Squam Art Workshops – Spring 2015

I never wrote a blog post about the Squam Art Workshops before, though I’ve been attending since 2011. I suppose I never knew how to put it all into words: meeting great people, taking intriguing classes, dodging “woo”, and, well, the food.

So, how about some photos…

The lovely work of @supgup & @siercia #squamartworkshops

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@mindytsonas had a lovely "dream launcher" for us #squamlove #squamartworkshops

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#squamartworkshops #latergram

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Our cabin, Cliffside #squamlove #squamartworkshops

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@yarnonthehouse is my cabinmate at #squamartworkshops #squamlove living the dream

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This was on the way to the dining hall, though not done by @supgup and @sierca as I wrote on my original caption.

More @supgup @siercia #squamlove #squamartworkshops awesomeness

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Working at home later.

 

I also took Gudrun Johnston‘s Short Row class, which was really helpful – I really had no idea there were 4 different ways to do short-rows, and that the one way I knew – turns out I was doing it wrong. I took no photos in this class, as it was a knitting circle, basically. Her designs are beautiful, she had a container full of them where she showed us where she used short rows. Such an inspiration.

But, then, it ends. We say goodbye to everyone at breakfast and we go.

So to console myself on the way home there was a stop at Mr Mac‘s, which really needs to be a national chain.

Mr Mac's on the way home #glutenfree #squamartworkshops

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But, I mean, this.

Dock at Squam Lake #latergram #squamlove #squamartworkshops

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thank you, Squammies, for being awesome,

H

Hoo*bert

My mother told me that when I was a little kid, like 3 or 4 years old, my grandmother crocheted a hat for me.

This is a photo of my grandmother and me, maybe a bit before the incident, I don’t have a photo with the hat.

my grandmother and I

 

While looking through a magazine she saw a little kid wearing a granny square hat, so she made me one. She knit three granny squares, connected them in a row, added ties, and gave me the hat. The thing is, my mother says I wouldn’t wear the hat because my grandmother wasn’t finished with it yet. Evidently I recognized that there needed to be a forth square in the back, stitched to the first three to make a hat shape. My grandmother didn’t realize this, she just knew she had to crochet the ones she saw, she wasn’t thinking about the structure in the back. So, the poor woman went off and made the forth granny square, added it to the back of the hat, and then I wore it. I remember the hat, I remember I liked wearing it. I do not remember sending my granmother back to finish it.

Little kids are cute as a life saving device, I suspect.

This is the grandmother who taught me how to knit, btw. She taught me when I was about 5, having me knit a purple headband (it was the 70s) – 7 stitches across. It bored the bejeezus out of me, so much so that I never finished it. I’d pick it up every few years, having to add a few more rows since my head was bigger (figuratively and physically) every time.

It took until a Boston Ski and Sports Club trip to Italy in 2004 to get me into knitting. I understood it differently at that point. Instead of a headband shaped hole in space, it was the process of knitting that made the hobby interesting. Maybe by then I had lived a life of deadlines at my day job, and sitting down to quiet time to work with beautiful yarn was a reward in itself. (Italy had some gorgeous yarn.)

Since 2004 I have been knitting. And while spending my days working on a team designing computer chips, I would doodle knitwear designs and patterns in my notebook.

About three years ago I had an idea for a shawl design that I couldn’t believe no one had come up with before. The universe needed this, so I have been trying to make it happen ever since.

The idea? Police boxes in a tiled rhombus pattern (I, also, had to look up the name even though I’ve seen a tiled rhombus pattern a thousand times.)

photo and work done by Christina Creevy

I tried and tried to make this concept a reality when I was working, I just couldn’t get it done.

Fortunately, I lost my job last September.

Seriously, I had been planning, nesting, saving, and preparing for a lay off in my office since we were bought by the last company. So when the day came, I was the happiest person in the room. As I walked out I realized other people weren’t happy – at all, so I told them “Don’t worry, I’ll be sad later.” They laughed. They were happy for a minute, anyways; laughing at or with me? I wasn’t sure.

Turns out I lied. It didn’t happen, I wasn’t sad.

I was thrilled. I could finally get this idea on a .pdf and up on Ravelry.

I thrashed around a little bit. I was always driven by adrenalin at the day job, and now I was living with no time restrictions, no place restrictions. Possibility was my restriction. The hardest thing, I found, about leaving corporate America was time management and direction.

Three things helped me get this pattern done.

1. A craftsy class from Miriam Felton.

2. A time tracking tool for my smart phone to make sure I was managing my time wisely.

3. Kate Atherley’s ebook, Pattern Writing for Knit Designers

And, well, here it is. Published.

Hoo*bert, the shawl. Photo by Aram Comjean.

My mother told me the story about the hat when she knew I was publishing my pattern. I think she is proud of me for finally getting these ideas out there in the world now.

I do wish my grandmother knew.

-H

P.S. Special thanks to my test knitters, Christina and Wendy, for invaluable feedback.

P.P.S. I think everyone else on my chip design team got jobs, and I hope everyone is happy in their new situations.

Patriot’s Day, why I love it here.

After this most difficult winter, we Bostonians have Patriot’s Day. Since mid-April is when we can finally step outside without suffering, here it comes, the celebration of Massachusetts’ contribution to the creation of the United States of America. So glad they waited to start the revolution ’til the weather got good.

You can’t swing a dead cat around these parts without hitting a Revolutionary War Reenactor.

Battle at the Tower #patriotsday #minutemen #regulars #video

A video posted by spatialh (@spatialh) on

 

But I have to say, my favorite thing about all these re-enactors is when you see people in historical clothing mixing in with modern-times. For example, my boyfriend has a photo of a minuteman carrying a leaf-blower, which he really needs to have online somehere.

Or like Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow.

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Here I have this sneak-over-the-shoulder #selfie thing: Minutemen, in line for a port-a-potty.

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Priceless. There should be a name for this mash-up of modern and 18th century, a hashtag, something.

 

so anyways

I had driven by Munroe Tavern, where the British set up their field hospital after that first night of the Revolutionary War, a hundred times. This time we finally stopped in. Here are some iPhone photos that I took. (Aram’s awesome photos  are here.)

 

Red coats getting ready for the battle re-enactment at Tower Park

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After the war President George Washington visited the Munroe family for tea, to thank them for all their troubles during this battle. The family saved everything he touched. He sat in that bigger chair in the middle, and the cup he used is in a display case nearby. Gotta love the love people had for the pertinence of these items.

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I would be remiss if I didn’t post a photo of the flax spinning wheel. Making linen from flax was important in the avoidance of buying British cotton goods in the 18th century.

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Inside the Munroe Tavern.

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And here are the lobster-backs getting ready for their part of the re-enactment on the front lawn of the tavern. This Tower Park battle today (Saturday) actually took place after the famous battle of Lexington Green (Monday), they just do it on this Saturday beforehand to get everything done in the weekend.

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So much fun nerdy stuff going on around here right now. Can’t miss it if you try, get out there and see some of it.

Thanks for reading and Nerd On – H

P.S. And if all this isn’t marvelous enough: we finish on Monday with the The Boston Marathon.

MarathonMile18

<3

 

The 40th Season of the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra

The theme for the posters of the 40th anniversary season of the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra is: the players.

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6 posters. Big season made tiny to fit in this space.

Photos by Susan Wilson and Aram Comjean

Random Deal

Living the knitter’s dream, I went to Rhinebeck in 2013 bought some Miss Babs “Babette” lace. One skein – ALL my favorite colors.

babstosh

That’s Miss Babs in the front, and Tosh lace color “calligraphy” in the back.

“Gorgeous, so what do I knit with it?” I thought. Never did much with laceweight before. Did the old Ravelry search and came up with Martina Behm’s Nuvem. It’s pretty, no lacework that I’d have to pay attention to ‘cuz if I’m knitting 2000 yards of something I don’t want to have to pay attention to it, count, or anything requiring intelligence – this is what my day job is for. (“OCD for Dollars” is how I refer to it, and I sure don’t need the extra brain hurt for my hobby.)

The idea behind the Nuvem is you knit ’til there’s 20% of your yarn left and then do the ruffle. This kind of blew my mind… that 20% of the yarn is in the ruffle. That’s like a country mile around the perimeter when you think you’re almost done.

Though I had the same weight each of Babs and Tosh it turns out the Tosh is thicker with less yardage. I did some rough math and figured I have about TWICE as much yardage of Babs as I do Tosh.  I needed to go around twice on the Babs for each time I went around once on the Tosh to make it work.

Pattern purchased, off I went… one round Tosh, two rounds Babs, one Tosh, two Babs.

I liked it, but it was too uniform for my taste to do the entire shawl this way. About 5 inches of knitting from the center out I decided to change it up, but I needed a way to maintain the one-Tosh::two-Babs ratio so I didn’t run out of one or the other color before I got to the ruffle. I wanted the same ratio with a different more organic distribution.

Hmmm.

Walked around my place, stood for a moment staring at my humble board game collection. And there they were… a deck of red cards and a deck of blue cards.

52 red cards mixed with 26 blue cards, shuffled roughly together, would give me an approximate model of my yarn amounts,

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with a more organic looking distribution than how I started out in the center.

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2::1, right? yep.

I commited to this progression. I wrapped an elastic band around the cards to secure them, and threw the deck into my project bag. When a red card came to the top of the deck I would knit a round with Babs. When a blue card came to the top I would knit a round with Tosh.

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I made it through the 78 (52 + 26) rounds and still hadn’t gotten to my 20% left. Figuring I wanted the colorful Babs for the ruffle I did a simple large swath of the Tosh “calligraphy” color to set off the ruffle.

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I kind of love how it came out.

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And about that 20%. I used a $3 postal scale that I bought off ebay on a recommendation that I got from a knitter friend who also quite enjoys smoking pot, and, I learned, she can evidently use the postal scale for either hobby as both often need accurate measurements of quantities less than 4 ounces.

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I had previously only understood that this scale was good for measuring envelopes and yarn, it took another savvy knitter to explain to me what most people use this little gadget for and why they are so readily available on the internet.

So there’s that.

Anywho, live and learn.

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But yeah.

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Nuvem means cloud in Portuguese. That’s truly what it feels like to wear.

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thanks for reading.

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P.S. So get this, still living the knitter’s dream I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few Squam Art Workshops, including this last one in Spring 2014. Turns out I finished this Nuvem in the nick of time to give the designer of this lovely pattern a lift up to New Hampshire from the airport. Turns out she’s lovely too.

Here’s me and my Hitchhiker, Martina Behm, returning from N.H.

MeAndMyHitchhiker

Click here for a link to Martina’s post about her own Squam experience.

be well. – H