Djcnor’s Weblog


This is the newest one, created yesterday. It was done by combining three threads with the objective of trying out a lustrous thread as well as a lurex and a soft thread together for a hopefully softer finish. Interestingly, it looks quite different on the two sides.

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A few days ago, I made my first machine-knitted garment since I began to get re-acquainted with the knitting machine. (Gotta thank Anne Lavene for the loan of her machine in doing that.)

It’s a very simple garment, basically a sleeveless tunic, meant to be relatively tight to the body from the arm-holes up but loosening as it falls to the hips where it’s quite floaty. It turned out pretty good, just not good enough to call the prototype the finished pattern. I want to play with the neckline and the arm scrye (to be a bit classier in my wording) and the bottom edge before I finalize it as a part of my line.

I used four thin yarns together, the yarns chosen to produce irridescence because they were opposites on the color wheel, and I’m quite happy with the resulting fabric. In fact, it’s the fabric that everyone who examines the piece comments on. (The little negative nellie person who always sits on one of my shoulders whispers that this is only an indication of how minimally attractive the actual garment is, but I’ll let you decide that for yourself when I post a picture here.)

In any case, I’m perfectly willing not to sell this version until I get a better one done early this week. In the meanwhile, it will serve as a swatch for the fabric. I now have three fabrics in my swatch collection with more to come rapidly. Got to get busy fast with the camera.

It was very easy to name the fabric used for the tunic. I merely draped it over one knee and thought “Mermaid Skin”. Perfect. Now I’ll bet you can’t wait to see the pictures. Soon… very soon.

My aim is to make unique fabrics, using either the knitting machine, my loom, or painting plain fabric. I may do some screen printing later on as well. I will also make garments of these fabrics as I develop the fabrics themselves, to show how they perform in garments, and to sell. But I want the making and selling of bespoke fabrics to be my main business.

And all this will be done out of my space at St. Lawrence Textile Centre.

And I will post pictures and chronicle the progress I make as I have time in this space. Are you interested? Let me know.

I am deffinitely annoyed, and I mean annoyed in the British sense as in seriously ticked off.

Three week ago, I began a part time teaching assistant job. I was hired to provide one-on-one assistance to a single student. The student’s schedule began at 8:30 and ended at 1:30, so 5 hours, and I was hired for 3 days per week.

I needed to let the Job Centre know my hours and how much I was being paid, so I called up the agency that had hired me for the details. I was told I was being paid £100 per day. Well, that sounded like good pay, but by then I knew that the pay came for a special fund for helping new students with special circumstances get settled in new schools. We checked with a friend in the education system who seemed to think it was the going rate.

Then I got my first paycheck, along with a letter confirming that the school wanted to keep me for another week.

For the first two days, I had indeed been paid £100 per day, except that that included holiday pay and that the short schedule of my student was not considered an entire day, only 5/6 of one.

For the third day, I had been paid only 5/6 of £65 (including holiday pay again). And the letter said they now wanted me to work a longer schedule, still £65 but now for 6 hours.

So I think I’m getting £20 per hour

then find out that includes my holiday pay (so I get paid nothing for any holidays I take)

then find out I’m only getting 5/6 of that

then find out that my pay has been cut by 35% for subsequent days

then find out I’ve got to work longer hours for that lesser pay.

Did I question it? WELL, YEAH!

And I just got their answer. You aren’t going to believe this?!?!

They say everything up to the very last is a mistake and they’ll be adjusting my subsequent pay checks to take back the “extra” pay they gave me!

I just finished spending a good deal of my time at the Centre for the last three days, and though I did not sell a thing (much to my disappointment, since someone had wanted to buy one or more of my handpainted shopping bags on Wednesday, but I stupidly did not have them priced yet) but I got some work done, and as usual, came away with more ideas and more inspiration than I can possibly carry out with my present level of energy and stamina. Luckily, with any luck, that energy and stamina will build, if only to keep from feeling like I’m operating in a different time frame from the younger members of the group.

Lorna finished the project she was working on for Anne Lavene and, on Saturday, was working on a sewing project, a dress a friend wanted to wear that evening. I’ve got this idea of interviewing the members on their projects and the ideas they are having, but since I once again failed to fulfill that part of my objectives, I’m working on my own perceptions of their ongoing projects, so anything I say could be entirely wrong. You are warned. I believe Lorna’s project was mostly restyling, attaching a recycled white textured (brocade?) bodice to fluffy tulle-supported skirt at hip level.

Jung-a had quite an effective meeting with Anne Francis of BizFizz, which I horned in on to a certain extent via an introduction by Anne Lavene. Facing my long-term-unemployed meeting with the Job Centre on Monday, I’d like to have as much to say and be as self-directed as possible, but I have to admit that I’ve become rather wary of most UK government sponsored projects to help folks start businesses. They tend to be very generous with classes and advice that you don’t have the resources to carry through on (when what you really need is the moeny for rent and food and practical material goods like, in Jung-a’s case, mannequins or dress-making dummies, and in all our cases, a large table to lay out things on, in my case, a table it won’t break my back to work over. (I’ve been spending far too much time hunched over work in my lap and my back is complaining loudly this morning.) Then, to top it off, they require a ton of paperwork (doing which requires abandoning the kind of work you want to be doing). Anyhow, BizFizz seems to be differently oriented, a sort of spider’s nest with a wide-flung net to catch things and move them on to folks who need them to get their dreams off the ground.

Kim was nowhere to be seen, though she sold a set of knitted gauntlets (having gone to the trouble of pricing them, bless her). But it turned out she had an excellent excuse, her van having broken down.

I also didn’t see Kira, myself, though I know she must have been there when I wasn’t because she laid exclusive (and rightful) claim to her working chair (which has had a tendency to wander off here and there, being the only chair not draped with someone’s creations). I did see, too, that she had acquired a second garment to handpaint. A big part of her absense may have been due to the success of her musical enterprises. I seem to remember that she had a big gig scheduled for this weekend. (Note to self: Is there a stage name of some sort folks should be on the lookout for?)

Tatiana fluttered about acting as a muse and aid to all and sundry, seeing that we all had something in the display area outside, modeling a restyled butterfly cutaway jacket of Jung-a’s, and drawing a collection of creative friends and acquaintances (including one beginning jeweler showing considerable talent whose name I should have gotten), and sewing a bit, I’m not sure on what.

Ossie was about too, wearing an extraordinary leather jacket and presenting an impromptu concert of Celtic song, just one more example of the fact that no two visits to the Centre are ever the same. She’ll be setting up a menswear section in the Centre when she manages to fit it in with all the other things she does.

Anne Lavene had a small crowd of visitors spread just thinly enough over the three days for each of them to receive more personal attention and care than they might have expected, here explaining the six ways a particular garment could be worn, or how it could be satisfactorily translated to another size, there teaching an introductory machine knitting lesson, passing on maintenance hints, or coaching Lorna on her machine knitting project, along with seventeen other things. She also managed to sell quite a bit in the process. 

I would include Mickey, who has a healing centre in the front corner, but I don’t know enough about his work so far.

As for me, I did some pricing, painted the Virginia creeping ivy on my third bag, and began the other flint wall side as well. I crocheted some as well, and met quite a few interesting visitors to the center, including a local French teacher who, I believe, has done some embroidery she is quite proud of. My French is limited, as was her English, but we did manage to communcate pretty well, and I hope she comes again to show me her work.

She was only one of the visitors for whom the Centre seemed to draw out, to revive, the creative urge. In my opinion, this is one of the best things that could come from the Centre. I know I will be feeling withdrawal symptoms before I get back to the Centre this week.

I’m rather up in the air at the moment about this blog. I do not want to shut it down, because I have a new purpose I want it to serve. But since I have to make that purpose pay, and writing a blog does not pay, I may decide not to write as often, and my posts may take totally different forms than they have up till now. Perhaps I will be writing on my other blog instead, as it is more relevant to my other subject.

I have spend a good part of today working on a crochet design for a vest or waistcoat in rayon chenille. I wanted it to be a non-traditional shape and row arrangement, something that was in the spirit, more or less, of the kinds of designs Ann Lavene does. I began at what I though of as a middle front point, as I know that is one of her favorite design elements because it disguises any stomach pouch. So I widened from the point, varying my stitches, searching for ones I fill the most space with in the smallest amount of time while not leaving too big holes in the “cloth” I’m forming. When it got wide enough for the front of a garment, perhaps a little more, I started working the rows even alternating two stitches. The edge of the piece began to look rather like a curvy parenthesis, or a face profile. I wasn’t at all impressed until I turned it on it’s side, when it became a cutaway side of a front with a middle front point where the closure would be placed. Now it made sense. I began to shape the armhole and “grow” it towards the center back with the idea that the second half would be its mirror, the two laced together in the back, with a strap coming up either side of the back to meet the curvy parenthesis top.

I stopped, drew a picture in my sketchbook of what I had in mind, and wrote down my notes for the first prototype of the design. I intend it to have the possibility of fitting  a wide range of sizes. We’ll see.

In any case, I’m proud of myself for the concept.

I already have some critiques, though. Anne’s designs are, in general, much more drapey, much looser on the body than this one. I’ll have to give some thought to that.

It’s a pity I don’t have any of my fabric paints at home. I have some idea for other items that I think will fit right in as well, but no way to play and try out my ideas this week. I HAVE to find out when it is OK to go to the centre and work on ideas.

Today at noon, I hired a taxi and took enough of my finished projects, nearly finished projects, “finished” but not yet “purposed” projects, equipment and materials for working on projects,  a chair, a table, a loom, and so forth to set up at the textile centre. Then I spent the day setting up and actually winding a warp for the loom. There is so much more I want to do.

I wore myself out utterly, and I don’t  mind one bit. I’ll get up and do it again tomorrow, and if I’m lucky, I’ll make another sale.

Yes, another sale.

Today’s was just a tiny sale, not even enough to cover the taxi ride, but it’s a start.

I’ve got a long list of things I need to bring to the place, projects I want to make, things I want to learn, things I want to teach, ideas I want to  present.

And right now I am too tired to even add tags and such.

Allow me to quote myself:

“Another thing that caught my attention was the  way that Brit police dealt with the protesters. I’m sure this country has kidnapping laws. Yet the British police walled off large groups of protesters at several different places. I can understand, for the sake of safety of the protesters themselves, who were converging on the spots from several directions, limiting the influx into the central recipient space. But the policy of the Brit police in not letting protesters leave that space after the police had cut off further entry, not even to receive medical treatment for injuries caused in confrontations with police, amounts to kidnapping. It is also a policy designed to discourage participation in protests. It says, “Don’t dare to come if you might need to go to the bathroom, or eat, or treat your diabetes, or any number of other things within several hours.” It could result in totally unnecssary medical emergencies.

It is wrong. It is kidnapping. And I hope it is brought to court.”

Well, it certainly will be, now. A guy simply on his way home from work was pushed violently to the ground by a policeman. Only minutes later, he collapsed with a heart attack. Protesters called the attention of the police to the collapse. The police gathered round him, a protestor threw a bottle, another protester used a loudspeaker to let the protesters know that the police were assisting someone who had collapsed, the police decided to move him, eventually called for an ambulance, and the man was dead before he reached the hospital.

Luckily, for thee man’s family, all this was caught on tape. Up until the pictures came out, the stoy the police were telling was that the man died of natural causes, though they had admitted that he was no protester. Interestingly (suspiciously?), the crucial images of the policeman striking the man with his baton so hard that the man was knocked to the ground were recovered from a damaged camera.

Only a few years ago, when I was involved in the protests outside the GOP convention in New York, it was more than a bit scary how the police were coming up with techniques to make protesting too costly in one way or another. The New York protesters dealt with it by recruiting huge numbers of law student observers and civil libery activist observers marked by green caps. If you wanted to play it safe, you positioned yourself always in sight distance of them.

The police played their tricks, arresting hundreds and “storing” them in a concrete warehouse for several days, taking their time and doing their concept of the minimum in terms of complying with civil rights laws. They didn’t do enough, of course, and it was taken to court, and they paid a huge penalty, but the damage had been done.

The difference in the London protest was cameras. Witnesses sometimes lie. Strangely, [maybe?], several of the policemen in the group containing the policeman who knocked the man who died to the ground from behind have not yet come forward to give their stories of what happened.

But cameras don’t. The police killed an entirely innocent man. I do hope this will have consequences in terms of how they deal with protests in the future.

Djcnor’s Weblog

  • @KathrynGoldman Saw your blog post on famous people in fiction. Have character who is supposed to be dead, turns out not to be. OK? 1 year ago
  • I'm back! I haven't posted in a long time, but since Joanie Freeman and I won Charlottesville SOUP, I feel the need to return. 5 years ago
  • Haven't been here on my new iPad. Page looks totally different. Where is the option to reply? And where are the RT's? 6 years ago
  • @The_Puck Same to you. You denial is damaging to yourself and all you care about, assuming there must be some of those. 6 years ago