Wednesday 24 December 2008

One month later

bus scarf 2I'm a bit amazed- I actually finished the scarf! It is warming my neck as I type this. I do like the colours and the feel of it. It is a bit on the scraggly side, a few dangling bits of yarn. I will have to see how it wears and washes. I don't think it will totally come apart.

Also, I have learned that it is really hard to take a picture of yourself; hence the scarf is on my little set of drawers in the photo, rather than on me.

clangerI haven't blogged as much as I wanted to. I meant to write about the death of Oliver Postgate, whose work I've really enjoyed. (The clanger pattern was a pre-buscraft project. I spent a lot of time making a clanger while riding on the train to work. I'm not sure how I would feel about sitting on the bus using foot long metal spikes, um, I mean knitting needles.) But Mr Postgate's work deserves more than a brief note from me, and to be honest I'd prefer to watch the Clangers and Bag Puss rather than to write about them. So simply, a farewell and thanks, Mr Postgate, I do hope to always be  inspired by your work.

And Finally, I've been trying to think if I want to have a paper-based journal, like I used to keep, for tracking what I'm up to in 2009, or if I should just use this blog. No conclusion reached, so I'm going to start the year by doing both, and seeing how well both work. (I was happy to be able to check when I started the scarf, so am please with blogging at the moment.)

Friday 5 December 2008

Someone spoke to me!

Going to work this morning, an older
gentleman sat beside me and asked what I was making. I'm afraid I
didn't answer very well (I can't hear well in noisy environments, and I
wasn't familiar with his accent), but he did say the scarf looked
pretty, and so it started my day well. This is the first time since
starting the blog that anyone has commented on my buscrafting. Scarf progress: 3 rows are put together, the next one is started, then 2 or 3 more to go.

clear sky foggy window

And here's a picture from when I wasn't
crafting, just staring out the window. The weekend before, it seemed
all of England was covered in mist. On this day, the sky was clear(ish)
but the bus window was fogged and patterned with splashes, hiding
things in a similar way.


Also, I've been struggling to finish a
project for the Embroiderers Guild meeting on Saturday- a runner
decorated with felt patches we made earlier this year. I feel like a
student, rushing to finish at the last minute!

Monday 24 November 2008

oh no- I've started something else!

In this case, it is a finger knitted scarf. I have some old blue chenille, bought years ago at Bainbridges in Newcastle. And I have some fresh ribbon yarn from Wool in Stockport- all glittery rainbow coloured. So they will hopefully combine to give me the nice warm scarf I am yearning for. No pattern, but I remember seeing one on Craftster, and I can also remember how to finger knit. When I was in elementary school, or maybe junior high, there was a brief craze for it. It seemed sort of ugly to me, but the scarf with a combination of yarns and textures did look nice.

I do have a horrible habit of starting things and not finishing other things. Will I ever get back to those crochet flowers? I'm thinking they would be a nice embellishment on a patchwork shirt; a project I'm thinking of starting after I finish the quilt I've been working on for a year and a month. Too much thinking!

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Doing nothing

lack of blogging reflects my lack of crafting- all I've done on the bus
is sit. I've been disorganized and unmotivated (though I know I'll make
no progress if I don't force myself to work on things). I've also been
tired- possibly because of anxiety around my sister in law needing an
operation, and stress around cleaning the mould infestation in our flat.


spiral on patchMust remember that at this month's
Embroiderer's Guild meeting, Carol gave me a lovely bit of hand dyed
yarn- wonderfully soft. It was a left-over from her card making, and
she suggested adding it to the mending I was doing on one of P's kimono
(finally wearable again- all 3 need more patching, but 2 are back in a
wearable state). I put it along a spiral of green stem stitch, and it
looks so fun. I need to be more generous- and I need to buy nice stuff
so I'll have nice stuff to share.


I read about implementing the 101
things in 1001 days on the Peacock Chic blog (she seems so fun). It
does seem like a good tool, but I feel like I'd just be setting myself
up to fail if I tried to use it. I want to enjoy myself, and that does
require being more organized about my hobbies, but I'm reluctant to set
any goals right now. Is this a mistake? I don't know.

Friday 31 October 2008

Not in the mood

On Wednesday, I took the 191 to meet P and go to the book reading by Neil Gaiman. I did enjoy it, but I wasn’t really in the right mood. I’ve been trying to write a story as my commuting project this week, and maybe I was hoping for words of inspiration from Mr Gaiman. I find it hard to write, and I’m not good with words and spelling, but I do amuse myself by thinking up stories. I suppose I’m trying to take that a step further.

And another reason I’ve been writing on the bus: I can’t remember how to crochet. My flower was a bit too free-form. So I need to find a how-to guide to stir the memory of what I was taught as a child.

Anyway, it was interesting to hear how Mr Gaiman read his work, using voices for characters that wouldn’t have been in my head if I had just picked up the book. I like to think I have a high level of literacy and cultural fluency, but I do often miss huge, important elements in books and stories. I tend to just see the surface and not look any deeper. I still enjoy reading and I find it very engrossing. But if you need to write a book review, don’t ask me for help.

And it was nice to sit in Whitworth Hall and admire its well-heated neo-gothic style.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

10,000 hours

As I was getting ready for work this morning, P was sipping tea and listening to the Today program. He told me that Thought for the Day mentioned something about how great achievers in sports and the arts all had around 10,000 odd hours of training before they were truly great at what they did. This would equate to 20,000 bus rides to/from work, or 10,000 working days, or 2,000 work weeks, or 44 and a half years of work. As I hope not to be working when I'm 81 years old, I think I can say that bus crafting will not make me one of the leading artists of our time. Especially as I haven't been organized enough to have a craft project with me since coming back from holiday.

foraged apple

I've been thinking that I've been living wrong. There have been good things: the holiday was brilliant, then a bit of urban foraging when I picked a delicious apple on the way home, and our successful small ikea-hack of adding a mirror to our wardrobe. But then there was the great mildew infestation (which P has dealt with), and we still don't have a fully functional space station, I mean kitchen. And though I did wash dished for 30 days straight, I’m still now back to letting them pile up again. So I’m feeling like my effort has been misdirected; not completely out of balance, not even teetering, but not right either.

Friday 17 October 2008

Notes about the cloth & culture NOW exhibit

Even though I wasn’t enthused and energized about walking to the Whitworth Art Gallery (my monthly bus pass expired while I was on holiday), I really enjoyed the exhibit. I may even go back and buy the catalogue.
Stuff I particularly liked:

  • Neat ‘maze’ of a string of wool staked out in a wood and a meadow- but wrote down the wrong information in my notes. I think it was one of the Estonian artists.

  • Lina Jonike’s Architectural Monument: lovely image, and the embroidery- satin stitch on only some of the flowers- contrasts and integrates. Could this be applied to printed t-shirts?

  • Krista Leesi quilted 007 logo, For Your Eyes Only. Interesting gender issues with the fabrics- did she design those too? Must tell Eleanor at the office.

  • Auste Jurgelionyte’s animation in felt, The Action. Very playful. Intention was to not make something solid.

  • Brilliant button leaves, Passage of Time by Mitsuo Toyazaki. I didn’t pick them up, but I did find 3 buttons on my way home. The seasons are changing.

  • Jun Mitsuhashi, Murmur of Rain, Shadow on the Water and Passing Rain. I would love to have breakfast at one of these tables. They are like Paul Klee’s They’re Biting (Sie beissen an) in 3D!

In other news, the tangle is now a ball of string. I took it on holiday and while P enjoyed the scenery on the train ride down to Ashurst, I sat and untangled. I finally finished it on the second day of our vacation. I have tried to crochet the flowers, but I’m finding it hard to do. I think I understand the instructions, but I’m not sure what I’m doing with the thread. This may take some time.

The holiday in the New Forest was fantastic! We had lovely sunshine for taking photos, and the Barn was a brilliant place to stay. We got weekly bus passes for the area, and combining the bus with long walks in the forest worked quite well. Still at the end of the days I was too tired to do any crafting or writing.

And then I get back home and see these crochet flowers by Linda Permann (from a link on In a Minute Ago). Grrr- so cute, but I don’t even understand the first bit of the instructions. I think I need to stick with something simple, or even more simple. Or extremely more simple. Keep it simple.

Thursday 2 October 2008


Getting off the bus this morning, a bus-wrangler called out to some
young women queuing to board a bus changing driver, to get them to
board the bus I was leaving instead. At least, I think that was the
meaning of what he said, as what I heard was "Ey bar zombiscuits!" My
hearing is a bit erratic, and there's a lot of traffic noise at peak
commute times, so please don't think the bus-wrangler was talking
nonsense. I simply mis-heard the phrase, and ended up thinking
'Zombiscuits- zombie themed biscuits with bits of dried cranberries.
Brilliant!' And just in time for Halloween, too. Now all I need is some
flour, margarine, mixing bowl, cookie cutter, oven ...

Tuesday 30 September 2008

In the rain

Yesterday, I left my keys at home when I went to work. I only realized this when I was almost at the door to our apartment block. As P was between work and home, all I could do was wait in the doorway (it was way too rainy to sit on the new bench). And of course while waiting I untangled the yarn some more. It was a good way to pass the time, though I think I must've looked a bit odd. Maybe very odd.

Saturday 27 September 2008

Things that put me off buscrafting

Odd altercation between other passengers at the bus stop

Feeling motion sick (this may have been due to a mild illness)

Comment about my hobby being un-economical (which is true)

Stressed by all the other stuff I want to do (even though it isn't a lot)

Not finding any new craft ideas (I'm avoiding knitting; a colleague at the office mentioned making Innocent bobble hats for Age Concern in only 10 minutes, but I think it would take me ages)

Still untangling the yarn!

Monday 15 September 2008

To beanie or not to beanie

I think it's a Buddhist thing, that the
root of unhappiness is desire, meaning if you didn't want something,
you wouldn't be upset about not having it (or maybe I have that backwards). This is something I struggle
with, not so much with wanting things, but wanting to make things, even
things I don't particularly want.


For example, after reading Sharon B's
post on the Alice Springs Beanie Festival and seeing the pattern link, I started to
think about yarn and knitting needles and bobbles and ear flaps and all
sorts. Then I felt frustrated, because I couldn't instantly start
knitting a beanie.

Now, I don't wear hats of any sort very often, and I
have remembered that I do have a cute beanie already (red on black,
venom lack, and also matches my walking coat). But somehow, I felt like
my life would be incomplete if I didn't knit a beanie, and soon!


The arguments against making a beanie are good: I don't need one, would hardly wear it, I don't enjoy knitting
for its own sake. But I still want to make a beanie, which is a bit
annoying. So I want to knit a beanie, but I also want to not want to
knit a beanie. I don't know which I want more.


On a real world note, I enjoyed
untangling the yarn this morning- touching the string felt nice after a
weekend break. So I'm more optimistic about finishing that task, and
maybe wanting to crochet the flowers after all.

Friday 12 September 2008


The tangled thread is giving me a lot of frustration now. I often read
how a hobby crafter should do what they love. I'm just not loving the
untangling. And it's putting me off the idea of crochet roses.


I thought, maybe I should give myself a deadline for finishing the
untangling, to make me work faster. My motivation being to just have
the task done with. But setting deadlines has never worked for me. In
fact, I think it de-motivates me.


So now I'm thinking I need to cultivate some patience. Just
continue working, at the pace I can, and so long as I do finish
untangling the yarn and don't just give up on it, it will be fine.

Monday 8 September 2008


Here’s the short version of a story that really isn’t mine to tell: Today a woman at the office was telling us how she and her partner stopped a man from jumping off a bridge this weekend. They had grabbed him as he stepped over the railing, but couldn’t lift him back onto the bridge. She tried to flag down any passing motorists to get help, but most drove past, including a bus. She’s certain some people on the bus noticed her, but said the driver probably hadn’t. One driver and a pedestrian family did help out, and the situation was resolved successfully.

My dilemma is this: If I’m concentrating on crafting, I know I genuinely would not have noticed her waving her arms and trying to get some help. I don’t think I’m a “bad person” or that crafting on the bus is a “bad thing”, but in the hypothetical situation of me being on that passing bus, it would have a negative impact.

Even if I were watching the world rather than crafting, I may not have registered the drama on the bridge, or understood what was going on. And I may have thought that someone else would surely stop and so I wouldn’t need to. But if I were crafting, there would have been no chance that I would have helped.

So a dilemma to ponder. Coming home from work, I did just work on the tangle. It is shrinking.

On a different note, back in what I call “normality”, I’m thinking about having a break from yarn when the untangling is done, and trying some writing. I tried a bit on the train to Liverpool to see La Princesse (my weekend was good!) and I think it would work. I’ve got little ring binders and plenty of scrap paper all ready to commute with me.

Thursday 4 September 2008

missing my stop

A "good thing/bad thing" about crafting on the bus is that I'm often so into what I am doing, that I miss my bus stop on the way home. It's not a big deal, because the next stop is where route ends, at Piccadilly Gardens, and it's a nicer walk back to the flat when I get off there.

Yesterday, an additional bonus of missing my stop was that it provided the perfect reminder to go see the Caravan Gallery. I knew it was at Piccadilly Gardens because I saw it on Flickr. So since I was nearly there already, I braved the rain and had I really nice visit.

They had been at the excellent Garden of Earthly Delights a couple of years ago, and their take on documenting real life in Britain is just so cool. The artists, Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale, basically present what they see, and they do see all sorts.

The Caravan Gallery had been invited to a festival in Castlefield this weekend, but they couldn't make that, so instead have been at Piccadilly Gardens this week. This is a different sort of setting and different clientele for them. The artists mentioned that quite a few down and outs had stopped in. This surprised me, as I don't see as many in Piccadilly as used to be there. But we thought maybe it had to do with everyone else (shoppers and workers) being in too much of a hurry to view the gallery.

While I was there, another punter just popped his head in to say pictures of "urban decay" wouldn't be popular with the locals, but I suspect that he is in the minority with that opinion. (He is entitled to it- I doubt the artists are trying to please everyone!) Another guy had seen the gallery earlier and was bringing his son to see it, too.

And as for the crafting, that tangle is still huge! But I'm working at it.

Monday 1 September 2008

BusCraft beginings

How exciting! My first blog post:

I take the bus to and from work, most every weekday. My commute is scheduled at 30 minutes each way. That adds up to a lot of time. Time to do what?

Watching the world go by is great, but I'm trying to use the time a bit more productively. I'd like to work more on several different hobbies, and while I can't see myself painting with watercolours on my way to work, there's plenty of other activities that would work well.

The BusCraft blog will hopefully help me keep track of what I'm up to, and let me make notes on how it is going. And help me plan what I'd like to do next.

My current project is to untangle the mass of crochet thread in the picture. Last week, hook and notes in hand, I was ready to try out the flower pattern from the Gipsy Quilt blog. But I pulled on the wrong thread, and instantly my yarn was a tangle rather than a skein. So, a few more days untangling and rewinding, then I'll pull out the crochet hook again. That's the (revised) plan.