I’ve been running on overdrive the last couple of weeks, preparing for a big move, writing papers, and knitting up a storm. Today’s the first day of the All-Handmade Craft Sale that you should come check out. Items in the photo may or may not be available for purchase.
Also, today marks the arrival of Breaking Dawn, Part 1, that probably none of you should go check out, but feel free to admit it if you do.
And finally, if you didn’t get a chance to check out TGS’s fantastic two-month campaign yesterday, you should most definitely check that out.
So, it’s not a secret that I love knitting. In fact, I bet you’re probably sick of hearing about what I’m knitting these days. But today I promise I have a new twist. My friends tell me all the time that I should sell my knitted goods. In fact, as I am currently on the job hunt, I have dreamed more than once that I should just make knitting my full-time job. But since that’s just not an economically sound idea, I’m going to do the next best thing: I’m going to sell some of my handmade goods at a local craft fair next month.
Craft fairs abound in this city before Christmas time and if you have not already cashed in on them for your Christmas gift needs in years past, let me encourage you to do it this year. I know it’s a little early to say the “C” word, but I want you to have ample time to mark your calendars, so here’s a little guide to get you started:
Having lived all my life in the Pacific Northwest, it was particularly hard to move to New York City where a tree lined street is considered high-end residential. As you probably know, the city is as much as a realized lego kingdom made of brownstone and glass. It is a beautiful thing, yes, but in a way that is mechanical and man-made. Spending the last five years of your life admiring the Cascades, Mt. Rainier and the Puget Sound is like a jockey trading in his mudder for a rocking horse.
I felt lucky when I was able to become a member of the city-wide urban garden initiative, Green Thumb. In short, the parks department has been allowed to appropriate residentially zoned lots that are not in use. The garden near my apartment is .3 acres. Just two years ago it was an eye-sore dump of overgrown weeds – now it is a respite of collared greens and tomato plants with a waiting list.
The idea of planting within the city made me even more excited when I heard about Gotham Greens, a New York City based company that grows local produce in greenhouses on the tops of buildings in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. There is a spirit of ingenuity in this city that is encouraging: if there appears no way to do something, like grow good produce, someone is going to create a solution. It is not a city for the weak of heart.
It’s not the greatest soil I’ve ever felt and it’s not the best irrigation plan (we get to use the hydrant for a half-hour each morning) but it’s a start and my tiny radishes, carrots, kohlrabi and lettuce are testament to this. I’m going to go cook my garnish now.
What can you do with a square sheet of paper? Do you remember making paper cranes and airplanes in elementary school? I do, and they looked nothing like this:
Flying Crane, opus 563 by Robert J Lang
This week I sat down to watch a documentary that’s been calling my name ever since I wandered across it on Netflix. Between the Folds by Vanessa Gould takes a close look at the art of origami, or paper-folding. Of course, this is a film that appeals quite naturally to those of us who consider ourselves to fall on the more ‘artistic’ side of living. But the first thing you’ll notice when you press play, besides the Philip Glass-like score by Gil Talmi, is that this movie is full of computer geeks and brilliant mathematicians. Dr. Erik Demaine, for example, can’t be more than in his mid-twenties, and is the youngest professor ever to be hired at MIT. He’s also the world’s leading origami theorist.
At a mere 55 minutes long, Between the Folds is a worthwhile perusal for you this weekend. Download some paper-folding diagrams, sit back with a glass of wine and put away the scissors and tape. Make something beautiful from a square today.
On a glorious and sunny Friday afternoon up at school, my dear friend Bonny pointed out how dapper my Jordache faux-riding pants were. I must admit, the suede feels nice between my knees, and I started missing my days at horse camp, being the star on the vaulting ring at our summer end rodeo show.
But then I got thinking, why not just become a horse? I was never hugely fond of my high school mascot, the Centaur, for the mere fact that the man-stallion was a figure of raping and pillaging. Didn’t seem fitting for an educational community. So, why not re-think the trans-specie? Create something a little more poised, perhaps. That’s what French artist Marion Laval-Jeantet is doing.
She’s been injecting herself with horse-blood and wearing hooves. Hot.
See the article from WIRED for more, and a live video from the injection performance. In the meantime, a word from Laval-Jeantet herself:
“I had a feeling of being superhuman. I was not normal in my body. I had all of the emotions of a herbivore. I couldn’t sleep and I felt a little bit like a horse.”
Endnote: Bonny and I also watched an interview with Heidi Montag on Entertainment Tonight. In response to questions about going under the knife for 10 operations at once, Ms. Montag recommends doing your research. I would suggest the same for any trans-species surgeries, FYI.
As usual, I have some good friends getting married (you might have heard about it), so I pay a little more attention when wedding-related things cross my web-browsing path. This Fabric Chandelier from 100 Layer Cake (which I found via Design*Sponge) is just about the cutest thing. You could definitely make it to decorate for a variety of events, not just a wedding. Maybe I’ll make it to spruce up my deck.
If you haven’t already read my and Lauren‘s little non-fiction piece in this month’s issue of TGS, go do that right now! And then come back and read the rest of this.
So, this month I’ve challenged myself to my first ever knit-along. This means that a whole bunch of knitters all sign up for a group knitting extravaganza on Ravelry – what Slate calls the social network for knitters. Right now there are 2294 people signed up for this adventure, all of us devoting the month of August to knitting the same pattern and each week we get a new clue.
Unfortunately, since Lauren isn’t obsessed with knitting like I am, I had to recruit my one and only knitting friend to do it with me, and we have officially embarked on Westknits Mystery Shawl KAL 2011: Earth & Sky. (Sounds cool, right?) I’m sure once it’s done it will be amazing, because Stephen West designs really cool things. But right now my shawl looks like this:
I think the rest of August is going to involve a lot more knitting…
Nothing inspires me like a good DIY project. (Well, maybe not nothing, but you know what I mean…) So, last week when I was at Jim and Veronica‘s beautiful studio apartment, I almost swooned over the new hand-made-by-Jim lighting in their dining area. I begged Jim to send me photos upon completion and now I can share them with you.
As it turns out, I’m having to use a bit of my francais in France. Whaddya know… (Qu’est ce que tu sais?) Most recently, it has been “Ne me touche pas!” I’m fine with people hawking their wares on me, actually. I just don’t feel like making too many new friends at the foot of Sacre Coeur.
But what this post is really about is the good and happy side of souvenirs: I found Edinburgh–the city which everyone thus far has told me would enchant and enthrall me–was more touristy than I’d expected or hoped. The most disappointing side of this is not seeing folks of different nations and languages interact—I’m not quite so dismal and crotchety about travel experiences. Rather, I’ve found myself a bit bummed that it seems virtually impossible to discover, in today’s global economy, a souvenir that hasn’t been made in the great big nation of China. “Product of Scotland,” my friends, does NOT mean “made in Scotland.”
After several hours of milling up and down the Royal Mile, however, I did find a fine and suitable spot, and I’m doing the good task of advertising for Canongate Jerseys – Knitwear and Fabric Producers in Edinburgh (166 Canongate, Edinburgh). The woman running it (whose name escapes me, now that I’m firing away on the keyboard at an internet cafe in Paris), runs the shop with her son at the front desk. All her goods come from different friends and associates around Scotland whose sheep kindly offer up wool to the collaborative effort. On top of a congenial shopping experience, the three of us discussed the proper pronunciation of “Pattern” — “paDDern” for the Canadian, “paTTern” for the British-educated son, and “pattREN” for the Scot. I do enjoy international interactions, you see.
I challenge you all today, try to support a local artisan or craftsman/woman in your neighbouring nations (or even your own).
I work with developmentally disabled adults and today I am reminded that art comes in all forms. One of my friend’s favourite daily activities is to draw these colourful artpieces. He dumps his bucket of crayons and even rips up his art, laughing throughout the process. Since his vocabulary is very limited, it is a way for him to express himself, in the same way that all artists do.