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.