Dolls, Fibre Scultpures and Costumes

Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

Moving forward – slowly

Slowly because there will be renovations.  We are getting a grant from the city to help with some basic “get up to code”  and insulation things.  So sometime soon the house will turn into a disaster zone as all the electrical work will be mostly redone and maybe the plumbing and the insulation in the attic.

We had hoped for the windows facing the north side too but there have been too many ” Oh ….um …..my…… Why did they do that this way?” “What were they thinking off?” “How much of this wall/ceiling can we take down?” “Ooooh now that is interesting….” each of which costs lots of money.  The electrical will HAVE to be done because the grant people sent an inspector to determine how safe it is……

I have to have 2 quotes for everything – which means calling and leaving message and calling some more.  We now have the plumbing covered.  One quote for the heating/air condioning, one for the insulation, one for windows, one for the electrical is in the works.  The rest are all still in the message holding pattern.

If we can’t do the window in the front then my studio moves into my bedroom and my bedroom into that room.  That way I sleep in the cold room and can work in the warmest room. Light isn’t everything and power here is very expensive.

On the good side my  doll “Vrouw Holle” was accepted into the “Focus on Fibre” show!!!!

Vrouw Holle

Vrouw Holle

I am very thankful for this!  This doll with its deadline was what helped me break the “Ice Wall” around my art.  In order to meet the deadline I had to focus on my art work, to find the tools, the fabric, the patterns.  I had to develop a way to work, I had to show up at the desk and focus.  To have her accepted into the show was the final kick to get me back.  The next few pieces are already in my head and as soon as the renos are done I will buckle down, make art, open an Etsy store and do the work.

I am also in the process of designing a knitting pattern for a pair of lace fingerless gloves.  More on that when it is finished because writing out and graphing lace patterns when one is somewhat dyslexic is tricky!

Rendezvous Gloves

Rendezvous Gloves

 

Spring – sort off

It is spring, or at least it keeps trying to be spring.  We had a nice 3 inches of snow on Good Friday but it is going up again today so it should be gone by tonight.  The Easter Bunny won’t have to mush its dog team through the snow to get here. At least it is light when I walk the dog in the morning, it is past the point where I am watching the pretty sun rises.

On the home front, we now have a doctor who comes to the house to see my mother, which is a huge relief.  The new caregiver is great.  A nice young man who is strong and gentle too and the parents like him.  Things are still sliding slowly downhill but now I have resources I can call on.  I am going weekly to meditation.  It is very simple introduction level but it is just what I need, escape on Thursday nights.  Health wise I saw the clinic for pelvic floor issues and it is not as scary as I thought, though the oestrogen therapy lasted only 4 days, and caused mental fog and migraines, so it is going to be exercises and probably an operation eventually in the future.  But a huge weight has been lifted off my mind and I can now start working out again. As soon as the snow disappears, again, I will start running.

Talking of escape, I am going to Jasper for 5 days in the begin of May on a knitting retreat.  The retreat is only the weekend but I decided to add some days to it.  My youngest sister is coming for a week and taking over from me.  I plan to spend a lot of time walking, taking pictures and doing art.

In the meantime I have been knitting socks. I also crocheted a hat that just abut killed my wrist.  Tight crochet into the back of the stitch required a twist of the wrist that it didn’t like AT ALL!!  So I am currently wearing a wrist brace and Dad’s socks have been being knit continental style (yarn in my left hand) which made them a bit slower.

Mom's socks

Mom’s socks

Mom's other socks with cat

Mom’s other socks with cat

Vanessa's bed sock with dog

Vanessa’s bed sock with dog

Dad's socks

Dad’s socks

Vanessa's hat

Vanessa’s hat

Retail Therapy

I know, you haven’t heard from me for  while, not even a Christmas greeting.  I just didn’t want to fill the airwaves with all that negativity.  Let us just pretend that the so called “holiday season” didn’t happen along with the health issues and flus and other frustrations.  We have a new health care team and home care team in place so I can breathe again.  I now have a set of professionals in geriatrics I can call upon when I have questions.

The whole “prairie fibre arts” design never happened for me.  Just not enough consecutive hours free to mark up and sew the design.   It hurt badly but  I am over that now.  Forget the dolls and art work for the time being.  I can’t work long enough to get “into the zone” at any given time.  Doing it upstairs means comments from the peanut gallery and constant interruptions – that doesn’t help with the stress either so I am sticking with knitting.

My daughters and granddaughter came for a visit in January and it coincided with a week of warm weather so we were able to walk and do fun things on Whyte Avenue.  Yes I bought clothes, lovely linen top and pants.  Then to top that off I went online.  Way back in May my oldest daughter gave me an Indigo gift certificate and since then I have looked and looked but never bought so I sat down and ordered books on art.  Then she gave us an Amazon gift certificate and I ordered more books and some music.  They have been arriving in little packages since then.  It makes getting the mail so much more exciting!  I only had one dud – music.  Once upon a time I had a lovely tape with “Chants to the Divine Mother” Which I had picked up in California, Harbin Hot Springs where I took my shiatsu training.  I loved that music but the tape died in a the fire/flood back in 2005, it was not the water so much as the disintegrating ceiling tiles crap that turned to concrete that did the damage.   Well this version was sort of like listening to the Mormon Tabernacle choir singing Janis Joplin songs….  sad sad.

I also ordered yarn from Knitpiks and used a Micheals coupon to get more yarn to make socks.  This will be the main expression for the next little while.

Yarn

Yarn

There will be a variety of socks the fuzzy red will become bed socks for my youngest, the bag of pima cotton will become multi coloured socks for me and the rest will be house socks for Mother.  The elastic on her current socks is getting to tight for her diabetic feet.  I made socks for Dad too last year.  He just found them and finally tried them on.  Now I can’t get them off his feet to finish weaving in the thread.  I guess I will have to make him some more mud coloured ones.

These are my socks I have been working on.  I must be feeling less stressed because I keep wanting to work on them instead of surfing the net!  Yes they are that bright pink.  These are my first top down socks with western style heels, my first heel flaps and gusset heels!

My socks, top down with turned heels

My socks, top down with turned heels

Tonight I am going to meditation.  I tried last week but it was cancelled as the leader was stuck on a plane somewhere between here and Afghanistan…..We will see if I can manage their style.

Poppies

I haven’t done much since the last post.  I have had some health issues dealing with some “digestive issues”  and that is as far as I am going to go.

I have mostly been knitting and crocheting.  I am still working on my sister’s lacy crocheted summer top.  It is now November and there is snow on the ground and it is cold enough for the dog to wear its sweater and booties but I am still working on her top.   The pattern came out of a magazine that was touting “Quick Weekend projects”.  I can only assume now that they meant they took 48 hours of solid work.

The dog sweater I knitted last spring fits well – at least it did until the snow flew and it got wet.  Then it stretched and the dog was walking up into the sweater with its hind legs.  She would sit down and whimper in confusion until I untangled her legs and rolled it up a bit.  I think I am going to crotchet some elastic into the band and some of the stomach area.

The knitting I was doing was for our yarn bombing group.  We all created poppies to yarn storm Valour Place, the place where wounded soldiers and their families can stay when they get therapy at the Glenrose.   They made 1111 poppies in all, I made ….. 6… but they are big and they sparkle!

Poppies for Valour Place

Poppies for Valour Place

Art for FUN!!!

Last month I got involved with the local yarn bombing group.  We do places like a local Alzheimer centre so they have something cheerful to look at during the winter.

Usually I just help out with assembly but this time we were asked to do a lamppost as part of a street festival and the organizers decided to do a garden.  Now sometime in the distant past I helped create a set for an adult website where I knitted moss.  This was fun, random knitting done on large needles so I decided to volunteer to create the “grass” for the garden.  Of course as soon as I got home and checked my yarn stash I realized that nearly all those yarns had been donated before I left Montreal.  I looked temptingly at the “moss” I had created, that had been returned to me, but the cat made very threatening noises at the thought of losing his soft, fluffy bed.  This of course generated lots of fun FB posts about going out and hunting down some “grass”.  I actually slummed and went to Walmart to buy tacky yarn and I actually used a Micheals coupon too.

It was a blast knitting on 15 mm needles after all the lace kitting I have done lately.  I used two strands of yarn plus a sparkly lurex as the base knit fabric.  I wove green fun fur in and out of the knit – sort of like how you carry a yarn of the colour you are not using in Fair Isle knitting. I used short rows to create angles in the knitting.   The only issue I had was that it was very hot in August and sitting with a thick, furry blanket in my lap meant I only knit in air conditioned spaces.  The finished size was 37 inches wide by 39 inches tall – it wasn’t a project one could stick in ones purse.

grass

grass

 

Lots of other people knitted flowers, birds, butterflies, leaves and of course sky!  Now normally our creations are put up by some much younger people with significant others who don’t mind standing on top of a ladder at midnight at -20C but this time the whole thing had to be assembled in public in daylight.   Our intrepid installers solved the problem by knitting themselves beards and toques and becoming Edmonton lumber jacks for the day.  Luckily it was not too hot.

The lamppost decorating was actually a contest and WE WON.  We donated the prize to Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts and the Alberta Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Society.

For more details and lots of pictures check out Knitmonton.

 

 

Not Screaming

No I am not screaming, sometimes turning the air blue, but I am not screaming….. yet.

After my nice holiday and the show I settled back into the routine until Alberta Health Services decided in its particular lack of wisdom to put out bids for home care to save money.  Suddenly we had another home care provider, all the old familiar faces that someone with dementia needs disappeared overnight to be replaced with, in one week, 11 different caregivers.  Yes 11 different people, many of whom had no experience, no clue what they should be doing and couldn’t lift a flea to save their lives.  Since the end of June we have had 19 different people.  All of whom I had to train.

During this time Mom has gotten worse (we had a trip to ER) and no longer pushes off when stood up and doesn’t step, so the care givers have been ordered to either use the hoist or have me lift her.  Yes, that is right a 65 year old woman is lifting someone because those 20 somethings have no clue how to do this.  Because the hoist is a joke, it is complicated and slow.   We use it for bathing, note the “we” because I have to help with the hoist too.

And of course they come earlier so I no longer have any quiet, private time in the morning to help me balance, to journal or pretend to workout, so I can face the rest of the day.

We had some wonderful caregivers with the previous company but they couldn’t switch because they were indentured servants, i.e. foreign workers, full trained Filipino nurses who were amazing.  Actually they were probably lucky to have a contract because all the other caregivers got their wages cut while the executives got bonuses and pay increases.

I have done quite a lot of knitting, mostly to keep from screaming.  I did some painting too, but most of those were “experimental” and mostly splashing stuff on a page, not for public consumption.   I did some work on Pan, doing more sculpting on his head.  It is amazing how many hours one can needle sculpt without it making any difference to a photo.

wingspan finised

wingspan finished

Nova Scotia or Rain again

It has been a while since I posted, that was because life got complicated.  Then it got blissfully simple and now it is back to complicated again.

I went for 17 days to Nova Scotia to visit my youngest daughter, Vanessa,  who was starring in her first lead role as Nanki pooh in The Mikado by Gilbert and Sulivan.  Yes my blond buxom daughter sang the role of a Japanese male.  She did a good job of it too, if mother can say so!

Nankipo

Nanki Pooh

VandThoe

Vanessa and Theodore the Tug Boat in the rain

meandV

Me and Vanessa on the ferry to Halifax

Actually I thought I had booked to go for 10 days but when I went to pick up the car I was shocked to discover I had a return flight for the 28th not the 21st.  Everyone said that must have been a “Freudian slip”.  So I called the care giver company in panic and booked them for an extra week to look after the parents.

I had a great relaxing holiday.  I slept late, ate too much of all sorts of foods, but especially seafood,I did a lot of knitting and I got rained on a lot.  We did a lot of sightseeing and got rained on a lot.  I had planned to run every morning but it was either raining or foggy every day except 2 and my body didn’t like that – in two weeks I emptied my puffer and my nasal spray, walking was a challenge enough.  Luckily I rented an adorable little car – a Fiat 500 in metallic orange – sort of like driving a tiny pumpkin.  It had a sun roof and on one of the two sunny days we opened it for a few minutes but it was barely 12C so we nearly froze.

Here are some shots – taken between the rain showers.

Daffodils at the Ferry terminal

Daffodils at the Ferry terminal

Halls Harbour

Halls Harbour

The Lookout near Wolfville

The Lookout near Wolfville

Liverpool dock yard

Liverpool dock yard

 

Halls Harbour rocks and pilings

Halls Harbour rocks and pilings

The Liverpool one was one of the two sunny days. She had a show there and we stayed at the Lanes privateer inn. Very nice with very good food and friendly helpful staff.

Spring, eh?

It is just pretending.  A week ago we  got 30 cm of snow and it was -21 c, yesterday it was +9 c and there is water everywhere, including in the large hole in the basement.  But the forecast is for more snow.

Regarding that large hole… Plumbing isn’t rocket science, friends, we have been doing it since the Romans made hot & cold running water a common thing in bath houses.  So how come I have a hole in the basement that will take a good sized body?  It seemed a simple thing, get a back flow installed to prevent the sewer from backing up every time we have one of the new, climate change, rainstorms.  The thing is a foot long, so why do we need a grave size hole that is now filling up with water?  Mostly, it seems because the people who built the house hadn’t a clue what they were doing and they used a honking big clean out trap to connect the inside with the out side.  Yes a clean out trap 4 feet underground and running under the wall of the house. I am hoping they don’t need to dig a hole outside the house in front of the only door which is wheelchair accessible, it would mean breaking up concrete and digging through ground which is still frozen.  Oh and the water pipe coming into the house sits right on top of the this sewer pipe.  Sigh….

rainbow stockings

rainbow stockings

On the lighter side I have been knitting a lot because I hurt my back picking mom up off the floor.  It made sitting in the studio a pain, literally, so I have been leaning back on hot packs and knitting.  I finished my rainbow stockings.

I started a shawl and a sweater  for my little dog, Katie.  The shawl, Wingspan, has been put on hold until I go to Nova Scotia in May.  It will be a perfect travelling project.  Details can be seen in the link to my Ravelry project page.

I did get into the studio on Saturday and and with the help of some Ibuprofen managed to get a few hours done on Pan.  It was mostly sculpting his armpits, which don’t show so I didn’t bother to take pictures.

The Stockings from Hell

Are finished.

Over a year and a half ago my darling youngest daughter came home from a weekend in the Laurentians “Mama one of the girls had these stockings with lace and things that her mom made.  You could do that, right?” .  Since that was the first knitting she had asked for, and not just grudgingly accepted, I was over joyed.  We shared a mother/daughter bonding moment surfing Ravelry together looking at patterns.  We finally settled on one called “Moulin Rouge”  Thigh high lace stockings, to be knit in black cotton.  Yes thigh high, in cotton that knits up at 10 rows per inch….

I measured her legs, traced her feet and traced her legs and made a couple of swatches.  I started the feet, knitting both stockings at the same time on two circular needles and she moved to Halifax Nova Scotia.  I knitted on, while looking after mother, plastering and painting a bedroom, preparing for an art show, painting a stairwell.  I took some time off to knit some Christmas presents, another hat for my granddaughter ,because she lost the first one.  Darling daughter came for a visit and tried on the stocking – now up to calf length.  Let me tell you there is at least an inch difference between someone who wears a size 5 1/2 shoe and a size 9 and I had been trying them on a size 9 foot, mine, because I had put the paper with the tracing of her foot in a safe place.  No I was not going to frog the sock down to the ankle, far too many hours had gone into them.

In the meantime I moved to Edmonton and finished the granddaughter’s hat and I made some fingerless gloves to match the hat (which I put in a safe place – I found it back last weekend) because I had never made any before so this was a good time to try that.  Once they were finished I tried to continue on the stockings but there was the renovations happening and the only comfy knitting chair was in the livingroom where I had to hear mother’s audio books and she prefers those hot, hot vampire books.

Then came the Kangaroo that mother wanted.  I had found a book on knitted toys and for once mother communicated very clearly that she wanted me to make the kangaroo, so the stockings were put aside once more.

At the end of August we decided that we would have a big Thanksgiving with my daughter and granddaughter form Whitehorse and my other one from Halifax in October and I suddenly realized I had been working off and on for over a year on these endless stockings and I was just over the knee.  So I bought some earplugs and settled down to determined knitting every day.  And I made the deadline.  Then  ……  I cut off the toes.  Yes I took a pair of scissors to hand knit lace stockings!    I removed the excess and reknit the toes.

So here they are – tall black lace stockings with tiny feet!  All finished.  Finally!

stockings

stockings from Hell

PS:  Now that they are finished I am knitting bedsocks for my Dad out of thick acrylic yarn that looks like camouflage for walking in dead leaves and mud, but they are almost done and then I am going to knit with a rainbow of colours a hat for my self!

PPS:  The studio is almost finished.  The guests have been sleeping in it.  All we are doing on it now is finding back all the sewing machines and notions and books and magazines and irons and…..  But soon I can work there.

 

Bored?

This will be a short note with nothing much about art in it.  My art supplies are either in that “safe place” or in a box somewhere in transit.

I arrived in Edmonton last week.  This week has been all about beginning to settle in and preparing for the big renovation to the bathroom.  I have shuffled things around in the kitchen because both my sister and mother are several inches taller then me and things kept falling on my head when I was trying to reach for them.  Also climbing on a chair in front of the stove while cooking, to find an ingredient really wasn’t safe.  The most interesting thing about this process was a jar of crunchy peanut butter from the 1997.  I have not yet had the courage to face the canned goods which are everywhere.  In case of a major problem we have enough canned beans, soups and fruit to last for many weeks if not months.  Last spring I tackled the packaged food, much of which had expired five or more years ago, some of which were growing interesting new life forms.

My boxes are still somewhere between Montreal and Edmonton with all my clothes, art supplies and stuff, which is good in a way as we had no place yet to put it.  We finally cleared a lot of the studio to be and it is actually bigger then I had expected.  The light is better too, even though it is a basement it gets the sun most of the day and the windows are quite big.  We found some oil paintings I did way back when I was 16, they have been recycled so don’t expect to see any pictures of them.  We did some reno work on the furnace room so we could store a lot of the tools and screws, nails and other bits in there.   I won’t be able to get set up the studio however, until after the bathroom is renovated as we need this space for storage for what is in the bathroom right now.  It is like a giant messy Rubics cube.   Reno starts in about a week and will commence with the breaking up of lots and lots of concrete to fix the plumbing issues.

So right now it is all about hurry up and wait.  The only “art” work I am doing is designing a pair of fingerless gloves/wrist warmers for my granddaughter to match the hat I made.

One thing though, my asthma is much better then it has been in months.   Where in Montreal last month, walking several blocks made me breathless and gasping,  here I am hauling boxes of flooring, doing light reno work without difficulty.  I guess the stress of the situation was really taking a tole on my health.