Monday, April 26, 2010

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers..

I was having a conversation recently, on crafting - be it spinning, knitting, sewing, quilting or whatever floats your boat. The question was asked as to whether I am more about the 'process' of creating something, or whether I am more about the 'product' that you get at the end. I've been thinking about that.

Initially I figured I was more about the product - because generally speaking if the end result is not something useful, in some form or another, I am hesitant to make it at all. And then I thought that perhaps I was more about the process - being a monogamous knitter I like to devote all my attention to the process of creating a single thing.

I've since realised that for me at least, the answer is neither. I'm more about the potential and the possibility. I am a pretty tactile person. Self confessed yarn sniffer, fabric toucher and fibre feeler. I'm an evil horrible mother who is making my children share a room so that I can have a studio. On one hand, this is necessary for the business. On the other hand I freely admit that I enjoy having a place I can go to sit and just be surrounded by pretty things, hold them in my hands and let them whisper to me about what they would like to become when they grow up. The intricate designs in fabric, cotton and cool to the touch that feel weighty in my hands. Soft, fluffy, barely there fibre in beautiful colours - some bright and vibrant, some natural and earthy. Subtle switches in colour along the length of a skein of yarn that remind me of a present you have to unwrap - you never ever know just how those colours will move while you are knitting them - until you do. I like to plonk myself down on the floor of my studio and just - touch things. Consider their possibilities, the best way to unlock their potential. It's all so pretty and so inspiring and I always walk out of there fired up about what I want to create.

This is the reason though, that I am a mostly monogamous crafter. When I start something I like to see it through to the end, to give it the attention it deserves, and that it needs. I also tend to attach feeling to random inanimate things, so if I have numerous projects on the go, I imagine they are lonely. Then I feel guilty and stressed. LOL! I also let things marinate in the stash a long while sometimes, because sometimes it takes a while for them to tell me what they want to be. I'll go through various ideas rejecting each one till I settle on the right one.

So here is my weekends fruit, spins from two fibres that have been marinating within the stash for about a year, both of them.
The first was fibre picked out by Master Mayhem when he requested I knit him a 'Bright Green Beanie' for winter this year. It's a 3 ply, fingering weight yarn, and 286 metres in it. Machine washable Merino that was custom dyed for me by Mandie at Ewe Give Me The Knits as part of the 'birthday custom' program she ran last year :)
Peas, No Carrots
There is too much there for just a beanie, so he might be lucky enough to get socks out of it too :)

The second is some steel grey natural Gotland Lamb. It has been marinating a while, because I just could not figure out what it wanted to be. I've been warned or clued in to the fact that Gotland loooves to felt. Recently I spied the pattern for some felted slippers, and I knew it had found its calling.
Worsted-ish weight, single spun and 241 metres
Gotland Lamb

That's all from me today. I've got loads of stuff to do today, but I am enjoying the much cooler weather.
I'd love to hear what anyone else has to say about the process, the product or the possibilities though! Which part floats your boat the most? And why?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Apples and Oranges..

Two quick items to flash on the blog today.
The first - if some of you may remember from a previous blog post - was knit from this handspun yarn.
SCF - Coffee
Which was spun from some superwash merino and bamboo batts from David at Southern Cross Fibre.
It has since turned into a very thick and squishy cabled beanie for the Big Mac, to keep his ears and head warm this winter, ecspecially as he now rides a bicycle to work in the mornings.
The pattern is 'Habitat' by the very talented Jared Flood. It only took me a couple of days but the pattern was actually pretty challenging. (as in - it actually required me to concentrate).

The second finished object is a 'Citron' shawl. In my view, calling it a shawl is a bit of a misnomer. Knit to pattern directions, it's not really big enough to be considered a shawl, but it IS the perfect size to be a wee bit of texture you just throw around your neck to stay warm. And for that, I love it.
The yarn is handspun, not spun by me, but by the very talented Ali (also known as wooliewombat) and was spun from a merino silk blend in the colourway 'Saffron'. The only real modification I made to the pattern was to change the increases to yarn overs because I wanted the little dots to look like seeds, or a ray of light.
I think it worked. At any rate I love it as a finished item and can see it being just the thing to throw on on your way out the door when there's a bit of a chill about during the in between seasons.

And oh yeah - I got a new haircut. :p I like it! (a rare thing for me).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Water and Wheels

Easter 2010

I hope everyone had a great easter! We headed down to stay with my mum and dad over Easter, down to the ocean. The easter bunny came (of course) and delivered delectable treats, and there was darts playing, music and loads going on. We went to the Foster Craft Market, where the kids played on the playground, jumped on the jumping castle, and rode on the wee train run by the rotary club. We also bought the kids a kite each, then headed down to the beach so the kids could fly them while we were waiting for Dad to come back in on the boat.
Easter 2010
The kids also collected shells, watched the stingrays fly under the water near the boat ramp and generally had a grand old time when we were away.
Easter 2010

Since coming back, things have been busy and flat out. The weather has cooled significantly, which means it's now officially soup making and knit wearing weather - yay! And I've managed to squeeze in some knitting time (everything yet to be finished) and some spinning time too.
This 'Magic Ball' from Ewe Give Me The Knits
magic ball No.6
I split into three, spun each part, then plyed together. The end result is a very groovy rainbow style gradient.
Magic Ball Number 6 - Space Invaders!
Which I have named 'Space Invaders'.

Also, yesterday saw the first Farmers Market for Bendigo. We popped along and scored some fabulous currant buns and sourdough from Redbeard Bakery (my fave) tried a while host of preserves and stuff. By the time we got there most of the produce was sold out, and we tried for a snag - we really did! - but it was a case of first in best dressed, and at the time, we were neither. Next month though - we'll be back!

Today though, we headed out to the recycling centre here, in search of a 'good enough' bike for the Big Mac, to get him to work and back. We found an old racer style bike for him which was great, but we also spied a very groovy retro bike for me. Once I saw that it was in fact candy apple red ( I may be just a little obsessed with that colour) I decided it had to come home with me. It's quite old, but in good condition, ecspecially for its age. Master Sports brand, made in Australia and very cute! It's quite the cruiser :)
I want to ride mah bicycle..

That's me done for tonight, but I'll be back soon. For more info on any of the above pics, just give em a click and they'll take you through to flickr.
I've got a date with mah spinning wheel!