The neighbours only think we are the junky people; in reality we have a beautiful and elaborate plan in place. And I'm already eyeing that strip of city-owned grass out front between the sidewalk and the road, and mentally calculating whether the scraps of leftover tarp will cover it all.
4: We live on a very busy school bus corner, and I love sitting on the porch and watching the kids come and go. I could set my clock by the hoarse-throated young mom who walks by twice a day barking like a trained seal at her two kids. In fact, if I can get done writing this fast enough I'm going to take my tea and my sock knitting out there and watch the kids come home.
5: I don't have much of a yarn stash but I do have a considerable amount of sock yarn, or at least it's quite a lot considering how infrequently I actually finish a pair of socks. For some reason, almost all of my sock yarn stash is (or contains) orange. I don't even wear that much orange otherwise, but it's what I gravitate towards every time I indulge in sock yarn buying. In fact, I was in the yarn shop today, wearing orange and brown striped handknit socks, holding a beautiful ball of tweedy orange self-striping superwash wool in my hand and saying to the yarn store lady, "every ball of sock yarn I own is orange". She said, "then get the green!". So I did.
6: I am allergic to milk, ice cream and cheese, but I absolutely love strong, old cheddar. It's the only cheese I can eat without getting a sore stomach. Today after the yarn store I went to Far Flung Foods and got a chunk of my favourite four year old, a treat I indulge in about as often as non-orange sock yarn.
7: I never say in three words what I could say in ten or twelve (y'all might have noticed that about me already). And now I have rambled on so long I've missed the first school bus.
March 22, 2007
We got out of Athens a little later than planned yesterday and (of course) got trapped in gawdawful Atlanta traffic that set us back another two hours. We drove all night and didn't reach our hotel in Kansas City until 5 am (Central Time), and had to get up at 8:30 in order to make it to the conference hotel in time for the awards ceremony we wanted to attend. Ugh. Now we're back in our room taking a break, which means naps for my colleagues and internet time for me (yes, I'm exhausted, but even though I could easily have fallen asleep during the last panel I went to, somehow by the time we got back to the hotel I was past my tired place. Damn).
I feel like a zombie. But I got a lot of drawing done on my shirt today. I like how these markers blend.
Gallery openings tonight, and lots of 'em. So, so tired.
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 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).
March 11, 2007
talking without thinking, again
On re-reading yesterday's post I realize that perhaps I made it sound as if I'm ungrateful for the friendship I've gained here; that's not at all the case. What I meant when I said "I don't want that" was the self absorbtion and the diaristic wanking which I so easily fall into. The online community I've become a part of here is something I most definitely DO want, I just want for my contributions to have more substance and less whining.
To Mary, my cousin and dear friend: I'm sorry that I missed your birthday last Wednesday. I even had it written in my day planner so I would remember to write you, but that day was the climactic moment in the tragic little novella that was my week, and I was too caught up in stress and agony to think of you. It all got better, though, and I hope you had a wonderful day.
Here are the first three pages from the first of my new sketchbooks:
The pages in this particular book are quite heavily printed already but they won't all be like that. I wanted to start with a really crazy looking one to challenge myself to find things to draw in all of that mess already on the page.
February 26, 2007
a studio day in pictures
I don't really possess the self control required to leave the spinning wheel alone for a day and do my other work instead, so I've begun writing in my day book how many hours each day I need to work on my printing and drawing projects, and only the time left over is allowed to be spinning time. I think perhaps what I need to do instead is bring the wheel home so that it can cut into my knitting and internet time instead of my studio time. Since I ran out of Naruto episodes to watch (Peter is bringing me the final 20), I've been watching way too many Nine Inch Nails videos on YouTube instead (I tend to binge on music and other things the same way I binge on food: all I want to eat, every day, is edamame. All I listen to at studio right now is Sarah Harmer, all I listen to at the house is Nine Inch Nails. It's sad, really).
Last week's print is not quite finished because it's got more than one layer of intaglio, and I hate printing intaglio wet on wet. Since they're almost done, there will be no cake: Jessica is also only almost-done, having made eight pairs of small trace monotypes that she still wants to wax and sew together. The cake is only a treat if you have it rarely, and neither of us is all that fond of sweets, actually. So nearly-done is done enough for this week, as this exercise is only meant to boost our productivity, not boost our girth.
how to fix a boring image
I started with a digital printout of the same image I've been using a lot lately, a photo of the back side of an applique in which you can see the floral pattern of the original (bedsheet) fabric, a silkscreen image seeping through from the right side of the piece (that would be the circle pattern, printed in white) and meandering lines of stitching. The plate I printed on top of it isn't finished but I want to squeeze as many editions out of this batch of plates as possible (partly just because I can't afford more copper right now), so I went ahead with it. This is how it looked on Saturday night when I left it to dry: boring.
On Sunday morning I began by doing a bit of drawing on the prints: I'd gotten into the habit of putting down the same pattern of linework in sumi ink every time I draw on prints, and this is really the first time I realized that I can use other materials, things I more often use in my drawings. So I started by rubbing some graphite into the open rectangles inside the form:
Then I rubbed iron oxide powder into the space around the form to give it a bit of depth:
Finally, I threw the paper in water to soak (an excuse to spin on the wheel for forty minutes!) and printed another copper plate on top, this one with a portion of the Mariah sleeve cable chart etched into it:
This is the stage at which they had to be left alone to dry. Next I think I'll rub in some gesso, then I don't know. Probably print a few more times.
like a record, baby
I also did some plying, some of it pretty and some not.
I started by plying some of the orange merino and red mohair together, but it just wasn't coming together as well as I'd hoped. About halfway through I realized that if I wasn't happy with the yarn there was no rule stating that I had to continue to ply it thus, so I stopped. And because monogamy is for boring people, I'm plying them with each other, with themselves and with other things as well. Here is the orange merino in a straight up two-ply:
I had about 20 yards of singles left over from this, so I plied that up with the nearest thing on hand, some olive green recycled cotton that was sitting on the desk waiting to be turned into litho rags. I think it's sort of ugly, but according to my flickr buddies that's an unpopular opinion. I don't know; I'm just glad I only have 20 yards of it.
And now, I fear if I don't leave the house this very instant I shall be late to teach my class. I hate Fridays. Oh, wait, this is Monday. Well, I hate Mondays then. Wait, but Peter's coming today! I love Mondays!
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 11, 2007
an edition a week
CONTRACT No. 00000000001
AGREEMENT BETWEEN JODI LEE GREEN and JESSICA ANN MILLS
THIS AGREEMENT, made on the 11th day of January 2007 between Jodi Lee Green [hereafter referred to as “Affiliate #1”] and Jessica Ann Mills [hereafter referred to as “Affiliate #2”] covers the period from January 11th, 2007 to May 7th, 2007 [hereafter referred to as “Spring Semester 2007”].
WHEREAS Affiliate #1 and Affiliate #2 agree to complete one edition of prints each calendar week for the duration of Spring Semester 2007.
WHEREAS each calendar week is defined for the purposes of this agreement as beginning on Monday and concluding on Sunday.
WHEREAS the first calendar week for the purposes of this agreement begins on January 15th 2007.
WHEREAS the week of March 19th to March 26th is not to be considered a “week” for the terms of this agreement due to expected attendance of Affiliate #1 and Affiliate #2 at Southern Graphics Council 2007 Conference [hereafter referred to as “SGC”].
WHEREAS Affiliates #1 and #2 agree, in lieu of completing one edition between March 19th and March 26th, to take part in Open Portfolio at SGC and to otherwise avail themselves of any and all marketing and networking opportunities offered therewithin.
WHEREAS “edition” is defined for the purposes of this document as consisting of no fewer than five  prints of any acceptable print medium.
WHEREAS “print” is defined for the purposes of this document as being a reproducible work on paper of any size.
WHEREAS “acceptable print media” include intaglio, lithography, relief, digital output printing, silkscreen, trace monotype, xerography and collagraph. Drawing will be accepted for the purposes of this agreement if used in combination with any one or more of the above media and every attempt is made to maintain consistency throughout the edition.
WHEREAS if either Affiliate fails to meet the terms of this agreement for any given week that person will be mocked mercilessly and be forced to listen to the other Affiliate’s music without complaint for the calendar week immediately following the transgression being punished, and further must purchase for the other Affiliate one  slice of Vegan Chocolate Death Cake [hereafter referred to as “the Cake”] or a suitable substitute if the Cake is not available that week. Acceptable Substitutes will be agreed to by the parties concerned at the time of the payment. If the Affiliate receiving the Cake prefers to have pudding instead even if the Cake is available this is at the discretion of said Affiliate.
Signed on this day, the 11th day of January 2007, in the presence of witnesses.
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.
January 05, 2007
I don't much go in for making life-changing promises tied to an arbitrary mid-winter date; for me the year still begins in September and ends in April, tied to the school year. Having just returned to Athens to begin a new semester, however, puts me in mind of making a few fresh starts. I'm not making any big promises either here or to myself, but I'd like to make some positive changes in the areas of diet, exercise and, uh, tidiness and general stuff-reduction; I'd like to try to become the sort of person who doesn't cling to deadlines, who gets things done on time, or early, and does not give up or let things slide or do anything half-assed. I'd like to spend less money on food and eat better, and I'd like to do my yoga more regularly so maybe my shoulders will stop hurting. Changing one of these things would make me happy, changing all of them would be a miracle. I met a big deadline in November with completing my continuance exam, and it would be easy to slack off now and waste the next four months: I'm hoping that by focusing on making positive changes in my daily routine and attitude I'll be able to stay on a high with the art-making and have a productive semester.
I put some new stuff up in my etsy shop today, some buttons, including these ones:
and these pamphlet stitch journals that I made last year some time:
I also put up a few new shirts but not all of them, because my photos are very bad and I need to reshoot them all with the tripod; I didn't know my hands were that shaky.
November 29, 2006
do it for science
Scott Eric Kaufman is measuring the speed of meme; the results will be presented in a panel discussion at the Modern Language Association. Help him out by first reading this post, then linking to it in your own blog and pinging Technorati so that he can track it. You know you want to. All the cool kids are doing it, and it won't give you lung cancer or get you knocked up.
October 11, 2006
mortuary (irving layton)
This winter, I will knit myself a pair of poetry mittens. Fingerless, with embroidered rather than knit-in text, so that I can control the letter style more to my liking. This is what they will say:
Flesh has fallen away. Trees
And buildings are summer's skeleton;
Wind has loosened, disarrayed
The separate ribs, the evidence of bone.
Dead, deposited relics
Shored up clean against a stiffened sky,
Fixed by the mortician cold
Moving his fingers over them ceaselessly;
While the snow, decently to inter,
Drifts between the spaces, everywhere.
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.
June 06, 2006
Devil's day, my ass
Well. I made the silly mistake of letting the crazy fundamentalist wingnuts (you know, the ones who have been having their babies induced all week to avoid going into labour on June 6th, thus running the risk of giving birth to the anti-you-know-who) get me all excited, and I was expecting at the very least a little fire and brimstone today. I suppose the day is still young, and perhaps it takes a while to get all that brimstone warmed up to where it starts giving off the acrid fumes of hell, but jeez. So far the only bad thing that's happened is that I hit my head on our new car. And really, I don't think the devil can be blamed for that one, because I also hit my head on the fridge yesterday, on a perfectly ordinary nothing-to-do-with-the-devil day.
So. Our van died on the 401 on Sunday (for a super-boring little photo essay go here. And remember that there's not all that much to take pictures of on the side of the highway). We were planning to replace it at the end of this month, after Peter gets his pay raise, but after more than four years of fairly solid service and several trips to Georgia and back, Pennsylvania and back, D.C. and back, plus to London and back every other weekend. . . the bugger pooped out on us four weeks too soon. So yesterday we bought a car, and picked it up this morning. As with the house, once we'd made a decision (or, had a decision made for us) we just went ahead and bought the first car we looked at.
And it's mauve, for Project Spectrum! Yes, I know June is for blue. But we weren't supposed to buy the car until July, see?
Since we had the van towed to our driveway and it's still sitting there taking up space, I had to cut some branches off of the mulberry tree out back in order to gain access to the second of our three parking spots (our little parking lot is two-thirds overgrown; the third parking spot is home to a large pile of topsoil that's been there for a year and has sprouted all manner of weeds). And because I can't let all of that good fibre go to waste, it's time for a papermaking lesson. Whee! Hold onto your pee, because this is going to be exciting.
Place the bundle on end in a colander inside a big pot. I use a 20-qt stainless stock pot and an old dollar store colander; I put a canning rack in underneath the colander to keep it off the bottom, but if you use a metal colander instead of a plastic one you won't need the rack.
Bring the water to a boil and let the branches steam for ten or twenty minutes, then turn off the heat and let it cool. When the wood is cool enough to touch, take it outside with a knife and a plastic bag and maybe a cup of tea or a gin and tonic, because the next step is a long, slow one.
Peel off a strip of bark and then, placing your knife between the woody outer layer and the creamy, filmy-fibred inner layer of the bark strip, separate the two. Sometimes it will peel apart for you and sometimes you'll have to use your knife to scrape the outer bark off. Don't worry about perfection because you'll still have to boil it before you beat the fibres, and any organic material that's still clinging to the cellulose will separate out then. Toss the creamy stuff into your plastic bag and throw the rest into the compost pile. Use the sticks to whittle quaint little dolls and whistles for the neighbour children, or bundle them again and put them out for pickup.
Steam small batches at a time because the peeling really takes a while, and if you don't get it all apart in one sitting it will harden up again.
That's it, kids! Peeling all this bark apart ought to keep you busy until August, when I'll have access to a hollander beater again, and then I'll show you how to make beautiful paper out of this stuff.
*ps, to Pete: don't worry. I only cut down enough to steam one batch and the rest of the branches are bundled for pickup; there won't be any piles of neglected mulberry branches clogging up the backyard this year, I promise! I tried to clog the backyard with piles but the weeds are all so big that I couldn't find a spot to put them.
June 01, 2006
Proof that we can get a lot done once we get started. It's just motivation to get started that's the problem.
I have some skeins of reclaimed lambswool here that I was going to dye blue today to kick off June, but damned if I can find even a box of cheapass Tintex in this craptastic downtown I call home. Maybe over the weekend I can find some, then next week I'll show you my blue knitting project for June. Not that I'm anywhere close to finishing up my green knitting project for May, of course.
After a fierce thunderstorm last evening we headed over to Tina and Simon's to pick up some plants for the garden, and we've now got about two thirds of the front yard planting finished. Here's a view from the porch of the new section (the portion you saw the other day is directly to the right of this):
The white line indicates the approximate location of a flagstone path that we might get around to putting in next week.
counter-clockwise from bottom left:
1. a gigantic hosta from Tina and Simon's neighbour
2. more bachelor's button that came with the house
3. coral bells from Tina and Simon. I forget what she said this variety is called; marmelade, perhaps?
4. sweetgrass from Tina and Simon
5. another heuchera (coral bells) from Tina and Simon
6. another clump of yesterday's mystery plant from Owen and Pat, since identified as some kind of spurge (thanks, Liz!)
7. wood geranium from Tina and Simon
8. a sedum that came with a place I used to rent in London; when we moved to Windsor this went to Mikell's for safe keeping, then to our back yard last year, and finally to here.
9. lamb's ears, I have no idea where we got these. That's okay, nobody but me gives a rat's ass anyway
10. three columbines all clumped together, from Tina and Simon: a purple one, a white one and a burgundy/pink one
11. sweet woodruff from Tina and Simon
Immediately to the left of this area, where the dirt is lighter, is where our new sidewalk to our new steps will be!
Here's a view from the sidewalk of the whole thing so far:
So. Anybody know what this is?
I know, I KNOW! I'm such a lazy slackass. But having my own personal librarian all through my undergrad helped to make me that way.
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 26, 2006
I started listing some older prints in my etsy shop today; here's a few:
These are nicer than any of the things we'll be selling in our yard sale tomorrow, but the yard sale stuff is going to clear up way more storage space. We've actually managed to get one corner of the basement cleaned and organized, and one large piece of furniture moved out of the middle of the room. A tidy house is within my grasp, I know it.
May 25, 2006
I've found the answer to all my problems.
Okay, maybe just one problem.
Remember Alice, the camel-hair yarn? I brought her back home with me from Athens, and conferred with her yesterday about what she wants to be. I've decided to forego the Phildar pullover in favour of something else, something far more unique and elegant which will change my life and maybe even make me look stylish and not like a slob all got up in a sweater too fancy for me. But in the meantime I have to wind the skeins into balls which, because I have no swift (and even though I always carefully drape my skeins around the back of a chair first), always results in my having to deal with an unbelievably frustrating tangle. Like this one.
Well. This morning as I gazed at yet another several hours worth of untangling before me, I puzzled. And I pondered. And I came up with a solution so dazzling in its simplicity that I can scarcely believe I never thought of it before.
(cue chorus of angels, if only to drown out the sound of all my knitty pals slapping their foreheads, rolling their eyes and saying "duh!", which I guess is better than pounding their knees Sammy Maudlin style and howling with derisive laughter)
I feel smart. I feel ready to perform rocket surgery almost. I feel like breaking out the tequila and orange juice in celebration, but I think I'll wait until after noon for that.
I received a lovely package in the mail yesterday from Bonnie, a cute little bag and some stitch markers bearing a much-needed message:
That's a crappy photo but here's a detail:
I've been spending a few hours every day photographing things to list in my etsy shop, and now have some t-shirts and new buttons up, including more of these buttons that I was giving away at MDS$W.
Still no elevator shirts, but I promise I'll make those in August when I get back to the studio. I've got a bunch of older lithos to put up, as well as some sweet little notebooks and lots more buttons, I'm just taking my sweet-ass time to do it, that's all.
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.
March 04, 2006
There's holes in all the bottles and my lungs hurt. . . *
Have you ever had a wonderful toy that you loved more than anything and took everywhere with you, even to bed, even on those long car trips when your mom said, oh leave that filthy thing at home won't you, and you screeeeeeaaamed that you had to bring it with you EVERYWHERE and your snot got all over it when she gave in and thrust it into your arms (doubtless she made that huffy frustrated sound, you know the one) and you buried your weepy, grateful face in its softness? And then somehow, how does it happen? something distracts you and you do other things and one day you come across your old favourite toy and wonder, how long has it been? How could I forget my beloved toy?
I sort of feel that way about this blog today.
Peter and his mom left here after lunch today, and I'm sitting here feeling lonesome again and listening to some cds that Pete brought me from home (Sarah Harmer, at the moment). It's less than five weeks until I'll see him again but it seems months away right now. Tonight I'll be sleeping alone again except for my smelly old stuffed frog.
Peter and I didn't have a lot of time to spend together this week; he was writing a paper and school made a lot of demands on my time. But that was kind of nice in a way; since I've come here, our visits together have been holiday-time, where we spend as much time as we can together, and that's like a sort of fake-life. Our real life together, where we work and are busy and come home to each other, is something that seems gone, in the past. So to have a week where we have something like our normal life (only in Athens) was probably good for us. But I still feel like I didn't get to see him enough.
My beloved is headed back towards winter but here it's full-on spring. Things are flowering everywhere, daffodils (although not mine, too shady I guess), trees, even the Siberian irises out front of the shack have buds coming up already. Here's my little yellow crocus underneath the pecan tree that still drops the occasional nut on my roof (seasons collide in this place).
Peter and I did some letterpress printing yesterday:
I decided not to bother smudging out our address, since stalkers could find out where we live pretty easily anyway. Y'all are invited, as long as you're not stalkers. I'll be flying home in time to clean the house and whip up some of my famous hors d'oevres.
Exciting things are afoot in the knit design department (which I'll tell you all about later), and also, guess what? I'm moving again. But don't worry, I'm not leaving the cute little shack compound. Just taking over one of the little houses behind mine, which is the same price but a better place: it has two bedrooms, a porch, a screen door, bamboo all around, and a shower! And no noisy road, and no electric guitar next door. I could throw a pecan from the front door of the old house and hit the new house. Well, I couldn't. But someone who can throw could.
*just in case you're the gub-mint checking up on me, this is just a line from a Sarah Harmer song, I'm on a student visa here, do you think I'm crazy? You can come on over and check my bottles, and my pee.
November 05, 2005
Remember all those little shrink plastic doohickeys I made back in the summer? I finally got arsed to make some of them into bracelets.
Here's one in action, to get a sense of the size.
These will be for sale in my shop soon, along with some other stuff. Just as soon as we get a template for that shop page ready.
Tonight: off to Stone Mountain for a girls-only sleepover with Hockey Mom and itgirl. We're going to wear pyjamas, and do each other's hair and makeup, and cry about boys and sing a song about Sandra Dee and have a sexy pillowfight and make smores. And maybe have a slumber party massacre, or something. Either that or we'll just knit and drink a lot.
September 14, 2005
A little bit cunty (a little bit rock 'n' roll)
Yoni B. Goode. Oh yeah!
The Clorox bleach pen is my new best friend. This worked out so well that now I want to bleach every piece of clothing I own.
(Get a load of the cellulite on that arm. Rrrowr! You know it's sexy).
I finished the bus socks yesterday:
This represents about a week's worth of riding and waiting for the bus. But in that time I also knit the first sock down past the heel turn before realizing it was far too wide, so actually a week on the bus will net two and a half socks. Too bad after I finish the graduation pom squad socks I'm out of good sock yarn, because I still have two more weeks of riding this bus. I might have to break out the ugly-ass Kroy in desperation.
Last night was knit night at Anne Marie's, where I also finished the back of Peter's sweater. Sorry, no pictures (soon! I promise).
Okay now, on to other business:
Fiber has returned from whatever witness protection program she was in, and tagged me for a questionnaire. I usually don't like doing these, because come on! The questions are hard! But for Fiber I'll do it, as long as she promises to not go disappearing without a peep for another three months.
So here goes.
7 things I plan to do before I die
1. finish the damned attic OR sell the house, whichever is easier
2. see above, scratch "attic" and insert "garden"
3. finish school and become a real grown-up (I plan to do this before I'm 40)
4. travel across the continent and crash on the couches of every single blogger and internet friend foolish enough to offer (so watch what you say or I might show up on your doorstep!)
5. get matching tattoos with my brother Dave
6. burn down the malls
7. find more things to aspire to so questions like this aren't so hard
7 things I cannot do
2. dance (well, I can do the Korobushka, but that's not really one you can do at the clubs. . .)
3. sing in public. Now, I heard a rumour that some of my new knitting pals here in Athens love them some karaoke. I just want them to know right now that it ain't happening. I will be happy to attend karaoke and be the designated picture-taker and Guinness-drinker, but that is all. Unless they have Bat out of Hell, and you have bought me much, much Guinness first.
4. use American spellings. It's just lazy, people! It was really, really tough for me to type "Fiber" up there instead of "Fibre", and the only way I can do it is by telling myself it's a name, not a word.
5. do one of these questionnaires without bitching about the questions. Seven is a lot of things! Come to think of it, I can't fill out any kind of form without asking a bunch of dumb questions, or getting help.
6. what I'm told
7. get anything finished without a deadline
7 things that attract me to the opposite sex
2. a finely boned wrist. You might be the hottest thing on the planet, but if your wrists are thick like trunks? Don't touch me. God I'm shallow, aren't I?
4. a sort of refined sloppiness (not contrived though)
5. I'm attracted to people who think, and who care about ideas. There's nothing worse than being with an otherwise attractive person who has nothing interesting to talk about.
6. guys who think I'm totally sexy? That's a real turn-on for me, I must say (yep, shallow AND vain)
7. there's a certain jawline contour that makes my knees weak when I see it. Maybe it's because when I see other guys who have it, it reminds me of Peter, or maybe it's one of the things that attracted me to Peter in the first place. But it's definitely the reason I like him better without his beard.
7 things I say most often
2. Jesus Murphy
3. get outta town
4. yay! (oh, that drives Pete nuts)
5. I'm sure
6. harder! harder! (just kidding, Mom)
7. wah-wah (like Pingu)
7 celebrity crushes
Okay, here's where I have to cop out. I just don't have celebrity crushes. I don't really give a rat's ass about celebrities, I mean, it's not like they're real people. But I guess I could think of some artists and writers I sort of have crushes on:
Alice Munro, who is Canada's greatest living writer and would be a strong contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature if only short stories got the same respect that novels do. She is a master of the beautiful turn of phrase that dazzles you and then kicks you in the stomach while you're distracted.
Di Brandt, a fine Canadian poet and fascinating flake. She taught my Canadian literature course in the last semester of my undergrad, and she's just totally fabulous and charming and weird. I hope she doesn't mind that I called her a flake.
Betty Goodwin. I want to be her.
And I guess that Krista will out me if I don't admit that I would like to shag Bob Geldof; also I want to prove to y'all that I don't just get crushes on older women. Or just on Canadians. He's got nice wrists, and the casual disregard for hygeine, coupled with the elegant clothes, mmm.
Also: if cartoon characters count, I totally have a crush on Bobby Hill. "Mine's all sloppy, and no Joe!"
Okay, so that's not seven. But it's the best I can do.
September 13, 2005
Self portrait tuesday - same shit, different pile
September 10, 2005
I may not have a driver's license, but I can still drive a bandwagon!
I heard a rumour somewhere that NWJR might be joining me too, but I think there's some kind of picture-taking going on today instead. Maybe next week? (yes, I was always the bossy kid in school, how could you tell?)
September 06, 2005
Self portrait tuesday - fixation
It all starts with my belly. Of course.
July 15, 2005
The mailman cometh
Look what arrived in the mail yesterday, from Alison at six and a half stitches--it's my back-tack package!
Alison made me a lovely needle roll
(oh, that flower! that cute little buttoned pocket! can you tell I'm excited? the fat little pincushion! somebody get my finger off the exclamation mark key)
and a sweet little notions bag with sashiko embroidery
I can hardly wait to pack for our camping vacation now that I don't have to keep all my knitting needles and sewing stuff in ziploc bags and plastic food containers.
The roll and bag were filled with great goodies, notions, soap, some very tasty tea, fantastic stuff. Some of the wrapping was so elegant I didn't want to open it up. Like this:
But it was worth it.
I feel spoiled. Thanks, Alison!
July 11, 2005
Disregard my nervousness (please, ignore my vacant stare)
I've been in a profound funk the last little while; I'm finding it hard to motivate myself to do anything productive, and just generally feeling sorry for myself. Little things upset me more than they should, and it's as if every day is the Thursday before my period, when I'm liable to either freak out and maim somebody or cry over nothing.
I haven't really talked about this too much here, but when I go away to Athens for school in August, Peter is not going with me. We're going to be living in different countries, umpteen-however-many thousand miles apart, for the next three years. Of course I'll have lots of time off, and we'll be able to visit fairly often, but, still. The next five weeks before I go loom darkly.
So. I cannot bring myself to do any of the things I need to do that are connected with my going away. Like packing. Like putting everything I'm not taking with me into some kind of order so that Pete doesn't have to live in a pile of my crap. Like, making art. I have plenty of work I could be doing, but I can't force myself to touch it. Even though I feel a pang of longing when I walk past cellulose sponges in the grocery store (they're an essential tool for lithography, and since I graduated I haven't been able to do any printing), the wood for the woodcuts I wanted to start still sits upstairs, untouched. If it's something I'm taking away with me, I don't even want to look at it.
I haven't really felt like posting here either, mainly because I knew I would just whine about my plight. Like I just did. There are lots of other things I want to write about, but, you know. That motivation thing. Maybe tomorrow; for now here are some pictures of some of the things I've been doing to while away the time.
Bonus sexy armpit shot! Rrrrowwwr.
I'd been plugging away on this Tivoli and stopped to try it on. Whoa! Off the needles she went, postehaste. I'm using a heavy recycled cotton yarn, and had to rejig the pattern to fit my gauge. The resulting top is too loose and too thick, a big no-no on a short chubby torso like mine. It's not the pattern's fault, I love this pattern and intend to make at least three. But this isn't the right yarn for it. This yarn will have a much better and more attractive life as Stefanie's lace tube skirt from SnB Nation:
Evening Diamonds is finished and enjoyed her first night out on Saturday. Here's an arty wanker-type picture.
For anyone who's counting, this would be the 5.5th time I've knitted a top out of this yarn. It's a mystery cotton with a rayon slub, bought at the Hudson's Bay Company way back in the long ago time when they still had a yarn section. I made the same cabled racerback tank three times before figuring out that no matter how many times I reknit it, it still wasn't going to fit or look good. It then spent many dark years in a box before being dyed blue and unravelled last summer, and knit into a too-big Evening Diamonds halter. So I unravelled it one last time and knit it on a smaller needle, but when I was almost done the neck decreases I ran out of yarn. After tearing my house apart and flinging obscenities at an innocent man and a few cats, I unravelled the top half and changed the pattern enough to get a finished top out of the amount of yarn I had.
The yarn has a tendency to stretch out and lose its shape, which is the cause of at least half of my previous problems with it. If it stretches out too big again, I'm just going to put grommets up the back and lace it tight. Either that or have a ritual burning.
Here's a closeup of the beaded trim:
After the top was finished and the crochet trim on, I found this in my gym bag:
A very kind lady from Freecycle gave me an old Spirograph set from the seventies, and I made some more shrink plastic stuff:
and these little pieces to make into bracelets. I am addicted to watching the things shrink, and the only thing keeping me from running up a huge hydro bill using the oven all day is the fact that we're having a heat wave.
Peter is working on a new and improved version of my website, and unlike when they changed the recipe for your favourite breakfast cereal and raised the price at the same time, my new site is actually going to be better than the old one. We're hoping to be able to launch it by the end of the week, with an online shop going up soon after. Soon!
[To those of you waiting for t-shirts, I haven't forgotten or just slacked off; I've decided to wait until I've moved to order shirts. I am working on some designs though, and will post them as soon as they're ready.]
Claudia sent me this gorgeous skein of handspun cashmere:
My new pet. I can't stop stroking it. Thanks, Claudia!
The Sexie halter is this close (imagine fingers held soooo close, almost together) to being finished, but I still need to get some contrasting ribbon for the edging and lacing. It's been sitting on a stitch holder for three weeks, just waiting. Camocleo is similarly pining away, waiting for two measly seams and some i-cord. Motivation. Problem.
The OSW, however, is a quick little breeze to finish, so I did.
It is a wonder, all right. It's like a little boob lift, without the cutting.
So. After identifying my problem, do you think I made any steps to overcome it? Did I pack a box of stuff, or start my woodcut?
No way, baby. I went to Franco and Jelena's place and showed them how to pickle garlic. Isn't it pretty?
In the interest of getting me moving on the cleaning up my crap and putting it in boxes front, we've invited people to a going-away party for me on the 23rd of July. If you didn't get an invitation and want to come, send me an e-mail, and as long as you're not a creepy stalker I'll give you our address. The more people show up, the more crap I have to clean out of the way. There won't be any pickled garlic there, since it needs to sit for six weeks. But you'll forget all about that when you taste my amazing chutney, I promise.
July 04, 2005
I got your back
I also made a matching pincushion, and some shrink plastic pins with spirograph and boomerang shapes and a tiny rocket ship. Whee! I really like the little plastic spirographs, and I think I'll make a bunch more for jewellery.
The embroidery designs and the pins were inspired by patterns on some of the vintage dishes in my kitchen, and by a table I have that my uncle Delmar made in the early sixties for my mom using diner-table formica. The fabric I was sent for this project is so amazing I was tempted to keep it for myself.
So I'm finally finished and ready to send it all off tonight, a few days late but hopefully worth the wait; I had so many ideas for goodies to fill it with that I had to get choosy because only so much would fit, and as it is the pouch is so full of stuff I can barely get it closed. I hope she likes it!
June 09, 2005
Better than meatloaf surprise. And much better than chocolate spring surprise.
I had an interesting chat with a poet today about beauty, but I think I'll wait and tell you about it tomorrow. Instead it's show and tell time; I came home to a package in the mail today, and my five year old neighbour K. leaping and shouting "a present! a present! is it from your Gramma?". Nope, it was from Claudia, and look at what was inside:
It's a Swan drop spindle from Grafton Fibres, wrapped in a gorgeously coloured pile of Cormo. Wow! I'm convinced that having a perfect tool will make all the difference to my technique (hah! I kid myself that I have some kind of "technique", other than spin like crazy and yank and yank and hope I don't drop it). The spindle I've been using is homemade and quite heavy, and I've had to spin with it supported to avoid it breaking the fibre and crashing to the floor. Last week the whorl fell right off and I had to reglue it. Now I can be like the pros and spin like a banshee (with gusto). What an incredibly thoughtful gift this is. Thank you, Claudia.
Look, she even started it off for me.
Am I supposed to be able to make the yarn this thin? Yikes!
June 08, 2005
I wanted good conversation and a spiffy title but all I got was this stupid t-shirt
I was thinking I might write about buffet today, but I'm still chewing on that one for the time being. Then, because Flea was asking for service industry stories, I thought I might instead write about a shoe store job I once had and the crazy sexual predator-types we had to put up with there. Then I thought perhaps I'd treat everyone to my rather strong and bitchy opinions about this, since it's so closely related to one of my favourite hobbies (although I'm trying to lay off the smut-talk because my whole family knows I have this journal). Oh, hi Dad!
But it's too damned hot, and I can't be bothered to put my thoughts into coherent phrases. We've finally arrived at those summer days that are so hot I have to force myself to eat lunch because I have no motivation to get up and get food. This morning the sky was overcast and the air was still relatively cool, so I ran outside and did as much work in the garden as I could before it got too hot. I had to come inside again before ten o'clock. Up until yesterday the fats had been clamouring to go outside, but now they're spending the whole day plopped on the floor with their bellies spread out like cowpies, because it's the only cool place to be. I just might join them there soon.
Instead I'm just going to cop out and show you some pictures of the t-shirts I printed last Tuesday night before we left for Athens (because what better time to break out a new craft project than the night before a trip when you're supposed to be packing?).
I printed these from old lino blocks with silk screen ink. The printing is kind of crappy but I don't care, it makes them look like those trendy fake-old prefaded shirts you see all over the place. This first one is from a print I made in a first year studio class, and it's me (I had braids back then, and some supercool cat eye glasses that were my gramma's when I was a baby) getting off an elevator with a bunch of creepy characters all stolen from German Expressionist woodcuts and paintings.
This image of Miss Polly Styrene with angel wings was done for a (insert chosen mid-winter holiday here) card that I intended to give to my friends at a holiday feast for orphans that I threw back at my old place in London. But while I may be the Queen of Grand Plans I am not their master, and grand plans usually end up trumping me. I served up a marvelous meal, everyone had a great time and the Polly Angel prints never made it onto cards; instead when my guests arrived the prints were still hanging to dry in the fireplace. People still took them, though.
I messed up the first time I printed the elevator block, so at Peter's suggestion I rolled over the whole thing with the inky brayer and made a black rectangle instead. I think it looks pretty good, and Pete wants a black rectangle shirt too.
Bad citing of sources
Recently I posted a few things that I neglected to give proper credit for, and may have caused some of you to believe I'm more talented than I really am.
-The cover for Pandora Living was made for me by Rob and posted here with his permission.
-The photograph from the top of Clingman's Dome, of a sunny mountain valley below the mist, was taken by Peter. I am a crappy photographer and would have wound up with nothing but gray had I tried taking those shots myself.
May 30, 2005
I'll win that Motley Crue mirror if it fucking kills me
Claudia was right. Spinning is like crack. Here's the hat I started with my second handspun.
That's an 8mm needle, baybee! I need to try to get this stuff thinner. Wanna see a closeup?
Of course, I didn't have enough yarn for a hat, so now I need to duplicate the colour. I started with roving (I don't know what kind of sheep this came from, it was just labelled "Australian wool") in these Kool-Aid colours:
L-R: Jamaica, Ice blue and Pink lemonade. I dyed this to match something else and sent as much as I could cram into the box to my Back Tack pal, then spun the rest. These three colours all spun up together made me think of being at the carnival, reeling on a sugar high, about to throw up from the last ride and eating disgusting food and candy that makes your tummy hurt. Since I didn't want to be reminded of that every time I looked at the yarn, I overdyed it in a mixture of Switchin' Secret and Lemon Lime to get the weird brick red and green. I'm going to do the same thing again, spinning the red, pink and blue before dyeing green; I'll show you what it looks like before it goes in the green bath and you'll see what I mean about the tummyache.
I think I'm getting a little better at making an even yarn.
Not much better, mind you, just a little better. Obviously there are still some trouble spots. I won't have to use the biggest circular needle I own to knit this one up, at least.
May 27, 2005
May 25, 2005
Perennial bachelor's button. I would love this for its name alone; blue flowers are just a bonus.
Kittycat and columbine.
May 23, 2005
Ply me a river
This weekend I went up to the spare room and dug out my drop spindle for the first time in more than two years and gave it another go. I am hopelessly bad at this, and I need some advice from all you pros out there.
In a bag with my spinning stuff I found a snarled pile of my first singles, spun almost three years ago from some blue and green mystery wool that the woman I bought my carding brushes from gave me to practice with. The yarn I made with it was uneven and sloppy. After I untangled it all, split it into two lengths and plied them together it looked a lot better and less uneven so I got cocky and tried making more singles with some madder-dyed merino roving, which was a freaking disaster. I don't mind so much the thick-and-thin thing, and I know that if I'm lucky some of that won't show so much once I get two plies together. But what's really driving me to distraction is how some parts of the yarn are spun way too tightly while other parts don't seem spun at all. Why does this happen? I don't really understand why the twist doesn't even itself out along the strand, and it's making me mental. Also this roving is a colossal pain in the arse; I've pulled it apart so it's a little thinner, and snapped it a little to loosen it up. Is there something else I'm supposed to be doing to get roving ready to spin? I think for now I'm just going to go back to some of the unprocessed fleece and the carders and spin from that, but I have a lot of roving (how on earth did I get this much?) and will need to figure out what to do with it sooner or later.
After my patience with the merino had run out, I looked in the bottom of my basket and there was a pile of rolags from the blue and green practice stuff; I spun those up, and then, because I don't know from ugly, I plied it together with the merino. And because I have no shame, here's a picture.
My plying is not all that even either. There's a shock. The blue-green looks okay, but do you see how in some places the orange is practically straight with the green wrapping around it? Oy.
I'm not too worried about the hideous colour combination right now; I'd rather just get my spinning a little better first, and this stuff was free. I'll probably knit a hat with this, because isn't that what everyone does with their sloppy first handspun? I'd make wristers but I would probably never wear them, and nobody else would want them.
Another question: a while ago I bought a sari at the dollar a pound Goodwill that is teal and mauve, two of my least favourite colours; I figured six metres of ugly silk is still six metres of silk, and it cost me less than a dollar. If I were to cut the sari into strips and spin singles with it, what do you think would happen if I tried to ply it together with a yarn from an unraveled sweater? Would I be smarter to just spin something to ply it with? I like the idea of making something from all recycled materials, but not if I'm just going to make a mess.
May 21, 2005
Something itchy down there
For days now, "squirrel scrotum" has been the frontrunner for search term of the week. But then yesterday somebody found my site by searching "mohair and angora sweater only over my cock", blowing all other competitors aside. The best part? I always have to try these crazy search terms myself to see how high my page comes up, and I am number fourteen. But Jenla comes up number nine! So of course I clicked through to their blog so that mohair and angora sweater only over my cock will come up in their site stats tomorrow.
Okay, Glen or Glenda, you win the prize this week. Send me your mailing address and I'll search my closet for something appropriate to reward you with. And I hope your prize doesn't make you itch too much, down there.
In gardening news,
we have sprouts!
By Friday (one week from planting) only one echinacea seed had sprouted, and I was beginning to worry. But this afternoon I got home from work to find little baby basil, coriander, strawflower, love lies bleeding, bergamot, one red hollyhock, and lavatera. I swear none of these had sprouted yet this morning; they all came up while I was out on the side of the highway with Nancy, sweating through the crotch of my corduroy trousers in the blazing sun and blowing up six hundred balloons to build six 15-foot towers for a car dealership (yes, I went back to working at the party store; I thought they had me replaced but now everyone's on vacation so I'm filling in for June. And after this month, I'll never work for minimum wage again, I promise).
The lavatera is particularly exciting, because I have no idea what this plant looks like; it's one of the seeds Rob stole from someone's garden and mailed to me, and he knows us and our gardening style and preferences pretty well, and also has fabulous taste himself, so I'm sure it will be something amazing.
May 20, 2005
Gateway to paradise
After years of futile searching at the back of my Gramma's wardrobe, I finally found the gateway to Narnia when I was least expecting it.
There's a yarn store about a 20 minute walk from my house that I've been going to for a while now; it's very small and doesn't really carry anything but the most ordinary of yarns. Some time last year a new yarn shop opened up two blocks away from it, and I've been avoiding visiting this new shop, partly because I really like the lady who runs the old shop and partly because the new shop has the words "designer yarns" on its sign, and designer is a code word for expensive (and I'm poor). Well, yesterday I went over to the old yarn shop to pick up a few things, only to find that she's closed up until the 24th for vacation. Hmmph. So I went into the new store.
Well. I never thought you could get this stuff here, all the fabulous yarns that I see my internet buddies using but have never tried myself because I live in a dickwater that doesn't have nice things. This store has bamboo yarn. It has Cashmerino. It has Rowan, and omigosh all the Rowan BOOKS! It has Noro. It has Manos (I didn't go near the Manos, I knew better). It has sock yarn that is not acrylic. Really, really nice sock yarn, like the stuff I drool over on other people's weblogs (I promise I won't buy any not-acrylic-sock-yarn until I've finished up my butt-ugly Kroy Pom Squad socks, otherwise they'll never get finished). I limited myself to some Jo Sharp dk tweed (not an impulse buy, but one of the possibilities I was considering for my fall Knitty submission) and two skeins of Noro Kureyon (colourway 52) with which I immediately cast on for another boobholder.
Two skeins won't be enough, of course. Guess I'll have to go back. How have I been knitting for fifteen years and never tried this yarn before? All the magic hidden colours! The texture! I'm beside myself with exclamation points, somebody do something.
The one weird thing about this oh-so-wonderful shop: I told the lady I needed double pointed needles in size 5mm and 6mm. She didn't have those sizes, but offered me 5.5mm. Huh? Even Peter, who cares nothing about knitting, knows enough about gauge to scoff at this.
On the gardening front, some friends of ours are taking out part of their garden and putting in grass, so last night we went over and filled our van with plants. For now I've put them all into the back yard where the pool was, because we're not going to do anything out front until we have a planting plan. Here's a partial list of what our friends gave us:
-columbine (several colours, both native and non-native types, so some can go in the front yard)
-two kinds of artemisia
-two kinds of daisies
-spider wort, both green and purple varieties
-more hostas, because you can never have too many hostas, especially the fat chartreuse ones
-yarrow, which I always get mixed up with tansy, and it looks exactly like the thing we already had that I've been thinking was tansy, so I guess we have lots of yarrow now and no tansy after all
-sweet woodruff (how I love that stuff; I want a bed of it big enough to lie in)
-oregano, tagging along with one of the columbines
-something called "blue-eyed grass" that sounded kind of cool
-hens and chicks, the silliest garden plant ever. These will come in handy if we can ever get the 5-pin bowling balls we need to make our bowling ball rock garden. Won't that be a beautiful thing?
-the little tiny sedum that looks all wormy, which I'm also picturing spilling over lovely swirly bowling balls.
-coral bells (purple leaves); this is nice because I gave mine to Peter's mom, but I really like them
And I forget what else, but several other wonderful things. Pat, what else did you give us?
My other big summer project:
These are the stairs to our attic. See all the crud on them? Here's a better look.
The attic isn't finished, but will someday be my studio. There is still a ton of Barbage up there that I haven't had the heart to tackle yet, although I have taken many, many garbage bags of crapola out already. I've got some of my studio furniture up here, and a lot of my tools and stuff in boxes. Last year we had a new roof put on, and they had to tear all the way back to the original cedar and put new plywood down. This means that the entire attic, all my stuff and also all of the previous owner's shit and garbage, was covered in a layer of thick black dirt and chunks of hundred-year-old wood. And this summer I have to clean it all up. And I want to get up there soon; the wood I need for the woodcut I want to start working on is up there, buried in the black stuff, and I have to get it out.
Rest assured that I will likely be showing progress pictures of the attic cleaning, because that's the kind of geek I am. I know, all y'all can't wait to see it. I said "all y'all"! Was that a correct usage? I'm trying to figure out whether the difference between "all y'all" and "all a y'alls" is a regional thing or a usage thing before I get to Georgia, so I don't mess up with the local lingo and embarrass myself. (Hah! Y'all know I'll be listening to Neil Young and the Rheostatics constantly while in Georgia in an attempt to retain my Canadian accent against the power of the insidious drawl).
Here's a close up of the peeling paint on the stairway wall:
I love textures like this. I think I'm just going to sand all the big chunks off and leave it this way.
May 16, 2005
I'm operating on the assumption that if you go ahead and get ready for summer, summer will come
We've decided not to wait any longer for spring to arrive, but to brave the bitter cold and do some work in the garden. We're focussing our efforts mainly on the front yard for now, because it's smaller and everyone can see it. Our fabulously talented and generous friend Rob has offered to do a design for us, so with that in mind I went out on Saturday to measure the area and make a drawing for Rob to work from. I've also started a project page for the garden, which you can access here if you're actually interested in the gritty details. For now there's just my drawing and some photos of the sorry patch of dirt and weeds we have to work with.
We also spent some time pulling out the last of the euonymous and other stuff we didn't want there, trying somewhat in vain to get all of the white marble chips out (seriously, who puts that shit in gardens?) and pulling up the layer of rotting black plastic that was underneath it all. This little dude thought I was digging up breakfast just for him, and wouldn't leave me alone.
I won't duplicate all of the progress photos here, but here's one I took from the porch this afternoon after I put the tarp down to kill the grass.
Because I'm a total cheapskate and also a slob, instead of a tarp I'm using the cover from the pool that was here when we moved in, all cut into pieces. Because I don't really care what the neighbours think of me, or of my yard. It was a nasty job; the tarp's been lying on the ground in the back yard all winter, killing grass, so it's collected all kinds of mud and tree droppings and slime and when I lifted it up it was stinky like something died in it way back in December. The grass that was underneath it out back is well and truly dead, and the birds have been having a heyday out there in the bare patch, chowing down on all the snails. Yum.
The piss-poor weather isn't stopping me from planning this year's roster of slutty summer knits. Camocleo only needs some triangles to cover up my boobs and she is finished.
The lace detail doesn't show up all that well in the mixed yarn, but I think this top is going to be hot hott hottt anyway.
I've also started working on Kim's "Sexie" halter from S'n'B Nation. I love this little top. I'm making it out of a red ribbon yarn recycled from secondhand (did someone say cheap? Yeah, I'm cheap). I bought this ugly ribbon pullover a year ago thinking the yarn was kind of neat, and have been despairing ever since of ever finding anything good to knit from it; it's glam in a frumpy middle-aged lady polyester accordian-pleated slacks kind of way, and even though I may be on the cusp of middle age, I'm not really striving for frumpy polyester glam. Frumpy, at least, is a look I can pull off without really trying very hard.
The yarn's got this crazy sparkle (see? middle-age glam! It makes me want to paint my toenails salmon pink just looking at this stuff) that's impossible to photograph.
This is what it looked like knitted loosely in the big awful pullover. This is what it looks like worked on 4.5mm needles, in Sexie's eyelet pattern:
Much better, no?
Also on the slutty summer knit list:
Soleil (not slutty on its own, but I think I'm going to carry the lace through more of the torso, and narrow the straps);
finishing the red peekaboo skirt;
and both of Stefanie's boobholder/skirts from S'n'B Nation. Because I was only going to make the mesh one (I'm a big sucker for the mesh) but then I saw the Cap'n's version of the other one in progress, and now I want it too. Even though it's not quite as slutty. I might want to make a few things I can wear to job interviews too.
May 13, 2005
Peter found these while walking near the university yesterday. They were a little too high to jump up and bonk our heads on, sadly.
Thanks to everyone who wrote and reassured me that it is okay to cry over a broken cup. I've been thinking that maybe I'll go ahead and get a bunch of those mugs, since I know that my special mug can't really be replaced by a lookalike. Snowball assures me that Anasazi knockoffs are common and plentiful where she lives, so maybe I'll redo my whole kitchen in it. A nice big bowl in that style for mixing bread would be lovely, if I can find one. I did call Mesa Verde today but nobody was there.
And I decided not to throw the fats in front of the bus after all, because I don't know which of them broke the cup and it's not really fair for the innocent one to die, and plus throwing cats in front of buses is illegal. And they've been with me for a long time (although not quite as long as my cup), and ruined countless things, none of which I have killed or even harmed them for. So I guess I'll just forgive the stupid little shits.
Oh look, they've clawed the crap out of this chair. Ah well, that wouldn't be the first chair they've destroyed. Shits.
So today I started some seeds for the garden. Only about a month late. Here is what we need to do in order to get our property the way we want it:
-finish taking down the deck
-cut down the trees next to the house
-dig up the remaining roots from the lilac bush I cut down; cut off the remaining stump from the cedar tree I cut down; dig up the rose bushes
-mark out where the new patio will go and put down limestone screenings
-mark out paths
-move the tarp to kill the rest of the grass
-take the pool pieces to the dump
-build a composter
-prepare beds for the seedlings and the plants we're bringing from Pete's mom's place (since we moved to Windsor we've been storing a lot of our plants in her garden)
-rake up the Barbage and throw it away (the half of the front yard that was garden is full of white marble stones, terra cotta chips and cedar mulch)
-stake down a tarp to kill the remaining grass
-prepare beds and plant.
The front yard is going to contain all native plants. Southwestern Ontario is a pocket of Carolinean forest, and the Windsor area is a tiny overlapping pocket of tall grass prairie. We're going to concentrate more on the Carolinean, but might allow some tall grass prairie plants to creep in there. The back yard will be divided into four, with one area for big messy perennials, one area Japanese, one area kitchen garden and I don't remember what we talked about for the fourth area. Woodland, maybe. Where I'm cutting down trees we're going to put in a flowering crab, and plant shade-loving stuff like sweet woodruff and trilliums. This is the corner of the yard that's visible from the computer desk, where I spend most of my time.
So here is a list of the seeds I've started today. Some will go in the front and some in the back.
-purple obedient plant (front yard)
-two kinds of hollyhock, black and red
-echinacea (front yard? is this native?)
-two kinds of rudbeckia, the good old fashioned side-of-the-road kind and one with a red centre
-butterfly milkweed (front yard)
-something called "cleome", seeds harvested from the native Carolinean garden on campus. I don't remember this plant at all but I drew a picture of its flower on the bag of seeds and wrote "big, purple", so I'm sure I must have liked it at the time (front yard)
-bergamot. Even gone to seed and then stored in the freezer for eight months, it still smells divine.
-joe pye weed, one of my all-time favourites (front yard)
-lavatera: I have no idea what this is, Rob collected the seeds and mailed them to me, and he knows us pretty well so I'm sure we'll love it.
-marigolds, for dyeing
-coreopsis, a solid yellow, not my favourite coreopsis tinctoria. I had a nice healthy patch of that last year until the roofers killed it. Grr. They killed my eryngium too, the pricks.
-something labelled "? beside sage, yellow flower", from the back garden Pete put in at his mom's. It might be that thing that's like savoury but you don't eat it; does that have a yellow flower?
-silver dollar plant
-love lies bleeding. This is a gorgeous weedy trollop of a plant and I try to plant it everywhere I go. Even the seeds are beautiful, like tiny, tiny garnets.
-thai chili pepper
I'm hoping the weather will be pleasant enough over the weekend to get some of the cleaning up and prep work done. And since I've discovered that you can't kill a forsythia bush by leaving it in a bucket for two winters, I'm going to plant that, where I'm taking out rose bushes.
April 12, 2005
Call me jDoi
I have an uncanny ability to not only never type my name properly, but to type it incorrectly exactly the same way almost every time; if I didn't check my e-mails carefully for spelling, I would sign nearly every single one like this: jDoi.
Another uncanny ability I've noticed recently, and this one is creeping me out a little: when I am using the computer I leave Mozilla Thunderbird open all the time so it tells me with a little two-note sound when it has downloaded a new e-mail from my server. Very often (seriously, nearly every time) I will "hear" that sound, seemingly at a distance, in my head, and seconds later I will hear it for real and there will be a message. My brain is imagining the little noise before the message is downloaded. Creepy, no? What's worse is that twice yesterday I got up to use the bathroom and while I was in there I "heard" the little noise, and when I came back to the computer there was no mail (proving that I didn't just hear it from upstairs) but when I clicked on "get mail" a message came down. Both times.
I think it's time I spent some time away from the computer, don't you?
In other news, my little pressure tactic worked, and Rob now has a blog! So everybody go say hi to Rob and tell him I sent you.
I had a feeling I had missed somebody in the interviews, and indeed I did. I still need to interview crumpart, but as I have two more days of school and some things to finish up that are due tomorrow, it will have to wait until Thursday.
Hmph. It seems I also have an uncanny ability to use the blog as a procrastination tool when I have more important writing to do. So I'd best buckle down and finish my paper, and I'll see y'all on Thursday (see, I'm practising talking southern. I haven't been able to figure out how to work "all y'all" into a sentence yet though. At least not in a way that doesn't sound absurd).
April 07, 2005
Enough about me
Today is a miserable cold day. Yesterday it was 24 C and sunny, and I wore nothing but a little skirt and t-shirt and sneakers to school. And did a little lying around on the back deck in the sunshine. Today I was hoping to do so again, but it's gone back down to sweater + jacket temperature again, and it's raining. And this cotton pony that kicked me in the back all day long yesterday has decided to gnaw on my tummy instead today, so a little lie down in the sun would have been really nice.
Ah well. The birds seem to like it; two robins have been pigging out in the backyard for more than an hour now. Aren't they full yet?
Bitch, leave those worms alone! I need them for my plants.
See that purple mound to the left of the bird? That's my valerian that I brought here from my old garden in London. Whee! I get so thrilled when things grow back, I always kind of expect plants to die on me. Lots do, of course, and I shower love upon those who choose to stay with me and thrive. Hopefully that love makes up for not watering them enough.
Okay! Interview time; these are the last four.
1. Are you planning to add anything new to your garden this year? Anything from last year that you don't want back?
2. Tell me about why you're a vegan. Is it for health reasons, or cruelty? How hard is it to raise a vegan baby?
3. You've got 5 WIP in your sidebar. Do you have any more that you're not telling us about? Any old dogs you're embarrassed to show and will never finish, but can't bring yourself to frog yet?
4. I hope to visit England some day, to check out the places where my dad grew up and maybe meet some of my family there. If I were to visit you, what would be the first thing in your town that you would want to show me (keeping in mind that I'm a total weirdo, easily pleased by stuff nobody else cares about, and not so much into the touristy thing)?
5. Now that you've been blogging for almost a year, do you think your blog has found its "voice"? How would you like you blog to evolve? And how will you celebrate your blogiversary?
1. Tell me about how/when you started knitting. Who taught you? What was your first project, and do you still have it?
2. I know you are working on a dissertation, but I couldn't find anything in your archives about what you're studying. Enlighten me!
3. Sorry to give you the same question as I gave Anna, but I really do plan on imposing on you all someday. So when I come for a visit, what one thing will you show me?
4. When I visit, I'll also expect you to take a whole day off and take me for a nice long ride on your motorcycle (no, I'm not too demanding!). Tell me about where we'll go, what we'll see, and where we'll stop for a pint along the way.
5. And here's the inevitable stash question: lion or lamb? Can you contain it in one room? Does it behave, or does it scratch at the door at night waiting to be let out?
1. How is the joint blogging working out for you? Do you ever wish for your own space, or do you prefer the communal aspect of sharing?
2. I know you're in California but I'm a little confused about where exactly (and my grasp of geography is not good). I have a chance to spend a week or so in San Diego in July with my girlfriend's business. How close are you to there? What is the one San Diego experience I should not miss? (nothing fish-related, please). Where are the good yarn shops?
3. Are you and Jen planning anything special for your one year blog anniversary? Will there be cake, and if so, what kind?
4. What's the butt-ugliest thing you ever knitted, and can I see it? Preferably on.
5. Does it ever snow where you live? Do you ever actually have to knit warm sweaters? Do you have a winter coat?
1. What are you planning to bring to Whiskey Cellphone Night this year? (hint: anything with the word Bushmill's in it is the wrong answer). Were you mad when we poured your Bushmill's in the fire last year, or were you too drunk to be mad?
2. Those knitted dresses you showed me were quite impressive but, um, really ugly. Would you wear one? If I show you how to knit, will you make one? I might pay to see it.
3. How many works in progress do YOU have? Which one has been hanging around the longest? Any ghawazee coats in there?
4. IHOP or Waffle House?
5. If I take you to the P.O. Lunch in August, will you eat the Pittsburgh Salad? Do you think we could get Thorvald to eat it? With what kind of dressing?
Whew! I'm done doing interviews. If you asked for an interview and I missed you, let me know but otherwise, I am taking a BREAK from that--it's hard work!
Now I have to get out of the house, I have a date with qpaukl to touch up my dpn tat. And maybe. . .
Goodbye, empty skin.
March 31, 2005
I don't really like peaches any more than I like cheese. But at least I'm not allergic to peaches.
Which is to say, I think I'm going to move to Georgia. NOT because Carrie went outside in a bikini top in Athens the other day, although that's a pretty good reason too; I bet those guys in Wisconsin are still pulling fish up out of the ice (eeew).
The reason, of course, is money. UGA is offering me an assistantship, which comes with a stipend and a tuition waiver, and they want an answer in the next few days. UWM is offering nothing, and I know that there are only a few department jobs there, and really I'm only qualified for (maybe) two of them. The deadline to apply for those jobs isn't even for another month, and if I wait that long I'll lose my place at UGA. So the decision is easy after all.
Georgia was my number one school all along, and any time I indulged in fantasies about grad school, I was picturing myself there. But then when I got accepted at Wisconsin (a month before my Georgia application was even due) I thought for sure there was no way I'd get into both schools, and started to shift my thinking, and imagine myself in Madison. Then I visited Madison and it's (of course) amazing, and there are certainly some things I like better there than at Georgia, but to be honest most of those things have to do with the town and the campus, not the programme or the people. I'll be happy in Georgia. I'm going to put that acceptance form in the mail tomorrow and have done with this indecision.
So! On to more interviews.
Cece, here are your questions:
1. I've seen a remarkable number of ponchos in your archives. How many ponchos have you knitted, and which is your favourite?
2. How do you feel about the nasty backlash against ponchos that's going around the blog world right now? Does it bug you that the bitches couldn't give the poncho knitters one more freaking year to enjoy their ponchos before declaring them passe? How many knitbloggers do you reckon there are publicly declaring they'll never knit a poncho while secretly frogging the one they never finished last fall?
3. I see you make a lot of quilts. Do you have a huge stash of unfinished quilts? Do you have boxes of quilts in progress that have moved to more than one residence with you? Have you ever sewn an entire quilt top by hand, or do you think that's a dumbass waste of time? (read: should I just break down and use a machine, or let that one moulder in its box forever?)
4. You're turning 30 soon. . . how do you feel about that? Are you ready to kiss your 20s goodbye or do you want to hang on?
5. Someone I love dearly (except for his gross, unhealthy obsession with fish) used to breed crazy ornamental goldfish, and loves to freak me out by telling me how he would gently coax the eggs out of the fish BY HAND. Do you love fish this much? Could you ever milk a goldfish of its eggs with your fingers? Isn't it disgusting?
And for Rachel:
1. You talk a lot about historical costuming on your blog, but the stuff you do doesn't seem to always be from the same period/culture. Are you some kind of reenactor? What kind of reenactor are you?
2. Have you ever made a sarafan? How about a ghawazee coat? And would it be any cooler to walk around in the summer in a ghawazee coat than a sarafan (keeping in mind that I have lots of one and none of the other, so your answer could make work for me).
3. What kind of cake did you get for your birthday? Is it all gone yet?
4. Which do you like better, peaches or cheese, and why? Which would you rather have on your Pittsburgh Salad, assuming you'd eat one?
5. Do your feet hurt when you run? Do your boobs? What kind of shoes do you wear, and how often do they need to be replaced?
1. Over in your sidebar you have one project on the needles. Do you really have only one? Seriously? Aren't you addicted yet?
2. What inspired you to start a blog? Now that you've been at it for a few months, are you settling in, or is it still hard to find your blog voice? Is it taking over your life yet?
3. Who gave you that Christmas present sweater you unravelled? Aren't you afraid that person might find out?
4. I know someone who went down to Weight Watchers and told them that she had signed up as a member online and just wanted to buy a copy of the book, just so that she could get the book without having to join and pay for a membership. Would you do anything this dishonest? Had you thought of it already?
5. Is it true that Kansas is flatter than a pancake? Do people make jokes to you all the time about not being in Kansas anymore, and does it drive you nuts? Which band would you rather listen to, Kansas or Toto?
March 18, 2005
In which our heroine's Clap gives her the blues, and more hapless victims are interrogated
So. I got the bright idea on the weekend to mix up a little bit of Kool Aid in a bowl and dye a test swatch for Clapotis. I mixed up some Blue Moon Berry with a little bit of Grape, and produced the kickass gorgeous blue seen in the swatch above (the yarn ball shows the original colour). I then happily mixed up what I thought were the same proportions of Kool Aid in a big pot and dyed the whole shawl on the stove, the results of which you can see in the background. Hmmmph. A nice purple, but not a colour I will wear. I'm assuming that I just didn't have enough blue to cover the whole thing, but will have to wait until after grocery day to get more and try again. Phooey! How many times can I immerse this yarn in Kool Aid before it just won't suck up any more?
Interview questions, part deux
1. You may have noticed yesterday that I'm a little obsessed with other people's stash; as a poor student, I have to stash vicariously. So let's hear some intimate stash details: how big, how many WIP, does your husband resent the size or storage of your stash?
2. What are your thoughts on the things that American Library Association president Michael Gorman has recently written about bloggers, and blogging librarians?
3. What first got you interested in blogging?
4. Have you ever written anything in your blog that you regretted later? Have you ever gone back and deleted a post?
5. Of all the states you've lived in, which would you most like to move back to, and why?
1. The other day you posted a picture-heavy blog entry of recent visits with friends, in which you sported three different hair colours! How often do you dye your hair, and what are the best/worst results you've ever had? Does your hair ever get dry and yucky from all the dyeing, like mine did when it was long?
2. I also saw a little peek of ink on your shoulder in one of those photos. Tell me about your tattoos: how many have you got, what are they, are you planning any more? Have you ever thought about getting matching tattoos with anyone?
3. What are you going to make with that freakin' amazing yarn that Amy sent you?
4. How much yarn have you bought since you started working in a yarn store? Did you work in a yarn store in Calgary too?
5. Which knitting project have you been most disappointed in when it was finished? Why? Did you frog it?
1. Hey chica, we move to different towns and the next thing I know you're knitting! Who taught you? Tell me about the stuff you've made so far.
2. What are you planning to knit next?
3. I just read in your blog that you got accepted at U of T--congratulations! Maybe I didn't look back far enough in your archives, but what MA programmes are you applying for? And which school is your first choice?
4. Where do you see yourself in five years? And where do you see Dru?
5. House Redhair is celebrating our campiversary this summer (ten years!), and the whiskey will be flowing like water. Will you be there to celebrate with us? Will Corrig?
For Rob. Now, Rob doesn't have a blog, but he has requested an interview, and while I know it's against the rules, well, I just can't say no to Rob. So, dearest, you have two options: 1) you can get a blog, and make this your first entry. I'm dying for you to get a blog anyway, and I think you would enjoy writing one. There are plenty of places to set one up for free, you should go for it; or 2) you can e-mail your answers to me and I will publish them here on my blog. I will only do this for you because you are Rob. Be aware that if you choose this option I will edit your answers for spelling; if you want to preserve the integrity of your typing, go get a blog. Now, here are your questions:
1. Did you ever finish those purple socks, or did you frog them? Did you keep the yarn? Have you done any more knitting, or did my bad teaching, and the fact that I neglected to tell you that that yarn on that size needles would make huge giant socks that would fit over your head, put you off knitting forever?
2. What's wrong with naming cats after ABBA anyway? Don't you think maybe you contributed to little Agnetha's psychosis by changing her name to Pandora?
3. What sort of plants native to my area would you recommend for a rock garden made out of 5-pin bowling balls, assuming that there's not room for a lot of soil between balls? Keep in mind that our front yard is very small, maybe 25 by about 12 feet. (see, I'm not above using this game to satisfy my own nefarious ends)
4. What one person in the world would you most like to shag, that you've never shagged before?
5. When are you coming to Windsor?
1. What is the butt-ugliest thing you've ever knitted? Do you still have it? (can we see?)
2. Watch out. . . here comes the obligatory stash question again! Is it a beast or a pussycat? Can it be contained? Does it cause domestic strife? (some of you more astute readers may notice a theme here, and wonder what I'm trying to say about my own stash-related domestic situation. I'm just trying to find out if I'm the only one taking over more than my fair share of the house, okay?)
3. And because I'm apparently obsessed with other people's ink, as well. . . that's a nice new tat! Do you have any others, and if so, what/where are they? Any more in the works?
4. What is you oldest WIP? How long has it been since you worked on it?
5. What do you eat squeezable shrimp cheese on? (please, for the love of god, don't say Pittsburgh Salad). Does that cheese come in any other flavours, and if so, have you tried them?
There you have it, kids. More questions tomorrow.
March 17, 2005
Q: Will I ever tire of this Kool Aid thing?
A: Oh, probably not for a while yet.
I have a lot of people to interview, so I'm going to go in stages and do the first five now. Here goes round one:
1. What are you planning to do when you finish graduate school? I know that sounds like a shitty question, and I hate when people ask me that but I don't mean "how will this degree be useful for you to make money", which is what I usually hear from people who think the arts are a waste of time. What I mean is, you are in school, pursuing what you love. When you don't have school to force you to focus on it anymore, how will you take your love of architecture and architectural preservation and continue to make it your life?
2. Can we see pics of your tattoos? How long have you had them, and do they mean anything?
3. How big is your stash? Do you wish it was bigger, or smaller? And how many unfinished WIP are in there?
4. I see that you are Irish. Do you think that the way North Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day is in any way insulting or offensive? I mean, getting drunk and pretending to be Irish as if that is the entire nation's defining characteristic? And, while we're on the topic of your nationality, would you ever knit or wear these pants?
5. Have you ever eaten a Pittsburgh Salad? If so, was it disgusting? If not, would you? With ketchup or salad dressing?
For Merouda (this one is hard, because Merouda is a friend in "real life"):
1. If you could give up your job and go back to university, what would you study the second time around?
2. What is your oldest WIP, and how long have you had it hanging around? Which unfinished WIP is your greatest source of shame? (I'll show you mine if you show me yours)
3. What's the most embarrassing thing you've ever done while drunk? And would you consider doing it again this Whiskey Cellphone Night, so we can all see?
4. I think your crazy basement needs a few more weird little single-purpose rooms, don't you? If you could put another in, what would it be? Smelter? S&M rumpus room? Sandblasting unit?
5. How many monkeys are in Poopie's posse now? Do they jump on the bed? Do any of them ever fall off and bump their head? Do you call the doctor? What does the doctor say?
1. You are a brand new blogger; what inspired you to join this geeky club?
2. I see you're also a brand new knitter! How big is your stash so far, and how many projects on the needles? Are you to the point yet where your stash is causing domestic strife (it always comes to that point, doesn't it?)
3. Where in Florida do you live? Are there any Tim Hortons there?
4. Is there any kind of regional food thing in your area that you can gross me out with? (yes, this is another Pittsburgh Salad-related question). And is it true that you can find Pittsburgh Salad in Florida?
5. Several of today's interviewees are monkey-lovers. Do you have any kind of monkey thing going on that you haven't told us about yet? If not, what have you got against monkeys?
1. Are you in the SCA? And if so, will you be at Pennsic this year? (uh-oh, did I just out myself?)
2. You only started knitting in 2004 but I've seen a ton of intermediate/advanced projects on your blog. How many sweaters have you finished since you started to knit? How many are on the go right now?
3. Do you drink Guinness? Do you drink Tullamore Dew? This might seem like a St. Patrick's Day question but it's actually related to question #1.
4. Have you knit anything horribly, embarrassingly awful that you never wear and are embarrassed to show? If so, can I see it?
5. What temperature is it today where you are? Is the sun shining? Do you ever actually get to wear sweaters?
1. When you say that monkeys make you happy, what exactly do you mean? Do they make you happy in a bubble-bath-with-ferret kind of way? Do you mean real monkeys, or sock monkeys, or cartoon monkeys? Or is monkeys a euphemism for something I'm too dense to get?
2. Is there any kind of animal you WOULD consider taking a bath with?
3. You seem to work with a bunch of half-wits. How much education does one need to get a job in a hospital in your country? And do your ferret-loving, stuffed-squirrel, teen-pregnancy coworkers actually have any responsibility that could affect anyone's health?
4. Your blog is called "24 knits" but you never talk about knitting. Do you actually knit? Is this just a cover for something else? Are you in hiding?
5. There are a lot of Guinness drinkers among today's interviewees. Do you drink Guinness? Would you only drink it if it was mixed with gin? Do you drink anything that isn't mixed with gin? Would you put gin in a milkshake, or in your coffee? On your Pittsburgh salad?
March 13, 2005
. . . I gotta wear shades
Yesterday I promised some exciting news and then like the teasing skank I am, almost forgot to follow through. I've been accepted to the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia for a printmaking MFA. Since it's all about me here, I'll risk pissing off my harassing stalker commenter (who hates the blog but for some inexplicable reason still continues to read it) to tell you that they are only accepting three people. Somebody get a pin! and pop my swollen head.
I pretty much had my heart set on Georgia the whole time I was putting together my applications, partly because I had been to visit the campus in October of 2003, and it's a strong, well-respected art department on a beautiful campus in a very cool town, and the printmaking area has great facilities and talented, friendly people. Then I got accepted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and visited there and guess what? --it's a strong, well-respected art department on a beautiful campus in a very cool town, and the printmaking area has great facilities and talented, friendly people. Aaack. It's nice to have Options, but I want this decision to be easy and it's not going to be.
It's been a year and a half since my visit to UGA, so I think I'll need to go back again to refresh my memory and hopefully meet some more people; then I can be sure the decision I make is the right one for me. I'm not sure that Peter will be able to take any more time off work to drive me down though, so it might be difficult, since I don't drive. I've taken the Greyhound from Detroit to Atlanta once before and it is a long and painful trip. I may need to appeal to the knitblogging community in Athens to give me a place to shower in between the bus trip and visiting the school!
Of course, money is going to have to be a big factor in my decision. I don't have the money to pay my own way, and won't be able to work legally in the States except for within the school I'm attending. So I pretty much need to have an assistantship or I'm not going anywhere. I have a (Canadian) friend who was accepted to UWM for a printmaking MFA and they were not forthcoming with an offer of money, so she ended up going to another (American) school and it was a crappy experience for her there. Peter thinks that I may have to take a chance and accept, hoping the money will come, but I don't want to make a commitment and end up being screwed. Ah well. I'm applying for assistantships, so we'll see. So far it looks like the procedure is a lot easier at UGA; I've submitted an assistantship application but wasn't asked to apply for any specific job, so I guess you must get approved first and then apply for the available positions. At UWM it seems that I'm required to apply separately for every assistantship position I want to be considered for and hope for the best, and I can't figure out where I'm supposed to find the information I need to do this. The university's website is hard to navigate, and all roads seem to end up in the same useless places.
In knitty news, only three more to go! I've finished this, although ends still need to be woven in:
And for your viewing pleasure, you also get a nice look at my ueber-sexy underarm hair. I think hairy armpits are hot hott hottt on girls, and haven't shaved since I was about twenty. In fact, all through my twenties I had hairy legs too, but last year I decided that as feminist statements go, it wasn't that meaningful to me anymore and besides, it pokes out of the fishnets and that looks stupid. Hairy legs feel a lot softer and silkier that waxed legs though, and sometimes I regret getting rid of it.
Okay, project specs on the top: it's the Girl from Auntie funnel top, super easy and quick to make provided you don't knit 8 inches and then throw it in a drawer for six months like I did. It's worked on 5.5 mm needles in Stahl Portofino, a super soft cotton blend that I like so much I bought a tonne more in blue at the same time. It's the kind of cotton that you can wear without a bra and not chafe your nipples off. I did mine in two colours because while I love the lime green, the lime green is not so fond of me; I keep relative peace in my relationship with the lime green by following a few rules, like not forcing it to hang out too close to my face.
I also did a little more Kool Aid dyeing this weekend, with less than stellar results.
The top skein is Icelandic Lopi and the other two are more of the "Emerald Irish Knit" stuff. The only one I like is the green/purple one; I'm not sure why I even use purple so much since it's about my least favourite colour, but what I'm hating here even more than the purple is the turquoise. Blue Moon Berry, never never again. In the green and purple one, there is one tiny spot of the most gorgeous, cobalt-y blue. I'm going to do some mixing with the colours I used and see if I can find it again. Actually these skeins all look a lot prettier wound up into balls, but I'm not going to swatch any of them until after my WIP deadline. So expect to see an extremely swatch-heavy post coming in the first week of April. Admit it, you want to see it as much as I do, we're all geeks here.
March 02, 2005
It appears the cats are now arranging their kills by colour.
This reminds me of when Benny's sister
Agnetha Pandora (Benny was the only one of my kittens who got to keep her Abba name) used to kill baby birds and line them up on the sidewalk, perfectly spaced and all facing the same way. Given the options, I think I chose to keep the saner sister.
Just to show Rachael that her Digit is not fat, I offer you this shot of Benny, trying to get her fat arse up off the deck:
My poor baby. She'll be turning 11 next week. Yes, she's on a diet, but it doesn't do her much good when she keeps skipping the gym.
Kool Aid dyeing seems to be the cool thing to do this week, and I did some too.
The two skeins on the left are something I'd never heard of before, "Emerald Irish Knit" (Canadian-made); I got 4 skeins of it at Value Village. The skeins on the right are recycled lambswool, and used to look like this:
Looks much better now, eh? By my primitive method of reckoning, there are about 250 yards in the top skein, and 285 in the bottom one. And that's just one sleeve and half the front; this stuff is really fine, and there's tons of it. I see lots of lacy scarves in my future.
I'm jealous of the colours other people are getting, but Zehrs only seems to carry about 8 varieties of Kool Aid: Norma's getting great results with "Wild Watermelon Kiwi", and Eklectika's got some awesome Mango-action going on. What gives? How come I can't find these colours?
I finally managed to get my arse in to the shop to do some lithography; I've started to feel guilty because Farrah wants to use my stone when I'm finished with it and I've been just letting it sit there unused while I work on other things. So I'm doing some printing, and when these prints are done Farrah can have my stone and keep it; nothing else I'm working on right now needs to be done in litho. Remember the ugly-ass prints I was working on, ages ago? They're all getting covered up, bay-bee, with a brand new image. No pictures yet, maybe tomorrow.
February 09, 2005
Getting ready for my shower show
I was going to wow you all by having that red skirt done today, since it's so damned close, but alas, I cast off and tried it on and it's still not long enough. But I did make a new shower curtain for our scary basement bathroom:
Yes, it's a leftover panel from an art piece. But hey, it's a nekkid picture of me in the shower, how cool is that?
Down the side of the shower stall there you can see that the bathroom used to be emergency orange, before someone painted it mint green. I would have preferred the orange.
I had to get rid of the old shower curtain because we are billeting a couple of out of town artists this week for the Media City film festival, and the old one was too yucky for houseguests to see. The only time this house ever gets cleaned is when people are coming over (hey, I'm busy!). This is how lazy we are: the old shower curtain was Barbage, here when we bought the house a year and a half ago. It was way past time for it to go. But the new one was a cinch to make, and took about ten minutes if you don't count the month of cutting out the life sized lino block and printing it. It's got grommets, so the holes won't rip out like the Barbage kind.
Tara asked in the comments about the pattern for the red skirt: I made it up, but it's really easy. The bottom panel is crocheted sideways until it fits around your butt, then joined into a tube. Then you just pick up stitches around the top edge and knit, decreasing from the hips to the waist as much as you need to, then 2 x 2 ribbing at the top. I'll go look for the crochet pattern I used and try to post it tomorrow.
November 12, 2004
It still needs backing and binding, and the embroidery is not quite finished, but my wonky little crazy quilt is all put together.
sit on my cloth, and tell me that you love me. . .
There is Miss Gargantua, checking out the fine handiwork. Yes, she IS on a diet.
I suffer from chronic startitis. I have a big box of quilts in progress, but have only ever finished one, and only then because it was a gift for my brother and I was on a deadline. This quilt was begun years ago, before I went back to school; I dug it out last year and realized that I will never put something with this much embroidery on my bed, because I sleep with a man with whom I am constantly wrenching the blankets back and forth, and also when he's away I let the cats into the bed. It clearly had to either go to Goodwill or become an art piece. And now I have a deadline kicking my arse to get it finished: it has to go into the gallery next weekend, and the ink I'll be putting on it has to be dry, because it will be on the floor. Good thing there's no cats at the gallery to come and sit on it.
I'm planning to print one of my large lino blocks on top of it in opaque white, and a lot of this work will be covered up. In case they disappear under the ink later, here are a few of my favourite highlights:
On the left is a little radio tower that my dear friend Rob embroidered for me, back when we still lived in the same town and hung out together all the time. On the right is a piece of lace that I tatted at the funeral home, while saying goodbye to my uncle Jack. Since both of these bits are special to me I cheated and tried to put them in places that won't get covered in ink, but if they do that will be okay too, I'll still know they're there.
Right next to Rob's tower is this saucy guy:
a pink satyr! whee!
Now I have to go out to the yarn store to buy a single ball of yarn. Yeah, right.
October 01, 2004
If procrastinating is productive, is it still procrastination?
Okay, so I don't quite have my lino block ready to print today. That's okay, the car had to go into the shop so I wouldn't have had any way to bring the honking big thing in to school anyway. It's really close to being done, it'll be ready for next week for sure, and I'll have new prints to show.
What have I been doing with my time when I should have been giving myself carpal tunnel syndrome cutting linoleum? Writing those two papers that are due on Wednesday? Yeah right!
I dyed this boring pale gray yarn a lovely scarlet:
Now of course I want to drop everything and start swatching with this stuff. It's going to be this, but I'm not allowing myself to start it until the end of October. I have slides to shoot and proposals to write, charts to draw and a sweater to finish, and all my deadlines are on the same day. So I have to apply some self control, which is not really something I'm good at.
I also took some photos of a whole pile of new prints, and I'm trying to create a works in progress page to put them on for the website. It's going to be slow, because I'm trying to prove that I can make the page all by myself instead of hounding my fabulously talented and patient spousal equivalent to do it for me. Hah! Three days ago I couldn't even get a picture onto my blog by myself, so we'll see how soon this new page appears. I'm shooting for next Wednesday (did I mention I had papers due? that's always my cue to start a new side project).
September 29, 2004
Learning how to use this stuff
Just like I thought, the way I managed to upload my image yesterday was not the easiest way; I figured out the easiest way today. Who knew that there were instructions right there.
Here's what I'm working on today:
I'm cutting out this linoleum block. Everything inside the black will be cut out, and not print; everything else, the black lines and the background, will be black. When printed, they will look like these.
This is part of an ongoing body of work that I will talk a lot about later. Today I don't have the time; I'm going to have this block ready to print by Friday morning.
Just to show that I have this images thing licked, here's another:
When I was first learning to knit fourteen years ago, the first thing I was taught how to knit was socks (by my art history teacher Marg Blackie—thanks Marg!). I made a lot of socks back then, but due to my slowness to figure out that you shouldn't put a dpn join right on the bottom of the foot, none of them have survived except for these ones. I hardly ever wear them, partly because they are made from sport weight cotton, not sock yarn, and thus have no stretch and have to be forced onto my feet, and partly because the colours are just so nasty. But today this colour combination thrills me for some reason, so I'm wearing them; the fact that I'm not planning to leave the house helps.
I stopped making socks when my Second Sock Syndrome became chronic. I figure no matter how many unfinished garments are lying around making me feel guilty or quietly taunting me from wherever it is they've been stuffed, it's more bearable than having one perfectly good, wearable sock sitting there and not being able to bring myself to knit a second.
See that African Violet in the background? This is the first time it has flowered since we moved to Windsor, 3 years ago. I had long ago forgotten what colour it was.
September 28, 2004
Hey! You found me. . .Welcome.
So, Movable Type is finally installed (thanks, Pete) and I'm finally ready to write my first blog post. Why do I want to blog? Two reasons:
1. There are things that I do that I'm passionate about and love to talk about, and the people who love me, well, they're not all that interested (although most of them make a valiant effort to appear otherwise). Thus I've become addicted to reading other people's knitting blogs, and want to join that little community and have a place to blather on about my own geeky pursuits, and get feedback that's not distracted and monosyllabic.
2. I am a creative and scatterbrained person; I need a place where I can write things down, things I want to remember or refer to later (or just solicit someone else's opinion on). Trying to find a slip of paper with something important written or sketched on it in my house is like any number of cliches about searching for stuff that you might care to insert here. I figure blog posts won't be able to get buried under the archaeological dig that is my dining room table.
I've been reading a lot of blogs, and I have a good idea of what I want mine to be like. So I'm going to lay down some rules; I'm not making promises that I can be called out later for breaking, but I want to establish some guidelines.
These are things that I will talk about here, a lot:
1. Printmaking, because it's the most important thing in my life. And because I am in the last semester of my BFA degree, and have a little over two months left to finish all of my studio work in preparation for my graduation exhibition, my grad school applications, and the rest of my life.
2. My grad school applications. Because other than the year's worth of studio work I intend to complete in the next two months, and my self imposed knitting deadlines, this will occupy all of my spare time and thought until Christmas.
3. Knitting. Because that's what got me interested in the blog world to begin with, and because there are people out there who understand what's so exciting about knitting, and why it's necessary sometimes to jump up and down or dance because of a perfect seam or just a really glorious yarn, and my friends and family are not really those people.
These are the things I will not talk about here:
1. My private life and personal relationships. Because this is a creative journal, not a diary. I won't talk about my sex life, either (Krista's saying ohdeargodthankyou at that one, I'm sure).
2. My cats. Although all knitting bloggers seem to have cats, they make for boring reading. So even though the incredible stupidity and remarkable obesity of my cats makes them easy targets for mockery, I will refrain from talking about them here unless they do something truly amazing and blogworthy.
And just to prove that I can figure out this Movable Type thing on my own, here's a picture:
Whee! I did it, although I'm pretty sure there's an easier way than what I had to do. What's in the picture, you ask? Well, it's a secret. It's something I've been working on since August, and I hope to submit the pattern for publication. Soon. It's more than halfway finished, and although I should be cutting wood blocks right now, all I want to do is work on this sweater, now that it's in the home stretch. By the way, this piece looks a lot better in real life; the yarn is supersoft, and a lovely deep black. Not gray and shiny like it looks in the photo.
So, there you have it. Thanks for checking me out, and I promise that as soon as we figure out the style sheets thing, this page won't look so boring. I'm still trying to come up with a clever name for my weblog too, something knitty and rock'n'roll. Inspiration will hit, I'm sure.