I love brights!
But when building a design, I always start by scrubbing my inspiration image of color. This makes it easier for me to focus on the lines and shapes I want to pull into the eventual machine knitting pattern. Here's an example with the SKYLINE design.
In order to develop a design, I had to convert my favorite color photo into a black and white image. Then I had to sketch the shape until I found the angles that evoked the skyscrapers and sheer volume of construction evident in the city.
In just black and white, SKYLINE had a very urban feel - exactly what I was looking for in the eventual design.
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?
The Traditional Incan Festival of the Sun is a World-Class Textile Extravaganza
(Post from Raisa) This past June we had a chance to see the famous Incan Inti Raymi festival, or the Festival of the Sun, in Cusco, Peru.
This month-long celebration in South America is second only in size to Carnival in Brazil.
Sure, sure, it's a chance to see ancient Quechuan dances and customs, and an opportunity to honor a centuries-old culture still vibrant, strong and proud.
But my oh my, THE TEXTILES!
My favorite costumes were the full, black wool skirts with wide woven trim on the bottom edges. But the heavily embroidered mantas, or shawls, were also ludicrously lovely.
And the men's costumes were a welcome surprise. Some incorporated feathers (painted and natural) and others used straw to create huge headpieces. But my favorite involved these enormous bright red yarn loop bomb headpieces that also included matching tiered skirts.
Combine all of these costumes, exquisite textiles, pageantry and culture with the beauty of Cusco's Plaza de Armas, the Andes and the bright blue sky and it was a Visual Spectacular of a lifetime!
(The photos below are from one of the Secundaria, or high school, days of parade.)
Post from Raisa After decades in New England, I am a near-expert in the art of staying warm in the winters. Long underwear, Darn Tough socks, Sorel boots, glove liners, hot water bottles . . . Yep, I have a system that keeps this half-Dominican body clear of frostbite even deep into February.
And now I am in alpaca heaven.
This scarf, Tipón, is the coziest, most comfortable bit of fluffy warmness I've ever had wrapped around my neck since I had a sick toddler.
This morning it's cold, a bit rainy and I am absolutely elated that I can wear this bit of hand-knit lace for, hm, perhaps the next 8 months. Starting today. Not even kidding.
Sign up for our email newsletter and you receive a PDF of this hand-knitting pattern for FREE! Really! The pattern is charted and the instructions are in English (for those of you who speak that language), so I think it's a win-win for everybody on this early, frosty fall day.
(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!