Saturday, December 20, 2008

gearing up for another long drive

I was going to start my post with an explanation of my lack of blogging lately, but then saw this icon:
and explanation while browsing some blogs and decide to keep my apologies to myself.

Mike and I are on our way to the 'ville for Christmas and quite a few of our friends will be in town as well, so it'll be nice to see family and friends over the holidays. I'm not looking forward to the change in weather, as the temperature here in Charleston has be between 60-80 these past few days and it's just been beautiful. But that also means, I haven't felt as much in the Christmas spirit, because it doesn't feel like Christmastime. I suppose I'll be over that in a few days, but in the meantime, I'm rushing around trying to remind myself that Christmas is in one week people! one week!!

I've had work parties and social events for the holidays, and haven't gotten much knitting done at all, but I did get to go to a wonderfully fun yarn-tasting at Knit last Saturday. They had 20 small balls of yarn in little muffin cups to try out, knit with and see what you liked. Vera decided to crochet hers, and ended up with a beautiful granny square of a multitude of colors and expanding weights - it was really pretty:

I was taking a bit longer and am bringing my samples with me over the holiday to play with. I am trying to come up with some favorite yarns so I have some staples to go to, but then again that will also encourage growth for my already-needing-to-be-trimmed stash, so I should be careful.

And the previous Thursday I got to talk to Franklin Habit while he was at a book signing for his book It Itches, at my favorite yarn shop in Chicago - Sister Arts Studio. He is so funny and such a charming person to talk to and it was great to talk with him & all my knitting sisters as well! He even blogged about it here. When I lived in Chicago, I used to see him at events and follow his blog pretty regularly - and it's nice to see that he had a good time while he was there. He's one of those multi-talent people like Mike, where he can do photography, draw, knit and write all with ease and beauty. I am so in awe of such artistic people.

Mike and I often have discussions about the difference between creative people, or coordinated people who can create and artists.
I classify the first as those who can following others directions, - i.e. place nail, hit with hammer, miss finger or see number, wet brush, apply appropriate paint. They have the ability to manipulate the mediums to copy or imitate the ideas of others. Or maybe they have great ideas but not necessarily the talent to get their ideas across - (I'm thinking win, loose or draw, or charades on a much craftier level) Not inspiring, but wonderful and gets the idea across.

Then there's having a gift or talent that I think of for an artist - the ability to create something from nothing or something amazing from another simple thing. Having an idea or image or creation reach others and speak volumes, inspire to create and be happy. I think of an artist as putting that type of beauty and inspiration into anything they work on or create. And do it well. Really well.

I guess for me, I put myself in the first category and Mike and Franklin and plenty of people like them in the second. I have lots of ideas, great intentions, I can follow a pattern and pull a loop through with a hook or pointy stick, but give me a blank sheet of paper, and it stays blank. I can point and shoot a camera and won't cut your head off, but it also won't be something you need to print out and hang on the wall or use as your background. And I'm okay with that. I know my 'talents and gifts' lie elsewhere and I enjoy exploring them.

But when I browse Franklin's pictures, or cartoons or knitted pieces, or watch Mike freehand or create his website, or see the pieces he's carved, I am always amazed and inspired and think, ... how awesome. I wish I could do that. And I love knowing people like that because they are what keep me creating and trying and doodling and thinking and maybe someday I'll inspire somebody too.

On that note, may your Christmas (or whatever holiday you are celebrating) inspire and create happiness and joy wherever you go!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

resting between vacations

It's always amazing to me the amount of catch-up time and rest you need when returning from a vacation. After spending 28+ hours in a car for the Thanksgiving holidays (14 hrs each way) I'm happy to be home and NOT in a car.

The trip itself was wonderful, the best part being able to see family we hadn't in a long while. My cousin and I share a birthday which was the Monday before Thanksgiving this year, so it was great to have a double celebration with her (a first in over 30 years I think!).

My cousins' kids have gotten so tall and big I really didn't recognize them. The last few times I have seen them, they were pretty small or it was at my wedding, which means I really didn't have any time to spend with them, so it was great to get to see them all again.

We also brought some old 8mm film reels that my dad had taken over the years, his childhood and ours, and with my aunt providing the projector, we watched events spanning from her 16th birthday party (won't say how long ago that was.. just that her youngest turned 32 this year) to my 5th birthday party. They were all without sound, and hilarious to watch and try to figure out who was who and what was going on. There were great shots of my grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles, and my parents as well. I only wish that they were there to fill us in and enjoy the moment. My aunt did a pretty good job of filling us in on who was who and I know she was excited to see these videos. I doubt anyone had watched them in over 30 years. Now we need to get them onto DVD's to preserve them, as one did split while we watched it, and we want to make sure we are able to keep them as long as possible.

I did manage to get quite a bit of knitting done on the ride up (which we took 2 days to do) and the ride back - which we did in one.

I finished seaming the EZ baby sweater, and in doing so, realized I forgot/didn't pick up the extra 14 stitches created when making the arms and had to do a T-shaped seam job in the underarms, but I'm considering it a design flaw element and the jacket will just have a smaller chest/body and flared or more kimono like arms.

I made 3 scarves from this pattern, which I just love the stitch pattern on. When I saw the pattern I was immediately enthralled by it, and just knew my cousin would like it. So I first chose this Linus yarn which called to me b/c of the small red strips of color running through it:

It came out a bit too masculine, so I continued it into a scarf, and may keep it for myself, or perhaps give it to one of my brothers, we'll see. Here it is unblocked:

Then I started another in orange to test out some thicker yarn, and just love the way it came out - I just need to get a big button for it:

Then I bought some beautiful alpaca with just a touch of tweediness to it, used some of the Linus yarn to make a button and some fringe, and made this one for my cousin:

Here's the button:

It was fun to make. I may get sucked into making another out of some bulky alpaca, but we'll see how my other projects keep me busy.
I started a pair of Fetchings for my other cousin out of some Cherry Hill Alpaca and they're coming along nicely. No pictures yet, that'll be the next post.