Tag Archives: octopus

Fresh Air and Sunshine

Yesterday was a great day. I got up early, opened all the windows in the house,  had breakfast and got started working away on a bunch of work stuff. Working at home can be so much more pleasant than sitting in a dull, flourescently lit office.  I got a lot of work done thankfully, but also embarked upon a recipe for Cherries Jubillle with Butter Crunch Icecream. I will post photos of the entire 2 day process a little later. Note to self – next time read the recipe to fully understand the prep time – holy cow!

Anyhow, other than working on that I also finished up a handspun yarn, my ode to the Golden Girls:

And, I finished up a bit of pottery, watched ‘Up’ and thoroughly enjoyed it and knit a bit of my sock.

I also emptied my camera of it’s pictures so here’s a bit of what I have been up to:

Worldwide Knit in Public day brought me to Hiawatha Park where I worked on my Totem Pole sock.

The tide had been high the day before so there was still a lot of fresh seaweed on the rock ledge just below where I sat. This is one of the most peaceful places in this city. I come here often just to look at the water, reflect and watch different birds swimming, fishing and flying. There were a lot of cormorants that day. I am starting to wonder if the introduction of their species to this area might be one of those ‘oops’ situations and now they are massively overpopulated. It sort of seems that way.

I am really enjoying the warm summer with cool breezes we seem to be having in springtime. It’s nice and I have even been making time to run, go for long walks and hikes and such. I am starting to find my balance among artistic endeavors, exercise activities and work.

I also love working at home because I can hang out with my dogs. I spent a good hour working away on a project plan and throwing this lamb rattle toy for Poppy. This is after he was sort of tired out, but still springing inward with energy. He’s a happy guy.

I have been cleaning the house like crazy too. Part of me could really love being a domestic goddess I think. The perfect life might be held in being your own boss, being artsy and just having time to look after a family and a house. I think my path is getting a bit closer to that. I am trying to take more pictures of the various houses and such I have lived in. I always think back to the different apartments and condos in which I have lived and wish I had more pictures of the decor.

I am the last of the holdouts in not buying one of those flashy flat screen televisions. We don’t watch a lot of TV in this house so it hasn’t been a priority much.

Here’s a bit of the yarn dyeing adventure from yesterday. These are still drying on the rack in the sunshine of my kitchen.

And I am engrossed in reading ‘Sweater Quest’ right now, and managed to finish up another octopus yarn bowl. I have 3 done and they will go into my next bisque. I went to the pottery guild lastnight and finished up a couple other pieces and threw more. I think I need another bisque before I will have enough to fill up a good portion of our large kiln for glazing.

And, now it is time to get cracking on more work stuff and start packing for the weekend. I am going away for a little bitsy, visting the family and such. Pictures to come!

Yay for Long Weekends!

It could not be a more perfect weekend. Yesterday the weather was so beautiful that I packed up all my stuff to head over to the pottery studio but then feeling the cool breeze and warm sun, I was drawn to take a nice walk. Everyone was out with the dogs and it was too fun. I then spent the afternoon working away on some pottery. I am hoping to have enough pieces to do a bisque firing soon. Here are a few pieces I am working on. Sorry for the bad photo – the lighting in the studio in this area isn’t the best.

I did quite a bit of sculpting yesterday, and carving, and then applied coloured slip to my Octopus and Squid bowl which is starting to come along nicely.

I am just cleaning off my desk this morning to record the podcast and then I think I will go knit at the park. Ooh..a sneak peak at a project I am doing for the podcast!

Octopus Bowl and Dyeathon 3000!

As my friend Emily once wrote ‘I want to take over the world with clay and fibre!’ and I can completely mirror her statement in that mission now that I have started working more at the pottery studio.  There is something really nice about just getting to take your time and try to perfect every part of the working with clay…from the time that you center it on the wheel, to feeling it move between your hands while you shape and rise the walls of the cylinder, trying to keep things even with the power in your own hands, to the creative process it can take once it has formed into something like a mug or bowl or whatever your heart desires. I spent some time last weekend just throwing forms and practicing my forming skills and now the pieces are all leather hard and ready to be worked with. Lastnight I went to the studio and sculpted a squid which I attached to the lid of a lidded bowl that I have been working on. I forgot to bring my camera to snap a shot of it though. However, in keeping with my love of the ocean and sticking a bit to a theme, I brought a bowl home with me and decided to apply an octopus to it. So, today I spent some time carving the octopus and here are the results so far – there is still some touching up to do.

I have also been dyeing up a storm for The Black Lamb – Blue Faced Leicester roving and bamboo sock yarn.  I have figured a really wonderful technique to really saturate the BFL with colour. I find that BFL is very hard to get true colour and a lot of saturation with. It is a dense fiber and the colour has trouble sticking and penetrating into it. The fibers are medium soft (when natural and processed into roving) and it does not take colour the same as superwash products or a finer wool such as merino. However, I love BFL for it’s smell and its feel. It is a warm fiber and very home like in some way. Here are some of the braids I dyed up:

My technique essentially is this:

  • Soak the roving in hand warm water with a drop of dish liquid so that mild bubbles form. Press the roving under the water so that it can fully absorb. No scouring needed but just a gentle swish once or twice. Allow to soak for 15 minutes.
  • Pull up carefully out of the water, bundling and gathering the roving into a neat tripled over length. Squeeze the water out in sections only slightly so that about half of the water retains but it is not soaked with water pouring from it.
  • Place it in it’s tripled over lengths down on a tray with edges that you can use as a dye tray. The secret really is low water absorption with the actual dye process (when dye is added).
  • Mix up your acid dyes with hot water. I use jars (medium sized) with citric acid or vinegar and first mix up a paste, then add more acid, then the hot water. I don’t boil the water but use the hottest water that comes out of the tap. Stir the dye up well ensuring no flecks or clumps.
  • Pour your dye over the roving in the method preferred ensuring to saturate the entire area as much as possible. It is likely there will be some white sections – this is OK. I tend to dye a section at a time. ie. red for the first third, yellow for the second third, orange for the final third – crossways on the roving. But, feel free to hand paint and drip as you wish!
  • Wearing a plastic glove or a bag over your hand, press down firmly to allow the dye to press through the fibres. Do this with the entire roving surface. Do not move hands around. This will cause felting.
  • The next part is the steaming. Prepare a large dye pot of clean water to boil. Place a metal strainer or colander (not used for food) inside the pot similar to a double boiler. This will be your steamer.
  • You can choose to then wrap your roving entirely in plastic wrap but this was too much of a doddle for me so I used plastic bags (thin and clear) and placed one roving inside each bag.
  • Firmly press the bag down to let as much of the air out as possible, then twist the tops to keep a seal.
  • Place the rovings inside the colander and put the pot lid on top.
  • Allow to steam for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the roving from the bags and allow them to cool until you can handle them.
  • Rinse in hand warm water – you should see very little dye water rinse from them unless you have certain colours that simply act this way. (Seabreeze always wastes a lot for me no matter what).
  • Gently squeeze water out and hang to dry