Saturday, January 31, 2009
Our power came back on at 6:30pm yesterday, and the water was back to full pressure later last night. For now, I am playing with my new book, shown above "A Second Treasure of Knitting Patterns" by Barbara Walker.
Tomorrow, I think I will brave the studio. If I'm not back by Tuesday, send coffee. :)
Friday, January 30, 2009
Apparently our water supply is reliant on electricity, and yesterday the tanks went dry. I am writing this from Athens, where the power is still on and homes are blazing with artificial light, inside and out. Meanwhile at home, we carry on with a kerosene heater and candles, coming out for heat, light, and of course the all important functional indoor plumbing.
The storm that started on Tuesday left the area looking something like this (photos by Marty and my son Ben):
This is our back fence. See the big tangle of vines? That’s my jumbo wisteria. Note the ice coating the cable and electric lines leading to our house.
This is the tree in our front yard, and the neighbor’s house across the street. You can see the approximately 1/2” of ice we received overnight Tuesday into Wednesday. I am grateful it wasn’t the 1” we could have received. Today the wind kicked up while we were scraping the overnight accumulation off the car, and you could hear the branches creaking like arthritic knees.
This is the field at the end of our street. The trees are all frosted and the corn is barely a memory.
This is the field by the county home. The hills are beautiful in their frosty coat. It’s a Currier and Ives landscape, to be sure.
You can see how the ice weighed down this tree near the Route 33 interchange.
This is the intersection of Routes 13 and 550. Look at the piles of snow.
More trees on the side of Route 33. Some of the lower branches are broken, hard to see in this photo.
Finally in town, the East State Street exit. More traffic than there was on Wednesday night, and they have power!
As beautiful as it is (and it is beautiful, like being on the set of Narnia when the Queen is still in charge), I will be very grateful when our power and water are back.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
I was lucky enough to score one of the new sampler boxes from PhatFiber, a box packed with samples from indie crafters of all stripes, with a yarn/spinning theme. I chose the “Wintry Mix” box, and was so thrilled when it arrived today.
Inside I found:
Carded merino from Sweet Pea Fibers in a lovely blue/lavender/pale seafoam colorway
Sparkly merino, silk, firestar “Ice and Snow” from Artemisia Ink (this one looks like angel cotton candy, so yummy)
Soft soft softsoftsoft angora fiber from Tracy Rios
Deep blue “Chilled Forest” roving from A Sleeping Spindle
A mixed sampling of rich blue roving, and earthy green and brown handspun yarns from Moonlight and Laughter
Very tasty (too tasty for my own good) “Slap Yore Grandma” spicy pralines from Buttermilk and Honey
Decadently rich perfumes from Happy Housewife (a cupcake of each vanilla-musk “Knit” and tea and chocolate “Purl”)
Fun postcards from Knotes for Knitters
Moisturizing luxury lip balm from The Lote Tree
Smoothly polished pointy handmade wooden needles from Baa Hurrah
A needle gauge tool from 7 Yaks Design (which is really timely as I am entering my needles into my notebook at Ravelry and eyeballing the needles just isn’t working
A funky knitted object from Pretty Knitty Lady (I am not sure what it is, but it is really pretty and funky)
And that’s not all! There was also yarn from several vendors, including some nice blue from Sneaky Pig Yarns, a pastel pink, green and blue mix (the colors of a winter sunset) from From Ewe to You, soft camel from Hedgehog Fibres and “Pond Ice” a mix of merino, novelty and angelina from Island Sweet Fibre Arts.
Even more! “Cozy Winter Quilt” merino wool in the blues of lake Huron in winter from WhirlyGig Yarns, some handpainted laceweight from Stash Up Yarns in the color of bare trees, and a skein of hot pink and magenta merino blend? from Actual Size Creations.
The rest of the box was filled out with different discount coupons from various online vendors (Yarn Seriously, p2tog, Designs by Tami, Andey Originals, and Moonwood Farm , and a cool button from Wooden Treasures
All that, delivered directly to my door, for only $33 (including shipping!). There is also a “Stitches Only” box which is similar, but does not include the rovings and batts. February’s theme is “Romance and Chocolate”, I can only imagine what fun goodies will be in that box.
Monday, January 19, 2009
My grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was in second grade. I remember working so hard to learn how to make a chain, and how happy I was just with that simple motion. I took my twenty foot long base chain to show and tell one day, and as I stretched it across the classroom, I remember Mrs. Defebaugh asking “This is it? I thought you had made something.” For me at the time, just the simple motion of making the loops over and over was enough to make me happy, but of course I did soon move on to new and larger objects.
I also learned that knitting and crocheting was something “old fashioned” , and that it was “weird” to enjoy doing something like that. Bear in mind this was the mid 70’s, when the women’s movement was in full swing, and things were changing. I did continue to crochet during my public school career, but generally kept it at home and didn’t talk about it much when I was with my friends.
Then my grandmother died suddenly at the end of Y2K, and I found myself searching for some connection again. And I found the book “The Knitting Goddess”, and knew that it was time to learn to knit (I had tried to teach myself in my teens, but unlike a crochet cast on, there’s not a lot you can do with a needle full of just one set of loops).
I started out just buying yarn that I liked, and learned how to knit and purl from online tutorials. Because I was so skilled with the crochet hook, I found carrying the yarn as if I were crocheting the easiest, which I believe is called “continental”. I bought every book I could and made the alien scarf from the first Stitch and Bitch book, and lots and lots of swatches.
I also discovered the community of knitters, because now, with a new generation of women, knitting and crochet were no longer looked down on. I began attending a stitch and bitch at the local coffeehouse and made lots of friends.
I also found my brave pants, and began to off-road with my knitting and crochet, making creations such as this one:
Whose name I don’t remember, but he is a hybrid of crochet and sock creature techniques.
Who is knit out of wonderful Cascade Pastaza and ArtYarn Regal silk, with a crochet purse and a hand made necklace.
I also am currently working on flowers for the Knitted Flower Project (see the link in “My Blogs” for more information on how to participate).
And of course I am still designing and knitting funky hats, because I always loved watching Miss America and Miss Universe for the wonderful costumes, and love that wearables are an art form you can take with you wherever you go.
“Eight of Hearts” fair isle charted by me, valentine cable from Barbara Walker’s first book of knitting patterns, wonderful Lana Loft from Brown Sheep and Classic from Ella Rae (I am making hats with this one til I run out, it is such a great “neutral” for me). I am hoping to track down some Lion Brand Wool Stainless or Habu Textiles Wool Stainless so that the next version of the valentine cables will have more body when worn.
I know my Gran would be so happy to see how far I’ve taken the skills she taught me. And I would love to see Mrs. Defebaugh again to show her how far I’ve come from that first huge crocheted chain.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Then I thought, "Hey, I'm a knitter/crocheter/fiber artist. I could make myself something"
Well, I'm fast, but not that fast.
So, here's the quick and easy way to keep warm when the cold snap sneaks up on you.
Stuff your stash in your pants (and shirt, etc). Of course you'll need pants/shirts with a bit of leeway in them for this to work the best, and you may want to employ hairbands at the wrists/ankles to help keep stuff from sliding out, but hey, I think it would work. (You could also go the way John Cusack uses in the movie Money for Nothing, and try stuffing the stash into a set of oversize pantyhose).
Check back tomorrow to see how it went.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
My grandmother was in the hospital in February of 1972. I am not sure what exactly for. Being only 7 years old at the time, I was not allowed to visit her, and I was also told she was in too much pain to see me. It was a cold, gray, confusing time for such a little girl with such a big imagination, especially since I think her trip to the hospital was not a planned one.
I am not sure where we were coming from, but I remember walking into their house on one of those days, and coming across a small red heart shaped box on the kitchen table. There was a little doll on the box, and when I asked Grandaddy, he said Gran had bought it for me before she went into the hospital.
I don’t remember much else of that time, other than wet cold feet, the smell of snow, and that box with the pretty little doll. Gran always got me something special at holidays, and always found the most cool embossed cards filled with lots of images and details.
The combination of hot red and lime green stuck with me from those cards and gifts:
“Good Enough to Eat” 24” x 18” 1998 Velvet, commercial cottons, hand-dyed cottons, commercial hand-dyed cottons, beads, embroidery floss.
This piece is obviously inspired by the box of chocolates my Gran had bought for me. I made the flower on the box using the French wire beaded flower technique. When I held it out on the palm of my hand to show my husband, the dog thought I was offering a treat and took it up in her mouth. After she’d dropped it, we laughed, and then said “Good enough to eat!”, giving the piece its title.
Detail of the flower, it’s a little dusty from hanging on the wall. The “sprinkles” on the chocolate are little bamboo bugle beads I’d picked up somewhere.
And currently the color theme is revisiting in a hat in progress:
February 1972, fair isle pattern from the Kaffe Fassett Pattern Library, valentine cable from Barbara Walker’s pattern book volume one. The yarns are a wonderful magenta red pink from Claudia’s Handpaints, and Ella Rae Classic. I love how green the Ella Rae looks in comparison to the hot red. When it is alone in the ball it is one of those colors that is kind of neutral. It’s all in the color placement.
I plan on picking up and knitting a “brim” under the wonderful dots, as the fair isle and cabling pulled in the hat so that it won’t fit my grown-up head. That also gives me more time to work with the luscious pink yarn.
Another hat is in process right now, simliar theme, but a darker red and there is a checkerboard involved. I will post pictures of that when it is further along. These are the perfect projects to work on while cuddled under an afghan listening to podcasts. (We are expecting the “arctic blast” later this week). What projects do you do when it is too cold to go outside?
Friday, January 9, 2009
If I need to go back next month to pick up art, you can be sure I'll have the camera.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Stampington & Co's new publication, Stuffed, just hit my mailbox yesterday, so it should be on a newsstand near you soon. I have an article on three of my plush, Carl, Ally and Olivia, they are on pages 76-79. This publication is full of lots of cool plush, well worth finding.