Friday, July 06, 2007

I'm on a wavelength far from home

Last Friday night the Alliance Français held a 'Passion night' for students to practice their French with a presentation or performance of some sort.

Only two others from my class participated, and I was reluctant but at the urging of our teacher, I found myself agreeing to 'have a go' at writing a little something that I could read out. I ended up writing a short piece about knitting and felting. (If you really want to read a beginner's short, stilted French composition, you can see it here.) I only wrote it on the Wednesday and sent it to my teacher with apologies and, you know, 'no worries at all if he didn't have time to look at it'. He offered to work on it with me before the event started, but I wasn't able to get away from work early enough, and turned up only just before the start on Friday night.

I was happy enough to think that I might just hang out in the audience with a glass of wine. But my teacher asked to see my text and started to make the corrections straight away. He had trouble with some of the things I was trying to say, and I had to sacrifice my favourite sentence, about 'mistreating' the wool. I don't know if I was using the verb correctly but maybe because he wasn't familiar with knitting, let along felting, I didn't seem to have gotten the concept across to his satisfaction. I wonder what he thought I meant?

The actual performance went well. It felt like most of the audience got what I was talking about (and this is not a given, when most of them were beginner students too). I was happy that I avoided using the microphone and was able to project my voice enough for the size of the room. I think my piece was the shortest one of the night - and some of them were several pages long! They must have taken a long time to write. I was surprised at the level of participation, and the range of 'passions' people both talked about, and demonstrated. There was the lady who tap-danced, a man who juggled and rode a unicycle, a singer, and several powerpoint presentations, including a very funny re-imagining of the gingerbread man story as a little man of cheese (l'homme de fromage). The highlight was the Mexican girl who spoke about her home - in French of course - and finished up by making a pitcher of margaritas. Yum.

Since my language was so limited, I thought I had better have examples to show, in the hope that some of the audience might get what I was talking about. So I had made and brought along this pair of pots, knit exactly the same, but only one of them felted.

It had occurred to me that a pair like this might be a good item to enter for the Knit1Blog1 exhibition. Since I often like to put a pre-felting photo on my blog, this would be a way to show the same sort of contrast, as part of the exhibition.

Unfortunately I wasn't completely happy with the finished shape; and I was uncomfortable with the pink and dark purple sections at the top and bottom too. I think I threw it the colours together in too much of a hurry. I really do like pink. And that dark purple is my go-to old favourite for felting. I actually don't mind it in the unfelted version, but the way the pink and purple merged when it was felted.....was it too girly? whatever it was, it was not 'me' enough to go in the exhibition.

So last weekend I had another go, using the same purple Cosy Wool and the same multicoloured Lincraft Big Wool, but pairing it with a lovely green from the recently aquired vintage boodle. And I am much happier with the result.

Oh, I forgot scale objects again - felted they are about 10cm high.

The green and purple pair have been submitted for the exhibition. The pink and purple ones are languishing here at home. So, how does this sound: if there are two girls' blouses in the comments to say they want one, can have 'em! (I'll felt the second one if anyone wants it).

And look at this! Last night when I arrived at stitch n bitch, Happyspider threw this pretty skein my way. She said she didn't realise til after she dyed it, that it was really too scratchy. I think it's going to felt beautifully. Oh yes, it has pinks and purples too, but the colours are more varied, and more masterfully put together than my example above. This photo doesn't capture it, the true colours are a little bit brighter and redder.

Edited to clarify: Scratchy wool is a great candidate for felting, both because I'm not making garments that need to be soft, and the felting process actually softens the wool a lot anyway. It's so nice to be part of a community that shares not just advice but precious stash.


Anonymous said...

Great story and very courageous of you to 'perform' in French! Well done my love. And I love both of those vessels, but the greeny one more. Art is so subjective and someone else will prefer the pink/purple one. They both have wonderful colour blends and shapes.
love Ma

bertie said...

Great to hear the French and felting come together so nicely :)

Djaughan Zelmonde said...

Oh oh oh, before I logged on to comment I saw that there were 2 preceeding comments. 'Drat', thought I. Surely both pots will be gone. But NO - happiness - I see a position of girl's blouse is still vacant. Can I please have dibs on one of the pink pots???!! You know me, lover of pastel baby wool!!!

Donna Lee said...

I love your felted pots. They are so beautiful. I have never felted anything (on purpose) and looking at your beautiful examples makes me want to try. Pink is my favorite color but I always hesitate to buy it because it is so "Barbie" or too young. I have recently started to bring some pinks into my life and they make me smile.

Taphophile said...

The pinks and purples look like a passionate bruise. I love the way the felting makes the contrast colours go all soft and marbled.

Michelle said...

I'm not a lover of purple, but the pink/purple one doesn't look like a big girl's blouse at all! Mind you, the green/blue one is so striking, I don't blame you for preferring it over the other.

I'm new to your blog, and I have to say it's been lovely looking at your creations. Those felted pots are so lovely!

happyspider said...

ah they're always pretty. Never fear colour i say! And i'm glad you like the yarn, sorry if i was a bit off-handed with it, i didnt mean to sound like i was giving it to you because it was cruddy. I just figured you'd appreciate it more than anyone... and i clearly need ettiquette lessons... :p

Bells said...

damn I'm too late I think. You know I'll always relieve you of your pots Olivia. Looking forward to seeing what you do with Spideys wool!

kms said...

great idea re the before and after for the exhibit. it never ceases to amaze me how you get bits of chunky wool to stand up and be useful!

Jejune said...

Well done on your French speech! And I just love your photos - the new set-up is working well. The 'before and after' shots are inspired. Looking forward to seeing your work at the exhibition opening on Friday!

Nettie said...

I'll be a big girls blouse any day. They're gorgeous. And I need all the inspiration I can get.

aykayem said...

er ... I love that pink/purple pot! - and I am definitely NOT a girly girl ... while the other girls messed around with make-up and stuff I was outside climbing trees! and I was the one who did woodwork and metalwork while all the other girls at school did cooking and sewing (the "boys craft" classes got to play with all the fun toys like lathes and stuff, things which Dad would have loved to have in his shed ... besides - I could do cooking and sewing at home with Mum ;-)
Funny thing is ... I now make quilts and crochet but I don't do woodwork and metalwork ... then that might be because I don't have a workshop full of fancy tools for that ... lol
(I tend to dabble in everything ... but mostly stuff I can dabble in without having to buy expensive equipment and a whole pile of stuff - a lot of my things are done with scrap fabric and scrap yarn, or stuff I buy from cheap shops ... )
btw - I was at the opening of Knit1Blog1 ... saw your felted pots and loved them all! ... I am now inspired to have a go at something like that myself - I have done felting before, and I have made crochet pots - but not felted ones - they were "clothesline crochet" - where the stitches are worked over cord (I guess it was originally clothes line cord, hence the name) to stiffen them.