Archive for October, 2010

A Muse By Another Name

Happy camera day…happy camera play. My fantastic cousin-in-law and photographer extraordinaire, Joanna Puza, let me play with her Lensbaby Muse at a family bbq in August.

I love the motion implied by the shots.

The blur turns something personal, a family gathering, into something more generic and universal.

While I’ve heard the criticism that some people feel dizzy looking at the distortion in the pictures, I love the way the focal area highlights a detail in a picture.

I love the way it makes something totally ordinary suddenly extraordinary.

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Knitting Love and Warmth

When bad news sweeps in like the north wind, what is a knitter to do?  Focus the mind and the hands on something constructive.

Last week, I picked up the pattern and the yarn for Fruktträdgård, Swedish for orchard. My average running time on most knitting projects is around a year, give or take a couple months, but I knocked this one out in record time.

Perhaps it was my enthusiasm brimming over as I moved from the ribbing to the pattern stitches that caused me to misread the instructions. I knit until the skein ran out on needles that were two sizes too large. Since this luxury yarn (baby alpaca, silk, camel and cashmere) was chosen for its ultra softness with a specific person in mind, I frogged the hat back to the ribbing to knit it a second time on the correct needles. Unfortunately, I still ran out of yarn before finishing the pattern as written.

The only yarn in my stash that was a similar fiber content and weight was white, so I knit up the crown with the intentions of crocheting a row of white around the cast-on edge for balance. My daughter snatched it as soon as I had it off the needles, wearing it proudly to soccer practice where she was sure to run into friends. Only after agreeing to knit another for her, did she give it up.

It is the perfect slouchy tam for anyone with thick hair. However, the intended recipient will soon have no hair. After consulting a friend who knit the same pattern with a similar intention, she suggested pulling back several pattern repeats to make the hat more form fitting, which would also use less yarn.

My third try was the charm. There was yarn to spare and the hat now has a slimmer fit.

I sent the hat off in the mail today with the hope that it bathes the recipient in warmth and love.

Summer of Color

When people ask me what I’ve been up to lately, my standard answer is ‘I took the summer off’. While my kids are out of school, I have little time for focused creative work. I choose not to enroll them in endless day camps because the wear and tear on our spirits doesn’t seem worth the cost nor the time expended getting everyone where they need to be on time. It doesn’t buy me enough time to work, and we all end up exhausted and sweaty at the end of the day.

Summer is about enjoying warm weather, being in nature and living life spontaneously. The best way for me to keep this in mind is to get out of the city, where the temptation is high to keep running around the way we do all year long. Between camping weekends, two weeks at my parents’ cabin on Keats Island, two weeks at my mother-in-law’s lakeside house in New Hampshire and a family camp on Washington’s Hood Canal, we managed to stay away from home most of the summer. My camera was my trusty companion throughout our travels.

While it seems like I didn’t do anything creative this summer, I realize that my camera was just the outlet I needed to keep me balanced. The struggle was finding the time to pore through the pictures once we were home for good. It was an itch that needed to be scratched, despite the fact that school wasn’t in session yet and it was no easier find in-city distractions in late August than it was in late June.

As I look at the finalists in my personal contest to determine which pictures best capture the zeitgeist of this summer, I feel my heart thump. I can feel the wind blowing through my hair as I struggle to keep my balance on a rock.


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