Sunday, December 27

Christmas is over

and Christopher and I are happily back in Brooklyn. The older we get the less we seem to like leaving home.

This holiday was no exception. On Thursday, after wading through the last minute shoppers in midtown and waiting an hour for a bus that never came, I erupted into tears when I realized the reserved tickets I'd bought were for us to go from Philadelphia to New York, not the other way around. 4 hours and a train ride later we had arrived and met the newest additions to the Brown household.
They made it all worth it. 12 weeks old and so happy to curl up on your lap, or shoulder or baby bump!! Dinah would be so mad if we brought them back here, but it sure was tempting...


I'm now 33 weeks into this pregnancy. The baby will be considered term in 3 weeks, though he won't be expected for another 4 weeks after that, and he could happily take his time and make us wait until late February to make his appearance. That's a 6 week window. Crazy.

In any case, we have 3 weeks to try to get everything as ready as we can, and it will be a lot of work to get from here to there. We need a bureau. We need a crib (or a baby hammock, which is what we hope to use). We need to move around a lot of furniture, and we need to bring a lot of things we've been given - both new and used - here from Philadelphia. Never mind the piles of books to get through, on breastfeeding and baby care. Yes, I know, it all works out in the end, and we probably won't remember the details of those books anyway. But still, there's a lot to learn before Smudge arrives.


Sunday, December 20

on being pregnant

At the prenatal yoga class that I sometimes go to there is a part of the class where we go around and say something about our pregnancies. It is suggested that we say when we are due, where we are delivering, and if we have any complaints or observations. Yesterday in class my observation was that suddenly I feel very conscious of there being a little person inside me, something I think I've been feeling for a few weeks now.This might seem like a silly observation, but it's pretty hard to wrap one's head around the fact that there is a baby (a little person!) growing in there, someone who will come out and cry and nurse and grow and become an adult some day. Which is funny, because it happens all the time and everyone you meet was once inside their mother. But it's still pretty hard to comprehend.

After class I chatted with a woman from my birthing class who also happened to be there. We stared at a group of parents and babies in the yoga studio lobby (a reunion of a birthing class that had met there months earlier) and tried to understand that in about 5 months we would also be holding babies that age, and eating snacks at our own birth class reunion. My classmate admitted that she still couldn't match the baby that was coming with the movements in her belly, that the whole thing was still really abstract to her.

It feels fairly presumptuous to say that I know Smudge, but I am very aware of his general position in my belly, and can more or less feel and see his foot when he sticks it into my right side. He's been in this position - head down, butt on one side of my belly button and feet on the other - for about a month. I'm hoping that he stays that way for the next 8 or so weeks until be comes, even though his foot is rather uncomfortable. I find myself massaging it, gently willing him to pull it back in so I'm more comfortable, and he complies. Christopher likes to joke that Smudge isn't even born yet and we already don't get along. And I am just so in awe that there is a foot (two, hopefully, plus some legs and the rest of a baby) inside me.

Now that Christopher has finished his semester, we feel that Smudge's arrival is imminent. He's not due for another 8 weeks, but we have been warned to be ready for him in 4 weeks. And that's really soon. We still don't have much for him - just clothes, a stroller, a breast pump, a ton of blankets and quilts. At least he'll be fed and warm if he gets here early! In any case, the next few weeks will be about gathering what we still need, and making the apartment ready for a baby. I'm impatient to start, but also anxious about the transition we're about to make. There's no turning back!

Saturday, December 12

Santacon in the 'hood

So, NYC has this annual Santa pub crawl called Santacon. It's been going on for years, and it's pretty unforgettable if you bump into the Santas on their crawl (imagine getting onto a subway car full of people in Santa outfits). I can only imagine what children think when they see the (often drunk) Santas bumming around town and being rowdy, but as an adult I think it's pretty funny.

This morning at about 11:30, I heard some loud caroling from the street and peered out the window. This is what I saw:I grabbed my camera and went down to the sidewalk. There were Santas everywhere. All genders, all shapes and sizes, in any variation of a Santa outfit imaginable, all walking towards the Brooklyn Museum steps. Some of them were handing out candy canes or presents to children. I asked two of them where they were going, and was told, "I have no idea!!!"

Two overwhelmed little girls were standing with their father on the steps next to me and got all sorts of goodies from the Santas. Their father was a little nervous about letting them open the presents they'd been handed, however. At one point a group of Santas asked the girls if they wanted "a picture with Santa," and then had me take a group photo of the two timid girls with about 5 Santas. (out of respect for the children's privacy, I'm not publishing the photo here.) It was like Halloween in reverse. (Maybe I'd like Christmas more if it were more like Halloween??)Do you think that guy on the left is an angel, or a character from Star Wars?

Sunday, November 29


We got back yesterday from a few low key days in Philadelphia, where we visited our families and celebrated the holiday.

Thanksgiving itself was at my parents', and we had a mellow dinner with them and 3 house guest-friends. I keep wondering why it was more relaxed than usual. Maybe I was too exhausted to care about entertaining, or cooking? or maybe spending a holiday with people who carry no baggage is easier? I don't know. In any case, it was very pleasant and easy. More like a house party than a holiday.


In knitting news, I have two things to share! (can you believe it??)

One: a scarf that I started for my father last spring. This was originally intended for Father's Day, but I shifted gears (and went on a knitting break during my first trimester) so my dad got the scarf for his birthday instead.The pattern is the Braided Cable Scarf, by Miriam L. Felton. It's very simple and easy to remember once you do a few repeats. Yarn is Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted in Sable, 2 skeins.

Two: Coraline!! Done. Not the greatest photos, but I'm super happy with it. In order to make it work for my pregnant belly, I made the body a size larger than I normally would, but left the sleeves alone. Somehow it all worked out stitch count-wise, don't ask me how. I also added a button band, since I know that I'll want to button this up.
My mother picked up the buttons at a great button store in Philadelphia and I sewed 3 of them on while I was there. Somehow Mom managed to understand the exact color without having a yarn swatch to match. I guess that's the benefit of having a mother who is also an artist.

me: it's the color of a very dark red delicious apple.
her: like shade XXX in the Benjamin Moore book?
(We both own Benjamin Moore paint swatch books, so maybe we cheated a little. But she was right on with the shade.)I've only sewn on 3 buttons on so far, and I'm in no rush to sew on the other ones. True to my midwife's predictions (and she and I actually discussed this in reference to my Coraline, which I was knitting while waiting for my glucose test a few weeks back) my body temperature is going up and I have no wish to button the sweater over my belly. I guess this is the benefit of being in one's third trimester during the cold months!

oh yes! Details: pattern: Coraline, by Ysolda Teague. yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, in redwood mix.

Saturday, November 21

two more hats!

It looks like Smudge will at least have a warm head next winter! I've made two more hats, both in the 6-9 month size. Hats seem to be a perfect project because they are good for using up odd ends of yarn, which I've sworn to do this year. On the other hand, this pledge prevents me from making anything very large (like a sweater or little pants). I think I might also want to get some superwash wool if I were to make pants.

Somehow I've got to find a balance...

First up, another of Woolly Wormhead's Wee Woolly Toppers, this time Tubey.
I used up the rest of my purple Berroco Comfort, which is a bonus. Unfortunately, I also ran out of it. I think it's supposed to be another inch or two high, but it looks to me like it will fit. Anyway, great (and super simple) pattern. Quick too.

Next hat: Erika Knight's Pixie Hat, from her book Knitting for Two. I made one of these last winter for another baby, and thought it was adorable. This one is less amazing, I think because of my yarn choices.
Again, I was using up ends of yarns, this time some light blue Baby Cashmerino and a tiny ball of leftover Luxe Silk from Woodstock Wool Company (great store, if you ever go to Woodstock, NY). This hat was meant to be a gift, but once I realized it would require a bit of care I decided that the recipient wouldn't want it.

I also think it's dull. Maybe some stitching would help? Or a pom pom? I'm a bit flummoxed.

Next up? I don't know. I feel like I have a bunch of projects that need just minor finishing (and that I should do). I also think that maybe Smudge should have a good wool sweater for next winter. Or at least some baby mittens. Or booties. Or something to set him apart from the non-wool clad babies.

Saturday, November 7

a house divided

Do any of you follow baseball?

Well, the World Series is finally over. I say "finally" because it has been a rough week in the Brown Wall household.

You may remember last year:That's me and my dad at Game 5 of the World Series. Notice how we are rooting for the Phillies?

Here is Christopher. Notice how he's wearing a Yankees hat?

For those of you who don't follow these important events, this fall the Yankees played the Phillies in the World Series.

After 6 games, guess who won? Christopher and I have a very supportive relationship, and all summer we have been rooting for each other's teams. But we both draw the line when it comes to rooting against our own team, which made for some very tense World Series watching in our household. Cheering was banned. Being excited seemed mean, as was making comments about a play. One person's victory meant the other person's defeat. Watching the game in more or less alone and silence was not much fun, and so we were both relieved when the Series was over, even though it meant that my team had lost. At least they put up a good fight.

Yesterday I accompanied Christopher to the Yankees ticker tape parade on Lower Broadway. It started at 11, and we got there around 10:45. Not the best timing, and we ended up with this view: That's a big clump of ticker tape (aka shredded recycling) falling from the sky above that girl's shoulder.

It was disappointing, and later Christopher reminded me that it was a "lifelong dream" of his to watch the Yankees celebrate a World Series victory with a ticker tape parade at the Canyon of Heroes. He even had written this into an essay of his, and now he was sad to have not seen a single Yankee at the parade. Oops. Sorry. At least his team won...

Thursday, October 22

supermarket performance

Have any of you heard of Improv Everywhere? This NY based group has fun with creating performance (and art) in unusual and unexpected places. I've yet to witness them in person, but here is their latest piece/stunt, which they performed in a Queens supermarket.

I think it's rather brilliant.

Tuesday, October 20

first hat

I have recently received quite a lot of baby clothes, hand me downs from my sister-in-law and an old friend who both have very little boys. It's been fun to sort through the itty little shirts and socks and imagine Smudge wearing them. What an abstract concept!! It's so hard to imagine that I will actually have a baby that fits into a little sleeper. whew!

I've been trying to find gaps in what I've received, and so far I haven't been methodical enough to figure out what we do have and what we need, but I have decided that we need a newborn winter hat. Even if Smudge wears it for only a day, he will wear it. I'm thinking it might work well for his trip home, and is shocked by his first cold winter temperatures on the way to the car.After much agony over which pattern to choose, Christopher took things in hand and decided that Smudge needs the whole collection of Wee Woolly Toppers from Woolly Wormhead. I hadn't really imagined spending money for the patterns when there are so many great free patterns, but I think he was right. They are all adorable hats, and I can make them in different sizes, and they also would make great gifts. I also like some of the hats are knit in aran weight yarn, while others are in DK. Lots of variety. Anyway.

I made the Buzzbee with some leftover Berocco Comfort from the blanket I made for my nephew last summer. I love this yarn. Love love love it (even though it's synthetic) It washes so well, and it comes in fabulous colors. I have a lot of it, so Smudge will be getting quite a few garments in Comfort. Pattern: Buzzbee, by Woolly Wormhead
Yarn: Berocco Comfort
Needles: #7
Started: October 17
Finished October 18

Sunday, October 11

nothing to show

except my belly. I think I can say that I now officially look pregnant. I've been offered seats on the subway now twice, and while fabric shopping yesterday the saleswoman was very excited about my bump. Funny how things like that can affect total strangers.

We also learned this week that Smudge is a boy!

This news was somehow shocking and overwhelming to us, but I think learning that it was a girl might have had the same effect. Becoming parents at all is really rather insane. Why would anyone in their right mind want to do such a thing?

I've been frantically working on a Coraline cardigan, which I started on September 11. I am making the body a little larger to accommodate my belly, and I intend to also add a button band so I can actually close it against the cold. It's knit up from the bottom to the arm pits, then sleeves to armpits and then the whole thing is joined to do a smocking yoke.

I'm just at the point where it should all get joined, and I am waiting for a good moment to sit down and make sure the right stitches go to the right places. I don't trust myself to do that on the subway, where the rest of the sweater has been knit so far. So stay tuned for that, and hopefully some photos too.

Monday, October 5

impending parenthood

Today is a big day for us. Today is our anatomy scan. Or rather, Smudge's anatomy scan. We'll find out whether Smudge's organs are developing correctly, and also possibly learn its gender.

This scan will make Smudge more real for us, and the reality of Smudge is a little daunting. We have about 4 months until its arrival, and we really have no idea how our lives will change post-baby. If Smudge is colicky, we may just retreat into our home and become zombies. If Smudge is a chill little one, things might not be so extreme.
mom and me, circa 1976

I spent a few hours on Friday with a friend of mine, another set designer, who recently became a mother. Her career is a bit more established than mine, and I was curious to see what she had to say about parenthood. There was a lot to talk about, but it was all reassuring. The best thing she said was that the sleep deprivation was no worse than what we'd experienced in grad school, except that with parenthood no one was judging and yelling at you daily. Which I find extremely reassuring! (though I was 10 years younger when I was a grad student... still, it was manageable.)

On Saturday I went to a family alumni function that the design department of my grad school was hosting. I saw a few people I knew, all with babies. They too said that the sleep deprivation was comparable, though one new father said that of course there were no vacations during which to catch up on sleep. One woman said that she'd mastered typing while nursing, and the general consensus is that it is acceptable to bring your (well-behaved) child to meetings. Babies are welcome in the theater community. Which makes some sense. Theater is really just a grown up version of children's play.

I had been worrying about all of this, the balancing of career and baby/child, and I thought that one of them would take a hit. Or that I'd have to take 6 months off and then return to design begrudgingly. But seeing these other designers dive gleefully back in, a month or two after their child's birth, is reassuring.

Yes, they are still working part-time, but they are working! me too! me too!!

Sunday, September 27

If you find yourself in Philadelphia

you might want to check out a photography exhibit that my dad - Will Brown - is part of at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Common Ground: Eight Philadelphia Photographers in the 1960s and 1970s.

show is up until January 31, 2010. My father has (I think) 22 photographs in the show, all showing buildings and a few people in South Philadelphia, where we lived when I was born.

It's pretty exciting for him. Though he's made photography a career, he pursued the commercial side of it, and the good stuff (ie what's in the show) is mostly work he did because it interested him.

I'm super proud.

Follow your dreams.

Friday, September 18

Something for Smudge

You may have noticed that I haven't knit much, or that I haven't really bothered sharing what I've knit recently. (There is both a coat and a sweater that need modeling, but I'm not sure the coat will fit me anymore.)

I really lost my knitting mojo during the first trimester, both because I was tired and also because I was afraid of jinxing the pregnancy. I kept asking Christopher if it was alright that I was queuing baby sweaters, or if it was alright if I cast something on yet. He wasn't really sure why I didn't just knit, but I'm glad that I waited.

In August, when we were in Maine, I cast on for a baby blanket. Much agony was involved in deciding on this blanket, and this yarn. It turns out that we are receiving many baby blankets as gifts and as hand me downs - my mother has a few from when I was a baby, Christopher has his, we've been gifted one already (which I will blog about later) and promised yet another. Plus Christopher's sister is giving us all of their old receiving blankets and what not.

What was missing from this list (though perhaps there's something in my mother's collection) is a wool baby blanket. Smudge is due in February, and I hope to be at least somewhat mobile with the baby, even when it's tiny. We don't own a car, so that means that Smudge will need some bundling, and I think a small wool blanket would be useful.

Which brings me to a pretty impractical yarn choice, one I think that Elizabeth Zimmerman would be proud of. I chose some Icelandic fingering weight yarn that I bought last year at Rhinebeck. It's itchy, it sheds, it's not machine washable.I told Mary Jane about my crazy wool baby blanket when I was in Maine. She assured me that you can let spit up dry and just pick it off! I like her attitude! (And I appreciate her enabling!)

Even worse, I chose a lace pattern, which will require blocking if it needs to be washed. But I thought the yarn and pattern would work well together, and when I bought the yarn I thought it would be a good wooly blanket. (I had another skein of white, which would have been great in stripes or colorwork, but I became obsessed with this pattern and only one color would work.) I knit it mostly on the subway, and I was surprised how quickly it went. Last night I cast off, soaked it and blocked it (with Christopher's help). It measures about 27" square, which is a little on the small side, but I think it will be useful.Pattern: Alpaca Baby Shawl by Marie Grace Smith
Yarn: Tongue River Farm Sock Yarn
Needles: #5, various lengths

The pattern was very easy to memorize, and since it's knit from the center out, there is almost nothing to weave in. I just knit till I was nearly out of yarn, then did a few rows of garter stitch and cast off. The yarn really bloomed and softened when I washed it, which I had hoped for.

I hope that Smudge likes it!

(I can't wait to start something else! There's so much to be made!)

Sunday, September 6

Labor Day weekend

I feel like we have been bracing all summer for this weekend. For most people in this country (and even this city and borough) Labor Day is about the end of summer, BBQs and a day off.But in this neighborhood, it's about the West Indian Day Parade, which is tomorrow.

The police set up barricades along our street this morning, and by mid-afternoon the vendors had already started arriving. And cooking. And selling their food.

I think the food is the best part of this parade, especially in this take out starved neighborhood. Tomorrow I'll be able to go out and buy roti and curried goat and fried fish and lassi. And it will all be just a few steps from our front door, and completely delicious.Christopher and I went on a walk this afternoon, knowing that tomorrow we'll be basically trapped indoors. Which is alright. We have a lot of work to do in here. The main issue will be the noise. It's a very loud parade (think flat bed trucks with 12' speakers covering the back, blasting as loud as possible.)

And the fun starts tonight with J'Ouvert, the kick off steel drum dance party down at Grand Army Plaza. That goes from 2am-10am (no, that is not a typo), and those going to the parade (ie the steel drum bands) like to play on their way there, as they walk down our street. At 4am.

We are prepared, and have ear plugs. I hope we can sleep through the night!

In other news, I am wearing maternity pants for the first time today. They are a little loose, but so comfortable. Smudge seems to have gone through a growth spurt this week, making everything I own a little tight.
I think I need to go shopping.

Tuesday, September 1


Thank you all for your wonderful wishes! It is so warming to hear your enthusiasm, and I look forward to sharing the next 6 (and more!) months with you as Smudge and I grow!


This summer, along with battling eye ailments and morning sickness, we have taken on our apartment. You may remember the leaks in our windows... well, the building took its time fixing the leaks, and repairing the windows. After about 6 weeks of never knowing when a construction worker would knock on our door, the windows were done. The whole thing was a struggle, and involved me spending lots of time on the phone with the building manager, the super and my neighbors while at Haystack.

Since the apartment was already in chaos, we decided to have the floors in two rooms redone while we were in Maine. This involved moving all of our bedroom and office furniture (and art supplies and papers and files and filing cabinets) into the living room before we left. Which was alright.

We returned home to a fabulous new floor, with lots of expert patching that we hadn't expected, even in rooms that weren't supposed to be touched. Our floor guy just couldn't help himself. LOVE HIM.This is a spot where the boards had been patched before, but they all went vertically. Though the floor guy and I looked at this in our walk through, I didn't actually think he'd replace the boards and try to match the walnut border.

In any case, the past two weeks have been all about putting the furniture back.

What was the bedroom will become the baby's room, though for now Christopher will use it as a work space. This is the temporary office. We thought a single bed might be useful in the baby's room, since Christopher is such a light sleeper.

And what was the office will be/is our bedroom.

Sounds simple, except for all of the office and art supplies that we used to have a place for. While we organize our bedroom and the baby's room, the living room holds my filing cabinet (in pieces), drafting table (in pieces) and books.It's overwhelming. It's slow going. I am tempted to throw it all away.

Saturday, August 22

a secret

I have to confess that I've been keeping something from you.

Please meet Smudge.
Smudge has been with us, in one form or another, since early June. It complicated my eye situation, but did not cause it. And now Smudge is growing like crazy, and looking somewhat human. This scan was taken about 3 weeks ago. I'm sure it looks much different now... oh, they grow up so fast!

We expect to Smudge to join us, and hopefully get a more traditional name, sometime in mid-February. In the meantime, I'm eating lots of spicy carbs, growing out of my wardrobe, and taking naps (though my energy seems to be returning).This is me last week, showing off my new baby belly. I know, it's really hard to see. But you'll have to trust me that it is different than before.

I hope that this blog won't turn into the Smudge blog, but I might share something here and there about how it's going, if you don't mind.

Sunday, August 16

true vacation

We went to Maine again. That's how long it's been! We went to Maine and had a lovely week doing just about nothing. I took naps. Christopher did some writing. I read a little. Christopher wrote some more. We made pasta from scratch. I started a blanket. It wasn't enough time. I feel terrible saying that, since this was the fifth week I've taken off this summer, but it was the first of those weeks that I really felt able to relax. Italy was good until my eye fell apart. And my trip to Haystack was overshadowed by bad weather and my cold. Next summer we are thinking that a month might in Maine be nice. Maybe we can sublet our apartment, and not worry about the lack of income, and we can settle in and just be.

Wednesday, July 22


I feel like apologizing every time I blog, because it is so long between posts. I am sorry. I am a little checked out these days, and I'm finding it hard to come up with witty and interesting posts. But I do want to share my quilting with you before it is so far in the past that it is obsolete.

So. I have always wanted to quilt. In high school, I made a few quilt squares by hand with some of my mother's scrap fabric. I like how quilts often have histories and contain objects of the past. And I love the patterns you can make with fabric, and how practical they are. So when my mother invited me to join her at Session 3 of Haystack this summer, I was immediately attracted to the Quilting as Art class. It's an interesting choice, really, since what I love about quilts is their tradition, and the point of this class is to break tradition.

We started the class by doing a bunch of creative exercises with color and line. Part of this involved us each picking an image or object that we found interesting and playing with it. My image was a dress. I placed in on my square in different ways and played with applying dress images onto different fabrics. I was also interested in exploring quilting lines and how one can draw with texture just using stitches.Throughout the two weeks, my dress evolved, until at one point I decided to make many squares using just details of the dress image, and to piece them together into a small quilt. (Unfortunately I don't seem to have a lot of photos of this process, which surprises me, frankly)

I drew out 9 details of the dress, which I thought could translate into 9 squares. I made cardboard templates and cut them out, and then I cut out fabric and made 9 squares. Except that I didn't like how all of them went together, and then I thought that 9 looked sort of measly, so I made 3 more squares. And I rearranged them and made more, and I dyed some red and yellow fabric that I thought might look good with my green and blue theme. Basically, I guess you could say that I approached it like a piece of art. But that's probably typical for this sort of thing, right?I also learned how to sew angles, which was pretty fun.

Once I had decided on my squares and sewed them together, I had to figure out a border.These are just a few of my options. I decided to go with green, with a thin brown border around that. But it's still not done.

When I realized that I wouldn't have enough time, I took a few of my cast off squares and made a mini quilt. You might also call it a rectangular pot holder, or a mini-placemat. it's really not much of anything, except an exercise. I took these two squares and made them into a quilt, so I would learn how to sew a binding on, and how to quilt it, and all of that, while I still had quilting colleagues to ask advice of. Of course, I didn't photograph this piece, and I left it in Maine...

Here is how my quilt looks now, along with some of the fabric I dyed for it. Yeah, I didn't finish it. And I left it at my parents' place in Maine, since I figure I'll finish it when I go back up there in August. But it's a start. I still have to figure out where to put my quilting lines, and then finish that border.

I feel like I have a dialog with my little quilt, and the fabric that reminds me of water and the sky at the same time. It will tell me where to put those lines.

I don't know how many more quilts I'll make. Frankly, they aren't so portable, and I find them much less tactile than knitting. But we'll see. I do have a lot of fabric that needs to be used...

Wednesday, July 15

Home from Haystack

It has been awhile! And so much has happened.

First things first, my eye, and only because it is good news. I do not need surgery because my eye is healing itself. I may have some long term scarring, but honestly I barely notice anything now and I will be happy if this is how I see for the rest of my life. Phew.

I actually didn't realize until yesterday (when I got this news) how much my eye issues have been weighing on me down since it all started in early June. Yesterday I emerged from the hospital a happier person, smiling and squinting at the sunlight, so thrilled that it would be alright. I find this interesting, because I don't feel like I've been dwelling on it very much, but I guess it's just been there, dragging me down.

So. What I've been up to, though I think I'll give this to you in installments.

Week One.
At the end of June I went to Maine with my mother. She taught a drawing class at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and I was her guest, and a student in a Quilting as Art class. I had never done any quilting, though I could do some basic sewing, so the whole thing was really new to me. After some initial design exercises, we learned about Shibori dyeing. (Maybe it's just me, but I thought that Shibori was just for knitting!)In any case, Shibori is a little like tie-dyeing (you might say that tie-dyeing is a form of Shibori) but bigger and better. We tried different techniques, including wrapping, stitching, folding, clamping, rolling our fabric to create resists. And if it came out badly (as mine sometimes did), you just refolded it in some other way and overdyed it. Nothing lost.We had a whole dyeing room at Haystack, with lots of big pots and tall tables for dyeing on, and there was a whole set of primary colored dyes for us to mix and experiment with.The unfortunate part of our first week was the weather, which basically looked like this the whole time. Fog. And more fog. (These pictures were not all taken on the same day.) That's the ocean out there, with lots of islands and a mountain. We didn't see it until the second week.And it was really very cold and rainy too. I can usually handle this sort of weather, but we didn't have any heat in the studio or the cabins, and I didn't bring the right clothing for cold weather, and I was miserable.

And I got sick. But that's week two, in which I also tried to make a quilt!

Wednesday, June 24

lack of distractions

Sometimes it seems like life just takes over and there's no time for the fun stuff. I mean, on a normal day (meaning most days before June) I had things to fill in the gaps, things that I did to entertain myself and take the edge off the problems in my life. Like knit. Or spin. Or go to see a play. But since we got back from Italy it's been all about unfun things, like going to the eye doctor again. Or getting a second opinion. Or moving all of our furniture so the contractors can work on our windows. It's so full of this stuff that I don't even miss knitting. That's how bad it is.

Our windows. I have mentioned on various occasions that they leak. Well, the leaks were supposedly fixed on more than one occasion over the past 6 months. June has been rainy and it seemed to have been fixed, so we gave the go ahead for our building to bring someone in to replace the rotten sills in our living room and bedroom.Christopher and I moved the furniture away from the problem windows, so it wouldn't get dust and grime on it. Most of the side tables and laundry baskets, the TV, our mattress all were moved into other rooms.

We were told it would take 2 days to rip out and replace the window frames.Thursday was a rainy day, and soon after the first frame had been torn off, water started pouring in from above. The contractor finished his destruction, cleaned up and left. There is no point in him putting new sills on until the leak is located. That was almost a week ago.Today, at last, the management company informed us that they finally got a hold of the people who had originally "fixed" the leak. Hopefully they'll come soon to "fix" the current leaks. I have little faith, since they have been here numerous times and still haven't fixed anything.

And in the meantime, since we are dealing with 3 windows that are oozing dust and mildew, we are living out of boxes and sleeping on our mattress on our floor. So depressing. I'm going away tomorrow, and then Christopher will be left to deal with this situation. I hope he doesn't have to suffer too much longer.


In eye news, I got a second opinion. The general consensus is that I should wait and observe it for about a month, and then possibly have surgery. I can't get a straight answer from the doctor's office about what the surgery entails, and I am hoping that they decide it's not necessary. But I won't know that until I get back in mid-July.

In more positive news, I am heading to Maine for two weeks for a quilting workshop. I'm super psyched to get away, though I feel bad about leaving Christopher with the mess of our apartment.