Thursday, October 17, 2013

sneak peek: rhinebeck style

So, last year  at this time, and in 2010, I went to Rhinebeck for the NY Sheep & Wool Festival, set up my big white backdrop, and invited everyone to pose in their handknit finery for what became my Rhinebeck Style photo project. It was a blast. And it evolved into a book. That isn't ready yet.
What I've got for you? A glimpse of everything. It takes more than 8 minutes, and feels  like a home movie. For a very large & covered-in-knitwear family. So get a cuppa and pull up a chair.*
I can't tell you how much I appreciate every single one of you who posed. Thank you.
My favorite part of the festival is our special world on the fairgrounds, where you not only don't look loony even though you're wearing 4 layers of handknits...but you are greeted by strangers who know the pattern by name, applaud your stitches and can shout out your colorway and yarn dyer at twenty paces. 

Curious about the book? Get yourself onto the elist from Cooperative Press, they'll be my publishers, at the bottom of that linked page. 

* I'm not as savvy as I might be about what size to insert a video in a blog--I know some of you are reading it on an iphone and I don't want to jam it if you find that window, above, too tiny, you can try this YouTube link for a clearer view. ( I hope)
ps I am not doing the photo booth this year...but I am teaching a Photo Safari workshop each morning, so you may see us wandering the grounds..and you probably can still strike a pose...

Sunday, October 06, 2013

bigass granny square #2

alt title: it takes one to make one. Just kidding! You can make one, too. You should* !
034_GaleZuckerFV1013How bigass, you ask? Approximately 5 feet square (60 inches x 60 inches), no idea how much yarn I used--it's mostly leftover partial skeins, you know how those accumulate. Along the way working on it I purchased three skeins when running low on orange and a certain shade of green, or else it looked like it 'd get muddy.
A gift to my sister Marla McLean, for a special birthday . She'd admired my last bigass granny square blanket and asked if I'd make her it wasn't a total surprise...but then again it was...
since she didn't know that I really was working on it, or colors. Actually, I don't plan the color. Spontaneity, she is my middle name. More like: flying by the seat of my pants, she is my MO.  I started with the idea of using warm colors, pinks, purples and reds for the double crochets, and cooler  greens, blues and grays for the smaller single crochets. Until I was staring at some Josef Albers *** color studies in the YUAG , pondering the edge when a color, like , say, blue, shifts from warm to cool or vice I played with that a little.. Also, with only a couple exceptions, I chose colors that I had enough yardage to get fully around the square.
This isn't the traditional granny square, in which groups of three double crochets are offset from row to row, so there's a diagonal aspect. It's a version** I prefer, alternating rows of double crochet in groups of three , and single crochets with chain 3 between. If you don't speak crochet,that means the little tiles of color line up in rows below each other, instead of offset from row to row.
I'm especially happy with the scalloped edging--that's a new one for me. I had a large ball of Cascade Eco in aqua left over from this hat.  It makes a good ending, more fun than the plain single crochet rounds on BigAss Granny # 1.
I used an H crochet hook. Or four. Kept losing them! One disappeared in the house, just zzzzip, gone. The second ? When Kirsten Kapur picked me up to drive to Maine for Fiber College last month, we hadn't even pulled out of the parking lot  before I fumbled my hook.  It disappeared into mysterious nothingness under the seat. We had to stop at my LYS before we got on the highway. (she acquired some delish yarn so not all that tragic, really) Less than 24 hours later, that hook rolled between two planks of a boardwalk and was gone forever. Thankfully, a vendor at the Fiber College event sold me a nice wooden one, still in my possession.
Most of the yarns are 100% wool, or wool/alpaca blends. Berroco Ultra Alpaca, Cascade 220 and Brown Sheep Lambs Pride are all well represented.  By the way? Marla loves it. 

I totally enjoyed this project--it's a good switchup from knitting, especially if you're working on an attention-requiring project, like a sweater with shaping or a lace shawl. It's so simple-you don't need special skills to start a granny square.  Easy stuff.  All that and the satisfying mmm of using up leftover yarns from other projects--like visiting old friends. Or single skeins of stash, if you are of that persuasion. I may just need to do another. Of some sort. Checkout my Pinterest board when granny squares take over the world  if you don't think I'm serious......
* Ongoing appreciation for crochet queen Ellen Bloom's insistence that I sit down and make me a granny square  when I was photographing her for CraftActivism. What a gift she gave me!

** in Jan Eaton's 200 Crochet Blocks she calls it the Chocolate Box, you may see instructions elsewhere..but it's worth owning the book, it's an amazing resource 

*** whoa, check out that link to an app based on Albers color studies, and looking at your own designs compared to them. so. cool.