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.

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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.

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

be well. – H

2014 June 29 Pops on the Lawn

A respin of last year.

Bring the kids, they get to conduct.

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At Sennot Park in Cambridge.

 

2014 May 31 Appalachian Spring

For the last masterworks concert of the 2013 – 2014 season the CSO is playing the lovely peaceful Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copeland.

Mountains. Forest. Quiet.

Maybe I have a photo that would suffice. Like something I took at Rockywold Deephaven Camps while attending the Squam Art Workshops.

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Yep, it was just like that. Peaceful.

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This mini one for the newspaper.

Concert tonight! Please come.

 

Sledding Cowl

My first design from 2010 made it to my new website at last. I created this pattern to wear while dog sledding on a winter trip to Quebec. My experience with winter sports has taught me not to wear scarves skiing or sledding, cuz you never know what might grab an end and a) make you lose your scarf or b) strangle you.

Trust me, a cowl is the way to go.

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Click here for the free Sledding Cowl PDF

 

 

2014 March 16 TOSCA

Opera

I didn’t think I would like it, but I’d give it a try once.

So back in the late 1900s I saw there was a performance of The Marriage of Figaro performed by marionettes. Thinking, ‘yeah, I like marionettes, I’ll give marionette opera a try. There’s subtitles, it’ll be fine’.

Imagine, if you will, wooden people bouncing around on strings singing “Figaro, Fig-a-ro, FIG-aroooooo”, with their only emotional expression coming from how high or low their skinny arms are pulled.

La,” wooden hand up, “lalalalalala“, wooden hand down, “LA“, wooden hand waving in flourish, “laaaaaaaaa“.

Bad.

Since my Italian grandfather loved opera and his sister sang opera, I wanted to give it a fair chance. Fortunately, I caught a modern adaptation of Don Giovanni with subtitles on PBS and LOVED it. Later on I even saw a live production of Cosi Fan Tutti in Boston with real human beings in it and enjoyed that as well, if only cuz of it’s “Three’s Company” farcical style plot.

I wish my grandfather and his sister were around to see our Cambridge Symphony Orchestra production of Tosca on Sunday March 16.

So, the poster… what the heck do I do?

I was stumped at the enormity of the task as I knew how excited everyone is to get this right. I was frozen trying to come up with imagery that will dignify the event.

I started with doodles in my engineering notebook during a meeting.

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I doodled up a dagger with a hilt that looked like a violin sound hole. Thought, hey cool, and was on my way. I spent the weekend in my art space in my basement with India inks, acrylic paint, tissue paper, and cut paper. Spent some time figuring out how to draw an art nouveau font, and came up with this.

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And then, thinking the concert will be in springtime I decided to make the red pop by putting it on an aqua background.

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All the while I’m working on the clever dagger idea this is sitting on the easel behind me.

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In 2012 I’d taken Flora Bowley’s ecourse to get back into painting, which I hadn’t done at any length since I was a teenager. Her approach has you just painting a bunch of gobbledy-gook with fluid acrylics, honing and fixing, until you work it up into something truly unique… as you had no idea what you were going to paint when you started. She wants you to have messy underpaintings.

This is the underpainting for what became the final Tosca poster.

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Embarrassing, a bit, to show it here, but I wanted to show that I was going for an angry red busy unsettling vibe when I painted it.

Then, in the ecourse, Flora suggests going big and bold, draw a big image, make a big change, be unexpected. I painted a big face over the angry red background, I wanted a pretty face, but where you could still see the messy disturbed underpainting in the eyes.

And there she sat for months, in my basement, I didn’t know where to take it.

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With this painting behind me and the cheery dagger painting in front of me I rented a Tosca DVD and figured I’d let the story percolate so I would have a better clue of how to make this right.

Here’s the TL;DR of Tosca: Tosca has a painter boyfriend, she’s jealous, she’s pretty, creepy guys are into her, and she would kill a man if she had to.

And her name is Floria. Floria, come stai?

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Now I knew what to do with the painting.

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Come to the concert… find out what happens to her.

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