Saturday, November 26, 2011

Not just knitting

Hello, during the week Bear went digital, this is a man with a Nikon F5 film camera and previously no wish to use a digital camera at all. Digital is something I've encouraged, seeing my photos as I make them allows me to make better photos. I can't imagine waiting weeks for a film to be finished and then printed, but Bear is old school - and that is cool. The result of Bear deciding to try digital was my lovely Panisonic Lumix camera went out on a site visit with him and wasn't here for me to use - no mid week photos means no midweek post. Not that there was much here to blog, a sock is growing, I've plied two skeins (no photos sorry), and today I made a bag. The bag was a project that started out as a repair and before I knew it there was a new bag in the making. I'm working away developing a 'teachable' book for November continues to keep me busy - but the end is in sight. There are several 4pm to 7pm ballet practices this week, Monday and Wednesday, and a full ballet concert this Friday and Saturday, I'm not sure who will be the more tired, little cub who has to rehearse and dance or the parents who have to prepare, transport and feed the ballerinas and then watch the whole recital.

So a growing sock, Bigger on the inside the second is half done. The corner turned and the leg commenced. Soon I will be able to play with the colourwork at the top. There will be more opportunity this week as elder cub is away to school camp from Tuesday morning to Friday night. Without him in residence I can happily knit on his sock without discovery.
Little cub plays Ukelele, she has done for two years now. The classes are held at her school and are free - one of the retired teachers opens up the library and runs 3 classes a week, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Thank you Miss G! Every Wednesday littlest cub takes her pink ukelele and trots of to class after school, most weekends, and some mornings we hear her singing and strumming away in her room down the hall. The bag it came in was thin and had started to tear in several places. As eldest cub is off to camp we had the sewing machine out and I was stitching labels to the things we least want him to loose. Seemed a good time to do a few repairs, stitch a belt loop back on, top-stitch a hat band in place, and repair the ukelele bag. The fabric of the original bags was - well it wasn't fabric, it was a thin non-woven with no structural integrity at all. Originally I thought I would over-stitch the popped seams, but on inspection I found the seams had torn, and there were holes and tears in a few other places. The next step in the repair ladder seemed to be to open up the seams and patch the thin and worn places ... so Little cub and I started to unpick the bag. As we unpicked it seemed that the best repair would not to be to patch such thin fabric - but to cut and sew a new bag.

I hauled out the last of a roll of denim that I had used to make cub-trousers when both were smaller, and my sewing box. Little Cub chose a cotton quilting print of Paua-shell  to accent the denim fabric. Little cubs nickname is Doodle ... so that seemed a fun word to personalize her bag. The applique was outlined in machine zig zag stitching, each letter in a different thread colour, and that seemed a nice feature to carry through to the handle and the zip. Little cub outlined the 'L' - didn't she do a grand job? She wasn't sure about the 'E' - as it had lots of corners and turns, and left the curved letters to me.

We even added a wee pocket to the back, to keep her picks in, with enough space to add a ukelele tuner later (she is getting one for Christmas but dosn't know that yet).

And I've been working away to develop a nice book to teach bookbinding with at Unwind next March. The class is only a few hours so I've been working out how much I can expect people to sucessfully get through in that time,  And I've been playing with materials, these two are stitched with different weights of linen thread. I like the thinner one better, less dramatic but the stitching holes are smaller and the thread adds less bulk to the book.

I've also been playing with this method of attaching the covers to the book-block (pages). The standard method dosn't use a flyleaf - which is something that 'nicer' books have. The problem with adding a flyleaf is how to stitch the cover to the book-block and not interfere with the unglued flyleaf. Took me the 'map' journal to get my mind around the 'how' and the yellow journal to refine adding the back cover so the inside looked the same. Soon I need to 'test' my teaching on some one to make sure that this is achievable for some one in my class, no point having a method that is so fiddly that no-one else can follow is there?
I've also been playing with paper, the ivory is 80gsm Claire Fontaine, and the white is 90gsm HP, both take fountain pen ink and pencil well which is important. I'm also playing with printing a knit grid on some of the pages, and different methods of stitch binding using the 'coptic' stitch. Heavier paper makes for a book with more of a 'high-quality' feel, and I've already discovered that the covers and flysheets are much easier to glue if thicker paper is used.

Take care - I'll be back with more knitting mid week if the ballet and camp and work dosn't derail me again. There is only 3 weeks until school (cubs) and work (mine) finishes for the year - then there is our long summer holiday break. The end is in sight!

na Stella

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