Sunday, December 6, 2009

And Boy, are my Arms Tired!

St. Basil's


Pushkin and his lovely wife, Natalya, frozen on the Arbat

St. Basil's at night from Red Square

GUM on Red Square, lit up for Christmas

Graffiti on the Arbat

St. Basil's domes, close up

Sweet mother of Crap! Have I really not posted since SEPTEMBER?

Oh dear. Well, I can account for the last few weeks, anyway.

Just got back from Moscow on Friday from a business trip, and the run-up to that trip kept me pretty damn busy and mentally unavailable. In fact, here are a couple of shockers for you:
  • I did virtually no needlework on either the 9 1/2 hour flight there or the 11 hour flight back! True story.
  • During my seven days in Moscow, I did not have any time to go to a Russian yarn/craft shop or pick up any crochet/knit magazines. Sick, right?
  • I put on, like, five pounds as I ate my way through Russian, Ukrainian, and Georgian cuisine
  • Last week was one of the warmest ever in Moscow - no snow, in fact, went without a coat most of the time!
So now I'm back and gearing up for a quickie trip to Texas. Next year's travel schedule looks like Dubai, Amsterdam, and Sao Paulo, and a ghost of a chance of Barcelona. Funny how impressive it looks on (virtual) paper. And truth be told, I did spend a few hours tooling around the sites of Moscow before I had to start work for the week, and that was amazing. It is quite the city, and it strikes me as one that is a bit hard to get to know. But now I'm desperate to go back and absorb more of its charms. We'll see... So I really have nothing prepared, yarn-wise. Got a few ideas in me head, but they have some distance to travel before they creep from my fingertips and into the keyboard. So I must sign off for now, but enjoy the Moscow pics!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


So I have been on a bit of a craft/art binge as of late, cooking up some interesting ideas in my mini moleskine (will they get executed? Smart money is on no), and looking at stuff online that I find inspirational and exciting. First up is the most recent edition of Surface Design magazine, which is dedicated to knit and crochet and contains some amazing work by some wonderful artists. In fact, the curious stitcher could lose a few hours scoping out their website looking at the work featured there. Par example:
Call To Love by Catherine Armbrust

Blood Veil by Pip Brant

Palm Trees Marionette by Pip Brant

These were just snatched from dipping in a few pages into the gallery. Check out more yourself here.

Another artist using crochet as her medium, at least for some of her work, is Mary Carlson. Check out a few pieces she's done in crochet, starting with the crocheted octopus, to a couple of squid, to blood splatters that use beads, to a willow (which is not crocheted, but stunningly beautiful):

Across the pond, in Brighton, is a charming exhibit of fishy goodness by Kate Jenkin, all knitted and lovely:
Here is a link to more of her food-inspired work.

While not needlework per se, I was also quite taken with this exhibit of work by Edwina Bridgeman, also in England, that is a contemplation of the disappearance of so many orchards in that country:

Don't know how many of you get a chance to see or buy Inside Crochet, but they have been featuring the work of my lovely and gorgeous friend, rockpoolcandy, most recently her Pebble Rug. For me, this piece is a work of art, subtle and beautiful.

And on ravelry, there is always a ton of cool stuff being churned out. Just today a new pattern was posted for this antique phone by Sally Byrne:

Is it art? I wouldn't call it so, I guess, but I think it's an interesting interpretation and a great use of crochet's sculptural qualities.

There is so much more to discuss about all this. While I am fascinated with the past history of the needle arts and feel this extraordinary connection to the (mostly) women who have toiled over their work in joy or necessity or both, I am equally interested in what the future holds for these crafts (and sorry, but I hope washcloths don't figure too highly there). At some point, doilies were cutting-edge needlework, too. With such rich histories, the work of our hands bring depth to the arts in which they are included. While men have had a hand in this too, it is mostly a woman's art and as such, alludes to our history, our triumphs, and our joys.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Where, Oh Where, Has the Summer Gone?

Is it possible that I've let the whole summer slip by with nary a vacation or finished object to show for it?

That the bulk of our days was cool or rainy?

That I let work duties with late nights and weekend projects overrule seeing friends?

That my neighbors and I did not have that block party we talked about?

Fraid so.

So what do I have to show for these last 60 days?

A near-completed Shipwreck Shawl,
whose finish was waylaid by this Radiating Star Blanket for my brother (still unfinished, but lookin sweet), Photos from forays to the local cemetery: A couple of kittens, still being raised. And chow-fests at the Ball Fields:
Doesn't suck, all in all.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Shipwrecked Kittens take a Blanket to the Highline to Refashion a Man's Shirt

So, week before last, the Brit and I took ourselves a few days staycation and played touristas in our small town of New York City. The highlight for moi was our visit to the new Highline. For those of you that may not have heard of this new wonder, it is essentially this: a railroad built in the 1930's that elevated dangerous rail traffic 30 feet above pedestrians. It goes from about Gansevoort St. to about 34th St. It's been out of use since 1980, and has since overgrown with plants and weeds.

Some very ingenious folks in town thought it would make an awesome elevated park, and in 2002, my fair city agreed. Here are the results thus far:

I cannot explain to you how lovely this park is. But I will try.

I guess I can start with the breathtaking concept of keeping the park in touch with its historical roots. Railroad imagery abounds in the design. If you have ever walked along railroad tracks with the weeds growing through the rails, you'll recognize this immediately. There are all sorts of little hideaways in the park, too. Despite the railroad feel, it is anything but a straight line. There are little turnoffs that lead to spectacular vistas of the Manhattan skyline, framed by the gorgeous native plants along the way. So much was in bloom when we were there (a spectacularly hot day, I might add), the vibrant blossoms framed the rest of the world.

But the Highline has little secrets, too, where it passes through buildings, offering shady respite to park-goers. If you're lucky, you'll be licking a passionfruit sorbet by the other end of the tunnel.

If you find yourself in Manhattan, please do yourself a favor and seek out this new treasure. It is not yet complete, but what's there now is totally worth your time.

And what about Shipwreck? Well, I'm in section 7 where you slap on the millions of beads, and kept on getting myself tied in knots. So the shawl is temporarily in drydock while I work on my recently-married brothers wedding blankie. Which, despite the relative ease of the pattern, I've screwed it up and have had to unknit it twice now.

I'm sorry, did you say Ice Cream? Funny you say that, because I just today made a batch of buttermilk-lemon sorbet. Oh, sweet mother of crap, it's good!

In Kitten news, the poor bastards got snipped this week. Sputnick came out of his singing and dancing, but little Lola had a tough time with the anesthesia, and will be a friggin' conehead for a couple of weeks.

Now I've been telling the Brit that Lola is the smart one, and here's a great example. She's got this bloody cone on her head and can't wash herself, which is driving her mad. So she used my hand as her de facto paw. She licks my hand, then rubs her face on it, just like when washing her face with her paw. Genius!

Finally, another refashion project is on the dressform. The Brit is getting rid of a few shirts who's fabrics I quite like. As in this one:

Here is my proposed refashion. I have pintucks running over the shoulders to take in the width there, down to the boob. Then I pick it up again under said boob. The same tucks are taken on the back, down to the waist. It's just pinned thus far.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Flour + Egg = Magic

Would you believe me if I told you that I made pasta? No? Wow, I'm not sure what to think now...but it's true, babies! I swear, it's some kind of alchemy, it is! Here's some pics, though I don't think they technically constitute proof: In other news:
  • Yes, my brother got married.
  • Yes, I am still working on the Shipwreck Shawl. I am working on Section 7, where you add the beads. See proof here:
  • Yes, this is also proof that I have screwed this pattern up in more ways that would be considered possible by most humans.
  • Yes, my BFF and I got sick on something from AQ Kafe (I would not normally mention this sort of thing, but the last time I went, my colleague got sick. 2 outta 2 is two times too many. Oh, and the service sucks, too.).
  • Yes, the kittens are getting bigger and are suffering from excessive cuteness. See proof:
  • Yes, I have fallen off the weightwatcher wagon and am miserable over the added lard. No proof needed.
  • Yes, I have been spending time at Brooklyn's amazing Green-Wood Cemetary. See proof:
  • Yes, my ravelry queue is now longer than I could complete in a lifetime.
  • Yes, my favorite hair guy was fired from the salon and now I am up a tree trying to figure out who will cut my hair. Basically every stylist I've been to in the past 5 years sucks. Or maybe it's my face. Yeah, probably my face.
  • Yes, I've been spending time shopping my closet. I still have a job, but one never knows.
  • Back to the wedded bro: I'm going to make them this outta this in Tidepool Heather for a wedding gift. Nice, right?
  • And in breaking news, the kittens are still cute!