Saturday, June 7, 2008

Well, I did it.

Today was the first farmer's market of the season. I left the house at 5:45, picked up the borrowed tables and the neighbor kid (who volunteered to help me out with set-up and take down so he could sell Rhubarb Punch from my booth in the interim), and got to Elkhart Lake by about 6:20. I wasn't the first one there, so I wasn't too early - but people were still setting up an hour later, so apparently I could have slept a little longer and still been fine.

The lattice thing worked out pretty well, although I need to ask Rick to trim about 18" off the worst end of each for the next time. Nola sent me a bin of craft items to display, which helped fill that second table and avoid a barren atmosphere. I didn't dare hang my framed pictures up on it after all - the hook just didn't look stable enough, and I didn't want to bet the cost of the frame (especially on a breezy day). But Nola had some little dolls that hooked up there just fine, and it gave me a place to hang the vest that Tammy painted, and I think it was more or less a success. The wind did manage to knock over my spinning racks several times, even though I tried taping them down with packing tape, so for the last hour or so I just spread the prints out on the table. Before next week, I'm going to hit Rick up for a wooden base or something to help stabilize them, since I really do think the cards look better on the racks. Oh, and I want table cloths.

As far as actual sales - I paid for my gas and made enough extra to buy strawberry ice cream for myself and my helper. But it was a bit warm out there for comfortable shopping, especially as we headed towards noon, and with the lack of rain earlier this spring there wasn't much in the way of produce to attract shoppers. And the lady in the booth next to me (a sculptor with some really interesting little garden art and jewelery) tells me that the first weekend is always poor, and the customers will start opening their wallets as the summer gets going. So I figure it was a good familiarization run, and I enjoyed chatting with the shoppers and getting to know the people in the adjoining booths. I'm content.

Friday, June 6, 2008

On growing up

"Mom, why does this picture look like that? Don't you have photoshop?"

"Luc, I've had at least two people tell me in the last few days how cute you've gotten to be."

"I don't want to be cute. I want to be rugged and manly."

"You know, I'd kind of like the idea of the Army if it wasn't for all that war and killing and all. I mean, the discipline . . . the sense of duty and accomplishment . . . ."

"Then become a forest ranger."

"Mom, I saw a picture in this magazine, and I think I want to move to Washington state. The river looked all cool and green . . . "

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Getting my ducks in a row

Okay, so they're goslings. And I know Canada Geese generally rate pretty low on the desirability scale, what with their constant noise and leavings and all. But aren't the little fuzzy ones cute? And can you believe this momma is leading 23 of them around? (You can't see them all in this shot, but I counted beaks.)

Anyway, plans continue to develop for that fall wedding I mentioned, and on Wednesday I was upgraded from spectator to best woman, or groomswoman, or something like that. (I guess that Titania sweater may have to wait.) Proper attire for the role has not been determined; I'm being threatened with a velvet suit appropriate for a Dutch farmer from a previous era, or perhaps a really big floppy pastel hat. If this line of thought continues, I may have to lead a revolt.

Pressing on

One of the consequences of being a vegetarian is that after a while your digestive system can no longer effectively digest things that mainstream eaters would still describe as "food." This isn't really a problem most days, because the majority of foods are fairly open about their meat content. But things like fast food chains "flavoring" their fries with meat, or unexpected pork in your beans, or chicken stock in your soup - if you don't know to watch for this stuff, it can really wreak havoc with your digestive system. (And we won't even talk about those helpful people who think you - and your body - won't object to animal protein if you don't know you're eating it.) Imagine going to a third world country and drinking the water. It's fine for the locals, because their system is up to it. But it will keep you within 4 feet of the restroom for days afterwards.
Well, I don't know what made it past my guard, but either I've had a purely lovely 36 hour flu or I somehow got some meat. My prime suspects are the gelatin from the gourmet jelly beans Isaac brought home from his weekend, or lard in the pie that his sister sent. (I always forget to watch out for baked goods!) So, yesterday was not a work day for me.
Once I was feeling a little better, I tried to make some use of my time. Here are the first two completed fiber necklaces.
I really like the burgundy one with the brass beads and brass clasp, made with a combination of recycled sari silk and a high-end cotton. The blue and silver one, made with off-the-shelf findings and a ribbon that is actually called "Sari," is a bit more disappointing. The silver cones which were a key to my design may have been a mistake, since they arrived looking like rolled-up tinfoil. I tried adding texture to them with a chasing hammer to make them a little more interesting, and now they look like dented rolled-up tinfoil. I hate to take them apart, because I don't want to waste the sterling silver wire holding the findings together - but I'm just not happy with the outcome, and I don't want one cheap-looking item to debase the whole display. I can salvage the I-cord (and I have another half-dozen I-cords prepared for assembly); I just need to come up with a better way to put it all together. Oh, and I need some medium-sturdy jump rings and a better quality of silver clasp, since I can't find the 14 gauge silver wire that I remember having in my stash.
Other accomplishments: two more cotton summer hats. Oh, and I've finished the knotting and weaving in on all the hats and all the water bottle holders. Now I just need to fray-check the knots, clip them, and felt the holders.

Pressing on . . .

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Yard Smells Wonderful.

I'm shamelessly reveling in the sights and smells of spring.

Plans and Progress

I have been productively engaged, as you can see:

Farmer's market is in 5 days, and in addition to various matted photographic prints I have 8 waterbottle holders (unfelted as yet), a shawl and 3 hats. I'm still hoping that these cotton hats, made out of Peaches & Creme in a fairly open stitch, will appeal to those fashion conscious types who don't like their hair whipping into their eyes in the summer breeze. From left to right, you are looking at a feather & fan lace version with a 12 stitch repeat in Monet greens and pinks, a pure white with a rolled brim and a strip of Roman Arches (or Roman Stripe or something like that - see Barbara Walker's 2nd book, somewhere around page 148), and some wild colors with a 3 row seed stitch border and a 10 stitch repeat version of a butterfly stitch. Next I want to do another one with a seed stitch border, but then do the "wave" colorwork like I did on the cotton baby sweater back in March. Anyway, recipe is below.

Regarding the water bottles, I still need to felt them and weave in the cotton ends and such, but I've found a vendor on E-bay who sells lots of carabineer clips for about 30% of what I've seen elsewhere. I can vary the designs enough to hold my interest (although frankly the colorwork kite - bottom left - looked better in my head than it does in reality). And my plan is to have a cooler of chilled water bottles with me at the market, which will be included free with each bottle cover purchase.

I know - I still need to experiment with that fiber necklace idea. I may be avoiding the topic, after my first unsatisfactory experiment. I also need to inventory the photography and mat up some larger prints for display. And I want to make a poster advertising my portrait work, since the new crop of senior picture candidates is just starting to ripen. And I still need to pick up a sheet of plastic lattice and have Rick cut it in half for me, so I can use it as a background and hang display items from it with s-clips. (Which also means, of course, that I need to buy said s-clips, and a whole bunch of bungie cords.) And my canopy still hasn't been delivered and I haven't coughed up the $120 or so for a pair of folding tables. But under the category of "It's Good To Have Friends," Tammy has offered me the use of a folding table for the summer and Nola has offered her canopy and folding tables for the next month (since the Pt. Washington market doesn't start until July) - so back-up plans and cost-delaying strategies are in place. Now all I have to do is show up, set up, sit back, and enjoy.

Oh, and what do you think of the two sparklies (eyes right)? The one in the clear photograph is from an advertisement somewhere, and is fairly elegant. The one in the fuzzy photograph, taken by someone who shall remain nameless but obviously is still having problems with her macro function, is one of the vintage pins from Peg's shoebox. I'm considering removing the pin finding from the back, adding a pair of loops at about 1:00 and 11:00, and stringing it on a snake chain similar to the first one. Am I destroying a perfectly good existing piece, or reinventing it as something unique and creative? The jury's still out.


General recipe for a cotton summer beanie:

1 largish skein of Peaches & Creme (I'm using up scraps, so I'm not sure exactly how much. A more thoughtful person would have weighed the hats.)
1 set of size 5 double-pointed needles

A Note on Gauge: Mine tends towards the loose, so size 5 needles are my standard for this yarn. Adjust yours to get more or less the gauge from the ballband (whatever that is). The pattern as shown comfortably fits my head, but is stretchy.

Cast on 80 stitches, divided evenly over 4 needles. (For a chemo cap or a smaller head, you might want to go down to about 72 stitches.) Work edge treatment of your choice:

(a) For rolled brim, work 8 rows of stockinette.

(b) For seed stitch border, work 1 row k1, p1; 1 row p1 k1; and 1 row k1 p1.

(c) For lace patterns with scalloped edge, such as feather and fan, no other edge treatment is necessary.

Continue working in the round, inserting lace patterns, colorwork or other embellishments as they strike your fancy, until piece measures approximately 4 ½ - 5" above edge treatment.

Decrease as follows:

(a) K 8, k 2 together, and repeat for rest of round.

(b) Knit.

(c) Knit 7, k2 together, and repeat for rest of round.

(d) Knit.

(e) Knit 6, k2 together, and repeat for rest of round. (You get the idea.)

When you get down to 8 stitches on your needles, break yarn, pull through loops and draw tight. Weave in ends.