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gadgets

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"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see."  --  John Burroughs

Yesterday I hauled out my knitting machine, gave her a good cleaning, replaced the sponge bar and got to work.  No, i didn't knit this hat on it, I just thought you would like to see it, but I did take the time to make a series of swatches for my upcoming scarf line.  

I was so happy sitting there puttering with my machine.  It reminded me of the long nights I spent in college at the loom and then later at the sewing machine.  I admit it.  I am addicted to textile gadgets. 

 I have a 16 harness dobby loom and a rigid heddle loom which is gorgeous.  A former student designed it and had it custom carved while living in India. This number  is down from the all time high of 6 looms total.  I recently gave away 4 of them to fellow artists who I knew would put them to good use, including the aforementioned former student.  

Now shall we consider my sewing machine collection?  It includes a pre WWII industrial Singer for which parts are increasingly hard to come by, two computerized machines (a Bernina and a Pfaff) and of course, my good ol' basic Bernina.  (There is nothing like a Bernina, really, there isn't.  It is the Rolls Royce of sewing machines.) I gave away my original sewing machine, a Singer operated by knee treadle rather than foot and turned down a recent offer for a foot powered antique treadle Singer.  If I had more studio space, i wouldn't have been able to resist.  I'm still looking for an affordable Cornelly.  

I used to have two fine bed knitting machines, but gave one to my friend Elaine.  She was also the happy recipient of my spinning wheel.  Spinning is the one textile activity that hasn't grabbed my attention, though I still have several drop spindles with lovely whorls.

I use all of these various machines though I admit my dobby is getting a bit dusty.  I shudder to think, but yes, I am considering the possibility of selling it. I want to purchase an industrial Bernina, let alone a bulky bed knitting machine, plus one Cornelly.  

Yeah, I'm a textile gadget junkie.  I come by it honestly.  My great grandmother's crochet hook collection included some amazing hand carved wood and bone hooks, plus some engraved metal ones.  I still use them.  


kitchen commandments

(c) showpony at etsy.com

"If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk?" --  Dr. Laurence J. Peters


Nearly every night for the past few weeks my daughter and I have been getting into ear splitting arguments.  They are usually started by me because quite frankly, I'm fed up.  It's okay for me to work 10 hours a day, do all the household chores, let alone act as private chauffeur, shopper, secretary, bookkeeper and gardener.  You can literally follow a trail through the house of where my daughter has been.  Clothes are flung on the floor, dishes are left in every room, food is left out to rot, etc.  Since starting to work at home all day, it is driving me especially nuts as I can't get away from it.  Even my studio is not sacred as it happens to be part of the family room.

I know yelling is counter productive as she likely tunes me out, but a rational, calm conversation doesn't work either.  She hasn't always been like this.  I am aware that at 20 she is going through the process of separating from me and finding her own identity.  She is more than welcome to live like Pig Pen when she has her own place, but I can't deal with it when we share the same space.  Just a smidgeon of respect for me and my stuff would go a long way.

Well, eventually I will figure a way of getting her to see my point of view and find a compromise, but in the mean time I need a giggle.  Enter Showpony.  I found her work on Etsy.  It was laughter at first sight, especially her kitchen commandment tea towels.  They are fab fantastic!  I need to order several, frame them and proudly display them throughout the house.  Maybe then my daughter will get the hint.  

knitting balm

(c) Lindsay Obermeyer Ms. Fanny and Ms. Dorothy

"Knitting is a boon for those of us who are easily bored.  I take my knitting everywhere to take the edge off of moments that would otherwise drive me stark raving mad."  --  Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

I reckon that all who knit share this sentiment.  I've been teaching at a fixed income housing facility for seniors since last summer.  We started out making jewelry and painting tablecloths, but it was my introduction to knitting that they really took to doing.  

I taught them to use the knitting frame (loom) as it is easier on arthritic hands.  I've lost count of the number of hats and scarves produced. One of my male students holds the record for longest scarf at 10 feet.  He loves to flip it over his shoulder with great swagger much to the amusement of the ladies.  

What I didn't consider when I introduced knitting was the manner in which it would fill their idle hours.  They frequently report waking in the early morning, knitting a few rows, and then dozing off again.  They can't wait to finish that next hat.  

It's also become a great social outlet.  Tuesday a new student joined our group.  She glowed with energy and enthusiasm.  During our summer break, one of the regulars had taught her how to knit.  Since that magic moment, she has knit over 30 hats and 5 scarves for her church bazaar.  She also has cancer.  She was in tears as she described how knitting keeps her mind off her worries.  We hugged and I promised to bring more yarn.  

If you have any spare yarn, even those odd bits leftover from projects, please consider sharing them with these lovely folks.  I've cleaned out my closets of all acrylics and cottons as they seem to prefer these fibers, but really, they would be delighted with anything you have to offer. I'll pay for shipping or personally pick up if you happen to have a large stash.  Just send me an email or leave me a note on how to contact you.  

Thanks!

lesson learned

(c) Lindsay Obermeyer nasturtium

"Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be learned."  -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Icky, icky, icky.  Lesson learned.  Do not use the word p-rn- in a blog post.  I thought yesterday's blog was amusing.  I was so surprised to find the grasshopper couple "in the act" while playing around with my camera this past weekend.   But oh ick, I feel like I need to wash and sanitize my blog and computer after seeing how many hits my blog received based on that p---- word.  Then again I can imagine the looks on the faces of the folks who came to my blog seeking one thing and finding a couple of grasshoppers. None the less, I did go back to yesterday's entry and edit a few words.  Yes, lesson definitely learned.

Have you played the "check Google" game?  It's the one in which you type your name and / or blog's title into Google to see where it ranks in the world of Internet searches.   I recently started a new blog for the community garden where I volunteer.  The Chicago Park District website has a lock on being number one on Google's list of searches for Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse, but our little blog is slowly moving up the ranks.  If you like gardening and enjoy good food, take a look.  Tell me what you think.  

couple of bugs

(c) Lindsay Obermeyer grasshoppers

"Green little vaulter in the sunny grass," -- Leigh Hunt

I felt like such the naughty voyeur as I watched this couple in the act of coupling.  They could have cared less given their focus and concentration.  Afterward the male hopped away with a merry chirp while the female looked nonplussed.  Interested in more bug reproduction?  Take a look at a series of short films by Isabella Rossellini on The Sundance Channel. They're hilarious and the costumes are fantastic.    

The concept is interesting.  I don't mean bugs doing the nasty, but the making of short films meant to be viewed on one's cellphone.  It's a new genre with much creative potential.   I think of my claymation experiments back in high school.  Remember the Saturday Night Live character Mr. Bill?  He was my inspiration.  These days digital cameras with video capability make such experiments so much easier to complete.  I've been working on a short film, but for turning into a flip book with each still being a separate page in the book.  Maybe I should expand my thinking to include cellphone downloads.  And then again, maybe I should stick with what I know best and get back to my knitting.  Oh so many ideas and too little time to experiment.  Sigh.    

style

(c) Lindsay Obermeyer Floradetail

"A style does not go out of style as long as it adapts itself to its period. When there is an incompatibility between the style and a certain state of mind, it is never the style that triumphs." -- Coco Chanel

After spending the past week setting up my online shop with Etsy, I have developed an awe for all the work involved.   There is the making of the product.  That's the fun part as far as I am concerned.  I love to make things.  But then there is everything else.

Thanks everyone for your supportive emails on my trials and errors with photographing.  I'm slowly learning.  I need to learn how to do indoor studio shots, but I'll save that experiment for another week.  

After photographing, there is editing.  Oh super ugh.  I am not a huge fan of spending hours looking at a flickering screen trying to make sure screen colors match yarn colors.  This is an exercise requiring numerous cups of coffee and chocolate for bribery.  Then you have to load up the images, write about each product, figure out shipping costs, etc.  It is definitely process, though by Friday I was feeling more confident.  

Which brings me back to part one - the making of things.  I am having tremendous fun.  Unlike my design work for Lark Books where I submit a small collection based on editorial requests, I can pull out the needles and just let it flow.  But is letting it flow the best way to go?  Should I be thinking of these hats in terms of a cohesive collection?  For now, I am up for letting see what happens, but opinions on the subject would be most welcome.  

don't look back

Helen

"I fell an earnest and humble desire, and shall till I die, to increase the stock of harmless cheerfulness."  -- Charles Dickens


People are freaking.  The stock market is low.  The government is bailing out insurance and mortgage companies.  Homes are being foreclosed.  Unemployment is getting higher.  And yet, I remain hopeful.  It may just be the euphoria of wellness after 5 days of the flu, but I don't think it's that simple.  

Two days ago I received a call from a curator letting me know that three of my works from the Chirurgi series have been sold.  The purchaser is a health foundation whose holdings are based on the stock market.  Yesterday I expected an email stating that the deal had been dropped, but I didn't get one.   

Today' New York Times has an article on the auction of over 200 works by the artist Damien Hirst.  Sotheby's sales exceeded high expectations by over $20 million.  It was also the first time an artist has skipped the traditional route of gallery and dealer and gone straight to an auction house.  Folks were 
quoted as feeling that the art market is a place with greater financial stability.  I don't know if that's true, but I like the concept.  

I guess I am hopeful because I know my grandparents suffered much more throughout the Great Depression.  Despite everything they endured, their stories of those times were always told with a sense of humor.  The day the banks closed they had gone on their honeymoon.  They raced back home, got out what they could, and didn't look back.

I'm following their lead.  Enjolive is open for business! 

the flu

(c) Lindsay Obermeyer April detail

"Life is like a rainbow.  You need both the sun and the rain to make its colors appear." --  Anonymous

Well, sometimes well laid plans go awry.  Enjolive's grand opening has been postponed a few days.  I have the flu.  The past 48 hours have been spent either asleep or in a hot bath.  The only ones happy about the situation are the dogs.  Josie has been glued to my hip while Jack protects my feet.  

More soon.  I promise.   

puppy love

(c) Lindsay Obermeyer puppy love

"When you feel lousy, puppy therapy is indicated."  --  Sara Paretsky

Josie the Monster Pup is not one to be left out. During the photo shoot she took advantage of our lovely postal lady and escaped the house while delivering the mail.  Jack the Pom Pom is getting older, but not to be outdone, he tattle tale barked that Josie was up to mischief.  We found her a few doors down the street trying to charm a couple of teenagers.  Fortunately they were able to scoop her up and return her no worse for wear.  

Jack has had his time to shine as a doggie rebel.  One afternoon he escaped the backyard.  Some miscreants had opened the gate.  For hours I searched for him.  I was in hysterics.  He was only a year old and I was convinced someone had stolen him.  Just as I was giving up hope, the sisters called to say that Jack had come to visit.  By sisters, I mean the sisters from the convent a 1/2 mile away!  How he managed to escape harm crossing a busy street and find his way to friendly people is still a mystery, but I am grateful.  I've also learned my lesson.  I never leave the dogs alone outside and I always check the gate.   

Dog theft is an unfortunate reality of living in the big city, especially when you have small dogs.  They are either sold for lab experiments or to unsuspecting dog parents.  There was one group caught last year who stole dogs, waited for the missing signs to go up around the neighborhood, and then called to say the dog was found and would collect the reward.  Can you imagine?!

Knowing Monster Pup's need to be my shadow, I let her stay outside a few minutes while Baby Girl held her.  Both were quite happy with the arrangement, don't you agree? 

learning curve

(c) LindsayObermeyerEmilyhats


Today was like shooting the rapids.  You race along only to hit a rock, push off, hit another rock and continue forward slightly fearful and thoroughly exhilarated.  

Last night I had borrowed a friend's set of lights and tripod in preparation for "the shoot."  I set everything up.  Took 50 or so photographs and didn't like a single one.  The color was off and the images looked static.  In short, they were ho hum boring.  I gave up and had a glass of wine.  

I realized this morning that I needed to do two things - get a model and play.  I was taking the whole experience of photographing my hats far too seriously.  After a few more attempts with the tripod, I gave up and walked outside.  Baby Girl acted as model.  Even her ladyship, Monster Pup, got into the act at one point.   

After a few hours I had a few good shots and had learned a ton.  Hooray!  Now comes the task of editing and loading them up for the grand opening this Monday.  

I think I'll go make myself another cup of coffee.