Monday, February 25, 2008

Some things that ARE alike.



I really really really want an angora bunny (as shown at top).  If I had an angora bunny, I would name it Spatula.  I would shear Spatula, spin her fur into yarn, dye the yarn and name it such things as "Burgundy Spatula,"  and "Sparkly Tuquoise Spatula," and my personal favorite, "Spatula Natural" (undyed).

But I suppose, for the time being, I will have to settle for my excessively furry cat with almost too much personality who has a habit of sleeping directly on top of my knitting patterns (as shown above, below.)

Le Sigh... life is so full of fur-tastic possibilities...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Knitting Souls

I've been feeling a little misanthropic lately.  To the point where I've listened to 5 out of 7 of the Harry Potter books-on-cd, basically in a row (as in... without stopping).  If any of you have any reference for that, you'll know that means about 60 straight hours the dulcet tones of Jim Dale.  It also means that I've chosen to spend 60 straight hours listening to Sir Dale (yes, he's been knighted) instead of interacting with the human race.  (Eh?)  But it also means I've gotten a lot of knitting done!!  

I finished my dragon scale scarf!!

Pretty, even by the light of my creepy photobooth flash.

So... I liked working with this pattern a lot.  There are rows of lace in between the rows of "scales" and salvedge borders of garter stitch.  I knit it with a lace-weight alpaca-silk blend in the color "pea-pod."  (I thought it looked dragon-esque.)  Finished, it's about 4 ft long... long enough to be doubled and tied , or wrapped around twice.  The one thing I don't like as much about this pattern is the fact that it's not reversable.  The back isn't nearly and pleasing as the front.  Also, even though I ironed it, it has a tendency to curl inward and feel kind of thin while you wear it.  

But... whatever!

I love it!!  (That's my roommate Jenna, clearly admiring my handiwork as well...)

I think I'll definitely use the pattern again.  I was thinking it would be really fun to use it in a cardigan.  Like, make a nice half-back plaquet with a lace transition to stockinette body...  (ah, to sleep, to dream...)  It was nice to get it off my needles so that I could start...

Nelly's Feather and Fan Scarf!!!

In other news regarding my misanthropic tendencies of late... I think, actually, it means that all I want to do is hang out with Nellie and Elisabeth.  All the time.  

Even if it's just sitting around my room knitting, catching up and watching high school musical.  (what.)  

Nellie and Roskos... would it really be a problem for you to move into my bedroom?  I'll build you bunk beds... I promise... And forts out of yarn...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A lot of things, all of a sudden

You know what they say:  When it rains, it pours?

I had the plague last week.  No really.  I started coughing on monday and when I woke up out of my chest cold, sinus pressure, fever induced sleep... it was thursday?  I missed three days of work, and I still have the cough.  Gross!  I was so sick I couldn't even knit!  All I could do was sleep, move to my chair (still wrapped in my duvet), sleep in the chair, and watch movies.  (Mostly Brokeback Mountain... which only really made me feel worse...)  But I'm better now!!  Yay!!  Except that stuff seems to have gotten a little piled up while I was out of commission.  So, here's the low down:

1.  I'm applying for summer classes at Penland and Haystack!  Unfortunately, I happen to be a poor-ass starving artist who's unable to pay for classes... so I'm applying for scholarships.  Apparently, however, that means applications are due at the end of the month... with 3 letters of recommendation and a bajillion other pieces of academic writing I haven't had to do since I graduated nigh on 9 month ago!  Gah!  I had forgotten how hard it is to write an artist statement!!  I've been working on it for, like, 4 days and I only have a few sentences!  How did I ever get anything done in college?  I could use some feedback so here it is.  Lemme know if you all have any suggestions.

"The more I study fiber art, the more I realize that the social history of our culture is inextricable from the history of cloth.  Through my ongoing and varying body of work, I am increasingly interested in learning about this history; especially in the intricacies of different techniques and in the lives of the individuals who spent their time devoted to these "crafts."  My current work attempts to recontextualize some of these traditional processes in order to examine marginalized histories in new and enlightening ways.  I am also always conscious of the relationship between fabric and gender.  Not only is clothing a distinct marker of gender, but for hundreds of years women in our culture have been responsible for the creation and upkeep of clothing.  Over the past century, as contemporary capitalism has grown and women no longer bear the entire brunt of keeping their families warm and clothed, knitting, sewing and embroidery have become primarily recreational.  They have, however, never been completely separated from the "feminine sphere."  My current and upcoming work acknowledges this and seeks to explore how this phenomenon is both persistent and culturally indicative."

Eh?  Thoughts?  Yeah... so I'm waiting for my merciful MICA professors glowing letters of recommendation and chipping off the other tasks little by little, day by day.

2.  I've been doing some collaborative work with Adam!  He's given me a bunch of prints and I'm embroidering on them!  I'm really excited about this collaboration... as we started discussing the work, I started really feeling like our concepts could jive constructively.  However, when we started working he told me I had until the end of February to finish, because he had lined up a show for the prints to be in.  But... apparently, by the end of february he meant... by the end of this week.  Gah!!  So... here's the first one?

Sorry about the bad quality photo.  The printed objects are:  an old fashioned drill, a pair of scissors, the scissors case, and a jack knife.  In response to these objects, all of which are used for destructions, I embroidered a case full of different types of sewing needles.  Needles basically enhance fabric through destruction:  they poke holes, but enforce the fiber with added material.  It was a fun process... but embroidering on paper by hand, was much for difficult than I thought it would be!  I'm trying to get one more done by show time on friday.  Finals, what?

3.  Knitting!  Although I have been sick and
 working and busy... I've been knitting every day!  Totally inspired, as always, by Ms. Nellyface, I've been working on a new scarf pattern, and I'm happy to say that I'm almost done with it!  I bought the pattern over Christmas at Webs... it's called the "Dragon Scale" scarf.  Not like you can tell from  this photo but the pattern is comprised of vertical stripes of lace and fan-shaped, scaley stripes.  It's adorable!  And really soft... I'm using an Alpaca Silk blend.  I'll put up some better pics of the texture when i get it off my needles.  :0)

I also was just well enough to go to the yarn store over the weekend!  I bought some new yarn so that I can try Nellie's Feather and Fan scarf when I finish this one.  Yay color!

4.  Nellie's coming to visit!  Yay!!!!  I'm so excited I can hardly control myself.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

i AM the magic geranium, and so can you!

I attended my first urban gardening class a few weeks ago fully expecting to find a back room with an empty bath tub, some salvaged soil and a bunch of West Philly crust punks hoping to grow their own tomatoes.  (Damn the man, save the tomatoes.)  But instead, I was ushered to the 5th floor of the Philadelphia Horticultural Center into a classroom full of free pizza, coffee, handouts, and one of the most interesting and diverse groups of people.  There were middle-age individuals hoping to become better aquainted with their community, community organizers hoping to improve their game, a whole group from a local elementary school, and we were all there for the same purpose: to fulfill our individual goals through gardening!  (Nary a crust punk among 'em.. well, one actually.  But we ended up knowing her through a roommate anyway.)

It turns out that the Garden Tenders class/project has been running since the 60's.  It's specifically designed to aid with the creation and continuing support of urban community gardens.  The entire first class was devoted to the process of legally obtaining abandoned lots (instead of just squatting on them and eventually being kicked off, or worse, arrested!)  Since then we have discussed the designing of gardens, soil content, local urban resources, and a plethora of community organizing techniques.  (The class teaches by example.  The pizza, present at every class, is the embodiment of their "if you feed them, they will come" tactic.  They also suggest that you always leave someone with an object, seeds, etc., so I've left each class with something awesome!  First an Garden Herbs coloring book and second, an
 illustrated guide to herbs, fruit, and vegetables!  See images below and above respectively.)
I've never done any real urban gardening.  I had that one, measly tomato plant when I lived on Calvert st...  and I had a basil plant.  Both perished come summer when it was simply toooo hot to go out on the roof and water them twice a day!  It was so hot in the apartment, let alone out on that black roof!  But I have so much more space here:  two rooftops, and the back yard area, and I would really like to get some stuff growing.  (Remember when I said that I would just be a student until capitalism fell?  My plan was to just keep racking up debt while I studied fibers, politics, history and agriculture so that I could be really useful after the revolution.  This class is perfect, 'cause I'm not even paying money for it!)

The one problem I have with the class is that it is specifically designed to assist with semi-permanent community gardens.  The legal process for procuring land is at least a 2-3 year process.  I haven't stayed in the same apartment for longer than a year since I moved out of my parents house.  I've been trying to glean what advice I can for more temporary gardening tactics and I'm trying to design my own learning around a much more nomadic lifestyle.  During the last class I asked about Container Gardening.  Here are a couple of the tactics and projects that were suggested to me:
Using a children's wading pool!

I've already found an entire website to the hows and whys of this idea.  ( )  It seems to be pretty light-weight, cheap, and easy to transport.  My instructor mentioned that she had heard about a UN sponsored project that would teach urban refugees how to do this so that they could easily grow their own food while they were on the move.  Although I couldn't find that specific project easily (still looking), I did come across the Rooftop Garden Project website.  ( )  The Rooftop Garden Project in an international organization that fosters gardening techniques all over the world!

This garden is in Dakar, Senegal.  Do you think I could make those hanging planters out of fabric??  'Cause I'm totally into trying!

I don't know where this ingenious garden is, but it is really cool!

So, yeah.  I'm really stoked.  Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks I can collect some containers, start some seeds and get gardening!  And, of course, I'll keep you updated!