Tuesday, September 30, 2014

interweave guest blog

The guest blog post about my trip to Winterthur for the Downton Abbey costume exhibit is up on the Interweave site! Featuring a photo of me by my photographer father, Maurice Marietti, who also has several photos in the article I wrote about the exhibit. I know he will want me to point out that the photo of me was taken on an iphone in the semi-gloom of a not-quite-finished exhibit, and is nowhere near his normal quality of work. If you have a chance to see the photos he took of the exhibit in the magazine, you will know this is true.

If you are interested in more detail about the exhibition, plus 25 beautiful patterns (including three by yours truly), then get to your local yarn store and buy this magazine!

And if you are interested in seeing the exhibition for yourself: hurry! It is only open for three more months. You can buy tickets here.

fatted calf

For the first time in a month... we were five at the table instead of just four.

We have seen Primo quite often since he left, about once a week, but he hasn't been home. We didn't kid ourselves that he came home to see us—he asked for a ride back yesterday so he could pick up his car and go visit his girlfriend at her college. But he did propose having dinner with us before we had to take him back again tonight.

So, fatted calf was killed, in the form of his favorite dinner, which is lasagna, at the top. The ziti on the bottom is for my middle child, who hates lasagna. At least I won't have to cook tomorrow night. The bread was my one cheat, compliments of Pillsbury.

Homemade dessert even! An apple pie, their favorite, with a "B" and four hearts, for my four boys. My to-do list was completely neglected in favor of all this cooking. It can go take a flying leap, along with all the laundry that didn't get done either. It was a nice dinner, even if we do have to retrain Primo in the fine art of not texting while at the dinner table and other niceties. Seems they leave for a month and revert to their wild untamed ways.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


The beginning of September was an out of the frying pan, into the fire sort of situation. We managed to get everyone sorted in time for the start of school, then I was into the thick of getting ready for Garden State Sheep Breeders Festival. Once that was over, I was facing a mountain of work. Everyone involved had been most patient but the time was past due for me to meet some deadlines. College tuition and all that, so I don't want to get fired. Catching up involved many mornings of waking up at 3 or 4 am and working in the dark quiet.

Then the icing on the cake: knitting classes.

I wasn't planning on offering knitting classes. I have batted around the idea for years, but I certainly didn't have time for them this fall. But a random post on our local facebook page generated an outpouring of interest, so it seemed like the iron was too hot for me not to strike.

So: knitting classes.

Every one so far has been full, with the graduating knitters clamoring for more classes and projects to teach them different skills. I have been busy trying to keep up. I'm not complaining! I love knitting, and I love teaching, and I love watching people fall in love with knitting, so it is a very happy conjunction, even if unplanned.

Today, finally, was a breather. The second round of beginner classes finished up last night. Today the kids had off school for the Jewish holiday. It was cold and rainy. I dressed in comfy clothes and vowed to stay in all day.

I attended to all those pressing-but-who-has-the-time tasks.

I made bread in the bread machine. Terzo went wild. Apparently I have not made bread in his recent memory. Oops.

I made homemade ratatouille pasta sauce, for the first time this season. The Disney movie of the same name had it right. It is my ultimate comfort food, especially when the ingredients come out of our garden.

So hallelujah and thank the good Lord for Rosh Hashanah today, and happy new year to all those celebrating. I certainly feel like I have a fresh start.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

fallout finish

The rest of the weekend was as great as the beginning!

All day Saturday, I took a class with Jane Woodhouse on natural dyeing. After an exhausting, burn-the-candles-at-both-ends schedule last week, it was the perfect antidote. We had fun experimenting with the different concentrations and effects that could be achieved, but there was enough down time waiting for the dyes to set that I could sneak away for a quick nap. I don't think I was missed.

The end results were nothing short of spectacular. We made five different stock solutions, the colors that can be see all the way to the left, using madder, cutch, logwood, fustic and cochineal. We then used them in different concentrations to produce those colors. We were all taken how well the colors harmonized together. Mother nature really does know what she's doing.

Another fun spinning contest Saturday night, this time wearing giant workmen's gloves... The wonderful Amy Tyler, pictured on the right, won. If you ever have a chance to take a class with her, jump on it. She is incredibly knowledgeable and funny and warm and patient all at the same time. One of my all-time favorite instructors.

This morning my mom and I had just enough time to seek out the labyrinth (after a few wrong turns) and walk it. Turns out we were too busy talking and not paying attention to the woods around us—we missed the bear that the people right behind us nearly ran into!

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend with my mom and other lovely, talented people. I did get a little bit of the creative recharge I was hoping for. Now if I can just get a little rest, I should be ready to put it into action in the coming week.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

fibre fallout

It's late September in an even year, so that means it's time for the Fibre Fallout, there bi-annual retreat organized by the North Country Spinners Guild.

My mom came with me to our first one four years ago, but had to miss the last one due to a work commitment. I was thrilled that she could come again this time around.

Yesterday we took an excellent class in spinning using the long draw technique from Amy Tyler. She loves Coopworth, and we spent quite a bit of time with it, so that was a bonus! Today I will be learning how to use natural dyes, while my mom has more spinning, this time with Robin Russo, a class I took last time and which also heavily features Coopworth. Coopworth is such a rare breed in US that it was fun finding out which breeder had produced the roving they were using.

In addition to the spinning and dyeing and other sorts of creating, there is fun of the sort that only fiber types can enjoy. Last night Robin participated in the "see how much yarn you can spin in five minutes while blindfolded" contest. She didn't win; one picture couldn't capture the other six people competing. We are all eagerly awaiting tonight's mystery contest.

There is catching up with old friends, and making new friends. Just as enjoyable are the beautiful surroundings of this retreat set in the mountains. I hope to make it to the labyrinth today.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

unofficial downton abbey knits 2014

The 2014 edition of Interweave's "Unofficial Downton Abbey Knits" is almost here!

And take a look at the preview page!!

Not one, but two of my patterns are featured! The green scarf and the pink beret are both mine, and my article about the "Costuming Downton Abbey" exhibit at Winterthur also got a shout out.

Stay tuned for more... I am working on a guest blog post for the issue roll-out. I'll let you know when it goes up.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

postmodern jukebox

Instead of writing a blog post as planned, I spent the vast majority of this evening watching youtube videos published by Postmodern Jukebox. (The remainder was spent with my husband and Terzo at the movies watching "Guardians of the Galaxy," and the less said about that, the better.)

Back to Postmodern Jukebox: the group is kind of hard to explain, but they are very talented musicians and singers who reset (mostly) current hits to music styles of a different era.

Take their Great Gatsby rendition of "Fancy" as an example.

It's not just 1920s. They cross multiple genre lines, including klezmer ("Talk Dirty") and mariachi ("Wake Me Up"). I cannot get enough of this interpretation of "Blurred Lines."

Or their equally fantastic doo-wop version of "Timber." I could listen to those voices all day.

Their clever classical take on "All About that Bass" was released a week ago, and got me started on my musical appreciation evening.

At one point, Secondo came in from the other room, asking what I was listening to. After showing him a few examples (which he had to agree were pretty good, the equivalent of an enthusiastic review from a teenage boy), he said, "Geez Mom, you're obsessed!"

Which I pretty much am, and which also goes a long way in explaining this blog post—as well as my current thinking that I simply must get to one of their concerts.