Friday, May 27, 2011

Photo Phriday

I need a relaxing day, to recoup my center.  I have still not been giving myself enough time for sleep, and today I am cranky and tired.  Like most mothers of small children, I need a vacation.  And because that is unlikely to happen, I need to put on my Big Girl Panties and just start going to bed on time.

I am leaving you today with this lovely Pissaro.  It is called "Woman Carding".  She looks so peaceful, I just want to bring her a cup of tea, and sit with her, working quietly.  *Sigh!*

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Putting my money where my mouth is

If you've wandered around this blog a little bit, you've probably noticed that I am big on creativity.  No matter who is getting creative, I am into it.  I especially like the feeling when I am inspired to make something, that rush of an idea, the itch to get started... 

Now I just have to work on my follow through.  I tend to complain that I have no time to do, well, anything, but that isn't exactly true.  I have two small children, and a household to maintain, but there is some time for creating, if I can just get into the routine of doing it.  April, over at Blacksburg Belle, suggests that I get up earlier.  That is a very good suggestion which I have been fighting for awhile, staying up late and complaining that I can't go to bed yet, I haven't gotten anything done (which I would do in the morning, if only I got to bed on time...)  And because I am not accomplishing anything with my old way of doing things, I am going to switch.  Today. 

This morning, although I did not get up early, I snuck (sneaked?) in some creative time with a sketchbook, coming up with a girls sweater design for fall.  I've been meaning to do that for a long time, and finally just sat down and did it.  The big kid was at preschool at the time, and the little kid was at babysitting at the gym.  I shortened my workout, got dressed, and sketched without any interruptions before picking up the little one.  Boy, did that feel good!  I am happy with the design, and now I can go to bed early, and get up early tomorrow.

On a separate note, sometimes the well of inspiration runs a little dry.  We all have that problem sometimes.  I've written about it before, and I'm gonna do it again.  I had an idea that it is easier to be inspired by something someone else says, maybe because those words come from a different brain (one that isn't in a dry spell?)  So Cheryl and I came up with inspiring each other, to keep the creativity ramped up. 

I figure if I post something inspiring on this blog, and you're reading this blog, then you can get into the game too.  Feel free to use the inspiration notes that I'll be posting for your own creative endeavors, whatever they are.  I'm sure you can find a way to do that.  You're so creative!

Inspiration Notes for Today:
I saw someone reading written music today.  She wasn't playing music at the time, she was reading the music and making some notes.  Written music makes me think of, well, music, even though I cannot read written music. 

Outside it is hot and humid  - for this part of the US anyway.  Summer is almost here!  For some reason I want to listen to the same music each summer.  Beach music.  I listen to it and I become a teenager again, a prettier, younger, and (in my mind) fitter version of myself.  When I hear Love Shack by the B52s, Dancing Queen by Abba, or songs from the movie Grease, I need to crank up the volume and sing along!  These songs' lyrics are feasts for the imagination:

...see a faded sign at the side of the road that says 16 miles...

...Friday night and the lights are low, Looking out for a place to go...
...Took her bowling in the arcade
   We went strolling, drank lemonade
   We made out under the dock
   We stayed out 'till ten o'clock...

Just reading the lyrics makes me think of the hot sand and faded colors during the day, and the boardwalk lit up like fireworks at night.

Do with the notes what you will.  Leave me a comment  - tell me if this is inspiring at all, or if I'm totally missing the mark.   Or leave lyrics from your favorite summer song!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sheep and Wool Overload

I made my yearly pilgrimage to Maryland Sheep and Wool at the beginning of this month, and had a ball!  This year, I left the kids at home (thank you honey!) and was ready to go when my sister Cheryl arrived from RI.  (yeah, that's how crazy we are.  She traveled across SIX states!  And in RI, they consider anything over 10 miles a trip where you need a hotel reservation...) 

So we met up with some delightful friends in MD.  We took classes and did way too much shopping.  The best part was chatting with other knitters, spinners, and other assorted fiber fanatics.  It was heaven. 

I took two classes on Saturday with Maggie Casey (yeah, that one).  She was wonderful.  What an impressive amount of knowledge this woman has stored in her noggin!  BUT, I think that her classes should be longer.  The entire three hours was packed with information, and we definately covered the class material, but she didn't seem to be out when our time was over.  She most likely could have filled another hour or two.  Yeah, I'd pay more for that.

Teach your old wheel new tricks was the morning class.  Little did I know that my (very) old Louet would be treated with such respect in a room full of fancier (and more expensive) wheels.  Seems Maggie learned to spin on a Louet, and dispelled my feelings of inadequacy right away.  We cleaned our wheels, and oiled them, then got to work.  She explained how each type of wheel (Scottish tension, double drive or Irish tension - my Louet)  worked, and the quirks of each.  Then we got to adjusting our wheels and spinning.  She talked about fiber, and staple length, and how to spin a finer yarn, etc, etc, etc!

Spinning Lace Yarns was the afternoon class, also taught by Maggie Casey A little repitition of basic information at the beginning of class, and then on to spinning thinner, and thinner until I actually had yarn on my bobbin that, when allowed to twist onto itself for a length, was an actual LACE WEIGHT.  That's a two ply laceweight yarn, something I never thought I'd be able to do on the Louet.  But thanks to Maggie, I did.  She's brilliant.  And very patient.

I've been stuck at dk weight two-ply for ages, and frustrated to no end that I just could not get the hang of spinning thinner.  And Maggie's class made it easy.  (hint:  It wasn't so much me, as it was the settings on the wheel.  Simple but amazing.)

Not too much shopping on Saturday, as the market closed soon after the class ended.  I made up for that later.

On Sunday morning, I took a class called Thick and Thin and Coils with Jacey Boggs (ravelry link).  I have not spun any "art" yarn before, and I was looking forward to trying some.  The class was crazy good.  Jacey talks non-stop, but not in an annoying way.  She's engaging, and nice, and has a lot to teach.  We started with the thick and thin yarn, and after I got the hang of it, I considered the class paid for.  But then, there was this whole other type of yarn (using some overspun thick and thin) that was AMAZING. 

Like Maggie Casey's classes, Jacey's class was totally worth the admission price, maybe even more.  If you can find either of these ladies teaching in your area, I highly recommend their classes.  And I've taken a LOT of classes.

After Jacey's class, I went SHOPPING.  More about that later (with pics!)