Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Stitches West 2018

This year I wasn't going to go to Stitches West. I told myself, "I have enough yarn" and "If you go, you know you'll buy more because you have no self control once the yarn fumes hit you." So that was that. The day before Stitches opened to the general public my father said, "Well, if you don't go, you might be sad about it, but if you do go, the worst that could happen is you'll forget about the experience. Also, I need a replacement 'Knit Long and Prosper' mug. Mine got chipped." Ever the dutiful daughter, I went.

As you can see, I got the "Knit Long And Prosper" mug from Pawley Studios... and a few other things. Connor came along during his lunch break and talked me into two skeins from White Birch Fiber Arts. The bluer one is "The Truth Is Out There" and the purple one is "Travel Agent For Guilt Trips." We also got a pretty soap dish from Kunihiro Pottery. I've been jealous of the one I gave my mum back in 2015. Then there were the girl scouts...
After all those purchases Connor had to go back to work so I was left to my own devices. I picked up a skein of Baah! La Jolla in La Perla. I've decided that it's my favorite skein of white, it's hard to find, so it is worth the money. After that, I wandered around, peeked in a bunch of different booths, and almost left without any more yarn. The last booth I stopped at was the Plucky booth. There are some really hardcore fans of Plucky. I am not one of them, but I appreciate their colors. I picked up three skeins of Trusty Fingering in Barn Door, but tragically, I needed four to make the sweater I wanted. As I lamented being short a skein, two fellow stitches west attendees chatted with me. They said, "Don't you know you can preorder skeins. Also, that grey would look great on you." Then they left. I wish I could tell those two lovely ladies that they succeeded in enabling me. I not only bought 6 skeins of Trusty (worsted) in Metro, I preordered four skeins of Trusty Fingering in Barn Door. I didn't get a chance to say thank-you, but just know you helped me enhance my stash.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Postcard Project

Late last month I decided I wasn't going to show my paintings online so I could reclaim the joy of painting. That is mostly still true, although a friend of mine launched a 50 State Postcards in 50 Weeks project and I just feel compelled to join in. Obviously, it's more fun to be a part of a project like this when you are sharing. It feels almost like a collaboration, which I think I've needed far more than I realized.

I've really been enjoying dusting off my old graphic design skills with this project. Coming up with compositions that best represent each state has been a fun challenge. I've also enjoyed trying to have the occasional easter egg appear in the cards, like having the Hawaiian Islands dot the i's in Hawaii as well as represent the stigma in the hibiscus flower.

What makes this project a bit more challenging is that I'm choosing to do it all in watercolor. There isn't much room for error with watercolors, so sometimes when I'm stuck on a color decision, I'll make little color studies. I didn't know what color to make the words, "California" so I took a picture of the unfinished postcard and made a sheet of them so I could color in different possibilities.
I texted this picture to a bunch of people and everyone like a different option. I went with #4.

I've had real fun with this project and I've looked forward to seeing Heather's postcards each week. We are both posting on instagram under the hashtag "#5050postcards". Heather is also posting her postcards on her blog.

I've realized with this project that there are a bunch of states I know nothing about. If anyone has any ideas of what symbols make you think of a particular state, I'd love to hear about it. I'm particularly at a disadvantage with East Coast and Midwestern states. I'm embarrassed to admit that some of those states seem so similar to me that I'm worried I won't make a distinct enough postcard for them. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Stitching States And Socks

It was another busy week with school and other commitments, but I still have found a little time in the evenings to work on my crafty pursuits. My Hylestad socks are finally done, for one.
Hylestad socks in Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering's En Garde and Baah! La Jolla's La Perla

Truth be told, I had finished them a week or two ago, but only finally sat down and wove in the ends. We've been watching Man In The High Castle and it is too interesting to weave ends to.

I've also be knitting away at my Rose By Any Other Name socks. I was hoping to have them done in time to wear for Valentine's Day, but in the last week the temperature has gone up significantly and now it is too hot to wear hand knit socks. I'll try to get them done anyways, just in case it decided to cool down.
Vanilla Socks in Canon Hand Dye's Rose By Any Other Name

Then there are the socks I cast on while we were in Hawaii. Or rather, I cast them on while we were in the airport to leave Hawaii. Still counts as Hawaii socks, right?
Groovy socks in White Birch Fiber Art's Wile Thai Ryder

There was also a night this last week where I was overcome with the need to work on my USA quilt. First I was just going to stitch a bit of Oregon. Then I was just going to stitch the California coast. But before I knew it, it was past midnight and I had finished all of Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. I got to move the hoop and now I only have the gulf states and a bit of the east coast left.
The quilt is still far from being done, but at least a major potion will be complete.

Has anyone else found solace in their projects this week? Are there any projects that you've felt compelled to work on?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

To O'ahu We Must Go

Connor and I just got back from a quick getaway in O'ahu. It was very spur of the moment, but there was a good deal on plane tickets, so there you go. As usual, we really packed it in, but because we took time to sit and enjoy ourselves, we came away feeling well rested and relaxed.
On our first day in O'ahu, we hiked up Diamond Head to watch the sun rise. Or we almost saw the sun rise... more like we saw the sun rising. I sat and painted this scene while Connor listened in on the many Japanese tourists to see if he could recognize any words.

The hike wasn't too hard, but it was humid, so we came away rather sweaty and tired. After a nap, we headed out to see the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. You see a film, which is sobering, before you board a boat to visit the actual memorial. I think the film allowed everyone to be much more respectful as we were all on the same page about the gravity of the bombing in Pearl Harbor. We came away with a better sense of the loss that happens during war.

After Pearl Harbor we stopped by a beach to snorkel. It was the beginning of our snorkel adventures as the next day we got up to snorkel at Hanauma Bay. We arrived about mid-morning and we relieved to get a parking spot. After watching the required movie, we were allowed to go down to the beach and reef. There was a huge variety of fish in the reef. I must have seen 3-4 varieties of parrotfish alone. I got a kick out of seeing both the largest and smallest rainbow parrotfish I'd ever seen. We also saw a few Humuhumunukunukuapua'a (Hawaii's state fish) swimming around.
After two rounds of snorkeling, I was ready to warm up, so I did something I don't think I've ever done in my life: I sat on the beach and did nothing. Connor went back in for a bit longer before we left.

Eventually we left and drove to the east side of O'ahu to see what we could see. We might have chosen the best time to leave because soon we were driving through a giant cloudburst. After exploring a few places we found ourselves on Lanikai beach. It was pretty quiet and as advertised: beautiful. We decided that if we ever made it back to O'ahu, we'd have to spend a little more time here.
It was here that we decided that we could live in O'ahu quite happily

On our last full day in O'ahu, we headed north to see the Dole Plantation. The first order of business was to get lost in the biggest botanical maze in the world. We spent nearly 50 minutes looking for the 8 stations throughout the maze.

Afterwards we jumped aboard the train to see some of the pineapple fields. I've decided that pineapples are a weird fruit. They grow at such odd angles on the mother plant. We also learned that pineapples aren't even native to Hawaii, but because of Dole's success, we associate them with Hawaii. After our train ride we stopped for some Dole Whip, which is as good as they say, before going to the north shore.

In winter, the north shore if famous for its large waves and the surfers that follow them. We decided to go to Banzai Pipeline to see if anyone was there. As it turned out, there was going to be a competition the next day. We saw quite a few great surfers. Connor decided he wanted to frolic in the waves and did so while I painted. When I finished, he talked me into joining him. It was fun until the second time I got a mouth full of seawater. 
If you look carefully, you can see a surfer riding the wave

After exhausting ourselves, we found a bar/grill that served Loco Moco past breakfast. (Loco Moco is a rice/egg/beef patty/ gravy dish that is rather tasty) While waiting for our meal, we spotted some of these guys. Unfortunately, these geckos are not native, but they were sure fun to watch. One stalked a fly and another one tried to sell me car insurance. We also saw a brown one that had two tails! He was too quick for a picture.

We came away with two patches and a magnet, which was much more restrained than the last time we were in Hawaii.

All in all, we had a great time. I only wish we had a few more days to snorkel and eat a ton more tasty food. 

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