Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pageantry, Parade, Torch Lighting

I think it is my favorite part.
Sometimes I feel like I am the only one.

Did you watch the Olympic Ceremonies?  I do mean the ceremonies and not the games.  I enjoy the games (a lot), but I really love, love, love the ceremonies ... opening and closing.

The ceremonies have (in my lifetime) become such elaborate, lovely, compelling (like to think about) entertainment ... absolutely the show-of-all-shows for the host country.  An amazing amount of thought and artistry go into the modern ceremonies, and I, for one, do love and appreciate them.

2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, London

An old friend of mine just moved to Maryland this weekend.  We spent Friday evening at a final, final, get together with them.  I almost forgot about the opening ceremonies.  I programmed my VCR to tape them.  When I sat down to watch Saturday night, I found that even though I had correctly created the timer program I had forgetten to turn on the timer program button.  I did not have a tape to watch.  (I know this is 2012 and no one uses a VCR anymore.  Obviously, I do not use mine often.  I would not have made that mistake 10 years ago.)

Luckily, I found that the ceremony was available on my Xfinity-(cable TV company)-On-Demand in three parts: Pageantry, Parade, and Torch Lighting.  I have now watched most of it twice.

It all began with Bradley Wiggins, 2012 Tour de France champion from Great Britain (their first ever), ringing a huge beautiful bell from the same London foundry that made Big Ben and the Liberty Bell.

Queen Elizabeth had a short and extremely memorable role that included her corgis and also featured James Bond.  Children's literature, British rock, current music and the digital age all had their parts.  (Thanks Tim Berners-Lee.)  Amongst all of that, "Chariots  of Fire" was performed by the London Philharmonic along with Mr Bean.

One of my favorite parts was when winged cyclists, representing doves of peace, circled the entire stadium as the Arctic Monkeys played a magnificent cover of The Beatles "Come Together".  This came shortly before the torch lighting.

What about those petal shaped lanterns, one for each of 204 countries, that were lit, forming a ring of fire that rose up on tall poles/stems to form the Olympic torch?  It was so beautiful, especially from above, and the following fireworks looked amazing.

Ending out the ceremony, an emotional Paul McCartny performed "Hey Jude" on the platform under that giant bell.  It rang once for a second time, but I am not sure if he rang it.  I like to think it was him.

Did you watch it?  What were your favorite parts?

Photo Credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/nickwebb/7663412908/ 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Also Intarsia

As I perused the world-wide-web last week to get some idea of the feelings already out there about intarsia (knitting), I learned that intarsia is also known (possibly more commonly known) as a woodworking technique where different colors of wood are inlaid together.  I think that it would be correct to say that intarsia in woodworking predated intarsia in knitting.

This photo shows an example from the early 15th century.  It is at the Collegio della Mercanzia in Perugia, Italy.

Here is a more contemporary example.

I also found intarsia done in stone.

This is an intarsia portrait made in stone.  It is entitled "Mr. Lizzadro" and it is a portrait of the collector behind the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art.  At the musem website I learned that they are in Elmhurst, Illinois and that "Lapidary is the art of cutting and polishing stone."

I liked learning all of this.

In the Wikipedia article titled "Intarsia" (which covers woodworking intarsia and mentions intarsia done in stone) I learned, "It is thought that the word 'intarsia' is derived from the Latin word 'interserere' which means 'to insert'."

The Wikipedia article titled "Intarsia (knitting)" begins with this two sentence paragraph:  "Intarsia is a knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colours. As with the woodworking technique of the same name, fields of different colours and materials appear to be inlaid in one another, but are in fact all separate pieces, fit together like a jigsaw puzzle."

Intarsia is an art and a craft that may be worked in various media...

Photo credits:
Collegio della Mercanzia:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/debbcollins/3939907401/
Wolf Intarsia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wolf-Intarsia-md.jpg
Mr. Lizzadro:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/suttonhoo22/4419221718/

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Midweek Meditation

“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”  ~  Nelson Mandela

Today is Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday.
Let your own light shine today!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Time for a Little Intarsia

I must admit that I do not have any warm and cozy feelings about working in intarsia.  For someone who loves working with color, perhaps it is surprising that I have mostly managed to avoid it in my knitting.

My Mom made an extremely cute little sweater for my fantastic little son when he was in preschool.  It had a dinosaur on front and another on the back.  She choose to work the dino's in duplicate stitch to avoid working in intarsia.  I wish that I still had that little sweater, but I passed it down to a nephew, and you know how that goes.  I still have this colorful little hat that my Mom made for my equally fantastic daughter when she was in first grade.

For this project she did work in itarsia, and I even found the bobbins that she had used in a bag with her remaining Tahki Cotton Classic.

I have recently pulled out those bobbins and have spent a little time working on my own intarsia project... I have concluded that there are two trying things about this technique...

The first is yarn management while knitting.  The work will have two or three, or sometimes countless numbers of strands of yarn being worked.  They can be in balls, or on bobbins (you often need to wind some of a color to be used in more than one area onto a bobbin).  Since each time you change colors you do need to twist them together, all your balls and bobbins repeatedly get tangled.  It is necessary, periodically, to pause to untwist them.  (Sorry that I did not take any photos of the knitting in progress... I was traveling by car... and it was all over my lap... not to mention that any photo I shot would have just looked like one 'hot' mess.)  I soon found it beneficial to do the untangling at the start of every wrong side row, since that is when all of the ends were facing.

This is what my project looks like now.

The anchor does not look so bad from a distance.  But there is a certain amount of unevenness that I will have to try to tame as I weave in the ends.

And true to intarsisa, there are a large number of ends.

The second trying thing about working in intarsia happens after all of the knitting is done.  Somehow this seems more trying to me than the knitting itself.  (Did I ever mention that I am a bit of a perfectionist?)  The second trying thing about intarsia is adjusting the tensions so that the stitches are perfectly are close to perfectly even.
For some reason, I have a strong feeling that adjusting the tension and hiding the ends will be best accomplished after the first blocking.  My plan: Wet block the piece... Hide the ends, while at the same time, adjusting loose tension as much as possible... Wet or steam block again...

Finally, I will assemble the piece as the top panel of a floor cushion cover.  (I am taking my chances here, as the planned recipient of this cushion occasionally reads this blog.)  I will be working on this over the next week, and I will let you know how my plan unfolds.  (Details on the pattern and yarn will be included in the FO post.)

I would welcome advice from any experienced intarsia knitters.
Is there anyone out there that loves working in intarsia?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Myrtle Beach, SC

Here are some highlights from last week's vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  To be more precise, we were at Surfside Beach, just south of Myrtle Beach on the Grand Strand.  I was right about here, just about every day last week.

We stayed with friends, the owners of this lovely home, just a short golf cart ride from the beach.

We have other friends who we visited in a 12th floor condo in the building that is in my first photo.  They have this view from above:

It is perfectly legal for folks in SC to shoot fireworks on the beach on the 4th of July.  We watched from the condo.  It is hard to explain just how many there were.  I took photos.

Another highlight was the Segway Tour at Huntington Beach State Park.  I had never before heard of the sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington or her husband Archer Milton Huntington.  I shot this photo of Atalaya Castle which was their winter home.

Here is a photo of our Segways parked outside of Atalaya.  They were so much fun to ride and a lot easier than I expected.

For our lunch that day, we were very near "Goat Island".  The goats are now placed on this island in the Intracoastal Waterway every year for the warmer months.  I am told that they winter elsewhere.

On Thursday we went to dinner at a great Italian restaurant at The Market Common.  After dinner we walked by this Barnes and Noble.

It was closed for the night, but I had a peek inside.

Knitscene Accessories 2012
was in there on the top shelf.

I did a fair amount of knitting, especially during the 12 hour car rides between PA and SC.  Some friends we visited did express an interest in my published patterns, which I did appreciate.  This was my first time ever in the state of South Carolina.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Midweek Meditation

Oak trees grow differently in the south...wider branches with a bit of Spanish moss.

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."   ~  Henry David Thoreau

Monday, July 9, 2012

Not Posted

I am back home again.
We have been on vacation once again.
(I will be sharing more about this last vacation very soon.)
Mr K and I have been on vacation for 22 of the last 38 days.

Mr K was quite ill for well over a year and is doing much better now.

He has very many friends and we have been saying "Yes, yes!" to some great invitations. It has been like making up for lost time.
Just before we left on this last vacation, I tried to write a post about
(and including) the above photos.

I was rushed.

It did not seem worthy of publishing.
My very wise daughter said, "If you don't like a post, don't publish it."
I did not post/publish it.
I am back home once again.
I will leave it to your imagination to think about what it was that I wanted to say about the above photos in that abandoned post.
(BTW: Truth be told, I really am glad to be back home.)