Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Knitting Tattoo

Back home again for all of two full days before we head out to a bluegrass festival in Pennsylvania. That means a good 3 or 4 hours of knitting time during the drive to and from the fest. I really appreciate being a knitting while on these long trips we make for the band. Seriously. I don't know how I would survive for 4, 5, 6, or more hours sitting in the backseat of our minivan packed like sardines in a can with equipment. ::shudder:: Awful.

So.... in the many hours that I sat content in the backseat with my knitting projects I began to give some serious consideration to the next tattoo I was planning. For a while now I have been thinking that I wanted to proclaim my love of knitting with some ink. My original idea had been to take the traditional skull and crossbones and make it relate to knitting by using needles instead if the bones. You can see some designs like this on Cafe Press (awesome site). Along with fairies and dragons, skulls have always been one of those things that I'm attracted to. Don't know why. But regardless of that.... I searched around online at different tattoo sites, knitting sites, and other random places for something that would spark an idea for the skull and knitting needles. However, I wasn't reallt thrilled with any of the possibilities that I was coming up with. That's when we arrived in Maryland....

During the gigs we had around Maryland we stayed with my mother's Aunt, Uncle, and cousins. At some point tattoos popped up into conversation and her Uncle mentioned someone by the name of Snakeman doing tats in the area. This got me and V (mom's cousin) thinking about what we wanted to get done next. Before long the joking about Snakeman had spiraled into serious tattoo talk. Two days later, on the morning that V wanted to go over to Snakeman's, I woke early to see if there might not be something that I really wanted tattooed. I'd picked out several small designs with V, but hadn't found anything that made me stand up and shout. My mind was still set on getting something knitting related and wasn't letting me give up. That was when I pulled up some knitting tats that looked like a ball of yarn with needles stuck through it. ok. Good idea. Then I clicked on the Domiknitrix site and saw her heart shaped yarn ball with needles. Cool! Unfortunately for me my laptop wasn't hooked up to any printers so I sat down and drew my version of the logo. You can see the result below

Me, V, and my younger sister all headed over to snakeman's in great anticipation. I figured I may or may not get anything done depending on how busy it was. My opinion was that V should get her tattoo and I could always have mine done when I got home. That idea was scrapped when we got there, though. I ended up getting my tat done, and V didn't. Mine new ink is on my side just barely above my pant line. I'm not afraid to say it hurt! My only other tattoo is a fairly large butterfly on my shoulder blade, not a super sensitive area. The hip..... sensitive. It was worth it though. The pain only lasts just so long and then you have a piece of art with you forever. In this case I also have a good story from being on the road. My knitting tat may not be everybody's cup of tea, but it represents something I love. And that makes it great.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Knitting on the Road

On the road again!

I am currently ending the fourth day of my family band's (The Homegrown String Band) mini tour (see our schedule). It's seriously exhausting. So far in 4 days we've done 4 shows and had loads of car time. The first day out we played in PA, about a 3 hour drive from home on Long Island. After the gig we drove 3.5 hours to Virginia and stayed in a hotel that will remain anonymous because I have nothing positive to say about it. (Yeah, it was that bad. Think broken toilets, sinks losing handles, bugs, the works.) We left first thing the next morning and drove down to Durham, NC to play another show that night. It has continued in this pattern of play, travel, sleep, travel, and begin again.

In the midst of all this traveling and performing I have gotten tons of knitting done. Before we headed out I loaded a bunch of Lime & Violet podcasts on my iPod and packed several projects. I'm almost half way done with the hood on my cabled cardigan. It's amazing. Prior to this prject I had never undertaken anything with quite such a complicated stitch pattern or technique. I'm addicted! After this it'll be hard for me to enjoy doing anything in straight stockinette stitch. Hopefully in a few more days of driving the hood will be done and I can give my attention to finishing the pair of knee socks that have been on my needles forever. There're so close to be done! But I keep putting them off. However, hearing Lime & Violet and Brenda Dayne of Cast On talk so enthusiastically about sock knitting I've found myself itching to try it out again.

And with that..... back to my knitting needles and then some sleep. Another gig tomorrow and then a 5 or 6 hour drive to Poolsville Maryland.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I got the knitting bug back... yay! :)

It feels so good to really be knitting again. My knitting all but stopped over the last few years while I was completing my degree. Before beginning college I had finally reached a point where I felt I could branch out into more complex patterns.... then.... nothing. School took over my life! I'm sure many people can sympathize with that feeling.

Every Christmas during that time I would pick out patterns and yarn to make gifts for my family. The day would arrive and I always seemed to find myself presenting at least one knitted gift uncompleted. (This was usually the gift intended for my mother. I somehow had pegged her as the most understanding and forgiving recipient, and correctly so.) Now, with the world of professors and research papers behind I find myself eagerly awaiting the rush of preparing knitted and crocheted items (along with my jewelry designs) during the next holiday season. Yipee!! A big cheer for handcrafted gifts. Don't you just love the way it feels to pass on something you made to someone who appreciates it?? Of course, there are those that get it in their head that store-bought beats handmade, but whatever, I won't waste my time worrying about that.

I'm thinking that socks, regular and or slipper/house socks, might be something I want to undertake knitting for some of the people on my gift list. Probably just the girls. I can't imagine my boyfriend wearing handknit socks, it's just not him. Neither is my dad a handknit sock kinda guy. (Every year I ask my dad what he wants and it's always one of my colorful, crocheted hats. Good with me since I love making them and the possibilities are endless.)

Anyway, I've only made a few pairs of socks before using very basic patterns... and not very exciting yarns. Blah. However, I have recently become addicted to listening to the Cast On podcast with Brenda Dayne and Lime & Violet (I LOVE their craziness. It's just fab! lol). After hearing them all talk about these wonderfully delightful sock yarns that are on the market my fingers are just simply twitching to get a hold of some. (I mean come on, when you hear Lime and Violet talk about Socks that Rock how can you not want to get some of that in your stash??)

So, when I go away on tour in a few days I'm taking along the two skeins of sock yarn that I do have in my possession and will see if I get anywhere with that. I'm not even sure what brand of yarn of have. I have to go dig it out of one of my yarn bins. From memory I do recollect that I purchased it from Woodland Wool Works and that it is a black and white color, and that's about it.

And now.... I'm off to work on my sweater (half a sleeve + the hood left to go) and listen to Lime & Violet (still have several back episodes left to catch up on).
Peace,
Erica

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Inspiration

I have to admit that for a while there I was in something of a creative slump. Any creative type knows exactly what I mean without further explanation. I had the idea in my head that I'd like to sit down and make some new designs, but whenever I tried I ended up frustrated with only a few lousy attempts to show for my time spent trying to make sense of a few beads and a spool of silver wire. When I finally accepted that I was in a jewelry slump things got much better. I turned away for a few days and picked up my "pointy sticks" instead and began knitting a pattern that is harder and more complicated than anything I have done so far. It is a cabled cardigan which I'm doing out of pure undyed wool. I've made a few mistakes and ripped out several rows, but all in all it's looking good. The purpose was, I suppose, to be doing something creative, yet non-jewelry related (I'm not sure that was a conscious decision), and it worked!

After a few days went by I returned again to my jewelry designs. This time around I hit upon an idea, and another, and another, and...... There are a few new designs on the Web site to show for this, and several more that have yet to be photographed.



Check the Website, Jewelry By FiddleLee for some for the newest styles,