Monday, April 30, 2012

craft activism goes literary in Little Rock AR!

...with a side-order of yarn bombing, thankyouverymuch. To recap: the Arkansas Literary Festival invited me as a presenting guest author, and asked if I'd also lead a Craft Activism event.  It took about a split second to choose yarn bombing, masterminded by the kniteratiLR . We decided to also make flowers from recycled sweaters as embellishments,  giving  non-knitters a break.Yarnbombing at Arkansas Literary festival
We worried no one would join us.outside
Not a problem! We also worried the weather'd be bad, that it'd be confusing, that we wouldn't have good materials...
Here's Patrice, my partner in crime.  Really, more of a fun ringleader. If we ever pull a big heist she'll be the one with the excellent map with the duct systems schematic and the timing to get to the getaway car. I'll be the, I am sure I'll be useful.  Anyhoo, we had felted old sweaters, colorful buttons and Patrice scored a bunch of One Thousand Percent Old Nylon hand crocheted afghans at Savers Village. I've noticed people like to have directions, even for open-ended projects, so we made a handout and did some test-crafting, to keep calm the night before. We were worried that it was too "Make & Take" Yarnbombing at Arkansas Literary festivalNope, not a problem. The template & directions became a launchpad. Just liked we'd hoped.Yarnbombing at Arkansas Literary festivalThe table quickly filled. Recycled sweater flowers piled up, but then we worried we wouldn't engage a wider audience.yarnbombombinsideAgain,not a problem. Teenage boys! The most wonderful part is this: see the dude in the blue T-shirt? He'd said in a disdaining teen tough boy way that he didn't know how to sew, when I tried to hand him a needle & yarn to attach flowers. He said it in the same way one would  back away from an offer to smell something rotting in the back of the fridge. His friend, the one you see giving him a hand said something like Damn, what do you mean you can't sew? Instantly turning it around, making it a desirable skill. Then he showed his friend how. Now that is some pretty cool craft activism, right  there (also, they were lured away from video gaming to do this. Let that sink games)
.Yarnbombing at Arkansas Literary festival
We moved outside to yarnbomb a small parklike area. This little girl will no doubt be the editor of Vogue Knitting someday. She was on task and delightful. When we were done,  I observed that it looked magical, to which she replied" It looks like my kind of world."while sweeping her hands around the area.  awwwww.Meredith_gz
Meet Meredith Martin-Moats, folklorist, writer, editor, NPR producer and craft activist, who wrote about us in her excellent blog The Boiled Down Juice . It's full of interesting subjects that aren't us, too. Also, her twin toddler sons' stroller got yarnbombed as they passed through.
If you want to see even more from this day, hop over to CraftActivism, I put up a full slideshow.
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It'd be a shame to not mention how cool Little Rock itself is.  Thanks to Patrice, I had a fab visit. She and her hubby Roy opened up their home, fed me deliciously,  and  put up with my endless chicken and bee questions.  Turns out Patrice and I had the same job, years ago, but not at the same time, in Boston, at a photo agency.  (I know, you really can't make up stuff like this). Even more satisfying than comparing notes about old bosses/co-workers was the fact that Patrice is a talented knitter.  She  has the good taste to have knit, and wears, many sweaters in my queue. ( I am sure you  understand how great this is).  When we had a teeny slice of free time, she gave me a tour of LR.  Here's some of it, captioned.
clintonLibrarycompThe Clinton Library. Gorgeous architecture, fascinating presentation of recent history. Along with momentous world events, there was a display dedicated to handmade gifts that President & Hillary Clinton received, like the beaded necklaces. There's something so sweet and also so pop culture about all of it.CentralHigh_gzCentral High School, a place I  knew from the old Life Mag photos from  early days of the civil rights movement. It's beautiful, peaceful, still turning out graduates. Of all colors.
Detail of a statue in front of Heifer International.
And the Big Dam Bridge, which as you might guess, was built on top of a dam. It's a long pedestrian bridge over the Arkansas River connecting two riverfront parks, in Little Rock & North Little Rock.

Friday, April 13, 2012

flying (but not) home

Sometimes the stars align. Like yesterday,  I found I could spend a couple of hours in tiny Arlington Tennesee with a Jerusalem-based photographer friend who's in the US this week. We picked the meeting place solely by its spot on the map, halfway between where I needed to be later and where she could drive to. Could have been a bad choice but ,no.
It was the perfect setting to shoot  my Flying Home shawl .Yes, this is how I wear lacy shawls. Love this shawl.  Debbi is not a knitter but she made my FO portrait.
For two photographers, this little town was heaven. Abandoned agriculture/ industry buildings!  We're suckers for some rusty tin.
Also, a large old dry good & feed store now filled with antiquey/flea market stalls. If only I were wasp-waisted,this is what you'd have seen me wearing to the Arkansas Literary Fest authors' cocktail party tonight. Instead, I was woefully underdressed. As usual.
Zoe can thank me some day for not leaping on this find. There were a lot of vintage sewing patterns, too.
A couple hours later, I walked into the very welcoming  Hank Of Yarn in Southaven MS. Don't you want to just pull up a chair? And yes , those are The KnitGirllls Leslie & Laura spinning right there. They took my class! Just as warm and friendly as they are online. I had a surreal moment sitting across from them at a booth for dinner. There they were, in the same order as on their video cast, finishing each others' sentences in the same charming way. It was as if they'd popped out of my monitor and landed at a sushi covered table.
Here's Hank herself, caught on the phone. If this is your LYS you are very lucky indeed.
Detail of Flying Home, in Breathless from Shalimar Yarns. Everything about this pattern is just right, except for my less-than-stellar blocking.  But don't let that stop you from knitting one.
Still a couple of seats left at Yarn Mart on Sunday afternoon for the Photo for Knitters Workshop in Little Rock! Also we did some practice crafting and planning - it seems the noon yarnbombing at Lit Fest is going to be amazing. Come by and say hi.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

some good things

I am posting from  Little Rock, Arkansas  where I'm a guest of the Arkansas Literary Festival. I've had the privilege of being in all kinds interesting, unusual, challenging, quirky and beautiful places for my work but this? This is different. I'm not reporting on it with my camera, I am actually IN it. I am not yet having those dreams where I get up to talk and realize I forgot to put on pants and instead  am naked yet covered with yarnbombing....but yeah, kind of like that. So when words fail, I'll show instead, what else has been making me happy this week.
 Borscht. Cold beet soup. For lunch, with chopped hard boiled egg, boiled potato, fresh green onion , a little plain yogurt and a good shake of pepper. It tastes like Spring.

The most wonderful new knitting book, Wear with All. Yes, that is my name smack dab on the cover, so take this as a biased opinion.  I was working on this in Minneapolis in November. So far you can get it in Minnesota at. the Yarnery, and Unicorn will be distributing it later this month, so tell your LYS to hop on it. You WILL want to own it. 

Flying Home castoff
My Flying Home shawl in the last stage of cast off. It was soaked, blocked, and I wove the ends in on the plane.  I am planning to make sure it gets used as a practice piece when I'm teaching at Hank of Yarn this evening and at Yarn Mart on Sunday-- hehe lazy way to get some project photos to share, let the students do the work, right? 
Bobo, who is now officially heartworm free.

So, what's making you happy this week?

Monday, April 09, 2012

taking it to the street

Still seats left in  Photo for Knitters  THIS WEEK at Hank of Yarn in Southaven MS - home turf of The Knit Girllls , doncha know- on Thursday eve April 12, and at YarnMart in Little Rock AR on Sunday April 15. Tempted? Or make it a weekend because...On a Craft Activism note, I'll be speaking and  helping  lead a yarnbombing at the Central Arkansas Library as part of the Arkansas Literary Festival on Saturday April 14th, at 11 (slideshow talk) and noon (hands on crafting). I am honored and quite amazed to be part of this. I can't wait to share what my book is about with the other truly literary authors on Friday at the cocktail reception and watch them struggle for composure. Ian Frazier, a writer I admire to bits, will be there. I wish I fit into the Tongue in Chic skirt from the book. That'd be just the thing. Or, at least a spectacle.
__________________________________ yellows 
I taught a new class, Photo Safari for Knitter/Crafters while in California. It's street photography meets handcrafting. We spend most of our time out & about. First, there are photographic calisthenics to warm up. For example, above. Limited amount of time, a limited space--in this case, the city block we were on-  and each person must shoot only versions of a single color.  Bossy, yes? I've got a ton of these visual squat-thrusts. They break you out of your box a little before we move on to subjects  like FO's in the streets and posing and action and choosing dfferent backgrounds....
Celeste Varner, Loop & Leaf owner, designer/author  & knitter extraordinaire with her beaded Girasole.

Karin & Sandy testing backgrounds & posing in an alley in Santa Barbara CA. Check out Karin's link for the photos--and also, her designs are pretty great. Sandy had to leave class, flying off for a work emergency in Mexico. She's a seismologist. Stressful for her--but fascinating to us all. And definitely a first in a knits' class.
Lori models her shawl on a borrowed downtown porch. Go to her link--she has such a wonderful blog, and scrolling down, you can see the images Mirna & Celeste are shooting.  Super talented group, they are. I get so seriously inspired in the classes that I don't know what to knit next... although, ahem, finishing something might be the way to go, right?

Thursday, April 05, 2012

class acts

Slackerly blogging , I know! Before I touch another airplane bag of weird tasting crackers, let's get back to March and some  Photography for Knitters classes, all over the place. 
If this looks like fun and you happen to be in Little Rock Arkansas or Southaven MS , right by Memphis, then you could  join me at Yarn Mart or Hank of Yarn, respectively--next week! I'll also be showing slides & telling and leading some yarn bombing/making at the Arkansas Literary Festival, it's Craft Activism on Saturday afternoon, April 14th. Very cool--I am looking forward to every single minute of this adventure.
Jill and a display at the Wildfiber counter in Santa Monica CA. If I was one of those people who can decisively grab a skein or ten quickly, I would have- it's a very happy making yarn store. And I should have.True to my indecisive retail-challenged nature, not a single skein joined me. Fail!
The class, though, was win. Looking at the clothing & lack of sun, you'd think I was faking this as Santa Monica, right? Such an interesting & talented group, from beginner knitters to experienced designers. I wanted to add a happy hour segment to the class so we could all get better acquainted and look at each other's work.Maybe with a nice fruity cocktail. Return visit, on the to-do list.
Saturday at Katonah Yarn Katonah NY_0312GaleZuckerfv
Closer to home , last Saturday at Katonah Yarn in Katonah NY.  A sympatico group, we could have happily sat there, out of the gray drizzle surrounded by the welcoming yarniness, and chatted till midnight. (In fact, at times  we sounded like that was the plan.)  We were blessed with a mid-class driveby modeling by Carrie, full reportage with photos, here . Thanks to Kay's indoctrination good parenting , Carrie knows not to question the gleam in knitters' eyes when they are holding cameras and she is in a fabulous bulky cowl. Katonah's own Liz Kaplan is shown here with the traveling trio. 050_0312GaleZuckerfvBetsy brought her Fussy Cuts blanket (from Craft Activism) -brilliantly knit from Silk Garden Chunky. Why couldn't I have thought of that? Chunky=done faster yet still all the fun of the Noro.
263_0312GaleZuckerKSHouseboat in Santa Barbara, back to Cali. Note lace curtains in porthole windows and brushed metal handmade chairs on sundeck. If I disappear and you hear about an incident at the Santa Barbara Marina where a woman shows up and commandeers one of the smallest vessels docked there, muttering something about just wanting a quiet place to knit.....well, no, I wouldn't know anything about that.