29 June 2008

weekend wandering

My good friend from high school, Elise, and her husband Ari, were in town for the weekend, for a series of whirlwind visits with folks they know in the Seattle area (cousins, other friends, a high school science teacher, and us). At their request, I arranged for a group hike to Boulder River Wilderness Area* on Saturday. The hike was beautiful, and strengthened my resolve to do more hiking this summer.

enjoying the falls on the way out....

looking downstream from our mid-point, where warm feet were bathed in fresh snowmelt....

an as-yet unidentified plant, but I'm working on it.... ideas?

a close-up of the falls....

It's been an incredibly warm weekend here in western Washington (mid-90s). The kind of heat that has you crossing your fingers that the next red light will have you stopped in a patch of shade and has you not really wanting to eat dinner, much less cook it (chips, salsa and beer was all we could handle). Both days saw us taking Finn to the off leash dog beach at Magnussen Park, and generally avoiding the indoors. I tried to sew a couple of hours ago, but had to give it up and head outside (strange how the house seems to hold heat so much better in the summer than it does in the winter, which is pretty darn well, actually), where we are now expecting thunderstorms... it just has that feel out there.

Now I am going to try to sleep.... I think I'll start by counting how many times I can say thankgoodnessweinstalledthatceilingfan....

* It started off as Mt Pilchuck, then Mt Rainier, but then I realized that those places are still reporting snowy conditions, I googled early summer seattle area hikes and got Boulder River on the Washington Trail Association's website.

26 June 2008

you know you're at the Fremont Solstice Parade when....

I went to the Fremont Solstice Parade last Saturday with some friends. It was easily the strangest parade I have ever seen, either in person or otherwise. There were no banners or other announcements of what group was coming next, and I am pretty sure that whoever wants to be in the parade, can be. You and your friends want to dress up in mardi gras beads and thongs and march down the street with finger cymbals? Go for it. There were a few (man-powered!) floats, a smattering of semi-organized musical ensembles who appeared to have practiced the same songs, and I tell you, there were absolutely no political statements whatsoever....

I perused the craft fair but I think I was missing a street or two, because I remember it being much larger and with more real crafts and fewer booths of sunglasses for $3.99. Oh well, next year.

these guys had a guitar case proclaiming them as the Old Time Jug Band or similar, but mostly I recognized two of the four as being from the Tall Boys.

25 June 2008

WIP Wednesday

First, the garden, as an update was specifically requested by Dad.

We've started harvesting kale, lettuce and spinach, and a few strawberries have ripened up.

We've also got artichokes, zuchini, and a total of nine tomato plants, including five Amish Paste plants, specifically for canning.

On to the crafties!
I know it may not look like much, but I am pretty darn excited about this washcloth: it was my first real time following a pattern, complete with slip-slip-knits, yarn overs and knitting-two-togethers. woo hoo! Next up, I have a date with Debbie Bliss' Baby Knits for Beginners, a whole mess of her baby cashmerino yarn and some size two needles....

I made a solid start on the stained glass window quilt when I found out that the recipients are making a sudden whirlwind trip to Seattle this weekend, but two things happened to stall it again: first, I thought this was going to be an impossible week at work, with physically (not to mention mentally) impossible deadlines, so I thought I would be at the office until midnight and later, but that didn't pan out (aw, shucks!) and secondly, I realized that if I pushed it and dropped some of the finer details I have in mind for this, my first art quilt, I wouldn't be nearly as happy with the finished product as I otherwise hope to be, and I want to do it right.

I got seriously stalled on Seamus' cicada pouch when I ran into an engineering problem. I think I've got it figured out, now I just have to put down the other projects to pick this one up again....
And my two Bend the Rules swap items are well underway....

I have been missing my beads lately... stay tuned for some bead work!

04 June 2008

WIP Wednesday

I think WIPs were meant to be posted on Wednesdays -- something about needing to show accomplishment for the week that's half over.

Here's a pair of sympathy cards I made this morning....

And my next project (it's amazing how a totally new, unplanned on project will jump into the front of the project queue.... and I have no control over it), is a cicada pouch (from Omiyage by Kumiko Sudo) for Seamus. I came up with it after I talked to Toni the other day and found out that her son is totally enamoured of insects these days. I have had this book for years, but never had quite the right occasion ot use it. I am so glad I do now.

Today I'll be multi-modal for my commute: bike to campus, bus to work, bike most of the way home (assuming the weather doesn't make me bail and catch the bus), where Eric will pick me up in the car (If you saw the hill between my house and the bike trail, you'd be calling home for a ride too [except Matte, who gets some sort of twisted joy out of this particular hill]).

02 June 2008

WIP monday

A little knitting....

Lacy Vine Washcloth by Theresa Gaffey in Knitter's Stash. In Louet Euroflax Sport in Neptune blue.

Elizabeth and Marla are getting married in August, so their quilt is the next at bat. The pattern is bit of a departure for me, but I selected it specifically with their living room in mind, and I think they'll like it.


Things in the garden are sprouting/growing/fruiting!
sugar snap peas.....



lavender flowers....

and hops (they just have the neatest looking leaves!)....

manufactured landscapes

I watched this documentary over the weekend, and I thought it was just about the best thing I'd seen in quite awhile. In the same vein as The End of Suburbia, but not nearly as preachy, it's an artistic look at what western consumerism is doing to the people, communities and the landscape in China. Rent it and watch it with an open mind -- it's quiet and moves slowly, but it's worth every minute.

01 June 2008

bewilderment garden project

My midterm project has been graded and returned. My professor seemed impressed in the comments he returned to me that it was a design that could actually work, which was not a requirement of the project.

Along with the shoebox model, we were required to write an explanation of our site. Here's what I said.... and my greatest thanks to those who contributed!

Noun. Confusion resulting from failure to understand [1].

Since I believe that it would be difficult for a visitor to this relatively small space in an urban setting to become truly lost, or even disoriented really, I was forced to consider other senses of bewilderment. I consulted family, friends, colleagues, and total strangers on what made them feel bewildered. I received answers ranging from “a maze” to “a newborn baby”. Most people however, seemed to agree that a bewildering thing or experience would be something that makes them raise an eyebrow, cock their head and say “huh?”

My intention for this design is twofold: the etymology of the word bewilder is be- + wilder, or at or near wilderness, a setting that lends itself easily to a plant-based depiction. But an urban forest would not, in and of itself, be bewildering to a passerby—interesting, perhaps, to one inclined to such things, but not bewildering. Which brings us to my second intention, that of an unexpected juxtaposition of settings or spaces. The “wild” forest is dense, dark and itself not visually stimulating, but a few narrow paths create visual connectivity or “windows” from the surrounding sidewalk to the brightly and bizarrely planted interior space, drawing the eye and the attention of the passerby. A glimpse of what lies beyond the “wilderness” would draw the passerby into the space, though they might be apprehensive about entering the space—another example of bewilderment.

The forest element consists of trees and shrubs, planted as densely as possible in order to screen the interior space from most of the possible viewing locations surrounding the site. The trees are mature and medium-tall (20 to 50 feet), with limbs growing as low as possible to allow for a person to walk among them without stooping over. The shrubs are of various sizes—small and bushy to about ten feet and columnar. The purpose of the shrubs are to fill the space and visually screen the interior space where the trees cannot.

Once the passerby enters the space (and becomes a visitor), their movement is simple: walk towards the light. Due to lack of options, the visitor will follow the same path as the eye, though the trail is not marked or otherwise delineated. The omitting of defined trails or paths was intentional. Kaplan, Kaplan and Ryan point out that “trails invite one to proceed, thus enhancing a sense of security,” [2]and in my experience, insecurity is a prerequisite for a sense of bewilderment. The forest floor then, serves as the path and is allowed to overgrow and take part in the natural processes of forest substrate. Egress of the space would simply be the reverse of the entrance.

Foremost defined by a carefully planted and maintained circle of bright green groundcover, suitable for pedestrian traffic, the center of the space is intended to be the complete opposite of the dark and dense forest. A break in the canopy allows for a well-lit space that features a surreal variety of colorful plants, selected for their bright colors (either while in bloom or not) and/or their unusual form (I had in mind Japanese azaleas, euphorbias, forsythia and crimson tulips, with the circle being planted in Irish moss). These plants do not exceed a height of six feet—they should not overtake the forest in size, but the more garish the colors and the more bizarre the botanical forms the better. This space is highly maintained, heightening the sense of disparity in comparison to the surrounding “wilderness”. Even now, I am not sure that a visitor would want to linger in such a space, but incase they do, a pair of large rocks, conducive to sitting--but not necessarily comfortable--are positioned in the space.

[1] WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.
[2] With People in Mind: Design and Management of Everyday Nature. Island Press, 1998. Page 89.

Some photos of the project...

plan view

a path, creating a "window" from the adjacent sidewalk

The central space, an uncomfortable seating rock, and garishly colored plants. Wire person for scale (required).

I made all of the plants out of fabric, wire, and some beads. The shrubs were stiffened with watered down Elmer's White Glue. The scale person is silver wire. The whole project was quite fun, and I am very pleased with the finished piece. Much better than the diorama I made of the book The Twits in the second grade....

isabella quilt: finished

Baby Isabella's quilt is finished and ready to be shipped off! One thing though: Isabella has an older brother (about five, I think) with whom I rather bonded with when we visted the family last christmas. I would like to make something for the brother too, but I don't know what. The only think I can really come up with is pajamas (and that's mostly because I have a children's pajama pattern handy). Any ideas?

My final exam has been issued: redesign a space on campus (the small-ish park-like area between Allen Library and Sieg Hall, if you happen to be familiar with the UW campus) as a Peace Memorial. The "problem" with this one is that the space is not nearly as uninspired as the space of the midterm project -- it's actually quite nice already, and when I went there yesterday morning (after hauling my bike down from the garage rafters, dusting it off and pumping up the tires), I was rather taken with the space as is. So, what does peace look like to you?

And here's a card I made for my friend Frank, who had a touch of knee surgery last week.... an embroidered knee joint.