Tuesday, March 31

a new feature

My father, a photographer, has been making panorama photographs. In the past few weeks, he's sent me links to 4 new ones, and I thought it might be interesting to post one on this blog every week.

(I still haven't figured out how to post the actual panorama to my blog -it's run by Flash, which apparently Blogger won't support- but if you click this link you will go to the panorama associated with this image.)

This is my parents' roof, after a big storm on Sunday. Because a panorama is basically a bunch of still photographs stitched together, my father was able to put himself in the photo, along with my mom. The structure to the left of my mother is their solar hot water heater. And behind her is Eastern State Penitentiary. When I was a child I thought that the penitentiary was actually a castle, and I had fantasies about one day living there. (A child can dream.)

Sunday, March 29

baby knitting

I seem to be on to the next round of Everyone I Know is Pregnant. One friend had a baby in February, Christopher's cousin's wife had a baby in early March, and my best friend from high school had a baby last week. Tonight I am going to a baby shower for someone else whose baby is due May 1. And there's another due in mid-June. But that's far away, for now at least!

So! Baby knitting!

The February baby, Cliff, lives in LA. Since a wool hat doesn't really make sense, I made him a Fuzzy Mitten Lamb (Ravelry link) with some leftover acrylic and superwash yarn. I think it's cute (even though somewhat lopsided), but I still haven't gotten it in the mail. hm. I don't think Cliff minds.

Henry, the newest Wall baby, was sent a hat and bib. I rather love the hat, knit with left over Dream in Color Classy, and an edge of some scrap Knit Picks Swish DK. The pattern is Erika Knight's Pixie Hat, a pattern from a book I've had for several years. (I find there aren't a ton of worsted weight baby hat patterns, which can be a problem when you're knitting something last minute.) Anyway, this was a winner and I'll definitely make it again.

And the last baby, the shower baby. (you may notice I'm skipping Charlie, born last week. Well, I don't have anything for him yet. I'll see when I'm invited to visit and then whip up another hat, probably). This was a toughie, since I went to grad school with this mom-to-be, and she's someone with amazing and very stylish taste. I know there will be some fashion designer and crafty types at the shower, so it really had to be more than just a knit baby hat. I made a version of the Berroco Cisco hat, but without ears, since I think this mom would appreciate a little funk.Another great pattern, in my opinion. It's like an updated bonnet of sorts, with some attitude and definite cuteness. I'm supplementing the little hat with a pair of organic baby socks and a tube of Weleda diaper cream (which I've been told is the best).

I'm frantically baking cookies, since I just noticed that all of the guests are requested to bring desserts to the shower. Christopher seems concerned about how much I'm stressing over all of this, and how competitive I seem to have become. Yeah, well, you can't be the one with the lame gift, and the competition will be indeed fierce.

What should I wear??

Monday, March 23

disappearing act

wow. I've been AWOL again, haven't I?

sigh. What can I say?

I opened my latest show last night, a gay adaptation of Hedda Gabler entitled Henri Gabler. It's an interesting concept, and the set was fun to design and put together. Really it's fairly simple: a green floor, and a wall of 4" plastic refrigeration strips hung a few feet from the back wall. The strips create some really great reflections, and the floor glows. Very cool.I'm beginning to emerge and restart my other life (the non-designer part). It's always so disappointing to go back to work after doing my theater thing intensely for a chunk of time. I always use this period to notice everything that's wrong with my life: the lack of storage space in our bedroom, the dust bunnies under the dining table, the clutter on and around my desk. The room where I have my computer and my knitting stuff has become a dump of sorts, and it's no good.

I clicked over to Apartment Therapy this morning and discovered that they're doing their Cure once again. I think it might be good incentive to clean up and organize at least one of our rooms. Terra has agreed to loan me their Cure book, so I'll begin next week, a week or two late but whatever. At least I'm trying to do something about the clutter. And maybe once that's gone the rest of my life will feel more organized too.

Friday, March 13

it's that time again

My parents are renting their house in Maine by the week in the summer. It's cheap. It's simple. It's a great base for exploring, and a nice spot for just hanging out.Check out the site.

Wednesday, March 11

what size am I, anyway?

I have written before about my Metropole, but I know it's been a few months. Long story short, I'm knitting myself a coat from the new Mason-Dixon book. It never would have occurred to me to do such a thing, except that I tried on the sample coat at the book signing last fall, and it was amazing. I've been plugging away ever since.

It's actually fairly quick to knit. The yarn is bulky (I'm using some Cascade 109 Tweed that I got from Webs) and the stitch is fairly easy to knit mindlessly. My biggest issue seems to be size. Since it's bulky, subtle gauge differences change the garment enormously. I've done quite a bit of knitting, measuring, washing and blocking what's been knit, and then ripping it back. The main problem may be that I'm convinced that I will fit into a size small, since that is what I tried on. Whatever I knit continues to be too small for me. huh.In any case, I'm moving ahead, and started the first sleeve over the weekend. One fun thing about this coat is that there are contrasting stripes on the cuffs and collar. I tried 3 different color combinations before I settled on this one. I am ending up with some orange handspun (from Hope Spinnery roving), Cascade 109 Tweed in a charcoal gray color and some Lamb's Pride that I'm recycling from a half-finished hat.

Last night at my knitting group I thought I'd tempt fate and make the sleeves an inch longer than specified before I started increasing. (I have longer arms than most, since I'm tall.) The sleeve was 13" when I went home, and I was frustrated at how it was just too small to fit around my arm. Maybe I could stretch it and make it fit?? This morning I wised up, realizing that I don't want a skin tight winter coat, and tore back to where I was supposed to start increasing. Sometimes I'm too big for my britches, or too big for my coat in this case. Perhaps following the pattern (and realizing what my measurements are) would be a good idea in the future...

Friday, March 6

working for myself

You probably realize this by now, but I'm slightly obsessed with this economy. I'm sure it will bring a lot of trouble to my life, as I know it's already wrecking havoc on others. Theater work (at my level) seems to be drying up as the funding disappears, and I'm left hoping that every show I'm connected to won't be postponed, downsized, or just really small to begin with (my experience so far this year), and that I do in fact have a future in this business.

I realize that not everyone is experiencing the economy in this way. I went out with some Broadway and Off-Broadway set designers a few weeks ago, and they are very busy. Of course, one of them was doing a show that was way below her level, something a young up and coming designer (like me!) should be working on. But I guess that's life: In a downturn, people take what they can get, and those who are less established get pushed slightly backward on the food chain. (Thank goodness I'm not just finishing grad school or college this year.)

The economy is the Topic Of Discussion in most of the circles I'm in. A few months ago I had lunch with a writer-friend and her composer-husband, and they declared that we should all be seeing this slow period as a time to enrich oneself. Like, with your extra time from being unemployed, learn something you've always wanted to learn, a skill that will get you a better job when the market picks up again. Like, another language, or a software system. I suggested that I could learn to quilt, which they thought was hilarious. I guess they didn't realize I was serious.

With their advice in mind, and my disgruntlement at today's latest you-almost-had-this-design-gig-but-it-no-longer-exists, I've decided to see this as an opportunity to broaden my horizons. I will send out letters, I'll get to know the theater community better and network more. And I'll do some things for my mental health too. Like learn to quilt. And run. And spin yarn. And spend more time with friends.

Last week I started the Couch to 5K program. For those of you who don't know it, it's a running program that gets a non-runner to run. In 9 weeks you should be able to run 5K, or about 3 miles. It starts with a walking warm up, and then intervals of walking and running. I've downloaded a weekly podcast, which instructs me when to start to run or walk, and as of today I've finished week 2. So far, with the exception of Tuesday (the day after the snowstorm, when I went to the gym) I have done all of my running in Prospect Park, which is so gorgeous and just down the street. I have no regrets so far, and am really enjoying being outside (near trees) and getting into shape.

On Saturday Lisa came over, and we spent a few hours spinning together. Unfortunately, we both forgot to take photos before it got dark. But it was inspiring in the way I imagine a running partner to be, both of us there treadling away. I finally finished spinning the half pound of turquoise roving I got from Persimmon Tree Farm at Rhinebeck last fall. (I've actually been spinning it since last fall. Very slowly. Really.) I now have 322 yards from it, and a DK weight, which is a first. I am thinking of making a scarf, something warm but elegant for next fall, to go with my knitted coat. I realized recently that I haven't made much with my handspun, which is kind of ridiculous.

As for quilting... no progress yet (other than my sachet from months ago) but I am 90% sure I'm going to take a course entitled "the Art Quilt" this summer up in Maine. Two intense weeks of quilting, with no internet or cell phone reception. Sounds heavenly, right?

Monday, March 2

why I love living where I do

well, if you have to live in New York, that is...

Sunday, March 1

new starts

I have been neglecting the blog this week. My excuse is that I don't have anything great to post. I do have a shawl/lace scarf to share, but I don't have any good photos. And I've started running, but again no photos.

What I do have is this, which I took yesterday. The economy has been on my mind. I talk about it with everyone I meet, even complete strangers. We're all strategizing on what we're going to do when the rug is pulled out from under us, what will be our backup plan. I've been trying to rack up hours at my day job, but it is completely miserable and I really have to drag myself there every day.

My backup plan is photography. There must be some way to make this work, whether through stock photos, photographing theatrical productions (my original plan) or just portraits of local people. In the meantime, I'm trying to master my new camera, learn Aperture and refresh my dormant photography skills.

What's your back up plan?