Tuesday 24 March 2009

Extreme knitting

It is possible to knit and do the Wii Fit free step exercise game AT THE SAME TIME!

As I've aged, it's become more clear to me just how sedentary my lifestyle is: I sit at a desk at work; I sit and sew at home; I sit on the bus. Average steps per day= 3,000. Yep, under a third of what's recommended as a minimum.

Yesterday, I did 20 minutes of stepping and two rows of knitting. That's more of both than I did all weekend. I think the knitting rate will improve as I get used to the stepping.

Making the time to exercise is difficult for me. I'm hoping that my desire to finish the Clanger can be part of the motivation to be more active. But the Wii Fit needs new batteries now.

Otis Redherring

Otis in his garden (4)This is a double-post day because I think Otis deserves his own blog post. I showed him off at the office yesterday, because a few people had been puzzled when I started wiring his armature on my lunch break last Wednesday. He was universally declared a cutie (did that make him blush?) even when he was briefly mistaken for a space alien.

A la the Peacock Chic blog, here's his G-B-U breakdown:

The Good: Cute, pose-able, and he's made of a really fun yarn my mom sent to me. Its label says "Pokeberry Shetland" and it's a hand spun yarn she saw at a fair a few years ago. A wonderfully bouncy, varied texture, perfect for giving a small project loads of visual interest, and fun to touch. (Ya, my mom's great, and she's been spoiling me by sending lots of goodies to play with, so I'm glad I finally have a finished product to show her.) And I'm glad someone was inspired by pokeberries to make something so nice- so many would just see poke as a weed.

The Bad: It's not as elegantly simple as the wool bears. The project needed a wire armature, and the eyes took a lot of stitching with sewing thread. My original idea was for much simpler eyes, but  when I had the yarn and embroidery thread, it just didn't happen. The eyes were so frustrating that I had to put the project down at one point, reminding myself that this was supposed to be fun.

The Ugly: The wire shows through at the end of his little tentacles! I knew this would be an issue, and tried to wrap them tightly, but it wasn't enough. Next time I try to wrap a wire like this, I'll try doing two layers over the folded tips. Also, he has no suckers as I couldn't think how to make them.

I feel sated with wool wrapping projects now. One of my colleagues suggested making a copyright infringing Kang or Karg doll, and another suggested making lots of fish friends, making me think of the possibilities of using two different colours of yarn to make a stripy fish. For now, I'm happy to be weaving on the bus.

And I need to put a BIG THANK YOU to my P, for the photo shoot! His hobby is so convenient for me.

Thursday 19 March 2009

Forgetting and learning

This morning I forgot the key to my desk. On Tuesday, I forgot the keys to the flat. Usually, when I forget things like this, it's because I'm trying to do too much. So, here's what I've got as to-dos for this week:

  • Add another row onto the quilt

  • Knit clanger to next stage of instructions

  • Cover old headphones

  • Start a patchwork piece

  • Secret step of great birthday present for P

  • Try out the Rag Bag Loom weaving project

  • Bento everyday

  • And I had my PDR at work this week (I do love my job, and my manager makes the PDR rather fun, but it's still an odd piece of work)

So, I know from my forgetting that this is too much. So far (Thursday evening), I've worked on the quilt, got to the next stage of knitting, broken (and repaired) the loom, taken a bento for my lunch every day (plus have leftovers ready for tomorrow) and got through the PDR. Oh, and started the wool ball octopus.

The weaving project was going well, though I think the bamboo skewer I was using as a shed stick may have been a bit intimidating. Then on Tuesday, the comb came off the envelope, and so the warp was unsecured. It may have had something to do with being stuffed into a bag along with a few soy milk containers. I had been sceptical of the PVA glue holding the comb, especially for withstanding twisting, so it wasn't too surprising. I left the weaving on the envelope, re-glued the comb, then sewed it down as well. I managed to re-string the warp, and learned more about how the comb and board work to make the loom. So, not a disaster, a learning experience. I hope to continue with the weaving next week. While the loom was being repaired, I started on the wool ball octopus, and I want to finish that tomorrow/this weekend. If I can find the yarn for the eyes (I know I have a bit of yellow yarn, but where?).

Sunday 15 March 2009

ready to weave?

weaving club goodiesWalking home on Friday, I was met by my P and one of our neighbours, who asked what I had been crafting on the bus. A bit embarrassed to say I had just been reading- I should have explained I was reading the DIY Weaving Club zine and project instructions. I got the package last week, and it does look good. My project for Monday is from the DIY Weaving Club- a RagBag Loom. It took me a few readings to get my head around the instructions (due to me being scatter-brained rather than the instructions not being clear) but I think I’m ready to start it now. The loom and shuttle are glued together, and I’ve got my string selected!

Other notes:

  • Missed the bus on Friday morning- it pulled away just as I reached the stop. I had to laugh, as I was slowed down by the Ska tune in my head, leading me to just mosey along. If it had been a House or Motown track, I would have been at the stop tapping my foot before that bus had got there.

  • On Monday or Tuesday (memory fails me) it was cold enough in the morning to have condensation on the bus windows. “Don’t write your name!” an older sister insisted, then showed her sibling how to draw a dog face based on a stick man and turn the letters boy into a face. “I know those already” was the response, but they were new to me.

  • I did work on the flower, but I’m not satisfied with the result. So instead of being finished, it has gone into another level of not finished. Not feeling inspired to do more flowers.

  • Instead of getting up to work on the quilt this week, I just stayed in bed as late as I could. Still hoping to sew up a row this weekend. I do still want to work on it, but it is going very slow.

Sunday 8 March 2009

Doing and thinking

on the way to workOn Friday, I got off the bus two stops early, took a few pictures and then a 10 minute walk to the office. As I get older, the public health messages about exercise make more sense.

Craft-wise, I wasn’t doing anything earlier in the week, then started another bear on Thursday. It’s with a thicker white yarn, so it will be a polar bear, or in Japanese, shirokuma (shiro for white, kuma for bear). I wonder how much I can say in different languages! (Must look into that learning French series that Chris recommended- in preparation for visiting the mechanical elephant.)

Anyway, I finished the bear on the weekend, after making a mouse at the guild meeting. I’ve put some more ideas for wool ball animals in my journal (the octopus looks like a good one), but for the commute on Monday I think I’ll try to finish a flower I started ages ago, so I can tidy it away. It bugs me that I can't get organized to do stuff. Does that mean I don't really want to do it?
white bear and mouse
What I enjoy more than the doing is the planning- the thinking out how something could be done. The doing is a slog. But there's no other way to test the planning. Hmm.

And I do still want to have stuff finished.

Sunday 1 March 2009

ball of yarn bear

Ball Bearing(So CUTE!!) The mini-balls of yarn were rolled as I went to and from work on Friday, then on Saturday I sewed them together (using the same yarn). So, not a completely made on the bus craft, but a good use of the time.

The head, nose, body, arms and legs are just small balls of yarn. The nose is a bared fly stitch and the eyes a 4 looped French knot, both with all 6 strands of black embroidery thread. The ears are crocheted: slip knot loop, chain 1, 3 double crochet into the slip knot. Like the limbs, they are sewn on with the same yarn, but with the loose ends of the crochet pulled through the ball of yarn, too.

Really pleased with how this turned out.

And a scheduling note: On our holiday at the Heights Hotel, we met an ex-English team hill runner (lovely woman), who still goes running in the early hours every morning. It inspired me to make an effort to get up (and out of bed) early, and take the time to sketch, craft, or just do something creative.

I failed to finish the story in time for P’s half birthday, and I haven’t returned to work on it yet. And my quilt only has 6 rows on it, with the seventh ready to be stuffed. We bought some storage boxes for me to tidy up my shelves with, and hopefully that will help with having space to work in.

Overall, I’ve not done as much as I had hoped to, but I have done some things. And spring is here.