Thursday, 24 June 2010

Things Take On A Life Of Their Own

I'm still in sock creature mode. Some lovely friends have asked me to make some for them. If I wanted to big myself up a bit I could call it a commission. Either way, I am completely chuffed to have been asked.

Since they are going to be given away as presents I had better not reveal too much here. You never know who's looking, and I wouldn't want to spoil any surprises.

When I visited my best friend in London last weekend she was displaying flowers in a tall vase I had made for her. I used to go to a pottery class when we lived in Cumbria. Actually it wasn't so much a class as a space in which to experiment with clay, with a very experienced potter on hand for guidance. I loved it with a passion and I hope I can take it up again sometime. It was such a messy, tactile experience. The clay felt heavy, pliable and yet resistant. Although the potter, with his thirty-odd years of sculpting and throwing could make the clay obey him. It literally surrendered to the movements of his hands.

The processes seemed like a kind of alchemy to me. From this grey, earthy lump to a pinkish and lighter, biscuit-fired form. Then coated in liquefied, dull minerals which magically transformed into glossy, glassy, translucent colours after firing in unimaginable heat. The whole craft was an incredible marriage of primitive and intuitive with technical and scientific. Mind blowing.

Seeing this vase again, to my eyes it had a charm to it but it was also clumsy and lacking the grace I had envisioned when I was designing it. How often is that the way? So gratifying though, to see something I had made having been integrated into my friend's day to day life. Like the tea cosy I knitted for her a couple of Christmases ago, sitting askew on her teapot.

Making stuff is engrossing and satisfying. Giving stuff away and seeing it take on a life of its own is beyond gratifying.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Purple Sock Bunny

We had a visit from one of Pete's oldest friends, Andrew and his two young sons, James and David. David, the youngest, is four and he seemed to like our sock creatures so we decided we would start to make one there and then. We chose a sock in David's current favourite colour, purple, and I set to work with the scissors.

It was fun to work quickly, freed from the tyranny of neatness, the emphasis more on showing how it's done and getting David involved in the decisions. He suggested it could be a purple rabbit, and he chose one pink and one purple button for the eyes. I got him to put in some of the polyester stuffing, and when I suggested that he might want to add more because it was going to be a bit squishy, he thought it would be nice like that. So we went with soft and squishy.

I finished it after he went home, taking a bit of license with the facial features and adding a fluffy tail, which wasn't in the original brief but a cute and tactile detail and well worth the fiddlyness involved.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Al Fresco Knitting

We have been without internet for almost a week. We had used up our monthly bandwidth in the run-up to the Airstream gathering and ended up counting the days til the 2nd of June when we could start communicating with the world at large again. I may have already made a big dent in this month's quota by catching up on blogs.

The gathering was lovely. More about it on our joint blog. I even fitted in a few rows of knitting under the shade of our awning. It's going to be a tea cosy. The craft world has embraced the internet and there is an overwhelming universe of knitting and crochet websites and blogs out there. I've noticed that some knitters get hooked on making socks. Just check out Yarn Harlot. She makes all kinds of stuff but always seems to come back to socks. For me it's tea cosies. It's like a default setting or a return to normality after trying something new.

We are on the road again. We actually ended up in one spot for six months. We hadn't planned it that way, it just happened, and we were in a lovely place on the Somerset Levels. Moving on to the gathering was a brilliant way to start our summer travels and now that we are on our way, I'm really looking forward to some new scenery and fresh outlooks. We will be moving every two or three weeks from now on. I will also be looking out for any signs of the upcoming World Wide Knit In Public Day, which is apparently on or around the 12th June.