Sunday, December 26, 2010

Grant Hart Green Eyes, Live in Zurich 2010

Beautiful performance! What a nice thing to find at Christmastime. :-)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Grant's Fantastic Sweater!

OK, so I want to know...WHERE in the world did Grant Hart get this fantastic sweater? Think maybe I can figure out the pattern? I WANT one of these!
(c) Hanna Pribitzer
These are very cool pics. See the entire set here! There are some really lovely concert shots.
(c) Hanna Pribitzer

Monday, November 29, 2010

Grant Hart live at Channel Zero + interview for Radio Student

Worth watching if you have 11-1/2 minutes to kill. Check out the SWEATER Grant is wearing in the performance segments! I have to figure out the pattern. It's gorgeous. The purple scarf suits him so nicely, too.

Wondering where in the world he got that sweater!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Creation on Impulse

On Sunday, 7 November, sort of late in the afternoon, I had a brainstorm. I can knit for Grant, and I do, and I will, but why not knit for his mom, too, so she has something nice to remember me by until we can visit together again?

I didn't think she would want a watch-cap. Something to keep her warm, since she is very slender and gets cold easily. I spent a little time thinking about possible color/fiber combinations, and with help from my daughter, Daphne, I chose these four. The white and dark green are, I believe, acrylic, but the red and blue-gray are a wool and/or mohair blend of some sort. (With mill-ends, sometimes one has to guess.)

I wound one strand of each color together on my ball-winder, and came up with two enormous cakes I thought would be enough for a shawl, and cast on 63 stitches. I used the basic 3 knit, 3 purl prayer shawl stitch and knitted until it was long enough to wrap around myself, then did a knitted-on loop fringe from Barbara Walker Volume 2.

The flash made the colors look a lot brighter and sharper than they actually are, but I must say, I'm just thrilled with the way the whole thing came out, especially the fringe! It really adds a touch of elegance.
This last picture is a slightly more true representation of the colors. I'll send the shawl, and some little gifts for Grant, too, in plenty of time for Christmas.
Grant's Red and Black Botanic hat turned out a little closer to an actual yarmulke than he wanted, plus it was a little tight, circumference-wise. "So, if I send it back, you can add more, right?" he asked, via telephone, sounding slightly anxious.

I took this as a positive sign. He liked it enough to want to have it revamped, so he could wear it.

It's so easy to fib to a non-knitter. "Yeah, yeah," I assured him. "Piece of cake!"

Yesterday evening, I cast on for the replacement, using larger needles, and now I'm close to done. More of a piece of cake than re-doing the first one I sent. I'll just keep the smaller one for myself and send the larger one to him. I bet he'll never guess it's a whole different hat.

The thing that makes me sad is he's gone off on tour without the knit-love. Or...well...he's gone without the knit, anyway. Maybe he'll take his Windschief, and all the love, luck, and blessing that went into it last winter.

As I said to Himself, with a rueful sigh, "That's what I get for being too silly to ask if I could measure your head when I had the chance."

I'll be sure to take care of this detail next time, and see if I can get him to surrender his feet to the measuring tape as well.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Fraternal Twin Hat

This one is for me!
Style is the same as the red and black one.
Electric blue really pops against the black.
Also, I finally scored a nice Husker Du t-shirt, which arrived in the mail today.
Blaze orange and electric blue.
Gotta love it, even though it doesn't quite match the hat.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Hat for Grant

OK, so it's not the Serbian yarn. Not yet. But it's knit-love that will keep my friend warm on his next Euro tour, if he likes it. This is Stephen West's Botanic Hat, sized down to be a beanie, rather than a full watch-cap. Since Grant requested something "kind of like an oversized yarmulke," I think this should do nicely. It goes in the mail this week.

Monday, October 18, 2010

For What It's Worth -- an update

Well, I've been going to town with my little digital recorder and audio editing software, and now I actually have enough material to consider this project an album of sorts. There are 26 songs posted, totaling over an hour of music. To think I believed I would never get that much done! I still have not finished recording favorites. Not by a long shot. I also want to continue writing my own material, but that will take time. Writing songs cannot be forced, especially when someone is new to that process

Link below, and if you feel inclined to give a listen, let me know what you think.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

If Anyone had Told Me...

...back in January, that by the end of September I would be sitting in a booth across from this man, chatting over dinner, I would have laughed. Yeah, right. Me, having dinner with Grant Hart. Ha. Ha. Very. Funny.
But here he is, waiting for dinner to arrive, and guess who was, indeed, sitting across from him? It was totally serendipitous. Hubby and I arrived early at the club where Grant was to play, knowing there was good, inexpensive middle-eastern food to be had, and were looking forward to a good meal before the show.

I was also looking forward to having a chance to say hello to Grant at some point, and give him a loaf of gingerbread I'd baked for him. I knew there was a good chance the opportunity would never arise,and I might just be taking the gingerbread back home with me at the end of the night.

So, imagine the shock of walking into the restaurant and seeing him down at the end of the room, standing next to a booth and chatting with someone. I left hubby in the dust, calling over my shoulder that he should grab a table, and I'd be with him in a minute.

A little background, if you will.

I've knitted for Grant and, against my better judgment, I've been writing him letters and sending them every six weeks or so. These letters always contain a lot of personal musings about his work, and I've been afraid of going over the line. And yet, what I feel about Grant's work must be said, and not just at random out in cyberspace. I hope, by saying the things I do, to uplift him in some way. After all, he's been uplifting me for a long time now, though he was not aware of that until I started writing to him.

So, I was more than a little nervous about approaching him. Yet, I did sidle up next to him and, not wanting to interrupt the conversation, but let him know I was there, laid my hand on his back.

I shouldn't have worried one jot about any of those letters. I was warmly given the familiar greeting -- a cheerful, "Hey!" and an engulfing hug. Once released, I dug out the gingerbread and tried to hand it off to him. He took it, seemed pleased, and then I was sucked into the whirlwind that is Grant Hart, and hubby and I found ourselves sitting in a booth with Grant's old friend, Paul, waiting for Grant to return as promised. (The dinner picture is courtesy of Paul, who has given me permission to post it here.)

When Grant returned, he plunked himself down across from me, eyes twinkling, smiling broadly, and announced, "Well! I just re-read your last letter!"

I guess I shouldn't have any more fears about those letters I can't seem to stop sending. It appears that he really does enjoy them, and, in fact, when I visited him last weekend, one I sent before I left on my trip had just landed in his mailbox, or so he informed me. Since he was smiling when he told me that, I guess he was pleased and looking forward to reading once my actual self had departed his stomping grounds.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. We hung out with him at the restaurant until he was in danger of missing his own performance, then went in to enjoy the show. He was, as always, fantastic, and even played a new song I'd never heard before, "Awake, Arise." From the sounds of the lyrics, I think it's probably the opening prologue of his upcoming work, a concept/rock opera piece based on Milton's "Paradise Lost." And maybe I'm getting ahead of myself again by saying I think this one will be his magnum opus, but...I do think it's going to be his magnum opus, and probably a damn tough act to follow.

Meanwhile, people may wonder at the very idea. An ex-punker latching on to Milton? But Grant is full of surprises. Abandon all pre-conceived notions, and just go along with him. He's bound to carry us all to some very interesting places. He's a beautiful soul with a beautiful mind. Buckle in, hang on to your hat, and enjoy the ride!

Which reminds me, just over a week later, while there was no way to buckle in, I was certainly enjoying the ride. You see, over coffee before the show in Cambridge, Grant confirmed that he would be in town at the same time I was there for my little vacation, and we would "have to do some hangin'. Maybe with my mom." I made sure I had his telephone number correctly entered in my cell phone, and spent a few days working up the nerve to actually call the man. Lucky for me, he has an answering machine, so I left a message, and sure enough, he called me back and we made a plan. We took his mom out to the Franconia Sculpture Park in Taylor's Falls, and Grant borrowed this tractor thingy, so his mom could comfortably go around the whole park and see everything close-up. Though Grant thought all three of us could fit on the seat, I knew better, and rode in the wayback with whole lot of dirt and garden detritus, and had the time of my life. Felt like I was ten again, in a good way. When the ride was over, I told Grant I had to have a picture, because seeing him drive a tractor was too priceless.
We went home the long way and had a nice drive, with lots of conversation, and a stop for apples at an orchard on the way. Back at the house, we visited awhile before I had to go back to my sister's and both Grant and his mom indicated that they wanted me to come back and visit again, before leaving town. So, I went back on Sunday night, and accompanied them to a friend's house for a visit. On the way, Grant wanted to show me St. Paul's tiny private airport, which he says was used in the film, "Slaughterhouse Five." He insisted on taking a picture of me there, and here it is.
Grant and his mom are wonderful people, very warm and friendly, and I have a standing invite to come by again whenever I happen to be in town. They both feel like family now. I love them dearly, and a week later, I'm missing them like crazy.

If anyone had told me, back in January...

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Grant Hart Visits Cambridge Again!

It might have taken me twenty years to finally get to see him, but I'm making up for lost time. This is the third show I've been to in less than a year. Life is good!

Grant Hart in Cambridge.

Friday, September 10, 2010

For What It's Worth

For years, I've wanted to record songs and give copies to friends who might not get to hear me otherwise. People have asked, but I've been too shy to go public with my folk singing for a long, long time. Reason being, I stuck my neck out for a local band (now defunct), got guillotined for my trouble, and finally packed up my tent and went home. It's only in the last year that I've felt like seriously picking up the guitar again. (Yes, the band experience was that traumatic. I suppose it's rather obvious that I'm still a bit angry about all that eight years later.)

Now, I've slowly begun writing my own songs again, as well as paying tribute to musicians I respect and admire. So far, there are eight songs, and I fear it's a little heavy on the Hart at the moment. But frankly, seeing what Grant does all by himself is what inspired me to try again. Also, decent digital recording equipment for home use has gotten quite affordable, and so have some basic audio editing programs. I'm slowly making it 'round the learning curve, and am pleased with the results so far.

Those who know me well know that I'm an awful perfectionist, so if I say the recordings please me, then that means something. They're not perfect, but they don't suck.

If you feel so inclined, please enjoy For What It's Worth. There are links to each individual song, and also for a continuous track of all the songs in order, just like a Real Album!

Total run-time: 23 minutes and 17 seconds.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

mad angel drums! 8-1-2010

A little dark, yes, but if you squint into the darkness hard enough, you can see me drumming. This was so much fun, and made for an exciting morning indeed!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hot Wax!

After one failed attempt a week-and-a-half ago, today I had a small success! This is the first batik I have done in 30 years.
I thought, originally, that I might like to do batiks of constellations, and my first was going to be Orion. But woe to the artist who sets out to do such work as this with only half the proper tools, and a couple of kids breathing down her neck while she tries to get down to business! Poor Orion was such an epic fail, I decided against wasting good dye on the less-than-stellar results and put the piece away.
In the interim, I ordered a hot plate and a Bunsen burner. In order to get the best results, the wax has to be really hot. Once it's removed from the pot, it begins to cool down, and there's nothing like the intense open flame of a Bunsen burner to keep the wax at the best possible consistency. And all these things must be in close proximity the the piece being worked on.
I found a French tjanting on eBay, just like the ones I used in high school when working on my Perseus and Medusa piece, and with the proper heating sources at hand, it works like a dream, just like I remember from 30 years ago.
I didn't want to waste a fresh piece of fabric on an experiment, and figured that if today's piece came out as blobby and gross as Orion did I wouldn't have lost much. I just needed to practice and get a feel for the technique again. So, I took Orion and ironed the wax out of the fabric as best I could and started drawing freehand on the less-than-perfect piece of cloth with my tjanting. I'm pleased with the result.
I've just boiled the wax out, did a final wash/rinse, and pressed the piece. (Pics of this piece, sans wax, will be posted when it's dry. For something that began with a "ruined" piece of fabric, this came out really well!)

And despite the fact that this was supposed to be a totally random, abstract piece, I seem to have depicted a face! I have no idea how this happened, but -- can you see it?

Another inspiration subconsciously given by Grant, I think, though it didn't occur to me until well after the fact. "Hot Wax" planted a seed and got me considering batik again, in a roundabout sort of way.

A great deal of "hot wax" gets used in the creation of batiks. It is applied to the fabric, hot and liquid, and permeates the fibers, cools and solidifies, and "resists" the dye when it goes into the vat. All the white areas were painted with hot wax, and stayed white while the dye settled on the unwaxed places. But wax being wax, it cracks when you stuff the piece into the dye bucket, and a little bit gets through, and creates fine lines of color in the white areas. Just enough to enhance the look of the finished piece, and give it that characteristic "crackled" look.

I'm looking forward to doing more of these, and think, quite by accident, that I have hit upon a style that suits me better than trying to depict constellations! Happy, happy, joy, joy!!!!!!

Saturday, July 03, 2010


I made this thirty years ago, in my high school crafts class. It's a batik, and it took months of my life to do. The picture I copied, Perseus with Medusa's head, is an obscure Aubrey Beardsley drawing I found in a volume of his works I had taken out from the local library. It was a rough sketch he never completed, if I recall correctly, so reproducing it in clear black and white was a challenge, to say the least. I spent several days just inking in the outline I had traced, using a projection from an opaque projector. I taped a large piece of white paper on a wall and traced the whole thing, every single detail, with a pencil. Then, over the course of a very long week, I traced the outline again, with a pen and India Ink, and then I filled in the shapes. Only then was I ready to lay the muslin fabric down and begin waxing. The first waxing took weeks. Everything that was not supposed to be red had to be waxed very carefully, by hand, with a quirky little tool called a tjanting. It had a brass bowl which I filled with liquid wax, and a narrow tube through which the wax flowed. There was one with a somewhat wider tube for less fussy areas, and one with a narrow tube for the detailed areas. And of course, the wax in the bowl would begin to solidify as I worked, so I had a bunsen burner handy at all times, to reheat what wax was already in the tool as I went along. Big pots of wax were always hot and ready on electric burner units, so I could just refill the tool as often as I needed to. It took an awful lot of wax.
Once I completed the first waxing, I put the whole thing in a cold dyebath. We didn't have a real lot of colors to choose from, and I don't remember exactly why I chose this vivid red, but I still really like it a lot. Once the piece was done, I didn't like it being just red and white, so the teacher and I discussed it, and since there was still time to do it, I opted for a second waxing, and a second dyeing. The waxing went faster this time around, because I was covering larger areas and not much in the way of fussy detail. The faded-denim blue I chose for the background was really the only suitable color option I had. I wasn't sure how well I would like it at the time, but it worked, much to my relief.
I always thought it was nice and creepy, the way Medusa's eye is totally blank.

I'm still really pleased, thirty years later, with the attention I paid to every detail. It was not an easy thing to do. Needless to say, I did get an A for the piece, and it was on display in a glass case outside the school cafeteria for a few weeks. A friend offered me fifty bucks for it -- a staggering amount to an 18-year-old back in 1980 -- but I declined the offer. I had put too much time into it. Too much of myself. Fifty dollars, as princely a sum as that was at the time, seemed too little for all the work I had done. And I really wanted to keep the piece. So, I did.

All these years, it has been folded up and stored in a drawer, because no one but me liked it. Too grisly and morbid for everyone's taste.

Now, I have a room of my own, were I like to hang out and work. Sometimes, it's knitting and spinning. Sometimes, it's writing. Sometimes, it's playing my guitar and singing. Sometimes, it's drumming. But it's my room, and the color of the walls comes very close to the red I chose for the batik all those years ago. It works in this space, the way it never worked in any other space. It feels very good indeed to see it again, and know I'll be seeing it for a long time to come.

And who knows? I enjoyed the process so much when I did this piece. Maybe someday I will do another...

Monday, June 21, 2010

More Music!

I'm having way too much fun messing around with recording!

Blessed Solstice to all!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Mad Angel Sings!

Okey-dokey, folks, here's the new and improved music page. Bear in mind that these were all recorded at home on my mp3 player and run through some music editing software to enhance the sound. I am by no means an expert with this editing software, just learning as I go and hoping I remember what I do for successful editing from one file to the next. They sound a little rough, but are by no means intolerable. These are only the first attempts. I expect I'll be spending a lot more time working up better versions in the coming months.

I never thought I'd actually end up writing tunes of my own at all. Again, I have Grant and his "Flexible Flyer" to thank for this, so that's the first song on the page. My own rendition, which is hardly anywhere near as good as any of his, but...

I must pay tribute.

For the lyrics, if you wish to read them, please click on this link.

Hope you enjoy, and if you like what you hear, maybe say something in the comments?


Ladies and Gents, Do You Remember...?

Here he is. I found him at long last, after many, many searches. Thank God for detailed eBay listings with lots of photographs! Meet, and reacquaint yourself with, "The Dud."
Funny, the things some of these searches will lead a person to. Nothing bad in this case, just surprising. You see, it turns out I am not the only girl who thought "The Dud" was hot.

I did not play "Mystery Date" that often. I never owned the game. "Barbie, Queen of the Prom" and "Miss Lively Livin'" were more than enough of that sort of thing, thank you very much! But I did end up playing "Mystery Date" a few times with some of my school chums. I can't remember if I ever confessed to my attraction to "The Dud." Heck, I don't remember if I ever got to a point where I acquired all the necessary pieces/cards to open the damn door. But someone else must have gotten a "date" with this fella, 'cause I do remember thinking he was not. Bad. A-tall. Certainly looked as if he'd be a lot more fun to hang around with than "The Dreamboat."

There is a song coming out of this, just as I got one from my memories of other toys and games awhile back. I have tunes now for both songs: "I
Want to Date the Dud" and "Chant of the Ever-Circling Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots." Trouble is, I am having a hard time getting a decent recording together. When I do, you all who turn up here to read will be the first to know.

It's all your "fault," Grant. You and your "Flexible Flyer." I am now having way too much fun reminiscing about old toys and games. (Bless you, dearie...)

Next up for consideration is something having to do with my favorite childhood toy: a Fisher Price Garbage Dump/Garage playset, which, Lord help us all, I found pictures of online last week. My favorite of the three Garbagemen? The grumpy-looking one who, for some unknown reason, I named "Stew." Spelled that way. I was always adamant about that, even at age 4 or 5. He wasn't "Stu." He was "Stew." And here he is, in all his curmudgeonly grandeur!
Why "Stew?" I guess I wasn't overly fond of beef stew back in the day, and maybe his face made me think of the way I felt about beef stew? Who knows. It's just a guess. I was 4 or 5 at the time, and I am 48 now. Memory can be a wee bit wonky at times.

I do remember that my mother did not want to buy this for me, but I would have no other, and she had promised I would get a toy at the end of the shopping day if I behaved. This was the one I was fixated upon, and nothing -- nothing! -- would change my obstinate little mind!
What kind of toy was this for a girl to have? Well, in ma's opinion, a horrible one, but a desire to be done with shopping saved the day for me. This was a wonderful toy for a girl to have! I made up more stories about these fellas.

Ah, those were the days. I don't have this toy in my possession anymore, but I am very glad I found these pictures. Stored on the hard drive, they don't take up any room at all, and they bring back some very fond memories!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

...and the Conversation Continues...

We don't usually travel on Memorial Day weekend. We stay home and putter around the house and yard, trying to accomplish...something...but mostly end up doing...nothing. Not so this year! Not only did we travel, but we went into New York City.

Yes, it was a bit mad, but traffic wasn't as bad as we feared it might be, and the Chinese "Free Delivery" menu we found in our hotel room looked mighty good, so we took a chance. Indeed, the delivery was as swift as promised, and the food good and rather inexpensive for New York. So, we had a chance to rest and refuel before heading off to the subway station.

First hitch. There had been an "incident" at the station we wanted to transfer at, with police on site, so the train would go no further than two more stops along the route. Now, what do we do? Well, dumb luck was with us, and we managed to board a different train with a different route, which would take us into Times Square, where we could transfer to yet another train to get to Canal Street. We didn't know it would be a country mile of fast walking to get to the new train, but get there we did, finally, and before long, we were emerging on Canal Street with our handy New York Transit route directions in hand.

Next hitch. We walked the wrong way, based on the route being wrong on the directions. Hubby refused to believe the directions could be wrong and forged ahead, and was still going to continue in that direction, until I balked, nearly at the entrance to Chinatown. "I don't care what those directions say. We are nowhere near Tribeca. I'm going back."

Minor tiff ensued, but eventually hubby did see the light and figured what did we have to lose? And sure enough, backtracking eventually brought us to Tribeca. It took another wrong turn to determine which direction we should be walking in on Hudson Street, but we were back on track quickly, though on the wrong side of the street from the venue. We were missing the opening band, and I felt sorry for that, because I don't like to be discourteous to the opening act. They do have it tough, headlining for more famous people, so I like to be polite to them.

It was when we were walking along the block to get to the crosswalk that I noticed a small, lone figure walking back and forth on the block in front of the venue. "Look, Daphne. There he is."

Or, I was reasonably certain, there he was. I don't see well at a distance, but thought I could detect longish, straight hair tucked behind the fella's ears, and the faint glow of a cigarette, and the casual chic of well-worn denim.

The light finally changed and we crossed the street. By then, the fella was quite a distance down the block, well past the main entrance, so I kept going, much to the consternation of my family. Once I was within ten feet of the fella, I called out to him. If he was indeed who I thought he was, he would acknowledge me. If he wasn't, he would probably keep going without saying a word.

"Grant!" I said.

Bingo. He turned around and exclaimed, "Hey!" a big smile lighting his face as he hurried towards me. Within a couple of feet, he lowered his head and kept approaching, and I thought, what...? Why on earth would he want to head-butt me in the chest? I mean, yes, I was wearing my Nova Mob t-shirt, and...maybe that was it. He spotted it and wanted to know the story behind it. So, I was all set to tell it, until I realized he was pointing at his head with his free hand.

My hat.

Whereupon I crowed with delight, and we hugged for a bit, before I remembered the family was standing behind me, much puzzled. Hubby had a good idea what was going on, but Daphne wasn't sure. So, I made introductions, and we stayed and chatted with him while finished his cigarette.

I showed him the Belgrade hat, and while he thought it was attractive, it wasn't his sort of style, so I'll need to make him something else out of the remainder of that yarn. (I'm thinking about an EZ Prime Rib Hat, for winter, since Grant really does seem to prefer watch-caps.) He did hold it and take a good look, and squish it in his hands just like a knitter/spinner surely would, and said it looked a lot like the hats he had seen folks wearing in Serbia. So, I do have to wonder where Jared Flood got his inspiration for the design. (It's the Quincy, for those who have come late to the party.)

He asked Daphne if she liked to knit, too, and she said no, because she doesn't. But she did like to spin at one time, and I told him so.

Very seriously, but with that twinkle in his eye, he asked her, "Are you still dizzy?"

"From what?" Daphne asked.

"Spinning!" he replied, and we all had a good laugh.

Presently, he took his leave, as it was nearly time for the show, and we still had to go in and pick up our tickets.

The opening band was just finishing up -- louder than I expected, and I had forgotten my earplugs, so I wasn't too sorry about missing their performance.

Grant hit the stage about 15 minutes later, with no introduction, so at first I thought he was just doing a sound-check. But no, once he started playing "Barbara," he wasn't stopping, so I left Keith and Daphne in the back of the room where they felt comfortable, and headed up to the front.

I was pretty sore from all the frenzied walking I had already done, and it's not the easiest thing to dance with a cane in one hand and a bottle of water tucked under one arm, but I managed to make at least a modest attempt.

Just like in Cambridge back in January, he played favorite after favorite, along with a fabulous, very emotional cover of "St. James Infirmary."

Somewhere around the middle of the show, when I had lost count of how many songs he had already played, he struck up a familiar chord progression and closed his eyes, though he did turn his head in my direction, and smiled as much as it's possible for a person to smile while singing.

"Flexible Flyer." I damn near cried. I didn't even have to ask for it. He remembered what it meant to me, and he played it for me.

Later, I asked for "She Floated Away," and he struck up immediately.

And wore my hat throughout the entire performance, and afterwards as well. It really does suit him nicely, and it makes me very happy to see that in person.

We talked a bit again after the show, but mostly just to say good night, and to take a couple of pictures. After the pictures, we hugged again, and I said, quietly, "I'm so glad I didn't have to wait another twenty years!" And I wished him safe travels, and he wished us the same, and we said good-night.

It won't be another twenty years before I see him again, either. We are friends now.

I'm test-knitting a Prime Rib Watch Cap in some of my own handspun, in a comparable weight to the Belgrade yarn, to see if I like the stitch, and decide if it would suit Grant as well as "Windschief" does. I'm thinking it will be fine for the Belgrade yarn, handspun is just the right blend of greens to go with Grant's dark hair and eyes.

Bottom line? Grant might be getting two winter hats...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

New York City!

Daphne, Grant Hart, and Me, last night. Just a picture for the moment. Story to tell later!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Happy Pentecost!

I should have brought a camera and had hubby photograph me in action, drumming, but I didn't think of it. Too nervous about making my public debut, I guess. But pics may surface at some point, as one of our parishioners was going about with a camera while a bunch of us drummed on the sidewalk after the service, outside the church.
I had to sing in choir this morning as well, so had some interesting presto-change-o moments during the service, as I simply refused to drum in my choir robes. I wore them when I sang, but when I was drumming, I wanted to look like a drummer. And this outfit makes me feel like a drummer.
I was allowed to keep the headscarf on even when I was vested, which I appreciated, even though my daughter did nothing but laugh at me and call me "Rambo."

Daughter and hubby are NOT fond of the drumming, nor does it interest them, but my daughter's boyfriend likes to play, and I think we are going to be great drumming buddies.

It has been quite the weekend for drumming, beginning with a circle in Providence on Friday night -- 4 hours long! Yikes! And then a good 45 minutes this morning, and another hour for a lesson this afternoon. I think I won't play now for a couple of days. My hands are pretty well bruised and in desperate need of a rest.

One of these days, I should really get to a point where I do not feel compelled to drum with the vigor of a hyperactive, 25-year-old man!

At least I have not managed to add any new bloodstains to my drum head...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


First, the Nova Mob t-shirt. It was a bit of a mess when it arrived, and looked like it had been baptized in coffee in random places, plus its previous owner had rather obviously sweated copiously in it over the years. No amount of washing and Shout could fix either problem, so, completely undaunted by this, I bought some ecru dye. Not bad for a 20 year old t-shirt, eh? I'm pretty sure the graphic is Grant's own design. My hubby is scared of it!
Now, for the Belgrade Quincy Hat. I finished it today, and it has had its bath and is drying on the rack in the living room. Pics were taken before washing. The hat grew a little as the yarn relaxed, so I may have to chuck it in the dryer at some point.

The green you see peeking out from beneath the hat is the edge of the box Grant mailed the yarn in. Yes, I'm keeping the box. It makes me smile every time I think of him covering every inch of the thing in green tape, for the sake of recycling.
I used less than half of the skein for this hat, so there's plenty of yarn left to make another hat. I'm tempted to give Grant a share in this. It would serve him well in the winter, that's for sure.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

All of My Senses, and More Yarn Pics

I did not know this video even existed , but just found it on You Tube. This is the very first solo piece I ever heard from Grant Hart. The song is beautiful on its own, but with the video images, it's even more so, and so mysterious. I've always thought about all the verbal images that fly past, and let my imagination run with them. Now, this precious glimpse into Grant's vision, twenty years ago. The song moves me as much now -- maybe more -- than it did back then.

Oh, and I have started my hat. The skein weighed 7.35 oz and contained approximately 325 yards. It is making a wonderful, cushy, thick fabric, and will be so warm. I might even have enough to make two hats, in which case I will very likely gift one back to the giver.

A thank you letter is on its way via snail-mail as I type. I promised myself I would not play with the yarn until the letter had been written and sent. Done!

I am still awed, amazed, and dazed...
Look at how HUGE a ball the skein turned into!
Here's the beginning of my hat, the first 20 or so garter ridges of the band.
And a close-up so you can see the lovely texture of the yarn.

Grant purports to know nothing about knitting, but I think he knows more than he realizes, thanks to his artist's eyes and aesthetic sense. His choice was brilliant, wasn't it? Much as I want to make the pleasure of the knitting last, I'm really looking forward to wearing the finished hat as soon as possible!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Woolly Surprise!

This lovely skein of yarn arrived in my mailbox today, a total surprise, completely out of the blue.
The return address said Minnesota, but the letter enclosed said the yarn had been purchased from a street vendor in Belgrade, Serbia.
It looks to be handspun, is a heavy weight 2-ply, and smells delightfully sheepy. It will be, I'm relatively certain, one of Jared Flood's "Quincy" hats, since the yarn is intended to be made into something for me. It's browner than the pics show: so rustic and beautiful.
No, I do not personally know anyone who lives in Belgrade, Serbia, but I do have a friend who traveled there recently, who wore the hat I made for him while playing a concert in that city.

God bless you, Grant Hart. You really and truly made my day. Thanks for thinking of me. I love, love, LOVE this yarn!!!!!!

Monday, May 03, 2010

I Will Sing, Sing a New Song????

No tune for this one yet, but the words began to churn around in my head while I was practicing guitar this afternoon.

Chant of the Ever-Circling
Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots

Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots
Were anathema to mum,
But girlie toys, they held no joys
And just seemed kind of dumb.

I'd rather sink a Battleship.
To hell with Queen of the Prom!
And pop that pop-o-matic:
Play Trouble all day long

Let me at those Robots,
And let me be the blue one.
I'll knock the block off the red one:
Pretend that it's a human.

Don't want to wear this girlie sh*t
Or play with girlie toys,
I want to work in the yard with Dad,
Shirtless, like a boy.

'Cause being a girl means staying inside,
And learning the myriad uses of Tide,
And training for that future day
When the girl becomes a bride.

What if that's the sort of dream
That causes her tomboy heart to scream?
"Sorry, girl, but there's no other.
You've got to be just like your mother."

But I still want to get at those Robots,
And I want to be the blue one,
And knock the block off the red one,
And pretend that it's a human.

Put Barbie on a Battleship
And send her right on down!
Give me pop-o-matic Trouble,
A roll of caps, and a stone.

I don't plan on joining the coven
Of the Easy-Bake Oven.
I'm deplorably green with a sewing machne.
Where the hell's my Barrel of Monkeys?

What d'you mean, I'll not get an Erector Set,
A Hot Wheels Track, or Matchbox Cars?
I want a toolbox and a hacksaw;
Betsy-Wetsy simply won't do.

I may be a girl with a perverse little curl
Right in the middle of my forehead,
But when I'm bad, I'm very bad,
And when I'm mad, I'm horrid.

So let me at those Robots;
I've a burning desire to deck 'em.
Know what they say about humorless folk?
They can't take a joke, so f*ck 'em!

Get me out of these stupid frills
And leave me the f*ck alone
With my Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots,
And my pal who can cuss up a storm.

Suzy Homemaker can kiss my *ss!
I'd rather be taking out the trash,
And raking the leaves, and mowing the grass,
And being a boy like Dad.

Now let me at those Robots,
And let me be the blue one,
And knock the block off the red one;
To do less, it just isn't human!

CP Warner
3 May 2010

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Where in the World is The Hart Hat?

Belgrade, April 29, 2010.

The lighting is a little odd so you can't see the colors in the yarn, but I can tell by the way it fits him, and then there is a close-up of the diagonal swath of ribbing. That's my hat!

I'm absolutely thrilled to see him wearing it to perform, and to perform one of my all-time favorite songs of his, no less!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sock Washing Day

I've been meaning to do this for awhile -- take a pic of a rack full of my freshly-washed socks. I learned yesterday that this big rack holds 34 pairs, exactly. This means I have about 16 clean pairs left until these are dry.

Yes, I'm addicted to sock knitting. It's portable and easy, and my feet love the end product!

Currently working on a pair of blue socks for hubby. Our 25th wedding anniversary is this week, so I guess I'd better come through with something nice. I'm using the railway (or is it railroad) stitch from Nancy Bush's Vintage Socks book, and knitting with a gorgeous hand dyed Blue-Faced Leicester yarn from String Theory. I hope I have enough yarn to finish! Hubby's feet are 12 inches long...

One sock done so far, and a good 4 inches on the cuff of the second. I won't make it in time for the actual date of our anniversary, but maybe by the weekend...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spinning through Adversity

I had a bad bronchitis/flu this week, which pretty well incapacitated me for an entire week. I'm still not quite "right" yet, but at least I'm a bit more "alive" than I was a week ago, and ready to go back to work tomorrow. In between all the sleeping I had to do to recover from this thing, I got some spinning done. Quite a lot of spinning, actually.This one is "Breaking Waves," a Coopworth/Alpaca/Silk blend from Feeling Sheepish, a fellow vendor on Etsy. This is 0.9 ounces of 2-ply gorgeousness, spindle-spun and plied for a total of 118 yards! I still have a 1.3 ounce batt left to spin, and if the yardage is comparable -- can't see why it wouldn't be -- I ought to be able to get a nice, lacy, something special out of it.
This is a nice Coopworth, dark brown/almost black with colored wool nupps and a wee hint of glitz, from Wild Hare Studios. This is more of a worsted weight, 2-ply, spun and plied on my Schacht. I have approximately 8 ounces of this, but haven't measured the yardage. Should be enough for a nice, long scarf, though. It's soft and lovely, and I enjoyed spinning it.
This one is two different rovings, spun as separate singles and plied together to make a heavy DK/light worsted weight yarn. The colored roving, "Thistle," is a blend of Coopworth and Alpaca, and came from Fibers 4 Ewe. The variegated gray strand was spun from a gorgeous Cotswold roving. I have about 474 yards of this stuff. It is nice and bouncy and lively, and I'm thinking it may appear as stripes in a sweater sometime soon. I just need to find the right background color. I do have megatons of the gray Cotswold, which I could use in its original color, or overdye with a dark green. Hmmm...have to think about that...
This one is my big brag skein. It is one of Enchanted Knoll Farm's "Vardo" batts. It weighs 1.9 ounces, and every bit was spindle spun and plied. This is a true laceweight, methinks, as in its present 2-ply form, it yielded 318 yards! I don't think I have ever managed to spin quite that fine before, and am quite excited about it. Now, what shall it be? Time will tell. I have another skein of this in my stash, and though I don't think its quite as fine-gauge as this one, it might be. I have to check.

So, I don't feel quite as awful about losing a week as I might have, looking at this luscious pile of yarn!

I have half a skein left from Grant's hat, so am making a matching cowl for myself. That way, I can always remember what the finished project looked like, without duplicating it exactly. If you happen to be on Ravelry, look for madangel and take a peek in my projects to see a pic of "The Hart Hat" perched upon Mr. Hart's noggin. I was thrilled beyond belief when I saw it last week. First time I have ever seen my work upon the artist it was designated for. It's easier to get a photo of a hat from a non-knitter than it is to get one of his feet; hence I have no pics of any of the socks I've made for Larry Kirwan actually on Larry Kirwan. Maybe I need to make Larry a hat, too? But I think he rarely wears a hat, and I do owe him a pair of socks again one of these days.

Still waiting to hear if a) Grant wants socks, and b) what size his feet are if he does.