Friday, July 13, 2007

Ah Cooler!

Happy Friday the 13th! It’s quite a bit less toasty here today, thank goodness. I was about to roast my eyeballs and we even slept with no covers for most of the last few nights. Or jammies either — at least the old t-shirts we wear instead of “real” jammies. But today is quite pleasant and just a bit overcast. I’m especially happy because I’ve had a lot of things I wanted to accomplish today and it’s hard to do that when the least exertion makes you feel like fainting from heat stroke.

I got the majority of the closet stuff sorted out but I still need to do some ironing and it’s not quite cool enough for that except first thing in the morning. A few things got thrown out but most got sorted and replaced or re-located to one or the other of the attic spaces. I can finally move around in there and find what I’m looking for. What a pleasure! Makes all the work in the heat worthwhile. One more attic space to go now that we can get at the door to it in the back of the closet. Wish I didn’t have the feeling that I’m going to have to start all over again from the beginning once I get to the end.

Speaking of end, I’m almost finished the Boring Black Socks with just a bit of toe left to go. It’s been too hot to hold the needles so not much got done on them recently. Nor any other knitting either. A friend even remarked yesterday that she had never seen me without some knitting in hand before! Hmmm…bad sign. But I’m hoping to finish up the BBSocks today because… well, I’m bored of them. Heh. And they will be done before the recipient’s birthday for once. How novel!

I have to mention the lecture I went to last evening. It was the art-stitching duo from England known as Double Trouble, aka Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn, captured on their way to an Alaskan cruise where they’ll be teaching a group of fellow cruisers. Yes, I know I don’t do much in the embroidery vein but they were very interesting and also amusing. (Loves me the dry British sense of humour.) I’m really quite impressed with their self-publishing record which they insist keeps them experimenting and learning just to put the books together. So far they’ve done eighteen 28-page books on embroidery techniques and numbers 19 and 20 are just about to be released. They originally did a couple of larger books with Batsford (which was bought out) and one of these “Stitch Magic” is going for over $100 in the Canadian “used and new” market but only around US$35 in the States. If you order from Britain it’s only about $26 but postage is much higher from there. Both the US and British prices are reasonable for a book that’s virtually out of print (for the second time). Why is it so pricey in Canada? Is there a mad run on this book, excellent though I’m sure it is? Is somebody holding all the remaining copies hostage? Will fanatical stitchers pay that much for a single book? Inquiring minds want to know. Luckily I feel no need to own this book. Whew! BTW it would cost about $350-400 to buy the complete set of Double Trouble books, which are actually more like magazines in size, from Quilting Arts which is probably their best North American distributor. QA also has the Stitch Magic book for US$26.95 assuming they still actually have a copy left. Saner heads must prevail somewhere.

Anywho, I enjoyed the slides but I was very happy they had brought along a bunch of examples of their work because there is so much more detail in person. If you could get close to them, that is. The audience must have consisted of big fans of Double Trouble because you could barely get anywhere near the stage where the pieces were arranged. I kind of glanced at the ones I could see through the throng because T-Man was waiting for me so I didn’t have time to hang around until the crowd thinned. One thing I got out of the lecture was the reiteration of that idea of working on a theme or following a series until you can get into the real depths of the subject matter and work through the issues of technique and presentation. I do need to work on that in myself. They were big believers in having a sketchbook/journal system going and where I would take a photo, they would spend time sketching and painting. I’m lousy at that and get much too impatient with myself and my lack of skill. Of course if I spent some time practicing I might get better at it. I’m not convinced yet though. I need a better reason than “you must”. I’d rather spend time manipulating the images I’ve photographed on my computer. And writing blog posts. Hmm…guess I don’t want to do the work one needs to do to be a real artist. Like that’s a revelation!

Gotta go throw the next load of laundry in. Amazing how many clothes you can go through when it’s hot out. They might be smaller clothes and you might wear less of them at a time but they get stinky much faster! Tomorrow is Spectrum Study Group day and we’re continuing our Year of Felting. I don’t feel like making either wet or dry felt so I thought I would bring my new Nicky Epstein book along for show & tell. Then I can try knitting some of the leaf patterns from it in handspun to see how they are worked and if I have time I can try hand-felting them. More anon. As if you could stop me!

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