Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday, Foggy Sunday

So right this very moment, Brooklyn is shrouded in a delicious fog. Potatoes are baking in the oven and some soy/lime/sesame marinated tofu will soon follow suit. A freshly-baked loaf of hubby's whole wheat is sitting on the kitchen counter as the weekend draws to its inevitable close.

So, what's new?

Remember that pair of pants I swore I'd refashion? Well, start checking the temperature in hell, cos here it is:

Now, I do not, for the record, consider this finished. Quite the contrary: I kinda feel this is a blank canvas upon which I can vent my artistic spleen. As this skirt is right now, I call is BORING as hell. But I do think with a little effort and imagination, it will be quite tasty, indeed. Maybe a crocheted trim? In red? Maybe it gets embroidered? Painted? Dunno yet, but I hope it will be done in time for the trip to Napa that we have planned for the hubster's birthday!

Oh yes, I said Napa! Hot damn! All those miles I've been racking up are paying off now, big time! The r/t airfare for both of us is............$10! Hoo boy!

In other news, I got a wild hair up my ass and bought me some thrift store sweaters to ravel. One is a golden yellow silk blend thing. T'other is wool and cotton greeny thing. I've started on goldie, but am a bit disappointed in the yarn. It lacks twist and seems to want to come apart pretty easily. Here's the harvest thus far:

But this harvested yarn + boring skirt makes me think about where I will be going for some uber-inspiration: my beloved Scandinavian yarny books. I will start with Second Time Cool
and followed, perhaps, by Knitprovisation
If you don't know these books, I strongly recommend taking a look. They are wonderful and mind-opening, particularly when you are in the repurposing mood.

Some webby randomnity for you now:

First, check out this link:

There are scads of very cool textilia to peruse on this site, including crochet. Have at it!

And two interesting images:

This was apparently an art project in the high desert from 2007. Wish I'da known...

And finally, this sweet image to feast your peepers on:
Ta for now!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Happy Spring!

It's been a lovely weekend here in Brooklyn with signs of Spring smacking you from every which-way, as it happens. The sun's staying up later, taking its damn time going to bed, but here in our house we are already in our jim-jams and sipping Tuscan wine, hoping to stretch the evening out as long as possible. Think of it as mentally dragging our feet along the sidewalk to slow down the bike's inevitable ride to the end of the street (or Monday, as it is known to the rest of the world).


But I spent yesterday doing Spring-y things, like clearing the dead leaves out of my wee garden, letting the lovely crocuses get the light they seek to survive and cleaning the bathroom from top to bottom, as it were.

Another weekend, another loaf of seedless rye bread. Nah, I won't bore you with photos. Another weekend not finishing the friggin' Pi Shawl, which has thoroughly whipped my ass. But it's given me an excellent excuse to continue on my fancy-ass shawl.

And start on a new knitting project, Wrenna from French Girl Knits, a totally cute short-sleeved sweater.

Which has also given me some problems, truth be told. But beloved ravelry has come to my rescue and helped interpret the directions for this newbie knitter. I'll be honest, at first I was really pissed off when I read post after post calling this the easiest damn thing they'd ever made. I believe my response was "go forth and multiply," but not in those words. But there were a few brave souls who came forth and bitched about the VERY SAME ROWS that were giving me problems, so I felt better about the whole unpleasantness.


So, I was going through some crapola in my workroom (aka woefully disorganized dumping ground) and I came across some stuff I'd made. I thought you'd like to see some of it...

This is a totally weird handpuppet I made a long time ago. I think he's so cute with his vintage button eyes...
This HOIR is a punch-needle embroidery thing I made. HOIR is the acronym for "House of Ill-Repute," my performance art series that I'd hosted first at Theatre Club Funambules on Ludlow Street, then at the original (and ironical) Knitting Factory on Houston Street. Ah, the old days...

And this little guy is based on a Matt Groening character from Life in Hell...
And no trip to the past would be complete without some Irish Crochet...Ah, the past...

Finally, I was poking around on the internet looking for fun or interesting stuff, and I found this - an online book on knitting that promises to be very useful, indeed. I hope you find it useful, too.

That's all for this week. Till next time, friends!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Yarn Plus

I've long been an admirer of FiberArts Magazine. They are a source of inspiration for the frustrated artist in me and, like a great museum or gallery trip, I close the pages feeling energized and excited to create.

I'd felt like they lost their way editorially for a few years, but the more likely explanation is that I turned my attention elsewhere. But the last few issues that have crossed my path show a sharper artistic eye, something more mature and incisive about the work shown. It's less about technique and how to make a better mitre than how people are expressing themselves more fully through fiber. It's so freakin' cool.

The current issue exemplifies this new maturity. Check out the crochet and dance article. The work is gorgeous. If you are interested in our common medium brought to a different level, I highly recommend giving FiberArts a look.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

To ravelry, With Love

So I'm not in the best of places today. Work is stressful and keeping me up at night. There is no end in sight, no light at the end of the tunnel, no spot I can point to in my calendar where I can say, "HERE is where I can breathe a sigh of relief." It's simply not there.

Add to that the worry about friends and family losing their jobs, not just as a result of the economy, but because petty, mean-spirited people decided they didn't like the cut of their jib. The woman who brought me into the company I've worked for the past 18 years was fired last month.

But I cling to my job (which, despite the stress, I actually like) with the full knowledge that my continued employment, like everyone else's, is tenuous at best.

Yarn is my escape. I'm working diligently on the Pi Shawl, and having run out of the crappy yarn I was using, I'm now using something else in a different weight and color, and row 11 in the second lace section is whooping my ass. Big Time. I thought I was past the ripping out stage, but apparently, I'm not. And I despise the stash yarn I picked to continue the shawl. It's just fugly.

With a night cut short by worry about the things I'm not getting done at work, I'm too tired to fight Pi today. I'm marking every pattern repeat, which helps, but I can't deal with it. And I'm shying away from some of the patterns I'm really taken with, simply because Pi has temporarily shattered my knitting resolve.

So, what's a girl to do?

When stranded, as it were, surrounded by UFOs but too stymied to pick up any of them, I like to go shopping in ravelry. I never fail to be inspired by the extraordinary creativity and beautiful designs I find there. One of my favorite things is what I call "ravelry roulette," where I type in some random search filters and see what I get. And omigod, what I get!

If you are like me (and I pray you are not!), I get tons of crochet/knit mags and books that I absolutely pore over. And I am contstantly surprised by the stuff I miss in these publications! But for the eagle-eyed ravelrers, I would miss so many wonderful patterns and ideas, simply because I took them at face value and moved on. I mean, how many times do you see a new shawl or skirt and pass it by simply because the color choice, layout, or model turned you off? But on ravelry, I see these things anew, simply because some bright woman in another place saw potential where I could not.

Like my dad was, I am happiest when surrounded by ideas and potential. And I am sincerely thankful that I have access to the amazing creativity of so many others who help me to see things anew when I cannot.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pi in the Sky

Hi y'all. Just flew in from Dallas, and boy, are my arms tired! But seriously folks....

Miss me?

Sorry for the silence, but it's been a bit crazy over at the scratch and sniff factory. But I have a lot to catch up on, not the least of which is that I am finally making some progress on the Pi front. Might want to check your local skies for flying pigs, kids.

The mitigating factor is that I'm on my last ball of yarn and am nowhere near finished the shawl. I might see if it will look totally weird to just start a random second color. Hell, if it does, so what? The intent for this was training, not haute couture. I'd kinda told myself that I'd get some fancy schmancy yarn once I had Pi licked (hee hee), so maybe I'll just do that! But you can see that the thing is growing and I'm screwing up less and less.

What else?

My gorgeous friend rockpoolcandy has a video of her at work on YouTube. Although I think she has way more people looking at her blog than I have on mine, I am taking the liberty of posting her video here. Do visit her site. She is awesome. Supremely talented. Amazing.

I've got yet another blog! This one is called The Diaries of Violet Clark and is literally a transcription of two diaries I bought in a dollar bin from an ephemera merchant. The diaries date from 1923 and 1924 and chronicle the life of Violet from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. I am illustrating the diaries with images from the time that go (or don't go) with the topics. This project is totally NOT yarn-related, but could be fun for you if you have any interest in everyday life of the past. It is unlikely that Violet is still alive, but I'd be curious to find out what happened to her. The guy who sold me the diaries said that she became an artist or craftsperson of some reknown. For some reason, I think he said she was a potter.
I am posting every last entry from Violet's diary, day by day (not that she wrote every day, at least not at the start of '23. But I will give you a heads-up - it gets very interesting as we go on, particularly when she talks about Ted....

In other news, lard loss is keeping apace, though it's been likely upended by the non-stop feeding frenzy that was this Dallas business trip. Last I checked, I was down around 10 pounds. As mentioned elsewhere, it's coming off slowly so hopefully, it will stay off. Back in the saddle now with tracking every last bite, I promise.

Oh, I knew there was something else! Remember how I told you that my colleague was taking up the hook because she fell in love with my Half-Moon Shawl? Well, she's been taking classes at Lion Brand Studios and has been doing an outstanding job! She told me that the other day, she, her mom, and grandmother were all sitting together crocheting! I could have cried! What a wonderful thing to see three generations of women keeping up the hook. She and I periodically take a few minutes during lunchtime to get some yarn work done. I've been able to give her a few tips that have helped her in her learning and have promised to take her through the shawl pattern, step by step. I couldn't be more proud!

Man, does putting the clocks ahead ever suck! Why can't that be changed to 4pm on a Monday? Wouldn't that be a whole lot more fun??

Ta for now!