Monday, September 29, 2008

Upcoming Events

This Saturday, October 4th is the Baton Rouge Art Market. . This market is held at Main and fifth Street in Downtown Baton Rouge, on the first Saturday of each month from 8am until noon. Here is some information from their website: The Baton Rouge Arts Market is an open-air market and cultural event held on the first Saturday of the each month (excluding January & May) & the first 3 Saturdays in December from 8 a.m. until 12 noon. Located at 5th @ Main Street in downtown Baton Rouge, the Arts Market is held in conjunction with the weekly Red Stick Farmers Market and the 6-day-a-week Main Street Market and is a project of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge.

October 18 -19 is the Bayou City Art Festival Downtown in Houston. Here is some information from their website: “October 18 - 19, 2008 SATURDAY AND SUNDAY10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Both days Admission is $10 for adults and free for children 12 and under.The downtown skyline serves as a dramatic backdrop for art, music, dance, and interactive activities at the Bayou City Art Festival Downtown.The annual, juried, fine art event boasts a stress-free outdoor gallery brimming with 300 artists working in 19 artistic media. Adding to the festive outdoor gallery are wine cafés, an interactive Creative Zone for children, restaurants, Broadway in Houston’s Broadway Café, and a performing arts stage with on-going multicultural musical and dance entertainment presented by The Houston Arts Alliance.The festival is showcased in front of City Hall and around Hermann Square on the streets of Walker, Bagby, and McKinney, as well as Sam Houston Park. For more information about the Bayou City Art Festival Downtown, please contact the Art Colony Association

October 25th is the MidCity Art Market. The market is the last Saturday of each month at Palmer Park. Palmer Park is at the intersection of S. Carrolton and S. Claiborne Ave in Uptown New Orleans. It is from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. Come out and support art in New Orleans. See Lane Lefort Photography to view some of the available photographs.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lacy Scarf

I've been working on the lacy scarf for about a week and finished it last night. The yarn I used is Noro Silk Garden, in the reds colorway. This yarn was purchased at Bette Bornside in New Orleans. Bette Bornside is located in the Faubourg Marigny, which is very close to the French Quarter. A word of caution though, I advise being cautious anywhere you go, but be extra careful here. I'm not saying this is a bad neighborhood, I'm just saying to be extra careful if you decide to visit this shop. This shop also sells yarn and supplies by mail order also if you would like to shop that way. The thing about the shop's website that I think could be improved is the lack of pictures. There are written descriptions, but no pictures, which makes it sort of hard to really get a feel for what the color will look like. It's just my opinion.
The scarf is a pretty simple pattern. It is a six row repeat, and every other row is just the purl stitch across. It is number 22 in the magazine. I found many patterns in this magazine that I would like to make, hopefully one day I will have time to make some of them. I used a size 9 1/2 circular needle, with two skeins of yarn.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy birthday to me!

The other night, Patrick took me out to celebrate. Lets just say my birthday is sometime in September. We went to the French Quarter. Our first stop was the French Market. The French Market's Farmer's Market is currently under renovation, which is sort of disappointing. The flea market is open, I'm not really into flea markets, but Patrick likes them, so I tag along. I saw some vendors with handmade things like crochet and carved wooden things and I also saw things like designer knock off sunglasses, jewelry and Mardi Gras masks. Its sort of surprising how many different things can be found in that one place.

We then made our way toward St. Louis Cathedral. We passed Central Grocery, which has my favorite Muffelatas. They were closed, so we kept walking. We passed Café Du Monde, my favorite place for Beignets. As we made our way toward the Cathedral, I remembered why I like New Orleans. It's the history and the wrought iron work and the architecture and the people. I'm shy, so people aren't usually ever my favorite part of anything, but I do like many of the people of New Orleans. There are some people who seriously make me nervous, like the people who want to bet you they can tell you where you got your shoes. Do people in other parts of the country do that? Or is that a New Orleans thing? If anyone ever asks you that, say "On my feet". I guess the first person who thought of the whole "I bet you I can tell you where you got your feet" was sort of clever, but hearing it for so many years, it sort of gets old.

We kept walking and reached The Quarter Stitch. When we walked in, there was the cutest little white dog walking around the shop. He immediately ran up to me and started sniffing. It was clear that he wanted to play and wanted to check out everyone who came into his shop. I think he was either a Maltese or a miniture poodle. Patrick played with him while I looked through all of their yarn. Their selection of yarn is beautiful, and I found lots of yarns that I wanted. I settled on two skeins of Koigu, to make a hat for Patrick's Christmas present.
The shop also carries many needlepoint canvases. All of the canvases are sold as kits, which I'm sure is nice for anyone who does needlepoint. There were some gorgeous canvases, one that I especially like was of a Yorkie, with all of his hair flowing around. I've never been into needlepoint or cross stitch, mostly because I didn't like stabbing myself with the needle's point when I was younger.

Hurricane Katrina didn't cause much direct damage to the French Quarter. There was damage, but the Quarter was mostly spared. The most noticeable damage that Hurricane Katrina left was the lack of interest in visiting New Orleans during Hurricane Season, which is completely understandable. I know I wouldn't want to have to evacuate from my vacation.

After the yarn shop, we walked to K Paul's Restaurant, but it didn't open for dinner until 5:30, we were a bit late and decided we'd rather go there with my parents because they like K Paul's so much. We walked a little farther and decided to go to Dickie Brennan's Palace Cafe. They also open for dinner at 5:30, so we waited at the bar for a bit and I ordered a drink. I think it was called the Pearl Sunset, I could be wrong about that though. The drink was very good, very fruity and sweet. We tried something we hadn't had before, the crabmeat cheesecake, which has a sort of custard consistency, and is very yummy. For dinner, Patrick had a stuffed pork chop and I had pecan crusted Gulf Fish. My dish was sort of like candy, the pecans have a sugary coating and the fish is crispy. For desert, I had the white chocolate bread pudding and Patrick had the Creme Brulee. We shared our desserts and I prefered his sweet crunchy creme brulee to my Bread Pudding. Don't get me wrong, I liked the Bread Pudding, there was just something about the creamy creme brulee that I just loved. Everything was excellet and I had a really great evening.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Finished Object: The “Shaped Triangle” Shawl

Here is the completed shawl from my August 9th post.

I modified this shawl; I liked the way it looked in the book A Gathering of Lace , but decided I wanted a smaller shawl and binded off a lot sooner than the pattern called for. Between the time when I was knitting it and I blocked it, I wasn’t in love with it. It was soft, and I liked the colors. I also like the way that it was constructed, but lace usually doesn’t look its best before it is washed. When it is washed and blocked, it almost magically turns into something beautiful.

Blocking is used to stretch out a knitted item to a certain size or get the lace to open up completely. Many people use wires and pins, but I did it the lazy knitters way. I hand washed it in the bathtub, and then hung it over the shower curtain to dry. The tips dried more slowly, so they were heavier and weighed down the rest of the shawl, which I am going to call gravity blocking from now on. I just made sure that the center stayed on the shower curtain and the ends were even. I think it came out very good and I like that it didn’t take me hours to pin everything and stretch it. I’m guessing my gravity blocking wouldn’t work as well on something really fancy.

The Local Yarn Shop (LYS)

There are many places to buy yarn these days, with stores like Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and Joann’s, everywhere, one might wonder why should you seek out a local yarn shop to buy yarn? The local yarn shops typically have higher end yarns, made with more expensive fibers. So, why go out of your way to find a smaller store with more expensive yarns? One reason is for the expertise that the local places have. They usually employ knitters, or at least people who are interested in some kind of fiber arts, like spinning, crochet or needle point.

Local shops are also what I think of when I think of the American Dream. To me, the American Dream is about people doing what they truly love and making a living with it. I really wonder if corporations and chain stores are killing the American Dream. Are they making it so that people can’t own their own businesses? In a lot of instances, yes, they are at the very least, making it harder for individuals. A few years ago, Wal-mart was trying to open a store in New Orleans. There were signs everywhere around the city saying that they didn’t want a “Sprawl-Mart”. At that point in time, I really didn’t understand why Wal-Mart wouldn’t be a good thing for the city. Really, Wal-Mart employs lots of people, they have very low prices and have such a variety of merchandize that saves consumers time. Not having to stop at a grocery store, a pharmacy, a fast food restaurant, a clothing store, a pet store and a toy store seem like a great thing for the consumer, but are they really helping out Americans all that much?

I’ve spent hours of my life in Wal-Mart, and I really do enjoy shopping there. I’ve just come to the realization lately that my house isn’t big enough to keep filling it up with things I don’t need. Also, I tend to spend a lot less money when I buy yarn at a local shop than when I buy it at some place like Wal-Mart. Think about it, when you shop at Wal-Mart, do you ever buy things that you really don’t need, you just bought because the price was right and you really had nothing in mind to use it for? I have. When I shop at a store where yarn is expensive, I take my time and only buy the things I love and know I’ll use to make something that I’ll actually use. When I go to Wal-Mart or any of the places I mentioned earlier, I buy a lot of yarn that I really don’t need and it just sits in my stash for a long time just taking up space. I seem to have the biggest problem with the words Clearance and Sale. These two words should strike fear in the hearts of husbands everywhere. If a Sale or a Clearance has things that I will use, then it’s ok. If it’s a bunch of fuzzy, sort of nasty feeling yarn that I can’t figure out what to do with; yarn that I only bought because it was only twenty-five cents per skein; I need to practice more self restraint.

I did find this very nice merino wool at Michael’s once for only about $2 per skein. It was a very pretty red color and I knew I wanted to make a sweater with a similar yarn anyway, so buying that was a good thing. The most amazing thing about the yarn was that all of the skeins were from the same dye lot. If you’re wondering, a dye lot refers to the batch that the yarn was dyed in. When companies dye yarn, they usually dye it one batch or lot at a time. When they want to dye more yarn than they can fit in one batch/lot, they run another batch through the dyes. The problem with this is that there may be slight variations between batches. Dye lot # 777 might be a slight bit darker than Dye lot # 888. The color may still look the same, but if you compare the two yarns with different dye lots, you may notice a difference. When knitting with two different dye lots, it is very likely that a line where the two different dye lots meet will occur. This line would annoy me, and that is why, when I am buying yarn for a particular project, I make sure all of the yarn has the same dye lot. There are ways to deal with the problem of different dye lots, but I try to avoid them.

In the New Orleans area, there are four Yarn shops. Garden District Needle Works, Bette Bornside Co. , The Quarter Stitch, and Needle Arts Studio.

Garden District Needleworks, is the shop that is most convenient for me. It is a large store, on Magazine Street. The store seems to be an old house, it has two rooms in the front, where they usually have discounted yarn and . The back room is where the rest of the yarn is.

Needle Arts Studio is located in Metairie at 115 Metairie Rd. Their number is (504) 832-3050. I've been to this one a couple of times. I like the fact that they have a good amount of parking. I havn't been here in about a year and couldn't find a website.

I have never been to the Quarter Stitch, which is located in the French Quarter. I don't make it out to the Quarter all that much and havn't made it to this store yet. Bette Bornside is another yarn shop I havn't visited yet.

What is your favorite local yarn shop? I love to visit LYS's when I am on vacation and would love to hear about the ones in your area.