Thursday, June 28, 2012
And here is that big pod after felting.
I dropped off a batch of both pears and bowls at Craft ACT today.
I do always struggle a bit with pricing. After spending the hours knitting, felting and finishing, plus rejecting a couple of pieces that aren't good enough, I was trying to psyche myself up to charge a bit more than last time. Because there is work here (even if I enjoy most of it), and that time could be spent doing lots of other things. I don't really make standard sizes, I just have a list of the price points I've used before and I pick what seems right at the time. I pretty sure that I haven't been too vigilant and have been inclined to err on the side of the cheaper price points over time. Somehow at the last minute I look at the pieces and see them as ordinary, just those things I make...
So it was very gratifying to have Jenny suggest that the prices go up a bit with this batch. She'd observed that people seem to find them cheaper than they expect.
I forgot to get good pictures of the pears this time. They were ready a couple of weeks ago and have been sitting on my cabinet at work, attracting a mixture of compliments and bemused questions. It's taken years but I now have a good, simple answer to the perennial 'what are they *for*?'. They're sculptures.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Today I went to a free tapestry weaving workshop with my mum. The Canberra Centenary Community Tapestry Project has opportunities for people to get involved both in the design and the actual weaving. The workshops at this stage are just for learning the basics and maybe coming up with your own designs; I don't think the actual tapestry has started yet. It was slightly awkward; from the info we saw, we kinda thought there would be new beginners there each Sunday, but it turned out everyone there today had started last week. So we had to wait around a bit for the teacher to get us started and show us the basics. Still a great opportunity to try something new. The piece is pretty unexciting in these pictures but we did start to add other colours and worked on a diagonal line too.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
I loved that owl cable and wanted to do it again. So I did, this time for my the smallest nephew who has just turned one. The yarn is Cleckheaton Country Tartan, because my sister and I both loved the light teal-blue, both because it suits this boy and also as an alternative to more conventional 'boy' blues. (Don't get me started on boys' clothes and colour limitations!) There are actually two close but different colours spun together. The other Tartan colourways are much less subtle. The colour may be great but I can't say I'm thrilled with the quality, although I kind of knew what to expect.... other 8plys I've used for kids jumpers (Bendigo, Patons Totem) have been smoother, more pleasant, and probably more hard-wearing. In fact this boy also wear the Sherwood jumper I made years ago and which has been worn by at least two other siblings.
The pattern was improvised from a couple of different sources. It might have been better if one of those sources was in fact a v-neck, because I didn't quite nail it, it really should have been a little bit deeper or wider. Because of this, the neckband took four tries. The first time, using needles a little smaller than those for the main body (down to 3.75mm from 4mm) and picking up stitches at what felt like a 'normal' ratio, resulted in an opening would be a real struggle to pull over his head. (And I did as few rows as I could to avoid narrowing it more than necessary). This was pretty annoying and unexpected, given that I chose a v-neck partly because other necklines for babies & toddlers tend to need an opening and button(s) somewhere on the neckline. The second time, I decided to try 3.25mm needles, and picked up a lot more stitches. The smaller needles didn't make the stitches as much smaller as I anticipated, and the neckband ended up flaring out badly.
I was pretty sure I would need to pick up less stitches, probably a number halfway between the first and second tries, but as an interim attempt I just ripped back to the picked-up stitches and tried 2*2 rib instead of 1*1. I thought there was a good chance this wouldn't solve it, but by this stage it was quite an interesting learning experience and I wanted to see how much less it would flare this way. My assumption was that the stitches would be a little tighter overall - generally the more switches between knit and purl stitches, the more loose the knitting is. This is why smaller needles are often suggested for ribbing. And I was right, it did flare less, mainly only looking bad across the back. So for the fourth and final attempt, I went back and picked up less stitches, reducing the number across the back more, and not reducing the number in the v part too much. I still tried to have as many stitches overall as I could without getting a flared effect, because I was still concerned about it getting over his head.
Unfortunately, the neckline still does flare out at the back. Actually it's happening in the above photo as well. At least it does go over his head without complaints. You may also be able to see that I've added length to the body and sleeves. He grew significantly while I was knitting! This is a great advantage of top-down, in-the-round construction, it was pretty easy to undo the cast off and continue knitting.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
I was marching around town last week looking for somewhere that sold juggling balls, and not having any luck. They're not quite toys and not quite sports equipment, I suppose. One games place said they usually only stock them at Christmas time. Suddenly it occurred to me that there might be an easy way to make them. I thought I remembered a type made from balloons. Sure enough, there is an easy way. The trickiest thing was trying to make them as small as possible (I only had standard-sized balloons) so they wouldn't be too big for a 4 year old's hands. The first few I made were a bit too big, so now we have a set on the coffee table. Every now and then I throw them around, but I still can't juggle.