Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tomorrow night, a show in the Biddo. And more knitting.

Yes. This Friday, the first day of summer, at the Oak and Ax in Biddeford, Hersey State will be playing a set with the amazing Vio/Mire (from Providence/Portland) and Laughing Eye, Weeping Eye (from Chicago). Show page here. We Herseys believe this is the first time we've played a show together since the O + A festival last September. (!) The thing I love about Hersey is that all of us in the band, 8 in all, are each songwriters--so whenever we play, we have a lot of songs to choose from. We each bring our own thing to the table and somehow magically make it all sound cohesive.

Here are some things that are in progress. I've been enjoying photographing my knitting first thing in the morning!

First, a log cabin blanket:
Started with some odds and ends I had around, but now it's getting serious(ly big) so time to step up my game. I would like to make this double bed-sized, but it's a square, so the plan is at some point to add just some stripes to either/both ends to make it more of a rectangle. It's fun (read: supremely dorky) to try and guess which yarns I will run out of first, and which colors the stripes will be.
 There's some Quince Lark in there (Bark and Twig), some Tess Designer Yarns left over from the Crocodile (by the way, that was a project from Knitted Wild Animals by Sarah Keen. Ridiculously cute stuff. Also made the elephant.), some Cascade 220 that I never used for my Master Handknitting course, also some Manos and Malabrigo in there. The pattern is from Mason-Dixon Knitting. It has inspired me to check out what other quilt patterns have been translated into knitting...more on that later.
My Caramel, in CEY Princess, which I've heard isn't made anymore. Bummer, because my Effortless is also in Princess (next time!) and it is so nice to wear. The fabric stays a little stiff in the knitting but relaxes and softens up perfectly after blocking.
As an aside, I will say that for a long time, I was a broke musician whose source of yarn consisted of the yarn I was paid in exchange for sample knitting, and any Goodwill sweaters I had the patience to unravel; so I really haven't explored fiber too much over the years. I can say the same thing about music, where I was so wrapped up in my studies as a voice major studying classical music that I didn't start getting into the great Indie bands of the 90s until a few years after I graduated in '98...but I digress. Suffice it to say that I feel I'm always just behind the curve. (Also, I'm the only one in my office that doesn't have 1) wellies; 2) toms; or 3) a smart phone.)
And this...? This is my first design that is slated to be published. I will say no more! Except two words: Chickadee. Lichen.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Brown Bird Benefit and some Knitting.

I realize now that trying to play catch up is the exact thing that's keeping me from posting regularly. Well I'm here to share just a couple of things:
Thing 1
Jeremy and I are preparing a few old Brown Bird songs for this benefit. This will be a very sweet show. You might have seen my post a few weeks ago about our dear friend and former band mate Dave, who is currently being treated for Leukemia. The fundraiser they put together to offset the costs of medical care and not being able to work brought in nearly $68,000 with over 1600 supporters, which is amazing. We are happy to be a part of this. We have to play the old songs, because we don't do that crazy thing he does with the singing and the drumming and the guitar playing all at the same time, (not to mention the fact that neither of us play violin or upright bass) and also, more importantly...these are songs we've loved playing with him over the years. They still need support, so please please come! You can keep tabs on Brown Bird here.

Thing 2
Some knitting-related photos.
Here is an adorable stuffed crocodile I made for my friend's baby. I started this when he was born, in 2010. I mailed it in March. His little face just kills me.

And here is a photo of the swatch that will become a sweater for my sister:
I'm working it in Chickadee by Quince & Co.--colors from the bottom up are Clay, Leek, Lichen, Clay again, Bird's Egg, Delft, Petal, and Chanterelle. Can't wait to get it started!

A few candids from some recent photo shoots I got to assist with. Keeping the garments organized, schlepping stuff around, holding an umbrella over Carrie so her camera doesn't get wet, running out to get coffee and snacks...and of course, enjoying the beauty of Maine! So nice to spend the work day on the beach (even though a few hours later it poured on us).
The top photo was taken at the Black Point Inn during the Knitbot Linen shoot. See some more candids of that shoot here

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The works of Lamb

I had planned another catch-up post about finished objects over the past year plus, but this weekend I decided that I wanted to instead tell you about my friend Dave. He and is fiancee are musicians playing under the name of Brown Bird. For over 10 years, Dave has written and performed songs as Brown Bird, and through the years, he seemed never to get too discouraged about the difficulty of making a living as a musician. Whatever he's done to make ends meet, no matter where he's lived, he always has he energy to devote to working on new ideas--his prolificness is matched by few that I've known. How wonderful it was when he and MorganEve told us over a year ago that they were going to be able to quit their day jobs and be full-time musicians! They have a great support team between their tour manager, Dan, and their label manager, Tom. They've been touring pretty constantly all over the US when not recording, and I'm so proud of their achievements.

Last Sunday Jeremy and I got an email from Dave saying that he'd been at a hospital in Houston, TX, for severe anemia. They'd done several tests with no results pointing to anything specifically wrong, and Dave's had more than several blood transfusions--they are home now, but still waiting to hear the results of a bone marrow biopsy. As you can imagine, they've had to cancel the rest of their tour, and Dave's expenses for the extended hospital stay and all his tests have been formidable. Double whammy.

To offset all the losses they've suffered and will continue to deal with as Dave recovers, they've set up a fundraiser, an opportunity for friends, family, and fans to help make soften the financial blow of both canceling their tour and being stuck in a hospital for nearly a week, and far from home. Not surprisingly, our sweet friends have already reached their goal of $40,000 in three days! They will likely need more support, so if you love Brown Bird and would like to keep seeing them out on tour and following their passion, and don't have all of their albums already, follow the link above to help them get back on their feet; and if you don't have all of their albums already, you can collect them all (well, almost) here and here (and they have other things for sale too!).

That's it. More about knitting next time.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Catching up

OK, everyone I work with is managing to keep up with their blogs, and I've missed mine terribly--so I'm trying really hard to get back into it. Here's a broad-strokes guide to my life since my last post:

Last February (2012) I went to the Fashion Institute to take a Knitting Instructor course, which was really great. I learned a lot. A couple of days after I got back, I had a meeting with Pam Allen at Quince & Company, and instead of hiring me to do some sample knitting, she pulled out a list of things they could really use an extra hand for: customer service, wholesale, sales reports and royalty statements, etc. (I thank my lucky stars that I had a friend who encouraged me to get in touch!), and would I be interested in doing all that. Furthermore, the space is shared with Knitbot, and would I also be interested in managing Hannah's wholesale and trunk shows and other odds and ends. Well. A job was born. In fact, the job I've been searching for since I admitted to myself that I didn't want to be a professional musician. And with the company that I wanted to work for--I'd had my eye on Quince since they launched in 2010. I mean, come on. Who does that happen to? (Seriously, I love to hear stories like this--please share!)

Since I've been with this team of amazing knitwear designers and creative folk, I've gotten into tech editing, which is basically why I was born into this world (other than to marry Jeremy Robinson). I love it. It's only part of my job and I've got tons to learn and practice, but it is definitely my favorite part. Also, I do a lot of proofreading, which I love just as much as tech editing.

Last summer I took a tech editing course, and this winter I started a course on sizing patterns. I learned how to make charts and schematics on the job, which is the most fun part of tech editing--kind of like playing a video game. All these classes include a crash course in knitwear design, because of course, a tech editor needs to be familiar with how a sweater is supposed to get put together--so they've kind of been like a gateway drug, and now I'm feeling ready to put some of my ideas into action. Right now it's like I'm standing at the edge of the rocky outcropping, psyching myself up to jump into some cold Maine ocean water. I'm nervous, people.

And of course, I knitted. And knitted. And knitted. And so on and so forth. There is lots more to share in this department but maybe next time, I have photos!

And I played some cello and did some singing. Definitely not nearly as much as in previous years, but a little performing and a little recording here and there. And the second record from Plains is done, which we plan to release later this year. The link provided goes to our first recording, which was live at the radio station down at MIT.

I won't say too much about this right now because it's still sinking in, but I am going to be teaching knitting classes, starting late summer. More details to follow.

How do I still have time to eat, sleep, and hang with my husband? Well...I don't know. Sometimes it feels like I don't do any of those things.

I feel like a bad blogger for doing a long and wordy post with zero pictures, will be short and sweet with photos next time, I promise. :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Happy new year, friends!

So much goes on in everyone's lives, it's always amazing to me. Since the new year, I've lost my full-time job, finished an album, and signed up to become a certified knitting teacher, for which I'll be traveling to the Fashion Institute in NYC at the end of February. A lot for just under three weeks, eh? Even though I'm sad that the place I work for is going out of business tomorrow, it's a kind of bittersweet feeling that one thing has ended to make way for something new and exciting.

Anyway, I'm determined to keep this little chronicle going. Got lots of projects on the needles, and as soon as I find my camera, it'll be all show and tell. One barrier to my blogging fun has been that my trusty little mac is in pieces on my husband's work bench, and with it, my ability to upload photos from my phone via Bluetooth. Can I do the same with a PC? No idea. Technology is my friend, but I'm lazy about getting in touch. I'm the bad friend to technology.

Since I have nothing current photographed, I want to share with you this really special thing. My father's mother, Georgia, was a knitter. She knit a sweater for my dad, which I promptly stole when I was old enough to wear it. I've had this sweater now for a good 18 years, if not longer, and I still wear it, though I've worn a hole in the elbow. I have always wanted to re-create it, not only because it's falling apart and also too big on me, but because I love the cable pattern and thought it would be fun to do myself. I never had the time/skills to figure it out until I got serious with knitting a few years ago, and even then, other projects have always been more pressing. I wished I just had the pattern, so that I could use the pattern my grandmother used. I imagined it had her handwriting in it (she died in 1996). None of my aunts or my dad seemed to know where the pattern was. I went to my aunt's house when my mother's mother passed away in late 2010, and she let me paw through all of her old patterns. And lookie what we found:
Hurray! And yes, it does have her handwriting in it. I'm so grateful that my aunt let me have this.

Hey for those folks in the Portland's free to go into the Portland Museum of Art on Fridays after 5pm. Perhaps you already knew that. Well this Friday as in tomorrow, if you go into the Museum between 5 and 7, you will see local artists at work all over the place, as if they are working in their studios. Go into the Maine Contemporary artists' room on the 3rd floor, and you'll hear beautiful music from Plains and Hersey State, for free, surrounded by gorgeous art. Holy cow. For a list of participating artists, go here.

AND...Drab Pony strikes again, this Sunday at the Oak and Ax in Biddeford.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Has it really been that long?

Three months have past since my last post! Feels like I've been busier than ever before in my life, but I'm sure that is not quite true. Before I really lay into what all has happened in the last few months (will have to wait for another day, I'm afraid), I wanted to post this lovely post card for an event I'm helping with this weekend:
If you can, check out the Designing Women website, which provides a list of the vendors. It's such a great idea, to have a group of artists and crafters put on shows and invite a non-profit they care about to come and raise awareness and funds. Women, Work, and Community is an organization that helps folks with new businesses, public speaking, financial awareness, and exploring career options, free of charge. This Saturday you'll find me in the kitchen serving up goodies donated by individuals and businesses around Maine.

Well that's my spiel for today. Coming up next...home decor disguised as de-stashing...
Plus, check out the calendar page. A few sweet shows coming up.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekend Update

Updated to add: Just added a new show to the calendar page, where Jeremy and I and many sweet friends will be backing up our friend Emily Thomas at the Oak and the Ax this coming Thursday.

Who here has been to the Frontier Cafe in Brunswick? Such a gorgeous spot, right on the water, with huge windows, and a sweet little menu. We (Plains) played an early show with Arborea, in a little theater with long tables off of the main room, to a wonderful crowd. I get chills whenever I see Arborea. They are about to go on tour for three months, all they way across the country, so please, if they come through your area, GO SEE THEM. They are enchanting folks. Such a great evening. If you get the chance to see a movie or some live music, or just want to go and have a meal, GO. Brunswick also has a pretty great downtown, which I had never noticed before--the only place I've really been to in Brunswick is the massive flea market in the same mill building as the Frontier. Check this place out! I can't wait to spend some more time up there.

On Friday, Jeremy played (and was joined by our friend and Plains band mate Pat Corrigan) a solo show as Drab Pony. The evening also featured wonderful sets by Manners, Aleric Nez, and Nuda Veritas (all the way from Burlington, VT). The set that Jeremy and Pat played was largely improvised, and instrumentation included drums, a grand piano, and a metal detector, on top of Jeremy's normal set-up of various loop pedals, SK-1 Casio keyboard, and guitar. He inserted a small mic into the piano and was able to loop it, which sounded incredible. In a particularly intense moment, Jeremy actually struck the keys with various body parts, such as a knee or his rear end. We in the audience lovingly referred to this maneuver as "Butt Piano". Drab Pony was called back twice for encores, and we are all hoping that they play together more often.
Pat waves the metal detector over various objects to make a lovely electronic pulse.
If you look closely, you can see the microphone coming out of the piano.
Rebecca setting up
Nuda Veritas, otherwise known as Rebecca Kopycinski, is touring on a new album. Go here to read an interview with her before the show. She used pre-recorded and live loops to create rhythms and gorgeous layered harmonies, just with her voice. Her instrumentation included a small harp, guitar, and a keyboard.
One of my favorite graphics at the Apohadion. Drawing by Pat Corrigan. (Sorry it was dark in there!)

In other news, I present to you...Bayarri:

The seaming of the sleeves went better than I expected, as it was my first time seaming the sleeve first, then sewing the sleeve into the body of the sweater. As time goes on (this is the third sweater for me this year, which is the most I've ever made for myself, ever, after deciding I needed to spice up my wardrobe), I've become more and more intrigued and delighted in the process of finishing a sweater, and not just loving the knitting part and dreading the making up part. Sample knitting and working through the Master Hand Knitting course (more about that later) has really ramped up the quality of my knitting, though I've now been a knitter for 15 years. It's a slow and amazing journey. Sometimes I wish I had a machine.

Anyway, I seem to get an awful lot done when I have two days off in a row. Yesterday was one of the laziest days of the whole summer, where I spent many hours watching movies and knitting up swatches of one of the new yarns that have yet to be released by Knit One, Crochet Too. Well I guess that was pretty productive. Perhaps a crafter who can do things while watching Netflix can never be unproductive. (Unless wine is included in the mix, in which case that is possible, for sure.)