For those who weren’t able to guess, that was a raccoon who visited my water garden — again — and left his or her muddy footprints on my deck. Often they will knock the spout and The Auk (my lovely rusting metal bird) into the water but this time they left it alone. I used to have glass bubbles in there and water plants but they were too big of a temptation. Both for the raccoons and the grandkids! So I just have pretty rocks in the bottom now. The raccoons tend to come around early in the morning while it’s still dark, even earlier than I get up, so I rarely see them. They are not discouraged by the motion-sensor light on the garage either. Cheeky brats. No wonder they wear bandit masks.
I went along to my Spectrum Study Group yesterday. We had a lovely time solving Guild problems. working on small projects and deciding what we were going to do for the next few months. Our new Study Project that we came up with could be really interesting. Since we usually manage to avoid finishing anything and instead collect a heap of samples, this time we will actually insist on a completed product: make a bag or purse or tote using a particular word for inspiration. We each picked a book (there are a lot of them layered on Jo Anne’s coffee table!) and randomly selected a page and chose a word from the text there. Then we passed that word to the person on our right. I got “sari” from Cathie and passed on “landscape” to Masami. Some of the other words were “pandemonium” and “checkerboard” but I can’t remember the rest because I was already thinking about how to use “sari” and what I would make. I even spent some time this morning thinking about it while I should have been sleeping. I could use a small wrist bag that will hold a ball of yarn while I’m knitting. And I would like to use my Indian metal sequins and wooden block stamps from Maiwa on it. That’s as concrete as I’ve gotten so far.
Speaking of Maiwa, they have some excerpts from the last Symposium in podcast format. You can download them individually or subscribe in iTunes. I was present at two of the lectures (Elizabeth Barber and Jane Callender) but it’s lovely to hear some of it again. Jane’s is a video podcast too so you can see as well as hear. Her indigo shibori is breathtaking! And I got to see and touch some of it in person. Whee!
While the members of Spectrum were all working on various projects (beading a name tag, pasting another Miao sewing kit, knitting paper yarn into a scarf, needle felting etc.) Masami and I poured over The Scary Page of Symbols in my Knitting Patterns Book 250. These are the truly complex ones that aren’t diagrammed, just written instructions in Japanese. And my new Clear & Simple Knitting Symbols book doesn’t go quite that far since these are very specialized symbols that are rarely used, maybe only in this book? I don’t know for sure, but Masami can both knit and read Japanese so we puzzled many of them out together. It was excellent brain exercise, that’s for sure! I will try to write up what we discovered in more detail later in case there are others out there having trouble with this book who don’t have a dear, patient and most generous friend like Masami handy.
And speaking of study groups, I just realized that I need to have 8 pieces completed and sent off for a Complex Weavers Beads & Interlacements Study Group swap before the end of the month. The theme is “hearts” and I’ve decided to knit and felt hearts and apply beads to them after as a small ornament. I plan to use the Heartfelt pattern from Berroco because I thought it was cute with its little curly point. However I haven’t located any suitable yarn in the stash yet. Whether I will spin or dye or purchase or some combination of the above, I’d better get a move on if I want to meet the deadline.
Meanwhile I’ve almost finished the second leg of the Unmentionables. I had to join in a new ball of yarn which made me very nervous. It’s not like cotton will spit-splice like wool. And I was knitting circularly which means there are no side-seams to hide the join in. I had to separate the plies and twist them together. It’s fairly inconspicuous if not entirely invisible. I just hope it holds up to washing and wearing.
I also got a little farther on the feet of the Sea ‘n’ Sky Socks while at the Spectrum meeting. Though I did screw one sock up somewhat and had to switch to the other one until I could fix the mistake this morning when I was fresh. Luckily having two socks on the go at the same time means that I have options. I also got in some more on the fronts of the Hepburn Cardi while watching TV last evening. It seems that working on so many projects at once that none of them go very fast but at least there is some visible progress on each one.
It’s raining today so I can’t really take any good photos nor can I get out to plant my belated peas and onions. While I’m waiting for the weather to cooperate, I can peruse the Thr3fold Journals that I borrowed from Jo Anne so I can see if I need to get them for myself. These are inspirational surface design books each with accompanying CD which include videos as well as picture files and other information that complements the books. The authors are a British mother and daughter, Linda and Laura Kemshall, and a local Canadian quiltmaker, Catherine Nicholls. Jo Anne’s copies are personally autographed by Catherine!