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Posts Tagged ‘painting’

Painting the House

I’ve been up to my eyeballs with a lot of stuff. The biggest of the projects was painting the inside of an entire house, walls and ceilings. It’s one of two houses owned by my mom that my great-grandfather built back in 1893. I love both of the houses and spending time to care for them. I thought, mistakenly of course, that painting all 7 rooms and taking time to be alone with my thoughts would be relaxing in a meditative sort of way. It would be just the break I needed from knitting the forever shawl–a shawl that will never end. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I don’t know how professional painters calculate the amount of paint needed to complete a project. I, however, calculate that out of one can of paint 60% of the paint will end up on the walls and 40% will end up on me. For ceilings my calculation is 50% ceiling and 50% me, the ladder, the tarps on the floor with splatters on the wall. It is amazing to me how so much paint can get on so many things other than walls and ceilings. I had paint on my cell phone, in my hair, somehow it got in the car, my sneakers were trashed with paint. At the end of a day I looked like something one would see on Halloween night. I had paint on my face that I peeled off like a facial mask. The paint in my hair acted like sculpting gel and my hair stuck out in all kinds of spikey ways from my head. Still I kept on painting.

On the third day I realized that I had developed a distinct wheeze at the top of my left lung. I had spent the last few days paint in a house that was never above 60 degrees (15 C). Since it was on the left side where I had my mastectomy and radiation treatments I immediately jumped to the conclusion that I now had lung cancer. I spent two more days of torture painting and being alone with my thoughts which now all centered around lung cancer. After all, that was what happened to my friend. The radiation treatment for her breast cancer caused her lung cancer that she is now battling.

I finally went to the doctor. He listened to my chest proscribed and antibiotic and cough medicine. I thought he was nuts. Antibiotic and cough medicine for lung cancer? He said it was acute bronchitis. But by this point I had spent so long with my own thoughts that I insisted on an x-ray to prove him wrong. I went down to the hospital to get the x-ray and went through a prolonged check in procedure.

Three days later I call my doctor for the results. I was standing on the ladder doing the ceiling as paint dripped down my arm. He didn’t have the results. I called the next day and the day after. Same thing: no results. While repainting the door I inadvertently leaned against while it was still wet, I decided to call the hospital and see what the hold up was all about. I had just dipped the brush into the can and was going to apply it to the door when the hospital employee tells me they have no record that I was ever there. I heard the paint splatter as it dripped from the brush onto my sneakers. How could that be?

My lung was really getting worse and I was wheezing more. I needed to get the paint job done. I didn’t have time to chase my x-rays all over the hospital so I decided I’d wait until next month when I saw my oncologist to get a verdict. Then the bill arrived from the hospital for the x-ray. That’s when I decided to take some time off from painting and go down there and straighten this mess out.

It took half the day, but in the end they did find the x-ray. No I don’t have lung cancer, but I do have acute bronchitis. They told me to take the antibiotics the doctor prescribed.

The painting of the house is done. My course of antibiotics is done, but I still have the bronchitis. I went to my doctor yesterday and he says there is nothing more he can do. This seems ludicrous. So once again I am waiting to see my oncologist to see if he has some suggestions as to what can be done or whether this is something I am going to have to live with.

In the meanwhile I am knitting the forever shawl and charging the battery to my camera so I can show you a picture of it.

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The Monet Sock

Monet sock

Monet sock

The yarn that was whispering “knit me” while I was trying to complete the first sock of a totally different pair of socks (have I confused you yet?) is now on the dpns. It’s a fingering weight yarn, merino and nylon mix, from Two Grey Dogs Designs. The minute I saw it on What I’m Up To Today’s blog I knew I had to have it. There is a specific painting by Monet that I love and fantasize turning into a sweater if I can find the right yarn colors. The work would be mostly intarsia with limited stranding work. But I have yet to match yarn colors with the picture and so it remains a fantasy, which is probably the best thing for my nerves.

But this yarn comes very close to Monet’s colors in a specific painting and I am very happy working with it. Instead of knitting the sock in stockinette stitch, I decided to try and replicate the texture of Monet’s paint. I’m pretty happy with the result. It fractures the colors enough so they aren’t separate from each other as in straight stockinette stitch, but emerge from and into each other.

Monet Sock CU

Art restoration and verification of an work by a specific artist is very interesting. Every artist, Monet included, had his or her own brush strokes that are a signature. In fact, brush strokes and how they were made, the pressure applied, the make-up of the paint and bristles of a brush are ways museums and professionals use to analyze a painting for restoration or authentication. Other ways of authenticating is how the canvas was treated, worn, handled and used even on the folded over edges. Painters have distinct ways they handle a canvas and what may only be seen on the private side of the painting is as important as what is seen on the public side when authenticating.

Like painting, I find knitters have their own signatures in their knitting stitches. I have never seen two knitters work the same pattern and have it come out the exact same way. There are always “tells”: in the way stitches are purled, the working of an ssk, the working of edge stitches. The knitter’s personality and rhythm come through in the knitting and though the pattern may be the same, you can tell it was done by two different sets of hands. I especially notice this when looking at older knits to place them in a specific time period. The way a knit is finished off or started can alter from hand to hand. Like handwriting our knitting stitches, the way we approach, work with and handle the yarn, how we do what we do is unique to us. I don’t know if knitters realize just how much of themselves they put into their knits. But reading an old knitted piece is much like reading a painting. The maker’s hand is always visible.

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One Sock Finito

The sock is finished. Briefly I debated whether to make the pair fraternal or identical twins. While I think mismatched socks are fun to wear, I opted for identical which meant laying a good portion of yarn aside to get to the same starting point in the color pattern as the first sock.

While knitting the leg with the tiny US 1 / (2.25) mm 9″ (23) cm long circular needles, I found it impossible to prevent the purl stitches on the 1 x 1 ribbed cuff from looking like slipped stitches with the yarn in front. Though it looked kind of neat and different, I didn’t see how it would fulfill its purpose of helping to hold up the sock. So I changed back to the dpns. I wonder if anyone out there has worked with similar small needles in the round and experienced success knitting patterns other than stockinette stitch on them?

If it is just a matter of my getting used to them, I am willing to turn myself into a pretzel so I can knit socks with them. They are much safer to use around Yarn Rascal than my current dpns. He made two raids on me and the knitting last night, but thankfully I was still working with the small circulars.

Despite snowing all yesterday, Spring is really here. My allergies have reacquainted themselves with me, the snow drops are peeking through last year’s brown, soggy leaves, and I saw two purple and one yellow crocus on my way into my local library. The purple and yellow were such an unexpected delight after only seeing white and variations of grey, brown and black for so long. It made me want to get out my art stuff and paint. I had all I could do to pull myself away from them. I so hate to paint from pictures. It’s much more inspiring and the result more to my liking when what I’m painting is right in front of me.

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