'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Week Ten: Coming to Conclusions

Well, sort of. 

The scarf for Babybel did get finished, and was delivered the day after her birthday. She was nicely greatful, and wore it for school. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo.

This vessel/branch is finished, and blocking on the end of a carpet tube. Except that it didn't shrink as much as I'd hoped, so it will have to visit the washing machine again. I had intended that the ribs would twist round - but as you can see, they didn't. However,  I will not be knitting it again.

This bit of playing around finding  trees on a used colour catcher is finished. It was intended  to go in a sketchbook, but Wensleydale has decided it should be framed. So maybe that isn't finished either.

We had a tutorial on Wednesday and I was instructed to stop farting around with samples and start a trial tree. Well, not quite in those words, but that was the gist. I've done some research into how to hold it up - anyone know where I can buy that tubing they bury cables in? - and I would have started knitting after I'd finished the brown thing, honest, but I can't find the wool. I think it may be in the car, which is in the garage, but I'm too lazy to go and look. So I'm making a s****e, just as a stopgap.

The essay isn't finished either, but it is a lot closer to being finished than it was before the weekend - so close to completion that I am experiencing a great sense of relief. I have no idea if it is any good, but my ambition is restricted to getting it finished and handed in on time. 

So, a better week than last week: let's hope the improvement continues.





Sunday, 9 November 2014

Week Nine - Good in Parts.

But mostly not so good. In theory I had a hair appointment on Tuesday, but in between me learning that my hairdresser was off sick and the time of the rebooked appointment, his sick leave turned into garden leave. I knew he was moving on, but I only had the address of his new salon, no phone number, so that meant an unscheduled visit into town to book another appointment, but with someone else because he doesn't start there till next month. 

I was not at my best for Uni on Wednesday, because I had had a couple of insomniac nights. It was a messy day, with some changes of schedule, of which I had only a vague grasp. I have realised that although the organisation is pretty good, there are lots of things that 3rd years are expected to know, because, after all, they've been around for two years already, haven't they? And if you haven't, finding the right person to ask can be a challenge... Plus the place runs on what Wensleydale, who has some experience of these things, calls 'art school time', which meant I drove home in the rush hour. ��

Friday was the day for sorting out hairdressers, but we made the most of it by having lunch out, so that was a good day. Until, at the end of it I realised that:
1. The scarf I am knitting for Babybel is going to be long enough ☺️ but
2. This meant that the big buttonhole I made in it is in the wrong place �� so
3. I would have to unpick it �� and so
4. It wouldn't be finished in time for...

Yesterday's Very Important Birthday Party.  I'm pleased to say that Babybel was pleased with her present - a chest protector - but then she did know what she was getting because it had to be fitted.   But, unfortunately,  Babybel's family are having a hard time at the moment and fate had decided yesterday was the day to throw yet another helping of s**t at them. Unpleasant rather than serious, so far, but they have had such a rotten time over the last couple of years, the last thing they need is more nasty stuff happening to them.

Today had been put aside for resuming essay writing. Perhaps because it's not been a good week, I wasn't really in the mood, so when Google decided not to find me many useful sources, Word decided to be uncooperative (no change there) and Big Mac decided to have a go-slow, I decided to make a book

It is a fascinating structure, but it needs:
1. A large sheet of paper.
2. Careful measuring.
3. Careful cutting.

I managed one out of the three. I'll let you guess which one.

Here's hoping next week is better... I will resume the essay at Uni, where they have real books! �� and a computerised system for accessing journals which I have not yet plucked up courage to tackle. Wish me luck!

After my problems with Blogger last week, I am trying an app called BlogGo. Not very sophisticated, unless it has features I haven't found, but so far so good.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Week Eight: reading week.

Definitely NOT half term, prof says so.

Except that it was half term for the little guys, which is always busy, and exhausting. We went on a creepy cruise - not really very creepy,  and the VHC refused to dress up, but it was a lovely day and we enjoyed it. Later in the week the usual places were visited, and a good time was had by all. 

Granny and Grandad fitted in a visit of their own, but it was arty so allowable in not-half-term. We've been intending to go down to Salisbury to the sculpture show at Mompesson House since it started in the summer. It ends this week, so we decided we'd better get our skates on, and it was well worth while.  Some interesting stuff, including some inspirational knitting by Gary Hayton. 

And the week ended with hanging the Visual Marks exhibition at Manor Farm. I had to leave before it was finished, but it was looking good when I left. A wide variety of approaches and styles, at prices to suit all pockets, including a few little stiocjing stuffers. How can you afford to miss it?

With all this rushing around, its been great to sit down and knit. The never-ending cellular automaton piece is ended and washed, as is the plain stocking stitch cylinder with strange accretions. Wensleydale took one look at the former and said 'silver birch' and he was right, so that's good.  He made no comment on the latter: I can't imagine why. ��

My replacement knitting is an attempt to mimic bark. I'm not sure what bark this is, but I'm sure the sample hasn't worked. �� However it has given me some ideas for the next one. 

The book of the week is a cheat, I'm afraid. I made this cover years ago,  to present the supporting paperwork for a hanging I made in my first year of C&G. It was sea-themed, as you might have guessed. 

The contents - and the hanging - are long gone, but I liked the cover so I kept it. Originally it was stab bound but I found some binder rings (just a pity they are blue) and added some pages. I'm using it for the colour challenge Myfanwy has set Not enough time to do anything too demanding, but I made some colour studies and used the 'distort' filter in iColorama to come up with some decorative and embroiderable designs.

I'm using Blogger's own app to post now, as the app I used to use didn't play nicely - or at all - with IOS 8. However it definitely has its own opinions on where photos go, it has lost this post once so I have had to rewrite it, and I can't work out how to embed a hyperlink. If anyone knows a reliable blogging app for an iPad, which doesn't cost the earth, please let me know. 

Back to Uni next week - I must get my head down for the essay. But until then I'll keep knitting!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Week Seven

Well, the seminar is over. Was all the agonising worthwhile? Yes and no. As I anticipated, I had problems with the technology. It started when I couldn't log into the University site on the desk top. I could on the iPad, but not the desk top. That meant that, as I don't have Word on the iPad, I couldn't upload stuff from home, but had to email it to myself and then save it when I got to uni...

Of course, once I'd calmed down a bit and consulted my friend Google, I worked out what the problem was. Not because Google provided the answer, but because it did confirm what I'd suspected - it was a Yosemite problem. Or rather a Yosemite-Chrome problem. When I switched to using Safari as my browser, suddenly I could log in. 

Of course I didn't discover that until after the seminar...

The seminar itself was scary [only the second Powerpoint of my life] rigorous but helpful. It did reveal the major weakness in my “write the essay in order to plan the seminar” plan - if you get told to make major changes in your essay, a lot of what you've done is redundant. ��

So, exhausted, I have put the essay on the back burner for the next week (“reading week”) and turned to other things
Like a book - my journal/diary sort of book is nearly full, so I've made another one. Its a simple case binding like all the others...

I have also finishing off stuff for the Visual Marks exhibition at Manor Farm - which starts on November 3rd. Be there or be square, as we used to say  in the - er - a few years ago. You don't have to pay the farm admission fee to get into the exhibition, although of course I strongly recommend going into the farm as well, especially if you nave small children to entertain.
 I've all but finished the 3 panels for the exhibition - just hanging hardware to add. I am also making a few brooches, and have got to the stage of adding a backing - a layer of felt and a border of satin stitch.
 The first one worked beautifully.
 The second didn't quite work as well.
 The third one is being a complete bugger. So much so that I am now sulking on the sofa with a cup of tea and an iPad.��
 Some time later.
Problem eventually solved, when I realised that, having used high tech technology to make a neat straight stitch circle round the edge of the brooch, I didn't need to use the same technology to go over the edge with satin stitch. It worked OK with the bigger brooches, but not the smaller ones. So I just did satin stitch round them without the aid of the technology - which was a drawing pin and a bit of masking tape to hold it to the bed of the machine.
And there has been knitting. I suppose I will eventually get to the stage when I stop sampling and start knitting for real... 
 Next week is half term so it will be really peaceful ��. We have already had our instructions for Monday: a creepy cruise is involved.   Little trains have been ordered for later in the week, but no mention has been made of Manor Farm��!  I'll be surprised flabbergasted if we don't end up there. 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Week 6.

First, apologies if you tried to read the blog last week, and got spam - and thanks to Sandy for alerting me. I had to delete most of my widgets to get rid of it - hopefully it hasn't come back.

I am still plodding on with the seminar/essay preparation. The goalposts were moved on Wednesday - we now only have to provide a 300 word sample, and as I have already written more than that, that is the easy bit. What I am really stressing about is the PowerPoint. When I try to run the slide show on Big Mac, the program crashes. Every time. So I have no idea how it looks. And suddenly the contents of half the slides disappeared, for no apparent reason. I had already e-mailed a copy to myself and that seems to be OK, but I won't know until I get into Uni on Tuesday whether it will work or whether I will have to start all over again.

Add to that, since I downloaded Yosemite, Word for Mac makes spelling corrections in French. And I can't log on to the Uni website from Big Mac ( though I can from the hi-pad, go figure). You may guess that it hasn't been a very good week, technologically speaking.

The rest of the week has been knitting, stressing about the seminar, working on stuff for our Manor Farm exhibition,  stressing about the seminar, going to a rather good exhibition at Southampton Art Gallery,  stressing about the seminar, grandparenting, and a bit  of stressing  about the seminar. You get the picture.

However, knititng is very therapeutic, and I have completed a demi-tree. Demi, because it is only about 5 feet long. I thought the yarn was wool, but when I washed it, it didn't shrink. However in its unshrunken state, it fitted over an old carpet tube we happened to have lying around, and it looks OK. Maybe this idea is going to work out after all! 

Just think, by the time I write the next post, it will all be over.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

I didn't mean to disappear...

but week 4 was very busy, and week 5 �� has been no better.

I am beginning to realise that this course manages to combine being 'very flexi', as one member of staff said to me, with being very structured. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be stressful! For example, this semester we have to write an essay - in my case on 'outsider art '. Essay writing , for me, is not usually a problem, but, as preparation for the essay, we have to contribute to a seminar. I can see all sorts of good academic and pragmatic reasons for this, but, although I can talk for Britain, it has become a problem.  

Powerpoint of the essay plan? The plan is no problem, I've already making a mindmap, but I've only ever done one PowerPoint presentation, and that was years ago. 

Hand in an estimate of the number of words in my introduction, conclusion, etc? Haven't a clue, until I've written the essay. 

Hand in a 1000 word section from the 3500 word essay? Might as well write the essay! 

So that is what I'm doing. I'm writing the essay, in order to make a presentation, as preparation for writing the essay.  At least I'll get some feedback before I write the final draft! But - the essay is due at Christmas, the seminar at the end of the month. What seemed like a generous time allowance has become somewhat tight... 

I did take a day off from essay writing, and went up to Compton Verney to see the Folk Art exhibition there. Great exhibition, great venue, just wish it was about an hour nearer... However it provided lots of useful information for the essay, which was my main reason for going.

I have continued with my experimental knitting. This is a sample of 'cellular automaton' knitting, from Debbie New's book, and I think it has bark-like possibilities. It is due to meet the washing machine as soon as there is a suitable load to put it in with.


And this is the book of the fortnight. Another concertina book from painted brown paper which ended up vaguely tree-like. The cover is boring black, so I didn't show that.


 I'm typing this using IOS8’s predictive typing, and trying to get used to it. It's a bit unnerving when it guesses what I want to say several times in a row - which it just did. Even more unnerving is that it seems to have learned my common typos too...

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Week Three

And I still don't feel I've really started. I think it is because the course is largely self-directed, and I'm not used to it! (Plus there have more of the appointments we had to put off over the summer - I now have new glasses and a new bank account. And there has been cycling on the TV. ��)

I have worked on some samples - at least one of these you've seen before. I gave up in the hand-knitted 4ply sample:

1. I didn't think it was realistic to knit several 3metre tubes in 4ply by hand, even in 2 years.

2. If I decide to go with fine yarns, the knitting machine makes more sense - if I can remember how to assemble and use it.

3. The samples I made with some scrappy ends of chunky yarns I found at uni are much more interesting anyway. I hope they will be even better when I've put them through the washing machine.

Does anyone know a good - and preferably cheap - source of chunky, neutral coloured coned yarns? The coarser and fuller of vegetable matter the better!

I also made a book. I've been Brushoing papers a lá Frances Pickering, and the results included some tree like forms, which I decided needed a book of their own. Which of course meant I had to paint some paper for the pages. 

Not many in there yet, but there has been some �� going on.

And I have been working on my essay - making notes, producing an essay plan, and planning on going to a relevant (?) exhibition. ��

Of the outstanding tasks from BU (before uni) the shawl is finished, blocked and drying. (It's going to be a present, so just a snippet of the very simple border I decided was within my current capabilities. I have trees to knit!

I haven't blocked a shawl in ages: the last time I had a bigger spare bed to do it on, and I didn't have arthritis, but despite that I managed. I debated blocking it on the spare room floor, but that would have necessitated getting down on the floor, getting up again - and vaccing the floor first. ��