Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Things that Birdy has been up to and other stories

There won't be any more pictures of Rambutan-eating Birds for a while because me and the Mr. just moved to Canada for a year. This has been an involved procedure taking many months and right up until the last week, it was not certain that we were actually going. But we got here in the end. This relocation of course means a whole new lot of birdy adventures are to be had both in actual bird paparazzi-ing and in making and finding new things.

On the bird front so far we have seen only pigeons, sparrows and seagulls. The seagulls are very much larger than I have seen before and in the evenings seem fond of circling over the city in large numbers. We saw some ducks too (probably the Mallard Duck) swimming around the pond in our local park and some North American Starlings which unlike the Singaporean versions, don't seem to have red eyes. We've also been enjoying the abundant squirrels and even saw a beautiful creamy coloured albino squirrel at our local park. Seems like our local park may be our new creature-spotting area of choice.

On the making of things front, I was making a chunky wool coat to bring with me to Canada. Because I hear it gets cold here! I got the back done and halfway up one sleeve before I left only to discover that the chunky wool is really very chunky, and I couldn't fit it in my suitcase! Sigh...

The pattern has pockets - pockets! I love this! The wool is a Lion Brand chunky weight in a charcoal grey.

The pattern is by Wenlan Chia of Twinkle. See here for a hilarious review of this and other patterns in the same issue of Vogue Knitting. I personally think the chunky jacket look is nice, you just accept that you will look like you are being eaten by a jacket and you wear it like you don't care. It would have been warm, cozy and would double as a blanket, all pluses in my book! I wish I could have squeezed it into my suitcase. Sigh again...

I did manage to complete and fit into my suitcase two recently finished sewn items: a skirt and a t-shirt.

The t-shirt is an altered Uniquo t-shirt which I wrote about here. I finally got to stitching it in place by machine and taking out the tacking stitches. Its comfortable and fits well except for the neckline as I made it a little too wide and it tends to slide off the shoulders. This would be fine, except it wasn't the look I was going for (plus I'm shy of sharing my shoulders with the world). But with a scarf, singlet or the sleeves pushed up it stays in place, so it works out.

Back in October last year when I went to Malacca I got this cute cotton floral fabric amongst other treasures. I finally figured out what I was going to do with it. Following on from my Gingham skirt experiment with the rectangles and t-shirt fabric waistband, I broke out my precious fabric. Shown here unhemmed (I've since stitched up the hem!) the skirt is comfortable and sits nicely. Its got a kind-of bubble-skirt feel to the waist. Like the Gingham skirt, its reversible and the inside is plain calico. I haven't yet printed anything on the inside yet or decided what to print. I've found a shop here though that sells fabric paints, so I'm set once the inspiration arrives!

The t-shirt for the waistband comes leftovers from this t-shirt dress I sewed previously. I love having no waste when sewing!

Having to move countries with only two suitcases means making supplies and things have to be culled back to bare essentials. I did however squeeze in 4 balls of purple alpaca wool and 4 balls of light soft mohair blend. The soft mohair will come in very handy as on my way to Canada I picked up the latest issue of Rebecca knitting magazine while in Germany. I've been wanting to get my hands on this magazine for ages, but couldn't find it locally. In it there are a host of cute patterns that use mohair. My favourite is the long sleeved tunic dress seen here on their website. You can also look at the other patterns they have in the issue (Issue 43). Its all good stuff, but unless you read German, anything other than simple stocking stitch knitting would be difficult. It think I can manage the dress from the schematic diagram & measurements as its is stocking stitch, but the cabled military style coat might be impossible unless I were very very determined!

But there will be no winter woollens out just yet, because for the last few days and for the rest of this week the weather is expected to stay above 30 degrees C. Though this means the cotton skirt has come in very handy!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I have been collecting drinking straws for a while now (I wash and dry them first so they aren't icky!) with the view to making things with them and also to document my own consumption. Collecting, rather than throwing away made me aware of exactly how much I use and throw away. I was inspired by the necklaces Lauren Manoogian makes with their geometry and colours and decided to try necklace made of straws.

The Mr. likes his Yakult but never uses the straws, so I had 5 packets of 5 straws to use for this necklace. Its not recycling in the strictest sense (eg: these are not used straws) but up-cycling something that would just be thrown out unused or languish in a drawer somewhere until being thrown out in 5 years time.

After a few experiments, I found the light grey crochet thread to be the best for thickness as well as colour. Threads of other colours made the straws look dirty, as the plastic is quite thin!

Its a really light necklace and comfortable to wear unlike a ceramic or glass bead necklace would be of a similar size.


I broke out my little rectangular loom again to make some small rectangles. I just enjoyed trying out different patterns with the colours, mostly I tried simple stripes & checks. I do like the plain rectangles too for their simplicity. I'll probably crochet the rectangles together to make something larger.

Stripes, Solids & Checks

Some of the rectangles

The little loom

Chroma Chronos I-VI

A while back I posted about a project I was working on, dyeing postcards with tea and matching them with my naturally dyed wools. It was actually for an exhibition called Pameran Poskad which I took part in. The exhibition was held from the 17th April to the 01 May here in Singapore. Anyone could take part so I decided that since it was my new year's resolution to make some art, I would take part. The exhibition was interesting and gathered a huge response from artists from different places around the world. You can see some pictures at the website of works submitted. It was nice for me as a 'little' person to participate with all the 'grown up' artists. And to my surprise I sold 3 of my works! Woo! I'm a selling artist! Hee hee!

Here's what my works were about:
Chroma Chronos was a set of works about time and colour (hence the name chroma=colour, chronos=time (yes its deliberately mis-spelt to emphasis the link between the two)). I wanted to reflect the process, the hidden dimension of the work, which is the time. Each of the four colours on each postcard took up to 2 weeks to develop, meaning that the total time spent for each postcard was up to 8-9 weeks. This is not fast art, not the quick and dirty colour of the inkjet printer, digital photography and the instant download, but the slow, painstaking (and often frustrating) art of time. With time comes colour. The two are tied together. Time itself breathes into these works. The works are circular to reflect the nature of the clocks which rule our days, hands going around and around and around. The circles also stem from my preoccupation with geometry and philosophy (but I wont bore you with that too!). Without further ado, I present Chroma Chronos I-VI:

Someone brought this one

And someone brought this one too

Someone brought the small yellow one too!

Chroma Chronos I - VI

Laptop Bag

I had some scraps leftover from the quilt. Not much, a bundle of 5-10cm wide and 30-40cm long strips. I was tired one day and felt like sewing so I started to sew them together. After sewing together a few it occurred to me that the strips were just wide enough and there were just enough of them to make a laptop bag. So I did, using the leftover snippets of quilt batting to pad it out and stitching it together with yellow thread.

The reversible-ness gives me two different colour sets the 'red/brown' and the 'blue/green'. With the 'blue' side out the 'red' interior shows

The back of the 'blue side'

The front of the 'blue side'

The front of the 'red' side