Knitting Fever

I’ve been planning a post a set of prints I made a couple weekends ago but have been procrastinating on getting to the imaging and in general spreading myself a little thin, so that post will have to wait. This is a post about something softer. Continue reading

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Spooky Threads

Well, it is Halloween and  yet again I am without a costume and haven’t even carved a pumpkin to show you so here are some spooky textile creations by other talented people.

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Texting into Art: Enjoying the Sweet Smell

With no phone lines in many rural communities cell phones quickly found a strong market  in Jamaica. However long distance calls often get dropped so while my mother was living in Jamaica the easiest way for us to stay in touch was often by text messages. Enjoying the Sweet Smell of Coffee emerged from a text I received while walking home one evening. After the Rain is my response. Continue reading

Taking the Practical out of Sweaters and Quilts

Kerry James Marshall, "Better Homes, Better Gardens," 1994

I started 2011 with a trip to the Vancouver Art Gallery. It was the second to last day of the Kerry James Marshall exhibit, I was over my post-Christmas flu and had no commitments for the day – the perfect day to validate the membership my mom gave me. While it was Marshall that brought me to the VAG I was pleasantly surprised by other exhibits.

The Vancouver Art Gallery has a large collection of local contemporary art as well as some international gems. Everything Everyday pulls items from their collection that explore everyday actions, items and encounters. The press release states “Despite the presupposed banal nature of the subject matter, the artists in this exhibition manage to provoke surprising and poetic interpretations of the everyday in their work.” I would have to agree, the mundane are give a chance to shine here. The textile freak that I am, I was immediately drawn to Aganetha Dyck‘s Eaton triplets.  As with the triplets included in the exhibit, Dyck’s items often reflect domestic activity. Not only do the items refer to domesticity but the process itself does – they are shrunken, very shrunken.

Liz Magor, Hollow

The top floor of the Vancouver Art Gallery is always reserved for Emily Carr. After numerous school field trips and countless visits I have come to dread the top floor. It is not that I don’t appreciate her work, just that I have seen it so many times the joy is gone. Well, I suspect I’m not alone here because they have mixed things up. While the top floor is still an homage to the West Coast painter the current show “In Dialogue with Carr” brings in four contemporary BC artists and pairs their works with items from the gallery’s extensive Carr collection. Much to my delight not all of the pairings were paintings. Sculptor Liz Magor responds more to Carr’s life than her work so her installation is surrounded by photographs of Carr’s life and studio. One of my favorite local celebrities, Douglas Coupland couples five excentric Canadian quilts with ceramic chachkis that Emily Carr modeled after first nations carvings. The author of Generation X has also scripted a mock radio interview between himself and the recluse painter which plays as you pass through the gallery. Never have I been so happy to make the journey to the Carr floor. Thank you Daina Augaitis for making me re-apreciate  the life of this odd painter.

Emily Carr with friends and caravan “Elephant” on sketching trip, 1934

More Emily on the Web

Related on the Web

 

Doily It Up: DIY Doily’s

Can anyone have too many doilies? Well, yes but if you are going to be overloaded with them make the ones you have count. And what better way than to make your own!

Take a Seat

I was a collector of doilies long before I knew how to crochet but part of my obsession stems from a fascination of where they came from. The care that went into their creation and their travels from there on are endlessly fascinating, much like a used book. I what to know who the carefully penned name on the title page belonged to. Did they enjoy the book? Did they get rid of it because they felt cheated by the ending, did it live a long life on their bookcase gathering dust until their death, a move? Were they like me and carefully reviewed their inventory, removing loved items to make room for new finds? Did they suffer the same anxiety and remorse as they brought them to their favorite used book store with the hope that they would find a good home?

It may sound like a lot to ask of any inanimate object and while I may never be able to find the answers to these questions the pondering fascinates me. Unlike books, textiles also pose the question of why and by whom was it made. Where it is unlikely that I will ever publish a book to add into the mix, I can make doilies.

My first crochet project

Now I must confess, I learnt to crochet very recently and have not made many projects yet but the few I have done have been doilies. I won’t pretend I’m qualified to lead you through the process, instead I’m giving you some links to pages I find helpful and some patterns that caught my eye. Crochet in the round is a very organic process so I encourage you to branch out to create your own unique design. I love the freedom doilies offer, when I get tiered of a stitch I just finish up the round and start on a new pattern; when I reach the desired size or lose interest in the piece that’s how I know the piece is done.

I hope you have fun with these and I’d love to see what you come up with.

 Instructions and helpful hints

  • help reading crochet abbreviations
  • How to read charts
  • More on reading charts, has a sample with both chart, written instructions and image of the end result
  • I’m not a big fan of the finished pattern but the step by step illustrated instructions are great. If you want to design your own doily, instead of piecing together several wheels to make their rectangular doily, try freestyling to expand the wheel into your own creation.  
  • Blocking refines the shape and helps the piece lay flat. I don’t like blocking things and often try to avoid this step, both in knitting and crochet, and regret it every time. Block your work! It makes all the difference. 

Birthday Doily on Crochet Galore

Free Patterns of the Web

 
Holiday Crochets on the Web