While I had all sorts of goals for summertime craftiness, I rang the death knell on all creative productivity without assistance from anyone else. I was well-intentioned, to be sure; but, the next time I decide to register for two classes (during a truncated session, no less), I will endeavor to ensure that neither of them is text heavy. I spent a lot of time reading over the past few months (there was also all that other stuff that I do, you know: the wife-ing, the mothering, the librarining/archiving...yes, all of that). I was photographing as well, but there was a lot of reading. Which is fine, considering the day job, I guess.
When I wasn't reading about photography and its history, I was reading about canning. I have moved past the obsession stage to sickness, it's true.
I have been working on things too (crafty things, not the sugary or salty canned things), lots of things actually. It recently occurred to me that I have a tendency to start things (many things) when I have no time to do anything at all. Funny how that works out. Let me pull together my notes (read: organize myself), and then I can start telling you about the crafty doings around these parts.
In lieu of anything recent, how about something forgotten?
As I was going through some old photos, I realized that I made something last year that never made it to the blog. It was a re-knit for me (this doesn't happen often), but it was a fun experience all the same.
Swallowtail Shawl knit in Zephyr wool/silk. Its the first shawl I ever knit. When I knit it the first time, there were a few flaws. So I knew I would knit it again one day. So last fall I knit the pattern again after my friend, Lorelei, asked me to make her a shawl after she saw the Percy shawl I knit for myself. Not like I was going to knit that again.
So, yes. A forgotten knit, posted. It occurs to me that I never put a gallery up for 2010 or 2011 on this blog either--which, I have to tell you, has made re-visiting my past endeavors sort of difficult, I will get around to fixing that eventually (really, I will). Okay, back to organizing...
Do you ever think about how much your productivity would increase if only there were more of you to go around? To say that I think about this a great deal would not be an exaggeration. I wouldn't need that many more of me, really, I think an additional three would be sufficient. If there were four of me running about, I could get so much done.
I have been doing some crafting here and there, but I have set things aside for the most part to, literally, get my house in order. When your children become so accustomed to pulling their daily outfits from laundry bins in the hallway next to the washer and dryer instead of furniture purchased specifically for the purpose of storing clothes, perhaps it is time to re-think one's priorities (don't even get me started on th dust accumulation--coincidentally, I have noticed our new house gets dustier faster than the old one; or not, I could be making that up, but it seems like more dust to me and I find the whole thing irksome).
While I have been sneaking in knitting sporadically here and there. Any significant time that I can devote to the art of making lately has gone into sewing, or really quilting, well, no, if we are being technically accurate, sewing.
As I was cutting up squares to make a baby quilt, or two, really, it occurred to me that I have a total of fourteen quilts in process right now (not counting the two new baby quilts I started cutting squares for). Most of those quilts are really just quilt tops in various stages of completion. The tops need to be finished, and things need to be sandwiched and then things need to be quilted (and then binding applied, etcetera).
I am thinking that my sewing life will be greatly improved by the newest addition to my household (because as Little Sir so eloquently stated, "you really need a new sewing machine, Mommy." Of course, when he said it, it was probably infused with more sarcasm and less cuteness). So while I don't have the ability to self-replicate. Technology can, indeed, make my life easier...or at least, that's what they tell me.
If you are of the Easter-celebrating fold, Happy Easter. I am anticipating egg-citing activities in my household this weekend, and then, it's back to the making of things...I do have fourteen (plus two) quilts in the works, afterall.
So you know that kid in The Opinionated Knitter. The rockstar modeling the tomten? Yeah, that one. My original intent was not to replicate the rockstar; but, who am I to argue with laundry day and my kid's rockstar tendencies?
So IT is done. And it is, in a word, HUGE. It's really noticeable when all zippered up (zipper chosen by his hipness, himself). I intended to make it big enough for wear next year, but it might be part of the fall and early winter wardrobe for the next two years. Maybe. Some would say it's dowdy...
As excited as Little Sir is about the zipper, I think even he recognizes that rockstars can not rock the casbah in dowdy duds. The fact that I zipped it up in the first place was an afront to his coolness.
It's not so bad unzippered though, right?
I thought I could get away with leaving off the pockets.
This may not be the case. And you know those rockers, they can by so demanding; and, they can also be challenging to photograph. They never really listen, and they often insist on dancing (which may take the form of jumping).
And then they realize that it's hard to rock a jacket-y sweater when it's all spring-like.
Mostly I am including this shot so you can see that the "right side" has been made the inside; and the "wrong side" is now the right. You know me, I am so edgy.
And so is Little Sir, when I said, "give me GQ" (like he would even know what that means...), it was clear that he was so over this photo shoot. Because like a true rockstar, he stormed off the set.
I went on a spontaneous (for me) trip to Portland, Oregon over the past weekend. A very good friend was celebrating her 30th birthday (a huge deal, right?) and her husband was throwing her a surprise do, so we went. Sure, we just got back from Hawaii; but, you know, needs must.
In addition to a great birthday celebration, we did and saw a great deal during our, way too brief, time in Oregon.
But I am going to concentrate my discussion here on my visit to crafty places, specifically a yarn shop.
There are some pretty great yarn shops in Portland. But I wanted to devote my short amount of craft touring time to checking out one shop in particular, Knit/Purl. I have ordered some great stuff from the store on the internet and had really great customer service (beautiful packaging, quick delivery, personal correspondence, the whole bit); I wondered if the service would be the same if I shopped there in person; or, if I would get that vibe.
Vibe? Only good ones here, my friends.
The people at Knit/Purl are just as great in person (greater, actually), they are helpful without being pushy, and they had fun with my kid and even invited him to have fun (which he did, loads--he is koo koo for Koigu too!).
Any store that welcomes children (and cameras, I asked) gets a star (a super star, actually--I am authorized to give those out...just like all people with astronomy derived names) from me (but aren't they just cultivating customers for tomorrow?). I loved the openness of the store, they had great stock, and they sell Shibui Knits yarn (which is my new love--that brownish goodness so many of you commented on, Shibui Sock), and there is a wall of Koigu.
A. Wall. Of. Koigu.
I bought an embarrassing amount of yarn, a great deal under the influence of otherknit bloggers using some really nice stuff (like Sea Wool...).
It was very well stocked with all sorts of fabric goodness.
I bought a few things, lots of buttons (which I can not find at the moment); but, mostly I just browsed, so did Little Sir (on hiatus from his music making, obviously).
When I returned home there was a mail waiting for me in my mailbox from Oregon. Sandy from Knit/Purl wrote a note telling me how great it was to meet me and my family. And the only way I can think of to show my appreciation for her kindness and customer care is to buy more and buy often. I am not in the habit of telling people where to spend their money, but Knit/Purl wouldn't be a bad place to toss some coin (especially for some Shibui goodness). Just sayin'.
As much fun as we had in Oregon, I am sad about missing a chance to meet up with Christy. But she was on her own vacation, and probably didn't miss me at all!
And there has been knitting. Maybe I will actually post some of it soon...
On an island in the sun We’ll be playing and having fun And it makes me feel so fine I can’t control my brain *
I am not a beach person.
I am not crazy about sand finding its way into places it should not be.
I am not a fan of tanning (being of natural beige-ness), and I am most definitely not a fan of the sun burning one's epidermis.
Despite my curmudgeonly views of beach-y places, I had a fabulous time in Hawaii. I even enjoyed the beaches. How could I not?
Special K attended a conference in Waikiki for a few days (clearly the archivists need to get on board this ship of having conferences in exotic locations) so it was something work related that provided the impetus for this island jaunt, but no complaints here.
The beaches were beautiful, the ocean blue, the weather perfect; and the mojitos, well, they were unparalleled.
There were beautiful things to see,
wonderful things to do,
and many things to spend money on
--some things completely unnecessary;
but most were totally justifiable.
A high point for this knitter was meeting up with the Aloha Knitters at their weekly meet up.
May has been a month of celebration for me. Special K says I must think of it as "the month of me." It's a celebratory month, sure, but there have been a lot of things to celebrate this month not just my birthday (but yes, that was really great!).
Every time I skein my newly plied yarn, I feel like I am celebrating a little bit of success (have I mentioned how much I love "making yarn" with a drop spindle? It's magic, people). So, celebrating new skills, that has been big this month. I got a chance to celebrate being a mother (as most mothers did this month). That was pretty cool (but maybe not as cool as standing all by yourself). And really, I got a chance to celebrate childhood. Not just my own, which is (in some small way) part of a birthday celebration, but also Little Sir's. He has a lot of fun, and I have fun watching him do the kid thing. And it's always fun celebrating not being just a mom, but also a wife. So, celebrating family, if you will. As May comes to a close, I find there is one more thing to celebrate. It's the whole wife thing again. Special K and I have a wedding anniversary coming up this weekend. That's a reason to celebrate, right? Unfortunately, Special K isn't going to be around this weekend, so that means I have to celebrate alone...or do I? How about I celebrate with you? Contests are very celebratory, so let's do that.
Here's how it goes, leave your guess as to which wedding anniversary Special K and I are celebrating (or how many years we will have been married) in the comments of this post. You have till Sunday (the 27th) 0600/ 6:00 a.m. EST to enter. I will draw a name from those who answer correctly. And just to be sporting, if you received an invitation to my wedding, then you can't play...that just wouldn't be fair, now would it. Winner gets a gift package o' fun (you know, yarn and other stuff).
So, please excuse me while I go and celebrate...another day of living...
I intended to put this post up last month--on the 30th to be exact, but I decided to observe blog silence; but, then I forgot, better late than never I suppose.
I would like to say that I am a student of photography, but really I just point and shoot and try to figure things out as I am going along. There are somanygreat (exceptional, really) photographers in our "little" knitting community, they are inspirational (especially the professional ones). I wonder if they read manuals to understand their cameras...I should try this manual reading thing, it seems like a plausible road to success. In any case, I am trying to figure out how to take non-blurry close-up shots working with available light. I think it might be more of a lens issue (ISO, what's that?), with some of the pictures I have taken, but whatever. In an effort to take some close-up shots while also highlighting "the good, better, best" nature of my April, I am giving you three photos.
buttons, green buttons for some green goodness... It took me a while to find the right buttons for my little project. Happiness is finding appropriate buttons, my friends.
Striving for better:
truly better than some past iterations of this scarf; better than my last try, at least.
The best way to end any month? Well, food. I make things for people. Besides the knitting there is food, I cook for people, sometimes for no reason at all, most times because they can't cook for themselves, for whatever reason. And you know, people have to eat. So last weekend I made dinner for some friends who had a baby. They asked me to make this cake for them. I am known in my circle for this, the best of chocolate cakes. It's flourless, it's sinful, it's easy, well, sort of.
I want to take better food shots. I wish I could convey through a photograph how good this cake is. It's called la bete noir, French for "the black beast." In French or English, this cake is just good, no the BEST. I guess you will just have to make it for yourself if you don't want to take my word for it.
A friend of mine from Maine visited over the weekend and we bought a lot of yarn. I figured this was the fair thing to do since I badgered her into learning to knit. We both acquired an unnecessary amount of yarn, it was fun. Since my friend doesn't have a swift or ball winder, I wound her yarn into little cakes for her--it was very gratifying (as you can imagine). There was some pink Lorna's Laces, which is gorgeous (and that is saying a great deal coming from me, I think--that is for my friend's first pair of socks). Some Sheep Shop Yarn deliciousness (mine) and some Artyarns Supermerino (hers). I think there are at least two Chevies in this picture, you just can't see it yet.
Usually, when I put a shot like this up, I get a few questions about whether I use a light box. There is a great deal of shadow in this shot, but it turns out the shadowy shot is the most true to color this time, so that's why I used it. In any case, no light box for me. I am kind of lo-tech. So that is what you see. Here is what I see:
That's right. A folded piece of cardboard set up next to my front door--and a curious kid. Very lo-tech. I know, the magic is gone, isn't it?