Friday, 31 July 2009

All is revealed

Or is it???

Here it is, in all it's technicolour glory, THE MYSTERY OBJECT!!!

Your guesses have been getting closer. It is for the garden and it does decorate a plant pot. However that is not it's main function.

The main purpose of this woolly item is still in the experimental stages. I should be able to report back if it works in a few days time.

So, any last guesses as to what it does?

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Was ist das? (Mystery Object - Part III)

OK, so I don't know how to say Mystery Object in German.

Here it is, the final guessing day for the mystery object. All will be revealed tomorrow.

No one has guessed correctly yet but some of you are getting warmer.

Keep on guessing folks.

PS. If anyone knows how to say mystery object in German please let me know in the comments below, along with your guesses. Danke Schoen.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

El Objectivo Mysterioso - Part II

Is the suspense killing you? Is it? Is it?

Here it is folks, part II of the mystery object competition.

Clue: This photo is taken in context.

Please leave your guesses in the comments.

There'll be another clue on Thursday...

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Mystery Object - Part I

Remember the manky fleece I spun a few days ago? I 've knitted it up, added some acrylic crochet flowers and a decorative button closure. The finished item measures 4cm x 68cm.

If you think you know what it is please leave your guess below.

I'm not sure if there'll be any prizes on offer yet but there will be glory and kudos if you do guess correctly.

There'll be another clue tomorrow...

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Handspun No.3

This is my third attempt at spinning. It's a whopping 17.5m in length with a WPI of 11. My aim was to make the thickness more consistent. While it's not perfect it's definitely an improvement on my last yarn.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Single, atheist, bear who likes fibercrafts.

I was going to post about my various knitting projects today however we had some sad news in the Atheist and Agnostic Crafters group in Ravelry yesterday.

One of my favourite on-line friends and all round lovely bloke, Scenter died yesterday. I'm finding hard to voice how I feel. I suppose in the increasingly internet dominated age we make contact with people from all over the planet and form friendships which are different to real life friendships but are just as real in camaraderie and emotion.

"Single, atheist, bear who likes fibercrafts" is how Scenter, real life name Bruce, described himself on his Ravelry homepage. He was all of those things and so much more. He was highly intelligent and his understanding of a fascinating range of subjects, fuelled by a passionate thirst for knowledge, was admirable. I often had to google some of the things he wrote about but they always turned out to be interesting. He had a wonderful way with language and often provided words of great empathy, kindness and comfort if someone had suffered a misfortune. He also concocted some shockingly bad puns which were guaranteed to make me chuckle.

His good friend Jolie has written here about Bruce who she was lucky to know in real life. I love her description of him:

Bruce was a stellated dodecahedron in a world populated mostly with circles and squares.

It's a great way to describe him. He'll be greatly missed both in real life and in virtual life.

RIP Bruce aka Scenter 1960-2009
All round top bloke.

Monday, 20 July 2009

15 minutes of fame

Flicking through the latest Yarn Forward magazine I spotted not one but two photos of my other half. His words were "I don't even knit!"

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Forbidden Forest II

I had a lot of dilutions of blues and yellows left over from yesterdays dyeing experiment so I made another skein, this time trying to eliminate the mucky yellow and mottled blues. I made up a solution of yellow dye with a hint of green which turned out very yellow and is a bugger to rinse out. I gave up in the end and now have a towel with yellow blotches on it. The blue end is still mottled but lighter in colour.

Anyway, having yellow fingers aside, both the skeins look rather nice together.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Forbidden forest?

This months challenge in the I'd Dye for Britain group on Ravelry is to use primary colours to make secondary or tertiary colours. I thought I'd add to the experiment by trying food colouring for the first time.

I approached it with my scientific hat on, making graduated dilutions using blue and yellow colouring. As you can see the dilutions are all carefully labelled and measured with scientific precision.

One of the things I like about working with fibre is things do not always go according to plan. It turns out fibre is more like chromatography paper. If the dye is made up of more than one pigments these pigments may separate due to their different molecular weights. The first skein I dyed worked beautifully in the mid sections with varying tones of vibrant greens. The yellower and bluer ends weren't so great, especially the blue/greens which separated into indigo and turquoise rather than deeper greens.

Reskeining really does work wonders for making yarn look better, I really like the mix of greens, indigos and mustards in this yarn and may well make myself some foresty socks. It reminds me of some of the paintings I saw in the Per Kirkeby exhibition and also of the Forbidden Forest in Harry Potter which I'm rereading at the moment.

I remembered doing chromatography experiments at school and playing around with black ink on coffee filter paper and paper towels, watching the black ink magically splurge out into blues reds and yellows. I tried the same thing with the food colouring dilutions on kitchen towel to see if it correlated with what happens on the yarn.

The colours match up quite well so I'll use this technique to predict some dye jobs. Not all of them though, that would take some of the fun out of it.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Harry Potter and the Abstract Danish Artist


I had a day out at Tate Modern today. The weather was very blustery, just the sort of British summer day I like, which made the sky look very dramatic. The Millennium Bridge which links St Paul's and the Tate is in the new Harry Potter film and is shown in trailers being attacked by Voldemort's forces. I didn't see any Death Eaters or Dementors, just tourists enjoying London, although maybe there were evil forces at work and I didn't see them as I am a Muggle.

Anyway, back to the serious art. I first went to see the Per Kirkeby exhibition. I'd not heard of him however I have Tate membership so will go and see nearly all their exhibitions so I'll get my monies worth. I'm often pleasantly surprised and will find a new artist I like. This happened with Per Kirkeby.

The first few rooms were abstract nonsense which I like to think I could paint, however moving further into the exhibition I was treated to huge canvasses of colour which are brilliant for imagining things in. One room was full of forest colours which reminded me of rainforest, outback gorges and birdwatching. I went to see the exhibition with my friend Claire, who has years of artistic training and qualifications under her hand crocheted belt. It was interesting to see how we saw different things in the paintings. I was spotting animals and shapes and Claire was picking out colour highlights and brushtrokes.

I must have Harry Potter on the brain at the moment as the painting reminded me of a scene from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. It's hard to capture on the internet but see if you can work out which bit I mean. I'll give you a clue, the actual painting had more grey around the edges, as if set in a cave.

After a spot of lunch we went to the Futurism exhibiton. I might have to see this one again as there was lots to take in, including manifestos, war propaganda and a tiny angular drawing of a knitter. The British artist Wyndham Lewis stood out in the exhibition whose work still looks contemporary today.

The internet really doesn't do art justice so I'd recommend going to see these two exhibitions if you can. just watch out if you see odd looking people wearing robes and funny hats...

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Purple Haze

This is my second handspun yarn which is much neater than the first. I have a feeling this is due to my materials rather than skill. I used prepared merino for this yarn which was so much easier to use than the manky fleece. I'm not sure what I'll do with either yarn as there isn't much but I'll think of something.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Fanfare please...

...OK, it looks like a sheep has had a fight with a barbed wire fence but this is my first ever handspun yarn.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Waiting, waiting, waiting ...

...for Godot

We booked tickets ages ago to see Waiting for Godot with Sir Ian McGandalf, Sir Patrick Jean-Luc Picard-Stewart, Sir Simon Callow and Ronald Pickup. You know the feeling, when you really really want to see or do something and wait patiently for months, then just before the desired thing happens apprehension sets in.

I've been a fan of McKellen for a long time and my admiration for his acting talent escalates the more I watch him. I like the fact he's not too much of a luvvie to play daft roles in Coronation Street, or panto dames or wizards or magnetic mutants and he puts his skill and dexterity into all of his roles. The thought of seeing Magneto opposite Professor X was too exciting. Would the play be as good as expected or would I be horribly disappointed?

I needn't have worried. As a pair of dirty, worn hands clambered over a crumbling wall at the back of the stage to reveal a dishevelled McKellen as Estragon in Beckets seminal work I was drawn in to the life of two shambolic tramps, waiting.

I wont say too much as 1) I'm not a theatre critic, 2) I don't want to spoil the play for you if you see it and 3) there are plenty of reviews out there. What I will say is see this play if you can. New dates have been added...

On the way to the Haymarket Theatre Royal we came across this shrine to Michael Jackson. His death must be good for sales of pink post it notes.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Tour de Fleece

As hundreds of cyclists and cycling enthusiasts oil their gears, prime their brakes and fettle away in readiness for the Tour de France spinners across the globe are priming their wheels, carding fleeces and getting ready for The Tour de Fleece.

I tried spinning with a drop spindle last year at a free event at Vauxhall City Farm. I bought a homemade spindle and a bag of mucky fleece to practice on which has been untouched since last autumn. I've signed up as a rookie in the Tour de Fleece which will hopefully give me the impetus to get spinning.

Will I win the coveted yellow jersey? I doubt it but I'll have fun trying.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Girl and Dean

Knitting, via Ravelry and the Iknit newsletter, have led to some interesting things over the last few months. The most recent was seeing Girl and Dean comedy duo perform at the Hen and Chickens.

We laughed a lot at the sketch show set in a tea room with a John Craven memorial chair, marvelled at the cabbage giveaway and were sad to lose biscuit bingo. There wasn't any direct knitting comedy although the cheeky girls wore some fetching chunky red handknit hats. Touch my bum!

If you get a chance to see Girl and Dean do so. They may be the next big thing.