Inktober 2019

November 3, 2019 at 7:31 pm | Posted in Drawing | 1 Comment
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I’ve been keeping in touch with a few of the artists I met at the Dublin 2019 Worldcon via Facebook and my newly created Twitter account. At the beginning of October they started talking about and posting drawings tagged with something called Inktober. I got curious, read up on things and spontaneously decided to play as well.

It’s not as if there’s a dearth of art supplies around here, so I dug around for an empty enough sketchbook and my ink pens. What I found was an half-full sketchbook where I’d worked on designs from a zentangle book for textile artists. Not wanting to commit to anything complicated, I decided to keep to the zentangle-sized 9*9 cm squares and to fill one of those for every day of October. Since I can waste huge amounts of time to come up with the “right” idea and was sure that would derail me sooner or later, I also decided to use the official prompts from the website linked above. I continue to find that my creativity works best when I don’t let it roam completely free, but give it some constraints to hang on to. I must have made the right choice, since I made it all the way through the month, doing a small ink drawing for every day:

The prompt is in the captions, and you can click on the images for larger versions. And, so you can see how my sketchbook looks like, here’s my favourite page spread:

Inktober 2019 - Page spread

This is also now a very full sketchbook, I had to squeeze the last sketch into the absolutely last square available. Yay!

Still noodling over what I’m going to take away from this. Left to my own devices, I’ll probably get back to drawing for the next vacation diary sometime next summer. This is something that needs consistent practice, and I’m not quite sure how to go about achieving that. I’ll probably never draw for drawings sake, but I’d sure love to be able to confidently get ideas from brain to paper, where they can be examined and evaluated for committing art (usually using fabric and thread). Leaving this here for the moment as food for thought.

SAL Update: Green Iguana #36

November 3, 2019 at 8:38 am | Posted in Embroidery | 13 Comments
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Progress! In the last three weeks, I got back to regularly working on Mr. Iguana. Here’s where I came from:

Green Iguana - 20191013

And here’s today’s version:

Green Iguana - 2019-11-03

He’s got a nose! In fact, I’m all finished filling him in on the second-to-last page. Next up is the background above, and then I’ll be down to the last pattern page, of which quite a bit is already done since I’m generally following the colours across page borders. Maybe an end-of-year finish is still possible?

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Linda, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne and Connie.

If you would like to join in please contact Avis, who will give you full details.

A Scrappy Colour Wheel

October 27, 2019 at 7:57 pm | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | 3 Comments
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In an attempt to make some space in my scrap box, I started to make 1-inch hexagons and rhombs a while ago. After I finished going through the box, I was unsurprisingly in possession of a rainbows worth of hexies. So, I started playing with possible arrangements for them. Hm, how about making a colour wheel? This is what I came up with:

Colour Wheel

I tried to go from lighter hues in the middle to darker ones outside, but since I was working with whatever I had available in my scrapbox, it’s far from perfect in colour distribution. I do like the overall effect, though. There are quite a few memories to projects past in there, as well. This is the last project that I’ll be showing in our yearly quilt show in a couple of weeks, and everything is finished and prepared. Off to new adventures, more on which soon!

SAL Update: Green Iguana #35

October 13, 2019 at 8:04 am | Posted in Embroidery | 15 Comments
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I got distracted by other projects in the last weeks, so there’s not that much to show. Here’s where we were three weeks ago:

Green Iguana - 2019-09-22

And here’s where I am today:

Green Iguana - 20191013

I think the current slow progress might persist for another bit, since I have other things going on that take up my time for hand-work. For one, I got sucked into Inktober, which is a challenge to make a drawing in ink every day in October. I’m posting my results on twitter, and will probably make a summary post here once the month is over. Haven’t missed a day yet! The other thing is that our yearly quilt exhibition is coming up at the beginning of November, so there’s lots of finishing things going on.

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Linda, Mary Margaret, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Catherine, Deborah, Clare, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy and Anne.

If you would like to join in please contact Avis, who will give you full details.

Finished? – Finished!

October 6, 2019 at 8:49 am | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | 3 Comments
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A few weeks ago, I showed you my colourful find while cleaning up the craft room. A few days later, I did indeed have a finished quilt, as promised:

Fraunhofer Lines - quilted

I used simple horizontal lines for quilting, reminding me of early pictures of solar spectra that often have lots of thin grainy lines. At that point, the quilt had a tunnel and a label, and was technically finished. But while this treatment was intentionally much simpler than what I had initially planned, I felt something was missing.

So out came the beads and sequins, and during the last couple of weeks, I added them, and am much happier with the result now:

Fraunhofer Lines - beaded

Here’s a detail:

Fraunhofer Lines - detail

The beads remind me of the sparkling you get when sunlight is broken up by a prism or crystal. I also think it makes the asymmetric layout of the quilt work better than before.

SAL Update: Green Iguana #34

September 22, 2019 at 8:32 am | Posted in Embroidery | 14 Comments
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As promised, I’m back with actual progress on Mr. Iguana this time. Here’s the state of affairs from six weeks ago:

Green Iguana - 2019-08-11

And this is where I am today:

Green Iguana - 2019-09-22

I’m slowly but surely filling in the area between his mouth and his eye. Maybe I can finish him before 2019 is over?

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Linda, Mary Margaret, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Catherine, Deborah, Clare, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn and  Sharon. A very warm welcome to Susan and Anne, our two new members this time!

If you would like to join in please contact Avis, who will give you full details.

Fraunhofer Lines

September 14, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | 3 Comments

There was a Worldcon in Dublin, and among other things, I re-found my long-lost quilting bug there! What happened? Basically, I spent a lot of time before and at the convention looking at the fabulous convention art created by Iain Clark. At some point during that time, the idea that Green Woman needs to be a quilt got into my brain. In Dublin I finally managed to meet Iain (given the size of the convention, it took some coordination) and asked him whether I could use his image as inspiration for a quilt, and he kindly said yes. So, of course now I’m itching to start.

First step: bring the craft room into a condition that will actually support a new start. During clean-up, I found a piece of fabric I had abandoned last year when working on my contribution for my local quilt shop’s anniversary competition. I already wrote about the quilt I actually entered here.

My original idea was very different to what I ended up with. I painted a solar spectrum on some fabric and wanted to show the Fraunhofer lines – black lines that appear on the spectrum, their frequencies indicating the existence of certain elements in the outer layers of the sun. I wasn’t happy with how the colours came out – too muted for my taste. So I threw that piece of fabric into a corner and ended up doing something completely different.

While cleaning the craft room, I found that piece of fabric, and for the life of me can’t remember why I was unhappy with the colours. Sure, they’re not as brillant as can be, but if you look at a solar spectrum that’s created by a prism, you’ll see quite a muted rainbow as well. So I decided to run with my original idea and finish this up before starting anything new. A day or so later, I had a top:

Fraunhofer Lines - top

The lines are a flat cotton yarn sewed down using a zig-zag stitch. The sides are a very dark blue batik I bought for this project last year. I like the circles and dots – they remind my of stars and planets, fitting for a quilt about starlight. Here’s a detail:

Fraunhofer Lines - detail

By now, it’s already basted and quilted, and my guess would be there’ll be a finish posted to this very blog quite soon.

Irish Crochet Lace Workshop at Worldcon

September 4, 2019 at 6:13 pm | Posted in Conventions, Crochet, Lace | 1 Comment
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Quite a few months ago, I made a suggestion to the Programme team at Dublin 2019 – an Irish Worldcon that when having a Worldcon in Ireland, wouldn’t it be lovely to have a workshop on Irish Crochet lace, which is one kind of lace that’s native to Ireland? Having made that suggestion, I was pretty sure that a) it would be taken up and b) I’d be asked to teach the workshop. I was right on both counts.

Basically, it meant that on top of everything else, I needed to find a suitable pattern, collect the necessary materials and prepare a handout. The pattern was easy: I had seen this shamrock in one of my historical intruction manuals before, and it does have all the basic ingredients that make Irish Crochet different from other kinds of lace crochet:

Irish Crochet Lace Shamrock

Irish crochet lace aims to imitate dimensional needle laces by using two threads – a fairly thin thread for the crochet stitches and a thicker “cord” which other stitches are worked over, replacing the loops of chain stitches often found in modern lace crochet.

Materials were also fairly easy: I wanted participants to use the same materials I used for my class samples, so I had a good idea of how much was needed and the instructions would work with the threads. Since the thread sizes in historical needlework books are incomparable to what’s used today, finding materials that work together and adjusting the pattern to match is often the hard part of recreating those patterns. The real challenge was finding the right-sized crochet hooks. None of my collection of small hooks has anything resembling metric sizes. I made a guess that 1.25 or 1.5 mm hooks should work, and the lovely people at This is Knit reserved their stock for me. Since hooks in this size don’t seem to be a heavily sought-after item and I needed 10 of them, we ended up with a few 1.75mm hooks in the mix as well, which in hindsight may have been a bit too big.

So I made a couple of samples in May, got distracted by all the other Worldcon stuff after that, and made another sample just a couple of weeks before leaving for Dublin (this was mostly to figure out how much thread the pattern needed, so I could prepare the thread packages for participants), and wrote the handout on pretty much the last weekend possible that enabled me to still get it copied before leaving.

The workshop itself was fully booked, as I’ve come to expect for this kind of workshop at a Worldcon – they all were, no matter what the subject matter. We had fun, and I hope everybody got something out of it. For those who couldn’t get in, and others who may want to try Irish crochet lace, here’s the handout.

IrishCrochetDublin2019

Happy to answer any questions!

Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon: A Review in Ribbons

September 1, 2019 at 7:42 pm | Posted in Conventions | 4 Comments
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So, there was a Worldcon in Dublin, and I ended up being much more in the middle of everything than I ever was in Helsinki two years ago, where I just carefully dipped my toes in. This time, I jumped in at the deep end, and in spite of being a lousy swimmer, survived to tell the tale! Lots of memories came up when I finally unpacked my suitcase after traveling around Ireland after the con, so here’s what I found inside:

Dublin 2019 - Memories!

The colour-coded hi-vis vests were used to indicate staff members on duty for a particular area. Since I was mostly running around the Warehouse location in a few different roles, it at least gave me a chance to be off-duty once in a while.

Iain J. Clark posted about the process of creating the Souvenir Book cover on his Facebook page, and we got to see quite a bit of the artwork including the original painting as part of the “Art of Putting on a Convention” display.

The staff badge with its ribbons deserves a closer look:

Dublin 2019 staff badge with ribbons

Let’s go top to bottom: The badge itself has lovely artwork from Jim Fitzpatrick.

My official role was as one of three Displays Area Heads, responsible for organizing all the displays in both locations excluding the Art Show. We ended up having about 50 different displays, with plans constantly changing pretty much till the con closed!

On to the ribbons: I got introduced to the magic that is Worldcon ribbons two years ago in Helsinki. Some of them are functional, others just for fun. I think the set I ended up with tells a good part of my personal Worldcon experience, so let’s use the ribbons as a guide!

I Made This Happen! This ribbon was given out at volunteer registration to everybody who helped prepare for this Worldcon pre-convention. It has pride of place, since I spent uncounted hours in the past year (first email in my Dublin 2019 inbox dates 2018-09-06, so yes, it really has been a full year!) making sure things were going to happen in the Displays area. There’s almost 4000 emails in that inbox, and that excludes all the general mailing lists, so is just the “work” emails I got. Yes, more than 50 emails while sleeping happened almost daily in the last few weeks before the convention!

Volunteer: Everybody working for the convention is a volunteer, and I’m proud to have been one of them. At least for me, working together with other volunteers is where most of the fun is! This ribbon also gives access to the volunteer lounges.

EXHIBITS: The light blue ribbons come from my division, Exhibits. As a division, we were responsible for running pretty much all of the space in the Forum at the CCD and in Warehouse 1 at Point Square: Dealers, Fan Tables, Creative Alley, Art Show, and Displays. Seeing all that planning come to life during move-in was amazing. I also worked for Exhibits two years ago in Helsinki, but in a much smaller role and totally ignorant of the bigger picture. This year I got the full benefit of a front-row seat, including all kinds of last-minute crises! I think Exhibits is a natural home to creative me, and I had loads of fun even when stressed out.

Displays Staff: Organizing the 50 displays we ended up with is a load of work. We ended up with three Area Heads (which is already one more person than you’d usually have – normal is one Area Head plus a Deputy), and we still had more than enough to do. Without the lovely volunteers on our staff, it would have been frankly impossible to pull off. Everybody matters, and that’s what makes this so great.

Raksura Colony Tree Builder: I gave out this one to everybody who contributed to my personal project for this Worldcon. I may have been a bit overambitious to take this on on top of everything else, but getting to enjoy the results was prizeless.

Programme Participant: This one came with the Programme Participant package. I ended up being on eight programme items, which may have been a few too many, in hindsight. But it’s so hard to say no to interesting things! Five of those were in conjunction with the community art project and totally self-inflicted. I also suggested to Programme that somebody ought to run a workshop on Irish Crochet Lace at an Irish Worldcon. While I would have preferred that somebody local do this, I was totally expecting to have to run it myself, and that’s exactly what happened. We had fun, everybody learnt something new, but preparing and running this was another nontrivial amount of work added to my load (And yes, for everyone waiting, I will post my class handout with additional notes). I also got drafted into a panel on Hyperbolic Crochet together with a mathematician, which went well. And last, I got talked into running the cross-stitch section of one of the speed-crafting sessions. Loved the idea – people getting the opportunity to try out three different crafts during a 2-hour session, rotating between different instructors.

I made an exhibition of myself in Dublin: That’s a fun one, also from Exhibits. My exhibition mostly being running around like a headless chicken the first couple of days, I guess.

Glasgow 2024: This obviously wasn’t stressful enough, so I went and pre-supported the Glasgow 2024 bid, so we can do it all over again 5 years from now?

Mother, may I? Got this one from one of the people at the Raksura Colony Tree celebration, while unsuccessfully trying to herd everybody around. We were laughing a lot and enjoying ourselves immensely.

Sure, it’ll be grand: I was offered this one at the Dead Dog Party after the con was officially closed and I had done most of the move-out from the Warehouse. I took it because “grand” really is a multi-purpose word that can mean almost anything in Ireland, and I heard it used as such by our lovely hosts. Yes, this was an Irish Worldcon, not only in name, and I loved it because of this.

Whew, that’s quite a lot! Given all that, it’s not surprising I didn’t manage to catch any daytime programme items except for an excellent talk about pulsars by Guest of Honour Jocelyn Bell Burnell on Thursday. I did make a point of going to the evening events, though. For me, those are some of the best parts of a Worldcon!

Dublin 2019 - Events Programmes

Programme leaflets for the evening events. Opening ceremony/1944 Retro Hugos on Thursday, Worldcon Philharmonic on Friday. No printed programme for the Masquerade on Saturday, and the Hugo Awards Ceremony on Sunday.

Those leaflets make excellent souvenirs. Love the sketches of the Retro Hugo and Hugo awards bases on their respective programmes. Actually showing some of the work that goes into making such an event a reality seemed to be an ongoing theme, which we also took up within Displays – showing both pictures of the making of the different awards given out and a lovely display titled “The Art of Putting on a Convention”, which showcased some of the artwork that was used for the convention’s promotion and publications.

And, last, some printed items of my own:

Dublin 2019 - Printouts!

Thanks to some of the artists working for the convention, we were able to put together a set of excellent colouring pages for people to enjoy. Iain Clark’s “Green Woman” was one of my favourites, and you may see more of her in the future since I think she needs to be a quilt!

On the right is a letterpress-printed poster from the workshop the National Print Museum was running during three days of the convention. You could typeset your name and add it to the prepared plate with the Dublin 2019 logo. This was also one of the 50 displays on our list, and right next to the craft workspace where I spent most of my convention time. I think it makes an excellent souvenir, and it’s always nice to be able to work with technology where not everything’s hidden under a sleek hood!

Wow, looks like I had rather a lot to say about my Worldcon loot. It’s been over for two weeks and I still end up really excited just thinking about it.

SAL Update: what I did on vacation

September 1, 2019 at 9:51 am | Posted in Other Crafts | 8 Comments
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As indicated in my last post, I spent the last three weeks in beautiful Ireland, and I didn’t take Mr. Iguana with me. There has been other crafty stuff happening, though!

I wrote on here before about the community art project I was planning for the Dublin 2019 Worldcon, and I’m pleased to report that it was a huge success! I couldn’t keep the big grin off my face most of the time, nor did I want to! You can read the posts I wrote during Worldcon at the Raksura Colony Tree blog. I’m hoping to add more pictures there soon. Here’s one of my favourites, me and author Martha Wells in front of the tree:

The Colony Tree in Dublin - Martha Wells visited!

An actual update from Mr. Iguana will hopefully happen three weeks from now!

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Linda, Mary Margaret, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Catherine, Deborah, Clare, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn and  Sharon.

If you would like to join in please contact Avis, who will give you full details.

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