31 May 2007

Knitting-related Artwork

This has nothing to do with actual knitting--because I seem to be incapable of actually picking up my needles lately! But check out this super cute knitting-related art print from Ashley G. Here's her shoppe.
I have a question--what your favorite stash busting project? I have TONS of yarn, but can seem to focus and figure out what to make with it. I don't want to get rid of it (couldn't do that!), but I need to use it up. . .I'm talking 1 skein here, 1 skein there. Any ideas?

27 May 2007

Red FOs!

Wow, I finally have some finished objects... one is a pair of Fetching mitts, in a nice red (unknown yarn) - as in the past, I've made a few modifications to the pattern, so that they cover more of the hand and thumb.

Up next: A baby blanket! One I've been working on for seemingly ages...

I finally ran out of yarn, so it's finally done. It's made from an acrylic-wool blend (machine wash & dry), in a basketweave textured pattern. Very cozy and it's the shape & size for a pram blanket.

25 May 2007


Check out this super cute pattern for a storm cloud from mochimochiland! It's so cute. Actually, I'm pretty crazy about lots of the patterns from her site. Part of me really loves sort of useless knitting/crafted items. I suppose it's not useless--it pleases and can be decor, but it's not like I could wear it. . . or could I?

24 May 2007

Fat Lip

Here's an idea of what I am NOT currently knitting. (I'll try and get to the wee bit of what I am trying to knit whenever I find my camera.....)

I was making a sock and then I thought better of it (yes - A sock. I do not have high hopes/aspirations in the realm of socks, as I am sure you are all aware. If not, feel free to contact me and I can do some 'splainin) so I tore out what little of it I had done, and I was left with this red.....toe portion.

Which I just found in my bag.

...and immediately put to good use.

23 May 2007

Still thinking about New Mexico

If you come from the 70s, you might think you already know everything there is to know about Georgia O'Keeffe. But then you would go to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, and you would find you were wrong. Maybe you would even weep. I know I did.

I cannot stop thinking about New Mexico. I ate chili (excuse me, New Mexicans! I mean: chile) every day for more than a week after I got back. But it tastes better there.

While I was there, I bought another Virginia Maria Romero retablo. One of the things I like best about her work is that she uses traditional materials (hand-adzed pine, piƱon sap varnish) and natural pigments. On the back of her pieces, she always includes little color samples and a list of the materials used. I find it completely charming, an extra miniature work of art.

I was a little chagrined, though, recently, to find out that the artist is not the 17th-generation New Mexican I had assumed she was. She's actually from Ohio, Romero is her married name, she's referred to sometimes as "la santera blanca" (the "white icon-maker"), and I wouldn't be surprised to find out she had been raised in a non-saint-venerating tradition.

This says nothing at all about her art, of course, which I find utterly beautiful and sincere, but makes me wonder if it says something about me. It's another instance of my affinity for non-WASP art forms as practiced by white folks, like the way I like Jon Spencer and The Whites Stripes, but no actual real blues musicians from a homegrown blues tradition, of whom I'm totally ignorant, or the way I appreciate the wit of Princess Superstar or The Beastie Boys in a way I've never developed a taste for more core hiphop musicians. It's not a taste I've worked to cultivate - but it's something I've noticed, and it's not very admirable. In the case of music, it's a matter of lack of exposure to the breadth and depth of a tradition. My fault! But what about la santera blanca? I just naturally gravitated to the whitest art on the scene, I guess, which seems lame. I will never tire of her work, but I think I'd like to educate myself about her tradition. (And someday we'll discuss my Shari Elf spatula-and-toothpicks Jesus icon...)

I'm knittin'! This is the humble beginnings of Rowan's Demi, from Vintage Style, using Scottish Tweed Aran in lovat. And I do lovat!

20 May 2007

Anytime I finish something...

...I'm a little shocked.

This is my chevron scarf, inspired by Larissa and others. The pattern is in Joelle Hoverson's Last Minute Knitted Gifts, a book I initially dismissed. It's very common for me to have a failure of imagination when I encounter patterns made up in unloved colors (although I am also capable of mentally re-working, from time to time), but seeing so many other beautiful chevrons lit me up.

This one is in KPPPM from my stash, one skein each of two different colors. I made it a little longer than ascot length, and it was perfect road-trip knitting. I'm calling it 10,000 Waves, in honor of the Japanese baths near Santa Fe where my cousin and I soaked while the snow swirled all around and the hummingbirds whizzed by.

(Speaking of Joelle Hoverson, the current issue of Blueprint features her apartment, and it is absolutely lovely.)

See these excellent blocking wires? I looked around online and kits seem to be going for about $30, not including shipping. These fine things cost $1.98 for four at Utrecht, the .047" gauge. You have to wash off the machine oil, but that was nothing.

Another long-unfinished project was greatly advanced today when Joe covered the kitchen shelves in oilcloth. Next he's going to paint! He has a lot more initiative on a Sunday than I do. I've been lounging around with The Friday Night Knitting Club, cursing myself for falling under the spell of a plot with such obvious turns.

15 May 2007

It's hard to come back from New Mexico

New Mexico is pretty depressed, and probably has been since 1927. We lived in Albuquerque when I was about ten, and that's perked up some, and of course Santa Fe and Taos have, but apart from that, it's a slow, remote kind of place. Little attention to matters of fashion. Lots of attention to beauty.

This virgin was carved inside a tree out back of Albuquerque's San Felipe de Neri Church in Old Town. Like a lot of beautiful things in New Mexico, it's not announced - just there for you to stumble on and be transfixed by.

She has an arresting, rather simian face.

I just about fainted when I saw this sign in Truth or Consequences. I do believe that this is a representation of what folks used to call a "Chinaman." Nothing rusts, and nothing's wasted in New Mexico - this sign had to have been in place for decades. I think the last time they took it down to touch up the paint, they reckoned the pigtail was a little offensive and busted it off. They left his buttons on, though.

Everywhere we went we saw fantastic preserved commercial art. This is Socorro or Belen, I think.

Outside Las Cruces, once a makeshift burial ground for victims of Apaches, now the second-biggest city in New Mexico.

Not sure this store in T or C was ever open.

Mineral hot springs are good for you!

The Very Large Array, outside Socorro. We were lucky enough to tag along with a school group, so we got to go everywhere - even inside the control room.

Tell you what: for making do, New Mexicans put New Englanders to shame. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is using this equipment today. (They've got some newer stuff, too.)

Is the sky ever like this in New England? I think not. Hubbo (apologies to Ann and Kay) was nearly blinded.

Near McCartys, on the Acoma reservation, the start of a very long trail over the lava from Acoma to Zuni Pueblo. This is one of the youngest lava flows in the continental U.S. (The very youngest, at 1000 years old, is the Valley of Fires, near Tularosa, where the eruption flowed at a rate that would fill 13 bathtubs a second, and went on that way for 43 years. That was a pretty good one, too.)

I don't have to tell you I used this occasion to say the word "pahoehoe" about a hundred times.

No lighting at the Lightning Field. Devastating hail in Alamogordo, mild hail in Gallup, crazy snow in Santa Fe, but no lightning at the Lightning Field.

Inside the Lightning Field accommodations, where we spent our paper anniversary. It was made out of three abandoned homesteads pushed together. Quite rustic; a great place to commune with my Chevron scarf.

The beautiful slot canyon at Kasha-Katuwe, or Tent Rocks, outside Santa Fe.

Some of the many tent rocks.

Just outside Taos, the Greater World Community of Earthships. They're all completely self-sustaining, getting their power from wind and sun. In the high desert, they get eight inches of rain a year (which is legal to collect in New Mexico, unlike Colorado). The water is re-used four times before being returned to the outside. It totally reminded me of Tatooine, and I half expected to turn around and find Aunt Beru handing me a tall glass of something blue there.

We were there for two weeks, and put 2000 miles on the car. I shall never tire of New Mexico. Can't wait to go back.