Wednesday, 27 July 2016

trans canada doc en route

as some of you may recall, my dear samson (who photographed flotsam & jetsam) was getting ready to embark on a summer of travel and filming while i was visiting him back in the spring for our photoshoot. he and his producer, jake, just left yesterday to continue their travels west after stopping off in winnipeg for a few days. i'll hopefully catch them again on their way back through at the end of the summer, but right now i'm a little bit sad because they're gone and my house is empty.

teaser video for 2016 OUTeast, before the guys hit the road.

this project is huge and really incredible, and i'm super proud of all the work the guys are putting into it. you can follow along on their adventures in the following ways (editing and wifi access means releases are a little bit behind where their current travels are, but they're updating pretty constantly on all platforms!): 

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

drool-worthy #22 - sheltered

i haven't done a drool-worthy post in months, which is probably because my design to-knit list is so bloody long that i just can't even look at other people's patterns (i mean, i do, but to even consider making them is just too laughable/depressing when i look at my to-do list). andrea mowry always releases patterns that i really enjoy, and if i had the time i would probably make a bunch of them as selfish knits. but i just don't have the time. fast-forward to this morning when andrea released her latest pattern, sheltered, and i'm totally in love. i even bought it! will it hit my needles before the end of 2016? not a chance. will i get to it in 2017? probably not then either. but i don't care, because i love it and will make it someday (probably when i'm no longer working a 9-to-5 on top of my practice).

ok, but you guys, seriously. it has a HOOD! hoods are just practical when you're outside. it blocks the wind and keeps you warmer than a hat and cowl alone.

i also really love the silhouette. big drapey over-layers are my absolute favourite. i think this would be perfect knit up in julie's nurtured yarn or yoth's father base.

did i mention one of my favourite things about andrea is how many tats she has? i love knitters with ink.

and finally, those shorter sleeves are perfect for when you're foraging and don't want your sleeves all caught up in the muckiness of playing in the dirt. i did mention that, right? the whole reason i'm so obsessed with this design is because it's the most perfect layer for wearing while foraging in the woods. maybe i'll take a trip sometime and knit it while i'm on the trip. the relative mindlessness of not needing to be writing a pattern while i knit it kind of lends itself perfectly to road trips. now i just need to convince someone to take me on a road trip...

Monday, 18 July 2016

next steps

the book has been sent off to my editors, so now it's on to focusing on other projects and deadlines for a bit. there will be edits to make before the book goes to the printers on august 1, but the biggest chunk of the work is done! so, what's next?

well, first of all, neurocraft. i have so much work to do on this beast, and the fact that it involves weaving means i'm pretty much restricted to only working on it when i'm at home (i.e. evenings and some weekends). i suppose in theory i could take it with me to my parents' on weekends, but i think it's probably easier to leave my table loom in place rather than carting it around everywhere. i've wound up a few warps on my warping board, so i can get started on setting the warp and then start playing. the weavings themselves will be fairly simple in design, it'll be the electronics embedding that takes the most conceptual work i think. i have these delicious-smelling red cedar stick shuttles that i'll be using. i can't wait for my fingers to smell of cedar all the time!

next up, knitting. i have a dozen designs in several stages of nearly-done that need to be dealt with now that i can focus on paperwork other than the book, so expect a lot of test knitting calls over the next little while. i'm currently working on a magazine design that needs to head to its destination next month. it's well underway, but i'm about to get to the areas that require a little more mental focus (i.e. not great for social knitting). once it's done, i have a lacy shawl using julie asselin's nurtured yarn (i have SIX designs scheduled for release with her yarns between now and the end of september - maybe even more, if i can get some extra paperwork done). i have the chart written out, but again, not exactly social knitting when it comes down to it. so, i'm casting on the design that i had planned on taking with me to toronto but changed my mind about. it's actually the same design, but i had originally planned to take the dk weight version with me, which is 4 skeins of yarn. instead, i'm taking the fingering weight version, which is only two skeins of ancient arts yarns' gorgeous reinvent yarn that wolseley wool just got in. because it's so easy, i think i might actually be able to whip off the dk version before i head to t-dot, but we'll see. i'm not too worried about it. there's no actual deadline with this one (for once).

and finally, more scheming. i have a winter collection planned that i am incredibly excited about, but i can't start it until i finish my current designs and the sweater for my collection with yoth. i do have all the release dates scheduled already, and photo styling plans scribbled out onto paper. i'm also in chats with manitoba fibre festival about a pretty big project for 2017 (stay tuned!), and of course there's the yoth collection! that one has a longer timeline, but if i don't want it to creep up on me like everything else seems to, i need to chip away at each of the designs over the coming months. i've actually given myself a rule that one of the winter collection designs is not allowed to happen if i don't have the yoth sweater done before september. and then there's fun stuff like sewing and making wedding quilts for friends, but that's all quite a bit farther into the future right now. for the moment, i need to try and keep my current projects not too jumbled in my brain. thank goodness for lists.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

a mini-collection and more plans

i've been exhausted lately, and just kind of accepting it as a fact without really doing anything about it. last night i decided to go to bed when i felt tired, which was before 10pm. totally unheard of for me. my usual bedtime these days is more like 1am, and i work basically up until the last ten or so minutes before my head hits the pillow. i woke up still tired, with this headache that's just been hanging out for a couple of days now, and decided to prioritize staying at home and getting some work done following my body's rhythms. it's been working so far - i spent the morning cleaning my house, which is something i haven't done properly in ages. there's still various messes in different corners, but floors got vacuumed and mopped, my bathroom got scrubbed, and my dishes got done. i also did a little photoshoot for my latest patterns - a mini-collection of hats using julie asselin's yarns.

hat selfies are hard.

i originally had planned on holding off on these until the fall, but with all my huge projects these days, i really needed a break on big designs to whip off some single skein projects. once i started on them, of course i had to do all three.

you basically just make a bunch of weird faces because otherwise you can't see the hat well.
i haven't named the collection yet, although all three designs have been named. i'll be sending them to nicola soon, but the priority for both of us right now is the book, and she's teching another book too, so they probably won't be ready for testing for a little bit. if you're interested in testing them when they are ready, do give me a shout. i'm tracking testers because so many of my designs have photos but aren't ready for tech editing or testing quite yet. i'll get around to them once the book is off my plate.

or you just straight up cover your face...

i've got a bunch of emails to respond to today and more book layout work to do, but hopefully there are some breaks in there for knitting too. i have yet another concept for a smallish collection (7 patterns is small in my books), and got a little brainstorm last night for the styling. i just need to decide whether to release patterns as they're ready, or hold off on them all and photograph and release them at once. i generally prefer to send my testers designs once i have finalized photos, so i just need to figure out how to juggle things. whatever happens won't get started until the winter, so there's no big rush. i do wish i had more time in the days though, both for work and for sleep!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

a long-overdue break

i've just booked a trip to go to toronto in august, and for the first time in years, it will be a trip for the sole purpose of taking a break. since my university days, my trips have always been with a purpose of study or work. which is fine, because it's a huge privilege to be able to travel with the frequency that i do (i think i've been on planes nearly every year since i was a baby, due partly to having family spread across a very large continent, but it's still a privilege many can't afford). and it's always been a conscious decision to use my vacation days and air miles to travel somewhere for a project or conference or course or residency. i prioritize what is almost always related to my art practice over just taking time off. realistically, i don't do days off particularly well. i get antsy, and there's always something to be working on anyway. but for the last year especially, i have really not taken time off. if i spend an hour not doing something productive, i feel guilty. and it's definitely taking a toll, and while i've been working on finding more of a balance, that balance seems to come at the expense of sleep. case in point - i've been working until 1am every night in the past week, regardless of whether it's a weekday or weekend.

tweed on the left, speckles from tanis on the right. believe it or not, those speckles are the same colourway and dye lot.

so now, i have a full week in toronto with humans i haven't seen in measurements of years and love dearly, and nothing pre-scheduled that affects my ability to see them. i will go to museums, and yarn shops, and restaurants, and wander along streets, and spend time with people i love and miss. and i  will probably work like crazy right up until i leave and immediately upon my return because september is a bit of a crazy month for me (book launch, fibre fest, my last month of prep before my neurocraft installation...). but the only work i'm bringing with me will be knitting, which is currently where my brain is hanging out. since i'm gone for a week, i don't want to pack too much (need to leave some space for those yarn purchases, y'know), and i also don't want to pack a project that will either be too quick or too complicated for a lot of social knitting time. most of my projects this summer are larger ones (sweaters and that big blanket), and the other projects are fairly complicated lace ones. i've pulled four skeins out of my stash - my newest acquisitions from tanis fiber arts and two tweedy balls of wool and silk from last winter at wolseley wool. my plan is a relatively mindless and humongous shawl, which might be a mistake, since toronto is notoriously hot and sticky in august. but we'll see.

julie's sevilla yarn in shiitake, with a faux fur pompom to top it off.

in the meantime, i've been taking short knitting breaks between my large projects to whip off single skein projects with the yarn i bought from julie asselin last month. i hadn't intended on doing them until the fall, but i've been feeling really scattered and often frustrated with my larger projects. i need small accomplishments that i can tick off my to-do list every once in a while to feel like i'm still on top of my game. realistically, there's a whole lot more involved in releasing a design than just knitting up the sample (pattern layout, photos, tech editing, test knitting...), but getting those samples done does feel pretty damn great. i have a big backlog of patterns that need several of those final steps before they get released, but my paperwork priority right now is the book. and honestly, once the book is done, i think i'll need a few days (or weeks) off from paperwork. so i'll focus on other stuff at that point, like building my neurocraft installation and knitting those larger projects and planning a book launch. and maybe sleeping a little more.