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Well, I'd forgotten all about this livejournal, what with my exciting new project well under way. You can find it over on A Beard A Day. It's already on day 76 :)

Upidity updates

It's Friday 22nd June, and my degree has officially been over for one week (not counting the exhibition that's still on). Everything is TERRIFYING. Luckily I dont have to go into the real world for another 10 days or so, but still. Of course, I can never just sit still, so I've been working away like a busy little beard. Err...bee, that is. But speaking of beards, I believe that is what I want my next project to look at. There's all sorts of artsy fartsy intellectual thinkiing behind it, but it is something I really interest and passionate about. I've applied for a small grant from DevART to get it underway, but whether I get it or not is still unknown (hopefully they'll get back to me soon!).

Of course, I still want to be knitting animations, so I've really got to get researching and planning. Cant just let myself stagnate. Not that I could, haha. I always seems to have so many projects on the go at once!

Just at this minute I'm knitting a lace top, crochetting a sock, making two patchwork blankets, knitting a crocodile from knitting mill cords, making plarn baskets, knitting Doctor Who Portraits for ANOTHER blanket, crochetting beard, knitting a long braid for edging, crochetting ANOTHER blanket from rope, crochetting a shawl and planning to knit a cardigan. (Jesus H. Christ I didn't realise I had this many things going on!) These are all my unfinished pieces, but none have been left for any real length of time, except maybe one of the blankets. There's also other things I do like maintain a webcomic and spin yarn (although that's been on the backburner for a while until I get a spinning wheel.)

My god, anyone would think I have no social life! Oh....wait....

So, previous journal isn't a complete write off I swear! The size has changed a little bit though. After a disasterous beginning with a 25st garter stitch square that made me want to kill myself (garter stitch takes SO LONG) I downsized and instead went for a 15st square. DK wool with 4.5 mm needles. They're kind of baggy, but I dont mind. I'm looking to make a pretty lightweight blanket. The squares are REALLY small though, so I'm going to need a lot to make my bed-sized blanket. But hey, I've got the rest of my life! Hatetheideaofhavingtosewthemalltogetherthough....

Here's the one I've done so far. They're pretty boring at the moment, very basic. I've recently learned how to block acrylic yarn, so some of them have scalloped edges from where I didn't pin them very well, haha.

001. Garter Stitch
002. Stockinette Stitch
003. 1x1 Rib
004. 2x2 Rib
005. Single Moss
006. Double Moss
007. Twisted Cable
008. Braided Cable

That's it for now. Like I said, they're very small, but quite enjoyable to knit, so it's alright :D

Well, that's mee off for now!

Tally ho!

This is probably a dumb time to do this (2 weeks before dissertation hand-in) but I've been wanting to do this for a while. I want to do a swatch a day type thing, with the hopes of learning new stitches and coming out with a blanket at the end (therefore the swatches all have to be the same-ish sizde). I'm going to start with stitches I do know, then branch into ones I dont. I plan cables, intarsia, lace and so on. I would like to end up with between 60-100 swatches by the end of it. Let's see how well I do!

I'm takin initially from 'The Knitter's Bible', then if I run out I'll go looking for other patterns elsewhere.

(and you will excuse me for not doing any of the labelled 'gansey' patterns. After doing my dissertaion on that subject, I am SICK to death of gansey patterns, haha.)

(Wherever possible, swatches will be done with 4mm and dk wool)

1. Garter stitch.
2. Stockinette stitch.
3. 1x1 Rib
4. 2x2 Rib
5. Single moss stitch
6. Double moss stitch.
7. Twisted cable.
8. Braided cable.
9. Simple Lace pattern (pg 36)
10. Cross stitches (pg 40/41)
11. Popcorn stitch. (pg 42)
12. Bobble stitch (pg 42/102)
13. Raised Bells (pg 42)
14. Raised Leaved (pg 43)
15. Intarsia (pg 48)
16. Fairisle (pg 37)
17. Beaded knitting (pg 54)
18. Looped  knitting (pg 55)
19. Entrelac (pg 56)
20. Mitred squares (pg 58)
21. St-st and fulling. (pg 60)
22. Smocking (pg 62/102)
23. Rose (pg 82)
24. Leaf (pg 82)
25. Daisy (pg 82)
26. Cross stitch (pg 83)
27. Chain stitch (pg 83)
28. Double moss stitch and rib check (pg 89)
29. 2 stitch check (pg 90)
30. Four stitch check (pg 90)
31. Basketweave (pg 90)
32. Double basketweave (pg 91)
33. Pennant (pg 91)
34. Pyramid (pg 91)
35. Moss stitch diamonds (pg 92)
36. Moss stitch rib (pg 92)
37. King Charles Brocade (pg 92)
38. Stepped diamonds (pg 93)
39. Mock cable (pg 93)
40. Moss stitch chevron (pg 93)
41. Small gingham (pg 94)
42. Gingham check (pg 94)
43. Heart squares (pg 94)
44. Star in a square (pg 95)
45. Tumbling blocks (pg 95)
46. Star in a diamond (pg 96)
47. Block quilting (pg 96)
48. Ruching (pg 101)
49. Bubble Pattern (pg 101)
50. Texture picot stripe (pg 101)
51. Bramble stitch (pg 102)
52. Dimple stitch (pg 104)
53. Bobble circle (pg 104)
54. Cocoon stitch (pg 105)
55. Blind buttonhole (pg 105)
56. Mistake rib (pg 106)
57. Rick rack rib (pg 106)
58. Openwork rib (pg 106)
59. Brioche stitch (pg 107)
60. Ensign's braid (pg 109)
61. Oxo cable (pg 109)
62. Medallion bobble cable (pg 109)
63. Five rib braid (pg 110)
64. Celtic cable (pg 110)
65. Triple twist cable (pg 111)
66. Hollow oak (pg 111)
67. Circle cable (pg 112)
68. Ripple and rock (pg 112)
69. Trellis diamond (pg 113)
70. Grapes on the vine (pg 114)
71. Heart cable (pg 115)
72. Nosegay pattern (pg 115)
73. Lace mesh (pg 117)
74. Vine lace zigzag (pg 117)
75. Gothic window (pg 118)
76. Norwegian fir (pg 120)
77. Diamonds (pg 122)
78. Leaf pattern lace (pg 122)
79. Beech leaf lace (pg 123)
80. Diamond lace with rosettes (pg 124)

Cor blimey! That book has so many patterns! So, preliminary estimate is 80 pieces. Sizes might be difficult, but I'm aiming for each one to be between 25-30 stitches, and roughly square. Some of those last lace and cables ones look hard! Cant wait to get to them :D


Let's try this again!

Gosh, I'm bad at this, aren't I? It's because I set such strict rules about what I want to post about. Well, no more! from now on you can expect this journal to be of complete inane chitterhcatter about my craft projects, uni work and other aspects of my life that may or may not be pertinent and/or interesting.

And sometimes I find that I just want to babble axcitedly about something I am doing or plan to do! Yesterday I REALLY wanted to tell someone that I was spinning dog fur. Today I've been wanting to enthuse myself to do a 'knit a day' kind of thing, to teach myself some unknown stitches. Right now I'm about to embark on spinning some merino roving.

I have found myself starting to stay up later just so I can justify doing uni un-related stuff. It's working quite well, I have to say, even if it does result in my making the kitchen smell like wet-dog at odd hours of the night :D

So, as per usual, I shall express my hope that I shall regularly update this journal, and no doubt fail dismally.

The first rule of knit club...

So I went to my first knitting group yesterday, it was awesome. I've been meaning to go for a while, but things kep coming up. But a couple days ago I thought 'no, stop putting it off' and I emailed the woman who runs it and asked for the date of the next meet.

I really didn't have any expectations, so it was lovely to find out how nice and supportive and chatty the group was. There were people of all ages, most of them a lot older (40+) but there were a few people in there 20's there as well. It was also really nice to see that there were people of all different abilities there. There were a couple of older ladies that looked like they were doing some complex baby items (one was knitting an edge around a blanket that looked complicated, she had a ton of stitches that were just loose off the needle, but she moved so quick I couldn't see whatshe was doing!) The younger people were new to it, one was simply knitting a scarf on 10mm needles! (I do wonder why she was using 10mm needles, they seemed very large even for  a beginner, and I hope she wasn't recommended to use them. I worry that when she moves down to smaller needles she'll be dissappointed how slowly it knits up comparably :-/)

I took down a sock I had started knitting, and I was surpised how enthusiastic everyone was about it. It is a very simple pattern (I posted my first sock on ravelry, and it's the same pattern) but they seemed to really like it. Emma, the runner of the group, was also knitting a sock, but she was doing a far more delicate pattern than mine, with a lot more stitches!

They also got a real kick out of what my mum was knitting (I convinced my mum to come with me so I didn't have to go alone to the first meet :P). She's knitting patches for a blanket, so she started knitting one down there. What looked like just a plain green square suddenly developed bright green bobbles, and they were all tickled pink when they noticed.

One of the things I noticed was how everyone holds there knitting differently. I have only seen two people knit, and that's my mum and I, and because she taught me, I hold my needles similar to her. But I was fascinated at all the different variations down at the group! I had to remember not to stare, but it was really interesting! I'm hoping next time I can get a pictures of everyone's hands as they're knitting. I dont know how I would use the pictures, I just find it really interesting!

I am very dissapointed that they're currently only meeting every month, so the next meet isn't until 6 sep, and then soon after I have to go back to uni, so it looks like I'm only going to get a couple more meets in. I do hope I can come back some tuesdays to go down, though. it really was great to meet everyone and see what they were all doing :D

(Also, of the 12 or so people there, they were all women. I asked about it, and Emma told me that they had had had only a few men attend over the years, and that it wasn't a regular thing. I wasnt surprised, but I was dissapointed.)

Time to get this journal active again!

Far too much has happened since last entry to fully update you, so here's the short of it; I now knit animations.

And I love it.

I've found my niche and you couldn't get me out of it with a crowbar.

(Still harping on the gender identity wagon though :D)

So yes, time has been taken up with lots and lots and lots of knitting. I've knitted animations (6 so far) obviously, but also hats, scarves, toys, blankets, mittens and so on. Yarn makes me very happy. And I've been inspired to restart this journal because of the amazing folks on ravelry who have been so kind and complimentary about my animations. I want to use this journal mostly to talk about things that will relate to the pieces I post there.

I also hope it will encourage me to get off my ass, stop faffing around with silly personal projects, do the uni-related animation that's been on hold for the last 2 months, and do some bloody thesis work! Been home for over a month now and I've done nothing...I'm so bad.

So I cant promise to udate this thing reguarly, but I hope to post an interesting update every now and then :D

Reflective analysis 18-11-10

 So, what have I been up to these last two weeks? It feels like a lot, but it seems like I have very little to show for it. My only explanation is that I/we must have had a lot of other things taking priority.

But no more!

Even despite the lack of evidence, I have been very inspired recently, and ideas are constantly going through my head and I truley feel like I'm getting the enthusiasm back that I felt in the first year, which makes me very happy (and relieved!)

As far as the subject of my animation, that has been put on hold (for the most part) whilst I experiment with different animating techniques. I jumped right in to attempting a sand animation, and used a short fable as the subject to illustrate. This was because fables are the shortest stories I know that are self-contained. The sand animation didn't go as well as I had hoped, but I think with some practice it could be utilised effectively. I have, of course, been looking at Ksenya Siminova.

I also decided that, since I had had a good go at it, I was going to halt my hand-drawn animation indefinately. It wasn't keeping me interested, and in light of new, exciting techniques, I found the idea of going back to it unattractive. So I'm leaving it now, but I may go back to it at a later date if I need more practices.

The most exciting epiphany however was the idea of somehow working knitting into my project. For a while now I have been really taken with knitting and do a lot of it in my spare time. It got to the point when I didn't want to do anything else, and was almost enbittered towards the university work I had to do. And then a way of combining the two occured to me just yesterday. I could knit the frames of my animation! It would potentially be a monster undertaking, but I'm convinced that with some thought and planning it is a very possible idea.

The animation would work by planning the animation in pixels (Perhaps 25px x 20px) and then using the intarsia knitting style to knit it, pixel by pixel. Discrepancies in sizing will have to be worked out, since knitting stitches are rectangular, not square, but I can worry about that later.

This also came about because I was getting both concerned and deflated with the fact that I had very little tangible evidence for what I was doing. Sure, I had quite a bit of animation done, but that could only be viewed on a computer, and despite what anyone says, 5 seconds of an animation never looks very much, even if hours and hours of work has gone in to it (5 seconds =  at least 50 frames/pictures). And I myself like to have things that I can look back on and pick up and touch and see the work that I put into it. An animation seems so...small.

I still plan to experiment, but on a smaller scale, so that I can see in a short space of time if the technique is going to work for me or not. It's going to be an exciting week.

Reflective analysis 04-10-10

So, since I last updated I haven't done as much s I would like to, but since I have found a new interesting tangent to look at I'm not so worried.

And this tangent is...iStopMotion!

Really, this program is amazing. Apparently it's taking the animation world by storm, and I can certainly see why. It's so very simple, and yet has so much potential. I really want to experiment with it lots, and I'm really keen to try something in a William Kentridge style. I find his use of charcoal and erasing really fluid and attractive, and the workin on one sheet of paper really appeals to me since I get very frustrated with lots of frames flying around.

William Kentridge - Automatic Writing

This week my animation ideas have diverted off a purely linear idea, and entered a more conceptual interest. I am interested in experimenting with animation styles now, and especially with iStopMotion. It seems I have been going to the wrong people for help, but now I know that animation falls into the graphics side of art and design, I know where to look and who to ask, which is very exciting.

Also this week I got another 50 frames of my hand-drawn animation done, and got them scanned in and moving. I'm really pleased at how they flow, and now that I know I want to be experimenting with different styles, I'm going to persevere with this small piece until the end (I hope!)

I have also got the music together for my main animation (at least, a rough put-together). It's a mixture of 4 songs:

Madonna - what it feels like for a girl
Lou Reed - take a walk on the wild side
The Kinks - Lola
Aerosmith - Dude looks like a lady

I really like how it came together, and just the songs by themselves are quite funny, so I have hopes for the animation being entertaining.

It has occured to me that I dont need to be doing so much research now and should start doing more of my own work, so I hope in the following week to do this. Other projects are also interfering with my time (such as proffessional practice, visual culture and particularly my own personal projects) so I need to start managing my time better. Hopefully when I have a real animation planned out it will be suitably distracting and I will get on with it.

Reflecttive Analysis 28/10/10

So this week I have been getting on with my hand-drawn animation, getting research done, and trying to think of an idea for my main animation.

The hand-drawn animation is going better than I expected -  I finally managed to get the first 40 frames into photoshop and get them moving. It's a bit jumpy, but there are parts that flow really well, which I am very happy with. I am starting to realise that I really wouldn't have the patience to try and attempt something hand-drawn on a large scale, but this simple one is very interesting.

I have done another 40 or so frames, but have not yet scanned them in. I believe these will go much more smoothly.

For my research I looked at Simon Toffield (creator of the 'Simon's Cat' animations - www.simonscat.com) as well as finally getting around to doing some research on drag queens. This research into queens was what finally gave me my idea for a proper animation.

Drag queens acts are traditionally lip-synch or singing to a variety of songs with stage-show aspects, and I think this is what I want to work with. Using clips of a number of songs related to transgenderism I wish to make an animation with lip-synched aspects. The clips will have to be under 30seconds to avoid copyright laws (although this is okay since I wont be making any profit from the production). I will have to make the song mix before planning the animation so I know the timing I'm working with and can plan the scenes accordingly.

I still need to look into the correct way of storyboarding, and plan to watch more movies on drag queens to really get a feel for them and the style.

(I also crocheted a giant takochu in my spare time)

Reflective analysis 19/10/10

So up to now in this project I have been doing a variety of things, and I need to start getting this reflective analysis going so I can see what's going to be useful and what's not.

With my tutorial last week I was able to pinpoint a variety of different categories within transgenderism that I could look at in order to be able to try and find something specific I wanted to look at. Since then I have rewatched Transamerica, and also read the new Paul O'Grady autobiography, and from this I have finally decided that I want to look specificcally at the drag scene.

I still want to get some humour into my work, and I think because of the obvious flamboyancy and outrageousness of the drag scene, it gives me far more scope to work with, as well being bright and colourful and hopefully this will add something to my animations. So far they have been very monochrome (Only due to lack of skill) and I hope to add colour to them this term.

Also, we got shown a David Shrigley animation in proffessional practice, and I immediately latched on to the simplicity and humour in it. It was such a basic animation that told a great story and was very funny; this is really what I want to emulate.

I was also playing around with my male mannequin crotches; dressing them up in female underwear, and I got some really good, interesting pictures. After dressing them up, I just happened to stack them to get them out of the way, and found that this created a really surprisingly dynamic sculpture.

A tutor saw this and linked me to the artists Han Bellmer, and I was surprised at the similiarities. I had never even heard of this artist before, but he had created photos with this kind of surreal image  
This is not something I necessarily want to run with, but it got me rolling and created a great inspiration image.

I've also been looking at a few inspirational songs (Ones that address transgenderism) and I found these really inspirational as well. Things like moving images and music I find very inspirational because I they give me ideas for my own story, or I imagine how a piece of music could be illustrated.

Lou Reed - Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Aerosmith - Dude Looks Like a Lady

Now this week practically I have been working on a small hand-drawn animation, that is very frustrating and taking long that I would like. Also, I am uncertain whether it is even going to work since I cant 'play' it until the frames are scanned in an put together. I am looking forward to getting it done though, so I can see how much I have to learn.

I had another tutorial on friday and got a lot of interesting things to look at from an animating perspective. This week I will be looking at things like animating conversations, storyboard conventions Czech animation, as well as putting together my drawn animation.

Until next time!