Saturday, January 30, 2016

So where did that week go?

It's been a week since I claimed that I had sooooooooooo much time on my hands, suddenly. And I have absolutely no idea where the week - or the time? - has gone.
This morning I caught these magic moments when going to market:

I've been dyeing, ironing, cutting the newest fabric club selection (to be issued tomorrow), I have bee figuring out the details of one of the knitting patterns I want to include into the knit-along, and it has been gving me a hard time. Not a good omen, really - but I have an explanation. I took a picture of the pattern from an old-time Bavarian swatch, and had to find out the exact description for myself from a printout of the picture. This is the picture - as I was trying to use it.

However - somehow the decrease-increase wasn't working. Until I finally had the brilliant idea that I must have turned it upside down. Lo and behold, now it worked. I have sent the description to my dear friend Maike who has offered to be my testknitter, and we are both of us now starting on a text-version of the whole thing. In the context of all this I have learned that I do not like writing knitting patterns, nor trying to upload them on ravelry, so that is not going to be a new serious branch of industry for me. I'll go back to quilting!
I have put one of my quilts for International Threads on the Longarm - and it is sitting there, waiting for me to start on it...

Saturday, January 23, 2016

So much time!

This past week I have been on a road to discovery. As I am slowly pulling back from my involvement with the volunteer network for refugees, and taking the time necessary for getting over the (partly unpleasant) things happening when one has to move on, I am amazed to realize 'with full force' what I have known and felt all along while I was doing it, but which is so remarkable when it is changing: I have indeed invested an incredible amount of time into that! And now that I am reclaiming it for myself, I actually have to learn again to fill it creatively. I've never been somebody who finds herself bored, and I haven't this past week, either, but it is strange - so much time, that I really need to get myself back into the habit of using it for creating. I do know there are a couple of ideas brewing, but it almost feels as if they are scared to show themselves full front, afraid that 'no, she won't really have time for us after all, this is just a delusion, it's not our turn yet'. Or something like that.
I have decided that I will take my initial idea for International Thread's challenge 'Signs and Symbols' (which I am still late in starting on, and getting later and later as I keep procrastinating) and do something with the Berlin-style female variation of the former East Germany's pedestrian lights. I had donwloaded a picture file almost immediately after the challenge was set, and now I have at least managed to print them out in an adequate size.

Some more snow dyeing, as we had another sprinkling of snow.

Unfortunately, although the results have mostly been washed and ironed, I haven't managed to roll them yet, nor have I photographed them. Instead I went for a walk yesterday when the weather would have been right to take those pictures - but I hope this will happen soon.

And then at some point we will find out what will happen to Germany's politics - ...

This collage was featured in our paper yesterday, I think. I was tempted
to do some photo-shopping with each of the individual pictures,
but I realized I need to pull out my class-files first so I can remember how
to alter each area separately first, and I'd rather go to bed now...

is she going to outlive the refugee 'crisis', or are the others going to kick her out? And if they do, what is going to happen THEN? Interesting times ahead!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Winter magic

Last week I almost fell for a trap which must have been secretly set by some stranger when I was reading Margaret Cooter's relatively recent post on threadends. I even commented on it - and a couple of days later I found myself looking at the cut-offs from where I cut back the seam allowances of the Jacob's ladder as they were accumulating - and  suddenly I was taking some back out from the waste basket because I thought I might turn those into the sew-on-sew-off squares for the sewing machine. And then I stalled myself and spoke to me very seriously: Uta, what are you doing? So I am wondering whether my scrappy hibernation is perhaps turning into a bit of a post-partem depression after my decision about pulling further back from the volunteers network for the refugees? This was topped by an unpleasant visit at the Syrians' house on Saturday afternoon, and has left me with a feeling of being slightly displaced and at loose ends. But in the end it will make the withdrawal easier, I think. And it's getting to the point where days are getting to be noticeably longer. It's cold and wintery, I could take some pictures of winter magic

and I am really looking forward to getting more of my own life back for myself and family.
This morning I mixed the dye for the anniverary color that will accompany this month's fabric selection, and the remainder of the week will be dedicated to dyeing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Scrappy hibernation

Although that little burst of snow wwe had a few days ago was rather short-lived and the next one predicted  is taking a long time actually showing up, I seem to have gone into a bit of a hibernating stage.
I have been in the studio, doing things, but it’s been  (and felt) more like this.


I feel emotionally paralyzed from the awful things that happened during the celebrations in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, and even more so from the the frightful discussions that have been going on since. I’m afraid that Germany’s recent wave of welcoming towards migrants has completely dissipated into thin air, and I am feeling very uncomfortable with all the anti-tones that are suddenly appearing in many of the politician’s statements who had been rather moderate during the last few months. 
I am sewing together a Jacob’s Ladder top made from entirely my own hand-dyed fabrics which I want to display on the back of my stall when vending, to show more traditionally oriented quilters that hand-dyed fabrics work fantastically for traditional patterns. 

And, being the person I am, of course this is an ambitionally large piece, blanket size, so it’s taking time, as I am using pins, nothing rotary cut, but every single square and triangle was hand-drawn and cut with scissors, hoping to add interest to the design.

I’ve been trying out various lace knitting patterns from a couple of English/American knitting books because I want to develop a knit-along, translating these patterns into German, so I’ve been making samples to check out how understandable these patterns are. 

I’ve already decided on four or five patterns, discarded one (because it kept being short of one stitch regularly for no perceivable reason, and that did not seem a good omen), and am planning to launch the knit-along in May. Every three weeks participants will receive a pdf with the pattern, and it’ll be finished by Christmas. I hope to raise some money that way which I want to donate for organizations and projects that help children in need.

And I have done a bit of actually creative piecing, working on my next challenge for the International Threads, for which I am only about five months late. This one was supposed to include an embroidered square from the Afghanistan project of Pascale Goldenberg. But I did not want to turn too traditional about it, and had a long gestation period, until I finally had the idea of including the piece of tchador that I have had for a while. 

Since taking the picture I have actually started adding some hand-stitching, and I am also planning to put it on the longarm. After all, that machine is not only meant to do swirls on blankets, I want to use it in my own work, too.
Good that my order of new threads arrived today.

Perhaps hibernation is coming to a close and entering a really creative phase again.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

What's up in the beginning of January?

Sometime around Christmas a magazine that comes with a weekle newspaper in Germany ran a test „How old are you really?“ It tests you up-to-date-ness, and how that ages or juvenates you in comparison to your biological age. Our entire family took it. (And we all strongly believe in the correctness of results!) Every one of us is very satisfied with their results!
My husband (in his early Fifties) came in at 47 years old, my ten-year-old son scored an impressive 25 years old, and I managed to drop down to 30 from my real 50. So everyone is happy. With this verdict I happily concluded that I could hold out even longer and still not go for bifocal lenses, although I am having problems with seeing up close etc, and I have been shifting my glasses to the tip of my nose for several years now. It was getting to the point where the balance was getting precarious. I do have reading glasses, and sometimes I even know where they are. And I have a pair for driving in the car, which is absolutely useless for looking at anything closer than four feet away, and seems to be not the correct strength anymore.
But what I did last week turned out to be a really brilliant move – I went through my old glasses, most of which I kept for whatever reason, and looked at them to find out which could perhaps be refitted with new lenses, to save on buying a new frame, should I decide to get something done. And I tried them on. And lo and behold – one pair, which I must have worn just about when I was around thirty, turned out to be much better than the one I had been fidgeting with recently.

They don’t really look that much different than the other ones – except for the rim. Yet my son thinks I look older with these than before – but what do I care! Saved us a couple of hundred euros, I can see better, and that magic mark of ‘30’ somehow seems even stronger!

Then I severely hurt my toe while taking the inventory of my fabrics, when I managed to get the toe nail caught with some edge of one of the plastic boxes the fabrics are stored in. Blood, ooze, pain – what have you. Difficulties of getting into my shoes, and certainly no intensive sports for a while. Glad I’d finished my hiking adventures in NZ before I did this! So when we had a really nice and sunny day today, and I could not go for a walk, I pulled out the deck chair from winter storage and took myself outside onto the terrace.

Trying out various knitting patterns is easy enough to do out there, for a project that is hovering on my mind just now.
But I am sewing, too. Working on a piece for one of the ‘International Threads’ challenges and uses embroidered squares from the Afghanistan project. But as that’s still very much in process, I won’t post anything about that yet. And I made up my mind that the two quilts that recently got rejected from SAQA shows 'My corner of the world' and 'Migration' will be re-entered for Wide Horizons. Perhaps they'll get accepted there.

School holidays end tomorrow, much to the dismay of my son. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Reflection of the day, 2016

My real daily art project for this year is going to be private, I think. I'm not sure that I will ever be ready to post about it - but because I do art daily on many levels, and I love showing some things, I have decided that I am going to pick up the idea from last year and run a daily art 'series' title "Reflection of the day, 2016". Once a month I am going to post the top five of my photos from reflections. Here are the top 5 of the ones I took 'in preparation' after I had decided on this procedure:

Happy New Year!