Thursday, June 16, 2016

finding models to pose for you

Follow my blog with Bloglovin(a quick post till I catch up with myself!)
Steph, a professional model I adore working with.
I was interviewed by Abby Glassenberg for her Craft Industry Alliance blog, about finding and working with models. It's a really good helpful piece.. As is Abby's newsletter, helpful and interesting. If you own or are considering having any kind of a small handmade/crafty related business, you want to subscribe. (it pops up when you follow that link to her blog).
FYI Steph , above, is wearing  the Tobay Top from the Tahki Sea Breezes collection.
Josephine, a real person model I also truly adore.  

FYI Josephine is wearing  Holland, a fab sweater design from Maureen Clark of Green Mountain Spinnery. Rav linked from pattern name

I hope you find the article useful-or at least interesting! It's kind of fun to know the details of other peoples' work, even if you have no need to hire a model evah. 
I should be back in this space soon with lots of swoon-y sheep and lamb photos from the Nash Island shearing earlier this month, and blab and other yarn-related  goodness I have been up to. Like,... um, knitting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

my noncho

Nope. It's not a poncho. Just don't call it a poncho.
Last month, the confluence of a gift of beautiful yarn from Barcelona, a craving for some mindless knitting,  desire of a wrap-like garment that was secured on the shoulder but wasn't a big blanket thing (see my links at the end)--and a couple of long uninterrupted knitting opps all came together.
I didn't achieve ombre -you need to actually blend the changing colors to make that happen- but I'm pleased enough with my colorblocking  softened by carrying a strand of laceweight merino along through three different skeins of DK weight alpaca.
The button!  Also a from- Barcelona gift. It's just for decoration. A finishing touch. Helps me to find the right orientation when flinging it over your head. I want to be all je ne sais quois- not some dork lost  in my noncho trying to find the front end up, as I toss it on.
I felt like I had a knitting success but I wasn't sure I had a style success until Yliana commented that if I couldn't find it around the house, it might be because she stops by and sneaks it out to wear it next fall, when the weather gets cool. Sweet words from my sometime-skeptical-of -the-knits 21 year old photo helper, right?

Details-  3 skeins of alpaca DK weight (each approx 230 yards) and 1 skein of Anzula Wash My Lace laceweight merino.  Knit on size 10.5 US needles, in a big rectangle, with a 3" border of beaded rib on each end, and a 4 stitch border on the long edges. After blocking, about 24" x 55"-ish, folded in half and sewn on one edge, leaving  a 12" opening. I decided the reverse stockinette side had a more woven look so I called it the right side.

If you want to knit one, I don't think the dimensions are all that strict, nor the stitch pattern you choose. You could buy some inexpensive jersey fabric and make a mockup to see what size works for you. I just wouldn't  want the knit fabric too loose, or saggy- or too dense and stiff.  Go for it!

I'm not sure I have this concept entirely out of my system! Check out L'Enveloppe , Petal Capelet,
The llama II, Gale and if I can find that saved search with other not-quite-sweaters/not-quite-shawls, poncho-like garments, I'll share that too.....

PS Photos by the entry to Knit New Haven, my LYS. 

Sunday, May 01, 2016

'tis the season! CT Sheep & Wool Festival

It's that time of year, to see all our favorite fuzzy faces and appreciate their fiber. For us, the Ct Sheep and Wool festival starts the spring and fair season. It's just a teeny little fiber festival, a mere smidge of a gathering. But it means winter is done.
My report:  Purple is big this year, no surprise there. The vendors here are smaller farms and local or regional dyers. I always admire  Tidal Yarns skeins. I love her patterns, too. There was a pullover sample at her booth I spent some time admiring *. You know how you look and think "ooh nice" but then the next day you're thinking " oooh nice and I really want to knit's stuck in my head....". Even though I've got my knitting pretty well planned out for the short term.  Note to self: follow her to another fair and do it.
There was some herding, of sheep.  And of a four year old.
My fave thing this year was Dancing Stick Man, and the dude who pulled the string as he played banjo.
The banjo playing was at one of our fave booths too- old timey stuff including what sister Lulu, who joined the fair-going expedition, called folk art and little spirit jugs. Many had faces on them, or tiny paintings.  You'll find a couple in our flower garden, if it ever gets warm enough to plant.
There was also  the Wearing of the Amazing Knits, Folks in Renaissance Clothes Doing Impossibly Intricate Needlework, Spinning In Group Formation, Shearing Demos and Really Good Buttons, along with all of the above. Want my 2¢ Get out to some up and coming fairs .
- Maryland Sheep and Wool  May 7 & 8  --the big mama of east coast spring festivals

- Shepherds Harvest in Minnesota May 13-15 -  worth the trip from wherever you are

- New Hampshire Sheep & Woool Festival - May 14 & 15 - bring a sweater! it's in the woods- my memory of my two visits to this one is brrrrrr! and also- beautiful yarns & sheep

- Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair May 28 & 29th-- super charming

Taking a curtsy before we leave. Hope to catch you sipping lemonade and watching the sheep smile back sometime soon.

Just for funs : although I rarely miss a year of this festival, I sometimes skip blogging about it. oops! my first visit to this festival 11 years ago , back when my blog was a secret and I was purposefully posting small not terribly well made photos, to keep it separate from my professional commercial work (why? insanity??!!) . And also another,  sunshiney  lovely year there, on the blog seven years ago.

* so this pullover? It was worsted or DK weight looking, nice deep raglan sleeves, boxy cut, slightly scooped neck and an inset pocket (with contrast lining, I just love that)  on one side of the lower front. It was shown with color blocking near the lower quarter of the body but it'd be charming solid....

Thursday, April 28, 2016

an art piece for the Leonardo Challange

"Looking Up from the Bottom of the World" 8x8" mixed media
My piece for this year's Leonardo Challenge at the Eli Whitney Museum in New Haven. It's an annual fundraiser for the scholarship fund for this quirky, smart , innovative institution that celebrates creativity, design  and science.

Each year there's a tool or pricnciple selected, that Leonado Davinci used, and artists are asked to create and donate piece that speaks to it, uses it, or interprets it. This year, the item is a lens. Here's what the call for art said:
The Lens
The arc of a raindrop on a leaf magnifies its veins and our understanding of seeing.
Egyptian artisans mimicked the curve of eyes in glass to give their statues uncanny spirit. Assyrians in Nimrud may have used a rock crystal to concentrate the sun’s rays into a spot of fire. In the Middle Ages, the polymath Abas ibn Firnas crafted reading stones of glass. Refined lenses awakened the sciences, explorations and arts of the Renaissance.
You may have explored the ancient wonders of lenses amongst your grandmother’s treasures: a magic lantern, a stereoscope, opera glasses or a slide projector. Now there are Apps for those. We take and manipulate more pictures each day through the tiny lenses of phones than the entire pre-digital century captured. We alter the focus of eyes with surgery and their hues with contacts in designer colors. We may not now see the lenses through which we see everything.

Then there's a fabulous and delicious party and silent auction while all the work is hung on the museum walls, and you wander around amazed at how other peoples' minds work and make bids. (It's tonight April 28th  if you are local, hurry).

Obviously a photographer can donate a straight-up photo but I like to stretch myself a little and make sure it's a challenge. 
If I'd had another free afternoon, I was going to paint the outer sides of the box frame a deeper blue also, to mimic some of the blue windows I was taken with in Israel. Windows are the home's eye to outside...I had to use one of the glass evil eye beads I'd haggled over in a market there and I like to incorporate something with yarn or fiber every I made the little amulet with yarn, teeny pompoms and a tassel.  I am particularly pleased with the tassel, I do hope someone compliments it.
In knitting news- my car ride to Maryland and back last weekend mostly as a passenger, along with a long day as a ballot tender at my local primary polling place allowed me to crank out more than 2/3 of my Noncho. I was hoping the yarns would look less color-blocky and more ombre-ish by having the second yarn the same through all three...but I think you don't get ombre without doing the real ombre work blending of adjacent colors. These are more like tidy neighbors. Should be a FO soon. It's all flying by the seat of my pants but to be honest, I'm loving just cranking the stockinette with a teeny edging  this week. Hope your knitting is also bringing you joy!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

into the blue knitting

If you read my last five posts, especially this one, you're not at all surprised that I want to only knit blue yarn.  With impeccable timing, I was gifted  two skeins of beautiful DK alpaca from Barcelona, last week. In shades of blue. I have two long car rides this weekend,  and a long day of sitting as a polling registrar for the primary election on Tuesday.  This is a big delicious serving of knitting time, for me. The universe is obviously sending me a message: new project.
From front to back: 2 skeins of All You Knit is Love Knitwise yarn from Barcelona.  Center top is what's left from skein of Shibui Alpaca, so happy my LYS had this so I could dive in.  Left rear, a Anzula laceweight,  not alpaca and also not blue, but it's playing along well. 
This is going to be my noncho  (a secured wrap...not a poncho).

Monday, April 18, 2016

i went to israel: post 5 (the last)

Final installment, our last 24 hours, inTel Aviv. (Earlier posts of our trip: parts one, two, three and fourBit of an overshare? I just had to). 
By  Friday noon, businesses were shutting down and the weekend kicking into gear. Weekend is Friday/Saturday, in Israel. In some parts of the country, it's a time of stillness, and family, and resting, or prayer and meditation. In other places-- like Tel Aviv-- it's time to play.
The city is only 100 years old, with miles of Mediterranean beachfront, all of it public. There's an undulating walking and bike path the whole way. We knew what we had to do.
Our hotel was a block from the water, with bikes to borrow. We pedaled south to Jaffa, the 4000 year old port city abuttingTel Aviv. We'd  heard it had morphed from dusty stone buildings and labryinth flea market shuk to a real scene on Friday afternoons. Hard to imagine. We'd heard young designers and craftspeople had opened tiny storefronts there, or were vending at the flea market (Shuk Ha Pish pishim- sounds way more exotic  in Hebrew.)
As the sand turned into rocky coast, the Tayelet (promenade bikeway) turned into a narrow street lined with old walls opposite the water, former ramparts, with stairs leading up to the city streets of Jaffa. It was so peaceful along the waves we thought maybe we had the wrong info.
We started to see signs of life pretty quickly, as soon as we got up to the city streets level.
When we came around the corner to this block, at first we thought we'd walked into a private party- it was wall-to-wall buzzing. There was music.  A popular song played, and there was singing up and down the street.  Scene rumor definitely confirmed.
Buildings that we remembered as chipped or decrepid are spiffy.  Even pink. The indie designer bit also played out. For someone who likes handmade the way I do, even as a slacker shopper,  it was hard to buzz through quickly. That shop on the left, above, was entirely things made or embellished with strips of fabric and ribbons --there were scarves,  jewelry, bags-- I talked to the artist a little, she was working on some necklaces inside. I bought some long dangly assymmetrical earrings from a silver jewelry designer with a closet sized storefront. If you see me teach or talk anywhere this year, I will no doubt be wearing them. We haggled over souvenirs and rough glass evil eye beads in the old market section.  A quick visit was just not enough.
I left out a ton from our ten days -- but I guess I already summed up the whole trip, above: a quick visit was just not enough. But it was enough to feel utterly refreshed and inspired and relaxed and happy.  We are-but also aren't -so much different than the people we were at twenty-three. It's amazing what you remember and what you forget. It is very very good to take time off. And language- don't even get me started. Who knew the brain could store words and then spit them out of your mouth without even letting you know they were still rattling around up in there?
Thanks to everyone who commented on these posts, or sent me nice notes responding to them.   Meanwhile, back home and back in the swing of things, there's been knitting and new projects and behind-the-scenes from knitwear photoshoots to share. Not to mention my obsession  wish for a closed wrap/noncho/ruana kind of thing.Nope, not a poncho, definitely notaponcho. More, soon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

i went to israel: post 4

With knitting content.  Before we left, I thought "Ten days not working! An eleven hour flight!  Driving around the Galillee! I will knit. So much!".  I wound yarn to knit a new project*.  I doubled down, packing my almost finished Cladonia. I double-dog-dare-ya'ed down, bringing addresses of yarn shops strategically located around the country.
Above, on the 8th day of the trip, one of the only times I sat and knit. Over outdoor breakfast in Haifa. Note: I am not complaining.
Although, who wouldn't linger at this cafe, in chill city, under the olive trees? My breakfast is shakshuka: eggs baked in a spicy tomato and vegetable stew**. Served with fresh pita and Turkish coffee.
The world headquarter of the Baha i faith is there, (top image above) set in a garden that climbs the steep mountainside, terraced along with the city. Turns out you can only enter to walk all the levels of the gardens on a tour--and our timing was off to take part in any tour.  That little glimpse, above on top,  through the (sob) gates barely gives a sense of the majesty and fantasy of it all.  We explored all over the city, though, on foot and by the funicular underground train. The center image above, of a super modern building, is near the shipping port. To counter the way I've only shown old neighborhoods. We were surprised how much new construction is underway, all over the state.  
We stayed in a little hotel - another last minute score- that we loved. It was chic-er than we are. I had the best time torturing the owner's twenty-something son by having an extended conversation about growing up there, in my mangled Hebrew. I have no pride when it comes to yapping in other languages. That's the door to the hotel, above on the left, with a map to remind you where to enter. It's in the old downtown, near the shipping port. It has little hidden cocktail bars and tiny tempting storefronts that I'm guessing are indie clothing designers' studios, although they weren't open when I was peeking in. Obviously I need a raincheck with Haifa.
More heavenly blue, looking over the harbor at dusk, by the gates to the Gan Bahai

* The new project is a shawl  from this new now-on-pre-sale book, which if you note the authors' names, you know you'll be hearing more.  I am grateful I chose blue yarn to bring along. It should be clear by now what color I wanted to knit with forever.

**I linked to the Smitten Kitchen recipe for shakshuka because I'm her fan--but a quick search confirmed the way I've been cooking it for years--you can throw in whichever veggies you have around, you can spice it up or keep it simple, you can top it with feta, or plain yogurt or nothing. You cannot go wrong with shakshuka.