Sunday, January 27, 2008

Going Multidirectional

I have chair seats that look like this:

Not a pretty sight. Rush seats torn and shredded by cats and chewed by rabbits (when they could roam freely 'bout the house B.D. ~ Before Dogs). The results of much shredding and chewing precipitated the need for some of these:

Mitered knitting squares for chair seat covers. This batch of stash is from a couple of years ago using Cotswold dyed with Kool-Aid. This isn't particularly silky wool; doesn't have a good hand. It'll work for utilitarian items such as this, however. As long as you're not nude, of course. I've got some purple Cotswold in the stash too. Rit dyed.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about. What I've been playing with is this:

Multidirectional knitting as offered by Artyarns through her yahoo groups. Interesting tutorials. I thought I might be able to come up with something for seat covers using this new-found technique, but I'm not savvy to the process yet. It takes a bit of thinking in order to work out how to make things stay flat. A little more time and I'm sure I'll be knitting up some quirky and wonderful things on my own.

This is just a snap of the latest, FREE table fountain in the sunroom . . .

My needs are simple. They just require electricity.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bjork as the Bomb

I reach a point with a painting where I'm lost, dead in the water. Yesterday, I had wanted to paint, but various occurrences kept me from the easel and that made for a very unhappy Dawn. When I did finally get to my studio corner, I grabbed a flat sable and daubed black paint in a few places. This was enough for the moment, but not enough to satisfy.

Today, however . . .

I decided the blue hands needed a body . . .

I made the connection between the hearts . . .

And outlined them in a shining gold paint . . .

A poem that turned up on this morning's Lunabar . . .

The face will be worked on yet. It's not conveying much right now.

For today, I feel full, I feel like the images are going places and making connections.

Much better.

All done while listening to some of this.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Red, The Rambouillet and . . .

Setting the Scene: Dinner has been thrown together, spaghetti and French fries. A hosted sleepover is in full swing upstairs, much squealing amidst the quavering tones of Hannah Montana. A sponsored sleepover is safely delivered to another doorstep in town. This keeps the youth count on an even keel in the environment ~ take one child, hand one out. An overage of youths in a contained space does something disturbing to the negative ions.

With the big basket full of sweetly scoured Rambouillet, an empty basket for rolags and a glass of some decent Kendall Jackson Pinot Noir 2005 (I don't remember if it was a good year), enters Dawn (that's me), who sits in a favorite wicker acquired-for-free chair . . .

At the first glass and the first two rolags, Lt. Ellen Ripley's ship has hit the dirt on the maximum-security prison planet Fury-161. Things aren't looking too good ~ for Ripley, I mean ~ the wool is carding nicely, however. Ripley is the only survivor, more than a bit shaken and quite concerned about 'contagion,' yet evasive with the prison's medic, Clemens, as to what exactly they're looking for. In the Dartboard Realm of Contagions, cholera is chosen. (Would there be love at that time? Right. Another story entirely.)

By the second glass and maybe 15 rolags later, Ripley and the warden, Andrews, are discussing what to do with the Beast, who has already done a number on the few inmates that are left. Andrews would like to hang it out until the rescue team from the Company gets there. Just tea and crumpets in the basement and avoid getting eaten whenever possible. Upon inquiry of Fury-161's arsenal cache, Ripley finds . . . well . . . there isn't any. Yes, it's a maximum-security prison, but they live by the honor system. Ripley's response, in two unsavory words, indicates that they are indeed in a pickle. In other words, plan on being lunch.

With the basket half full, I've now switched over to hot chocolate. The rolags were coming out wavy. 85 and Ripley are taking scans of her body. It is at this point, 85, who is not the brightest individual (says so in his file under IQ), tells Ripley that she's "got one" in her. Well, it isn't exactly the best news, is it? It's not like finding out one is pregnant ~ joy and jubilation, break out the champagne. Although, it might be a fun way for an Ob/Gyn to break the happy news to a couple. "Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so, all tests confirm that she's got 'one' in her. Good luck with that." With this new-found information, Ripley works on Plan B. Not that anyone had much of a Plan A, to begin with.

The rolag basket is now overflowing with rolags too numerous to recall the count, and our feature film is winding down. Ripley, approaches the religiously-reformed murderer Dillon with a fine opportunity: A quick offing, no strings attached and clearly nothing to lose as he's already on a prison planet. He declines to acquiesce, but feels she could be put to better use as bait for the alien that's running loose 'round the pen. After much scurrying about, the loss of a few more inmates, and a spectacular liquid lead and water effect, the troublesome little rascal bursts into numerous pieces. One down, one to go. The Company's rescue team finally makes it to the scene. The real Bishop is keenly interested in keeping Ripley alive and is talking a good game about surgical removal, but would really like to keep the invasive little critter as a pet. She carries the Queen ~ it is a remarkable beast with a great many uses, say . . . for bio-warfare. Ripley stands firm and with a graceful free-fall into molten lead, her chest bursts forth. The Queen, rapidly assessing the situation, is eager to reach safety and get on with nesting, but the plummeting Ripley holds her in place until they are completely engulfed in the liquid metal.

Brings a tear to the eye.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Making Stuff

This pile of raffia and twisted paper was waiting to Become Something earlier today. On my Brighid Flame list, there's a Brighid dolly swap going on. Dollies are made at Brighid or Imbolc or Candlemas or Groundhog Day ~ choose a name, doesn't much matter because it's the same day ~ as soul-ar emissaries for the coming year. Maybe she would hold your dreams while they incubate. Maybe she could be the Silent Witness to your frustrations and sadness. Maybe she'll argue with you regarding recent developments in your life. The thing of it is she's meant to be with you for only one year and then she takes your dreams, words and arguments with her in a purifying flame, completely immolated, ashes.

Ruth started this annual pilgrimage to the twisted paper aisle of AC Moore's ten (memory's sketchy here) years ago when women met at new moon circles. There was always plenty of materials on hand ~ fabric, beads, yarn, bits of this and that, the hot-glue gun. The table was laden with food and drink, the house filled with laughter, secrets and warm embraces. The only thing there was never enough of: Time. Things might have started in the early evening, but 3:00 am came in the blink of an eye. I'd leave those meetings full of joy under twinkling early morning stars with my dolly for the year.

We hadn't been making dollies since Ruth moved. I missed those nights. I'm elated that we've taken it up again long distance and with swaps. This dolly will be going to Ruth. It's not done yet, so the results will still be a surprise. (So there, Ruth!)

Meanwhile, back at the easel . . . more painting.

As usual, I don't know what end of the Collective Unconscious Pool this came from ~ singing unknown joy and praises or the Technicolor barf? Need to sleep on it.

This lady turned up in the middle of my strange ocean . . .

And the blue hands have green tats . . .

Another fibery postscript: The Rambouillet is carding up quite nicely. I've noticed a difference in the soaps used on the fiber. Thinking that it would be better, I'd initially used Dr. Bronner's Lavender liquid soap. It kept a fair amount of the lanolin on the wool, which I don't mind, but it didn't clean out the dirt very well. Dr. Bronner's is great for many instances, just not wool scouring. I then switched over to Ecover dishwashing liquid. Cleaner wool that still had enough oils to feel juicy. Me and the Millie have been enjoying ourselves immensely.

And, now it's time to tend two ailing bantam roosters in the downstairs bathroom. That's another story better saved for a couple of glasses of wine.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Nothing Like Cake

We got ourselves a 5-CD changer. Lots of music, no commercials. Right now we have Led Zeppelin and Cake loaded in for our listening pleasure. A little of the old and the new ~ now I just need something Blues.

Enough of that. Been painting. These are the ersatz results to date. (One of the starfish was painted by Bennie having a Bad Hair Gotta Go To Math Help morning.) What do you suppose those Mr. Happy's are all about in the 4th and 5th pics? Sort of came out of nowhere.

Fiber P.S. (The Rambouillet has been tamed and is enjoying a merry carding. Film at 11:00.)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

In the Words of the Late Rodney Dangerfield . . .

I get no respect! No respect at all! After tending all manner of creatures, bipeds and quadrupeds alike, after folding laundry, clearing the sink and having peach pie with coffee while listening to Car Talk and Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me! on WAMC I was ready to tackle the recumbent Rambouillet waiting on the kitchen counter and who do I find nesting in my wool? None other than Darth Vader.

Despite the feline impediment, I have been working at the entire fleece in an attempt to get it all clean by tonight. Slow going because I've also been painting 'tween scouring and rinses. But this is the progress of the day:

This is the point where I added another sheet of paper. Learned this expanded painting thing from Aviva Gold's book and then ignoring a few of those rules from Michele Cassou and Stewart Cubley's book. I don't know where the octopus and starfish came from. Well, see where it goes tomorrow. Maybe there'll be kelp.

In the meantime, I guess I have to call it quits on the rest of the Rambouillet today. Cursed cat!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Taking the Rambouillet by the Horns

I have reached a point where I'd like some instant gratification or at least as much instant gratification one will get scouring, carding and then spinning one's own wool. Drop spinning has been fun, but I'd like to get this Rambouillet off my project table. (Besides that, I have some Border Leicester winking at me from the corner of the studio. Need to move on.) In steps Millie. The batch in the basket represents the amount presently scoured and waiting to be carded for spinning.

This bunch here still needs to be scoured. Obiwan has been sleeping on it lately which has matted a few sections, but it's still manageable. It is quite a bit of scouring though ~ requires a determined focus and desire to get through the mess. And a lot of hot water. Nice that I have that handy these days.

This is what I've gotten done on the drop spindles. Not even plied yet ~ I'm toying with 4-ply.

In the meantime, the soysilk/merino blend is enjoying a leisurely set in the master bath. It measures a scant 176 yards left at single-spun. Hat? Lacy balaclava? It's time for a stroll through Knitting Pattern Central.

We now leave you with a game of Boy-in-the-Box.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Magical Orders, Spinning, Knitting & Ambient Lighting

This is what we're watching. It's nice to have the DVD ~ play, pause, rewind . . . don't talk to me about Tivo. I like the shiny disks. Nothing beats a pink hissy from Delores Umbridge on my own TV. Although, the better thing about having DVD is being able to spin in the comfort one's own home. Very difficult to do in a darkened theater and butter gets on the fiber making a future knit project smell like box-office popcorn.

My bit of magical spinning involves this soysilk/merino roving ~ spinning tight and smooth. There's only 4 oz so I'm not sure what to make of it yet.

Before sitting down to the Millie, I finished this uber-chunky hat made from the rest of Bennie's hat yarn and a couple of Cheap Thrills purchased at Patternworks, an orange and a gray of the Australian Cleckheaton Gusto 10, a wool/mohair/acrylic blend, single spun and very fat. This is my chunky winter hat, the kind of hat I won't care what I look like when wearing it. While not wildly stylish, I'll be warmer than Paris Hilton.

We installed an xmas gift in the sunroom over the fireplace ~ a four-candle sconce from Bethe and Bill. First shot with flash; second, clearly, without. Makes for that Hogwarts Gothic sort of feeling in the sunroom, my cozy cave with a window on the world.