Wednesday, September 17, 2014

unofficial downton abbey knits 2014



The 2014 edition of Interweave's "Unofficial Downton Abbey Knits" is almost here!



And take a look at the preview page!!

Not one, but two of my patterns are featured! The green scarf and the pink beret are both mine, and my article about the "Costuming Downton Abbey" exhibit at Winterthur also got a shout out.

Stay tuned for more... I am working on a guest blog post for the issue roll-out. I'll let you know when it goes up.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

postmodern jukebox

Instead of writing a blog post as planned, I spent the vast majority of this evening watching youtube videos published by Postmodern Jukebox. (The remainder was spent with my husband and Terzo at the movies watching "Guardians of the Galaxy," and the less said about that, the better.)

Back to Postmodern Jukebox: the group is kind of hard to explain, but they are very talented musicians and singers who reset (mostly) current hits to music styles of a different era.

Take their Great Gatsby rendition of "Fancy" as an example.



It's not just 1920s. They cross multiple genre lines, including klezmer ("Talk Dirty") and mariachi ("Wake Me Up"). I cannot get enough of this interpretation of "Blurred Lines."




Or their equally fantastic doo-wop version of "Timber." I could listen to those voices all day.




Their clever classical take on "All About that Bass" was released a week ago, and got me started on my musical appreciation evening.



At one point, Secondo came in from the other room, asking what I was listening to. After showing him a few examples (which he had to agree were pretty good, the equivalent of an enthusiastic review from a teenage boy), he said, "Geez Mom, you're obsessed!"

Which I pretty much am, and which also goes a long way in explaining this blog post—as well as my current thinking that I simply must get to one of their concerts.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

five hundred hats

Do you remember Bartholomew Cubbins? He of the 500 hats?



Very much how I am feeling these days.

Yesterday's hats were:
  1. Medical biller, from 6 am to 8 am;
  2. Shepherd (ballcap from MDS&W of course), while we caught Marigold and sent her off to her new home at Val's;
  3. Paralegal (no hats allowed in a law office) from 10 am to 1 pm;
  4. Mom, my favorite hat of the day, while I spent a precious hour eating ice cream and catching up with my newly-minted college freshman;
  5. Entrepeneur, as I hunted down supplies for my new knitting classes (more on that in a day or two);
  6. Teacher, as I taught five new knitters how to read a basic pattern, cast on, and do the knit stitch (second favorite part of the day);
  7. Volunteer, as I attended a church vestry meeting.

Phew. Today's hats are slightly less numerous and luckily do not require me to leave the house, because it requires a little attention. I haven't even unpacked the truck after the weekend's show, so that is on the list.

Plus I want to get a hat design out of my brain and on the needles. Maybe that will be the last and greatest hat?

Monday, September 8, 2014

best festival surprise

Two years ago, Coopworth was the featured breed at Rhinebeck. A person I knew only through Ravelry, username Spindlecat (she has amazing things on Etsy), contacted me to purchase some Coopworth roving. She told me later that not one, but two of her entries won first place.

Yesterday, I had the nicest surprise when she stopped by our booth to meet me in person and show me the skeins. They were gorgeous, as you might expect for skeins that won first place at Rhinebeck, always a place of excessively stiff competition. One was a grey fingering weight, and the other was a white lace weight.

Then she did the most amazing and generous thing.

She gifted me the skein of white lace weight.



I may have started referring to it as "my precious" and carrying it around the house with me. I wish I had a better picture to show off its gorgeousness. My best guesstimation is about 330 yards, and it is whispering "Estonian lace scarf" to me. What do you hear?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

fun fiber fest day

Where to start?



Well, with the beginning I suppose, when Secondo and I sorted out the breed display and got in back in order. We had to shorten the sign a bit due to the leftover wind, but it worked. The girls were much more content with the cooler weather.




When we got back to the booth, we found Robin had removed the protective sheeting—this is how we left it last night, after the storm—and had it all back in order!




That gave her enough time to take a spin with an angora bunny. Literally. It's hard to tell but that is a very cooperative bunny on her lap, that I was sure was going home with her. (She resisted.)




Robin also organized Kevyn's participation in the Shepherd's Lead contest, with a friend of hers (Robin, that is, not Kevyn, though I am sure Kevyn found her to be perfectly pleasant). Kevyn wasn't too thrilled about her outfit, but I have no idea why. She looked fabulous, with her matching halter!



At the end of the day, she and Kali were thrilled to be done with the whole thing. They practically sprinted back to the trailer and hopped on board.



And once we arrived home, no halters were necessary to move them back to their flock. They were as happy to be back in familiar pastures as we were.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

fall equals fiber

It's that time: the kick-off to fiber fall festivals, aka Garden State Sheep Breeders Festival, aka the NJ Sheep and Wool Festival. My mother was scheduled to teach a workshop there in kumihimo, the Japanese art of braiding, so it was the perfect reason yesterday to leave on time for once and get there decently early to work on the booth and breed display. I even managed to take two sheep with me, Kevyn and Kali (mostly because they are the easiest to catch) so that left one less thing to do this morning.



While my mom taught her workshop, Robin and I worked on the booth. Unfortunately the brutal heat sucked me dry and I wasn't able to accomplish all I wanted... including the breed display. I couldn't figure out the pieces due to being more or less the state of a limp rag.

Today was another day, plus my parents and Robin were there in full force.



Thanks to my dad's level head, and me locating two of the missing pieces of dowel, he and I managed to get a decent breed display put together. It took third place. Sorry the picture is less than optimal, it is always less than optimal due to the backlight in the morning when I have time to take the picture!




Thanks to the efforts of my mom and Robin, the booth looked fantastic this year. A friend had gifted me some gridwalls, which because I am cheap for some reason I have resisted purchasing before now.




With the investment of some hangers and hooks, display was a snap. The chalkboard signs looked fantastic too!

Unfortunately the brutal heat was the harbinger of a brutal rain storm. My friend Norma and I managed to get the banners down just in time, before they sailed away (or worse yet, ripped). But everything else is in disarray and soaking wet, including two very unhappy sheep.




I'll have to leave a little time tomorrow to get it put back together, but I am bringing a secret weapon with me.




So happy to have one of my boys coming! Don't let that look fool you, he asked to come. I am sure I will appreciate him even more when it's time to pack it all up, load it and go home.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

first day of school 2014

It's de rigueur.

My sophomore, a little bereft without his older brother, mostly because he has been demoted from having a personal driver to taking the bus.




My big fifth grader, who made the transition up to the middle school today. The fact that I no longer have a child in the elementary school, after a 12-year run, is making me sadder than anything else this year. More even than sending one away to college, it is smacking me in the face with the fact that time is marching on.



We were missing one this year, of course, and he still hasn't started classes. He is currently away on a pre-orientation backpacking trip with a small group of freshmen; he returns tomorrow, and classes start next week. I doubt I will get a "first day of school" picture out of him, but I do have a "moving in day" picture that will have to suffice.