30 November 2006

a quartet of mosaics

Thought I'd offer some better information (and more pics, of course) of four mosaics I did in the summer of 2005 (which I first posted a couple of weeks back).

1. and 2.: Grecian Delights

These two pieces were inspired by a Greek government-produced travel manual dating back to 2007 and full of amazing photos (mostly of places I've never managed to get in Greece, of course. My relatives had to choose to hail from the region of Greece literally furthest in the country from any seashore or beach. SIGH).

This was my (rather lame) interpretation of the cover page photo:

Done in mosaic tile. I couldn't decide what colour of grout to use, so lazily went with white. Er - I guess I should say that I went with white because it goes with the whitewash on the buildings (which constantly amazes me - do they whitewash these a million times a year! I can only imagine trying to keep a building white in Toronto for more than a week!)

The second is a scene regarding one of my favourite pastimes while in Greece:

The piece is largely translucent and meant to hang in front of a window (mostly so that you can see the wine shimmer - it actually looks real!) I used sea glass from Loblaws for the border.

The photographic inspiration was this:

(I have never had any formal art training and was concerned about getting the perspective correct on the chairs. My friend Veronica, who had had such training, was very helpful in this. Blame me for any mistakes, not her!)

The backing is one of several glass frames I located in the large garbage depository outside my building... someone for some reason decided to toss them upon moving! What a find!

I wish I could tell you where those two photos were taken. However, of course, the Greek government managed to put together a beautiful travel guide without actually telling you where 50 per cent of the photos were taken! How swift is that!?! (or, maybe it's a nefarious plot... they "forgot" to attribute the prettiest photos so that people would be forced to travel the whole country trying to find the places? Hmm. )

So, now I have two pieces of my very own Greek Schlock art!

3. Four Seasons

I found it very difficult to make mosaic portraits like the ones above, actually (and am in awe of all those brilliant artists who have that as their metier!). So, for my next project I decided to go back to "crazy paving" stuff.

I had one of those tinklingly annoying windchimes in my possession, given me by a friend, with a sun and moon theme. I loved the look of it but the sound drove me crazier than usual, so I never really displayed it. I decided to take the scissors to it and use the pieces in mosaic instead.

This made the theme quite obvious to me. My first challenge, though, was to figure out what to do with the centre hexagon that had suspended all the chimes. I came across a rather deformed looking piece of blue glass in my pile and ... eureka!A globe!!! (I won't tell you, however, how much stained glass I "destroyed" trying to get North America made... !!! SIGH).

And the rest should be rather obvious:


(check out the setting sun. Deep, eh?! heh heh)... and...

(everyone's favourite) Old Man Winter

I'm actually very happy with this piece and it is displayed prominently in my apartment. I took it to a show and tell craft party last Christmas and someone offered me $500 for it! The fact that greedy little me didn't snatch the $ before she could change her mind and run is testament to how much I like it, I guess.

And, finally:

4. Crazy Melon Plate

This was based on possibly the ugliest plate I have ever seen, which I scored at Goodwill. Too bad I don't have the original photo. It has onions in the corners for some unknown reason.

So, of course, I immediately thought of watermelons! (at least, in the grout colour choice):

I originally intended this to hand on the wall so that I could look into it whenever I was feeling down about my appearance and get a laugh. However, it's very heavy and I'm paranoid. So, these days, it sits on the dining room table, usually covered in cigarette packages with phone numbers scrawled on them (my version of the Filofax), keys for the storage locker, and other detritus.

So - this one, although I like, I would part for if offered $500. Any takers?!



27 November 2006

only 27 knitting days until...

(as if anyone needed reminding!)

In case you can't tell from the photo, this is a needlepoint. It was last year's Christmas gift to my mother (although she didn't get to display it till this year as it was not actually finished until early 2006). This year am going with the entirely less masochistic knitting option. (I attribute my new need for bifocals to the Santa project).

And some less seasonal needlepoints (in chedery winter-banishing colours):

remembrance of sweaters past

Should auld acquaintance be forgot...

WHAM! sweater (circa 1998 - and the LAST time I endeavoured anything with intarsia... AGH!). Made in 100% cotton (can't remember the brand - probably Cotton Fleece by Brown Sheep):

... and back of WHAM! sweater (actually, the front... but that's not how I wear it...)

Irish moss sweater (my first project knitted entirely in the round) - Cotton Fleece yarn by Brown Sheep. I bought too much yarn (seems to be a bad habit) so knitted one for my partner then one for me. AWWWWWWWW. :-) circa 2004.

Stripey T-shirt - knitted in Super 10 mercerised cotton.

I'd like to add to this archive with some sweaters given to my mother (provided she hasn't thrown them out! . Digital cameras are either a blessing or a curse, I guess.

smoking and knitting

While choking on the 5th cigarette of the day (it's 8:35 a.m.), I am sitting here wondering yet again why I cannot seem to quit. One would think that so much crafting would lead to less smoking. Instead, in my case, it seems to lead to inhaling more second-hand smoke when the cigarette burns untouched next to me working frenetically on the project at hand.

Or can it actually be considered "second-hand smoke" when I am the person who lit the smoke in the first place? Hmm. I really need to start taking some responsibility for this. :)

If anyone has any tips on how they used knitting to help them quit smoking, please do share. If nothing else, I'm spending valuable money (on average $13.00 per day) which could be more sensibly invested in ... um... well... more yarn. However, financial incentives have never seemed to work for me in attempts to quit smoking. I have done the whole "stick the money you spend per day on smokes in a jar and watch it grow" thing... only to raid said jar on morning #3 when desperate for a Dunhill.

If only I could become a "social smoker" only. Instead, I'm becoming increasingly anti-social and I imagine my knitted products reek of the ashtray...


more stuff

I'm beginning to think that I have TOO much time on my hands.

Here is a blanket I'm making for my mother for Christmas (based on the Nina Shawl pattern in the Mason-Dixon book) - knitted in Super 10 mercerised cotton. Progress has stopped while I am waiting for the last colour (paprika!) to come in to my LYS:

...and closer detail:

Blanket will be approx. 50" wide by 55 " long when finished. I'm knitting it on 4 mm Addi Turbo needles (my new favourite needles, although can't afford to replace the ideal stash). It is just the Nina Shawl pattern x 2 (widthwise). However, rather than the ruffle I will be crocheting a border (due ultimately to laziness rather than aesthetic). It will take approximately 7-8 125 g. skeins of the yarn before finished (had ordered 16!)

You may notice a similarity in colour between this project and the "funky blankie" below. This is because I ended up ordering too much yarn for the Christmas present ... and selfishly decided to make a blankie for my apartment instead. Such a bad daughter!!

And another sweater I've started - the Perfect Sweater! - using Fleece Artist Kid Silk. This may be the most luxurious yarn I've worked with. I had initially bought it to try to crochet a jacket for work, but decided it is wasted if not worn right nect to the skin (please note that the colours are quite a bit deeper and richer in real life - the blue base is closer to indigo):

I am making the sweater in medium size (although I usually take a small, the gauge of the kid silk is quite fine). 4 mm. needles. I have 750 grams of the yarn but don't think this will take it all).

I am seriously considering calling in sick to my staff meeting today in order to finish the scarf below, so that I can get back to the stuff above. However, I guess the job supports my knitting habit (especially if I wish to keep buying kid silk!)

tough decisions... solved?

I thought my pressing dilemma had been solved when a coworker brought in some yarn last Friday and asked me to knit a scarf for her. I said I would likely have it done by Tuesday... please see it in progress above:

... and in detail ... the yarn is Basics Quick Print (acrylic / wool blend)

Alas, by Saturday afternoon I had become bored with the scarf (I don't like the feel of the acrylic blend, snob that I've become!)... and so grabbed some Brown Sheep Bulky remnants from my (abundant) stash and started on this sweater:

... and closer detail:

I became rather compulsive with finishing it, wanting to wear it to my staff meeting today. Unfortunately, I had not given too much thought to the fact that temperatures in Toronto are uncharacteristically balmy this week... going up to 12 celsius! Making it rather silly to wear this bulky sweater.

Which, as a positive, is a good thing, given that the sweater still looks like this:

I think it may take longer to weave in the ends than it did to knit it!

And now back to the scarf (which may not be done by Tuesday ... oh well ...).

20 November 2006

tough decisions

Today am feeling rather obsessive about my knitting. Stash has grown too big, meaning that I cannot decide on what the next project should be. Some kind of sweater... but bulky or fine knit?

Luckily I don't have to work today so have lots of time to ponder this weighty decision. Then again, maybe too much time is a bad thing... ?!?

more mosaic stuff

1. Photo Album (wedding gift for friend)

2. Fiesta Chair

3. "Four Seasons" wall hanging

4. Greek Island wall hanging

5. Number plate for house door

19 November 2006

newest creations...

Hello there:

Attached please see the latest stuff I've been working on.

(a) funky blankie (inspired by the Circle of Fun in the Mason-Dixon book) - knitted in Super 10; and

(b) little felted bag - Lamb's Pride Worsted - thanks to the knitty.com website!