Saturday, April 25, 2009

fiber field trip

I got on the train and went into NYC yesterday for a fiber field trip with my knitting in tow. (I didn't think about taking my camera so when it struck me that I wanted to take pictures I did have my phone.) The SUN was so BRIGHT, because it's finally Spring, that I could barely see the image on the tiny led screen---lucky that they are even pictures of something. Manhattan has it's tulips going.

It was a much larger shot of the center islands on Park Avenue filled with tulips and the multi-story buildings in the background, but the image is too large to extract from the phone and I don't understand image editor...the rest are at least viewable. train to Manhattan, subway downtown, oops!, subway uptown to 86 St, walked south, oops!, walked north. I get so distracted I spend a lot of time backtracking to most of my destinations. Ah! The Guggenheim appeared so I was going in the right direction.

And finally the Cooper Hewitt at 91st.

and the entrance billboard for the show....

I have been anticipating this exhibit and was happy to finally be on it's doorstep. There are impressive felted pieces in this show----the yurt-ish conservatory installation...the sunlight space was luscious.

So much work, so much wool--silk?---netting draping from the ceiling....I saw the video of the artist working on this piece on Martha Stewart's website. I could only think how much I wanted the artist's set-up---big tent outdoors, big tables, garden hoses spouting with hot water and assistants. Sigh.

Other than the conservatory, the exhibit is intimate, darkish rooms. There were samples of industrial-created felt, and hand-created wet felting, but not so many pieces of knitted-to-felt. I was distracted by a couple that were looking and babbling in a foreign language as the woman pulled out her camera to snap a few pictures, prompting the guard to her side. They apologized and then went into the conservatory, continuing to take pictures throughout the rooms. I took my phone out and took the conservatory pictures (whoohoo and usually I'm such a girl scout!), poor as they are---I was not to be outdone. I will have to peruse the catalogue to remind me what I saw, like the Urchin Poufs---knit with rope size "yarn", Slices of large logs of spiraling felt colors, Textile stones, ---it was all good stuff! I wish I had been the only one in the exhibit and was able to touch and examine everything! The catalog pages will have to do.

I spent a fair amount of time in the Cooper Hewitt Museum shop wishing I could make a gift registry of all the things I loved and needed.(Get out much?) It's the kind of environment I like to shop in and be shopped for in.

Back on the subway at 86th, to 33rd. South on foot to Habu on W 29th, my old neighborhood. (I do much better south of Times Square.) 29th, 8th fl. No problem.

Looked at the sample book, looked at the small sale baskets amassed on the floor with tiny hanks of interesting fibers...chose two tiny hanks, both silk. Done. Outta there. Though I did try to palm off the dollar coins from the metrocard machine and the young Japanese speaking woman was not to be fooled by my funny money. (I was forced to buy pastry in Penn Station to get rid of the coins.)

So much for my fiber field trip! The weather was lovely and the city was teeming with people on their way home. I knit on my wooly experiment all the way to Stony Brook. When I got home I realized that I needed to rip it all out. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

color bias

I have had strong opinions about color for as long as I can remember and for a long time, maybe even decades, I didn't like the color yellow. I was mostly affected by yellow flowering plants. I love greens, so when yellows go sulpher-y or go towards green, like the winter hazel or the ornamental grass hakenachloa, that's desirable.

Real yellow, nada. So when I started to add plants to our yard years ago I couldn't pick daffodils that were yellow. I went to great lengths to get all white ones. Or sunflowers. I got those small Italian white ones with the brown centers. So, you can imagine how the forsythia hedge at our curb has been an anathema for years. I didn't mind when the big truck that brought the concrete septic tank to the house several years ago damaged 3 or 4 while doing it's task! Really hated the ubiquitous yellow forsythia, for years! Be gone.

Maybe because this winter seemed longer, colder and grayer--- I was shocked one morning on the short drive home from treadmill punishment, that our block was suddenly ablaze with bloomin' yellow forsythia! Almost every yard has at least one forsythia bush. For the first time I didn't mind. I was delighted. Oh my gosh!

Poof! My yellow flora bias dissolved! No 12 step program or bias-removing chewing gum was required! I can't believe I'm admitting that I had this color bias aimed at innocent yellow flowering plants...but there you have it. I don't know why it unhappened but now I guess I can start to think about my aversion to pink stuff!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

can't seem to put my knitting down

I have friends who are prolific knitters, who crank out shawls, socks and sweaters (that actually fit someone) every week or so it seems. For me, it's the knitting process.

Last week I felted hats that I knit from different base yarns, a snake-y scarf in Noro's Kureyon (from Knitting New Scarves by Lynne Barr) and swatches.

The hats didn't look good on me, and even though the striped, pointy one with the ear flaps did look good on my husband, he would never wear it in public---so it was easy to justify felting them.

I'm incorporating the hat shaping, the toe up socks I've been working on recently and the holes from the Swiss Cheese scarf that I blocked last week, in my next knitting for felting experiments. I've made pattern notes and I'm preparing several hanks of 100% wool worsted for dyeing, because the readily available Paton's Classic Merino was not inspiring colorwise, though the sale price was. Knitting for felting takes lots o yarn and it's gotta be the color I want to work with!

Got the dyeing counter in my garage prepped now that it's warming up. I just have to make it happen.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

blocking fun

Just finished blocking two scarves from last month's knitting binge. I was hoping the weather would warm up more so that the drying process would be quick. Couldn't wait any longer. By the time they dry it'll be time to do the wardrobe swap anyway---from the Fall/Winter stuff to the Spring/Summer. Even so, I'll be happy to unpin them and pack them away for next Fall's debut.

Though I'm a longtime knitter, I had never done blocking like this until I was introduced to lace knitting by my knitting buddies. I love it's transformative effect!

I've not been totally side-tracked by knitting, but the sewing I have been doing is not gelling or may never gel, but it's not ready for photography. See>