28 Dec

Christmas Crafting

Both my daughter and I did some crafting this Christmas. An entirely handmade holiday would be too much work, but we always try to sprinkle in soft gifts with the inevitable techy ones.

This cowl, knit earlier in the year, went to my sister:



And this one to my sister in law (who is moving to Wisconsin and will need more luxurious warm things):



My brother in law got a manly, but still silky soft, scarf for his Wisconsin wardrobe:



Hubby and other brother in law got silly mustache cowls:




My nephew got Legos, but my niece got rainbow leg warmers (which looked so tiny while I was knitting them, but are obviously just right on her)!



I found a great coffee cup sleeve pattern on Ravelry that is perfect for all those ends of yarn skeins and knit up a bunch to give to my knit night ladies.

Coffee Cup Sleeves



My daughter wanted to make pillows for her girlfriends. She did a great job pulling from both my scrap bins and my regular stash, working improvisationally, to go from her “whiteboard” sketches to finished gifts (we even put the embroidery module on my sewing machine to work to add initials to the backs):






And finally, our tree got a little love. Years ago I made a red tree skirt with Swedish Dala horses which goes great with all our red and folky ornaments, but I’ve been wanting a more frosty looking skirt for the years we hang our icicle and snowflake ornaments. It’s been low priority though. This year I came into possession of four garbage bags of fabric from a woman who passed away. Included was a huge piece of grey wool. Perfect for embroidering a few snowflakes onto and making a tree skirt. When I cut the fabric though, I realized it was full of moth holes. So, I pulled white felt (leftover from Halloween Smurf hats for the taekwondo dojang a few years ago) from my stash, and the dregs of a skein of yarn leftover from the ripple afghan I made a few more years earlier, and voila, every circle covers at least one moth hole if not more. It’s simple stitching, but gets the job done and looks quite nice under the tree I think.




Now it’s time to get back to the regular artwork. Or more knitting…

24 Dec

Two Twelves in DC

Brenda pretty much said it all on the Twelve by Twelve blog. She was visiting DC, I live relatively close, and so we met for a day of art and catching up. It was grand!

Coincidentally, there was a quilt show that opened the same weekend at the National Gallery for Women in the Arts, so of course we took the opportunity to see it. But we met first at the National Portrait Gallery since it opened earlier. Neither of us had ever been there, so we joined the highlights tour for a taste of the history, architecture, and the art itself.

There were the classic Presidential portraits  of Washington and Jefferson, and two life masks of Lincoln showing the physical effects of the stress of the office over a five year period — the latter mask being much more gaunt than the first. What I enjoyed most though were the galleries of more recent presidents as the artwork reflected the styles of each period so well. As Brenda noted, the expressionist brushstrokes of Elaine deKooning’s Kennedy captured the sixties so well, and Chick Close’s Clinton portrait is iconic. There’s also a Norman Rockwell portrait of Nixon that is surprisingly warm and intimate.

After our intro to the Portrait Gallery (definitely worth a return visit), we stopped for a bite at Capitol City Brewing Company, and then off to find the National Museum of Women in the Arts.  The Work’t by Hand collection is predominantly quilts from the late 1800s, but covers a wide variety of styles from crazy quilts to Amish, to broderie perse and Stars of Bethlehem. No photos though. As the title suggests, the hand work on these quilts is just exquisite. We spent quite some time marveling at the variety of stitches on the crazy quilts and the beautiful embroidery. As I see an appliqué project on my horizon, I am inspired to make my stitches as small and invisible as possible in emulation of the fine workmanship. I am also inspired to add tiny bits of sparkly sequined ice skating costume fabric as in the one quilt by noted scrap quilter Anna Williams.

We took the opportunity to check out the museum’s permanent collection while we were there. Of course Brenda and I were drawn to the pieces that most referenced fabric. The only two I took photos of were a very quilty piece thick with paint, by Valerie Jaudon, titled Bay St. Louis.

Bay St Louis

And several pieces by Andrea Higgins which looked like extreme enlargements of fabrics, but were dimensional paint. I particularly liked this one, titled  Jackie (India) which is part of a series inspired by clothing worn by First Ladies.

Jackie (India)

We had a lovely day talking art and life, and it was fantastic to add visits to two more museums I had not seen before. I am lucky to live so close to a city with so much to offer, and which is a destination for so many friends as well!


15 Dec

Been Knitting

It’s been quiet here on ye olde blog. I’ve been knitting for Christmas. And to be perfectly honest, been knitting for fun just because it takes less brain power. I promise myself that I will get back to taking myself seriously as soon as the holiday festivities are over, but in the mean time, here’s the sea of wool I’ve been swimming in.