Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Fall Daze

The weekend went by in a blur — as did yesterday! As you might have guessed I had a wonderful time (NOT!) at the dentist on Friday. Nothing like having your mouth stuck open for about 2 1/2 hours straight. Although my dentist and his assistant were as gentle as possible, I found myself tensing up and occasionally fighting to breathe for a second or two. I had the fillings replaced in 3 adjacent teeth and an onlay applied to the worst one. We are struggling to preserve my old crooked teeth for as long as possible and it can be quite a job. Luckily T’s extended dental is paying for some of it ’cause it ain’t cheap! My mouth is still a bit sore where the freezing went in and the teeth are somewhat sensitive, but all-in-all it wasn’t that painful. And now I have all good dental work with no mercury-amalgam left in my mouth.

We had our children, their spouses and our granddaughter plus my MIL over for dinner on Saturday. It was a lovely family gathering, kind of a pre-Thanksgiving (in anticipation of the real thing next weekend with even more family). Even though everybody lives fairly close, there are gaps when we’re all too busy to communicate so it’s nice to get caught up on their lives. Two-year-old granddaughter is finally putting some words to things. She definitely has her own timetable! Her dad was yakking up a storm much younger than she is, but she’ll get there eventually. Then you likely won’t be able to shut her up! She’s a cutie though and fun for this happy granny to play with. It’ll be interesting to see how she reacts when her baby brother is born around the end of the year.

On Sunday I helped jury potential participants in a craft show coming up in December. It was very interesting to clash tastes with the 3 other jurors! One is a silver/goldsmith and is quite strongly opinionated which made for some lively discussions. We had totally opposing views on the jewelry which was fun but ultimately she “won” her choices. No surprise there! I was actually surprised at the lack of high quality design or innovation in a lot of the submissions and although fabric was well-represented, there was very little surface design or knitting/crochet. It seems that my theory that when you do something for sale, compromises must be made to turn any kind of profit. Whether that compromise is in materials, complexity, or craftsmanship, you just can’t spend as much time or effort when you’re making a large quantity for sale. Heck, what would I have to sell my hand-knitted socks for to make any kind of profit? The materials cost between $10 and $16 and it takes me (slow knitter that I am) upwards of 20 hours to knit a pair. Even at minimum wage, who’s going to pay me say $175 for socks? Not to mention the fact that it would kill my hands if I had to make more than one or two pairs a month. So see, everybody who gets my socks for birthday presents, how much I love you?!! Ultimately though I think this year’s sale is going to be very successful and showcase a good mix of different types of crafts. Whenever I’ve gone, it’s always been very busy and exciting.

Yesterday I buckled down and got my kumihimo braid done for the swap that was due on ahem…last Saturday. I completely forgot all about it until I got home from our holiday so I’m a leetle behinders. Anyway, it’s almost ready to go in the mail. I just have to finish binding the braid ends and attaching them to the cardstock printout of the details. I was so happy that the theme was Thick and Thin this time because a) that’s one of my favourite types of braid to play with and b) it works up relatively fast. I wanted to keep it simple so chose Edo Yatsu, the hollow braid (actually a tubular plain weave), and did two elements with 3 strands of fat cotton chenille and the other 6 elements from one strand each of a rayon 2 ply weaving yarn and a copper metallic thread for a bit of sparkle in contrast to the fuzzy chenille. It made a zigzag braid that isn’t hollow but that’s heavy enough to be a handle for a small bag. Sorry the scan is a bit off on the colours, which are actually a teal green chenille and orange/copper. My old scanner is starting to pack it in but I’m loathe to replace it since it’s legal size and actually still works not too badly on flat items. I probably should have taken a photo of such a 3-D braid rather than try to scan it however. The diagram is standard for kumihimo on the marudai, the “round stand”. The setup diagram indicates the colour order when you begin. It takes several repeats of the 4 steps to get back to the original positions. This is a very comfortable braid to work and has a nice rhythm almost like knitting or crochet when you get familiar with it. OK, I need to finish getting this swap all ready to mail.


Katie Vorreiter said...

Funny thing about blogs: here you wrote this 3.5 years ago, and I just found it.

I'm a Kumihimo newbie, and grateful for the clear, beautiful tips and patterns on the internet. And free.

I saw your book reviews too, so know where to turn if I get to the point of investing more into the art.

Thank you, Katie

Shirley said...

And here I am, another newbie, 2 years after Katie! I'm thrilled to find tutorials for this interesting art form. Thanks so much!