Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Womb With a View

A couple of weeks ago, I visited some friends in Reading, PA for a weekend. I had worked with Karen and her son Adam in Maine at the Medomak Family Camp. After finding out that Karen recently had some unpleasant surgery, I was reminded of a pattern that a fellow Stitch 'n Bitcher had knit when I was in school at Farmington--a pattern for a womb. Turns out it's a free Knitty pattern. So I decided I would knit a new, happy womb for this woman who had been a mom-like figure to most of the counselors on staff at camp. There was a little skepticism amongst my housemates as to how this gift would be received; however, Karen loved it. See pictures below.

Just chillin' in the clover.

Aren't anthropomorphized wombs the cutest?

This womb has the good life.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sunday, Arty Sunday

This past winter, I met Lois Benson at a knit night at Fibre Space in Old Town, Alexandria. (I LOVE that shop.) Lois is a weaver and has a studio space at the Torpedo Factory, also in Alexandria. Old Town is probably one of my favorite places I've visited since I've been in Maryland and when I met Lois she said that I just HAD to visit the Torpedo Factory. Yesterday, I finally did!

In the late morning, I met a knitting group for brunch at Teaism in DC. Then we moseyed over to the National Portrait Gallery to knit for a bit. I finished my moebius cowl that I knit out of handspun fiber from Loop. I just need to weave in the ends and block it out. (Pictures to come soon.)

From there, I took the metro to the King Street stop in Old Town and hopped on the free trolley that traverses the length of King St. Public transportation is pretty flipping wonderful. Last stop, Union St and the Torpedo Factory!

It was amazing. There are so many different talented artists, some of whom were working on their one of a kind pieces right there in front of you. I chatted with some folks about the retreat center, but mostly just soaked in all the creative goodness. My favorite was the work of ceramics sculptor, Robert Rosselle. He makes these large, hollow sculptures that have peep holes built into them.

And then when you look inside, you see this...

A turtle swimming through space and a little man in a canoe!

Here's another...

Wait for it...

Man riding a dragon?! Whaaa?! So cool! This one was entitled "Star Wars."

I've never seen anything like that before. Very interesting. Here are some other pictures of some of the artwork I saw...

A sculpture of a man eating...

Those "Do Not Eat" silica packages.

ABC gum portraiture.

This is the work of Pat Mong. A sphere made of metal tubes.

It's sucking in my breath and soul?! Oh artists. So eccentric :)

Monogrammed rubber gloves by Natalia Vega Forero. Go feminist artists!

Folded, cut, and Sharpied paper by Gwendolyn Graine.

A loom, warped with metal wire!


Woven metal sculpture by Cindy Lowther.

Painted silk by...

This lady, Anna Yakubovsakya. She's from St. Petersburg, Russia. I had to take a few photos of her until she was satisfied. I wish I could have had an invisible double of me with an invisible camera because every time I showed her the picture I had just taken, she laughed and the candid smile she had was just beautiful! Also, I like the sound of a Russian accent.

After I had explored all three floors of artists, I stopped at a Starbucks for an iced chai latte before hopping back on the trolley to N. Fayette St. to one of my favorite yarn shops, Fibre Space! As it so happened, THE Jared Flood was there teaching a workshop. GAH! I wish I had registered for it. I didn't get a chance to chat with him, but I did steal a few glances. AND! I bought some Dragonfly Fibers sock yarn. It's a gorgeous colorway with oranges, purples, and grays. I bought this yarn to make socks for my mother. I WAS working on socks for my mum with some alpaca sock yarn that I bought at Yarntopia in New York. Those socks have begun to be frogged (meaning I'm ripping out the stitches) for these reasons:

1) I think the yarn may have been cursed. The woman who owns the shop is kind of a grump and I was a little pissed at myself for buying yarn from her shop. I think as I knit with this yarn, the bad vibes that had soaked into it were entering my body through my fingertips and making me grouchy.

2) I set these socks down during the Ravelympics so that I could work on my first sweater (also currently unfinished) and I think there was too much down time between when I set them down and when I picked them up again. I just wasn't excited to knit them.

3) I started knitting socks for my mom because I thought I had not knit my mother anything...ever! Then, after I had started them, I remembered I HAD knit my mother something a couple of years ago. A really cool, slouchy, racerback tank (this link will only work if you're on Ravelry...sorry). D'oh.

4) The yarn and the sock pattern didn't go well together. I was knitting a cable pattern with DARK alpaca yarn...so the cable didn't really show up. And it was a lot of freaking work for the cable NOT to show up.

So for your entertainment, I leave you with some photos of me ripping out the socks...

Watch out! She's crazed!

Out of control.



What a weirdo.

Monday, May 10, 2010

New York City?!

Late last week, I read that Steph Gorin of LOOP (I mentioned her in my last blog post) was having a spin in on Sunday. Sunday?! Hmm. I wondered...

After much last minute planning, I was able to book a round trip Megabus ticket from Baltimore to New York, arranged to stay with my cousin Hillary who lives in Hell's Kitchen, AND planned to hitch a ride with a lovely gal named Jenny who was also going to Steph's for the spin in! I feel pretty fortunate to 1) live in a time where internet makes pretty much anything possible and 2) to know and be meeting such great people.

The ride up to New York was great. I sat next to this dude named Seth who was preparing for a music performance in Hartford. We chatted about life, ate chocolate, and he gave me some suggestions for nice, free things to do in New York. I didn't get to the museums he suggested or to this, but I will definitely be looking into those for my next visit.

Hilary and I had a nice evening together. We went to Empanada Mama for dinner. Mmm. Did a bit of shopping. Then we went to Rice to Riches where we delighted in some flavored rice pudding. Brilliant! We walked off our gluttony through Little Italy and Chinatown before heading home to watch Monster in Law (starring Jennifer Lopez and that very attractive dude from Never Been Kissed) and calling it a night.

Oh, is that what I've been missing?

Pina Colada rice pudding with buttery graham topping and french vanilla rice pudding with dried cherries.

Sunday, I walked about a mile with my spinning wheel and belongings in tow. My biceps were pretty spent after walking about a mile the day before from the bus stop to my cousins place, but I made it!

After purchasing a sausage biscuit from McDonald's (guilty pleasure) I hopped on the Metro North train from Grand Central Station to Tarrytown where I met Jenny and her red Honda Fit. The views of the Hudson were great, but unfortunately the windows on the train were pretty grimey. This one came out alright...

Jenny and I stopped at Rockland Bakery on our way to Steph's studio. Oh. My. Breadiness! It was insane. We could smell the gluteny goodness as we pulled into the parking lot. Jenny tried to prepare me for the experience, but woah! You walk in, and there's a crap-ton of pastery treats (cookies, cakes, cannolies) in the front room, but then there's the back room...where they make all the breads. Donning plastic gloves on our right hands and paper bags in our left, we ventured into the wild bread yonder and found this...


Jenny filling her bag with HOT bagels.

I'll have one of each, please.

After purchasing some bagels ($0.45 ea) and a dozen dozen cupcakes ($0.70 ea) we were on our merry way to Loop.

I brought a couple of batts that I had bought from Steph at MD Sheep & Wool. They were totally blingged out with angelina and in the 6 hours that we were there, I was able to spin a total of 5.7 ounce/200 yards of fabulous sparkliness! I believe it will become a mobius cowl...we shall see.

Bling bling!


The highlight of the afternoon, aside from the great company, the spinning, the cupcakes, the bagels, the bling fiber...there was a woman who came to the spin in who was visiting from Kenya. She has pet lions (I'm not even kidding) and brought in some lion mane to card! AHH! Steph picked out some other fibers to blend the mane with as it was pretty wiry stuff. The finished product was quite lovely.

Adding the lion mane to the carding machine. (Ticks?!)

Weighing the final product.

Those scraggly pieces are the lion mane.

The ingredients.

Very neat. I'm pretty sure I want to be Steph... Her studio is so cool! And she gets to play with fiber all day. Although, I do not envy her lack of sleep!

Jenny and I left around 6:30, after purchasing some more fiber for the road! She dropped me at the red line, which I took to Penn Station and was on the Megabus by 9:30pm. The guy sitting next to me on the bus wasn't nearly as cool as Seth. He had one of those phone thingies in his ear and would occasionally mumble aloud, though it appeared that he was sleeping. Maybe he was. Either way, I was happy to arrive in Baltimore around 12:45am and rolled into my driveway around 1:30 where I promptly drug myself up to my room and fell into my bed.

What a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

In Dire Need of a Blog Update

Woah. It has been WAY too long since my last blog post. Man! Not even one post in April? What the heck was I doing in April? Oh yeah...

I was in Florida for April vacation for 10 days visiting my grandparents in Englewood. I decided not to take my laptop with me, which was a really good decision. I made it to the beach almost every day, visited the Ringling home and museum in Sarasota with my grandmother, and read four books! It was really quite lovely. Here's a pic of me and my mem (meme, memere...French...ish for grandmother) watching the sun set. It was a bit windy. Oh, did I mention they live on a key? So nice.

Being without a computer for 10 days made me realize I need to make an effort to spend less time on my computer, especially since I work on it all day, and more time being outside, reading, and knitting! Speaking of knitting, I did manage to get a bit more of my mother's socks knit. They were supposed to be done for her birthday on February 11. D'oh! I don't even know if I'll get them finished for Mother's Day!

The weekend following my return from Florida, I had an ultimate frisbee tournament in Lewes, Delaware. The team that I play with in Maine, Mogwai, drove down for the weekend and we stayed in Ocean City. It was really great to play outdoors with the people I've spent most of my ultimate "career" playing with. And it was nice to see everyone, too. We played well and came in 3rd overall...maybe out of 16ish teams? I also got to see Theresa Applegate, which was a nice surprise.

The weekend after that...two weekends ago, I took the Mega Bus up to Maine to play in ANOTHER tourney with Mogwai. Let me just say a little sumpin sumpin about Mega Bus. It is freaking awesome! First of all, it is a double decker. And you better believe I rode on the the 2nd level. Second, it's mega cheap. I bought a ticket from Baltimore to NYC for $1. I'm not even kidding. And I got a ticket from NYC to Boston for $9. It's insane. I know. AND! There's free wi-fi! I watched The Office on Hulu. AND! Even though the bus in NY was an hour late, I met a really cool couple, Joe and Patricia (Joey & Patty) who were on their way to visit Joey's 90-something year old mother in Boston. We chatted about the city, ultimate, how Joey new Casey Affleck. Good times.

We kicked some major booty at the tourney! Came in second out of twenty teams. And the team we played in the finals is going to an ultimate WORLD tourney! We scored 9 points to their 13 and at one point, the one female sub we did have was injured and we had to play IRONWOMAN (that means...no subs). It was painful. Ha. But, I'm pretty impressed with our team. Looking forward to the upcoming season. I didn't get any ultimate pictures, but check out this pic I took on the side of route 17 in mid-coast Maine.

I drive by this every time I drive to Medomak and I've always wanted to take a picture.

Now I shall talk about the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, which was this past weekend. I have been hearing how crazy this festival is since I moved down to Maryland last November. A crapton of vendors, crazy amounts of animals, lots of tasty food (mmm...lamb kabobs), and an almost guaranteed chance that I would spend a fortune on bags and bags of yarn. Also, I was warned about the crowds...

I'm not great with crowds. I'm not claustrophobic. I don't mind being in close proximity to other people; however, I really despise not being able to get to where I want to get to in the time that it would normally take were there not 1,000 people in my way. Because the crowds were so nutso on Saturday, I spent most of my time in Demetrio's vending area, spinning some Cormo that I bought from Apple Rose Fibers and sharing info about the Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat with interested fiber-fans. And I didn't buy ANYTHING! Gasp! Also, it was about a bajillion degrees outside and wicked humid so any motion past treadling my spinning wheel was completely out of the question.

Sunday was much better. It was still a pretty warm day, but there were significantly less people to get in my way...heh. So I returned to some of the vendors I had scoped out on Saturday to talk to them about the retreat. And made a new friend in the process! Steph, or Loop on Etsy, is a fiber artist who specializes in hand-carded batts and machine-carded "clouds." The stuff she creates is magnificent. And I'm fairly certain she'll be coming on the retreat this year!! Woohoo! One of the first things she said to me? ..."Hey you're taller than me." After chatting about where to buy long pants, the annoyance of having wide shoulders, and sharing in our giddiness for the fiber art retreat, we parted ways, me to visit other vendors and her to buy some tasty refreshments :) But I didn't leave empty handed. I bought four delicious batts from her. And I'm hoping to visit her studio in the Lower Hudson Valley somewhere in the near future. Man! I love my job.

This one's called "Solitude."

And this one's "Pot of Gold." I think I'll end up plying those two together.

And this is "Purple Heart."

And here's "Tsunami." I bought the purple and black thinking I'd make a Mogwai hat. Those are our team colors. I don't know if I'll ply the colors together or keep them separate...?

So there you have it folks! I've got one more month of working in the office down here in Maryland and then I'll be on my way back to Maine for the summer! I'm so excited!

I'll end this post with this picture of me and Holly. She taught me how to make butter from cream...from the Stone's dairy cow. Mmmm. We look a little crazed...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Finished Shawls

Just thought I'd do a bit of an update with some silly finished shawl pictures. I'm hoping the friends that I made these for haven't discovered my blog yet...ha.

Here's my most recent finished product. I used a little less than one skein of Araucania Ulmo, which is a cotton yarn that I purchased at the Blacksheep Yarn Shop in Cockeysville, MD. The owners, Tracy & Joyce, are quite lovely ladies and their shop is equal in loveliness. They have a decent amount of finished garment examples, which I really like in a yarn shop. While checking out, I noticed this wrap, designed by CocoKnits. I favorited it on Ravelry as soon as I got home! The construction is really interesting. Tracy explained that she and Julie/"Coco" were college friends...maybe she said roommates? Anyhoo! I was a little nervous when I started weaving this because the weave was very holey... But it works! And what a cute dog, eh? Her name's Moxie.

Here's a black & white nostril shot:

And here is the first shawl that I wove, pictured in my previous blog post, modeled by the lovely Elianna. I especially love the babushka picture. After I took that one, my camera lost it's battery power.


And to switch gears a bit, I wanted to put in this link to a youtube video that was in my inbox this morning. It's from Knitting Daily and shows a pretty nifty technique for weaving in ends for fair-isle knitting WHILE you're knitting. So when you're done, you don't have to go back and take hours to weave in all of those ends! Brilliant! The video is also demonstrating how to knit a mitered scarf, which is kinda nifty, too.

And speaking of youtube videos, here is another one that I caught wind of through Purl Diva's blog. It is SO FREAKING COOL! There is a link from the youtube video to the making of the video. I think my favorite part is when the camera scans up the stairs. Pay close attention to what's happening on the wall. CRAZY!

Finally, I will close with some pictures of my new haircut! I cut off a little more than a foot! Feels good :)

Me and Turget. This is the first haircut I've had that was cut by someone other than my mother or my aunt.

Lots of hair.

There it goes!

Double the blow driers, double the fun!