'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 27 July 2014

The Tale of a Book

I sat down at big Mac to print off a couple of transparencies to make another acetate book, but got distracted into printing other stuff. That led to looking at Facebook, reading my emails, wandering off to do an ICAD, playing around with some watercolour - you get the picture.

Then I remembered the book. I spent some time wrestling with iPhoto, trying to get the photo to print the size I wanted, tried Word, and then decided that what I wanted to do wouldn't work. So I printed them the size iPhoto wanted them to be. On the wrong side of the acetates.

I washed off the acetates, and put them to dry. I have no idea whether I can reuse them, but it's worth a try. I got out two more, printed the photos again. On the wrong side of the acetate.

I washed off the acetates, and put them to dry. I have no idea whether I can reuse them, but it's worth a try. I got out two - er, only one left. So I printed the two photos, half size, on the one remaining acetate, and managed to get it right this time. Good job I only wanted to make a simple pamphlet book. The good news is that I have found a better way to fold acetates (score them with my patent scorer - a tapestry needle which accidentallky got stuck in a biggish bead, which makes it easier to grip). The bad news is that I scored one of them 1/4" away from the centre. The good news is that I like the way it looks anyway. The bad news is that the photos aren't very good.

In other news.

Embroiderer does embroidery! Still on my trees theme, inspired by bark, although it may not look like it at first glance.

Embroiderer also knits sock. One down, one to go.

Embroiderer also felts TOPOKIED, makes it look even odder. After felting, I cut a hole in it as well, and added a bit of stitch. Bits of it definitely look like bark - or they would do if trees were turquoise.


Sunday 20 July 2014

Bits and Bobs

It's been another busy week, if sitting on the sofa watching bike racing can be described as being busy. It certainly gets the adrenaline flowing: I've discovered that, when your favourite rider removes himself from the race on the first day,  so you have no-one to will to win, willing somebody (anybody) to beat the one you don't want to win, is just as stressful. (It's the immature, sexist one I don't want to win, and so far I've been successful in getting him beaten.)

That isn't all we've done: yesterday we had a taster meal at the hotel where Cheese Major and his Senorita will be getting married next spring. It was delicious, but we could barely move afterwards!

I went to a Visual Marks meeting at Manor Farm (Babybel was dead jealous, especially when I told her about the baby donkey.) (I wouldn't have mentioned it if we hadn't already planned on going there when the school holidays start!)

We had a meeting there to prepare for our exhibition at the Farm over Christmas. (First, Wartime Farm, soon, Visual Marks. I don't think we will be required to dress up or operate antiquated machinery.)

I took a lot of photographs, and even made some drawings. OK, very basic ones, but fit for my purpose, designing organza appliqu├ęs. I want to get cracking on these because when term starts I don't think I'll have a lot of spare time!

I've also been working on another VM piece. Right back at the beginning we had a joint mark making session with a big piece of fabric and some thickened dyes. After some discussion we decided to divide it into nine pieces which we would embroider/quilt and reunite as a series of banners ( I think). I chose to hand embroider my piece, but it is closely woven fabric and very hard on the hands, so progress is slow.

I can't remember how far I had got by last weekend on these two, now known as TOPOKIED (the oddest pieces of knitting I've ever done). Further progress has been a bit slow, because:

a) they need more concentration than I've been able to give while watching adrenaline filled bike races, and

b) I've run out of steam.

So I started some simpler, race watching and subtitle-reading knitting. Another pair of socks. Not my favourite yarn, which is why it was still mouldering in my stash, but it won't show much inside shoes, and hand knit socks are definitely warmer and nicer than bought ones. Not that we need warm socks at the moment, but we will, we will.

There nearly wasn't a book of the week, but I came across a reference to 'acetate books' and that started me thinking.  I printed a tree photo on acetate and turned it into a very simple book. It was a bit bodged because I was in a hurry - the acetate is difficult to fold, and I made a mess of the central cut, but I think the result has possibilities. I love the way you get the printed image, the view through it, and reflections as well. I'm pondering on sewing the pages together to make it more obedient, but I'm not sure it's a good idea. I've stuck it back under my old Singer, a.k.a. the book press, in the hope of disciplining it a bit more before I decide.

Rest day tomorrow for the TDF, but not for us, it's a grandparenting day. Perhaps not as physically demanding as riding 200km, but it feels like it, at times.

Sunday 13 July 2014

An Exciting Week

in France, that is, not at Cheese Acres. Very little has been happening here. We have been busy - watching bike racing, looking after grandchildren, watching bike racing, delivering Visual Marks' competition entry to the National Needlework Archive, watching bike racing, watching our ballet girl and boy do ballet - oh, did I mention watching  bike racing?

Since bike racing demands almost as much attention as sub-titled detective series, I have continued with last week's weird knitting - which is getting weirder.  The ginormous sock is gaining some accretions, before it meets the washing machine, and the other turquoise tube is looking more and more like an aberrant windsock. I persuaded myself I did need some more needles, but they haven't helped much - I think this yarn, which is really machine knitting yarn, is just a b****r to hand knit. But 'it's only a sample'.

As is this. In theory this is a square bipyramid, but after it was stuffed and washed it turned into a rather nice ball. No idea what I'll do with it, but it was fun to make.

I snatched a few moments this morning for the books of the week, from here. They are quite small - you can cut two covers/pages from one sheet of A4 - so I used up some of my stash of lined paper for the pages. The card I used for the cover was a bit thin so I Bondawebbed another layer inside, which covered the wrong side of the stitch neatly. They are much firmer now, and slip nicely into the pockets of my sewing and knitting baskets.

Not much progress to report, then, and there won't be much more to report for the next two weeks. And I hear there may be cycling in the Commonwealth Games in August...

Tuesday 8 July 2014

Better Late than Never

It has been a busy week. It was Eastleigh College exhibition last weekend - probably the last one I shall be involved in. What with putting up the exhibition, stewarding, and taking it down, I was in college three times in five days. It was nice to meet some friends, indulge in a little retail therapy, and admire other people's contributions, though.

The rest of the week has been beginnings and endings: to begin with the endings.

1. A pair of boot socks. Not elegant, but they make my inelegant wellies more comfortable, which is a Good Thing, and if you know why I capitalised that, you have probably read this.

2. The book of the week - perhaps a bit of a cheat because it's a needle book. It's big enough to take all my sewing needles, and fits into a pocket of the new basket, so I'm pleased with it. Plus it used up more stash, which is a Good Thing.

3. The Race for Life. Not finished by me, but by Babybel and her mum, in a time of 32 minutes, which isn't bad for a 6 year old. At least this year B. wasn't running with a broken arm, and she raised quite a lot of money for a good cause. Also a Good Thing.

4. Several knitting samples - holes, slits and bobbles, in plastic, string, raffia and fabric.  Perhaps Odd Things rather than Good Things.

To end with the beginnings.

1. Of course, the most important beginning in this house was the start of this year's Tour De France. Excellent pictures of one of our favourite parts of Yorkshire (a Good Thing), traumatic pictures of one of our favourite riders falling off in the final metres (a Bad Thing). It will not be the same without Cav. 

2. More sampling is in progress. I'm using stash to try out knitting a loooong cylinder, with every variation in the fabric I can think of. (The safety pins are so I can add a lump, bump or branch at a later date.) A Bizarre Thing?

3. This, which looks like an oversized sock knitted toe up, is destined to be felted. You may notice that there are only three needles in the photo.  It is on hold because I broke the fourth one, and despite owning enough needles to start a shop, I don't appear to have another set of 4mm double points. A Bad Thing.

4. So I have spent the afternoon watching the TDF while sorting my needle collection (only the circulars to go) in order to justify putting in an order for some double point versions of the pretty one in this photo. I justified the purchase of the pretty circular because you need humungous needles to knit scribble lace (the multicoloured bit in the bizarre sample) and trying to knit in the round with only 60 stitches on the only 12mm circular I owned was like wrestling with a recalcitrant snake. The pretty Knitpros are interchangeable, so I can add a short cable to big needles. A Good Thing.

And then I ordered some more because they are pretty, the points feel like silk, and interchangeable needles are so flexible! (OK, I already have a set of interchangeables, but the joints catch on the yarn and come undone when you don't want them to. And they are not humungous enough.)

After the sorting, I have a large bag of redundant single point needles looking for a home. (Nobody needs 8 pairs of 7mm single points - especially when she rarely knits flat. This is what happens when you inherit three knitters' stashes.) (I don't think I can justify buying some Knitpro single points, though.) This is a Good Thing in terms of stash reduction, especially if I can find a good home for them.

5. And finally, I have begun a little light heavy reading. Two books I fancied when they were first published, but couldn't justify buying - but now, well they are almost textbooks, aren't they? And I did get them second hand. And as, together they way nearly 5 kilos, I get a workout as well when I read them! Definitely a Good Thing.