Saturday, December 22, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
With Christmas coming up, I have been scrambling to finish up commissions and get my own gifts knitted and woven. I'm a sleeve and half a sock away from being done, so I am well ahead of the game. Knock wood. Hopefully, I'll get around to posting pics of the FOs after the gifts have been opened by their respective recipients--I'm really happy with my work this year.
All this knitting and weaving has been crammed in between a very hectic schedule of family visits, Christmas concerts, parties, and auditions. I auditioned for and won the role of Hannah Porter Pitt in Keyano Theatre's upcoming production of Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. Very exciting, and challenging--this means I actually play 4 different characters, including an elderly Rabbi and the late Ethel Rosenberg. A little something to occupy my "free time". Eep.
And with all this going on, I get an email from a designer friend of mine, offering me an interesting challenge. She walks with the help of a cane some days, but in Alberta's frosty climate, she was finding the handle of her cane a little too cold at times. So what should do, but to ask someone to knit her a "cane sweater". How could I say no?
Interestingly enough, there isn't a lot online about cane handle covers. Has no one else ever had this idea? So off to the drawing board. Armed with the dimensions of the cane handle in question and a ball of turquoise Shetland yarn, I went to work. And came up with this...
Yeah, i know, it's not much to look at all laid out flat, but look at it on the local model!
All purty and buttoned up. The handle sections are knitted in the round, then the buttoned shaft cover is picked up and knit down. I think the buttons could have been a wee bit closer together to keep the gapping to a minimum, but I didn't want too many fussy buttons cluttering things up, either. You certainly don't see anything else like it around, anyway-perhaps I have unvented something new!
Today's big plan--fudge and toffee. MMMM!
Oh, and a sleeve and half a sock!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I had two conversations with really smart, wonderful people yesterday, both of whom said "I hate Christmas". I was somewhat shocked by this--hating Christmas is like hating cuddly puppies and kittens or wanting to kill baby ducklings--but I also understood what they meant.
I don't HATE Christmas, but I am sick and tired of the endless commercials that begin in October, telling us that the perfect gift will buy us the love of our families and friends. I am sick and tired of the multitude of mangled Christmas carols that seem to be playing everywhere I go. (Seriously, we really do not need a reggae-jazz-hip-hop fusion version of O Holy Night!) I am sick and tired of the family tensions that everyone seems to experience this time of year (If you don't show up for Christmas dinner, everything will be ruined, and it will be your fault!) I am sick and tired of Christmas already, and it is only November.
For me, Christmas officially jumped the shark on October 29. While the menfolk of the Boyd homestead were outside setting up our Halloween haunt, I was channel surfing inside and I came across a commercial. In a deliberately poorly-set shot, an older gentleman dressed in an ill-fitting Spandex elf costume was prancing around and chanting in heavily-accented English: Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarreah! Then the cheap Chyron effect of holly leaves and the message: Season's Greetings from Pepto-Bismol! WHAT???
Where do I even begin to list the things that were wrong with this picture? The annoying "audition" campaign that Pepto-Bismol has been running for some time now, apparently shot in some former Soviet Republic on 1980's vintage equipment? The eyeball-scarring image of this poor man in that elf suit? The timing of the airing of this atrocity--almost two full months before the "big day"? Or that someone at Pepto-Bismols corporate headquarters even felt that we wanted season's greetings from an elf singing about diarreah?
And then people wonder why their friends say "I hate Christmas"...
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
This was clearly Troy's thing....
...his very first braid was better than the one I worked. Look at that thing of beauty!
Lisa worked a fringed edging.
And Jannicke wore hers to dinner!
All in all a really fun weekend. And I know that I have created at least two new fibre fanatics. I stayed an extra day in Edmonton to avoid bad highway condition up north (yes, winter is here), and I took Lisa out to Celeigh Wool, where she bought two new Forrester spindles for herself and Troy, and almost a kilo of wool top and roving! And when she comes up to work in Fort McMurray next week, we're gonna play on wheels and looms. Yay!
I seem to have made a favorable impression--they have invited me to come to their Tournament in July and demonstrate spinning and weaving. Maybe even a warp-weighted loom....hmmmm. Lots to think about as I plow through the Christmas knitting!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
With so much going on, it's hard sometimes to sit down and take stock of what's actually happening. The past two weeks have seen:
A Zombie Crypt Crawl--a house to house Halloween party with a Zombie theme. What a Blast! But I learned that zombies drink waaaaay too much and get bad hangovers.
The spinning of a thick 'n' thin yarn for a tam for Lexi. I used some leftover Merino/alpaca blend top from Silver Valley Fibres, dyed it, cast on the tam, then lost the project somewhere in Edmonton! Along with a set of Britanny 6mm dpns. I can respin the wool--I'm working on it now--but I'm pretty cut up about those needles.
And a dye day. Five skeins each of 20/6 silk and sport weight Celeigh Wool Shetland in violet; three skeins of handspun, two skeins of Shetland and one skein of 12/2 silk in turquoise; two skeins of 12/2 silk in an unreproduceable shade of gold; all three pots were exhausted on the Corriedale roving at the top left. The real challenge was finding space for all of this to dry!
Plus a trip to Edmonton to celebrate 2 birthdays and visit the Edmonton Weavers' Guild sale, and the knitting of an almost completed shawl, a pair of mitts and a sock. Time for a day off! Yeah, right.
I also found a little time to monkey around with the blog layout. I'm soooo technically challenged. As odd as it sounds coming from someone who spends weeks spinning fine lace yarns, then months knitting shawls, I don't have the patience for the plodding steps required to do computer graphics! Nonetheless, I'm pretty happy with my new title bar.
Still on the agenda: another dye day (today), prep for a medieval textiles workshop that I will be giving in 10 days, paint and organize the soon to be guest room/studio. After that, Lexi will be home for a visit, then the madness of the Christmas season will begin. Oh, and another yoga shawl commission has to be squeezed in there somewhere...
Pause for a deep breath.
I'm not complaining, really. It's good to be busy when you are busy doing things that you love. I still have time every day to walk the dog and the weather has been lovely for the first week of November--cool and rainy, but the little snow we have had has not stayed and the temperatures are still above zero most days. Life is good.
Friday, October 26, 2007
I have spent the last two weeks hunched over a sewing machine, creating ghoulish garb, while the other creatures of the night have labored over the new effects for the haunted house. This year's eerie extravaganza will see the addition of a singing pumpkin light show and jumping ghoulie version 2.0. This is what happens when you mix technicians and Halloween--not for the faint of heart!
Even with all of this going on, there is time to spin. The latest yarn is, of course, inspired by the season-
Black Magic! Two plies of fine worsted-spun black merino top and one ply of semi-woollen-spun Firestar in the purple/black/orange colorway. Tufts of Firestar were also added in randomly during the plying to add bursts of sparkle and texture. The resulting yarn is about 14 wpi and about 3 tpi, strong and lustrous, but with a glowing halo of the Firestar. (Notice the ghostly blur at the bottom right of the picture. Spoooooky!)
I had a little too much fun photographing it!
And the close-up.
I intend to spend my weekend knitting it into a shoulder-warmer, your basic triangular shawl pattern with i-cord fringes of varying lengths for a ragged, creepy effect. Oooh, spooky, indeed!
Friday, October 12, 2007
This trip's list of accomplishments:
Sunday, September 30, 2007
I did, however take a brief break from the madness to go to the Loreena McKennitt concert in Edmonton on Thursday night. I have been a fan since the eighties (OMG, I'm old!) and this was my first opportunity to see her live. Amazing is the only word I can use. I love the music to begin with, but to hear it live just adds a dimension of depth that no stereo system can recreate. The staging and the lighting were absolutely masterful, but the best part was the sheer joy and exhuberance of the performers. Everyone looked like they were having the time of their lives, even though they were nearing the end of their tour. And the joy shone through in the music. All in all a magical evening. I'm glad I sat still for the 2 hours! If you don't know Loreen McKennitt, check out her website at Quinlan Road.
Of course, I did have one little problem. This is the music I listen to when I spin, so I found my foot treadling and I actually had to clench my hands a couple of times to keep from drafting! You know you are a spinner when....
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The Rainbow Ripple Scarf! Sit back from the monitor a bit and unfocus your eyes to get the best effect. :>) Yay for optical blending!
For those of you who were not there, I will offer a bit of an explanation of the technique. We were first invited to chose three colors from a big pile of baggies filled with Corriedale top. Being the clever bunny that I am, I chose printers primes--magenta (aka fuschia), cyan (aka jade), and yellow.
We then weighed out sections of the top, according to the clever little chart system that Colleen has devised. Then we spun each of the little weighed bits onto three bobbins in sequence. When three bobbins were filled, we plied, then refilled the empty bobbin with the next little weighed bit. We worked our way through the chart, simply spinning the next entry on the chart each time there was an empty bobbin and plying when all the bobbins were filled. Some of us needed an extra week to spin our little fine singles, but look at the results!
So, the plying pattern goes 3 plies of all one color, then 2 plies of that color with one ply of the next color, then 1 ply of the first color with two plies of the second, then 3 plies of the second, and so on. The "orange" looks more like this up close.
And the "green".
I used the pattern that Colleen included in the workshop material to knit up the yarns, dividing each color into two and starting with solid yellow and working through the color system back to yellow. Then I reversed it. Up close, the stitches show the individual colors...
...but from across the room, they blend into a rainbow.
The end result is fabulous! There is already a line-up to claim the scarf, but I think I'm just going to hang it somewhere and admire it until the snow flies. Let's hope for a long autumn!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
We drove out in my wee car--lots of fun going through the Coquihalla pass with a 4-cylinder engine! Just me and Lexi. Two days driving to get there and two days back, which left us 3 days to hunt for apartments, check out the job situation and connect with some old friends and family. Which we did.
The first plan was to check out White Rock as a possibility, but Lexi found it a little to far from the action and that the work environment was filled with people a little older than her. However, my best bud from my high school and college days lives in White Rock, so we met up with her and her gorgeous 5-year-old daughter. It was as if the last 25 years had never happened-gabble, gabble, gabble! Fortunately, her usually shy daughter took to Lexi and the two of them kept themselves occupied while us old gals caught up.
Our next step was to check out Kitslano. Nice neighborhood near UBC, close to beaches, easy access to downtown, low vacancy rate. We scouted the papers, not much there. We drove around writing down the numbers for buildings that had vacancy signs. We walked around neighborhoods. Then we made phone calls. Most of the apartments had already been rented or were waaaaay outside our budget, but we found two that suited us. One had an open house the next day, the other wasn't immediately available.
We drove past the first place and thought.....okay....Then we went looking for the second place. It was in a neighborhood we hadn't even been to, but looked promising. We are still not too sure how we got the number, but the manager was cheery and helpful on the phone, and the building was in a GREAT location.
We spent some time touristing, going to the Aquarium, walking the seawall, trooping up and down Robson, then we went to the open house. There was a line-up (well, one person when we got there, but 4 more waiting when we came out) and the apartment was....okay....We tossed the application in the back seat and went to have supper with my brother-in-law Brad.
Brad and my sister have been legally separated for about 13 years, and we haven't heard much from him since then. Until he looked me up on Facebook. So here we were meeting him for supper. It was a little awkward at first, but once we got past the past, we had a great time!
The next day was our last to be apartment hunting, so we went off to the viewing with high hopes. I had a good feeling about the place from the first phone call to the manager, and that proved to be accurate. What a great apartment! Views of English Bay and the mountains above West Van, walking distance to beaches and shopping, well-kept building, refurbished kitchen and bath, and a cheery, mother-hen manager. She offered us the place on the spot, and we took it! Mission Accomplished! Moving in on October 1.
We had another fantastic visit with my pal, who promised to keep an eye on Lexi once she moved out there, then hit the road back to Alberta. A stop-over in E-town to shop at Ikea for cheap apartment furniture, then home to a birthday party, a long weekend and back to school.
And in all this madness, I managed to finish my silk shawl and my Einstein jacket and fill a spindle with Louet's Tropical Skittles top. But more on that another day...
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I started with a character, a sketch and a few scraps of handspun or custom-dyed yarn.
Then I knit an oversized finger puppet on 4 mm double-pointed needles.
Each Puplet was hand-felted with lots of soap and hot and cold water. I found that Body Shop Sorbet Fizz bubble bath worked realllly well!
After being washed, the Puplets shrunk to about 2/3 of their original size and were wonderfully compacted and fuzzy.
Then each Puplet was hand-finished with noses, eyes, and other features by using various techniques, such as needle felting, embroidery and beadwork.
And we have a Neeno Greckon Puplet. Neeno is one of the stars of the Odd-lot Puppetry Company's show K.I.N.D.A.Works. Some of his costars include...
Phil, the apparently sideways scientist. (Clearly my technical skills are collapsing around this post--I have no idea why this and the following picture have been turned sideways by Blogger, or why my presumed-deleted dial-up wizard keeps popping up while I type! Help! I need a nerd!)
My personal favorite was Larry the Lab Rat. Just tilt your head to the right. He's cute--and he sold out!
All in all, I made 40 of these little suckers over the course of about a week. At about an hour each, that made for a full-time workweek! The best part was that I sold 25 of them.
I have never considered myself much of a production type. I prefer to do something once, them move on. This was definitely a production project, 5 of each type of puppet, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Perhaps it's time to set up at craft sales...
Maybe later. Right now, I have to go throw my computer out the window!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Grad was Friday, Canada Day and a barbecue with friends on Sunday, packing Monday, then off to Fibre Week in Olds and Calgary with Lexi and Cameron on Tuesday. I only had time to take one workshop this year, so Wednesday I took a class on 3-ply yarns with Dianne Cross from Sydney, BC. It was soo much fun to just play, making wee samples with all kinds of different fibres. I came home with this...
...to show for my efforts.
The kids went to Warped Tour the Thursday we were there, so that meant a road trip to Calgary and a stop a Krispy Kreme. Mmmmm, there's nothing better than a ring of fried dough coated with sugar!
We drove home on Friday, with only a quick stopover in Edmonton for lunch. I was wiped out and my back was killing me from all the driving. So naturally, I got up on Saturday and warped up the loom!
The warp is a commercial 60/2 silk, sett at 50 epi and the weft is another Handmaiden silk--rumple this time. The picture doesn't do the colors justice. It is a bright red with tiny streaks of hot pink and a scarletty-orange. I have run out of weft, but I will be picking some more up next week when I embark on yet another adventure!
Today is reserved for getting life in order...laundry, house cleaning and updating the old Blog.
And maybe just a little spinning...
Saturday, June 23, 2007
This was one of the samples that I made up for the recycling seminar. It's a little shrug knit from handspun merino salvaged from leftovers with rayon chenille inserted during the plying to make the little squiggles. This picture is lifted off the Powerpoint and really doesn't do the piece any justice, but since I didn't have time to take any pictures at the conference, I needed something for eye candy.
I also got my in-depth study back at the conference with comments and changes, 90% of which appear to be typos and printing errors. One very valid point at which a paragraph was clearly abandoned in mid-stream, then picked up later to veer off in another direction. Wrong terms in the wrong places. D'oh! And I have the nerve to lecture my kids on the value of proof-reading...
Well, I'm home, and the larder is restocked, family has been caught up with and it is time to knit. Life is beautiful.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Terry Yushchyshyn December 25, 1936-June 7,2007
My Dad died last Thursday after fighting cancer for a year. When he was diagnosed, he was given 3 months. As usual, Dad did not do what was expected of him...
I have been quietly contemplating his life and the impact he made on mine, and I am grateful for the love and lessons that he passed on to me. He was an important player in the movie exhibition industry for 50 years, but the person I knew was also a sensitive and playful Daddy, and that's how I will remember and honor him.
I learned a lot from my Dad. Here is a short list of the most important lessons, in no particular order:
-Everything in moderation.
-When someone says something that upsets you, consider the source.
-Fishing isn't about catching fish, it's about sitting in the middle of the lake enjoying the quiet.
-Everything will grow with enough water and fertilizer.
-Sometimes it's better to be quiet than to be right.
-Friends come and go, but your family is forever.
-One good dog is better company than a hundred friends.
-You'll appreciate something a lot more if you have to work to get it.
-The best wild blueberries grow in clear-cuts and pipeline pathways.
-Always be ready for the next adventure.
-Take life seriously, but don't take people seriously.
-A long, hot bath solves just about everything.
There was so much more, of course, but these ones are the bits of advice that I hear running through my head most often.
I love you, Dad.