Friday, August 20, 2004

We're all going on a summer holiday...

Well, 'im and me are. And if you can call it summer. Rain, rain, thunder, wind, rain, thunder. I have packed large numbers of books, much knitting and spinning, and am sitting here eyeing up the beads I am playing with at the moment. Wheels, charka, spindle - check. Sad, or what?

There are signs that the black hole may be shifting a llittle. I was finally able to admit that the little bag I had cast on wasn't working and go for a simpler one that will. Then yesterday, I managed to do something constructive with some beads - I have some gorgeous square purple ones that I have been trying to design a free-form peyote bracelet around, failing, failing. yesterday, I just got stuck in, and although it it too soon to tell, I think it might just work. I am also well aware that I have not one but two birthdays coming up in the next few months that I could bead pressies for - and I still have umpteen things for me in mind. I found a nice sunburst design on the web yesterday that will be great for the in-your-face red and gold amulet bag I have been wanting to do since the Bead Fair in April.

Then also yesterday, I got to talking to someone about more spindles to consider having to sell, another makers. And I am going to do it, what the hell. That started me thinking about marketing, and I then had the bright idea of doing some of my own dyeing - natural - on silk tops, etc and also on soy silk, which looks cool dyed. Then get to one or two places....I CAN do this! So, having a day out today, I went with the usual suspects to a vendor I hadn't used before, and got some good-priced silk (yes, I know I have oodles in the stash, but...) I need to get some soy silk, and I am also intending to check out some possible suppliers for "different" finbres, maybe merino and tencel.

I am aware that this is all very fine and large, but it is not me being creative. I still have work to do on that. I am hoping that a restful week away in Cornwall will be A Good Thing - well, I am sure it will be. After we have spent a hellacious day on our lovely overcrowded, road-work infested motorway system - but you can't have everything.

Back in a week!


Saturday, August 14, 2004

Don't monkey with me, dearie

Which means that I had a brush with this "monkeycom" thing. Being pretty non-technical, I know very little about these things, but when a little box that I hadn't requested popped up on my screen yesterday saying something about monkey/munky, I didn't like it. Shut it off quick and hoped for the best....but today, although I could get to my email, I wasn't getting on to the net anywhere at all. This rang huge alarm bells, so I ran security checks, looked at my firewall &etc - deleted pretty much everything nonessential and blocked this 'ere "monkeycom". And now everything looks fine again. But I've tried to find out more about it and can't. Anyhow, time to update the old anti-virus and run a scan on one of the free online sites. Can't hurt.

All on a par with the overall down-ness of this week. Combine the dreadful weather, a birthday and a totally failed garment (plus some other stuff which I won't go in to now) and life has seemed a bit of a black hole. So...(and now I am really losing it) I have decided to knit one. A black hole, I mean. I have some nice very dark brown yarn (that's as black as it gets with sheep), I've started with an i-cord, am moving on to dpns and will end up with a circ. Not sure how large to go - depends on how ridiculous I am feeling. At the end, the live stitches will go on to silver wire, perhaps with some beads, and I quite fancy a trail of beads disappearing inside it. who knows, it just might work. Well, its inspiration, of a sort.

I can't decide - am I really incapable of producing anything good? (Let us please leave aside the philosophical arguments about just what is "good", eh?) I make the double layer bags and no-one but me likes them. I have hideous failures by anyones standards, like the waistcoat. I can't judge my own stuff at all, and no-one else seems to really like it....what can a poor girl do? Start producing black holes, that's what .

Further steps towards photographs - downloaded all the stuff on the camera. No time now until we get back from Wells (groan).


Thursday, August 12, 2004

Its my birthday

And yet again, it is raining with a monsoon-like intensity. Which it did yesterday to such an extent that Crimsworth Dean beck was flowing so fast and full that the rocks in the stream-bed were shifting. The noise was amazing, as was the sight of the trees shuddering every time a rock crashed into one of them.

Anyway, to today and to fibre. Groan. I finally finished the garter stitch waistcoat for the second time, and just as before it is awful. Awful. What I have learned: never, ever again be tempted to do an all-in-one side-to-side garment. It Does Not suit my weird body shape. I suppose if I get that out of the whole sad experience, then that will be worth something.

I'm going to backtrack a little. I actually discovered this deeply depressing and annoying fact yesterday. And I also yesterday went to an exhibition at the Bankfield called, IIRC, Through the Surface. Interesting, that, that I can't remember. I was very uninspired, in the main. The word that kept coming in to my mind was "sterile". This exhibition has had a lot of very favourable publicity. It is a series of collaborations, and the results are supposed to be textiles. We - I went with a friend - spent ages staring at the pieces, and did, I suppose, come up with some favourable responses in some ways, but by and large were left unmoved. Except at the very end, when I turned to leave one gallery and realised that there were some amazing shadows being cast. Don't ask me what that means!

But funnily enough, some of the pieces have fed into a train of thought which has been chugging along for a while. Deconstruction was significant, and I kept thinking about Alice's deconstructed socks, but it did lead me to think about this crazy idea that I have for a piece for next year's sculpture trail. I had been trying to come up with some posey title for what would basically just be a large knitted - thing - and "Construction/deconstruction" might just fit the bill. As soon as the weather stops acting like Florida in midsummer, I will start searching for locations and images.

As for the waistcoat, it is now thoroughly deconstructed and is going to be reincarnated as at least two shoulder bags and just possibly - a black hole. I have a silly idea glimmering. and if my sensible, traditional ideas are not working out, maybe it really is time to try the crazy artsy-fartsy ones. Or alternatively, half a bottle of one of my birthday present bottles of Prosecco is having a little too much of an influence.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

A good day to dye.....

OK, so that is no way original, or indeed even funny anymore. if it ever was. but after a day spent in an ill-ventilated room chivvying students around steaming dyepans, the brain ain't up to anything much better than that.
Went the day well? In a lot of ways, yes. I was pleased with how I taught the class, and everyone was pleased with the range of colours we got. There were only six people today, and they didn't all know one another, which may have made a difference. Nine or ten highly enthusiastic rag-ruggers egging one another on is one thing - I felt I had to push these six a little. They were all really nice, and seemed to enjoy what we were doing. But the weather was against us. Only I could end up teaching two natural dye classes with no access to outdoors and only one tiny opening window on two of the hottest days of the summer. All in all, I am quite well pleased with the two classes, though, hope they ask me to do more.

The boiling brain has come up with one or two notions - one being to buy some more of the stainless steel bowls from Ikea. They make great dye pans, whatever, but they sit one inside the other, and it would be so much easier to transport them rather than a motley selection as at present. another thing is that I do not need to take as many draining devices - there is never room for more than two people at a sink, anyway.
It has also served to rekindle my enthusiasm for natural dyeing. Not that it ever totally dwindled, just diminished a bit. Now I am fired with enthusiasm for all sorts of things. Of which more on another occasion. For now, just what am I going to do with a large bag full of leftover sample skein-bits, eh?

I have, btw, photographs. Just need the oomph to download them to the pc, then find out how to work the software to get them up here......but first, a nice large glass of white wine. Or two.


Thursday, August 05, 2004

I still seem to be here....

Despite forgetting my username. So I had to change my password, which is a pain. Ah, well, one of these days soon, I will accept that the memory ain't as good as it should be!

I wish to report that I have finished spinning the llama and silk that I brought back from Colorado last month. There was about a pound of it, and it is very nice, even if substandard for the Rocky Mountain Llama Fiber Pool! I also have a whole batch of very nice alpaca spun up and the intention is to dye it all with indigo, and make yet another waistcoat.

Following on from the brightly coloured shawl (yes, a picture would be good here, just be patient!), I have "kite" shapes in mind - not the pointy ones, square or rectangular ones, with long strips coming off them. It occurs to me that I have been fascinated with strips, streamers, slits and so on for ages. Time to really get to work on it.

Now, I need to vent a bit, and here is as good a place as any. It is the Association of guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Exhibition at the moment. I just heard last night that the work of a friend of mine has been refused, and I just can't believe it. She won a place in the cat=walk fashion show at Convergence, and a special award for the excellence of her handspinning. And back home, what? Nothing. I have seen the pieces in question, and they are exquisite, superb craftspersonship. Whoever our selectors were - well, they have rocks in their collective heads.

So, shoot me!

Today's the day........ finally do what I have twitched on about for ages, and get started with the blogging.
Why? Goddess knows. Actually, part of the reason is to set out publically some of the notions I come up with about possible projects so that I might actually DO some of them.
So, nag me. Assuming that anyone actually finds and reads this one day, if you see that I have put an idea in to print, get on my back. What? How's it going? Have you finished it yet? If not, why not? And so on, get the picture. Only, nag nice, I occasionally bite

First promise. I WILL take photographs, and I WILL learn how to insert them into blog.

(Did I say when? But I will.)

I should have said, of course - this is a fibre blog. I work with fibre. Fleece, silk, cotton. whatever. You name it, I spin it. It's after that the problems occur. I DO start things, less often finish them, even more rarely, like them. It is going to be different from here on in - well, a little bit anyway.

I dye stuff, too. Most often with natural dyes, which I will bring up here from time to time. I would have started this blog on 1st August, but for the small matter of a workshop I was teaching yesterday and was, as usual, panicking about. It Went Well. Actually, very well, best yet. Partly because the participants were textile people and well motivated, but partly because I Did A Good Job. (There, another reason to blog, to be my own cheerleader.) I've got another one similar on Saturday, and I Will remember to take the digital camera, and post pictures - at some point.

Just to warn you - I knit, crochet, felt and (barely) weave as well. I will bore the world rigid about all of these things and more as time goes by.