Monday, 20 June 2011

Forth Valley Open Studios

On a rather drizzly Saturday we got in the car to head off to visit some open studios in central Scotland. With the help of the brochure we had a route planned to try and see as much as possible.
We started off at West Moss-Side in Thornhill. A beautiful space hidden at the end of a single farm track. I particularly enjoyed Anthea Naylor's willow pigs and chickens, these would be a fantastic addition to any garden. Whilst Charmian Pollok creates handmade papers in conjunction with found objects to create thought provoking work.
Nearby, we went to Diana Hand's studio, there were vibrant printed velvets, printmaking and a very impressive horse sculpture. Our next highlight was over at Delta Studios in Larbert, here was the showcase exhibition, with work from all the artists taking part displayed. We finished our day the other side of the Firth of Forth in Alva, looking at the fun textiles (and cute dog!) from At 4 below, and captivating tapestries of Louise Martin. These open studios really highlight the wealth of talent in the area, it is just a shame we didn't have time to visit more. I forgot to take picture of the studios - you will have to click on the links, though I did manage to take a picture of this curious cow!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Comics and Crochet

When I was little, me and my brothers were avid readers of the Beano and the Dandy. Pocket money was spent on the comics and Christmas time meant that we got the annuals. I was even a member of the Dennis the Menace fanclub (D.I.N.G...). As we grew older these comics started to seem childish. Whilst my brothers progressed on to Marvel comics and the like, I was left with cheesy comic strip photo stories in Jackie magazine. So by the time I was in my teens, reading comics just wasn't for me anymore. In more recent years, film has got me reading comics again. Ghost World, American Splendor and Persepolis are all great graphic novels that have crossed over in to film. One of my favourite books that I have read this year is a comic strip (Psychiatric Tales by Darryl Cunningham if you are wondering). And yet girls and women don't really talk (at least not in public) about reading comics. Team Girl Comic is a local all-female comic collective trying to get more females (young & old) creating comics. On Tuesday as part of Glasgow Comic Con they held a workshop asking 'what do women and girls want from comics, and what are we going to do about it'.
It was a really interesting event, and produced quite a bit of discussion. From a bit of the history of girl comics throughout the years, encouraging comic reading in the curriculum, comic book stores, to creating comic strips as a way of communication. An encouraging statistic was that 40% of the Dandy's current readership is female. I must admit on my way home I had a quick flick through the Dandy in WH Smiths (yes, I do realise that I am going to be 32 next week!). Desperate Dan has had a makeover, and Harry Hill has his own comic strip - things have certainly changed!
PS, I think I have finally figured what a double and what a treble is! :)

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Crochet after the rabbit hole...

After a weekend spent Doune the Rabbit Hole, I was pretty darn tired.
Some easy crafting was needed. I managed to get some crochet squares done for Homemade Hugs. They are collecting 8x8 inch squares (knit or crochet) to make blankets to send to Japan to help people affected by the earthquake and tsunami. They hope to send the blankets to a children's charity, see here for more details.
I get quite confused about crochet stitches and patterns. Probably due to the fact that the stitches have different names each side of the Atlantic. Using my trusty stitch directory (a wonderful charity shop purchase) I am determined to finally get these stitches remembered.
I think the key is that British stitches should sound one step longer than the equivalent American stitch. So a double crochet in the UK is actually a single crochet in America. I think anyhow!?!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

C'est fini!

The Op Art baby blanket is finished! All 99012 stitches of it, at roughly 110cm square.
As the pattern calls for an increase of 4 stitches each row, my inner geek created a spreadsheet so that I could keep track of my progress. Column 1 contained the number of stitches in each row (n+4), column 2 was the cumulative total and column 3 to add the date I achieved that row. And now I can plot a graph of stitches vs time!
Beautiful! The whole blanket took 51 days from cast on to cast off (average rate 1940 stitches per day). However, I only actually knitted for 32 of those 51 days (a Trekky has to rest you know), so my true average is 3094 stitches per day.
I enjoyed this knit, the pattern was very well written and easy to follow. The first couple of rows were fiddly, but after that it was nice and easy. I used 3 pink stitch markers to tell me when to increase, and a blue stitch marker to tell me to increase and switch stitch (from knit to purl or vica versa).
It was a great TV knit, as you can stop at any point in the row with no stress. As well as in front of TV, this blanket was knitted on the 42 bus, at the Yarn Cake, at Glasgow Central Stitch 'n' Bitch, on the train to Helensburgh, whilst listening to A Playful Day podcast, whilst going along the M74 (I was in the passenger seat) and even whilst watching the Eurovision song contest in Lincolnshire.
And this is just the start of this blanket's adventure, as it is now off to Berlin!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The rabbit and the hair...

Mr Rabbit was worried when he saw this fluffy object arrive in the flat, "not another guinea pig please" he muttered.
Fear not Mr Rabbit, this ball of hair - is exactly that. A hair ball from some very pretty creatures at the Campsie show.
The highland cows had their hair brushed immediately before going to the judges, although I'm not sure they kept the style for long!
I was thinking that this hair may come in handy for felting or spinning. Although I think it might need a wash first, as it has that unmistakable aroma of cowpat! Also at the show was a stall from Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care. They are doing some great work promoting rabbit welfare and helping unwanted rabbits to find homes. If you live in the Glasgow area and are thinking of having a bunny, I'm sure they would love to hear from you.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Making origami bookmarks

My usual bookmark is a receipt, train ticket or flyer - nothing very special. I saw these cute origami bookmarks in issue 9 of Making magazine. They are easy to make & look super cute! I used some scrap wrapping paper and an old Cath Kidston magazine. Much nicer than a tatty old receipt!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Summer Sunprints

The first of June and summer is upon us. Time to create cyanotypes.
I note that the packaging stated the paper will go almost white after 1-5 minutes in the sun. They have obviously never been to Glasgow, as it took a generous 20 minutes!