Wednesday, 28 October 2009

The importance of play

I often joke that I would never want to be below the age of 25 again. My formative years were the 1980s and I have some fairly horrific fashion mistakes to blank out, but I also dimly remember some good times wedged somewhere between the geeky angst and the ski pants with bodysuit and deck shoes combos.

Thinking back to my childhood pastimes I have three particular favourites:

1) Duetting with myself.

As a youngster I was a bit of a musician (and still am occasionally). In junior school I used to play the recorder, and this is the reason that I have never performed in a school play - I was always the accompaniment. At home I never liked practicing, as I preferred to play in groups. As people would rarely want to play along* I used to tape record myself playing one part of the duet, then play it back and play along the other half. I don't know whose idea this was. It was probably suggested by one of my parents to shut me up, but I like to think it was my own ingenious idea. And it worked brilliantly! I spent hours at this at a time, and would still if I had a cassette recorder and my trusty book of Handel and Telemann recorder duets.

(*I blamed their lack of skill, others may argue it's because I didn't really have many friends!)


2) Making patterns

I love art, but was never as fond of drawing 'real' things as I was abstract patterns. I loved my Spirograph, which always was great until the last turn, when it would bounce off and ruin my otherwise perfect squiggles. My set was bigger than this one, with more different sizes. I think it is lost in the wilderness somewhere now... tragic...

Another firm favourite was my Altair Design books. I think these must have been hand-me-downs as I'm pretty sure we had this exact copy, but they were amazing and instilled in me a love of geometric islamic art. I wish I had one now.


3) The 'Worcester Sauce Contest'

When I was an early teen, my friend Mel and I used to do terrible things with food. One of which was to get the deep fat fryer out and deep fry *everything* in her mum's larder freezer, smother it all with ketchup and vinegar, and scoff to our hearts' content (I shudder to think of the calorie content of one sitting).

The second was the Worcester Sauce Contest. We'd crack open a tin of baked beans or spaghetti hoops, then we'd add as much Worcester Sauce and vinegar as we thought we could take, microwave until nuclear, then see who cried first. For those aware of my hot pepper and pickle obsession, all may be becoming clearer...


So - music, art and food. Not much has changed in 30 years :)


Monday, 26 October 2009

Recent projects #2

I've been a bit quiet of late. Not because I haven't had anything to post about, but more through shame. I'm reluctant to post about projects I've finished when I still feel guilty about not finishing the present I was making for the lovely Lisa's 30th birthday months ago. Lisa - I'm really sorry! I promise you'll get it before Christmas...

I've been being fairly experimental, trying to learn new techniques:

This, believe it or not, is supposed to be a sand dollar...

I've also been mucking about with recycled yarn and made a few crochet scrubbies:

I also messed about with colour work (don't look too closely - it's fairly rubbish) with this Charles Rennie Mackintosh sample:

In terms of garments I was pleased with these:

This 'Mudstone' shawl used the Old Shale* stitch and some lovely soft merino tweed wool that my marvellous brother bought me for my birthday this year. It now resides in my office where it routinely keeps me warm when the university fails to put the heating on.

(* According to one of the Earth Science profs here, there is no such rock as shale - they are all mudstones...)

This Urchin beret used to be a cardigan. (Note also my new favourite t-shirt.)

These Maggie arm/hand warmers are also made from the other tweed bought by Stef for my birthday. My very first invisible joins. I feel quite proud.

And finally, the Wispa cardigan. It cost me about 50 cents to buy the crappy acrylic fibre at a sale in the Anna Templeton Centre. It's not perfect, and if I do it again I'd make several changes, but overall not bad...

I have a few other things on the go (not least the mystery late birthday present), including my first pair of socks and my first lace. However, I appear to have destroyed my hands in making my Halloween costume for next Friday, and I'm only about a quarter of the way through. Doh!