Saturday, August 20, 2011

Michigan!

Thanks to the two of you who said you missed my regular posts - at least there are two of you left reading what goes on here ;-D Well, you're in luck - here's another post with both photos and words :-)

I think I say this every year: If you are anywhere close to Allegan, Michigan, in August, and you have any interest in any of the fiber arts, you owe it to yourself to take in the Michigan Fiber Festival. I think 2012 will be the year I finally get to Maryland Sheep and Wool, and Rhinebeck, but although those festivals are bigger, I don't know if they can beat Michigan for charm and just all-around wonderfulness. :-) If I had to choose between Michigan and Stitches, Michigan would win, hands down.

It really is my favorite. It's the perfect size, and this year there were more vendors than ever before - a welcome change from smaller shows and local yarn stores closing down. And before you ask - yes, I did my part in stimulating the economy of Western Michigan :-D

The only thing you don't see in the photo is the large easel I bought from Hill Creek Fibers - it's for their large continuous strand looms, but I got it to hold my warping board - I haven't been able to figure out any other way to get the board in a position where I can actually warp on it easily, and warping with it flat down on a table was bothersome in many way.

Please cut me some slack - the entire left side of the photo is weaving yarns. I got a funny t-shirt, some more Addi Turbo needles for putting my teaching samples on, and plenty of Socks That Rock, which I'm finding I like more and more. Picked up a few books and one pattern, and an assortment of sock yarns with a couple of worsted and sport weight thrown in for good measure. And . . . um . . . that bag? It's another fleece.

I think I might have lost my marbles, but I want to try spinning in the grease - and so I got another wonderful fleece from Liz Voelker of Moons Shadow Farm. I have gotten a number of fleeces from her - they are all awesome. That's a big bag of buttery, beautiful Corriedale fleece.

I drove up to Holland, Michigan on Wednesday afternoon and stayed in a hotel there. I did the majority of my undergrad at Hope College, there in Holland. Let me just say that there were no large hotels when I went there - and the main street used to be about two blocks long. Now it's about 4 or 5 blocks long, and reminds me of Boulder, Colorado . . . I don't know how to tell you what a huge change that is from what it used to be. And, when I went there, it cost less than $3,000 a year . . . (it's now more than $35 grand a year). However, some things never change - the local tavern, Skiles, is still there, open, on the same corner. :-D

My Beginning Weaving class, taught by Ann Niemi, was really good. I was by turns elated, frustrated, ready to curse, exhausted and happy - and I feel like I can now successfully warp a loom front-to-back. There is a mountain of info for me to learn, but at least I have a start and some good reference books. And a lot of practice yarns (did you biggify that photo above?!) :-)

That's the beginnings of my first warp. It looks like a hot mess, but I actually managed it with only a few crossed threads that I was able to correct before starting to weave.

I love my Baby Wolf loom, but I can already tell that weaving is going to be as individual as knitting or spinning. The Writing Weaver is my loom's previous owner. Texsolv heddles did it for her, but they are not doing it for me, so they are likely going to go, and I'll purchase some additional inserted eye heddles to match the metal ones already on the loom. I'm left-handed, and will have to change up the direction on all the heddles. That should be interesting - I'm ambidextrous, but not that ambidextrous - they must be shifted - I might be able to just flip the shafts over - we will see. Again, so much for me to learn - it's an entirely new language.


I got to hang with Toni and Nan from The Fold (Toni helped me decide on that fleece). You would never know by looking at them that it was sweaty humid up there today :-S I, of course, looked like a tomato-face, and my hair was pretty much plastered down with sweat. The party fan got a LOT of use today.


One of the great things about Michigan, is that there are actually sheep there. I always attempt to take some sheep photos for my friend, Michelle from Boulderneigh. So, Michelle, here is the obligatory sheep collage - only the first one is a Shetland, and the bottom left is Icelandic - I don't know about any of the rest but I did the best I could :-)

It was interesting staying in the hotel for a few nights (and spendy :-S). Whoever invented infomercials is probably raking it in. They are truly enticing . . . I nearly rang to get Metamorphosis by Tracey Anderson, a Geniebra, and I think a PX90, which isn't PX90 at all, it's P90X :-D Seriously, I was alone in my hotel room, curled up in bed (this is why televisions do NOT belong in the bedroom . . . ), watching telly and thinking, "hmmmm, maybe this stuff really works!" Unreal.

:-D

I headed back to the fair this morning to catch the rest of the vendors who are only there on Saturday/Sunday, and then headed home around noon. I did have to stop to buy a Michigan map (only to have my sense of direction completely validated - Yay! (Michigan roads need better signage!)) because I didn't mapquest myself home from Allegan. I managed to get on to 94 before the rain really started pounding down . . . it doesn't look so bad in this photo, but it was seriously blinding off and on for at least an hour on the road. I was very, very tired by the time I got home, but I got the car unloaded and am thinking about a lie-down on the sofa in the sunroom . . . :-)

Next weekend the hoards descend on me and we're headed up to Stitches . . . ===:-O

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I'm Running and I Can't Catch Up

Every year this happens to me in some form - This year, it's that there is so much fun to cram into the end of Summer that I booked myself solid until Labor Day.

I'm silly. Very silly. And yet, I want to do all these things, and since I only have a few things on the calendar for September and October, I decided that I would go ahead and go for it. I mean, I know that just because I want to do something it doesn't mean that I should book myself into oblivion, but I figure I can make it through the next few weeks and collapse over Labor Day.

I have started doing Morning Pages again most mornings. They are a creativity tool espoused by Julia Cameron. I learned about them in The Artist's Way and have used them off and on ever since.

And I'm very happy to tell you that my heels seem to have healed themselves. Oh Happy Day!!!!!! Well, I suppose they didn't heal themselves - I think the months (OK, almost two years) of stretching, anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, doctor visits, orthotics and plenty of prayers had something to do with it. :-) I'm still very very cautious with them, and I still have to take an anti-inflammatory most days, but I'm back up to 45 minutes on the treadmill most mornings, with good stretching as soon as I finish. This, of course, means that I am watching the scale head in the downward direction again, which really does make me all happy. :-)

This is how I usually start my mornings - pages and a walk.

But, this morning, I didn't do any of my normal stuff. I sat down and caught up on Ravelry. I'm a moderator of a group there called Year of Stash Socks, and there are so many brilliantly talented knitters who are a part of the group that I just love it! We're all over the world, knitting the same patterns together each month - it's so much fun!

And then, I decided I had better try to get caught up here, too before I lose all my readers :-) I know that the blog has been woefully thin on content this year, other than my 365 Project photos. So, there's been a lot about what I'm seeing through the lens, but not a lot of how I'm feeling and what I'm thinking. I kinda miss that . . . do you?

220:365 ANOTHER Project

All those monument tickets from Egypt . . . I bought a tray and some supplies - I'm going to attempt to decoupage them onto this bamboo tray I picked up for a song at Tuesday Morning. Cross your fingers . . . :-D

I just tossed them into the tray in a preliminary order - nothing set in stone yet - decisions to be made . . . do I shape to the circle or leave the edges jagged? (I'm leaning toward jagged.) Do I Mod Podge or use Envirotex Lite? (Probably the Envirotex.). Will I ever find the time to actually accomplish this? (Probably in November :-D).

219:365 Hiding in the Shadow





In my cousin's yard before we left for the Cirque du Soleil.

218:365 New Plants

I bought these from a friend of mine, a commercial grower. They are some of the nicest violet starter plants I have ever purchased. I usually get leaves because it's safer than introducing a plant into an existing collection, but these will stay isolated for quite a few months away from the majority of the other plants.

217:365 Defiant




He does look defiant, doesn't he?

216:365 En Garde!

I forgot to take a photo today. Bother! I even reminded myself twice . . . but I managed to fall asleep without taking one :-S So, I took this on the 5th, but since I adore these lions and find them to be truly majestic, I'm sharing them both days.

They guard the front of the Art Institute, which is one of my favorite places.

They are beloved by all who live here - it's a tradition for many at Christmas to come downtown to see them wreathed for the holidays - and you can see their tails have been touched and touched, rendering the bronze visible instead of the verdigris.

They were made for the Institute's opening at its current location in 1893 and were a gift from Mrs. Henry Field (a famous name in Chicago). They were sculpted by Edward Kenneys, who gave them unofficial names having to do with their demeanor.

This one, to the south of the entrance is "stands in an attitude of defiance." The one you cannot see well, on the north side of the entrance is "on the prowl."

I have small replicas that are bookends.

215:365 The Picasso

That's what everyone here calls it. It's an untitled sculpture gifted to the city by Picasso in 1967, a little earlier than Marc Chagall gave us the Four Seasons mosaic. This was really the first huge public sculpture (that wasn't a statue) in a city that is now known for its public art.

I was a kid, but I remember a lot of people hated it originally - thought it was hideous and said it looked like an afghan hound dog.

Now - it's just called The Picasso - and everyone knows what and where it is. I photographed it early this year from the rear - I thought it was time to see it from the front :-)

214:365 On Fire



Well, not so much anymore, but July was just brutally hot and this day lily looks like it's on fire to me :-)

213:365 Cake!




It was my cousin's birthday today :-)

212:365 Another Project

Once again, I have fallen behind . . .

There is always a project or two around my house, waiting for me to have time to accomplish it. These beads are for a shawl that I'm planning to make - a group of friends are all knitting it at the same time. A knit-along :-) I'll put the beads in a bead spinner and they will be randomly strung and placed throughout the shawl.

I'm hoping it will turn out well :-)