Sunday, May 7, 2017

Activities of a Washed Up Jellyfish

Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing right or better. -- John Updike
So... the knitting... it's been kinda stalled recently. My cut finger took longer than I thought to heal, and the pattern I'm making has enough twisted stitches and wrapped stitches to make it impossible to knit with a finger that threatened to split and bleed everywhere with minor pressure. Maybe there should be a physical fitness metre for patterns: "knitter should consult with their physicians prior to start of project."

Not that a doctor would know what the heck I'm talking about.

I have been talking to a lot of health professionals recently. I've been struggling for a few weeks with some tight muscles in my hips and glutes, which became bad enough to keep me awake at night and to prevent me from standing too long or walking more than ten or fifteen minutes. Oddly, I have no trouble being at the gym on the elliptical or on the bike, and apart from some of the heavier lifts, I can maintain my strength program. I can also swim. And yet, a walk to the shops is uncomfortable if I've been on my feet for longer than a few minutes. It's been depressing and demoralizing. I've been feeling slightly better over the past week, but I pushed it a bit too far today and I'm currently sitting here nursing some aching muscles.

And there's another week over.

And yet, the creative life sustains me.

I found this cotton blanket in a vintage shop a couple of weeks ago. It was all folded up in a display, and I walked past it three times until I finally decided to pick it up. It's a substantial piece of fabric (it's folded in half in this photo), and I was so taken by the colours that I decided to take it home. I thought it would make a really cute little dress:

Trouble is, I haven't sewn a full garment since I was in high school, and that was, ahem... not yesterday. I thought about winging it and trying one of those "patternless dresses," but the fabric is unique and not something I can easily get more of. I decided to search for a pattern that would work and came across this one online. Since you have to print it out yourself, putting the pattern pieces in order and sticking them together was a task in and of itself. I laid it out on the floor to make sure I had the layout right before I embarked on piecing them together:

One of the reasons I don't sew that often is that I don't have the space to lay out patterns and fabric to cut them properly, and so I usually end up crawling all over the floor, pinning and sticking and cutting. I had the bright idea of sticking them to the wall as I pieced them together, and that worked well, except that standing for that amount of time with my sore muscles was not ideal. I have the pattern put together, but I am reserving cutting out the pieces and the fabric for another day. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, at the art gallery:

The calligraphy course that was cancelled a couple of months ago came around again this month, and happily, it is going forward. I had a very contented evening sitting in the workshop playing with pens and paper and letters. I remarked to the hubby how much it was like being back at school again: the teacher standing up front showing how to form each letter, and then the pupils sitting quietly and practicing them on their ruled sheets over and over again. It was so calming... so nice to be using my brain in a different way.

The instructor gave us portfoilios and a handmade book to keep our things together:

Each week, we will learn a monoline font as well as a thicker brush font. I did this one with pencil, then used watercolours to paint them:

And our homework was to decorate our book. It took me a lot longer to do that than I thought it would, but I'm happy with how it turned out:

And to practice the monoline font and writing out a quote:

This one has been on my mind a lot lately:

The course runs for another three weeks, and I'm excited to find something to give me a break from my regular, regimented routine. I also have a two-part painting workshop starting this week, which I'm very much looking forward to. I've been feeling really worn out and lonely these days. It's nice to have something else to think about for a change.

But the knitting... I have not forgotten about it. My finger has healed up enough to pick it up again, except that it's a lace project, which never looks like much while it's in progress. It kind of looks like a washed up jellyfish at the moment...

... which is sort of ironic, because that's sort of how I feel like with these tight muscles these days. I'm off to go stretch for a while. Have a great week!

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