Monday, August 27, 2007

Welcome Gabriella Mairin

Congratulations to my brother!!!

My brother and his wife had their first child, Gabriella Mairin!! Isn't she beautiful?

Just Beautiful.
Personally, I think she has my brother's eyes, and my sister-in-law's mouth, but I think a lot of it depends on the eye of the beholder.
Here's a father-daughter picture:
I don't have a good mother-daughter picture, but here are some of the whole family:

These three are my favorites, I'm not exactly sure why:
I think it has to do with her being on dad's legs :)
Shhhhh! I hear she has a great set of lungs...
Perfection.... (no, i didn't knit the cap..)

They all just gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. ahhh mmmmm....

Of course, this also means I need to get on with the baby gifts. I'm about 1/4 of the way on both, I've decided on a crocheted giraffe and quilted bear, and I'll put pictures up as I go, - I don't think any of my family memebers check this as of now, but we'll see. Speaking of, back to work...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Chicago Coral Reef

Last Tuesday I went to the Hull House Museaum's Crochet Coral Reef Project presentation, where all those people who attended the workshops, or heard about the project and crocheted their own piece(s) of coral reef could bring them all together and drop them off. The Doublestitch twins (Erika and Monika Simmons) also had a fashion show of some of the garments that are going to be in their new book coming out next fall.

I arrived a few minutes late due to parking, but luckily just caught the fashion show - it was really cute. Their patterns are simple, but fun, and I saw two that I really liked and would want to crochet. I also like that their patterns are not overly complicated, so even a beginner crocheter could attempt them. Plus if you're a more advanced crocheter, they are a great jumping off platform for more complicated designs. I've met both Erika and Monika, and they're really sweet and friendly and open. I think if you've met them, a designers attitude can make a difference when looking at their patterns. I can definitely see a bit of both of them in thier designs.

Then we sat down to listen to the presentation by Margaret Wertheim, one of the Institute For Figuring's co-directors. It was more in-depth then I had heard before, and really gave you a lot to think about. I'm no mathamtician, I feel like I hve a better understandign of hyperbolic planes and thier signifigance to mathamatics. I didn't realize before that these two women (Margaret and her sister Christine) started the Institute for Figuring - that's really amazing to me.
The part that I think hit me the most was seeing how their project has transformed. It began with some crocheted examples of hyperbolic forms, then turned into a homage to the Great Barrier Reef, and now is transforming into a symbol of how we need to take care of our environment and reduce our habits of overconsumption - especially where platic is concerned.
During the presentation, examples of the patterns that currents form in the Pacific Ocean, which in and of itself is a simple thing to comprehend, but where I was enlightened the most was understading that all of the plastic waste - from styrofoam to water bottles to plastic bags, is swept up in this current and forms a vortex? (not sure if that' the right word) of sorts and all the debris piles up in the middle of these currents. Most of the biodegratable parts eventually was away or form the ocean floor and settle. The plastic does not. It stays there and piles up, growing larger and larger, and will eventually become the only coral reef the future generations will see. that coupled with the fact that much of the styrofoam-type plastic absorbs the toxins in the water, and the animals that mistake it for food not only choke on the plastic, but also die from the toxins. It made me think about the amount of plastic I use in a day, and I know it won't make much of a difference, but I'm going to try to greatly reduce my use as much as I can. I already recycle, but from what i hear, very little of what I take the time to recycle actually gets recycled. It makes me sad. So I guess along with a cure for cancer, alztimers and many other diseases, I pray we'll find a way to use/eliminate/breakdown/truly recycle our plastic in this world.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Summer and Stiches Midwest

I can't believe the summer is almost over. It makes me sad to think of all the things I want to be sharing with M, and can't because he's not here. But I know he feels the same way off in Charleston. I do think he's trying to make me jealous, he told me he went to the beach this morning! So, I've been keeping myself pretty busy to try and not think about it, and I have a friend who has moved in with me which helps too.

As far as keeping busy though, I went to my first big fiber festival.. STITCHES MIDWEST!!

It was really pretty neat! I went with two friends from SASI's Knit-Nite, Donna and Donna (the owner), We got there extra early, because they had an 8:00am class and wanted to make sure they had time to check in and find their classroom and everything. Because of the move, I hadn't signed up for any classes, and assumed by the time I got there, that all classes would be pretty full. But I asked when we arrived and - Voila! there was a half-day "Hole-listic lace" knitting class taught by Maureen Mason-Jamison, so after a quick chat with M over the phone, I grabbed the last spot!

The class wasn't until 1:30, and the market didn't open until 10am, but I was lucky enough to be helping out Gary Scholar, author of Angora the bunny knitting book - I'm knot just fluff, I'm always enough! and got in a little early to the market. I love his book, because it focuses on two things I love and believe in - knitting (yea) and giving kids confidence (yea again). It's super cute, you can check it out here.

Most of the vendors were just setting up, but as I walked around in the morning I saw beautiful beautiful things, great yarn, wonderful patterns, it was really neat to see all the creativity. I was proud of myself because I keep my wallet in my purse. I had spent enough money on the class, so I didn't buy any yarn from the show, but I picked up some cards to keep for the birthday/holiday season!

Some neat things I did get, were a sample of the TOFUtsies yarn from the South West Trading Co. - it was pretty! And I got a sample of the new "lace weight" yarn from Malabrigo - it's soooo soft. I carried it around with me all day just petting it. Stefania's husband from Handspun by Stefania showed me how to use a drop spindle! She did say he was the best teacher ever, and I think I agree - He was really knowledgeable and super friendly. I'm putting a drop spindle and some of their pretty roving on my birthday list. They're in St. Charles IL, so I think M will have a soft spot for them too. I also got to see the gorgeous colors of Brooks Farm yarns - they were so beautiful, I can't describe them. Camera's weren't allowed in the marketplace, otherwise I'd definitely have pictures.

Finally, it was classtime. I really enojoyed it, it was very informative and the instructor really seemed to know her stuff. I loved how clear her visuals were. She had glued or pinned light colored swatches onto thick black cardboard for every step and technique along the way. We made a simple lace bookmark, and as we went along, she catered to those who had never knit lace, as well as those who were taking on projects as complicated as a tablecloth! I also liked that she came around individually and showed us a few at a time. I only wish she had put some more of her wisdom down on paper. I tried to take notes, but it was hard to take notes, and knit and try the different techniques she was talking about. My only big complaint was the temperature of the room, which was FREEZING, and between that, the fact that I had eaten very little, and the bright fluorescent lights, I did get a headache toward the end of class - definitely not the instructors fault! She was really good.

The other amusing thing was that there was a comic book conference going on one floor directly below the market place. Parking seemed to force everyone by or through the area for Stiches, and it was really entertaining to see the faces of the fiber-folk and vs the comic-book-folk as they passed by each other. It was as if they were both trying to figure out - why on earth are you here for the other convention... it made me laugh numerous times throughout the day.
It was, overall a good day.