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

Dorothy Rowe

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Week 14 Running hard to stay in the same place.

My counting may have slipped a bit, but I know next week is week 15, so this must be the end of week 14. It is hard to believe that I've come to the end of the first quarter of the BA course. What have I got to show for it? A lot of knitting, a lot of notes, and the essay. All bound and ready to hand in. ��

1. Some knitting. This is the mini sample. After felting, 50 stitches and 57 rows (it was meant to be 50 but I did too many and couldn't be bothered unpicking them) just fits a cylindrical wine box. I suppose I could use lots of cylindrical wine boxes to hold up the trees, but a) drinking all that wine wouldn't be a good idea, b) I haven't seen any more of the cylindrical ones, and c) the trees may become arms. Or maybe not.

2. Some more knitting. These have nothing to do with uni work, I just love the way the wool/alpaca blend felts. I think I have enough left for a third one. There need to be three.

3. A book. All embroidered, folded up, and stuck together. It's odd, but I like it.

4. Some Al Wei Weis. We've been meaning to go to his exhibition at Blenheim since before it started, and we finally made it on Friday. It costs an arm and leg to go in but we can get free entry for a year, so if there is another exhibition in 2015, it will only have cost half an arm and a leg. (I wasn't so excited by Blenheim itself that I'd go again just for that.)

The exhibition was a bit of a 'Hunt the Wei Weis' as they were displayed in the house, unlabelled, and in some cases, hard to find. Some were pretty obvious - I'm sure the Spencer-Churchills don't usually cover their carpets with hundreds of porcelain crabs - but finding a specific porcelain plate in a room full of porcelain plates was quite difficult.  Especially when the order items were shown in in the guide wasn't the same as the order in which you go round the rooms. Especially  when the only clue was a postage stamp sized photo in a poor scan of the guide they've run out, produced on a printer with a dodgy colour cartridge. Especially when the illustration shows one plate and there turned out to be a dozen of them. (Assuming we found the right plates.) But it all added to the fun, and there were some stunning pieces - a chandelier in the hall, a carpet based on a rutted road, and the 31 lovely things above, which were in the gardens and therefore photographable. I think. Wensleydale was fascinated by the 40 famous finger photographs, and spent ages looking at them, trying to work out where they'd been taken. This was made a little more difficult because they'd been hung sideways on, so the finger was vertical. I assumed this was so they would fit in the spaces chosen for them, but maybe they are always hung that way?

Then we had tea and Christmas Cake in the nice, and not ridiculously expensive tea shop, and came home





Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Week 12. Bits and Bobs

The essay is all but finished - how many times have I said that? This time it's true. 

This is also finished, apart from a visit to the washing machine. I think I showed you its baby brother a while ago, but not after baby brother's second bath, when it shrank down to a really firm texture. But baby brother's gone to uni, so I can't show you what he looks like now. But because of his texture I made him a big brother, contrary to instructions. It's an alpaca wool leftover yarn, but I don't  think I'll be making alpaca trees, given the shrinkage and the price.

The big sample is finished and washed too, On the basis of this I think I need 50 stitches for a tree, so I'm making a 50 stitch sample just to check.

I have two books of the week in production. It was Visual Marks last week, and we did another communal mark making exercise. We each ended up with two samples. I like this tree - it was supposed to be roots but it's clearly a tree. But I was distinctly underwhelmed by my second piece, until I came across some instructions for a dos-a-dos book which I can't now find.

The  piece was a bit too long, (this is two scans joined together) so the end will become a simple pamphlet, with stitch as well. Our next exhibition in May is on the theme of connections, and I'm seeing all those interlocking lines as a network...


And my early Christmas present came today. Four days late, and having visited 6 different countries on the way, but it made it at last, so I've been playing rather than working today.

Crits (critiques) at uni tomorrow, which is a bit scary, especially when you have got very little to show except a few bits of knitting, but the feedback from those who have already gone through it is that it is OK... I may survive.


Sunday, 23 November 2014

Week 11: impersonating a swan.

Or maybe the panic was visible? We had a session on how to write an essay which combined stuff I used to teach students with 'what?' 'how?' 'when?' 'oh, hecky thump' - and finally 'help'!!!

Of course, when I came to look at draft 2 of the essay, it was closer to what we been told to do than I remembered. At least, I think it is - but I could well be wrong. I am now on draft 2a, which could be described as a skeleton with some meat on its bones but lacking in its final features - if you will forgive the rather macabre simile. Or is it a metaphor? I used to know this stuff!

On the more positive side, I have finished the sample I was told not to make.

For once, this stitch came straight from a pattern book, but I think it's quite barmy - er, barky, thank you, predictive typing... I found a tree which has similar bark but with red streaks between the flakes, so I am planning on adding some reddish stitch. 

I have also started on the tree I was told to make, except that what I am making is a sample. More accurately it is a tension square, except it isn't square. After all, I need to know how big the thing is going to be when I've finished, and it would be too late if I only found out after I'd knitted and shrunk it.

This is not the same colour as the previous sample, despite appearances. 

I did take a break from uni work to participate in Myfanwy's creative weekend, and good fun it was. It included making little books, so there is a book of the week for once, but my photo of that was even worse than the ones of the knitting, so you may get to see it next week.

When I"m finally shot of this essay I won't know what to do with myself,



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.