I’d Rather Be…

Part of me is already regretting my self-challenge to write a new blog post every day. Today it feels like a chore and I don’t really want to take the time to develop anything worthwhile. BUT, I’m only a few days in and I’m not letting myself shy away from this.

So, some things I’d actually rather be doing at the moment:

  • Binge watching more Mindy Project. I’m in the middle of season 2 on Hulu and I’m absolutely enthralled. And Chris Messina (Danny Castellano) is just… omg. That character is making me act like a 12 year old girl squeeing all over the place.
  • Snuggling with my boyfriend. Enough said.
  • Making doll clothes – I have so many more dolls now than I had when I last wrote about my dolls and I actually cannot wait to introduce you to them all.
  • Going for a walk
  • Eating a pizza I cannot have because diet. (But I’m 143.6 lbs this evening! Down from 150 at the start of this.)

There you go. Sometimes I don’t blog because I just don’t feel like it. And then I blame being busy – which I am, but this isn’t always what I want to do with the segments of free time I manage to get.

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Off the Beaten Path

I wrote the following on January 12th. That was almost a month ago. Any guesses as to why I never bothered to publish it? I was on a guest computer and was unable to find a good pic to throw up in the heading. Yeah, that’s it. And now, I’m sitting here debating with myself whether I want to delete it, or try to edit it because it’s a month old and no entirely up to date. I’m not going to do that. I do that too frequently as it is. My dashboard has a cache of half-worked blogs that I never finished and now feel too lost in time to bother completing. That ends. So, here is what I intended to publish almost a month ago, still lacking a photo:

Today, I was going through my reader, reading some of the newer entries of other blogs that I love but don’t always have the time to dedicate to reading – because I am working, or spending time with friends and family, or creating things, or watching Hindi films (which is usually a 3 hour commitment where I actually have to pay attention to the screen so I don’t miss subtitles and get lost. No knitting or embroidering during a Hindi film. All the more reason I should probably buckle down a really learn the language beyond the handful of words and phrases I know.).

One of the posts I was reading was this post from my internet acquaintance, Arlee. If you’re a artsy person, or if you’ve been around an artsy person, or have noticed the chaos in some of the photos in my own posts, you know that clutter tends to be an inherent, and arguably essential, part of the process. Since I left my one bedroom apartment and moved into a house with 2 roommates, I haven’t had the kind of carte blanche to just wreak havoc in my endeavors (which my be part of why there seem to be fewer such endeavors, or at least not so many hardcore artistic adventures), because I need to be respectful of shared spaces. I’m also too broke to afford awesome studio space anywhere. Fortunately, my roommates are pretty laid back and awesome nerdy types that spend most of their free waking hours holed up in their bedrooms on their laptops (Nerdy types are just, in general, awesome people. Of course, I’m rather biased.), so I am usually able to get away with dominating the big table for 2-3 days before I actually need to clear it off (to make room for gaming).

Another bit of excitement I have is learning that The Culture Monk is going on an epic Drinking in the Culture Tour (he’s referring to copious amounts of coffee, not booze – why is it that “drinking”, unless you specify a beverage, always seems to refer to alcohol?).

And then lots and lots of random travel blogs from people that have either more determination or less emotional ties to family than I do. (Wander Onwards and Halph– which is done by my friend, Jesse – are a couple of these) I would love to be able to travel the world, to live abroad for awhile. But there are so many things I would miss out on if I left.. I am sure that somewhere there is a universe in which I am living in India or wandering aimlessly around the world.

But, for now, I think I am going to find some manner of crochet pattern on Ravelry for a lemur or meercat or something to make for this new baby in my family that was just born yesterday.

Come What May

So, welcome to 2014. New year, new chances to lie to myself about blogging more regularly and finishing unfinished projects. This will not be a polished entry, this may even get personal. Maybe. Right now I’m just typing words as they escape my brain between shoving unhealthy snacks in my face.

I’ve got my laptop next to me, with my camera, my sewing machine is out, and I have bits of fabric on the table. What follows is an insight into my creative and thought processes, raw, unedited – chaotic and probably going nowhere. But why am I still typing crap? Here – look at some pictures.

GE

This is some sexy lingerie I bought several years ago. I only wore them once. They don’t even fit me anymore. I’m going to chop them up. Why not?

GE

Chop CHOP! Choppy Chop! Lace is pretty.

GE

Oh, remember these? Yeah, I’m still not sure what to do with them, but, they’re sitting in a pile on the table.

GE

This looks kind of neat.

GE

CRAP! I need pink thread! The stores are closed! All I have is embroidery and hand quilting thread! Grrr…

Do I want to just sew it with a contrasting thread color? Or use embroidery thread? I don’t want to wait until morning. I’m pushing through, making do, not putting it off. Embroidery thread it is. Such is life. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It can be messy, it can be chaotic, and it will be ok. It will. I promise. Screw the fairy tales and the picture perfect notions of what should be. The harder you push it, the less idyllic/idealistic it will be. Ideallic. Is that a word? Screw it. It is now. #Ideallic. Go trend that crap.

Idyllic -1:  pleasing or picturesque in natural simplicity; 2:  of, relating to, or being an idyll

Idealistic – 1: of or relating to the philosophical doctrine of the reality of ideas; 2: of high moral or intellectual value; elevated in nature or style; “an exalted ideal”; “argue in terms of high-flown ideals”- Oliver Franks; “a noble and lofty concept”; “a grand purpose”

Yeah, neither of those quite do it for me quite the way it feels in my mind standing by themselves. Oh, so, here’s a thing I’ve been working on off and on that I don’t think I’ve posted about:

GE GE

I got the pattern from Urban Threads. It’s going to take me eons. Ok. I’m getting kind of sleepy. I think I’m going to post this and come back to this in the morning. Maybe I’ll get a stock of posts done to schedule over the next few weeks. Maybe I can be more regular. Maybe I can convince myself that I don’t actually NEED to have a point or well-formed idea. Maybe I can stop avoiding the blog and the facebook page when I haven’t finished any of my many unfinished projects. Maybe.

Embroidery Doodling

One of the major problems I have in trying to get anything done, creative projects or otherwise, is that I get too caught up in planning and wanting to make sure that the tiniest details are perfect that it takes me forever to start or finish a project.(Anyone remember my nataraja quilt idea? I *still* haven’t quite figured out what I want to do.) As an exercise in just letting creative juices flow and not letting myself over-think, I decided to just do something. I grabbed the first spare piece of material I had (the mate for the pillowcase I used for purse lining), a small embroidery hoop and some embroidery floss and just let my hands move. Kind of like doodling. It was free style embroidery with no rules and I just sat from the outside looking in as my hands and the needle did whatever they felt like doing. It was a very freeing exercise, even if the end result wasn’t exactly all that pretty.

I don’t know why, but I really enjoyed creating swirls and circles…

I’m still not quite sure what to make of it, if anything.

Finishing the Rag Rug: What I have learned

I first began working on the rag rug just shy of a year ago. (You can read all about the humble beginnings here) I had never woven anything before, on a loom or otherwise, but I wanted a way to use some material I had laying around and wanted to try out the technique. I always get excited to try something I’ve never done before, I always jump into these big projects head on and learn as I go… I’m actually kind of surprised I even managed to make a small practice swatch! That being said, I ran into several points of frustration that resulted in long periods of walking away from the rug to work on other things, which is why it took me so long to finish. This is how I learn though, through experimentation.

Trial and Error Learning

Experimenting with dye:

I knew I wanted to make my rug black and red. I also knew I didn’t want to have to go out and buy a lot of new fabric either (as that would be expensive as well as defeating the purpose of utilizing old material), so I thought it would be wise to dye some old white bed sheets to the colors I wanted. That should be easy, right? Oh boy was I ever wrong! Not only did I spend hours cutting and dying fabric (note: dye first, _then_ cut!), but I made a mess and all I had to show for it in the end was some pink and grey fabric. For all the other dye noobs out there: Rit is no good if you want strong colors. Do some research before jumping head first, which is what I should have done.

Types of fabric:

While most of my material came from old bedsheets (cotton is awesome), I wanted to use what I had handy as well. This meant cutting some strips from old pants as well as an old satin sheet set I’d had for some years that was worn from cat claws. Satin frays like a mother and, while it certainly made use of the material, using it was a giant pain. The fabric from my old pants was thicker than the other material, and while that’s not really a problem in itself, I should have cut them into thinner strips, as the difference in thickness contributed to the my other major problem…

GAUGE!

Notice that pink/ grey piece in the center, I wanted to make sure my dying efforts weren’t for naught, and it serves as a reminder of my journey in making this rug.

 

Just as with knitting or crochet, gauge is important. Gauge, for those readers who may be unfamiliar with the term, is the tension and tightness or looseness of a knit, weave, etc. When you are following a pattern and knitting asweater, you want your gauge to match that listed in the pattern or the sweater will be too big or too small. The problem with this rug is that the gauge is not uniform. The gauge is super tight at the top and very loose toward the middle. So, how do I fix it? I do not want to unravel all my hard work and re-do it. I can either tighten up the lower rows or I can add some material to the upper rows or some combination to even it out. However, no matter how I go about it, there is no getting around that this is going to be another time consuming process. It’s quite aggravating when I really want to be done with it and get some use out of it, not to mention, I’d like to move on to other projects.