Friday, 31 July 2009

Happy weekend!

My mood board is happy

Whew! What a week this was, with a sore back and my oral german exam. My back is perfectly fine again, stretching and stretching and stretching again paid off and I could soon go back to working as usual, taking special care in maintaining a good posture.

My german exam went fine too. It was actually funny because the first part was to make a solo presentation of a given subject. I had to speak (in german...!) about women, careers and raising a family. I thought I´d never get to the three or four minutes required but... suddenly I had the two very nice examiners telling me that it was enough. I felt like laughing and laughing because yet again there´s another evidence that I am, as my younger sister puts it, talkative.

I received very good news workwise (a publisher who is interested in seeing more of the common projects my friend and colleague Ana and I have) and a couple of new commissions came in.

Looking back, I think I need a weekend now!

Happy weekend everyone!

(Above, a drawing my 4 year old niece made specially for me, during a skype call. I know I am a very proud aunt!)

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Work hazards



After cutting this illustration the other day I realized that I have a really bad posture. I´m so concentrated on cutting the lines right that I simply forget anything around me, or about me, actually, and that includes how my back is positioned. At the end of the two hour session I realized there was something weird about my muscles and the next day I could hardly move.

I´ve been stretching my back periodically during the day, as well as wearing an extra layer of insulation for warmth; Paulo massaged my back with this weird smelling medicated cream and I can slowly move more and more without grinning. But simple things like sneezing remind me that I´m not fully recovered.

I think that after this warning sign I definitely have to watch my posture (I say as I straight my back).

Clases de tejido en Buenos Aires | Knitting classes in Buenos Aires

Nunca fue tan fácil aprender a tejer como en el taller de Joji! Joji y su mamá, Virgi, explican las técnicas de tejido los martes a la tarde, en su taller de Caballito. Para más informaciones sobre como pasar un buen rato y aprender o mejorar tu técnica de tejido, visitá su blog.


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If you´re in Buenos Aires and feel like learning to knit the argentinian way, don´t miss Joji and Virgi´s classes in their studio in Caballito, a typical and calm city neighbourhood off the tourist path. Visit their blog for more info on schedule and cost of classes.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Some recent work I can show

Final piece

Sometimes it is frustrating not being able to show the projects I´ve been working on because, well, they´re still projects and they´re still secret. This one, though, I can show. It´s an invitation I made for my youngest niece´s baptism next September. And I´ll attend it!

Her name is Clara, which reminded me of light, which I made the starting point for the papercuts. I worked them on double sided origami paper. Each side has a different, contrasting colour, and this is a feature I love because it brings double results with one cut only. The best part, though, is to frame the originals in one of those see-through (or glass against glass) frames, because just by fliping sides you can get a new papercut.

The whole "making of" sequence is here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Gigantic Pi Shawl Blanket: finished!

Finished!

Finished!

Believe me, I could post a lot more photos of this blanket: my enthusiasm after finishing it was so big, I took a lot more photos of it than were needed for illustration and documentation purposes. Most of them are here, so you can hop over there to see them may you wish.

This was a beautiful yet mindless knit, just like Elizabeth Zimmerman had suggested for her July-slash-summer holiday knit in her Almanac. When I was about 30% on my fifth skein, I decided to stop enlarging the blanket and proceed to finish it. Just as EZ suggested, I made the garter stitch border (a new thing for me, loved learning it). Now this was probably the most frustrating part because it´s knitted back and forth and you have to keep turning your work after eight stitches. Well, I wasn´t turning the whole blanket, of course, but still it was a bit patience-trying. It took me another full skein to finish, so my blanket has a total of six 150g skeins of pure handspun wool. I´m glad I persevered, though, because the result is simple and beautiful, just like the whole blanket. It´s ravelled here.

After washing and blocking it became super, super soft and its drape is amazing! I can´t stop contemplating it... and I really like this small detail:

Finished!

But I must: german exam is tomorrow and there´s still a bit of studying left for me to do.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Enchastrating

Oh, how I love to use newly acquired words (enchastre) and modify them to suit me (enchastration)! One of the things I clearly stated as a personal objective when I came to live in Buenos Aires was to sound, as much as possible, as a local speaker. We all know it isn´t that easy, specially to master a new accent for an already known language when you´re a grown-up, but still, I´m trying.

One of the things I love to learn is new words, specially those that aren´t taught in language classes; not necessarily cursing, but, you know, slang. It´s good to know some slang, specially to understand when taxi drivers talk to me. Or teenagers - not that I know many teenagers here. Or basically everyone.

So enchastre means... well, it means what it means and I decided to call these yarn handpainting session the "echastration". I hope at least one argentine reader will care to explain its meaning.

Following Joji´s directions we all put on gloves and got ready to paint.

This is what the wool looked like before the enchastration began:
Before the enchastre

Some colours waiting to be applied:
colours prepared

What my skein looked like:
violet and blue

Though the blue washed out a bit after rinsing, I´m still very happy about the whole experience (and the possibility to distort a word, of course). The dry wool is now waiting patiently for me, with the good care of my friend Virgi.

Andre, who was also there, has a voting going on about wether or not we´d want her to do a podcast. Please, go there and vote on "Me encantaría"!

The rest of the photos live here.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Cut, cut, cut

peeling the sketch from the cut out paper

Lots of cutting activity around here, as my friend A. - who authored the texts - and I are preparing to contact publishers to present our ongoing book projects.

We´re learning a lot along the way and are hoping to get a positive answer, despite the economical crisis the world (and publishers, obviously) is going through.

We´re compiling a list of guidelines we´re gathering for submitting work to publishers and I´d love to hear your thoughts and experience. Please comment or email me!

More photos of the illustration process here.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Stash

alpaca, hand-spun wool and merino

These are the latest additions to my (just manageable) stash: single-ply alpaca yarn on the left, hand-spun wool in the middle, and pure merino on the right. As usual, there are no yummy names for these yarns, so do leave a comment with a couple suggestions. Candy names accepted.

Sidenote to add: tomorrow is a national holiday and a "sanitary holiday" is to be established on Friday, to avoid further expansion of the swine flu virus. Which means - and I´m doing my best to look at it from the bright side - knitting time!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Weekend reading

weekend reading

I recently bought these two titles from The Book Depository. Their service can only be recommended for it is quick and effective: books arrived safe and sound, each in its own envelope, which means I didn´t need to go pick up a package from Customs, pay storage fees there and wait for hours until all steps and procedures were completed. No. And the fact that postage costs are covered by them, that even makes it better! Great books are very accessible and are delivered to your door (they were to mine!).

The books bought are: "Whatcha mean, what´s a zine?" by Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson, and "Indie Publishing", edited by Ellen Lupton. I´m almost finishing the first one and can´t wait to have to get to the second one.

I think that this weekend will be a great opportunity to get to it, since authorities are recommending isolation to avoid swine flu spreading (even more). All events are being cancelled in town and several cities in the country have already shut down shops and malls. It feels a bit weird and, really, we don´t know anymore which information is true and accurate, so having things to do indoors will be a very good distraction.

Fortunately this week I got to go yarn shopping with Joji and my stash will certainly keep me entertained for the coming days!

(Hmmm, will the upcoming german exam be postponed too?)

Edited to add: Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Short-listed!

Sydney Opera House

I´m so happy to share with you that the photo above, which I took during the Backstage Tour of Sydney´s Opera House, was short-listed for inclusion in the city´s virtual travel guide Schmap. Yay!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

It´s Wednesday already...

2009.06.29_02

...and time seems to be flying. I can´t believe it´s the middle of the week already and less than two weeks separate me from my german language exam. Classes are over and we´re now having a winter break, so I took the free Wednesday morning to study. With some laundry and home duties in the middle, of course.

I´ve been working almost non-stop on the second book I´m illustrating. The text was written by a (blogless) dear friend of mine. We have a new contact in a publishing house in Portugal and a synopsis is being prepared as I write this.

A usual break from this activity was the painting class last Monday, again with the quick poses exercise. This was the second work and used a new brush a classmate gave to me as a present. Loved using it!

More photographs here.