How does these glued to walls - is it wheat paste or a different kind of glue?? Anyway, I love walking around a corner and being surprised by a shot of color right at eye level. And I am captivated by the pattern repeat - there's never just ONE poster . . . there are always multiples, all lined up in a row.
On Saturday my husband ran into the house shouting "it's here, it's HERE!" I assumed he was talking about yet another foot of snow, but he was thinking outside the box.
He waved the magazine in my face and said "Oh my gosh, here it is, right THERE - the view from the apartment in Cusco!"
Sure enough, there it was!
Elle Decor, with an article about my beloved Cusco, Peru. With a view that looked suspiciously like the panorama from San Blas, the neighborhood where we lived for our 6 months in-country.
If you have a chance, scoop up the current issue. Aside from the fabulous review of THROW PILLOWS (a crucial read), there is a terrific 3-page piece on visiting Peru.
Last night I sat staring at my kids' snackbags wondering what in the world I was going to put inside these things. This is by far my least favorite chore, and frankly one my 13 year-old does better than I do.
To make matters worse, this 7th Grader of mine gave me a run-down of the snackbags his ski friends and classmates have been carrying around lately. These munchies include, but are not limited to: homemade scones, hand-dipped chocolate-covered strawberries, cubed pineapples with special toothpicks and raw, sprouted spelt & flax crackers made fresh each morning.
"How about an Odwalla bar and a cheese stick?" I ask. Because that's about as far as I go in this snack department. On gold medal days I add pretzels.
The problem isn't the snackbag per se but my lack of inspiration. I am deeply unmoved by the prospect of filling a bag with munchables for my kids. Don't get me wrong - we eat healthy, we eat well and we eat a lot. I do not abuse their growing bodies with mercury-filled fish, and usually buy organic produce. I even have recyclable grocery bags from Whole Foods, see?, and we have Kefir in the fridge. I am not a total food deadbeat.
But carefully prepared snacks do not give me a rush, do not fill me with Mom-inspired joy, and is not the stress-reducer it is for others. Nope. In fact, the process fills me with so much loathing that I prefer to call it: The Tyranny of the Snack Bag.
Bad Design Days Happen
On occasion, this extends into the studio and I am faced with The Tyranny of Design. No matter how well-rested, happy and focused I am, there are days when the sketchbook reveals drivel, and not one pencil mark is worth the tree that died to make its life possible. It's all awful. Every page.
Then there are moments when Inspiration with a capital "I" hits, and what emerges from the sketchbook and on to the knitting machine just works.
The Moray design, which I've been working with now for months , was one such moment. After visiting the Inca ruins of Moray I sketched a basic design that I barely modified by the time it hit the machine.
Wouldn't it be strange if this happened every day in the studio?! If every one of my snackbags was INSPIRED? My kids, for one, would likely pass out in shock if they found a home-baked, chocolate souffle in their bags tomorrow . . .
What inspires you - as a Mom and in your studio?? Is it the snackbag, the sketchbook or both?
(post from Raisa) Our recent 6-month journey to Peru has come to an end. What an incredible experience for all of us!
Right now we are still adjusting to life with so much clean, available water, night-time temperatures above 37 degrees (South America was in winter during our time there) and the luxuriously hot showers found in New Hampshire. We missed our family. We missed our friends, community, dogs, cat, comforts and countryside. We are so happy to be home!
But we also miss so much about that beautiful country!
We miss the weekly Incan celebrations, the Andean sunshine, the colors, textures, sights, sounds and smells, and speaking so much Spanish.
And we really miss our amazing friends from Peru.
Our local paper, The Monadnock Ledger, published a story about our adventure. You can find it online by clicking here.
Fortunately, I have had a chance to relive parts of our trip by sifting through the thousands of photos I took during our time in-country. Obviously, my camera barely had a rest!
Many of these photos are now available in our new Fine Art Prints store on the RaisaAntonia website.
Even if all you do is browse through our Gallery, I hope you are able to share just a little of our amazing adventure!
(post from Raisa, who is in Cusco, Peru for the spring of 2014) This past week I returned to the non-profit Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) here in Cusco, Peru.
The Center was established to preserve the intricate production and textile traditions of the surrounding Andean villages, some of which literally go back 10,000 years. The museum is fairly small but includes a remarkably comprehensive exhibit on Andean knitting and weaving as well as a shop filled with traditionally made hats, blankets and shawls.
The Center also provides training and support to nine different communities where traditional weaving and Andean fashion design are still practiced
CTTC also makes a point of having "live" weavers and knitters on hand so that visitors can see techniques in action - thus the male knitter we saw on my recent visit.
He is knitting a hat in the round using incredibly fine needles - maybe as small as a size 1. The final chullo, or Andean-style hat with earflaps, will have 20-stitches-to-the-inch!
For some perspective: a hat using size 8 needles generates about 4 to 5 stitches per inch.
He's also using (very soft) alpaca yarn made from Alpacas grown in his community. The alpaca fleece is spun into yarn by women using drop spindles; the yarn is then dyed naturally using local plants and mordants. Finally, the dyed yarn is used to knit and weave every day items such as hats, clothing and carrying cloths as well as religious cloths and robes.
And his pattern? It's in his head! When I asked him about this - particularly given the number of colors he's constantly managing along with the complex design - he laughed and said, "Well, it's just in my head. I've been doing it for so long it's hard to forget."
For a more comprehensive review of knitting in this part of the world, I strongly recommend Cynthia Gravelle Lecount's book, Andean Folk Knitting: Traditions and Techniques from Peru and Bolivia. It's a terrific written summary of many fiber techniques and traditions used by the Quechua and Aymara people of Peru and Bolivia.
Perhaps these closeups give a better perspective on just how intricate a hat this man is knitting. The pictures above show the knitting from the knit side, but the picture below shows it from the purl side -- or how he views and works on a piece. Of note: in the states, we usually knit in the round from the knit side and carry the bobbins on the purl side for color-work. These are REALLY tiny needles, and I've never seen so many bobbins with different colors at a time. I think the colors of the naturally dyed alpaca come through here, too. The final chullo IS a bit stiffer than we're used to, but is still soft and fairly light on account of the alpaca yarn. So beautiful.