Saturday, July 30, 2016

Fun with Wool

OK I could have/should have been doing other things no doubt, but I had this experiment in mind. I had a vintage Swedish cardigan that was too big. I had bought it for a friend. I took it back--not being an Indian giver-honest! It was too big for her.
So I took off the fasteners
turned it inside out

and took measurements for all the important parameters.  Length, width, sleeve length, cuff. Using a washing machine to intentionally shrink things can be like using the tardis---decades, even centures away from where you want to be.

I stitiched the placket together--just rough basting with a wool that I hoped would give at the same rate as surrounding fabric--to avoid twisting or uneven fulling in the machine.

And then into my faithful washing machine with a bit of Dr. Bronner's Hemp soap for luck and/or to persuade the fibres to open up.

No doubt you've already sussed that it was a success or I would not be recording it here.

I tried it on right from the washer (good spin cycle means it was not soggy but definitely damp). Perfect fit. So then the dilemma--do I wear it until it dries on me (Are you old enough to remember water buffalo sandals and wearing them in the bath tub to get the right fit?)

Instead I opted for towels on my faithful dummy and silent partner, Diana. (Thanks Jackie G.)

Now when it's dry I'll decide about fasteners, whether or not to knit a baffle as on my Norway cardigan (to fill in that inevitable gap where the steaking of the original design left a gap between fasteners. Hmm. Just realised I should have put a 'this is a craft-geek post' alert at the beginning. Too late now.

And biggest decision of all--do I offer it again to my friend or keep it for myself? Ooh my conscience is pinging already.

Friday, July 29, 2016

In the Engine Room of Dunnet Lighthouse

As if Dunnet Head is not enough of an attraction, I drove up the hill today to be part of a Creative Conversation with other folks making music and art and ceramics and organising events and producing shows. And better yet--it was hosted by the new gallery in the engine room of Dunnet Lighthouse. I took a few photos.

I loved the mix of artefacts and art and history in the gallery and to see beyond the gate where I've always had to stop before.
The gallery for now is open only on weekends, but it is well worth a look for the site, for the art, for the keek behind the gate.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thurso as 'Fierce, dreamy town'

This has been a bumper season for Caithness Writers with our new anthology published and novella and short story collection by Morag McRae and Margaret McKay and Catherine Byrne also with new works. The immediate prompts are George Gunn and his efforts to launch a Creative Writing program through the local college coupled with the effects of the support and learning that Caithness Writers as a formal group gives each other.

At the heart of all this creativity, though, is Caithness. I've been here almost a dozen years now and I am only beginning to scratch the surface of this strange and wonderful and frustrating and challenging place. The first review of my novella included the words above, characterizing Thurso as a 'fierce, dreamy town.' The description was so apt that I carried it around in the pocket of my mind for a while. This photo, another one of the series from which I picked cover photo, suggests the dreamy quality with the sepia tones of a twilight and the soft luster of the water lingering after the retreating tide on the beach.

The creativity of course is not limited to writing, but the sun is shining now and so I must adhere to the first rule of living here on the edge. When the day is good, stop everything and go outside. Tomorrow I'll talk about fierce.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Gearing up for the Long Dark

I have been looking at the top of this, peering out above a stack of things to do for some months now. As if struggling like the Little Engine that could to get up the hill, 'with enough,' 'with enough,' with enough...'

Today I (finally) got it on my wall so that as I roll out of bed in the morning, it will be the first thing I see. It is good sentiment, it has sparkly letters to pick up the least bit of light, and it was a gift, so everything about it will be an antidote for the malaise that the long dark season imposes on us all.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Fat Quarters Quilters Exhibition at Murkle Hall 2015

From the moment I entered the hall, I felt the excitement of a well thought exhibition. A row of lovely shiny Vintage Singer sewing machines marked the boundary into the world of traditions of stitchery. The technology changes--a bit--but the concepts and the creative energy persist.

I wrote a few words to accompany the professional photographs destined for the paper, but here--for those who can't be here--and one person from here who can't be in Iowa just now, I offer my own photographs as a way of connecting.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cover Image for My Novella

This is the beautiful cover designed for me by Trish Logan at Beyond Words, Inc. in Indianapolis. For some reason not yet sussed, it is not appearing as a thumb nail on the page, but it is included in the book. I think the next time Amazon uploads file, the cover will be there. In the meantime, here it is. Thanks again, Trish.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Almost an author

After a year to write it and revise it and check it and reflect on it and get friends to read it and proof it and format it, I was ready to Kindle it. And then the Amazon interface could not accept a UK address for a 'US person' for tax purposes. And so I wrote to Kindle support and they seemed nonplussed--surely I am not the only US person with only one address?  But after a month of waiting, the tax interview address now has 'State' as optional and tho my wee cottage name gets a bright red 'corrected' by it, nonetheless it accepts it.

I thought I was moving into the nitty gritty of actually uploading my file and crossing that Rubicon into the honourable territory of 'Published Author', but no. Now it's bank information. None of the digits on my bank card (and there seem to be quite a lot of them!) match the little boxes on the screen. I'll go to town and ask the bank folks for the magic numbers for my account, and then perhaps I'll be able to cross the threshold.

Meanwhile, please keep my wee novella in your thoughts: Returning: The Journey of Alexander Sinclair should be on Amazon by the end of the week.  Surely, there can be no more hurdles!