Sunday, 7 February 2010

Currying Favour

Mo promised Tania and me a spicy Friday night curry if we helped to do a couple of felted masks for a project that she is working on. She is going to run a series of workshops on mask-making with adults who have undergone trauma in their lives. They may have had no previous artistic experience so she wants to have a few samples to show that anything is possible. My two friends both worked on lion heads but I wanted to make a dragon of sorts. This proved to be a very fluid idea... I laid all sorts of purple, green and blue fluffy fleece out and added a few dreadlocks at the edges and decided that it would be a lady instead. I added large eyes and a wobbly mouth. I have to confess that I don't really enjoy wet felting as it is rather hard work but I did have to earn my supper so I got on with it, rubbing soap suds into the fleece to mat it together. The results are never quite what you expect. We decided that the face looked a bit odd when we laid it onto a mould in order to get a 3D effect so we turned the whole thing upside-down. Now the lady is far more interesting, especially now that her lipstick is on her forehead.

I have been getting faster at typing in Hungarian. I had to send off 2 orders for dye and carefully copied out the spellings of the colours. My typing in English is not great. I never learnt to touch type and I have to look at the keyboard and spell the words out with a few fingers. I did not add any Hungarian accents to the words but I now know what some of the colours are without looking at the chart – dark blue is "fermerkek" and greenish-yellow is "bananzold".

There were 2 longarm machine enquiries this week that were a little unusual. One person's first question was, "So – how do I get to be a dealer so I can get a cheap machine?" The other (English) one was sent to me via Germany as she had been advised by that Claudia Pfeil was her nearest APQS sales rep... Ho-hum!

Since deciding to post the blog on Blogger as well as on the website, I have been tweaking the layout of the new BlogSpot. This is a very time wasting activity. I cannot figure out how to get a slideshow to run despite reading all the instructions carefully. In order to do this I have set up several Picasa web albums that can be accessed via the Internet. These all have to be sorted and labelled. It is a curiously addictive pastime. It is possible to change all the fonts, add blinkies, geotags and adverts! I am in danger of becoming a blog nerd. I bought a back issue of a patchwork magazine in order to read an article about online journals only to discover that I knew far more than the blogging expert.

Ellen is spending her recuperation reminding me to get on with writing a book about the yurt project and pointing out that it is time I started to do podcasting too. She is quite right, of course. There has been some serious interest taken in the yurt project in America that may lead to some exciting opportunities so a book in the pipeline is exactly what I need to get on with. I have asked all of the stunt quilters to keep all their sketches, notes and take lots of photos of work in progress. The stunt packs have started to arrive in the USA. My tiny local post office didn't bat an eyelid when I sent off lots of packages of fabric; it's a good job there wasn't a queue since I had to fill in quite a few customs forms. The postmistress informs me that I am her best customer, or at least - I send the most interesting parcels...

I have already started to plan a series of monthly podcasts and spent some time on the Internet researching voice recorders. That proved to be pretty fascinating. I could get a small hand-held gadget that is the same type as those used in police investigations or a tie-pin microphone from an online Spy shop. There is a vast choice but if I want to do any interviews on my travels I will need one that doesn't require lots of trailing wires and complicated software. I can pretend that I am really a secret agent. I watched a how-to video on YouTube so I now know about mp3 and wav signals. (I may know about them but will I know what to do with them?!)

I managed to finish piecing 3 more yurt panels that had been in bits for some time. I will try to get some quilting started with a simple panel involving randomly placed concentric circles and some fillers. I tried to do the outline in thick cotton thread but could not get it to co-operate. I slackened the tension discs so much that they weren't doing anything but the top thread was still far too tight. I think I have decided not to work with tricky thread on such a large project as any delays may lead to me having a nervous breakdown or eating far too much chocolate. I am also considering ways of attaching the panels together so that they can be alternated easily. Heavy duty zips or velcro is an option but I may have to make some interesting dangly things in case there is any bulging at the joins. I will measure all the tweeds for the roof panels in case I have to do some piecing if any lengths are too short. It looks likely that I will have to get another roll of wadding and some more fabric for dyeing. I may have to do a couple of customer quilts as well so that there is some money left in the bank!

There's just one thing I have to figure out with Blogger... how to position the pictures where I want them!

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