Friday, April 29, 2011

Briefly, a travel report, and teaching!

I'm on the road again! After a looong drive, I'm in Florida to see the space shuttle (hopefully) launch tomorrow afternoon. This will be my second launch, but its so incredible to be there live that I don't think this time will be any less exciting.  In the car on the way here, I finished Mango the Giraffe, of which this particular version shall be known as Neil. And yes, that is a space namesake Neil, not a music one.

After the launch a day or two of soaking up sunshine and warm weather, we'll head back North and before going home we'll stop off to meet the new niece or nephew for whom Neil is destined, and along the way we plan to stop at Mammoth Caves and eat some Cincinnati chili.

And when I return, I have exciting news! *Drumroll please* I'll be teaching classes at Sheepskate! I'll be teaching a cable class, a sock class (2 at a time, toe up, with a short row heel), and an intro to backstrap loom weaving, which I'm especially excited about. I'll have more info about the classes when the schedule gets finalized. I'm also going to be available there for private lessons.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Great Rhody, and other fun things.

I've been trying my hand at cross stitch recently, and made this little gift for Ryan! I love it! I know, I know... I've already got plenty of fiber related hobbies... but that's never stopped me before.

I spent Sunday exploring Rhode Island with new yarnie friends for the Great Rhody Yarn Crawl- we visted several stores, including Sakonnet Purls, which is right next to a great winery, Sakonnet vineyard, and both are well worth the drive. I got 2 new cross stitch patterns there, and supplies for one of them. (I told you I fell in love with it!) We had great fun with "Back Alley Woodworks"- really, who wouldn't have fun with that? and stopped for lunch at a pub with outstanding chowder, fish and chips, and a thorough beer list. I could have just called it a day and stayed there, but Slater Mill was calling... so we wrapped up the day by not winning anything in the raffle, and I got the most adorable pair of penguin topped needles from Serendipity, and rainbow BFL/silk fluff from Play at Life Fiber. A great day of fiber and entertainment! AND, to top it off, with several hours in a car to kill, I turned the heels on both of my socks, which means they are officially actually socks now!

Last bit for today- new items in the SALE section on etsy, for 20% off, for April only. Enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

For the Love of Handspun

More new yarns hit the shop last week, handspun and one of a kind skeins- alpaca, wool, and cotton are represented.

I also got my listing set up on ravelry as a shop-
And, a more direct access to facebook-

Thursday, April 7, 2011

FINALLY, yarn for sale!

Well, after much distraction and procrastination, I've got Mir Sock and Orient Silk yarn lines available for sale! You can check them out on etsy, and I'm also now a "yarnie" on ravelry!

My Mir sock yarn is inspired by my love of space. Mir was the first "permanent" installation in space, and the word means peace. Each colorway of Mir is inspired by a different beautiful astronomical phenomena- Nebula, Terra, Solar Flare, and Aurora.

So its perfect timing that I've got them listed just in time for the 50th anniversary of the first human space flight on April 12th!

Celebrate 50 years of a human presence beyond Earth by knitting some spacey inspired beauty, and look up a Yuri's Night party near you- or get your fiber friends together and post your event to the Yuri's Night event listings!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Celebrating Life, One Stitch at a Time

Part of why I've been so absent from the internet lately and its taking so long to get my space yarns listed on etsy, is because of this-

I managed to find an affordable last minute fare to visit my Grandma and see her quilt show- "Shirley M. Gerardy, Master Quilter"! She has been quilting for around 75 years, and has made over 200 quilts. Many of them have been pieced by hand, and nearly all have been hand quilted.

Technically, she is a master- every stitch is perfect and even, every corner is matched exactly.

More importantly, she is an artist. I realized that at this show more than I ever have before- seeing 60 quilts all hung at the same time truly showed me the breadth of her abilities! Without any formal artistic training, she can take dozens of different prints in different colors, and make them into a cohesive visual whole. She chooses designs to stitch when quilting that enhance the patterns in the pieced top, rather than simply stitching to keep the batting in place. She has embraced new innovations in fabric, and trends in quilting- she hasn't liked them all, but she's always been willing (and eager) to try new things and innovate.

The rooms used for the show were large enough to hang bed sized quilts without feeling cramped, and the natural light was perfect for viewing. Somewhere around 70 people came to see the show. It was the perfect tribute to a woman who is adored by many- our cheerleader, teacher, guide, and inspiration.

I never realized before just how much my grandmother has been an artistic influence on me. I owe my design aesthetic to her! Everything I embrace- texture, construction, and innovation, I can trace back to learning from her point of view, usually subconsciously. The subtle sense of humor that is present in all my favorite design work, was present first in many of her quilts.

Her details are exquisite- cows, horses, and vegetables hidden in the "fields" in her quilt depicting America- with its purple mountain majesties. In a quilt made from my childhood clothes, she included my overalls in a way that you can still hook and unhook the shoulder buttons! In "Star of Sweden", she "fixed" an abandoned quilt top found at a garage sale- the blocks had been set square, with a pepto-bismol pink fabric between all the blocks- it was hideous! She turned the blocks on point, put a blue fabric between them, and saved just a tiny bit of that pink fabric for a stripe around the edge- in that small dose, the pink unites all the disparate colors in the blocks. The detail in the story told in her Colorado State Fair quilt is incredible!

The wall hanging with photos is a perfect example of how she embraces innovation- unfortunately old iron on printer inks weren't very lightfast, so the photos have faded badly, but she made this quilt to encourage me after a skiing injury to come back and compete and win- and she used scanners, computers, printable iron on transfer paper-in 1998, when that was new technology and she was 80 years old! Note the detail- she stitched ski tracks into the hill behind me! I encourage you to enlarge each of these photos and soak up the small details and the overall impact of a few of my grandma's beautiful quilts.