Sunday, 31 October 2010

grits are good for you

What a great image, yes? We had a fantastic lunch at the Hominy Grill in Charleston (thank you Blair for directing me to the city guide on design*sponge). The restaurant was wonderful, in an old building with an amazing pressed metal ceiling (do look at their photo gallery), yummy food and boiled peanuts. We didn't even order these, they just ended up on the table, an obligatory gustatory experience I guess. They are raw peanuts, boiled for ten hours in brine.

And for my birthday I went to knit night at Knit. No purchases because I truly do not need any more yarn but so much fun to get out and do something regular in an irregular place and chat to other knitters.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

done done done


456 rows. Two borders of 66 rows each, 324 lace rows, that's 81 repeats, lace both sides.

Done done done!!

And considering that in March this year I was truly doubting my ability to continue with this project, I am super happy. After finishing those central lace repeats just four days ago, I got through the second 66-row border in no time. I've done a preliminary wet blocking but without pinning it, just to stretch it out so that the slipped edge stitches are easier to locate for the knitted-on edging. I can do this!!

(And I've also located a couple more balls of the yarn so I actually can, physically, do the edging too. Phew, I was a bit worried for some moments. Just a reminder - this is recycled yarn from a dress that I bought at Savers in Las Vegas so there's no more after this. It also means that the panel above, folded in half, was all knit with a single thread.)

Monday, 18 October 2010


In Savannah I did manage to pop into Fabrika, partly because that's the sort of thing that I like to check out and partly because it was conveniently located directly on the route between the cathedral where the wedding was held and our hotel.

It's a small shop, blissfully air-conditioned (a blessing even in late September). I have to be honest that I don't remember much about the fabric selection; I rarely buy new fabric and mostly wander around soaking up colours and textures and inspiration.

What I did pick up are these great silicone thimbles, one in each size. That hand-stitching on my alabama dress is hard on my fingertips and somehow the other day I managed to stab myself quite deeply in the pad of my middle finger, enough to draw blood. And that was with the blunt end of the needle - ouch! It is taking some time to get used to sewing with a thimble but if it saves me from further wounds I'll be ever so grateful.

Alas, I didn't make it to Wild Fibre in Savannah, but as a birthday present, when we were in Charleston ...

Sunday, 17 October 2010


Little miss bear's birthday was well over a month ago but after family visits and travels it was just last weekend that we had a celebration. This year's request was for a fish cake. This year I did not bake the cake, nor was the cake in the shape of a fish (a detail that did not go unnoticed and was the subject of a few tears several days after the fact and out of the blue). I did, however, decorate the cake and have the photos to prove it (which helped to assuage the tears).

Thursday, 14 October 2010


In defense of myself, I have sporadically been working on my knitted veil in Peruvian wool. Slowly, slowly I am getting there. The six-stitch, four-row repeat again and again and again and ...

And every row painstakingly recorded, so that I don't lose track of where I am, so that I know how much I have to go, so that I can calculate down to the last stitch just what percentage of the way I am through. Which currently stands at (7*36+9+66)/456*2/3 or 47.8 per cent of the way.

And the knitting is not much to look at, just the same endless four rows:

And then there is the gut-wrenching question: can I really ever finish this? And the answer: yes, I'm determined to. Eventually. One day. I hope.

My alabama dress is moving along nicely though. Perhaps it's just easier to pick the stitching up but I have already completed nine of the large black swirls (three to go), three small blue swirls (one small and eight large to go), no small purple swirls as yet (so twelve of those to go). And I need to buy another spool of grey button thread.

skin + bones

Seattle Public Library was good enough to get this book in for me on inter-library loan all the way from Rhode Island - Skin + Bones: parallel practices in fashion and architecture. This is an exhibition catalogue so it contains a couple of written pieces and then photographs and blurbs about the various artist/designer/architect/practitioners.

I only read one of the written pieces about deconstruction (the other mentioned Derrida within the first paragraph and that was enough to put me off I'm afraid; my headspace is precious these days).

The rest of the book was absolutely lush in its illustrations and fascinating to peruse. I was delighted to see some things in there that I recognised: one of my favourite buildings, the Institit du monde arabe in Paris; and an Issey Miyake exhibition at the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporaine (also in Paris) which I saw in 1995 I think.

And then there were the entries that did my head in, that is, that I had to stop and think about and think about and try out myself to understand how it worked, like the Möbius dress from My Studio. Awesome stuff, I want to try and knit one.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


So, we went to Savannah a few weeks ago for a wedding. Tim was asked to be a groomsman for a friend from high school who also lives here in the US. Being such a long way from home and family and friends as we are, it was delightful to be included in such a significant ceremony.

It's some years ago since I read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and I wish that I had had time to look at it again before we went. As it was I just managed to paint my toenails and that was an achievement. The photo above is the flooring in a cafe down the street from our hotel, apparently original to the building and over 100 years old. I love the colours and the shapes.

Travelling with children is mostly about just getting through the day, keeping the littlies adequately fed and watered, and if you're lucky doing or seeing one or two things. In Savannah we managed to visit the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace (she was founder of the Girl Scouts) and popped in to Goodwill (of course) and Gap (even more mundane but I needed to buy undies).

Thursday, 7 October 2010


I have been working on my Alabama Studio Style tank dress with spiral appliqué. There are twelve large black spirals, the same number of blue spirals (most large and a few small), and also of small purple spirals. The plan is to hand stitch around all of them. I'm using a silvery grey craft/button thread, not white as this photo appears.

I'm fascinated by the thought processes associated with an undertaking of this scale, by the stages that my mind assigns to the project as a way of getting through it. There's the initial gung-ho start, the dawn of realisation of just how big a job this is, the slogging through it, the constant progress estimations, the possibility that you might just make it, the oh-my-goodness almost there. And then often the anti-climax of actually finishing. Do you notice anything similar when working on something really big? I'd be curious to hear.

(Ah, needless to say this is a situation that I get myself into regularly - doily quilt, knitted veil ...)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

wedding foliages

While I have not taken the 'handmade pledge' (although that's about buying, not making), nor do I profess to be part of The Compact, both of these movements certainly encompass tenets that I try to live by - where possible don't buy new and choose handmade (preferably by me). So I knit our gifts for the wedding that we attended recently in Savannah (I must point out though that the bride and groom live in Chicago):

The Vital Statistics
Foliage by Emilee Mooney available free from Knitty - thank you!
Sundara Yarn Worsted Merino in shade 'Watching the Night Emerge' and Noro Cash Iroha in the not quite so evocative shade 108.
4.5 and 4mm for the grey/green and 7 and 5mm for the brown.
I knit the two versions, the worsted (grey/green) and the bulky (brown). I wanted the hats to match but not be identical.
Stash/recycle content:
All from stash (although I must admit recently and arbitrarily acquired). The Sundara was a curiosity purchase from someone who was de-stashing and the Noro was on sale at Churchmouse and I didn't want to leave empty handed ...
Start to Finish:
16 to 18 September 2010 (grey/green) and 21 to 24 September 2010 (brown).
I've knit this hat five times now and have enjoyed it every time. It has become my go-to gift knit. This is the first time that i have knit a bulky weight version - I had the Cash Iroha and some needles so I just gave it a shot. I think that this is a forgiving pattern - it has a bit of stretch but if it's a bit loose that's ok too.
May their love grow and grow.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

and we're back

Oh it's been an erratic past few weeks - my mum was visiting early in September and then we headed off on vacation to Georgia and South Carolina for the better part of ten days. 'Vacation' - that's still a hard word for me to use but 'holiday' here in the US very much refers to a 'holy day' such as Christmas, Easter or, unh, Hallowe'en.

We had a wonderful time away and I'll have some more photos and stories shortly. But this was quite possibly the best bit:

My birthday card from little miss bear on Hunting Island beach after swimming in the Atlantic (for the first time) with dolphins frolicking out yonder.

Friday, 1 October 2010

september reading

Ooops, a bit Sookied out this month - Dead as a Doornail
and Definitely Dead. Vampires, witches, demons, werewolves, no sex though. Lots of fun to read and I love the Sookie character. It's also great to have a visual on many of the other characters courtesy of TrueBlood.