Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I <3 Ouchy the Clown (1)

I had just joined a dollmaker's list, because a virtual bud who makes ATC's had recommended it as a place to hang. I've been on that kind of list before, and had some good times--I'll have to see if any of the pictures of the dolls I made are on this computer.

So anyway, there I am, with all these sweet and lovely artists talking dollies. And then someone started getting down on herself.

"My art doesn't look ANYTHING like anyone else's," she sniffed. "I suck!!!!" Or words to that effect.

Ya'll know me here. Ya'll know I don't DO pity parties. The last time I threw one, it was for someone else who needed a pat on the head and a kick in the butt. We had tubas playing "Flight of the Bumblebee," 12 year old single malt scotch aged in sherry casks, and devils' food cake with licorice frosting. We did it, and we were done, by gum.

So I dropped a line to that girl, saying there were plenty of folks willing to rag on her and tell her she was awful. There was no need to do this to herself. I wound up by saying "Don't make me get out the Altered Spanking Paddle and come over there!" and then I hit send.

Ooooops, thought I. Well, it WAS fun being a part of that group. However, if the moderators dumped me over that, then this wasn't really a good fit after all. I was bound to do or say SOMETHING that would offend someone.

So the next day, I put my hand on my monitor and verrrrrrry carefully lifted the lid off my email, in case the flames lept out and burned me to a sad little crisp right there.

Nope--there were three-four emails asking about an Altered Spanking Paddle swap!!! I knew I'd found a home on the net.

So I offered to do the administrative stuff--keep track of who signed up, post a partner list, and then nudge any laggards into fulfilling their bit. Mirable dictu, everyone has mailed their paddle out! (Well, except for one person--who posted to let us know she was done, but due to personal issues, had not been able to make it to the P.O. In the world of mail art, that's batting .1001).

So here's mine:

The part I wish the camera picked up better is the sparkly stuff on the body of the paddle. That's not glitter, that's knitted copper wire. And that shows how serious I was about this swap--I don't knit with wire for just anyone.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what comes of this . . .

1 Do you really want to know??

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I Don't Know Why They Call Me Ruthless . . .

Today tastes like lamb with a nice blueberry/green peppercorn curry. And tiramisu. With some powerful coffee with licorice, chocolate, and cream.

I am the boss of my knitting.

Ok, back up for some background. At the beginning of the year, I had started a lace stole for me. I seldom WEAR lace stoles. There's a reason stoles are often photographed around the shoulders of taut young decorative women and aging pissy divas.

Stoles are pretty, but useless. They don't keep anything warm. They aren't wide enough to heat your whole torso unless you can wrap them around and around your skinny little self.

Stoles are pretty, but tempermental. At the worst possible moment (one hand filled with red wine in a glass, the other holding a plate of tomato-sauced pasta) your white angora stole is going to decide you aren't paying enough attention to it, and will promptly unwrap itself and make a dive for the floor, clinging to your ankles. Do you (a) gracefully fold in half, balancing the food and drink until you can set it on the floor to re-dress yourself; (b) drop the wine or the food on the hostess's new cream Berber rug; (c) spill the wine or food onto the stole, praying that they dyepot will save it well enough to continue to wear; or (d) all of the above?

So I got to this point, about two and a half feet in.

And then I stopped for a while, tempted by a number of other projects. This is usually a warning sign. If I'm knitting for me, and decide I'd rather do something else, well, it's usually a sign. Generally, that decision is preceded by four equestrian gentlemen, one of whom rides a palomino. This bodes not well for the red stole.

And well, last night I pulled this out to work on. Two stitches in, I was planning something else, and I realized the Time Had Come.

Fifteen minutes later, we were back to the beginning.

I like the stitch patterns the original designer had chosen. I like the way they work together, I liked working them. It was just the shape of things to come that was getting in the way.

I love this about knitting. I love that if I accidentally knit two left fronts, I can just zizz the yarn out to where the shaping begins, and re-work it. I love that if something stops inspiring me, I can tear it out and try again. If only sewing worked the same way--if you could just rip and re-cut when you had two left sleeves in the $99.00 per yard challis that you bought the last 3 yards of for That Jacket. The one that takes two and a half-yards to lay out. So you bought an extra half-yard so you'd have some room to match motifs at the seams . . .

I've re-assembled the pattern in a way that pleases me. I'll link up what I did under the freebie section once I have a final shawl to show.

Woo-hooo! I may be going backwards right now (and until I've knit back to the same point in yarn use) but after this little siderail, we'll be going forward to a destination I think I'll like better.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Weblogs and Diaries and YouTube, oh my!

Was just directed via a blog to this amazing link. The author discusses diaries of old, blogs of last year, and YouTube viddies of today. What intrigues him is the shift in the meme of memory recording.

I tried keeping a diary several times when I was young--it seemed that every couple of years a well-intentioned relative would gift me wiht a li'l bitty diary with a li'l bitty padlock on the cover (and a picture of cute kitties, or a girl in a sunbonnet) so I could write down all me girlish secrets.

Well, even with a padlock I couldn't keep it going. It seemed the pinnacle of silliness to gush over how cute the boys were, and write my name blended with that week's favorite--Mrs. Spike Weisenheimmer, Mrs. Spike Jones, Mrs. Spike Schmooladoo. Especially because I was rather androgynous in my pursuits--it appeared that if I were ever to marry, the wedding party would consist of eight groom's men . . . and eight BRIDE'S men!!

And even with a padlock, I distrusted that anything I wrote would not come back to bit me someday.

And er, well, now I blog. And share my thoughts with however many readers pop by. The fact that I know not how many hits this spot on the web generates probably tells you how much I'm writing for external consumption. (If that don't do it, the paucity of comments might. I prefer to think it's quality over quantity. That's why I moderate--to keep out the spam, and the "Dittos, Rush" junk. If your say is important enough to you, you'll sign in to get past the gatekeeper, and I'll post what you have to say. Spammers generally don't have the patience; it's a numbers game.)

But now, as you have probably observed, and have certainly read if you followed the link above, it seems that the point of having secrets is to share them with as large an audience as is humanly possible. The more scandelous and gossipy, the better, it appears. Breaking the rules and wild behavior which used to be clutched to one's heart and relived over drinks with fellow instigators a safe distance in time later (statute of limitations, and all that) are now recorded via cell phone with video, edited for content (get the dull bits out), and posted on the web to share with one's chums, the school, and whoever else pops by.

It reminds me of nothing more than children playing by the pool--if Mama doesn't look and see you turn the backflip, did it really happen? Looka me, Ma! Looka me!!

Monday, April 02, 2007

ATC's Again

I recently joined yet another Yahoo Group, the Embellished Circus. (I know, just what I need, another groups. Spike, are there ANY mixed-media ATC/knitting groups you don't belong to???)

Well, since Paper Trail Arts folded up and moseyed off into the sunset < sniff> I've been looking for a group where I felt challenged to produce, where I could feel like my habits of rummaging through everything (construction materials, catalogues, freebie CDs and misburns, envelopes and cheap paint) to make art with was acceptable, because the whole Somerset vibe of "buy stuff! Buy Stuff! BUY OUR STUFF!" is ringing in my ears to the point where I can hardly hear my muse any more.1

But this looks like a good fit. At least, the moderators seem to think so--I sent photos of what I've done (and I'm very, very bad at keeping shots of my work. I like to think if I had a scanner, I'd be better because then I would be able to slap it on the screen and shoot it as soon as the glaze dried, but I think I'm just kidding myself there. I think I need to take myself seriously enough to take the shot once it's assembled) and they let me in.

But here's the rub--one of the requirements is a weekly post about what you're up to. Gulp. And as you all have seen--I don't take piccies but once in a blue moon.

So I guess the moon is blue. I took shots of these ATC's I made --

--and actually posted them to my li'l space in the group. Then, when I threw this long ol' dicursion up on the web, I sent a note to my circus freaks to let them know they could get more here. < waves>

So the EC looks like it'll be good for me in terms of (a) keeping me creating each week and never just settling down to do nothing; and (b) keeping some sort of record about what I did with my summer vacation.

Just as if I took what I did seriously. Imagine that.

1. I have lists and lists of projects I want to do, and piles of raw material collecting dust. The last thing I need is to go out and buy a ton of gew-gaws and diamond dust so I can make canned art. But if that's all that comes your way (except for shots from people whose day job is to make art) then how can you reconcile where you are, between the mud and the stars?