Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mental Health Morning

I'm taking the morning off today. I worked both days this weekend and find that I really miss having a block of time, usually Sunday afternoon, just to myself, staying at home. I have nothing pressing this morning, though I certainly have work to do at the office. But that can wait a few hours until after lunch.

So I finished up my Noro Furisode Log Cabin Blanket, above. Eventually there will be a black border around it, but for now, I'm done. I'm ready to move onto my bright stripey blanket that I posted about last time.

In other news, did anyone catch the Firefly reference on Castle last night? When Castle said "I was aiming for his head" I absolutely thought of Jayne. There's a new Firefly book of short stories coming out in June. It's called Firefly: Still Flying. I preordered mine already.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Second Sean Scully Blanket

After some thought, I've decided to turn this pile of granny squares into this:

The basic construction will be garter stitch log cabin.

First I'm going to knit the center panel in random stripes of black, white, yellow, orange, green, and aqua blue. Basically, unraveling the squares as I knit. ETA: The more I look at this sketch, the more I think I'll make the multicolor stripes thicker. But we'll see when I actually get around to knitting this.

Once I run out of the yellow, orange, green, and aqua, I'll bind off and pick up with white down the side to knit out the white and turquoise blue stripes. If I have enough white or if the dimensions aren't right, I'll pick up on the other side of the multicolor panel and knit out the white and black stripes. Then crochet on a black border to bind it all.

My main inspiration was these 2 Sean Scully paintings. Below is "Heart of Darkness" 1982, oil on canvas, now at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Below is "2.24.82" 1982, oil on paper, in the collection of the artist.
I love his works because they're just stripes which calls to mind quilts, but he combines them in ways that are unusual and strongly graphic. He paints in a way where you can see the brush strokes.

And that fact that he paints stripes makes it very easy to convert into knitting.

Other inspirations include the knitted Block-striped Afghan by Sarah Dallas, and any number of asymetrical stripy folk quilts, such as the quilters of Gee's Bend.

This will have to wait as I'm still working on the Noro Log Cabin. I'm on the last stripe, then will half-double crochet on a black border.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Caprica midseason assessment

So, last night was the last episode before the midseason break. Why is there a midseason break? Some one explain this to me please.

Any, my thoughts on the show so far.

Caprica is appointment TV for me. I don't mind the pacing. There are lots of things going on and the quiet moments give you time to get to know that characters and worlds better.

I haven't watched BSG and don't plan to until after Caprica.

There are people who don't like the Amanda and Joseph storylines but they make sense to me. They've lost dearly loved family members and that would make people lose their minds. Some people subsume their grief into work (Daniel), some turn it inwards -- Amanda into her own crazy past, Joseph into V-world.

Heck, I'm under a lot less stress than them and there are days when I would rather stay in bed and escape to a virtual world. Oh, wait, I already do that. It's called DVD marathons on the couch.

I like that Emmanuelle was Evelyn. Joseph told her to look up Heracles/Tad, so she did. He didn't tell her why, but it makes sense that once she found Tad, she'd ask him what's up. Then Joseph got Heracles kicked out of NCC so Evelyn stepped in to help Joseph. And believe me, if I had a chance to look like Emmanuelle and act like a hardened gangster, I would.

Another plus is Daniel's descent in his own way to madness. It looked like he has his act together but clearly he doesn't.

He lost Zoe, he decided to steal tech from a competitor, that theft's come to light. He's losing his company, his team, as well as his family, and soon, probably his mind too. In the preview for the next half we see Daniel unshaven on the couch, even as in this ep we see that Joseph finally gets off the couch.

Everyone has hard choices to make and has behaved in shades of grey. I like that about this show.

What I would like to see/looking forward to finding out:
1. More Sam Adama, with or without his shirt. And what happened to his husband Larry?
2. More Tamara. How does she build a life in NCC? Can she get out? Does she and Zoe ever interact again?
3. More Lacy. She's killed people now. Even if Clarice survived, that bomb surely has killed other people. What does that do to her relationship with Keon and Barnabus? Does she go crazy too?
4. I hope Amanda survives, but how?
5. More Cyrus. More Tsattie. More Tauron life.

I don't mind giving a show time to find it's legs. The collateral material really interests me too: the podcasts with the frank discussions about budget, time, storytelling; and the composer's blog about how he creates the music which is another layer of the show.

It all adds up to win for me.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

time to rip

I crocheted up all the squares from this post without really any plan for how to lay it out. Laid them out and couldn't come up with any options I liked.

So I'm going to start over.

When I first thought of it, I was inspired by Grumperina's Moderne Baby Blanket. So I bought the turquoise blue, white, yellow and green. Then I bought an orange purse so was on an orange kick and got the orange yarn too and an aqua blue.

Then I got it into my head to crochet instead of knit. Knitting DK garter stitch would take forever, I thought.

However I now see the error of my ways and will go back to my original thought, to do the Moderne Baby Blanket.

I don't even want to think about all the knots and ends I'll have to deal with now that I'm unraveling so many squares.

But first I should finish the Noro Log Cabin first. I only have 1 skein left.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More free yarn

This is a big box of yarn gifted to me by a friend. It is her mother's yarn who passed away 5 years ago.

Last year she gave me some of her mother's yarn and I made an afghan for her out of some of it. I posted about it here.

The bottom half is superwash wool, worsted weight in burgundy, navy, black, light blue. I love that the labels call them Super Wool. :) The next layers are cotton in worsted weight, in tans. There are balls of white cotton as well.

The top layers are 2 bags of yarn, to be made into blankets for her children. My friend's mother had planned to make sweaters for the then-small grandchildren. So my friend has asked me to make them into blankets instead. I've put them in those space saver vacuum bags, each labeled with the name of the relevant child.

The son, currently 11 years old I think, has sage green, mustard yellow, hot pink, and teal yarn in worsted weight cotton. These yarns were bought in the 1980s. I'm thinking something like Kiki Mariko from Mason-Dixon Knitting. Or something stripey like I thought about in this post about my Sean Scully blanket. or the post called Quilt Inspiration about knitting something based on Kaffe Fassett. My friend had given me lots of black yarn previously too so I'll mix in a lot of black to unify it all. That's the idea anyway.

The daughter is now 4 years old and her yarn is fingering weight cotton in lavender and white, and there's alot of it. With only 2 colors, I'm thinking something lacy. I'll have to troll Ravelry to find something appropriate based on yardage. Once I go back and calculate how much yardage there is.

My friend said there's no timeline on getting those blankets done, so that's good. She also offered to pay me for making them. My first thought it "no, all that other yarn is payment enough."

It's also hard to think how much to charge. I could track all the time I spend knitting the blankets and then multiply by some amount of money per hour. Using $10 an hour as a number plucked out of the air, it's possible that each blanket could cost hundreds of hours if not more. Is that something I want to charge a friend? Maybe I'll not charge anything, but at least let her know how many hours I spent per blanket. I'll figure it out when the time comes. I have to knit them first.

What's also fun is that my friend is Bosnian and so some of the yarn labels are in Bosnian so I'm not sure what their content is. I'm treating those as hand wash yarn.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I've been watching Caprica and below are just some not so coherent thoughts about it. I seem to be having some difficulty with coherence lately. Anyway

1. I have not seen Battlestar Gallactica but know about it, about the Cylons and that it has something to do with divinity, humanity, creation, and evolution. I have decided not to watch BSG until Caprica is finished.

2. Everyone's a shade of grey and there is no clear cut good guys or bad guys. It seems that Daniel Graystone is the hero but he's using stolen technology to create the Cylons and he's presenting them to his board of directors as a robotic, never tiring, yet sentient slave race. How is enslavement of sentient beings good? It's not.

3. Loving that some of the biggest players are young women: Zoe, Tamara, and Lacy. Both Zoe or Tamara are forging new by being these sentient and independent avatars. Granted neither one of them wanted it and it happened purely by accident. Shades of Buffy. But still, they're are paving the way for some brave new future. Willie Adama grows up apparently to be bad ass Edward James Olmos, but so far he hasn't had much to do.

4. The issue of culture, race, and ethnicity is explored with the Adamas being Tauron and the 2 brothers, Joseph/Youseef and Sam, taking 2 different paths to dealing with being of a minority culture that's looked down on.

5. Multiple sexualities are accepted: people are gay, straight, monogamously married, multiplely married and it's all accepted. Jane Espenson, one of the producers, has spoken about this elsewhere.

6. The amount of collateral and support material is amazing. on the Syfy website there's behind the scenes videos andThe Caprican blog written as if it's a real on-line paper for Caprica City. That's a serious amount of work. It just fires up my imagination. And the producers are doing a podcast for each episode. You no long have to wait for the DVD to get all the commentary and extras.

7. The visual style and technology of Caprica is a mix of 1930s, 40s, and 50s as well as futuristic computers and it's easily accepted. When Firefly came out as a mix of western and sci fi, people had a hard time accepting it.

8. Like Firefly and Dollhouse, Caprica's in the Friday night death slot. But at least with Hulu and other technology, I don't have to wait for the DVDs to watch it.

what I want

Gah. Work is stressing me out and even though the economy apparently is getting better, I'm not seeing it.

Instead of focusing on the negative, I'm going to focus on the positive. The first step to getting what you want is to visualize it, so here goes.

Below is a list of what I want and I'm not going include what I have and haven't done, barriers, challenges, details or negative thoughts that go with each.

What I want:
1. Sell my old house. Get rid of that financial obligation. Heck get rid of all debt.
2. Have a family.
3. More time with Husband.
4. A job that lets me use my artistic ability and no personnel management.
5. More afternoons in the park with Husband and eventually children.

I'm putting it out there into the universe. In the past that's worked so let's see if it does again.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Today's craft project: Lotus collage

Actually made this yesterday.

scrapbook paper
origami paper
craft knife
mod podge craft glue

finished size 12 inches by 12 inches.

I made a stencil for the red lotus flower from cardboard, so I won't have to free-hand the lotus in the future if I decide to make another one. I already had the stencil for the dragonflies.

It took 2 hours total to make, including selecting the papers, creating the lotus stencil, cutting out the lotus and dragonflies, gluing them in place and sealing them in mod podge, and a snack break.

Next step is to coat the whole thing in mod podge to seal it in because the places where I already used mod podge is darker than unsealed areas.

Next time I want to make something out of stripy paper and do a Kaffe Fassett quilt design.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ready for Spring colors

finished this last night, after cutting off and reknitting the collar to be longer. There is waist shaping, not that you can tell from this picture.

Yarn: Cascade Jewel Hand Dyed, a thick and thin yarn, six skeins
Needles: US size 8
December 25 2009
March 18 2010

Current project: baby granny squares blanket
The yarns are a mix of cotton DK yarns: Reynolds Saucy, Takhi Stacey Charles Cotton Classic, and a random left over blue cotton yarn that lost it's label some time ago. There are actually 3 skeins of the white. Size G hook.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

drugged up

This is what I've ingested today, all before lunch.
1. caffeine, the elixir of life
2. amoxicillin, an antibiotic for the oral surgery I had last week
3. antihistimine (Claritin) to counteract the hives that started yesterday as a result of the antibiotic.

Yet no breakfast. I should get something to eat because after lunch I'm supposed to switch to Benadryl for the hives.

And it's cold and rainy.

On the other hand, USA network showed "Serenity" and it made me fall in love with the 'verse again. I noticed things I hadn't before, such as Jayne's quote "as noble as grapes" which is such great dialogue.

I'm looking forward to the Wash and Shepherd Book comics coming out later this year.

In other TV news, a friend of mine has developed a show for American TV but her agent is also shopping it around in the UK. She's not sure if she can convert some of the race and cultural references for a British setting but I would guess they'd bring in another writier to work with her.

She's also applied to a screenwriting program at the Univ of California and has to pitch a movie screenplay. She asked her friends who our favorite actors and actresses are and I had to think about it.

There are shows I really like, like Whedon's shows, esp Firefly, Burn Notice, Leverage, and now Caprica. But I realize that who I really follow are writers, like Whedon and Jane Espenson. I like the blog Kung Fu Monkey because John Rogers posts about the writing process of his show Leverage.

That said, I did come up with a list of actors/actresses for my friend:
Christian Kane, Alan Tudyk, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, John Cho, Janeane Garafalo, Lucy Liu, Gabrielle Union, America Ferrera, Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, Laura Linney, Daniel Dae Kim, Rodrigo Santoro.

ETA: Now on Benadryl and feeling a bit out of it and overheating. Fun. not.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Evolution of a style -- Pottery

Here are pics of my latest batch of pottery.

I could crop the photo but then you wouldn't get the wrinkled bedsheet/temporary tablecloth.

Here you can see a family of pieces with their related styles. It started with this book on wooden buildings and this picture of curving shingles really caught my eye. So I started carving my pieces based on it. I first wrote about it in Nov 2009 in the post called Carving Clay.

In this grouping below you can see how I started with the curves going horizontally, then vertically. The vertical lines are easier to carve but I like the white piece best. You can really feel the ebb and flow of the lines.

Below are some other pieces. To make sure the carving showed up, I used translucent glazes, like the green, or ones that would "break" on the texture. With the white glaze, I think it's pretty opaque so I wiped off some of the glaze.

A close up of the texture: Not a big fan of the color but love how it shows up the texture.