Wednesday, August 29, 2007

12 Hours, 26 Minutes between Brooklyn and Home

On a midnight train from Brooklyn

I did it. I successfully worked 41 hours by 3pm on Friday afternoon. I even managed to leave work on time and without leaving my cellphone, keys, or Tupperware. However, when I found myself sitting on a broken train 2.5 hours into my journey and only halfway between crafting bliss in Brooklyn and the New Haven train station it didn't seem to matter. Luckily the train guys fixed the problem, pissed off some snobby Nutmeggers by skipping Greenwich station and managed to get me to the church on time...or at least to Grand Central at 6:43 (only 23 minutes late).

At Grand Central I met my recently-moved-to-NYC-friend, and we were off to Brooklyn. We arrived in Brooklyn at 7:40 (twenty minutes late), sans dinner and discovered Brooklyn is a bit like the rest of New England in that just because there should be a ton of restaurants doesn't actually mean there are, and you should have packed the power bar.

At the bARTer there were tons of great crafts. Heavy duty shopping bags made of many 'disposable' shopping bags pressed together into sheets of plastic and stitched into a re-usable bag. Beautiful photos taken by creative souls, a couple of crazy stuffed animals, a sculpey monkey and some generally crafty crafts with great stories behind them. I brought a pair of hand-knit-hand-warmers (say that ten times fast) I had knitted last season with the intention of publishing a pattern. I'll have to work on the actual writing down of the pattern before I can publish it, but that's another post for another day.

I have never seen so many wonderfully crafty folks in one place at one time. It was how I imagine a Star wars convention, only with people talking about aperture speeds and knitting patterns instead of the imperial army and wookies. Except-the women out numbered the men, and everyone was generally attractive, and no one was wearing anything they had hot glued together, so really it was nothing like a Star wars Convention-but you get the picture.

It was a bit hot, and we hadn't really eaten dinner, and it was rather crowded. When my partner in crafting crime had to step into the hallway and breathe into a baggie (I *luckily* had in my handbag). I knew it was getting close to time to leave. The bARTer ended , my friend scored my handwarmers and we headed up-town to try to find something to eat and get me on a train to make it back to Manchester by a semi-reasonable time.... I missed the 11:24 train.
Time for plan B. Food and the 12:22.

A bit of walking and a $14 sandwich later I was on the 12:22 headed for home. I had time to reflect on the evening among the snoring train passengers, and I realized it had been months since I had any adventure in my life. Although Brooklyn is not terribly adventuresome it is great to remember a mini adventure in NYC is only a train ride away.
This is what tired feet look like
I arrived in my Manchester parking spot at 3:20 am 12 hours and 2o minutes after my adventure had begun, and suddenly realised I couldn't find my house keys. It's funny just how willing you are to steal a chair off your neighbors porch and climb through your window at 3:24am when faced with sleeping in your car. As I was about to commit a couple of misdemeanor crimes I suddenly remembered where my keys where, put the chair down, and at 3:26am went to bed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I LOVE A CHALLENGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

A Bracelet knit on the teeniest knitting
needles I've ever seen.....Art???

I've made goals for myself. I've achieved many of these goals. I achieved the college degree (with honors-thank you very much). The getting out of a job that was making me crazy. The not staying in any relationship that sucked (that one has been hard). The don't be in more debt for college and credit cards than you make in a year (also very difficult).

I've achieved many of my goals, some still elude me. Of the the goals I have set for myself this year- these are some of the ones that I've not really taken care of.

A Flower Hat...Art???

1. Getting some friends on the east coast I don't work with.

2. Finding good reasons to go to NYC (not work related)

3. Going to (or hosting) a rockin' swap meet

4. Becoming more involved in the indie craft world

Looks like I have finally found a way to satisfy these goals I have been neglecting (not that I've listed all my goals here on the Internet for your prying eyes)! I've been invited to bARTer via my membership on Etsy. I've never heard of bARTer before, but is sounds like a rockin good time. The idea is- you make some art, you bring it to the meet, you get points, at the end of the night there is an auction for the art payed for with the points. Think of it as eBay-cum-swap meet and no one looses money or finds out that the Velvet Elvis was paint by numbers. Oh, and the bARTer meet is in the Etsy labs in Brooklyn which puts me in New York, not on work, visiting my friend who just moved there and hanging with a rockin collection of indie crafters. I think this may be my geeky-crafty heaven.

Now the question.....what the heck do I bring? It goes back to- What is art? Do I make a hat? Do I knit some hand warmers with the soft-as-a-baby-kitten yarn I just bought this weekend?

This is the most sublime challenge I have faced since I was in my freshman Principles Of Design class in college assigned to make "an idea container" for my midterm .--- What-the-F is an idea container??? I love this stuff! Now I just have to decide what is art and make some. At least I have something to think about for the next couple of days.....
A Pig Cake.....Not Art......

Thursday, August 9, 2007

What is a good gift?

Crafty Roll-Up Anyone???

It's that time of year again...the time of year when crafty folks start thinking about what they should make for friends and family for Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Mid-Winter gifts. I am also in the middle of a friend nesting/baby boom, and it makes for a whole world of gifts that need to be made with love and speed.

This poses the question-What is a good gift? Is a good gift something someone needs? Something someone wants? Something you made with love and humor? Is it inappropriate to knit and felt a uterus for your mom to use as a pin-cushion? In a word-maybe. I dunno, but I do think it's funny and useful.

On top of the making for others....I have an incredible itch to start making winter wear for my site. All these things together lead me down the dangerous path of --What makes a good gift?

The Oh Canada Bag I made for Maloo

I think for me the best gifts fit into these categories

1. They are unexpected.
2. Are not something you really need.
3. Are made with love or humor or both.

This is where I get into trouble...what is funny, and what is just lame? Who knows...

Currently planned projects are:

--Sublime stitching embroidered towels for: my friends wedding, my brother and sister-in-law and several friends in Chicago.

--A felted womb pin cushion for my Mom

--A sweater for myself

--A TON OF STUFF for my etsy site

Project currently in the works:

--A scarf for a friend who has recently moved to New England--and is in for a nasty surprise this winter.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Can a sweater be art?

It's a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I'm listening to This American Life. The subject is Art and Artists (capital letter 'A' Art and Artists). This poses the question- What is art? This is a question that has popped up in my life several times in the last few weeks. Am I an artist, or a crafter? I would suggest I am a craftsperson, maybe even in the journeyman portion of my career. I am not a master-crafter, and not an apprentice anymore (thank god).

Recently a friend with whom I had lost touch -for almost a decade- and I reunited. She came to stay with me for a few days on her way to a new life in NYC. She has proclaimed me an artist, living an artistic lifestyle. So now I find I am questioning what is art and what is craft?
When is knitting and dyeing yarn an art? Can sweater be art? At what point is the practical artistic? Maybe the answer is -if Gap can't or won't reproduce it next season-it's art. Maybe not.

That was a little too deep. Let's offset it with some yarn I've been dyeing. It's a dyeing art.