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Thursday, October 22, 2009


 Why ouch? Because I'm hurting in more ways than one and - forgive me - but I need to vent. My wrist hurts, it's De Quervain's tenosynovitis and its in my right hand. It can be cured...if I stop using my right hand for a while....I'm getting symptoms now in my left hand. Sheesh... where do I go from here? I've thought of getting a firmer wrist brace that I can't take off for a while but that will have to wait until after the Christmas season (shows, family etc).

New Stuff

I recently got a call from an eager potential machine knitter mentioning that my Etsy section on my web site was blank.... that's when I discovered there is a four month expiry on the  listings...oops, I really must read more of their instrucional emails!  No sales yet but my good friend Claire Maunsell has had success so I'll persevere, and it's easier than trying to sell from my site which is really more of a reference site. Well, I spent a day making some more of my buttons and new Sweater Sticks (for buttonless cardis, wraps, shawls.... even hair) and Sweater Pins, and then uploading some of them to my Etsy shop.

Though my buttons are a bit dearer these are only $15.

I just had the Town and Country Studio Tour here in K'town and that was great, I had lots of vistors and if I could hand knit socks one pair a day I would be rich!!  .....but there's the De Quervain's..... Sales were made, friends and the curious dropped by and I had such a grea time I just spent Monday staring at the walls and wondering how I could drag myself upright off the sofa in my studio!

Sleeves need shortening and knitting needs to be done but for that ..... my machines need functioning SPONGE BARS!!!!   So I hit Knittsings for the info and step by step.

I've done five sponge bars so far with a couple more to go, from both Singers and Brothers. I had most of the equipment and found iron on laundry tape was already cut width wise and ready to go instead of iron on interfacing.

Now I'm ready to knit again .....  well later after I take my Mum out while our wonderful cleaners are in.  We'll run around and do errands, maybe grab a coffee. When these visits are over I hate to leave her as she asks if I've seen around the house she's lived in seventeen years. Mind you, not remembering much means that you don't remember that you've just spent the day at the hospital for a cataract surgery with your husband and eldest daughter nattering away while you sleep off the woo woo drugs!

Hitting the studio means facing the bills, show fees uppermost and wondering where the money went...  then I remember that I spent six unproductive weeks not using my arms after my double mastectomy and reconstruction, only to make a mad dash to make stock for a less than successful One of a Kind Spring show....the economic times being what they are.  And after twelve years of having the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (and I'm not linking this because of the sour grapes I'm allowing myself!!!) which was always really successful for me, I was juried out this year (it happens to all of us) and have none of those nice sales to pay my Fall '09 and Spring '10 show fees etc. That along with the residual debt from my couple of cancer years has left me owing all over the place and working less because of trying to take some time for myself (stress being found to be a contributing factor in breast cancer).

What happened to the days when I schlepped my wares to a show in green garbage bags in a taxi, didn't need a computer for web sites, email, client contact, printing hang tags, brochures, show application, advertising blah, blah blah???

On the up side there is my grant (doesn't pay booth fees though), and another free knitting machine I was graced with this week!!!! A Singer 850 plus ribber! Now that gets me all fired up.... I'm also repairing it's sponge bar.

Well, I'm off to run errands with Mum it tow and we'll have a giggle as she still has a wonderful sense of humour. I do however miss the woman who, when I called her in tears over something falling apart in my life, drove over and took me out for  a drive and let me cry it out.

Love you Mum, thanks for teaching me to knit.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fashion Blitz

Just For Us Originals - my booth.

It's been a busy few weeks recently, on returning from Cleveland I had to prepare for the Just for Us Originals a wearable art show in this year in Oakville tacking onto the coattails of the World of Threads show. Unfortunately I was unable to see any of the World of Threads but as it happens every two years I'm bent on seeing it in 2011, I had colleagues showing in that show and I'm so sorry I missed it.

Dale Cox, me and a cloaked form!

A wonderful part of that weekend was that old friends Dale and Dave Cox were helping out. They are both great amimators and artists who have worked on many movies and animations including Care Bears. We got to play a bit of catch up, as we used to hang out waaaaay back in my first marriage ('70's) I got to find out what some of the folk from that other life are doing now.

After the show closed on Saturday evening I got to drop in on  my step daughter Alana Kurtis, a musician and music teacher and pat her five and a half months along belly. Also to present her with the rest of the little outfit I made, the 'Yoda Coat' and  little hat with a twirl on top. When I popped into my local Wool Tyme they had about three little Yoda Coats knitted and on display. There's no pulling anything over baby's head and with this soft machine wash and dry Merino wool it should keep my first grandchild warm when 'it' arrives in February!

This was a pattern for an apple hat but  I left off the leaves and just curled the 'stem'.  I do hope these are gender neutral enough as we don't know the little one will arrive wearing pink or blue booties.
 Judith and me.

I got back from Toronto late Saturday night and got up early for the CIBC Run for the Cure which went along the lake and past our house this year. My sister Judith and I walked on the 'Sue's Care Team' for Dr Sue Hendler a neighbour of mine for many years and head of Women's Studies at Queens University. She was diagonsed (after a lot of false starts and palava) with breast cancer but it was already far along. Chemo and radiation and many drugs made her very ill but didn't cure her cancer and knowing her days were numbered she put together a marvelous group of her friends to see her out of this mortal coil as comfortably as possible in her own home. She passed away a few hours after entering hospital.
Pix of Judith and me walking with our friends Erin and Yvonne and Nuggett the dog.

Sue arranged her memorial service (which I was unable to attend being in Oakville but my sister went) and also a bit of a munchies 'do' back at her place after the run. Not only was it really good to meet the women who took care of her but I connected with the brother of a girl whos house I used to go to to listen to Bob Dylan records back in the late '60's!!!!  He said that as the big brother those had been his Dylan records. We really dug up the past and that was absolutely super.... thanks Sue.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Grant at Work

I've been having  fun with my gant money, it's enabled me to take classes, buy materials and do things I didn't think I would be able to do for a long time.  Spending a day with Andrea Graham in he studio felting was wonderful and really opened a brand new door for me creatively.
Here is a photo of my second felted piece, working with prefelt and some fun stuff from around Andrea's studio.  Here it is soaking wet and lying on the bubble wrap that I 'felted' it on. I learned that first you very carefully felt under another surface, old nylon curtain 'Grandma's Curtain' as Andrea calls it, or plastic. We didn't use tons of water as I had thought so it was not messy.

This is a photograph of my finished piece on my back deck. It has some crazy knitting in it, some silk fabric, a long tail thing that Andrea made as a demo for me. Some fancy yarns, silk roving and pieced prefelt.  I love it and am so proud!!!!

 This mini collar was my first piece made with roving, I learned the difference between roving and batt. For me, really not a felt maker I will use prefelt to made pieces to add to my knitted jackets. I aiming for the Maker's Hand show and for the One of a Kind in Toronto (I'm in the first five days).
I was so proud of this too as my first real felted work.

Detail of my 'art' piece.

Sweater Sticks
In making a wraped jacket for the Art After Dark, not making a button or buttonhole meant I had to think of another closure for the front. I had knit it to allow for a good overlap so decided to try 'sweater sticks'  of polymer clay and bamboo knitting needles.  Here's what I came up with and so far they have been well recieved, I'm selling them at $15.

Here are my first five, I have fun making them too so it's unstructured work unlike the knitting, especially custom orders!

I have one for the purple coat and one for a wrap I made for myself a year ago.

The big trip was to attend Inspiration '09 in Cleveland put on by BT Yarns. Sue does a wonderful job each year since she took over from Bonnie Triola in Erie PA.

The main draw for me was Susan Lazear of Cochille, the software I use to aid in the technical//numbers side in my pattern making and executing my designs, much less paper and pencil stuff thank heaven. 

She had classes in knitting and fabric, combining the two, knock offs or how to make a pattern of some store bought garment you already have. We also worked on our laptops with Garment Designer... I really needed some brushing up, especially as I teach it.  And Stitch Painter. I got some nagging questions answered.

I picked my friend Sonja up in Toronto and then inched toward the border (awful traffic!!!). Nine hours there and nine back but I found that driving sitting very upright in my PT Cruiser (the 'Knitmobile' bought because a. I've always coveted them and b. with the  back seats out and the box on top I can load her up) was great for long distance and not tiring at all.

Susan talked about taking notes and even photos of things you are interested in while out clothing shopping. So here I am wearing a really neat coat in Saks and taking a photo of myself!

Now I'm back from that weekend, a show in Oakville (future post) and am turning my studio upside down to clear out some 'stuff' and make room for creativity! My DH has bought himself a new dresser for the bedroom and I get the old one for my studio ... more storage than the antique dough box I had in there.

This just in: I've found the floor!!!!!!