It's no secret that I love knitting for little people. The projects are so tiny. They're so adorable. I can't help myself. And, I may have reached a new personal best for gooshy mushy cuteness with this latest project.
I can't help grinning. It's cute, right? Why is it so much fun to superimpose animal ears on infants?
It's so cute that I might have to sit down and try to remember exactly how I made it, and possibly write up the pattern so I can make it again, and again.
My cousin and her husband are welcoming their first child at summer's end. She'll be the first of the next generation on our side of the family. It's a pretty big deal. To make things even better, they're having a GIRL! My favorite!
I was a little stumped when I tried to choose a pattern for her. For as many baby girl patterns as I have in my Ravelry favorites, I'm at no loss for options.
Still, I wasn't sure what to knit. After I received my shower invitation and had a confirming conversation with the aunt-to-be, I formed an idea. I love working around a theme.
However, the pattern I wanted to knit didn't exist, so I improvised. I wasn't really sure it was going to work until it was finished. But, I'm pretty tickled with the end result.
Also, can I just take a moment to say how good it feels to have finished a knitting project. I'd almost forgotten the satisfaction; it's been ages.
There's been a bit of dead air around here. I didn't intend to break from the blog for two weeks; I must have needed it. It sounds like an excuse to blame my energy level and motivation on the shifting season, but I can't attribute the steady decline in both to anything else in particular. There has been progress. Things have been made. Photos, however, have not been taken. I'm positive I'll hit an upswing soon. Meanwhile, I thought I'd distract you with something completely different.
When Mike and I first started living together, there was MUCH conversation about decor. Mainly, he didn't see the point of having furniture or hanging pictures, and I did. Oddly enough, "Mike the Resistant", had a large collection of print-filled poster tubes stashed under the bed (still a topic of contention). "Michelle the Persistent" (that's me) continued to nag about wanting a place to sit and things to look at. Mike maintained his refusal in the name of non-domesticated men everywhere. It went on like that for some time, until one day, there was a compromise. Fast forward six years... The Resistant and The Persistent still can't manage to conquer the subject of throw pillows, but we have compiled a pretty large collection of screen prints and developed a fondness for the work of a small group of artists. Searching for prints has become an activity we look forward to doing together. And, when we learned that one of our favorite artists was opening his studio to offer a print making class, we we felt like Charlie must have.
Jay Ryan a.k.a. The Bird Machine very kindly shared the afternoon of his birthday to show us his process for screen printing. He generously gave us free reign of his studio space to explore and participate in the making of a print he'd designed for use in the class.
A steadfast opponent to digital printing, Jay uses rubylyth to create screens for the layers of his prints. This is a step I was further impressed with after I'd sliced through a number of areas unsuccessfully. It's not as easy as it looks.
Jay talked us through the process of coating screens in emulsion, exposing them, and preparing screens to print.
He showed us how to orient sheets under the screen to assure print placement, gave us a little tip for creating 'legs' to keep the screen from resting on the table top, and talked through the basic process of hand pulling.
Then, with the oversight of his right hand (wo)man Elizabeth, we took turns printing.
Once we'd finished the first layer, we got to play with the mechanized press, which is certainly more efficient and consistent than I was at pulling ink through the screen.
Our print was composed using four screens, 3 of which were cut from rubylith and a fourth layer to incorporate fine detail and outlines.
Jay's technique for applying ink using gradient coloration was really interesting. This print show the result of three pulls; the application in combination with layering produced six distinctly different shades and a less obvious shift in hue between the top and bottom of the page..
The class spanned the entirety of six hours- A full afternoon, complete with breaks to peek at the baby bunnies nesting behind the studio and pats for Nora, the shop mascot/labradoodle. At the end of the day, everyone in the class got to take home a print from the run. Mike and I agree that we left feeling like we'd learned a ton. And, we're excited to see if we could repeat the process at home with any level of success.
If you're in the Chicagoland area (or not, one person flew in from Maryland to take the class) and interested in screen printing, I would highly recommend trying to take a class with Jay and Elizabeth! In addition to his years of experience and breadth of knowledge, Jay's gentle nature and kindness makes him an incredible teacher and, the experience is well worth while.
The Bird Machine
Holy Crap! You guys! Today, I enter my last year as a 20-something. I didn't think it was that big of a deal until I started mulling it over. Then, I got sad. I really love(d) my twenties. I don't want them to be over. *TEAR* I'm totally getting ahead of myself, because I have a whole year left to live-up Twenty-Nine. And, if the last week is any indication of the year ahead, it's g boing to be pretty outstanding.
Mike made a preemptive birthday strike this year. He caught me completely by surprise during dinner one evening when, in the middle of his exhilarating recap of computer generated test values and efficiency reports, he dropped a map on the table in front of me. It took my eyes a few minutes to clear the glaze of excitement from his workday run-down before I realized what I was looking at. It was New York. Like, the heart of Times Square, New York. The next sheet he showed me had confirmation of airline reservations. After a few minutes of confusion on my part, he explained that he thought I might want to go fabric shopping in the garment district, and he was taking me as my birthday present! The man is AMAZING!!!
So, Friday, we made our way to NYC. As soon as we unloaded our luggage, we headed straight for Mood where we were greeted by SWATCH! Mood is everything I dreamed it would be and then some. The staff were incredible to work with, and they were genuinely interested in helping us around the store. Everyone we encountered was really personable, especially Bob and Noel who remembered details of our conversations from earlier in the day when we made a second trip to the store later that evening. Don't judge.
In between fabric shops, we stopped for a sandwich at Cafe Kabila. It's just around the corner from Mood, and our food was FANTASTIC. Good, good stuff.
Once we refueled, we spent the remainder of the afternoon wandering in and out of shops. I didn't have a particular plan or shops I wanted to visit mapped out, but I didn't need to. The streets are quite literally lined with fabric stores.
We weaved in and out, dodging showers from dripping window air conditioning units as we went door-to-door weighing down our shopping bags with pieces of fabric.
The poor kid who helped cut trim for me at Daytona Trimming got his share of "CRAZY" for the afternoon. I can't explain to you how excited I was to have so many options in stretch and fold-over elastic! There's a whole wall to choose from! And, it ranges from $0.99-$1.50 a yard. I came home with close to forty yards. No joke.
The resounding theme of the day was, "silk". I couldn't get enough. Mike managed to squeeze in a couple cuts of some amazing wool knits, which he hopes will turn into some swanky lounge pants in the near future, a lightweight chambray he thinks would be great as shorts, and a plaid shirting that, "has all his colors", in it. In addition to the stores above, we visited the (in)famous Spandex House, but I was a little intimidated by the volume of stretchy sequined and lamé fabrics, and we didn't dig very deep.
We worked up an appetite while we were out. Who knew fabric shopping could be such an aerobic activity?! For dinner, we got gussied-up and had a meal on the Upper East Side at Candle 79. The food was exceptional. Though, I must admit, our appetizer and main course were overshadowed by the watermelon salad in balsamic reduction with pickled onions (not on the menu) that the chef sent out as a teaser. I had a hard time getting it out of my mind.
We started Saturday with a run in Central Park. Chicago has some great parks, and our lake front is atmospheric (arguably the best view of a city skyline, anywhere)and accommodating to runners and cyclists, but Central Park raises the bar. It's truly an oasis in the middle of the city.
We rewarded ourselves, repeatedly, for working out, starting with gelato from Grom, where Mike managed to consume an impressive four scoops.
After we washed the sweat off, we headed West and walked the length of the Highline.
We spent the remainder of day exploring Soho and walking around the NYU campus area.
We made a pit-stop into Purl Soho. Because, no trip is successful without a visit to a yarn store. I bought some lovely skeins of Andula Milky Way. This yarn is composed of 80% milk protein and 20% superwash wool. Neither the girl in the shop nor I knew what exactly "milk protein" means, but the sample was really gorgeous, and it shines like silk. I've looked it up and there is some explanation of the fiber structure: here. Sadly, this was my only yarn stop during the weekend. Poor planning prevented me from being able to go to the Lion Brand Studio; they're not open on Saturdays-??? What's up with that???
The rest of our trip was a demonstration in gluttony. First we picked up a variety of cheeses. crackers and olives at Dean & Deluca and some beverages from Think Coffee to snack on before dinner at Sacred Chow.
The food at Sacred Chow was really excellent. The portions were (too) LARGE. I couldn't finish my meal, though I wanted to. Our only...concern... if you can even call it that was the operational organization. Mike got a meal other than what he ordered. And, the staff was having a really hard time keeping track of who got what, where. But, really yummy food, and we'd eat there again.
Once we were finished with dinner, we trekked to Dylan's Candy Bar to pick-up some dessert. I was like a kid in... well, it goes without saying. CANDY. EVERYWHERE. NOM.NOM.NOM.
Sunday, I woke-up with one thing on my mind. Bagels. We couldn't resist stashing a baker's dozen of these in our carry-on luggage. They're in the freezer now; I'm rationing them until I know I'll be able to get more.
We should have been as smart with the macarons. They lasted all of two days.
It was so hard to snap back to reality when my alarm clock sounded Monday morning. I'm already trying to figure out when I can get back. Maybe I can twist Meg's arm and get here to coordinate a blogger meet-up in the fall (nudge, nudge)...not that one really needs an excuse. This birthday is going to be pretty hard to beat. Well played, my love. Well played.
I made it to June! I can't begin to tell you how amazing it felt to throw on a pair of jeans and a tee on Saturday morning. I missed having the option over the course of the past month. The lack of pants/shirts in my Me-Made clothing was glaring. I have a little bit of catch-up to do, since I skipped a post last Sunday. Here's a run-down of the last two weeks.
This bird skirt is an oldie. It was blogged at some point, but I'm unable to track it down.
The weather threw a lot of curve balls throughout the course of the month. We spanned the scope of the thermometer. This particular day, I BOILED wearing this silk skirt.
And, the very next day, I needed to call upon my Grace cardigan to keep me comfortable while I rocked my slither blouse.
The weather stayed cool for several days. I felt lucyk to have so many great sweaters to turn to. I wore my Serina cardigan...
...on 'Theme Friday' (hometown), I wore my February Fitted Pullover...
...the following afternoon, I wore my White Pines cardigan.
As the month went on, it became increasingly my mission to wear as few repeated outfits as possible, so I dug deep. I pulled out and wore this June Bug dress with my April Showers cardigan.
Monday, we enjoyed a lazy day off work, and I wore my Kalajoki socks while I puttered around the house.
Surprise, surprise, I wore my Grace cardigan AGAIN. If I had a dozen sock weight black cardigans, I would wear them all, tirelessly.
Then, our weather started to behave itself,and I was able to wear this dress. I pulled this one from the back of my closet. I never blogged this. I'd almost forgotten about it. But, now that I've revisited it, I can't wait to try making it again. The pattern is an 80's Vogue pattern: 7891.
I didn't get a photo on the 30th, but I did wear this pullover; in fact, I wore almost exacltly what I'm wearing in those photos taken two years ago... imaginative. I ended the month in New York (more on that soon!) with a new outfit (more on that soon too!). This month has been really enlightening. I've learned a lot. It's been really interesting to evaluate the things I'm sewing vs. the things I'm accostomed to wearing. I have a lot of ideas (pants/blouses) for upcoming projects. Thanks so much to 'So Zo' for hosting this challenge! I'm so thrilled I made it through the month. It's been a lot of fun!