Saturday, November 10, 2018

"No one succeeds without effort... Those who succeed owe their success to perseverance." ~ Ramana Maharshi

Finally! The Rebel Two shawl, by Lesley Anne Robinson, has been in my mind and on my needles for the better part of a year. I discovered the pattern while wintering in Florida - probably in January. I became instantly obsessed! I purchased the pattern and the exact wool and color used by the creator. I knew that it was done in brioche, which I had never done before, but I thought "How hard can it be?" Ha! I realized immediately that I had no idea what I was doing.

 By the time I looked into classes at local (not so local) yarn stores, brioche was definitely popular, however I was too late for any of the classes. I then began looking into possible classes for when we returned home in April. This time I was in luck. I took a two-hour beginning class and learned a bit, but it really took endless practice at home to master the basic stitches. I followed this up with a Craftsy class taught by Nancy Marchant, the queen of brioche. This class made all the difference. Finally, I practiced all of the pattern stitches until I felt confident in them, and I then began my Rebel Two Shawl, which I have called My Rebellion. 

It didn't take me long to abandon the original yarn as it split too easily - just an added level of frustration I didn't need. After a few other yarn tries, I settled on a gold and purple that contrasted nicely and knit up well.

I am sure that brioche comes easily to some people - but not me. It was like rubbing my belly and patting my head. My saviors - lifelines. I put them in every right before every increase and/or decrease row. And boy - did I ever rip back to them a lot!

What I can say with a certainty is that I learned an awful lot working on this piece - a lot. I can also say that I am very impressed by my perseverance.  Really and truly. And, it is entirely possible that Bruce is happier that I have completed this project than I am! It became an obsession, and one that I talked about constantly.

Another thing that I learned after I blocked the shawl is that regardless of how careful I was, regardless of the number of times I frogged back to a lifeline, I still found many errors, including a dropped stitch way back toward the beginning. The take-away is that in future brioche projects, when checking my work, I need to pull the stitching horizontally in order to see everything (which is what the blocking did). There was no undoing any of the errors, though I could take care of the dropped stitch on the backside. I know where the bodies are buried, so to speak. I'm not going to point them out to you however!

Will I do brioche again? Yes, but I'm taking a bit of a break!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

I know, I haven't posted since March! I'm not done blogging - at least I don't think that I am. It's fair to say that life has been pretty busy since our return from Florida in April. Lots and lots of family things, but it's all good.

I considered posting a number of the snapshots that I've taken along the way, but realized that they would lack context unless I explained each one. So, I have decided to share photos from our annual trip to Cape Cod, which was last week. Sadly, the weather was not terrific. We did manage to take in some of our favorite spots however; hook up with a sister and her partner; and I managed a lovely catch-up with a friend that I made while visiting last year. Add lots of good food to the mix, and we left with wonderful memories once again!

I'm not sure when I will post again, but I am happy to have opened my page - I have missed checking in on all of the other blogs that I have enjoyed in the past - it's time to catch up!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

"Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises." ~ Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Our Florida days are winding down, and I realize that my posts have been few and far between. I said that I wanted to be free to share when I felt I had something worthwhile rather than on a schedule, so here you are, what is sure to be my last post before heading north. 

The other day, we headed north to Vero Beach to walk through the McKee Gardens.

"In 1932, Arthur G. McKee and Waldo E. Sexton opened McKee Jungle Gardens on an 80-acre tropical hammock in Vero Beach, Florida. The two land developers employed landscape architect William Lyman Phillips, from the esteemed firm of Frederick Law Olmsted, to design the basic infrastructure of streams, ponds and trails while they focused their efforts on assembling one of the most outstanding collections of waterlilies and orchids, augmenting native vegetation with ornamental plants and exotic specimens from around the world. By the 1940’s, more than 100,000 tourists were visiting the Gardens each year, deeming it one of Florida’s earliest and most popular natural attractions."

Aside from being able to enjoy the spectacular gardens, we were also able to take in a special exhibit of manmade animals.  

IT'S A JUNGLE OUT THERE! Now through April 29, 2018

This amazing exhibition, created by The Ark Collective in Nairobi Kenya, features 24 beautiful sculptures hand-crafted specifically for McKee. Using reclaimed materials discarded from the car industry and old oil barrels, a group of 19 African artists, created this collection for McKee. Click on "It's a Jungle Out There!" for more information.

In the meantime, I was once again torn with how many photos to include. I was told by a garden employee that between the months of June-August are the most spectacular for blooms, and that they had recently planted over 400 waterlilies. I must say that the gardens were just lovely while we there at the end of March.

So - too many photos, but what could I do? I have no idea what type of flower these first two are, but I've never seen turquoise blooms before.

These stick structures were created under the guidance of Patrick Dougherty I have seen a number of his installations and they never fail to enchant!

 A warm but lovely day as we prepare to say goodbye to Florida shortly!