Tuesday, August 30, 2005
It is a bittersweet time of year. Summer is winding down and school begins next week. While spending full days with my kids may have driven me around the bend, it was nice free-floating through the days with little or no plans, routines or schedules. However, at this point, it's getting a bit old and I'm now looking forward to getting everyone into school. It's during those hours, if I have a car, that I'm a free agent and get a lot of things done ~ like build a house . . .
And although Mabon is still a few weeks away, I felt compelled to redress the altar. The painting stayed (it has become a focusing tool for me), but the horizontal surface saw some changes. Tom made a cool batik cloth in art last school year, so that's on there along with a bowl of corn cobbed from the Century Museum corn cobber at the Fair, my prayer beads, a few crystals and the deer antler. I let the candle burn awhile t0 usher in the seasonal shift that's occurring now. I would love dearly to have my Kwan Yin and Mary figures displayed somewhere safe, but this rental is so small and with the daily influx of child and cat activity I don't dare leave them out to get broken. The Kwan Yin is porcelain gifted to me by my grandmother. The Hummel Mary figure, not glazed in colors, but porcelain white, was also my grandmother's. I'd put a request in for that specific object long before she passed on because I knew it to be her spiritual icon. They are both lovingly wrapped and packaged safely until I have a safe place to keep them. Sometimes, when I need a dose of loving compassion, steadiness and connection to MotherSense, I haul them out for the duration of a much-needed meditation. They work well together, Kwan Yin and Mari (my preferred spelling for Her), on that altar ~ the next time they're out, I'll get photo of them. They might even wave and smile, beaming unconditional love.
Monday, August 29, 2005
At the vintage machines area, I bought a slot loom, aka Amish loom, knitting loom. The cash goes to keeping the Century Museum going and I got a nifty new gadget to knit yarn on. They look wickedly easy to make which means I could make a few and share a skill with the Girl Scouts. Here's what I started just yesterday ~ just the little bit of a future scarf peeking out to the left there. I bought the loom started with the Museum's demo yarn, but it's being continued with Lion Brand Homespun (which isnt' ideal if just learning how to work with the thing, snags too easily, but I'm managing).
The kids endured, whining and grumbling, our bizarre passion for agriculture and animal husbandry finally making it alive to the rides. Many threats were issued (a few we invented involving duct tape, bamboo and toes) to stave off the immediate run for the Rides ~ the veritable Money Pit of attractions. Fair food was enjoyed by all (as well as the subsequent gastrointestinal disturbances). The day at the fair was a long one, but memorable: as in, I will remember not to ever ___________ (fill in the blank) again!
And here is the green sock on the Magic Loop hanging out with the last of the summer Echinacea. It didn't get to go to the Fair.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
The punchline is: Be careful who you knit with.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
So, I spent the day scouring wool. I've done it on and off now for about 6 years. I've come to ignore the advice from Lee Raven's very fine book on beginner spinning, "Hands On Spinnning." Her warnings regarded water temperature, agitation and the dreaded by-product of felting. Well, I can tell you that I have tried felting, on purpose, and I must have been doing it wrong because the wool didn't felt. In fact, it was hardly interested in adhering together at all; it just sort of laid there in helpless, formless globs. As a result, I've learned that wool can indeed take a proper scouring and still be good looking wool to spin. This "Corriedale" saw two suds baths with one rinse bath and a quick spin in the washing machine (as in, set the machine to Spin Only, no rinse, otherwise it really might felt). Once done, it looked a bit like this:
Alright, so it still looks like the aerial view of some distant unkown planet! (Where's Flash Gordon when you need him? Do you suppose Emperor Ming secretly spins in his Royal Chambers at night?) Anyway, I have to admit it feels much better. It probably just needed a bath after the long journey through the postal system (it was also seriously compacted). It's got interesting color, good crimp and ranges 2" to 2 1/2" in length. It still doesn't feel as luxurious as Corriedales I've met, but it'll be quite good for sock yarn. (Ian has already put in an order for a pair.)
And, on a final note: I know that most folks in the shepherding/wool industry possess sheep dogs. I am the proud owner of Wool Cats, fierce protecters of the Wool! I believe at last count I still have six (6) of them. Here is Darth Vader (yes, that's his name ~ don't ask) minding the unwashed bits while I was tackling the scouring.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Also included in the construction of this piece is Gorilla Glue . . . 'nough said.
Technical Notes: Butterfly Madonna, Oil on gessoed masonite, glass shards and Dollar Store glass bits.
What to make of it? I don't know. I'm the last to know, but I'm not finished yet either. Needs mirrors and something else . . .
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
It would seem that my throne has been usurped. My daughter proudly showed the progress on her scarf to a friend while announcing that the new-found chair (w/ the perfect found cushion given me by a friend) was HER knitting chair. Hmmm . . . At any rate, here she is knitting in The Chair ~ the use of the tongue whilst knitting enhances concentration.
In the meantime, I hear the electricians are returning this weekend. I'll have to make coffee again. This should be their last visit for quite awhile. Soon, windows ~ I have no idea how they'll be installed. Another to bridge to cross . . .
Update on the Denim yarn, Stardate whatever: still in limbo. I'm nearing the toe an' she can't handle anymore, Captain! Well, I wonder what other project I can start? Time to peruse the Knits magazines . . .
Sunday, August 14, 2005
At present, most of the house looks like this:
And there are more holes for the windows that are coming sooner than expected. I'm feeling a bit charmed in the realm of construction ~ apparently, windows manufactured sooner than expected is nothing short of a miracle. There must have been a special planetary alignment that week just for window manufacturing. Here is a new hole in the future studio as of this weekend . . .
I don't dare show more than that right now. The place is a bit of a mess after the Electrical Swarm.
At one point, I sat down to knit a tiny bit more of that sock (I'm still waiting to hear from the store on the rest of that Denim). Naturally, one of the electricians noticed. He told me he likes to knit cables and that making sweaters is his favorite activity in winter. Rather interesing to pull cables for a living and then to enjoy knitting them when not. Knitters just come out of the wood work around here.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
How could I leave it behind? A rattan chair in perfectly great condition! What a find . . . literally. Uh, wait. I mean: it followed me home. That it needed to be loaded into the cargo area of my Subaru is of little consequence. It just needs a cushion now that it has a home and great potential for becoming my knitting chair (also reading and sketching and whatever). So cool in a really sublime way.
On to the discussion of fiber. What is the Numero Uno rule of knitting? One would think I should know it by now, but I wrecklessly shunned it, I tempted fate, I threw caution to the wind. Devil may care! What is that Rule? Make sure you have enough yarn (and maybe then some to add to stash) to complete your project. I went to two (2) chain craft stores to find Wool-Ease Worsted Weight Denim with a fair amount of certainty that either one would have the stuff. To my utter annoyance neither had that weight stocked in Denim. Oh I could have gotten the new chunky knit stuff from Lion Brand in Denim ~ they had plenty of that. But it was useless to me. I resigned myself to ordering it through the first chain craft store where I was told Denim was already on order. I quickly left my name, home and cell numbers with emergency contacts as I need the wool to finish the pair of socks. (Otherwise, according to comedian Steven Wright, it could be matched by thickness rather than color.) The sympathetic woman handling the order understood the situation and assured me that I'd be the first to be called. Whew! I swear on a healthy stack of stash yarn I'll never do that again!
As a consolation, I bought two skeins of Wool-Ease Worsted Weight in Forest Green Heather. At least I'll have enough yarn for those socks. And I feel much better . . .
Anyway, here's the progress thus far. The little pathetic lump of yarn at the top of the photo represents all that I have left until I can get to the store. (Notice how the new chair made a great prop for my present work? Its already fitting in!)
Monday, August 08, 2005
it looks pretty cool. It's a post-and-beam timberframe. We love the red Doug Fir.
And here is our builder . . .
This is a cool shot of a future Great Room (as in, "Wow! What a great room!") view from the 2nd floor promenade (okay, it's just an open hallway). The tub is proof that we are indeed moving closer toward civilized habitation. (At present, the subject of windows has me frothing at the mouth, so don't even ask.)
The kids and I had the lake all to ourselves for about 3 hours before the summer renters and Manhattanites emerged from their summer retreats. Here are the kids enjoying a tourist-free lakeside beach. I got to read the NY Times in its entirety ~ a rare treat.
After we were thoroughly sun-drenched, water-logged and sanded, we had a barbeque dinner in the future back yard. I love barbeques because I don't have to cook.
Leaving on a somewhat fibery note, the Princess got new knitting needles just for Her Royal Self. Kid's knitting needles from Lion Brand ~ they are cute, one red and one blue (don't know why) with little kitty heads. She commented that my Brittany walnut wood needles were 'okay,' but these little needles are just right. She didn't have to cook either.
Saturday, August 06, 2005
And here's one of the many reasons why I can't get things done during the day . . .
Obi Wan felt his presence was a necessity during the sock's photo shoot. Honestly, what would I do without him? Clearly, I have issues with strays whether the fuzz comes with four feet, two feet or none.
Friday, August 05, 2005
I am pleased with the sock using the Magic Loop. If you haven't gotten the booklet, it's well worth it. The site is www.fibertrends.com ~ Sara Hauschka discovered the neat idea and Bev Galeskas wrote it into the booklet. It's been liberating working on just ONE circular needle. I'm not concerning myself with stitches slipping off or not having all four DPNs. I believe they've made a convert out of me. I will return to 4 DPN sock knitting on occasion to retain Ye Olde Ways, but for quick-get-the-man-some-socks knitting, this is surely the way to go. Photos to come soon!
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Well, here are the others . . .
Robin and Mabel in red and Goldie with the great comb and resplendant neck frill. Goldie is currently coming off steroids. At least that's what we think the vet gave him during his stay. He wasn't this big when we sent him in.
So, the moral of the story: Make sure you're in a safe store for Shop Therapy. A cozy book store, an expensive clothing or shoe store, or better yet the local yarn shop.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Here are the black-and-white buttock paintings soon to be gessoed. Smudge, the fat rabbit, should not be confused with the paintings. He just wanted in on the photo session.
The paintings are slightly obscured and cropped to protect the innocent.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
But I have managed the unruly alpaca in its 100% form and here's how it came out:
There it is in 654 yards of loveliness, but note the beady, furtive eyes . . .
Now below is a tamer alpaca/dyed mohair blend.
This is about 255 yards. If I choose to make the Magic Loop socks, I need another scant 5 to 10 yards. I think I can scrape that together and get started. With the mohair, this alpaca spun up a little loftier ~ the future halo effect should be fun, even in socks.
Monday, August 01, 2005
Okay. I've done it. I'd been mulling it over some time now and it's done. I'm now a blogger. It's my intention to keep the creative processes the focus of my blog ~ whether I'm painting, knitting, spinning or weaving. But other stuff in daily life does seep thru. I'll keep the angst to an extreme minimum; unless it's amusing (which it rarely is when in the middle of it).
So, let's get started . . . I want to knit something. I can't seem to choose a project. I'm on the fence about socks. Then I thought I might do something featured in Knits magazine from "Folk Bags," but lacked the proper wool (and I don't dare add to the stash now). Besides, I'm busily adding to the wool quota spinning off some alpaca/mohair ~ it's already plied and waiting to be niddy-noddied. Maybe I'll have enough for socks on the Magic Loop method . . .
Also I have some canvases waiting to be gessoed over so that maybe I can paint . . . soon. These were free canvases a friend retrieved from the bin at campus. They have red bands and what appear to be black-and-white buttocks. Truly not my style of painting and clearly begging to be blocked out of existance to become something else. I don't think I want to paint socks though.
Above is one of my recent oil paintings done on two 24" x 36" canvases. I titled it "Making Stars." But this a sample of some of the work I do (and also an op to test out the image-retrieving device on this puppy).