At the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (in the film, at least, it’s been ages since I’ve read the book!), as the three heroes board the Hogwarts Express after defeating evil for the first time, winning the House Cup, and hugging Hagrid goodbye, Hermione says, “Feels strange to be going home, doesn’t it?” With a bit of schmaltz, Harry replies, “I’m not going home. Not really, anyway.” When I headed for the parking lot at Rhinebeck, after it had been announced that the fair grounds were closed, that’s exactly how I felt. Although I could only come out for one day (I’m not sure if I have the stamina for the whole shebang but I’d love to stay the weekend next year), I was really touched by the magic of the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival this time around.
I always get butterflies before arriving at shows like this. I get really overwhelmed (Sorry if we talked about meeting up but it didn’t happen! I literally ate two apple cider doughnuts for lunch I was so busy!) and shy (Sorry if we made eye contact and then I didn’t say hello. I’m awful at these things!) and I never know where to start (Sorry if you’re an alpaca! I started with the sheep). I hardly took any photos, a combination of forgetting the memory card for the camera I schlepped all the way up there and being too frantic to stop for pictures. After wandering around the sheep and goats, I went to the Ravelry meet up to try and find some familiar faces. It always amazes me the shear amount of people that show up to the festival. I found myself creeping around the edges of the crowd, sheepishly looking for my friends until the lovely Bristol Ivy saved me from complete awkwardness. I got to have a solid chat with her, Maria of Subway Knits, Dana, Ashley, Threadpanda, Redhead Knits, and even Amy Christoffers (I’m probably forgetting some wonderful ladies, too!) Later I had a meeting with Roman Hills and Vo0lenvine (we have big semi-secret plans).
I bought some yarn (that’s for another post) but this year was really about connecting with my friends. It really felt magical being surrounded by people that are all so talented and supportive of eachother. It’s not to say that my non-knitter friends aren’t those things, it’s just that after long stretches of time surrounded by muggles, it’s really invigorating to talk with people that know what you’re saying. On top of everything else, I got to meet some readers (Hello! You know who you are!) which just basically made my whole life. I feel like Saturday was just full of love!
Over the past year, I’ve been trying out a lot of new things and it really feels like it’s paid off. But I know I wouldn’t have even dared to try stepping out of my comfort zone if it weren’t for the amazing ladies that have encouraged me all along and helped me in so many ways. It’s crazy to think that last year at Rhinebeck I met Amy Christoffers for the first time and just a few days ago she was fluffing the shoulders on my first published sweater pattern.
I’ve probably babbled enough but, long story short, I’m still dreaming of sheep and yarn and hanging out with my fantastic friends. I’m already ready to get back to Rhinebeck because there’s a little piece of us there all year round, isn’t there?
What was your favorite part of Rhinebeck this year? How often do you get to hug your knitting friends?
Promise a post with my spoils soon!
Shall we play a game? There was another piece I finished recently that I kept pretty hush hush.
Here are a few shots!
It’s pretty easy to narrow down what’s going on with embroidery. But the piece is very special and of my own design. I really love photographing embroidery. Something about the way it stands up off of the fabric really fascinates me. I can’t explain it. Do you know what I mean? I think I feel the same way about cables.
I can’t wait to show you more but you’ll have to wait until next week!
Don’t forget! Holla Knits Fall/Winter 2013 collection comes out Monday!
Back in June, I stumbled on an exciting Olek yarnbomb in my own neighborhood! I’m obviously a big fan of her work and I’d always dreamed of happening upon some of it but I hadn’t expected to see anything so close to home since she’s always bouncing around the globe. But here it was! And there she was, walking down the street, wearing a crocheted skirt and embellished bag. I thought about running after her but I totally chickened out. Regrets, guys, regrets.
I took a few photos (including the one above which I’ve been using as a background on my phone). I was pretty psyched that I was up close and personal with one of her pieces.
But I am SO envious of everyone that’s gotten to see Olek’s newest creation: this yarnbombed train!
The train is located in Lodz, Poland. I can hardly imagine how many hours and yards were involved in this insane piece of art. It’s fantastic. I have no words, just so much respect!
Olek is quoted as saying “If the natural progression is to make bigger better pieces, what should I make next? Can someone give me a plane? Or should I go to the moon?” It reminds me of the Pendragon magicians (I was obsessed with becoming a magician in elementary school) who once disappeared a space shuttle (I was also obsessed with becoming an astronaut). Yarnbombed space shuttle, please!
What should Olek bomb next?
train photos via HuffPost
What will we do when the weather warms up? That’s what we ask ourselves when spring starts to shine out from behind a harsh winter.
I am not a seasonal knitter. I knit all damn year. I’d knit on the beach if I went to beaches. I am certainly guilty of knitting poolside. A lot of non-knitters laugh when I buy yarn in July. It seems like prime time to cast on a cardigan to me. In fact, I feel the need to rush when I have an opportunity to wear what I’m making so there’s a little less pressure on summer knitting. But if a sweater is finished early, I can wear it to the office to fight off overzealous air conditioning. Of course, there’s nothing like the first cool breeze in October to really make my heart ache for wool socks on my needles. But I certainly don’t slow down when the mercury rises.
Now, when it comes to my other crafts, those are certainly seasonal. In colder months, I can’t bring myself to embroider when there are sweaters to be knit.
I picked up sewing last summer but once the weather turned, I began to neglect my sewing machine. I plan on doing more sewing this summer and I’d like to continue teaching myself into the fall but first I have to learn how to sew sleeves. I don’t see myself making tank tops in December.
What about you? Are you a seasonal crafter?
Jon and I just got back from a quick trip to Chicago! We’ve lived in New York for about six years now which seems crazy! I don’t think I’ve properly visited another big city since moving here. It certainly felt weird to be in someone else’s city but it was exciting to explore a new place.
I’m certainly no expert when it comes to Chi-town (unlike New York) so I can’t say that we did all of the things that you “have” to do while you’re there. (We didn’t eat deep dish pizza nor did we go on the Sky Deck. Frankly, the Sky Deck sounds like the worst idea ever. And I’ve been to the top of the Eiffel Tower. At least that had a floor!) We did some touristy things like visiting the Art Institute (a la Ferris Bueller) and the Contemporary Art Museum. We ate Chicago style hot dogs (they put a whole pickle on top!) and rode the El (L?). It was cold!
I think my favorite stop was eating at Billy Goat Tavern, the inspiration for its own all-star SNL skit. Their burgers are delicious and simple. The bar probably hasn’t changed since 1972 in the best way possible. The walls are filled with old newspaper articles and trophies. It gives you a real feeling of Chicago back in the day. The staff behind the counter are very no nonsense and insist you get a double cheeseburger when you order a single. Love it.
I also got to sneak in some yarn shopping. I mean, I had to! I visited Loopy Yarns and Nina. Both were absolutely lovely stores. Chicago knitters are lucky to have them! Loopy is a classic LYS, the type that I shopped in while I was in high school. Huge selection of yarns with a variety of prices, very well organized, spacious, and friendly. I spent a lot of time taking it all in. They even have a second floor for classes and more yarn! Nina has a really different feel and I love that. (Isn’t their logo awesome?) Nina feels more like a boutique. I love the way the yarns there are laid out, everything seems well-curated yet there is still an impressive selection of yarns. The shop looks more like a high end clothing store which suits it’s trendy Wicker Park location. All in all, both stores were fantastic and, as much as I was excited to return home, I was a little bit sad that I couldn’t stay and visit them on a regular basis!
I wish I’d had time to visit other yarn stores in Chicago. If they were anything like Loopy Yarns and Nina, I’m sure they’re awesome. I brought home a few wooly souvenirs but that’s for another post.
Do you go yarn shopping when you’re visiting a new place?
ps. Speaking of Chicago, Chi-town natives OK Go just released a new song! Have you heard it yet?
I am proud to share that I’ve taken at least one photo every day this year (so far)! I never thought I’d keep up with a photo-a-day project but it looks like I’ve managed to do it so far.
Now, I won’t pretend that instagram is the highest form of art. And I must admit that, since I really don’t want to miss a day, most of my photos are stupid and terrible slash pictures of my shoes. I’m ok with all of that. I thought that the challenge would force me to look at the world with a photograhic eye instead of just walking to work with my head down, grumbling about inclimate weather. I haven’t quite mastered that part of the project but I’m getting there.
While the photos aren’t always going to be spectacular, I’m doing two things that are really important to me. First, I’m keeping a photo diary. I hope that next year I can look back and remember, “Oh that was the 80’s computer elevator that was in that building we wanted to live in but we found a better apartment!” (I’m very nostalgic.) Second, since I don’t always have something to take a beautiful picture of, I’m taking a lot more WIP shots. They don’t have fantastic lighting or a dramatic depth of field but it’s nice to get feedback and I have this narcissistic idea that people like to see my progress. (Everyone that has a Twitter is a bit of a narcissist.)
Anyway, I’m enjoying this project. It’s nice to have a record of my life that isn’t as big a commitment as keeping a diary (besides, my diaries have always been embarrassing). Maybe I’ll even learn how to take better photos (of my food, because, well, you’ve seen the photos.)
Are you doing a 365 photo challenge this year? Are you following me on instagram?
If you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed I’ve been nerding out a bit recently. You may have also been afraid I’d traded in my knitting needles for Aida canvas but, don’t worry, it’s just a passing phase.
I spent all of December working on an ambitious cross stitch project. That’s right. I was gift-crafting and it got out of hand. And I learned my lesson. Because I didn’t finish said gift. (And I didn’t finish a couple of other gifts either since I’d spent so much time on this one.)
Anyway, I was keeping the project off of the blog on the off chance that its recipient is a reader (doubt it, but, you know, better safe than sorry!) but since the project remains incomplete, I had to show him something to prove that I hadn’t forgotten to bring a gift.
My cousin John is an avid gamer. I have fond memories of watching him play through the entirety of Ocarina of Time while I cheered him on and he made sarcastic comments. He got me my first N64 game for Christmas years ago. We hang out a lot still and he and Jon (boyfriend Jon, I know they have the same name) have become close friends since they both work in the same field (three guesses as to which). Last year, I got him this awesome poster. (The year before that, I made him homemade ketchup. He likes hamburgers.)
Since John has a history of giving cool gifts and because he took me to the Symphony of the Goddesses concert after Thanksgiving (Guys, it’s a live orchestra playing Zelda music. That is some higher-level nerdom), I thought making him a really neat 8-bit cross stitch would be perfect. And I knew he’d love it.
Sounds easy enough. Take one of the badass title screens from an early 8-bit Zelda game, slap a grid over it and get to it, right? WRONG. God was I wrong. Besides the fact that I don’t really know anything about proper counted cross stitch, this pattern is GIGANTIC and involves something like 10 colors! And this shit is tedious! And that’s coming from someone who knits entire faire isle sweaters with five colors on size 3 needles for laughs. I DO NOT have the patience for cross stitch.
(By the way, when I was planning out my Christmas Craft Domination Tour of 2012, Jon thought I was being a little over ambitious, that I might regret piling on the crafts. And while I hoped to be Tom Hanks in this scene in A League of Their Own, I ended up getting hit in the face with all of the incomplete gifts.)
Long story short, I banged this thing out for a month. I worked on it every moment I could short of bringing it to work and slaving over it during my lunch hour. Then some work popped up and I had to put it aside up until the weekend before Christmas. Short story even shorter, it didn’t get finished. Not even nearly a little bit close to done. And I ran out of both black and dark grey embroidery thread and I bought them both from two separate stores across town. What was I thinking? Recipe for disaster.
While I’ve got a ton of stuff in the works, I will NOT give up on this project. I really love how cool it looks and I would love to see what it looks like when it’s finished. I don’t regret it and I am so excited to make something really awesome for John. I know I can get it done but I just need a little time off, I think. Stay tuned. This is not the last you’ve seen of this WIP. You can’t defeat me, cross stitch!
Now if only I could play the Song of Time and give myself a few more months before Christmas 2012…
Did you finish all of you ambitious plans for Christmas gifting? What are some cool nerdy things you’ve made? Any cross stitch tips? Anyone know where I can buy some Anchor floss?
The Campaign for Wool came to New York to promote everything great about our favorite fiber, wool! And they brought sheep!
That’s right! I got to see sheepies on the way home from work! And to honor the woolly wonders, the fountain was filled with multi colored hanks of wool. Knitty City was there stitching away and there were tons of spinners explaining the process to curious New Yorkers. It was pretty magical, as if my brain had exploded onto Bryant Park!
The Campaign was passing out fliers highlighting the benefits of wool in everything from household goods to sweaters. Wool is natural and sustainable. It’s a great insulator but is also breathable. And, of course, choosing wool helps to support the small (sometimes local!) farmers rather than oil companies that make cheap synthetic fabrics.
Not that you needed any convincing. In fact, I’m quite sure I am single-handedly keeping the wool industry afloat! Anyway, I don’t need to tell you how great a cause it is. I wish I could get a big 80s t-shirt that says CHOOSE WOOL.
Also, not to start a tangent but, the whole thing reminded me of this show. Does anybody remember Sheep in the Big City!? So many puns!
Big thanks to my mom for telling me about the event! Keep fighting the good fight! Wool to the People!
But this is a photo of what I’m working on right now. It’s going to be really awesome. It’s an embroidery and it will involve some sewing. It has a deadline. I started way too late. It will be really cool when it’s done. I fricking can’t wait to tell you more.
If you’re eating bad food in New York, it’s your own fault. I truly believe that. There is no shortage of delicious food for every budget. Googa Mooga was the epitome of that idea. It was actually kind of a big food orgy of all of the best chefs in NYC. If this is the beginning of summer, the rest of it will be great.
Jon and I went straight for the Spotted Pig for a burger. April Bloomfield is our hero. And what a perfect burger! We drank the fantastic Brooklyn Brewery Googa Doc Pomus which was brewed specially for the festival. Amazing. We had a chicken sandwich from Simply Chicken by Jean Georges. Brilliant. I’ve neve had a basic chicken sandwich with so much flavor in it. And it had potato chips inside.
I think we’d had grander expectations for ourselves. We were salivating over the line up and circling our favorite restaurants on the map. But the portions were no joke and after the hamburger, we had to take a break. So we didn’t end up eating as much as we’d expected but everything that we had was absolutely delicious.
It was hot and we didn’t stay for any of the bands but we ate ourselves silly, drank to excess, and laid in the shade basking in a food coma.
Thank you, Googa gods. Let’s do this again next year.