Saturday, February 28, 2009

told you I was tickled by tiny...

Originally uploaded by confetti*snowstorm

Yesterday I mentioned my growing love of tininess. I favourited these gloves on flickr quite a while back because they are... frankly mental. I can't even knit full size gloves. These have five tiny fingers each. It's completely crazy. How how how can this happen? They are knitted by a lady called Althea Merback (I suppose if you have a name like that it's almost inevitable that you do some sort of ridiculously creative activity) who knitted the costumes for the film version of Coraline. I came across this video on Whipup recently.

Corlaine comes out in the UK in May, just in time for my birthday. I think I'm going to go and see it (in 3D!) for my birthday outing. I've never seen a 3D film before. Tiny knitting in 3D. Woo hoo!

(Edit: I've just noticed on the video that she is called Althea Crome and not Althea Merback but they MUST be the same person, right?  Surely there couldn't be two Altheas knitting such tiny garments?  That would be too strange.  Maybe she got married... but when would she possibly have found the time?)

Friday, February 27, 2009

post dinner post

Here is our after dinner scene.  I thought the cups and saucers looked almost too perfect.  I have the Friday night tiredness tonight.  I'm watching a documentary about doll's house enthusiasts and hoping I don't ever get bitten by that bug.  I think it could happen quite easily.  All things tiny seem to appeal to me these days.  Hmmm, I feel like I have lots of things to blog about but I think I'll save them for when I am more alert, maybe later this weekend.  I'm going back to the Donna Wilson exhibition tomorrow and can't wait to see it again.  I don't think I managed to convey its greatness properly yesterday.  Go go go to the lighthouse this weekend!  
Right, I'm off to start designing my doll's house :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

escape to the woods

Originally uploaded by LiseMac

I don't really have the energy to blog but I just had to stop by to rave about knitted trees and toadstools. On Saturday I visited The Lighthouse with my Australian cousin. There was an exhibition on by Donna Wilson and this is a picture of part of it - a giant knitted forest! It was the most fun thing I've seen in a long time but the exhibition finishes on Sunday. I am planning a return visit this Saturday (when entrance is freeeeeee!) so that I can soak up its wonder before it goes. I wanted to speedily share this info in the hope that anyone else in/near Glasgow will get to go and see it too. If that is their cup of tea, of course... But really, who wouldn't love a crazy beautiful giant knitted forest!?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

a match(box) made in heaven

Originally uploaded by maraid

It's all busy busy busy in the dropstitch household (I seem to have just appointed myself matriarch...) with various visiting relatives from far flung corners of the world. I was also back at work today after a very natural feeling long weekend, which was a bit sad and quite painful. I think I have many wonderful things to blog about from my own life (don't get your hopes up please!) but I am just making a flying visit today to share this wonderful matchbox. Oh! Oh! Oh! I love it so! If you haven't already, you must visit maraid's flickr and see her outrageously amazing matchbox collection.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

hello, sailor! (or a nautical valentine's)

Today is Saturday the 14th of February.  There were low lying clouds and a light westerly wind this afternoon when Graham and I went on an excursion.
 En route to our excursion's destination we saw the lovely graffiti above, which got the day off to a good start.  I hadn't seen a new piece of nice graffiti in a long time and I really liked this cowgirl and her lovely lashes.
We purposefully walked by this tree (spotted on new year's day) so that I could photograph it.  It's grown so much over the years that part of the fence is now inside it.  The fence is all bent and I like to think someone tried to rip it out but the tree was too strong.  If you live in Glasgow (and are looking for a cheap day out - ha!) I can heartily recommend going to see this tree in real life.  You can find it on Kelvin Way and that is the old bandstand in the background.
Graham says this car is Jim Lambie's latest project.  I don't think he was lying (?) so maybe we've saved ourselves a future exhibition entrance fee by peering over high walls!
Our plan for the day was to go and see (finally!) the tattoo exhibition at the tall ship, after failing to see it twice already.  It is a small exhibition but was really interesting.  It was all about the history of tattoos and how sailors started the trend in the west after visiting various peoples in far off lands, being amazed by their tattoos and getting some done themselves as a souvenir of their time and the people they met.  It also covered how western missionaries went to the same places and tried to ban tattooing and used it to brand those they saw as criminals.  Thanks to that, some cultures have lost a lot of the ancient techniques/designs they used.  I liked the cover of the book shown above.
We went aboard the Tall Ship while we were there and had a great time.  Who couldn't be happy with so many portholes around...
... and the word 'poop' written in so many places?  Tee hee!
I considered becoming a pirate and living a life on the ocean waves in a home on the rolling seas, but the fact I felt a bit seasick on a stationary boat made me reconsider.
We lunched at Big Slope (yum) but stopped for a nosy in the windows of the shop with entertaining signs (as shown above - click on the picture to see a larger version) on the way.  What a hoot!  I think I could be too easily amused...

This evening Graham is working.  I'm itching to try out my gocco but I think I may wait until I have the reassurance of some company.  I have plenty of knitting to be getting on with in the meantime anyway, as well as lots of birthday presents to be making.  But I think the gocco is calling... 
Fortunately, I don't understand what it's saying :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

printing: the past, the present, the future...

Today is a momentous day... kind of... in that my gocco arrived.  Eeep!  This week I've been working on my first print design and I've been surprisingly happy with it.  However, now that I see the gocco with its four bulbs and two screens (just enough supplies to make my one rather ambitious two screened first design) and its unfathomable (to me) japanese instructions, I am filled with trepidation and self doubt.  Have I been over ambitious?  What if I break the gocco the very first time I use it?  Will I ever get more bulbs and screens?  When will I stop feeling like I'm about to start hyperventilating?  Pant pant pant.

To distract/reassure myself I have decided to share my recent more low-tech experiment in printing, lino printing to be precise... or imprecise, as it was actually a slightly softer than lino substance that I carved this from and I'm not 100% sure what it's called...?  Anyway, I hand carved the image from a lino style substance (!) and printed a number of images from it.

For those of you who didn't spend your childhood Saturdays watching large men in leotards, this is Big Daddy.  Graham is quite a fan of British wrestling from days gone by and I designed and made this print for his recent birthday.  I also gave a print to Claire as a thank you for the cups she gave me (again for Graham's birthday).

This close-up shows (as well as reflections from the frame) the paper I printed on.  I used the blue insides of recycled envelopes that I had been saving up for some time.  This particular envelope pattern was probably my favourite but many others also turned out rather nicely.  I printed quite a lot (and may go back and print more) and have a plan for them to be put to good use...  More on that mysterious snippet soon!

I'm confident nobody would argue with the fact (please don't) that this Big Daddy print proves I am surely a natural born printer.  My gocco will love me.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

breaking news

It's been snowing!



Last year I kept seeing terrariums popping up on blogs.  I'm terrible when it comes to looking after plants (my fingers are definitely closer to black than green) so I thought maybe a terrarium would be a good way of getting a bit of nature into the house.  I had heard they are quite hardy.  Two weeks ago, while walking to the supermarket, I pilfered some stones, earth and a piece of moss from the park.  Et voila!  The terrarium was created!  I wanted to stand a little plastic deer in the moss but haven't been able to find one small enough yet.
I think there must have been grass waiting to sprout in the soil I (a-hem) appropriated because this green sprout (above) has suddenly shot up at the side of the jar.  I had thought of trying to remove the impostor but I think there might be a few baby shoots appearing through the moss too.  They look quite sweet so I think I'm going to let this terrarium grow wild and free.
I love peering in at the moss.  The colour and texture look amazing.  When I was explaining terrariums to Graham, he was not at all convinced but now he loves our pet moss too.  

Apparently you don't need to water the terrarium until there is no condensation left inside the jar.  I haven't watered mine at all yet and it's still quite steamy after two weeks.  Ah, this is my kind of gardening...


Argh!  The varmints got me!

Just kidding, it's quite exciting to be tagged really - courtesy of Claire - for something called Sixth Picture.  I'm not sure where it came from but the rules are (rule is!) this:

“Open the 6th picture folder on your computer, open the 6th photo and blog it. Write something about it. Then tag 6 more people to do the same.”

 Simple.  However, when I went to the sixth picture folder in my computer, there were only 4 pictures in it.  This was the fourth, the closest to sixth that I could get.

About four years ago (I think?) I went to evening classes in embroidered textiles at Glasgow School of Art.  At the time I had literally no money.  It was winter and every Tuesday evening an ice cold windswept torrential rainstorm would start up just in time for the class to finish.  All the people at the class thought I was some kind of mad fitness freak because I would insist on walking home in the dark/sleet/wind/thunder and lightning rather than get the bus.  The truth was I didn't even have bus fare as I had spent every penny I had on the course itself.  It seems crazy now but I didn't think of it that way at the time and, in hindsight, I'm glad.  I don't think I've used much of what I learned there yet but there were some basics that helped me have a starting point to explore other areas of embroidery.  And I think all the swanky techniques are still fermenting away in my mind - I'm sure bits and pieces of them pop through in things I make.  At the end of the course there was an exhibition and we each had one board to display whatever work we wanted.  My display skills are terrible but the woman who ran the course (who had us all round to her absolutely gorgeous flat for dinner at the end of the course because she was so stylish and lovely) gave me lots of help to put my board together.  And this was it.

The centrepiece was an embroidered patchwork with pictures of my family peeking through holes.  The photos are poor quality as I only had a disposable camera and then I transferred the images onto fabric which made them even more blurry.  From left to right there is: my sister, Kerry, and brother-in-law , Gavin, and then Graham (a risky endeavour as he was fairly new on the scene back then) and then my dad and lastly my mum.  Most of the other items on there are brooches made with different techniques (machine embroidery, dissolvable fabric, Suffolk puffs etc.).  The fan like bit at the top right corner was my favourite things I made there although it's hard to see when it's bunched up and badly photographed.  It was just a sampler to experiment with couching.  I put a bit of neon pink mesh over a blue floral fabric and used wool to couch some circles.  In some of the circles I cut the mesh away from inside them.  I should get back into making little samplers like that as it was great creative fun and a good way to use up odds and ends.  The head of the textiles department (who dropped by the class one evening) also liked this sampler.  The lady who took the class told me I should be very proud of myself as he was notoriously difficult to impress.  I don't know if she was just being nice but I decided I would get into art school on the basis of this sampler, live the dream and forge out a career in textiles!  This did not happen.  Tee hee!

A couple of people I work with are doing evening classes at the art school this year and I'm quite jealous.  I have more money now than I did back then but am more inclined to feel that I couldn't afford it now.  Strange.  Maybe if the perfect class came up...?

Anyway, I don't normally like to tag people (I get the fear) but this has really been quite a fun exercise so, if the following people would like to do it, they can consider themselves officially tagged:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

east end indecision

This weekend is not panning out as planned.  We missed the tattoo exhibition (but will go another day), Graham did not dj last night, and I am not at the much looked forward to country crafting extravaganza.  I also still have not done half the work I need to but have taken up a fine line in procrastination.  Last night we made plum chutney (which looks and smells like it will be quite delicious) and today I messed about with my Dot and Pat collages.  I'm thinking of getting a batch of these printed up as postcards (with envelopes) and trying to sell them.  However, I can't decide between bold coloured backgrounds and the original white backgrounds.  Any thoughts?  No hurry, as I think all crafting ambitions must be put on hold until late June...!  Ha!  But let me declare now that I do intend to set up my own etsy shop this summer and that I may or may not sell these postcards in it.  I wonder if publicly declaring things will make me actually do them?

Sigh... I suppose I'd better go and get on with my 'real' job.  Weekend schmeekend.  Harumph.

(Monday edit: the eagle eyed among you might notice that I changed Pat's background from purple to blue.)