Sunday, 22 May 2011

Two steps forward..

...and one back, or is it the other way around? Either way, I can't say that the past weeks have been hugely productive of wonderful creative things.

First there was the knitting. Whenever the weather turns cold, my thoughts turn to what I can knit this year. I cunningly bought some gorgeous yarn last year from Bendigo Woollen Mills. It was from a range called Highlands, which they have almost sold out now, so I guess other people loved it as much as I did. The shade I bought is called Skye and is, unsurprisingly, blue. It has little brown and white flecks in it, and I was a little dubious, since brown flecks sometimes just look like you've been through hedges and ditches recently. But no, it seems to be knitting up beautifully. Two sleeves are done. I always begin with the sleeves, since I find them so boring at the end. So far, so good, you say.

But they have been tenderly laid aside, probably until next winter, or maybe the one afterwards, while I tackle The Coat. My dearest daughter (I only have the one) has been complaining for some time of the sheer impossibility of finding a knitted 100% wool coat to replace her treasured and aging one. So I am making her one. Of course, this is the very year when the Fashion Gods have decreed that hand-knitted look-alikes in wool are so terribly cutting edge and, now I've begun, I've seen several of the very thing she wants just hanging innocently in shopping malls. (They look innocent, but really, they're smirking.) Of course, anything I make with my own two hands will naturally be superior to anything mass-produced, but I have a sneaking suspicion that, as the winter makes its presence felt, she will be tempted by those smirking imitations! The solution? Knit faster!

Fortunately, the pattern I'm knitting, the Aran Duffle Coat by Judith L. Swartz, from the Interweave free cardigan patterns download is thick and uses huge needles like crowbars. So it knits up fast. As long as you don't assume you know what the pattern is doing and have to pull out the first 10cm or so, because it isn't doing what you expected. If I have the teeniest complaint about the pattern, it's that is doesn't have a nice clear picture of the cable pattern. Oh wait, it does. Sigh. But now I've done.. ooh, a good 30cm of the back. She'll just have to wrap herself in a blanket for a few months.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to finish a challenge from Fibrecircle. Those who know me, and anyone who visits this blog more than once, will know that I'm not naturally friends with deadlines. So it will come as no surprise to learn that the due date for this challenge was the first week of May. Good grief, it's only a journal cover! But somehow it has been a huge, yes challenge, to get it finished. I can guarantee that, as soon as I start to think about it, the phone or the doorbell will ring. Guaranteed! While it's lovely to have contact with my friends (though, I admit, less lovely when it turn outs to be someone selling me their religion), I'd really like to get this done and out of my head!

The challenge was Lost Treasures. Here's where I got to last time I took a photo:
 Exciting, non? But then it rearranged itself into this:
Better! It's almost finished now and looks like this:
 The thing behind the title is an island. (Yes, for the one inevitable clever clogs out there, it *is* roughly shaped like Cyprus. Upside down. Cyprus always looks like an island that's going somewhere in a hurry.)
The fastening is a cheat, really. I wanted to use a lock and key and then I wondered just how useful my journal would be, if I had to unlock it every damn time I wanted to use it. I'm a lazy cow; I would grab another one rather than bother undoing something. So I thought about something with straps and a buckle. Nope, too lazy, and besides, I didn't have a buckle the right colour in my large stash of buckles, and I wanted to finish this sometime before I die. So I decided on D-rings. But hey, we're back to undoing and doing up again, aren't we? Well, no. It actually has a sneaky snap fastening underneath the whole thing, so the ties are just to allow some expansion as my journal gets into middle age. I couldn't show you the snaps, because my camera was so shocked at the cheat that it refused to give me a decent shot.
See these box things? One upon a time, I had a Plan to make something inspired by my friend's photos of his travels in China. There were all these lovely market shots so I started playing around with the shapes. After a while, I decided that it looked rubbish, so I chopped it into three pieces and threw the bits into my fabric file. Moral of this story, never thrown anything away. Then again, this might be why a visit to my workroom is fraught with danger of avalanche?

The map piece is on the back. I gave it rough white edges by painting over torn paper, and I cut the edges accordingly,so it looks a bit like it's torn from a larger map. It's attached with fusible web and stitched on with latitude and longitude lines. The fabric was a commercial one, but I painted it with transparent Setacolor paints to give it a bit more colour.

I just need to make some "jewels" and coins for it. I've been experimenting with the hot glue gun, although the shapes are, what's the word? Organic. To say the least. And they don't seem to take paint very well, though Lumieres seem to stick the best. My best result was colouring the shapes with Sharpie pens, which have the benefit of sticking to pretty much anything, and then painting over the top.Oh well, playing with media in my workroom does beat robbing banks, I suppose.


Jennifer said...

Robbing banks is not good, it's much safer to play with sharp pointy sticks, and knitting wool, and bits and pieces.

Nola said...

Indeed, and they do tend to take a dim view of it,andlock you up somehwerte well away from sharp object like rotary cutters and knitting needles. So it's probably for the best.