Friday, June 29, 2012

Knit... knit!

In the last week, I've been attempting to knit a baby blanket for a couple who are pregnant. The amount of stitches I've cast on is 100 onto 4.5mm needles (nice long metal ones that can take the yarn well).  However, somewhere in the beginning, I've dropped a stitch and have had to pull it apart within the first 6 rows and start over again.
This drove me nuts until tonight when I got to the end of the second lot of the Irish Moss Stitch and found I actually made it all the way through!  Yay!  Now, to make sure it'll work for the next month or so - until the ball of yarn is used up - and I've completed the blanket.  I'll have to make sure that my knitting is accurate and that I'll have it well-counted out.  

Here's hoping.

Well, the other lots of knitting is complete.  This means that the 3 hats and little green scarf are finished.  I left the blanket until last so I could take my time to finish it up.  I'm looking forward to the time where I can give these sweet things to my friends and they can use them.  I'll have to take photos of them soon and show you all the completed results.  Until my next post, keep creating!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Collections Workshop - Week Two

Today, our workshop was off to the city by mini-bus.  We all arrived there about half an hour beforehand and and chatted amongst ourselves, then piled into the bus, and were off!  It didn't take us long to get into the city and parked outside the GoMA, State Library of Queensland and Museum and Art Gallery.  All of us walked to the old section of the Queensland Museum and found that a lot of it hasn't change; and it was soon to be undergoing new construction.  However, a lot of it has changed.  We were taken to a section of it that hadn't changed in around 20 years and shown how our exhibition could be at Pineapple Park in a few weeks.  I took some photos for ideas and then, we had some lunch at the new cafe for half an hour before meeting up again for a brainstorming and the workshopping part of afternoon out.
We sat in an area away from the milling crowds that were there to see the Egyptian exhibition (which was every man and his dog!) and we worked on what our collections meant to us in drawings.  First, we drew our collections with our eyes closed - as a visualisation technique - and then we were asked to draw it upside down on a separate piece of paper.  After that, we were told to put them both up on the opposite wall and explain, one by one, what our collections mean to us.  We more or less said the same things:  we began collecting our things in our childhood, we associated our collections strongly around our families and when we were around our collections, it immediately took us back to our childhood or times of strong memories surrounding our friends, family, travel or childhood.
So, our exhibition is going to be about just that... our collections and when they started and how they affect us now.  But it was a great day out; I totally enjoyed myself and really came up with some great ideas for next weeks' work.
Peter - our train enthusiast - needed the noises of a train.  But nobody could think of how to get anything like that without paying for it off iTunes... not until I said I had a sound effects cd that had those kinds of sounds on it which I had had in my collection for years we could nab the effects off and put them on a loop.  The organisers were amazed that I had that kind of thing, until I said that some of the noises I needed were of pub noises, parties, storms and battles and sword play for my books.  These were just noises I used for effects so I could close my eyes and write a good scene for a chapter.  They thought it was genius I wrote that way; however I've been using sound effects for years.
I have gotten so many ideas for my exhibition, I can hardly keep up with them here or on paper.  But I do need to go to the Thrift Store down the road and buy some old books that I can take apart and use... and I need to soak some of the caffeinated tea bags Mum left behind at my place to age the pages I'm going to use next week.  Yes, there's going to be a lot of preparation done before next Saturday's workshop; and I'll keep you guys fully up-to-date.  Until my next post, keep creating!  

Collections Exhibition Album - The excursion 23/6/2012 

NB:  I've tried three times to get the photos on photobucket to organise in the right order, and it won't do it.  I'm sorry if they're backwards, guys, it's just how the stupid program has worked out.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A New Idea Taking Shape

For a few months now, I've been wanting to get into working with a part of my house that's in great need of a fix-up.  I have hundreds of photos on my computer that are of my family and animals; and I'd love to be able to have some of them in a public album in my house and not on facebook.  

So, what I've begun doing is buying and finding picture frames that will become the album of my family's life.  They'll be in three different colours and all types of sizes as well to make this wall collage appear random - and yet it's not.  So, far, I've bought 5 frames from K-Mart at a great deal and I'm going to look through my photos over the last few years and pick out the ones that are going into this wall album.
Then, I'll be figuring out the sizes I want to each of them to match the frame they'll be going into and then, I'll put them all onto a blank usb stick with the size I want in a notebook.  Then, every now and then, I'll be getting together some of the photos I want done, going to K-Mart and getting them printed up and hanging the photos within the week.  
This project should take until around October or December to complete; and the whole wall of my stair well will be climbing with an album of my immediate family and pets.  Hopefully by then, it will have a life and storyline of its own.  Have you ever done this kind of thing?  If so, do you have any pointers you could give me to make this easier for me?  Until my next post, keep creating!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Collector's Workshop - Week One

Yesterday was a long day for me.  I was out from around 9:30am until 4pm; as I had to work a morning shift at the Logan Art Gallery, and work it alone at that as my partner in crime at the desk was off with the flu (am I the only person who doesn't catch the darned thing?).  
Well, once we had only 11 adults and 6 children come through for the morning, ate lunch and answered a few phone calls, the workshop people showed up and I had to get my gear together to join in.  I packed up my knitting, and lunch bag and put those into the back office and grabbed my blue trolley and green Bookcrossing briefcase, and headed off into the workshop.
We all set up on one table and I put out my books - placing them onto the t-towels they came wrapped in.  I also put out a few pairs of gloves in case people wanted to look at them beforehand (but nobody did) and I had one pair out I wore already undone and ready to wear.
Pip from the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane sat and talked about what this project was about.  She was thrilled that there were 11 of us who had shown up to this first workshop to talk and brainstorm.  We were soon talking with a digital recorder going in the middle of the table, one by one chatting about what we collect, why we collect and how we come across our items.
As collectors, we collect for more or less the same reasons, however how we started and why are for different reasons totally.  For some of us, it was something that kept us connected to places, for others it was because it was because we didn't have money and it was a way to possess something permanent.  However, for one lady - who collected small containers - she told us that nobody in her family had anything in common; so she felt as though each family member's life was in a box of its own, yet they were close.  But her husband has never understood how she sees the family like this; and so doesn't understand her collection.  
When it came around to me, I felt I needed to stand up as I was the second to last person and had been sitting for over an hour.  Besides, I wanted to hold up my books to show everyone my books properly.  As I put on my gloves, I heard somebody quip:  "And for my next magical trick..." and I answered:  "...and with nothing up my sleeve..." everyone burst out laughing!  It was a good ice-breaker to start my talk.  I didn't start out the same way as everyone else, though, at the age of when I began collecting.  I started on my first book and where I found it and how old I was when I bought it; and how I accidentally found my first out-of-print book... and how exciting it was to have something so precious in my possession.  I went on from my first book ('The Letter of JRR Tolkien' in hardcover format) to the first edition of Alfred Einstein's book about Mozart I found at Mullimbimby's The Book Barn.  As I spoke, I found talking about my passion for the written works of any author - no matter who it was so long it was a first edition or signed book - was just as valuable in any language now as it will be in the future.  After I put down a little-known author who had signed her book very strangely, I then talked about how I found my passion for the written word; and how it was an escape for me when I was little as I was a sickly child with childhood Epilepsy and escaping into a book was the best way I knew to deal with it. However, as I grew out of it (as it sometimes does happen with the condition) and I was re-diagnosed with it aged 19, I didn't try escaping from it anymore, I just dealt with it and kept on reading as I found it moved from escapism to a passion... preserving the written word was something that kind of came with the territory of enjoying it.  And becoming an author was another aspect of it too.
They all asked me so many questions about books, first editions, the Life Line Bookfest and publishing and writing that I found it fun!  I could answer all their queries and they were amazed I knew so much about my collection and how young I was when I began collecting these kinds of books - 23 years old - and what will happen to my books if nobody in my family wants them in the end.
Well, this first Collector's Workshop was a blast!  Next Saturday, we are meeting up at the Logan Art Gallery again to take off into the city via a bus to look at art spaces and how they are used around the place.  I'll be taking plenty of photos and uploading them onto links for you look at here.  Until my next post, keep creating!

Photo to look for:  Collector's Workshop - Week One 16/6/2012

Friday, June 15, 2012


Well!  Tomorrow is the day of the first workshop at the Logan Art Gallery for the Collections Exhibition.  I can hardly wait.  I was so excited about it that I packed my blue shopping trolley yesterday afternoon!  Yep, I'm that eager.  The books I have chosen are wrapped up in t-towels, I've put in 3 pairs of cotton gloves and included my knitting bag - as I'm working the morning shift at the gallery.  Then, I packed my Bookcrossing Briefcase to take with me.  
This afternoon, I made a gorgeous Ratatouille to eat for lunch while I'm there so I have something in my stomach.  I'll also take along some other food for morning tea and my drink too so I don't go hungry; as doing workshops exhaust me.
I'll be back tomorrow night, letting you in on what went on there.  I promise.  I'm just looking forward to what will be happening.  Wish me luck!  Until my next post, keep creating!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Collections Exhibition

A few posts back, I talked to you all about an invitation that was forwarded to me about my own collections and how I could display them in an exhibition.  I've got a few collections I could pick from and thought to go with my rare book collection.  
Now, I have got more information about this and found out there's 5 workshops and this Saturday is the first of them.  I'm going to take along my most valued books and - seeing it's a first workshop - we'll be brainstorming on what is needed to be done.
I can't wait to get this working and enjoying the processes of it all as we bounce ideas off each other each week or so at the Logan Art Gallery.  There's even a bus trip involved (and yes, I'll be taking photos if I'm permitted to).  I'll end up making a photo album via a link to photobucket so you can all have a good look at what I've been doing with my exhibition; and I'll keep it on the sidebar as well as a permanent exhibition well after it's been and gone as well.
Now, rest assured, my books are not going on display.  I'm not going to put them as risk of being stolen or destroyed.  Instead I may photocopy them or some pages from them and use those as an art project to show something about them and their assets in the exhibition; this is the idea of the collections exhibition - to preserve the original pieces and show what we can do as artists.  I'll keep you all posted about this exciting project as each workshop comes and goes... until my next post, keep creating!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The History Of Knitting

I thought to bring in an article about knitting; seeing we're coming into Winter here in Australia and it's a great hobby and skill to pick up.  I've been a knitter since I was around 12 years old when my Grandma taught me during my Christmas school holidays and I was about to go into high school.  Over the years, I've knitted off and on, however it's been only over the last decade or so that I've really picked it up as a permanent hobby; something that I sit down and do every day.  However, where knitting actually came from is still something I don't know about, and no matter who I ask, I don't get full or straight answers.  So, here we go:  into the world and history of knitting.

Mostly, where the history of knitting began is a big mystery.  However, it's been in our lives for a long time; but shorter than we think; as the term 'to knit' has only been around since the 1400's or so and even then, it's only through guess work on how old items are kept in museums.  
Knitting is made of wool, silk, and other fibers that decay rapidly, even under perfect conditions; knitting needles are essentially sharpened sticks, and hard to identify as knitting needles beyond a doubt; they could be hair picks, skewers, spindles, or any of the other zillion uses there are for a sharpened stick.
Before the term of knitting was created, there was nailbinding; which was used to make stretchy fabrics. Termed 'one needle knitting' by some museums, it is similar to knitting in structure, but stronger, less stretchy, and a lot more difficult to create. The resulting fabric would look very sloppy unless done by a master, and it wasn't something you could have the kids do while tending the sheep -- unlike knitting.
The oldest knitting (formed on two sticks by pulling loops through loops) we've got is 'Coptic Socks' from Egypt, dating to around the year 1000 CE. There are quite a few fragments, all of them done in shades of white and indigo, in stockinette. Many of them have Khufic (a decorative Arabic script) blessings knit into them, or symbols to ward off evil, or both. All look really cool. All of the ancient knitted fragments are knit out of cotton. Wool wasn't used for knitting until a much later date.

However the first important - and datable - piece of knitting was found in Spain in the year 1275.  All the pieces of knitting found in this time, have had writing on them.  Socks had 'Allah' knit in bands on them.  And the pillow has 'Blessing' knitted in decorative Arabic script knit around the edges.  Knitting words in knitting was done from the very first piece made up; at a time Europe was largely illiterate.  It was the Islamic world that had wide-spread literacy. So, the early knitting fragments were produced by someone literate, and most literate people were found somewhere in the Islamic world. Particularly literate people with a knowledge of decorative Arabic scripts. for the first four or five hundred years of knitting's history, the most common materials were cotton and silk - not wool. Cotton and silk were far easier to come by in the Middle East than in Europe. If knitting had started in Europe, they'd have used wool first; or maybe linen.  

Have you notice we work the stitches from right to left along the needles; however it's in our left hand? Ever wanted to know why? We write left to right... it would make sense that we would knit left to right.  But it seeing how long it's been around, it's been passed along as this technique for so long that people are only knitting both left to right and right to left due to the invention of double-ended needles coming onto the market in the last 30 years or so.
Knitting has been around for a long time; since the 1200 - 1400's; according to museums in the UK and Europe.  After finding the first pieces in Egypt and Spain, more were found throughout the world as time went on.  How it became so popular and widespread is still a mystery; however, as our more modern needles came into play - as well more decorative yarns and wools became more available - knitting became something we all could do to make clothing, gloves, hats or scarves... all from a couple of balls of knitting yarn.  Really, you can knit anything and make anything.  It has become a craze where everyone does, then it's not something to do... personally, I enjoy it all the time.

I obtained all the information for this article from a knitting editorial.  Here's the link to it

the history of knitting 

There's pictures of the knitting I talked about (as they are too big to put in here).  I hope you have enjoyed this article about knitting. And until my next post, keep creating!