Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Orange and Pink Tower of Joy

Orange and Pink Tower, originally uploaded by maryjanemidgemink.

I have a new camera! Through my job! My wonderful boss decided that Christmas comes in August. August is when, in 5th grade, my best friend, Laurie and I started singing Christmas Carols so it makes perfect sense.

I am riding on a cloud of "how did I get so lucky" wonder and joy.

Of course it is a serious camera this time; no more point and shoot when working for a photographer! She's an excellent teacher and I also have my son to help me...for a little bit longer...

The only snag is that now I need a better computer, or more memory at the very least. So for the time being, this blog is brought to you by our favorite sponsor: flickr.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thank You Sally Mann

And thank you Alison, for taking me to Sally's lecture.
I've always loved her work, from the time I first saw it and it caused such a ruckus. I had kids younger than hers, and I too was living in the woods letting the kids run naked...not much thought to it...it was hot and no one was around...and if there was, they were friends, what's the big deal? Plus I loved her kids, their direct stares...the deep pools of their eyes. I was comforted to know someone else was making art just where they lived...Her art was right in front of her.... her life.
She's not a disappointment in person either. Small and spunky, yet large in feeling and mind. Words are not my strong suit, I wish I could describe her presence better. She was refreshingly normal, direct and honest...no pretense.
And she keeps at it, no matter what life throws in the way. A good spirit.

You'll be happy to know her kids turned out fine.

I leave you with my favorite Sally Mann image....if I have to choose....

Night Blooming Cereus

Monday, August 13, 2007

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I guess you could call me a Luddite. I design on the needle, never use a computer....I sketch first....usually...Next I chart...Then I swatch....a lot...I make frenzied calculations....I draw up a schematic....And then I begin.
I am often using yarns I haven't used before and I find the nature of every yarn is different, some have lots of stretch, some stay firmly in place...Some are lofty and light, others heavy and solid. Still others are coarse until you wash them..I always wash my swatches. I never know until I knit with a new yarn how it will behave. I can guess, but it's crazy how those little balls will surprise me!
And then, swatch done, knitting happily away, I periodically take the item off the needle to see how it's coming along, and have you guessed what happens next?
Despite all the prep work, the yarn has done it's own thing, gotten VERRRY wide, or sometimes it is a stiff little tube, suitable for a Christmas cracker.

So I rip it out and start again. With new calculations.

and sometimes I'll have to rip it out again.

Not always...but lots of times,

There you have it.

PS. My camera is broken and I'm filled with panic and lazy sorrow at the same time

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Mary Mary Quite Contrary How Do You Wind Your Yarn?

How do you wind your yarn? This is my usual technique...the knees. I have a beautiful Swedish swift, and once had a little twirly ball-winder, but needs arise away from home...or I'm too lazy to go upstairs and dig it out. I always have my knees avaliable no matter where I may journey.
My other trick is to wind the yarn around my thumb, keeping a hollow center, with the beginning of the yarn easy to snatch. This way I have a pull-from-the-center ball. Voila!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Agnes Coy Airmail

Agnes Coy Airmail, originally uploaded by maryjanemidgemink.

I have long been an admirer of Alison at so tread softly. She's an English girl who moved to the wilds of New Zealand, 12,000 miles from home. She lives with her husband and dear kitty Trumpet, in an adorable cottage which she is fixing up in the most serene and beautiful way. Careful attention to detail. For a while now she has been threatening to open an etsy shop, lucky for us it is presently in full swing.

I was the extra-lucky first shopper! I ordered a simple lavendar heart fashioned from exquisite vintage linen. So sweet and sweetly scented. Since I was the first customer, Alison kindly sent along a bonus treat...the beautiful felted purse she painstakingly made at Girl Friday night! I wish you could see all the beautiful details, the pom-pom zipper pull attached with buttonhole stitch...I think...like the macrame of forest elves! The wee bloom of buttons, the subtle shading of turquoise, a little more green at the edges (she has better pictures of it).

Thank You Alison! It is heart, felt and button love here in Maine!

So hurry to her shop now, you will thank me! And don't forget to visit her blog.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Show and Tell: Mirepoix Bodice

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

At long last you can see what I was working on so long ago. Remember the wormy ends? I am pretty pleased with how it looks in the Interweave Knits 2007 Fall Preview (scroll waaaay down to Mirepoix Bodice). The model is maybe a bit large for it. The sweater was designed for and fits my daughter to perfection. She is a little pin of a thing. When Gina first told me the pictures were up...I about died... an image where the sweater was clearly too small was featured......the dreaded boob-bisection...horrors! Fortunately that picture was quickly replaced for the one above where the stylist yanked it into place.... Anyway the close up is lovely.

PS: Friends have told me Sophie has an "athletic college girl figure", that describing her as a "pin" gave the wrong, skin and bones impression, that "fit and healthy" and "Sports Illustrated Model"(she'll love that!) were better descriptions .
If you're thinking of making this one, try it on as you go, don't start the armholes before the lower half or two-thirds of your breasts are covered. For a custom fit, adding one peerie pattern may be enough, or you may need a peerie and a border. Another note, you really have to nail the steeking with a sewing machine since the yarn is a superwash and does not stick together at all, if you are afraid, you can go back and forth on the bodice.