On to Greece!

I’m sorry I’ve been posting less often, my shoulder’s been pretty painful and I’ve been devoting my active time to knitting rather than blogging.

I’ve been working up the 3 pieces I’m calling the Minoan Set, so named because the design is based on garments worn by the Minoan Snake Goddess statuette discovered on Crete. I thought this would be a wonderful chance to use simple shapes and rustic fibers to create an interesting historical silhouette.

The fiber for the two tops (Shrug & Surplice) is Dharma, a recycled silk by Mango Moon, giving the piece an almost ‘raw silk-like’ appearance. It looks rough, but feels SO lovely and has a deep shine that isn’t apparent at first glance.

These aren’t showy pieces, but they’re warm and very alive. They’re also an odd combination of body skimming, yet barely shaped.

I’m particularly happy with the shaping on the surplice, which is so simple that it feels like an Eileen Fisher piece to me.

There is a bit of shaping lower down on the fronts, and I do a tricky manuver where I join the shoulders except for a few sts at the front necks and use these stitches to create a neck hugging back collar.

The shrug is shaped by creating a rectangle which is split halfway up the length to create the Fronts edges. When the rectangle is finished, it’s folded lengthwise and the underarm seams are joined. The remaining stitches are picked up and worked in ribbing to create the very short body.

Simple, but effective.

I think I’m especially pleased with these pieces because I had an idea for them, but I wasn’t 100% sure it would work. It was one of those things where I held the details at arms length and just picked a yarn which spoke to me and jumped in with both feet.

These were Garments of Trust, which I’ve learned can only be created when many, many hours of pondering precede the jumping.

Add to that my discovery that this fiber does NOT like to be ripped out, and once I’d started I knew I had to be disciplined in my leaping, no matter how free-form it may seem to someone watching from the outside.

Next up is the skirt, which I’ll be starting tonight. It’s going to be out of a lovely, earthy, colorful ribbon and my challenge is to make the fabric light enough to be comfortable, but not too – ahem – ventilated. Stay tuned!

Ski Bum
Max is officially a ski kid. I cannot believe how much he’s taken to this sport – it’s in his blood. So we headed off to Play It Again sports armed with our 20% off coupon (thank you, local paper!) and got him some incredibly well priced skis and boots. LOVE the end of the winter sales. Bottom line – for the cost of 2 rentals he’s outfitted for next year.

Until he outgrows the boots. But we’ve discovered a wonderful event called the Ski Swap which reportedly takes place in October, and we may be swapping up a size in Max’s boots.

We’d love to find some skis & boots for Hannah, too, as that will allow her to join the ski club at her school and go off every few weeks to Afton Alps for less than I’d every expected. It really is a wonderland here – there is SO much for kids to do.

Myself? I will not be downhill skiing. But I have taken the suggestions on snowshoeing very seriously, and that – and/or cross country skiing – may be my winter sport of choice. Or knitting.

I just received my tickets / info for the Craft Cruise I’ll be participating in with Drew Emborsky in early April. I am MORE excited than I’d imagined I’d be, Drew is such a doll and I’m very excited to have so much casual time with a group of students. The only fly in the ointment is that the cruise – or at least my portion – isn’t as full as I would have wished. Oh, well.

I’ve been told that Caribbean Cruises are especially difficult to fill these days, and I would give quite a bit to be able to afford to take Gerry, but I can either choose to fret over these two things or I can choose to prepare.

So I’ll prepare – and hopefully it will be the start of a series of terrifyingly well-attended cruises. (“Everybody – let’s play Titanic! Run to the bow!!) and the next one will be a greater success in the signups department.

Drama Queen
Hannah’s discovered theater (I wondered when it would happen!) and just came home GLOWING from her first performance at her Jr. High play. I missed opening night (driving Max to his own activities) but tomorrow night is my night to see her shine.

Sometimes Gerry and I just sit back in amazement at how our kids are growing in so many different, wonderful directions here in Minnesota. This is a good place to be for an 11 & 12 year old, that’s for sure.

I am LOVING Twitter, and I don’t care who knows it.

There’s been a lot of trash talk about it lately from folks who a) Aren’t tweeting, b) Are threatened by the tweet, and c) Just like to say nasty things about new technology.

But I adore it.

I get updates from my congressman (okay, I wish he were, but he’s in the adjacent district. Love me some Keith Ellison…) and from one of my favorite senators, Claire M. And my favorite Top Chef contestant.

I get coupons from my favorite local pizza place, got back in touch with an old friend from my Martha Stewart days, and receive Ravelry updates on open ad space. I can find out what my favorite NPR pundit, code monkey, fiber mover & shaker, dark lord, yarn company, political TV wonk (and this one, too) or independent soul are doing.

When one works at home – works alone – it’s, well, lonely. I’m very self motivated, I can get a lot of stuff done AND do a Wii workout before noon, but I miss having other designer-y, knitter-y, crochet-y folks to bounce ideas off of.

But this is the closest thing I have to co-workers – to a water cooler – here in my house.

It’s also a great place to troll for unsuspecting scrabble partners (I recently got five bingos in one game and have my opponent convinced I have sacrificed a small animal to the Scrabble gods)

And that’s why my Tweeter avatar is the image to the left.

If you’re interested in Twitter, a great place to start is one of the desktop applications that allow you to receive tweets, follow folks, without tying up a browser window. I use Twhirl, suggested by Guido (it’s a purl man podcast) and I’ve been loving it.

So – here’s one vote FOR Twitter. And Daniel Schorr agrees.

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