Monday, December 31, 2018

Looking back and forward with thanks

Last day, and blogpost, of the year.

I'm not big on looking back, more into forward movement. But I would like to thank everyone whose blogs I follow and enjoy and learn from. And everyone who has commented on my bligs. And e-mailed. And even, great excitement, put items in the mail!

Thank you all. You make a great difference in my life. You encourage me in more ways than you know.

Let's look forward to a good New Year.

Handsome Son is coming over at 8 our time to eat cake, from a surprise birthday dinner organized for me last night, and drink a prosecco toast to us. I'm aware that for some readers the year has already turned, but invite everyone at 8 pm your time, to raise a glass and shout Happy New year! Pix would be great too.

Cheers! See you next year.

Friday, December 28, 2018

From a mystery gift to a little caper

I'm still receiving material from the artist's studio and home. Yesterday was a bunch of art materials, and a box of knitting needles, some of which will be shared with friends. But among the needles were two mysterious items, which neither the donor nor I could identify.

So I took to Twitter with an appeal to experts. In no time at all Franklin Habit, brilliant teacher, designer and cartoonist responded, along with Kay from Mason-Dixon Knitting, gosh two stars of the fiber arts world advising!  The mystery items  are Clover pompom makers! To one who has been making pompoms using a cardboard circle since age about five, a step up to high tech.

So to YouTube to learn how, and all came clear. And now I know why there were two sizes.
It became clear that sharp scissors were required, and most of mine aren't really.

So I sort of backed into another experiment. I had read that you can sharpen scissors by cutting tinfoil. So here's the caper on the way to the caper. It seems to work at least a bit.

My immediate use for pompoms is to tag  my scissors, which vanish into the depths of workbags. And this is only a select few of them. Meaning the ones I can find.

So finally I got to make my maiden Clover pompom. As seen here. With scissors awaiting their accessory.

I think the birthday daily celebration includes learning a new skill. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Just playing with pencils

Colored pencil not a usual material for me, but someone stopped by today for a cup of tea and gave me an old vellum pad and an ancient box of pencils.

So I fooled about with them this evening, just getting my hand back into action after a long layoff.  I needed to loosen up after weeks of crochet and knitting.

Same piece, two ways up.This may or may not become anything, but I see I can still portray movement. So that's good enough for now. Not signed as you see, because not a complete work.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Crochet misfire

To see today's crochet caper, please go to

My techie entered the post in the wrong blog. Just can't get good help nowadays.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

My entire crochet repertoire to date

To those veteran crocheters who read this blog, this is probably sweet, oh, look what she's proud of! But in fact I am. Dark winter day, available light low, sorry.


New learning in the last few days, thanks to YouTube. Just trying my hook at a shell pattern now. This is about the sixth go at it,  learning a bit more each time. I count it learned once I can reliably do the stitch without referring back to the source. As for reading patterns, that's a future adventure.

One of the hazards of  crochet is that the terms are different in North America from the UK. So you have to know which continent your YouTube teacher is based on. The shell lady is a Brit, excellent teacher, Bella Coco, and she does explain at the outset. But then I forget to translate and when she says to do a double, I do, and later realize it's what I know as a single. Likewise her treble is my double. So thinking is involved, always a problem! Jayda Stitches, I think, is the Granny square lady, North American, and Arne and Carlos the circle guys. Carlos goes totally overboard constantly translating Brit and NA terms, while Arne, crocheting at the speed of light, interjects the Norwegian stitch names!

Just a shout out to the YouTube presenters, including the aforementioned,  who know how to use the camera so their hands are visible, who talk clearly and slowly, who have good lighting, and good resolution. They really deserve support.

As learners do, too!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Living is an artform, too!

Picked up on a thread today about bullet journaling, a newish trend, or frenzy, involving all sorts of planning on paper, requiring a video to

I like using nice notebooks including ones I've made, in fact I've given a few of them to people who like little books. And there have been times when I needed not to forget tasks that involved other people's medical care and wellbeing.

But life as an older woman living alone, sometimes not exchanging a word, can bring days when you wonder. You're no longer a traffic cop of your life, noting and prioritizing and advocating and fretting. And you wonder how valuable your days are.

So I write a little list each evening of things I've done that day, for better or worse. It's very calming seeing that I had a well rounded day after all, and I mostly do.

It's about tasks done, ideas on art to make, books I'm reading, food I've cooked, garden cleanup, give back box mailing, groups I've attended, all that and more, and includes time spent just being.

Doing is a very Western sort of pressure, and if you've done the all-encompassing work of caregiving, it takes years to remember how to enjoy free time.  You feel as if you should be on high alert at all times.

It's not about worries or concerns or complaints, just positive things I did or enabled.

So here's my lovely notebook, not made by me, scored years ago at the library book sale. which, full disclosure, I last used, as a garden diary, in 2006. Last entry was February of that year, noting snowdrops. see the binding, how beautiful the stitching, and how it lies flat.

It's on the bedside table, the one I painted faux copper a while back.

So I started up with this approach in November 2018. I thought you'd like to see the notebook, which is a pleasure to handle. The little drawing fell out of it when I set up  for a pic, so it's now a bookmark. I don't think the lemon motif is an omen..

Do you do bullet or any other sort of journaling? Some people do it all their lives, some make a couple of entries in the New Year, then by about Jan 4 it drops off..

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A day with no making really isn't one

I needed a change from the double knitting to something I could do while listening to a podcast, so I thought an improved granny square would fit the bill.


As you see, it has the approved number of corners and much straighter edges, now that I've found out the couple of things I was doing wrong. I would occasionally do a stitch that's more than a double but not a treble, when I was intending to do doubles. Hence the wavy edges in previous attempts, but at least  now I know how to get wavy edges on purpose if I want to. And I kept missing the corner hole because there's one exactly like it right next to it. This is how you add and subtract corners without meaning to.

Sorted, and my grannies look quite conventional now. I like a day when I've made something.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Double knitting continued, a pattern!!

I created a modest design for my double knitting adventure. I've finally started to get a feel for it, and I daringly added a little square to my stripes. There will be a few more, offset from this one, more interest there.

Can't count how many times I've reknitted parts of it, learning a bit each time. Some of it is just the technique of doing it, some has to do with the way the yarns lie, some involves how to physically hold all the moving parts. Some involves how tired you get when you forget to take breaks. And some slips can be fixed by adjusting the yarn from the other side, a blessing.

It's the most engrossing knitting I've ever done, and the slowest. And the least adept looking.

I have ideas for using gradient yarn, where the yarn does more of the work. But first I need to succeed with this. It may become a cowl, possibly a potholder if I run out of gumption.

I showed it to my knitting group on Friday, and one of them declared that she could not begin to understand this structure, since she was still grappling with the concept of garter stitch being stockinette when knitted in the round! Can't blame her. They were intrigued but clearly thought I was welcome to it!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

A few desultory Christmas doings

Christmas cards have started arriving, so I need to reciprocate. Thought briefly of making a shopping trip then decided nah, more fun to make them.

So here's Santa Boud's Card HQ. One if a kind, all folded differently, and there will be writing if I can get my gold pen working. Stars included. This is more fun than shopping.

Still haven't unearthed my decorations though, but anyway I need this table to make cards. After they're done, I can decorate it.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Great Leap Forward. Stripes!!

More double knitting. I have knitting circle tomorrow, but I don't know if I can talk and knit double at the same time.  I'll take in backup items.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

New learning, double sided knitting

So while all the other moving parts are going along, Icord, circles, Gsquares, thought I'd try out a new skill, double sided knitting. Each side is a mirror image of the other. I tried a checkerboard pattern and got so confused that I thought I'd better start with something plainer.

 The idea is that the checks in, say,  brown on one side are, the other color, here white,  on the other. Also that it's a very warm double fabric for hats, scarves, potholders, coasters that sort of thing. And having just come in from a perishing cold walk, I'm all the more eager to get into this.

Incidentally, I was wearing the long scarf from another knitter that I redyed and felted a while back. Felt is windproof.

So here's where we are. I watched Arne and Carlos, came away entertained but still in the dark, since they plunged into a pattern right away. Then I watched a couple of other videos, a bit more useful, except thst nobody explains why they're doing what they're doing, just demo'ing the doing..

Nobody seems to know how to convey the concept clearly enough for me to learn from. I decided I'd better figure it out as I went. As soon as I know how to explain it, I will. Unless you're all tutting and saying it's not HARD, why can't you just get it, the way I did, in which case, thank you, next!!

Anyway it's a wonder this yarn isn't worn out, been knitted and raveled several times. But it's finally working.  As you see:

After I get the hang of just why it's working, I'll take another shot at a pattern. It's one thing to find it works but another to see why, and  apply this info to a different way of doing it.

So that's what's up chez Boud.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Plainsboro library gallery, whiteline prints

Reception this afternoon for Ingrid Davis, printmaker, whose whiteline wood block prints are here this month.

She explained the carving and demonstrated the coloring technique, and I really wanted to rush home and try it.

I do have some woodblock carvings that I printed years ago using brayer and ink, but I think now I'll clean them up and try water color on them. Have to get printmaking paper though.

Nice afternoon with a bunch of artists, some of whom have studios where I used to.

This exhibit is very good indeed, worth your visiting if you're in the area.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Saturday morning in the studio..

Cold out there, frosty. So continuing with the granny square and circles caper, after breakfast in bed.

These bits may end up being parts of something, meanwhile they're a way to learn and relearn some crochet stuff. 

You'd be amazed at the numbers of corners I've managed to get into a square.