Saturday, March 22, 2008

Star in the Darkness

This is another teeny tiny star. The square in the centre of the star is 1 inch across. I made up the block pattern myself, although obviously it is based on friendship star. It still needs trimming. The blues of the background are more similar in real life.
square of

It took huge amounts of pfaffing, until I realised that rather then try sewing 1.5 inch strips to 1.5 inch rectangles, I could sew 3 7/8 inch squares (which were already cut out) to 4 inch strips and then trim down. More planned wastage, less accidental wastage.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Recent finishes: a funky fur hat (two weeks from start to finish) and a pink crochet bag (4 months from start to finish). I've also done some crochet squares.

Recent starts: entralac bag from Yarn Forward. If you're thinking about doing it, the pattern has a lot of errors. And you can't refer back to the article on entralac immediately preceding the pattern, because the article doesn't use quite the same method.

It was Knitting Group last week, but I didn't want to take the bag. Instead I started a the second glove of a pair I was knitting last year. I got quite a bit done: then I realised at teh end of the evening that last year's glove was all 2x2 ribbing, and I had been doing 1x1 ribbing.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ferret's Quilt Show II

This is a fuller report of Ferret's quilt show - I didn't have time to write a longer one on Sunday. I did enjoy it immensely.

Edited to add link to Sunday's review.

First the quilts. Photographing quilts can be really hard to get the real effect, and it was quite dark. I only took a very limited number, and then decided that the ones on her portfolio page would be better then anything I could take.

So I'll repeat the photo from before:
Ferret's quilt show

I didn't spend as long as I could have looking at the quilts, because I was too busy talking to her friends.

Her cat was on display, and it was extremely effective. There is a textural distinction between the cat and the background. It was almost three dimensional. Another dimensional quilt was 'Autumn', with the leaves that she has shown on her blog. Some of the leaves are stitched down only in part, so they could flap around in a wind. The quilting was excellent too with the shapes of leaves quilted into the background. It's the quilt on the right of the picture.

On the nudes, I'd talk about the effect of "negative space", if I was entirely sure what it meant and it didn't sound too pretentious. But what Ferret has done is take a large background space and not entirely cover it with picture, just enough to have the suggestion of a hand, or a leg.

Her Union Jack Quilt was on display. It was interesting listening to the comments: people recognised it as being punk related, whereas the commentators at the Festival of Quilts where it was on display, didn't get it. (Or at least the retired ones who go on a Friday didn't.)

Ferret has also got some really nice friends. Sometimes you meet someone new and they have done the same sort of things that you have done and like the same sort of things you like. Ferret's friends were like that. We talked about Charles Babbage and zombie attacks and gravitational lenses and Gary Gygax and the Science Museum. And about other things along those lies.

To summarise, I had a really enjoyable evening, and the quilts are worth seeing.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Ferret's Quilt Show

On Friday, I went to the opening night at Ferret's quilt show. It's definitely worth going if you are in the area, the quilts are very different in real life to in photos.

Ferret's quilt show

Ferret is the one in black.

Click on the picture to get a full-size image: Ferret is the person on the right, with long dark hair.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Visit to an Oxford College: writing as a distraction

I walk along the High Street in Oxford, regretting that I have no map with me, but knowing I have studied them well enough that a map in my hand would not gave me any more information.

I reach a long, anonymous building which is probably the right place. The windows are above head height. A few steps set in to the wall lead up to a dark oak doorway: a group of people are on the steps, as well as a small noticeboard propped against the side. "Is this Queen's College" I ask and they assent. I push open the small door set into the larger one, and go through.

The porter's window is to my left. I ask the way to my meeting: staircase 4, back quad. I hope I can recognise staircase 4 from staircase 5 and staircase 3, this is all new to me.

I start to go around the quad, under the cloisters. But the woman I know is here, and says to go across the quad. I open a small metal gate: the path leads directly across the square, between two lawns with short, green grass. Between the grass and the path, there is a flowerbed on each side. The effect is symmetrical and controlled: each flower bed contains two rows of small blue-purple cultivated primulas. Elsewhere they would be called primrose, but the use of the Latin name is appropriate for this place.

I walk down the path to the far side, amazed that I have the right to do this. At the end, a single pale pink hyacinth shows between the rows of primulas. It looks out of place, but there is a row of hyacinth plants between the rows of primulas. It is the only flowering hyacinth: I am the only person here.

I walk through the archway to the back quad. Another courtyard, with a number of closed doors set into the walls. Above each door is a number painted on the wall. As quickly as I can, I scan for the number four. Through that door, and the meeting room is obvious. There are people here, I have arrived.

Through a window at the back of the building, I see two carved gargoyles chasing along the buttress of the neighbouring building.

I leave at twilight. A man wheels a bicycle across the front quad, a scene that could have played out at any time in the last 100 years. His fluorescent yellow jacket glows in the gloaming, seemingly incongruous in this setting but it anchors me to the twenty-first century.

I write this to distract me from the knowledge that my first-born is taking his first GCSE exam now: years before most of his age-group, and it is the hard 'triple-science' award.