Monday, 18 May 2009

in the light

Things are good.

There's been presents. Oh how I love presents - especially the surprise kind. People's generosity astounds.
From good-ness. I've been feeling sad that you are leaving Japan. I'm sure your new adventures in Canada will be just as fascinating, but you know, Japan. And my credit card thanks you for no longer selling really cool fabric. I disagree and think the credit card is too uptight.
From traveller's yarn. She wasn't satisfied with just sending me the sock yarn I won on her blog, but slipped in an extra skein of undyed from her lovely shop, the Yarn Workshop. So I get to do some dyeing too. I am so lucky!
From Tessuti. It's the beginning of a love affair, I'm smitten. Thanks so much Colette and Lisa! I'm planning a nice summer skirt.

And it's very timely because I am really on a roll with the sewing and knitting right now. I am running off pieces from last week's purchases -
2 new shirts from the cotton/linen/spandex I bought at spotters end of bolt 30% off bonanza. A short sleeve darted number just waiting for work days in the Northern heat and another of these for work days down here in the cool. I also have plans for a pair of wide leg capris in this fabric too. The fabric sews up as nicely as I thought it would and demonstrates that inexpensive fabric doesn't have to be crap.

I've been working on another more complicated piece too - a jacket made from this totally amazing wool I got at Tessuti's. Right hand side is fabric on the table, left side is fabric with light shining through from behind - how cool is that?
It is a quite open weave with ridges of what looks like needle felting. The whole thing is really 3D and sculptural, at once light and airy and yet solidly lumpy and bumpy. I am basing the jacket on the darted shirt pattern without the darts and then making up a sort of pleated collar. I made good progress today - I hope Wil naps well tomorrow and lets me finish it off. It won't be lined or faced and I'm thinking wool binding and a single button closure.

There's also a piece of organic denim (organic! denim!) that is destined for some jeans some time soon, perhaps teamed with another pleat sleeve top in this white and grey stripe wool mix jersey. I think that would look great with my giant vanilla scarf.
That's nearly 600gms of over sized super soft merino and mulberry silk goodness. Or at least it was before I washed it and it totally lost it's unbelievably soft cloud like quality. I can't tell you how devastated I am. It's still nice, but no longer extraordinary.

I'm swatching for lace and the poll seems to agree with my gut instinct so I think I'll be going for Stonewall by Ann Hanson. That's going to be the next project I think.

The knitting pattern for the baby and child wrap is selling well, which is very exciting. If we weren't going away I'd be knitting another one for Wil - I've already thought of a whole different kind of front I'd like to try, and using a 12 ply yarn so it is really more a coat. But it will have to wait until next winter.

Because the other thing is that we have finally committed to going. We have tenants, I've applied for leave, I've told school and childcare. We have dates. Only thing we aren't really sure about is exactly where we're going. That's the bit where most people gasp and believe me I share their surprise that we'd put so many irreversible things in place without any firm plans for the destination part.

The thing is we just reached a point of realising that this is such a fantastic opportunity, and as the kids get older it only gets harder to rip ourselves out of our regular life and piss off for six months, so we have to take the leap of faith that something will turn up.

We are also now clear that Darwin is the ideal destination - it makes sense for David and me in terms of work - but we also have a back up plan to return to Thailand. Plan B has much to recommend it, and I have to say a part of me would really much rather be going back to Chiang Mai for about a hundred reasons (not even counting the ones about fabric shopping), but another part of me is also excited about Darwin.

So you know, win win. And feeling confident in the fall back position makes me a little more relaxed about not knowing.

I am a little less relaxed on the not knowing about the possibility of having surgery in a few weeks - in no small part because to solve the not knowing I have to submit to a totally gross and invasive diagnostic test that I can't even bring myself to write out in real words but which lasts for 24 whole hours. Let me just say D has suggested more than once that I go straight from hospital to a hotel for the night so I don't freak out the kids (or him let's get real here). If I am a candidate it may mean a big difference to my asthma, or not. But it would entail missing a three night craft weekend and I am really really not happy about that. Especially given how I feel about sewing right now. And being bedridden for two weeks and I find it really hard to imagine how the household might function without my labour.

Anyway I am doing my best not to think about it (eww), so let's pretend I never mentioned it. I'll let you know if I will be disappearing for a few weeks but until then, la la la la la la la...

I am well distracted by a very interesting article by Dr Sal Humphreys called, The challenges of intellectual property for users of social networking sites: a case study of Ravelry. Despite it's dry title and academic heart, there is some good food for thought for those who publish patterns and add their 2cents to debates about copyright and the ethics and morals of ownership and design. It is a fraught area with many strong feelings and it is quite nice to read about it in an unemotional context.

While I'm not really wanting to engage with the whole issue here, one of the points she raises is really interesting to me. She points out that one of the downsides of the massive proliferation of web based networks and distribution points is that pattern and design publishing no longer has a natural filtering process through publishing houses. With an ever diminishing distinction between professional and amateur designer and publisher, there is much knowledge and many practice standards which have been lost.

This leaves both designers and consumers exposed and vulnerable to a whole lot of problems, from quality control of patterns, misunderstandings of copyright protections, ignorance of conventions and professional codes of conduct, lack of customer support and poor price decisions.

Miss Pen Pen made a similar point in an article in the news paper recently about the proliferation of 'craft' goods for sale and the lack of quality control that has come with the greater access to the market. I've long thought about the difficulty the truly skilled 'master' crafters have in distinguishing themselves in the now very busy market place, and how the ability to price their goods appropriately is undermined by amateurs who sell their work for the cost of their materials plus a sliver more.

I have nothing significant to say about all that, just that these are complicated times and access for all has raised some interesting issues.

I think that's got to be it. It's bed time. I'm off to dream up some nice details for all those garments I'd be sewing if I didn't have other things to do. And saying silent prayers that the collar I'm going to be doing during tomorrow's nap time doesn't ruin my jacket.


kirsten said...

hey, congrats about the Darwin/Thai "excursion" - great to hear you have tenants and things are moving with forward momentum. hooray for you.

Turning Japanese said...

Good thing come to good people. Love the stash... You forgot to mention the sock monkey socks that didn't make it past your feet. Hahaha. I will get you some more! I can't wait to see the black jacket. I need to make some more quilts and skirts so I can buy more and more fabric!! So much fun. Such a nice addiction.
Sweet dreams.

PS My word verification is mentlo - funny

Suse said...

Oh my, that Tessuti summer skirt fabric. Oh my.

Congratulations on the Darwin-Thailand leap of faith.

I won't talk about the surgical possibility, no I won't.

Suzy said...

That is so exciting that you are definitely going! It's always good to have a plan B. And I hope the test stuff works out for the best.

And I'm looking forward to seeing photos of the finished wool jacket! The fabric looks amazing.

Janet said...

that wool fabric is amazing, I can't wait to see what you've made from it! Congrats too on finding a way forward with the trip - as you say a win, win.

Leonie said...

Congrats on the successful completion of the decision making process. Kknowing whether you are staying or going would make lots of other decisions come together a whole heap quicker. Good Luck with the move. At least blogging is portable so we can keep up with your adventures!