Friday, March 31, 2006

Wednesday Evening...

... was S'n'B night.

It was a relatively small group of about eight or nine. We had a new face, Heather, who brought along a cross-stitch fairy and a big collection of patterns from 1980s magazines. Some of the clothes looked incredibly dated, others looked surprisingly modern.

I didn't spend much time looking at what people were knitting. A booga bag and the start of a blanket are all I can remember. I took my scarf, but this time I knitted the complex row before I went, so I had three simple rows before I got onto the complex one. I only tinked one row.

We had some very erudite conversations about art. It was generally agreed that much of the modern art world is incredibly pretentious, and also that what is considered "good" is very subject to the vagaries of fashion in the art world.

I found Molly Chicken's blog post about art courses, which was similar to my fellow stitchers' experiences.

I'm reminded of a snippet from a comedy TV show from the eighties: at the time there were a number of late night programs that featured groups of educated guests sitting round a table discussing stuff. The spoof had a group of people sitting round a table discussing art.

Industrialist: I don't know much about art, but I know what I like.
Art Critic: That's funny, because I know a lot about art, but I don't know know what I like.

A year or two ago, in Wales, I saw some lovely pictures in a gallery. I can't remember who painted them - I've tried googling, but obviously I haven't got the search terms right (or maybe he's not on the web). The amazing thing was the way the artist painted water. There was a picture of children pouring water from a bucket, and the falling water sparkled in the sun.

Another picture showed sand under a few inches of clear water. The painting clearly showed a complex pattern of bright and dark patches on the sand under the water. The next time we were at the beach, I really looked at how the sunlight was refracted by the waves and the ripples.

You can see a photo of the same effect here and here.

Anyone who has studied refractive indexes in water should know it - standard school physics - but I'd never really looked at it.

That's art - making you see the world in a new way, not making you feel queasy.

Physics Diversion:
You've probably noticed a straight stick put into water looks like it's bent. The angle of the bend depends on the angle between the stick and the surface of the water. That's because light travels at a different speed in water to its' speed in air. The same basic physics is the reason a lens will concentrate sunlight onto a single spot when held in the right position.

What the painting showed was a very complex pattern, with light of different intensities shining through the water onto the sand. The sand was not smooth, but had a pattern of ripples caused by the action of the waves. The surface of the sea was not even either, but had a pattern of mostly smooth waves. The light was bent by varying amounts and traveled through varying depths of water, but there was a pattern to both. Which led to the very complex pattern of light on the sand.

(The artist wasn't Kurt Jackson.)

Another topic was cvs. I've been reading about resumes and cvs recently: much of what I've said suggests that if you're sending a cv into a 'creative' outlet, you can do something creative, like send in an oragami flowerpot. However, it seems that if you are sending it into a commercial firm, pictures of fishes or fancy bows don't help. What they want is normal cv, albeit laid out with more attention to design then if you are sending it to the local firm of accountants. However, if you are sending it to a typesetter, be prepared for all your mistakes to be highlighted in yellow and discussed in the interview. I'm now feeling slightly paranoid that I'm going to be sent an email with all the errors in this blog highlighted in yellow.

In other news, the youngest person there last night looked very sweet.

Oh, and I'll probably "Flash my Stash" - or part of it - on Saturday.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Publicity for someone's site

No witty comment here, just a new site from someone who does some good cartoons.

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Knitters gather

It was s'n'b on Wednesday. I thought I was going to be late, but when I got there, only Yvonne, Tracey, and Sue were there. A large group arrived together shortly afterwards: you can see how many of us there were here.

I took my scarf: progress went like this - knit one row (the K2tog, YO, K1 row). Start to knit the next row. Halfway through, notice that one of the stitches in the previous complex row is wrong, but can't quite say why: the stitch count is out as well. Pfaff round trying to sort it without undoing anything: realise that as I don't know what is wrong, I can't solve it like that. Tink back through the knit row, tink back through the complex row. Reknit to the end of the complex row. Purl next row. Look at knitting, say that should have been a knit row. Tink back purl row. Knit row, but as I think I have an extra stitch, add a K2tog stitch. Count stitches: now have one too few. In the first hour, I add two rows to the scarf - each of only 38 stitches, so a grand total of 76 stitches knitted. At least I can say I averaged over a stitch a minute. Progress was faster after that.

Topics of conversation were many. We discussed the lack of kettles in foreign
hotel bedrooms, how to make lemsip when you have no hot water and the curiosity of USAians on being presented with a request for hot water and milk so the requestee can make a cup of tea. We discussed Oddpins knitting from the 1980s, where you use two different size needles to create a lacy look. We discussed where to buy wool locally.

We saw Tracey's Rogue. The cables were stunning. She showed us the pattern - page after page of charts, but the Girl from Auntie seemed to explain them throughly. Tracey had printed them on A3 paper which must have helped. Rogue is lovely, but I'm tempted by Eris, also designed by the Girl from Auntie.

I had a look through Interweave Knits. It looked good, but I didn't study the patterns. I had a look at Handknit Holidays, but nothing grabbed me. There was a Bergere de France pattern book as well, with lots of nice patterns.

Several people suggested I could knit a Booga bag with my 4 skeins of Kueryon: Kate had a really nice bag as well. You can see both bags on the table.

I forgot to check what people were knitting: at least four jumpers (sorry sweaters, for those of you who don't speak British English), a hot-water bottle cover, a ribbed coat, a square, a scarf.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Advice needed - getting from sweater to bag

hole in jumper

The tale of my sweater

Sung to the tune of "I had a poor meatball":

I had a warm sweater, all covered in shapes,
I lost my warm sweater when it develop-ed gapes.

I'd wear it to parties, I'd wear it to school,
But then my poor sweater weren't worn at all.

I'll fling it aside now, and wash it on hot,
And soon my warm sweater will be changed a lot.

One day my warm sweater will be a felt bag,
But how do I wash it, so it doesn't snag?

This is my problem, what on Earth should I do,
Should I leave it in one piece or sleeves cut off two?

My sweaters worn out now, and I am so sad,
But when it is felted, then I will be glad.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

More mystery quilt thoughts

I have now cut out all the pieces for the mystery quilt I told you about yesterday.

I predict it is going to have four large squares of the patterned material as feature squares. I predict the squares are going to be on point, and that around the edge are going to be large neutral coloured half-square triangles. I predict it is going to have squares like these:

square with diagonal line

made by joining a greenish triangle (in my colour scheme), with a yellowish or neutral coloured triangle.

I'd be interested to see if I was right.

To understand how I worked that out, you need to know the fastest way to make a square like the diagram above.

If you want a square made from one material, which is x inches square, you cut out an (x + 1/2) inch square - the extra half is for the seam allowances.

However if you want the same size square made up of two triangles, the fastest way is to cut out two squares which are each (x + 7/8) inches square.

You draw a diagonal line on the back of one them, then sew straight seams a scant 1/4 inch from the line. You cut along the line, then iron them open.

Hey presto, you have two squares which are made of two triangles. The first time you do it, it is almost like magic.

(I checked the sums when I was first told this method, and they do work, to a reasonable level of accuracy. Making two squares is easier then making one.)

Back to the mystery quilt: some of the squares we were told to cut out were (x + 1/2) inches, so they are fairly obviously the right size. But we also told to cut out a huge number of 3 7/8 inch squares, and when I did the maths, there are the same number of green/patterned squares as yellow/neutral squares. The oddity was the 6 7/8 inch squares - they were only in the neutral colour, so maybe we were going to sew them together and then cut them up, but it seems more logical that they would be cut in half for the edges, which means the other bloks would be on point.

In other news: I have sewn some leaves together. I have done no knitting for days.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Project Spectrum II or mystery quilts

I told you the material I bought last week was green and yellow. Well, some of it was pink:

It's for a mystery quilt which started in April's Popular Patchwork, a British patchwork magazine that does not appear to have a web presence. I've wanted to do a mystery quilt for ages, but this is the first time I've been able to start at the beginning.

You don't get shown the overall design of the quilt you are making: it works like this:

  1. You get told what material to buy, and what shapes to cut it into.
  2. You get told how to sew some of the shapes together
  3. You get told how to sew the combined shapes together

    ......Repeat until
  4. You get told how to finish the quilt

It isn't until you get to the end that you see the final design. Usually I find out about them at the last part, where the mystery is solved. No fun in that!

This time, I bought the magazine with the first part in it. Before I bought the material for the mystery quilt I made myself finish all the leaves for the "New Hampshire Autumn/Fall" quilt I am making (from a different magazine). They aren't sewn together, of course.

I took the magazine with me to the quilt shop, looking for a material with a pattern. I ended up with cabbages - "market cabbages" which is a fairly new print from Makeower. It is predominately green with some yellow veining on the leaves, and some pink as well. Material B was another pattern, Material E was a dark colour, the same as in B, materials C and D were mid and light yellow. Finally, material F was a neutral colour, possibly tone on tone:

I've spent the last few days cutting pieces out, and trying to work out what it will look like. There are lots of 3 7/8 inch squares(no metric for quilters), which implies they are going to be half square triangles - that is a triangle formed from cutting a square in half. The patterns each have two 6 1/2 inch squares, probably for feature squares etc.

The May issue comes out on March 17th - Friday. I want to get the other pieces cut out first, and then see about sewing them up.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Project Spectrum

I've now signed up to project spectrum, so in March I should be thinking about making something pink or red.

"Thinking about" is good. I can "think about" making something.

Its not quite the same as "making something".

I am making many things, but none of them are pink or red.

I even bought some material today to start to make yet another thing, and some of the material is green and some of it is yellow, but it is not pink or red.

I prepose to continue to "think about" making a pink thing or a red thing.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Stuff I haven't blogged about

Actually, the list of stuff I haven't blogged about would exceed blogger's storage space, and take forever to write about: I'll list just the topics I've thought about writing in the last two weeks, but haven't.

1) De-stashing - since November, approximately 8 balls of yarn have turned into 3 scarves for presents and another 8 balls of boring acrylic turning into someone else's stash so they could knit for hospitals. I might even put some pictures up later.

2) Re-stashing, with my first 4 balls of Noro Kueryon, a yarn I've wanted ever since I saw the pattern for Rosedale United in Knitty (Rosedale United needs 11 balls).

3) Crotchet blankets in hospitals

4) S'n'B on Wednesday

5) The power cut that affected our house (and 71 others) on Thursday morning,
but not the other houses in our shared driveway.

6) Being part of a statistical trend: it is rather depressing when you read a govt report about women in SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) and realisng that you are following the pattern described. I want to tell everyone that I'm the outlying number, the one that they ignore as being outside the trend, the individual, and I realise I am in the middle of the cluster.

7) Internet users becoming the main content providers, just like they were in the mid 1990s.

8) The tutor marked assessment for my OU course.

9) Thinking about thinking about technical writing.

10) The 32 patchwork blocks I have made for a quilt.

11) Making 4 scarves in the last four months, and a single scarf in the rest of my knitting career.

12) Yvonne's gorgeous jumper, which she made for the Knitting Olympics: no pics on my blog, but some of the WIP on Tracey's blog.

13) Having realised I could create a web-site for a purpose.