Category Archives: Travel

I’m dog-tired!

I’m ba-ack!

Since last I posted, I’ve watched my daughter kill it as Lancelot in Monty Python’s Spamalot,

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watched my son play innumerable little league games,

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gotten promoted at work, and also been to California and back…

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Zoinks. What I have not done is had time to sew, or to post on the blog.

Last week I tried to finish the rainbow baby quilt for my new little cousin (due today, but SHE arrived early, while we were still in CA…) And the screw for my walking foot had somehow vanished (never fear, I got a new screw earlier this week.) But because I actually had some time to sew, I decided to start on the next 2 baby quilts on my list.

I have two friends, work friends (but not at my actual place of work) who are due 2 weeks apart. Both are having boys. Both are in a professional development group with me. So, they know one another. I decided that I would make semi-matching quilts for them, from the same batik roll that inspired my rainbow star quilt.

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When I cleaned up scraps and stash earlier this year, I found an old piece of batik that I’ve always loved. And it’s PERFECT for these 2 moms-to-be: both of them are serious dog lovers. In fact, I just found out today that one of them actually had a dog-themed shower.

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I went through my pinterest boards and found some inspiration, and settled on a great tutorial by Amy at Stitchery Dickery Dock. I love projects that can be completed from stash! So I cut strips from my batik roll, and matched them up, and then sewed them into HSTs. Now comes the fun part- so many layout possibilities!

Here’s what I’m playing with for the first one:

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It’s just an idea at the moment. I should have enough squares to actually set them each 6×7, but this one is currently 6×6. The blocks finish at 6″ square, so it will be 36×42.  A decent size for a baby quilt… But should I use the dogs on the front as a border for a little more size, or just as the backing? I do love border-free quilts, but sometimes they are fab for adding size.

I ran out of time to try more ideas, but rest assured I’ll be playing more, hopefully this weekend. After the end-of-season little league tournament and party, that is!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday and Let’s Bee Social.

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Filed under Baby quilts, Gift, Kids, Quilts, Travel, WIP Wednesday

Colorful Colorado is Coloradical

I thought I’d share some highlights from our mini break last week…

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Filed under Annie, Henry, Kids, Travel

Quilts and Color at the MFA Boston- go, go now!

Finally! After a crazy week following my office’s annual fundraiser dinner, I took a week of from work- a week that had been scheduled BEFORE I took this job, and a week I was lucky enough to keep even after the job switch… Then I got back to work, with probably the most on my plate that I had seen since I started the job, and had to get it all done by Friday, 4/11- because my office is completely shut down for Passover. Why do you care about all this detail? You don’t- but it is my excuse for not getting these photos posted faster. Now that I have 7 work days off, I am working on my sewing room change up AND finally delivering promised blog content…

Our trip back home to Boston was amazing. We saw old friends (and their kids!), and lots of family, and many of our favorite places. But one of the biggest highlights of the trip for me was a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, to see the brand spanking new Quilts and Color exhibit. (As an aside, the main reason I picked my undergrad college was to be nearly next door to the MFA, I love it that much…) (Another aside, the flags in the photo are a half mast in honor of the two Boston firefighters who were killed in that horrible fire shortly before our visit back…)

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We were very lucky- the exhibit actually opened the day AFTER we flew home, but my MIL is a member, which meant we got in a week early (and for free)!

The exhibit is from the collection of a pair of collectors- Paul Pilgrim and Gerald Roy, who sought out antique quilts that spoke about color in unique ways. Rather than being divided by time period or style, the quilts are arranged and display by use of color. That alone was fantastic- a different approach to looking at quilts. Each section had a fabulous intro, as well as a piece of corresponding modern art.

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It’s always wonderful to see quilts appreciated as “real” art, not described as folk art or craft. Not that those things are bad at all, but those words lead to assumptions by viewers. Seeing all these quilts, made by women both known and named, and anonymous, hung on the walls of a respected museum and treated the same as a Vermeer or a Picasso, changes the conversation in a wonderful way. Quilts as art, carefully thought out and created art… not news to us, but still news to some.

The exhibit contained quilts ranging from Baltimore Albums full of exquisite appliqué to a full range of log cabins and from hexies to economy blocks and so much more. The fabric choices were deliberate, and fashionable, and also sometimes astonishingly hard to work with- sateen, anyone? Most were quilted with painstaking detail, but a few were tied. Each quilt was chosen and curated with extreme care, as each is a stellar example of one of the many design and color principles highlighted by the exhibit.

I purchased the use of the interactive guide, and I highly recommend it. Not only is it an audio guide, it actually has images and video as well. It walks you in great detail through either 16 or 18 (I forget…) of the 50+ quilts. The info contained is well worth the $5! (Though I’m going to give a shout out to the Denver Art Museum, and the fact that their special exhibit tickets have included the audio guides at no extra cost for quite some time…)

I’m going to put a sampling of photos from the exhibit below, without many words. If you want to see ALL the many many photos I took, click here to visit them on Flickr. Also, please be kind about photo quality- it was amazing that we were allowed to photograph ANYTHING in the exhibit, but of course, flash was forbidden. So some are blurry or grainy… but still full of beauty!

And now, without further ado, the photos…
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(The other awesome thing? Since we went on Thursday afternoon, a few days before the exhibit was open to the general public, it was nearly empty. We got as close as we could to all these masterpieces, and it was wonderful. I did get so caught up in one quilt that as I backed up to take in the entire piece, I walked smack into another museum visitor. He was very understanding…)

And of course, no museum trip is complete without a stop in the gift shop, just ask my kids. But this was the most amazing exhibit shop ever!

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It was kind of like they raided my real bookshelf, along with my fantasy bookshelf, to get this amazing selection of offerings. Rachel– you’re there!  And so many more authors I love, some of whom I’ve been lucky enough to meet. So many books on those shelves that have inspired me…

All in all, the exhibit is amazing and a must-see for any quilter or quilt lover. If you are in or near Boston, it is worth the price of admission- plus an interactive guide!

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Filed under Quilts, Travel

Wordless Wednesday*: One Day at the MFA

One Day at the MFA

 

*more and better photos and a write up of the Quilts and Color exhibit coming soon, I promise!

 

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Filed under Travel, Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: the New England Aquarium…

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Filed under Travel, Wordless Wednesday

Snow and Ice

Last year we took a mini-vacation (read: one night away from home) up to Steamboat Springs to check out the Ice Castles, and on the way home we stopped in Breckenridge to check out the 2013 International Snow Sculpture Competition. Both wintery art installations are magnificent, and this year, BOTH were in Breck. So we decided to make a day trip out of it and see the 2014 Snow Sculptures and the Ice Castles all in one day.

In the abstract this was a wonderful plan. In reality, Breck was mobbed, and it felt like it took us as long to find parking as it did to drive up to the mountain town…  After I stopped being whiny, and got fed, we did all have a great, albeit cold time.

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And because my fabulous husband drove there AND back, I finally finished Clue #1 of the last Westknits mystery shawl. And yes, I know how behind I am. I started it back when the KAL started, and had all sorts of issues, and put it down to ruminate for a while. which turned into months. I ripped it out completely 2 weeks ago, and am much happier now.  Hopefully I’ll have some photos to show you soon.

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Filed under Travel

Wordless Wednesday: South Carolina so far

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September 18, 2013 · 4:45 pm

Wordless Wednesday: 24 hours in Barcelona as seen by my phone…

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September 4, 2013 · 12:39 pm

Our Trip to Knit the Bridge

Last week the kids and I went to visit my 97 year old grandma, who lives in Pittsburgh. It was an overdue visit, but a lovely one.

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Because grandma is frail, our time with her was limited to an hour or so a day- and we explored the city again in the rest of the time. My aunt and uncle were wonderful hosts, and we went to the Zoo and the Carnegie Science Center (one of the kids’ favorite places in the world). As a bonus, a friend of mine from high school recently moved to the Burgh, right down the street, literally, from my family. We hadn’t seen one another in 20ish years, so it was great to catch up- and to see our kids meet!

And of course, we managed a fiber field trip, too. Pittsburgh is soon to be the home of the biggest yarn bombing in American history. The city of three rivers has over 450 bridges, and in August the Andy Warhol Bridge will be covered completely in knitted and crocheted pieces! You can learn loads about the project on their blog and their Facebook page– and also in their Ravelry group. The scale of this project is mind-boggling!

On our last day in Pittsburgh, we stopped by their home at the Spinning Plate Gallery, and checked it out.

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Currently they are collecting and cataloging the pieces. They have nearly enough, but some need to be adjusted to the right size. Each piece is being measured, photographed, and if needed, sized up.

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The ones on the floor are ready to go… but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Yarnberg?

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The pieces on the table are not quite the right size and need some work. Happily, volunteers and guests are welcome to stop in and help. Which is exactly what Annie and I did…

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Annie worked some rows of single crochet on a piece, and I knitted some garter stitch out of some black acrylic- the black bits will be the joining pieces between all the colorful panels, and they still need LOADS of those bits.

When we stopped in we met Amanda and Kitty, and another lovely woman whose name I have forgotten- I am so sorry about that! Kitty gave me a wonderful tour, and was such a gracious hostess. We saw the blueprints for the project…

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and the knitting machines…

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which are using super fine yarn to make some massive solid stockinette pieces…

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which are then being reinforced with strong plastic construction materials.

Even the maps tracking the locales of the participants are fiber-tastic! (Locations of contributors are marked with embroidery floss.)

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While we were there, some folks  came in to drop off some pieces- and they were visiting from Barcelona! There have also been pieces contributed from Buenos Aires! Since Annie and I are both working on pieces for the Denver Satellite Reef, we feel like we represented for Denver- and there were some random crocheted bits and bobs that Kitty gave us to take home to add to some of our coral- so Knit The Bridge will also be a part of the Denver Satellite Reef. How cool is  that?

I am beyond impressed by the scope of this project. My budget is tight, but I did contribute a small amount through the Indiegogo campaign that has been set up… (It’s tax deductible, to boot.) The amount of work, planning, materials, community, and fiber that has gone into this project is simply amazing. And I cannot wait to see the finished project.

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Thank you, Knit The Bridge, for letting us be a tiny part of your amazing endeavor! We wish you all the best!

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Filed under Denver Satellite Reef, Knitting, Travel

Ice Ice Baby

We took a teeny tiny road trip this weekend, up into the mountains…

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Our goal was twofold, and cold art based- first, to see the Ice Castles in Steamboat Springs, and then, to see the 23rd International Snow Sculpture contest in Breckenridge.

But wait, Sam, don’t you HATE snow and cold?

Yup- but somehow when it is turned into art, I love it. Just don’t make me ski on it… Or clean it off of my car in the morning.

We went to see the Ice Castles last year, when they were in Silverthorne, which is about 2 hours closer to our house… We wanted to go again, especially because last year we didn’t get to see them after dark. With them moving further afield this year, we found the perfect excuse to stay overnight and see them both in daylight and in darkness…

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Never one to let a crafty moment pass me by, I realized I could finally take some cool (heh heh) photos of a recent finish! I completed this fabulous shawl, Pogona, by the wonderful Westknits, back in October, but it took me forever to get around to blocking it (and it REALLY needed it.) I was already wearing the shawl, so I seized the moment for an impromptu photo shoot…

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I realize you can’t really see the colors, but I still love the photos… The shawl is knit w/3 skeins (with only abt 6 inches to spare!) of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, in the limited edition colorway Eclipse. This was the first time I have ever been let down by this yarn- while all 3 skeins were the same dye lot, the 3rd turned out to be much much much darker. That’s NOT a trick of the light in the first photo! Oh, well. By the time I realized the color difference, I was almost done with a month of knitting, and I was not about to rip back. Sigh.

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The Ice Castles are truly magical- they literally change by the minute, as they melt and refreeze, and then they are added on to every night after closing time… There’s an icicle farm! The castles must be magical- because from that photo, you’d think my kids actually LIKE one another. Rich actually asked me if I had downloaded a special app that made siblings appear happy 😉

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I could bore you with hundreds of photos, but I’ll stick to just a few more- you do want to see it at night, don’t you?

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The lights change constantly, meaning that the ever-changing experience is even more so… We had a wonderful time.

After a night of poor sleep in an especially lousy hotel bed, and a quick dip in the hot tub, we packed up and got back in the car. At about the halfway point home, we stopped in Breckenridge to check out the 23rd International Snow Sculpture Contest. Being non-mountain folk, even after 13 years in Denver, we’d never heard of this event before. But it’s really neat! 20 ton blocks of snow are carved into amazing works of art over a week by teams from all around the world. It was a rough year for the contest- the mild winter we’re having meant warm temps and faster melting than normal… By the time we got there on Sunday, 2 sculptures had collapsed completely, and some others were showing  signs of stress.

But here’s the best part of all- one of the teams was from Iceland, and their sculpture was inspired by the Lopi sweater tradition! Snow art inspired by fiber art! Considering how of the moment Lopi is in Denver right now, this was extra awesome. Check it out!

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All in all, it was a wonderful mini-vacation, and perhaps I could be lured into the moutons during the winter again. Perhaps.

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Filed under Kids, Knitting, Shawls, Travel