Sunday, September 28, 2008

Strange Folk Festival

Saturday I went to the Strange Folk Festival in O'Fallon IL to see my friend and yarn mentor, Rachel's table she set up to sell yarn. The beautiful weather and the desire to shop at an alternative Kraft fair, hopefully devoid of tole painted teddy bears, my crew and I crossed the river. I am amazingly good at not getting lost on the west side of the Mississippi River. People call me and ask for directions. But as soon as I cross that river I get lost. The lost where you can't find yourself on a map and you have to stop at a creepy farm house and ask for directions kind of lost. So of course I was tasked with getting us there because once 18 years ago I had been in O'Fallon IL. We did get lost, but a quick stop at a gas station put us on our way to the Strange Folk Festival. Surprise, we were 15 minutes early and they weren't quite ready for the Missouri contingent of neophyte knitters and random friend.
Early or not I found said Dyeabolical Yarn Mistress at her table selling her wares of yummy dyed yarns. She sat surrounded by riots of color that made me want to sit and knit them all up in to amazing garments (okay this is the fantasy section of the blog). Rachel was happy to see us and was showing off her new colorways. I felt kind of cool standing next to the hip indie dyer, while others crowded to her table and fondled her yarn. Then she gave us the look, like go busy yourself minions and we scampered off to look at other fun stuff. It is considered bad form to take photos of others designs so I can only regalia you dear reader with the variety of things I saw. I saw zombie dolls, brass knuckle quilts, reusable flannel sandwich wraps, bullet casing necklaces, lamb soaps, llamas, spinning wheels, vintage tie dog collars, pottery, and my favorite a day of the dead porn bedroom suite. Whew! There were a lot things there wanting my non-existent funds.
I only bought the lamb soap, lavender bath scrub, woman in corset photo, and of course Dyeabolical yarn (etsy store I tried to purchase Dyeabolical Yarn Mistress' hubby, but he was busy spinning yarn. So I left him with a lipstick marked cheek and left. It was a fun morning and I definitely putting the event on the calender for next year.
And then there was swag, lots of swag. For being one of the first 100 Strange Folk to show up we got bags for our bootie. The bags had the usually business fliers and cards, boring. But it also had other freebies like soap, notepads, buttons, fabric, tape measure/level, stickers, magazines, decals, temp tattoos, postcards, bead hangy things, and iron on transfers. I spent this morning digging through the swag. The green skull print fabric is my favorite, who knows what I will do with it. I haven't heard how Dyeabolical did, but it looked good when we left. End critque of the event for me, way worth the trip across the Mississippi.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Awhile back I taught Bianca Clue (name changed to protect someone I am sure) to knit. When you think of someone knitting an imagine of her does not come to mind. Actually, I wonder what comes to most lay people's (aka non-knitters) minds when I say knitter. Do they see little, old, grey-haired ladies in rocking chairs with long needles and skeins of horrific red heart yarn around them? Okay Bianca looks more like she would be comfortable at Lowe's than surrounded by loads of fluffy yarn. But lately I have seen her doing just that buying up yarn and talking the knitting lingo like a pro. "I couldn't decided if I wanted to do the garter stitch on 3 or 6s, but the gauge was so much nicer on the 6s." And, "I love how soft this yarn is." And my favorite, "I saw this yarn yesterday at the LYS (Local Yarn Store) and it was so cool, I thought about it all night." She is in the thick of it hook, yarn, and needles.
However, I am concerned she is starting projects like mad, scarves, afghans, Christmas projects, etc. I must admit it frightens me. Personally, it frightens me to have too many projects on the needles, I want to work on one project, complete it and then start another one. I believe in being monogamous to my projects, dammit! But this is the tragedy of the situation, though Bianca is starting projects right and left she is getting them done. The squares from her afghan project are literally falling off her size 15 needles. The scarves are seemingly growning instantly in front of my eyes. And don't get me started on how quickly the other projects are coming together for Bianca. As she sews in her ends, she ponders aloud at what next feat of extreme knitting she is going to tackle in the next hour. In other words Bianca is knitting with the ferocity of a demon and I am left in the dust knitting my single project, lapped.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The End of an Obsession

Recently, I have been obsessed with Simon Schama and the work he did with BBC and the History Channel. I watched both The Power of Art (8 episodes) and The History of Britain (15 episodes) back to back. I stumbled across the first series by accident at the library. I really liked how in POA he approached each artist via one of their great paintings and how that masterpiece effected the world of art. He showcased: Caravaggio, Bernini, Rembrandt, David, Turner, Van Goh, Picasso, and Rothko. I especially liked the Caravaggio and Bernini episodes since I knew nothing about either artist. I also found the Van Goh program to be my favorite. The actor who portrayed Vincent really brought the story to life by reading some of the touching letters the artist wrote to his brother Theo.
Silly me I clicked to the bonus feature and found an interview with Schama. He said after The History of Britain BBC let him do whatever he wanted and POA was the end result. Back to the library catalog I went and found five volumes would have to be requested. Off I went clicking in my requests.

With my most recent knitting project I sat and watched the series over the last couple of weeks (more like 5 weeks). I was surprised at how little I actually knew about British History. It upset me, anglophile that I am, the amazing amount of events Schama discusses in HOB which was new to me. I am no slouch on this subject, I especially like the Tudor/Stuart period, but even that episode had nuggets of facts that I had never heard before. I also really liked how Schama would taunt the viewer with their ignorance, pointing out the many myths that have been internalized as truth. The thesis that most shocked was that the British Empire was really more of an accidental empire. Overall Britain wanted consumers for their goods not really lands to conquer and control. Schama presentation rivals that of Anthony Bourdain full of snark and anger. And low and behold I was rattling on last night at a dinner party about how much I liked these series and Schama and one of my friends reminded me that he had written Citizen, about the French Revolution. Oops, I had read this in college for my French Revolution & Napoleonic Era Class. I obviously was not over-whelmed by Schama writing. Sadly, like many, I am much impressed by watching my history instead of reading it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Displaying my Passion

This month I put up a display on knitting for the library in which I work. I was overall pleased with the outcome. I used lots of knitting things like needles, yarns, books, and of course some beautiful projects. I hit up my knitting tribe of friends for examples of various types of knitting.
Fiona loaned me this very stunning felted entrelac bag. I am love this bright and fun bag that gives me at least one reason to smile everyday at work for the next month. This photo does not do justice to the display. The book of knitting with the yarn and needles is very cute and appears as if the bag is ready to go to a knit night at a moments notice.

My friend Scott loaned me this bold striped sweater. It has been difficult to get it to pop in the display because it is so dark and the cabinet so poorly lit, but after this photo we put a white background which really made it stand out. Already I have had a few little boys come ask if a "Dude" really knitted this sweater. I say of course and one boy commented, "I want to knit me one like that."
Lenora, what can one say, but these or gorgeous sweaters, one lace, one Gansey are so amazing. I revel in the skill of these designs. Two knitters have mentioned how beautiful they are and how much they long to make a garment that stunning. Rachel made me feel very special by gracing me with a loan from her stash of personally hand-dyed Dyeabolical Yarn ( along with some examples of roving and fleece. Tammy's socks and Amy's tea cozy are also big hits. I am proud to be so entrusted with all of these treasured items.

The woman who volunteers once a month to teach a beginning knitting class, June, was thrilled by the display. She gushed about the items and we talked about each one individually and the wonderful people who made them. It was a bright spot in a very overcast day. June even confided in me that the reason she learned to knit was so she would look really smart when people see her knitting. I like the idea. I knit for so many reasons, but now I have one more reason, I look very smart when I knit. So please excuse me I am going to practice looking like a genius.