Saturday, November 28, 2009


People frequently boggle at the number of projects I have going at any given time. Not just the knitting, (which is usually a result of "Oooooh, Shiny!" kicking in on either a pattern, yarn or both) but the variety of types, media, and interests. Honestly, this is not something I generally plan, it just happens - projects feed into each other and reproduce like bunnies! Just in the last week, I've witnessed one project morph into three. I'm going to document what happened, not just as my usual WIP commentary, but as either Great Inspiration or Dire Warning to those who wonder how (or how NOT) to have a lot going on.

As many things do, it all started innocently enough. I've had some ideas for altered books floating around for a while. Last weekend, for whatever reason, I finally decided to give it a shot. I wandered out to the garage to pillage the piles of junk art supplies and treasures, looking for a set of outdated "How-to" books that I had no interest in, and had had no luck interesting anyone else in.

While out there, I discovered an old, stained macrame board that had come from someone else's stash in a bag of "Hey, can you use this?" type stuff (which I never turn down, hence the piles of stuff in the garage, hence the tendency to....well, you'll see). This came in also, as a whim, and as a "Hmmm, what can I make with this?" thought.

I mixed up a batch of diluted glue, got out my brayer, box cutter, rulers, brushes, etc. and set about prepping the book. I sliced out chunks of pages (which were set aside for later collage projects). I glued together stacks of remaining pages to give a stable background, separating them with waxed paper and weighting the whole thing down with a stray sewing machine head that was waiting around to either be fixed up or parted out (OK, so the sheer number of hobbies I have contributes to the problem here....)

The board was just sitting there, so I figured, since I had supplies out anyway, I'd mix up some diluted gesso, and prime it. If I decided I didn't want the print showing through, I could always go back and paint over it, but it would still need to be primed. I'm being efficient, right? Since I've got everything out, and am right there and all, right?

The board and the book spent the work week sitting downstairs in waiting, as the book needed to dry. After letting the book sit for a day to ensure everything was stuck together and more or less flat, each night I dutifully turned another page set, carefully peeling the waxed paper off so the next set could finish drying completely. Meanwhile the board sat patiently, waiting for me to figure out what it would be.

As it frequently does, an idea came to me overnight after spending the week pondering various collage and mixed media possibilities. I remembered I had some lovely blue tissue that came in a shipment of - something - can't remember what, but yes, I hoarded it as potentially useful. I had seen something a while back about how the color runs and fades from damp tissue, so thought if I crumpled it, sprayed it with water, then rolled it around a bit, I would end up with a mottled, textured background I could glue down to the board. Not being one to let a batch of free color go to waste, I put a piece of watercolor paper down to do this on. This seems to have worked well, as I have a lovely, pale, splotchy blue background now on the watercolor paper. I also now have a third project going. Yikes. Meanwhile the tissue is drying so I can uncrumple it and collage it to the board.

Anyone want to place bets on how many offshoots or random spawnings will occur before the original project gets finished?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

That's What You Get

Yes, that is exactly what it looks like - a big pile of yarn barf. That's what you get when you don't check your gauge closely enough. The pattern is the F.A.O. beret, worked in Cuzco alpaca/wool. The problem was not discovered until about 6 or 7 rows from the end, when the yarn ran out. (cue wailing, gnashing of teeth, and flinging of yarn)

I am happy to report that the victim, erm, project made a full recovery following attention and treatment with a one-size-smaller needle. Whew! Thank goodness this was only a small project!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You've Come A Long Way, Baby

I know of people who never go back to old projects. They look at them, see the mistakes, or see how much their technique has improved, and scrap the whole thing for the real or perceived flaws in it.

Not me. I love to look at them, cherish them as a reminder of where I was, a milestone on the road to where I am now, and a reminder that I had the courage to start something, even if I wasn't sure it would be perfect when it was done.

Isn't this where most of us should be in life? Nothing is ever perfect, or turns out as planned. Instead of bemoaning our lack of perfection, or lack of that new car, or new job, or hunky husband, shouldn't we look at where we are now and view all these things as what made us who we are? No, you may not have gotten that promotion, but if you had, would you have met the really neat person in the cubicle next door? Maybe your car broke down, but if it hadn't, would you have ever discovered the fantastic coffee shop next door to the car repair place?

Today's featured finish is Midwinter's Eve, which was started about two years ago. Since then, I've discovered I was twisting my stitches when knitting, learned a lot about lace knitting, and knitting in general. There are several mistakes that, to me, are glaring. You know what? It's still wonderfully warm and cozy. It still impresses people to find out I made that. You can still see the pattern - the snowflakes coming down over the snow covered mountains, with the trees, stream and snowbank at the foot of the mountains.

Yes, you've come a long way, baby, but you wouldn't be here, if you had never been there.

(p.s. It appears Blogger is testing my theory. It's refusing to load pictures right now. I promise they exist - looks like I'll have to edit the photo in later. Now off to figure out what I'm supposed to be learning from this.)