Monday, February 10, 2014

I scream, you scream...

This is the way it happens: Warm air (usually off the Pacific) crowds down on top of the cold front that has brought our snow. The clouds thaw, but we down below are still chilly so when they let go their weight our world gets covered in a sheet of ice. It's beautiful.





It is also quite treacherous. Trees break, roads are downright wicked, walking is for the adventurous. People actually strapped on skates and used the streets as an ice rink. Magical, but at this point I will be glad when it's melted and I can open the doors to my car again, when the animals' waters stay liquid, and I can send my youngest outdoors to frolic without physically holding her upright. It will happen soon, the cold never lasts long around here. In the meantime, I am thoroughly enjoying scenes like this one:





Sunday, February 9, 2014

Snow Day

It is not often that we get any real winter weather here in my hometown. The mountains to our east are too high and the ocean to our west too vast, so our darkest months tend to be chilly and wet and grey, rather than white.


Every few years, however, we get some real snow. When this happens there is much rejoicing and everything shuts down. Those residents who have migrated here from snowier climes too often waste this magical, breathtakingly quiet time in scoffing at our noobish inability to function when the ground is covered, but to them I say this: how much better is it to be skiing in the streets and sledding to the store for a few days than to grind on through the grey and dirty plough drifts in our same old workaday worlds?




Also, we have almost zero snow ploughs, true story, since we so rarely need them. So when it snows a lot here conditions really are much worse in many areas, making a lot of people who have never had the need or opportunity to drive on ice and snow suddenly have a, ummm, crash course of study.





Better by far then to stay in, romp around, make hot drinks and decadent foods, watch some Olympics and build cardboard houses, throw snowballs and watch birds, venture tunnels and draw with sticks, make fallen angels and find animal tracks. Better to take the gift of a few days to just enjoy, because you know that the time will be fleeting.



I have spent some winters in the midwest and New England, and that kind of endless slogging and ground covering requires a whole different list of supplies and tricks to survive. Respect to you all, I almost went out of my gourd with the lack of color in the landscape (though my driving, thankyouverymuch, was and is just fine), but here that erasure is such a treat.

Next, a look at how these storms too often end. Until then, friends, be cozy and safe and full of life wherever you are wintering!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Trunk Show

Hello friends! Just a quick note to let you know that North is going visiting, and you're invited, too! Starting tomorrow, February 3rd, the collection will be at Twisted for a couple of weeks and it's anxious to make friends with you.


If that isn't incentive enough, Sorren and I will be hanging out with our knitteds next Sunday, February 9th, from 2pm to 4pm in case you have questions or have just been dying to spend some time with us. Understandable, we're nice ladies and we've been dying to see you, too. I might even bring a small person or two to imbue the scene with a bit of action for a while.

That's all for today, carry on!

** Update February 7: we are postponing the meet & greet for a week to give the city time to plough the roads...Happy snow times, Willamette Valley!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Family, in monochrome.

Taking photos of people is often a bit like stepping into their lives, and this is almost always a really good thing. This last fall I got the chance to meet some very lovely people, tour their beautiful homes, and take pictures of their families. It is such a privilege to be welcomed like that, and to witness the care people have for each other. I'll share a few of these sessions with you in the coming weeks (have to stretch these things out), starting with this foursome. I took everything in color, I should add, but black and white is where my heart really lies, and I never get to use it for the knitting work, so I'm going to indulge myself for a bit.









The real danger is wanting to immediately adopt everyone I meet, invite them over for dinner and set their children up to be friends with my children. People want to have photographs to tie their memories to, and to share those memories with others, and all the photos I take become a part of a collective memory that far outlives the often transient relationships I get to form with my subjects. Thank you, Tinsel Family, for an unforgettable autumn afternoon!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

My Home Is the North

I've always had a sort of genetic nostalgia for the North, realm of snowy swaths of land and rugged peoples, craggy rocks and rocky waters. My Viking and Celtic forebears knew much more of those things than I do now, in my temperate life in this lush valley. I can only imagine that kind of cold, the short but tireless summers and long dark winter. But I can be assured of one thing: our common affection for wool.
This collection for the Malabrigo Freelance Pattern Project  was born out of the romance I have for the far North and their knitting traditions, especially their way with colorwork. I almost always enjoy my work more in collaboration, so I begged Sorren to climb aboard because I have absolute faith in her taste and impeccable knitting skills. And the result was these six patterns, mostly geared around our children because they are so dadgum adorable in things like hoods and legwarmers, but there are a few options for adults, too. Alongside the instructions and photos are some irrepressibly whimsical illustrations by Sorren, in short, this was a lot of fun to put together. Without further ado, the patterns:

Anders (Ravelry link), by Sorren


A beautiful and approachable colorwork sweater in four sizes, Anders is full of possibilities. I love the options to wear it with the buttons on the front or the back, depending on how much you trust your little one to not chew them off.


The color choices for this little snowy scene are pretty irresistible, and in a sport weight it can be either a cozy middle or light outer layer. You may have already noticed this one, it's kind of taken Ravelry by storm. Sorren would never be so crass as to brag about it, so I have to for her.

Anikka, by me





I had been wanting to make a little knitted jumper for Anaiah ever since I became aware about a year ago of the eminent versatility of this type of garment for a little girl. I imagined it being a no-fuss kind of affair with a bit of sweet colorwork around the hem and a simple bodice, the kind of thing that can grow with a girl and be as much use at two months as two years. Or almost. I made two sizes to span that amount of time, anyway, each one can easily cover several months of the rapid growth that is legend among the half-pint set.


Eivor, by Sorren


A quick and cozy cowl in two sizes, with the same motif as Anders but in a worsted weight to keep the Arctic chill from your collar.


Kirsa, by me


When I started to think about patterns for this collection, this was the first one I thought of. I wanted something slightly gnome-like without being too utterly twee (I hope), cute as a button and practical, and with pompoms. I am a firm believer in pompoms. The faced brim makes this extra warm, the colorwork is all achieved in the round, and there are enough sizes to keep all the young and adult people in your life in cheery comfort.


Lucia, by Sorren


Little legs also need something to keep the chill out, and these are just the ticket. They coordinate uncommonly well with Anikka (cough, cough), and with an articulated knee and reflecting patterns they are quick and ready to be on the go, wherever they go. They can also come in handy for mom's arms, or even baby carrier straps in a pinch.

Tovi, by me




At the eleventh hour, I needed a hat. That serious late-fall cold snap was sweeping across the country, and my ears are very sensitive to such things. I knew precisely what I wanted, a snug triple-layer brim with a roomy and festive body. Something to kick around in all winter long, to cheer up a gloomy day, leave my hair in place and that could be knit up in one or two evenings. Fortunately for my ears and this collection, I got it right and in time to publish. Hallelujah!


That wraps things up for us, I think. Now I'm all excited about wooly things again, hmmm...and I have so much yarn left over...

Stay warm, friends, and ring in the new year in style!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Around the bend

Is where I am headed! No. Not yet, anyway. Rather, there is something else coming around the bend, a bit of a something that occupied most of my 'free' waking moments this fall...


Not Instagram, but that bit of fluff on my son's head...as soon as I finish going through all the bajillionty photos I took today and agonizing over which to use, you'll get to see more. Hooray! It should happen soon.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

From the archives

I keep meaning to get some sort of photojournal thing started. You know, the kind of thing where I shamelessly display the photos I take for people, but it gets tricky because a lot of them have their own release dates that exist far in the future...and to keep track of all that would require a level of organization heretofore unseen in my business life. We're working on it. But here's the rub, guys, I get really excited about this work, it makes me tick, it pushes the right buttons, it floats my boat. So I am going to try harder.

What I love most about this work is the people, far and away. I go weak in the knees over good textiles and magical lighting, I grant you, but it's these people, these brilliant and generous and hard-working people that warm the cockles of my heart. Take Hannah:

If you are thinking that she looks like the kind of person you'd like to share studio space and possibly a few secrets with, you're right. And she has made (with her husband) the most lovely home, really a photographer's dream, and in that home she is crafting some truly phenomenal things. But don't take my word for it, go see for yourself.

A few months ago, Alex encouraged me to offer my services to the contestants on Skacel's The Fiber Factor Challenge. Most of my good ideas are actually Alex's good ideas (thanks, love!), so I did, and Jennette Cross took a chance and hired me. To say I was honored is an insipid simplification, I very much hope that I did her proud.



And, oh golly, I have thousands upon thousands of pictures of beautiful things and people. Sounds like it's time to make this a regular thing. Until the next time, then.

Cheers.