What’s new?

Wow. With all that’s been going on lately, January fairly flew by. Now it’s nearly Valentine’s Day. Five years ago on Feb. 14, my darling husband proposed to me. Hard to believe it was that long ago!

I’ve posted a few “new house” photos since we moved, so I’m sure you’re all rather sick of looking at the same landscape. But when I saw the sun making the distant hills rosy this morning, with twilight still in the foreground, I had to snap a few. Check it out here: Sunrise

Finally, lest you think I’ve been letting my knitting slide, here are a couple of photos. First, the “Frozen Feet” socks, made out of 100 percent alpaca. These suckers are going to be W.A.R.M.

Frozen Feet Socks

Next, a quick pair of “Fetching” gloves:

Fetching

I designed a neck warmer to go with them, but haven’t taken photos of it yet. I’ll try to be good about writing it up, because it turned out to be quite cute!

Hey, did you notice the fab Fiesta Ware sugar and creamer set in the Fetching photo? LOVE the color!!! And the price…I found the set for $15 at an antique store in Cape May, NJ last fall. Fun ;-)

Well, back to work. Duty calls, and all that. Until later, happy knitting!

PS. I HATE how WordPress works with photos! But Blogger doesn’t let me post PDF files of my patterns for you…So. What’s a girl to do? Guess I have some research to do on blog options. If anyone has suggestions, I’m open to hearing them!

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More on Inspiration: Where do you find it?

It’s been a difficult two weeks. Just that long ago I was wearing sandals…SANDALS! And today I was bundled up in my February clothes.

My mild resentment about this cold, wet spring makes me feel a little guilty. Somehow, I picked up the belief that I “should” find inspiration everywhere, on every day. And I guess I could, if I really got the whole acceptance thing down.

But it’s been wet and cold and gray for what feels like forever. Which is more than a bit painful after a lovely stretch of early spring warmth at the end of March. So, instead of looking around me today, I thought I’d look to the past for some relief and vicarious, photograph-induced Vitamin D…

This is the view from the porch at the Albert Stevens Inn, in Cape May, NJ.

Have you noticed that I return to Cape May frequently in my writing/blogging? That’s because it’s one of the coziest, most relaxing, unstressful , romantic, beautiful, and accessible places I know. We can get there easily: Drive up through Delaware and catch the Cape May-Lewes Ferry for a fun ride across the mouth of the bay (some day I’ll tell you about our hurricane crossings!). When we disembark in NJ, our favorite room and a big warm welcome are guaranteed to be waiting for us at the Albert Stevens.The inn embraces us, filling us with that wonderful “coming home” feeling.

This is the high bed in our room, or rather “Bessie’s Room.”

According to legend, Bessie has been known to let a guest or two know if she prefers they sleep elsewhere. Chris and I respect the Stevens’ house and the memories of their family. We’re both aware that we’re guests in their home. And we’ve never had any unpleasant awakenings. I believe it’s possible, but really, I am quite happy not encountering the stern presence of the mistress of the house late in the night.

The Stevens are all gone now, and the new owners have revived the house to its turn-of-the-century glory. (I imagine this makes Dr. and Mrs. Stevens, and Vesta, their daughter, quite happy.) I know it makes US happy! Jim andLenanne are the best of hosts. He always has the latest scoop on Cape May happenings (theater, concerts, great early-bird specials at pricey restaurants). And she cooks up THE most delicious (and filling!) breakfasts.

In the late afternoon, as guests trickle back from long walks along the shore or a day’s worth of exploring the town’s many tourist shops and fancier boutiques, tea is served, complete with crackers and cheese, home made cookies, sherry, and (in colder months) hot apple cider.

This is our cozy little bathroom.

OK, I know this reads like a travelogue. But that’s not my primary intention.

My point is that, when the days get dreary and damp, making me feel like every thing I do requires a major effort, I can close my eyes and go back to Cape May…all the while anticipating our next visit. I can see the patterns of the clouds on the steel-blue Atlantic the honey-colored sun streaming through the breakfast-room windows; the brilliant hues of leaves and flowers; and the crisp red and white of the Cape May Lighthouse.

The pastel and jewel hues of Cape May’s Victorians, the quality of the sea-side light, the scent of salt and fireplaces, the patterns and textures of sand dunes and shingles and roof tiles…These are among my treasures. When my world is drab or frightening, I can take them out, hold them, polish them, press them to my cheek and feel their sleek perfection and comforting shapes, sounds, sights, smells, and tastes.

Inspiring, yes. And encouraging. And hopeful. Do these reflections find their way into my art? I think so…I know so.

For me, inspiration IS everywhere. But that doesn’t mean the best inspiration is always in my immediate surroundings. It can be in our memories. In our histories–cultural and personal. Inspiration can be found in a dream, a conversation, a photograph, or a good book.

Well, that’s probably enough about me.

I would love to know what places inspire you. Do you find elusive creative encouragement close to home? Or do you need to travel the world to collect your treasures? What role does “Setting” play in your creative process?

Inspiration…

I take so much inspiration from our trips to the shore. Cape May in particular. The moody colors of the sea, sand, sky, and the brilliant hues of the Victorian houses (mostly B&Bs now). And when I look more closely, I find inspiration in the lines and shapes around me: the way the grasses lie on the dunes, the windblown beach fences, the slants and curves and layers of the Victorians’ architectural elements. Honestly, I could live there and never tire of it. Maybe some day…

My knitting has slowed a bit this week–as has my writing & blogging–due to indescribable back spasms in my upper back. The muscles by my left shoulderblade seem to have fused into a single, cement-hard system of knots. Like having golf balls wedged against your bones…Lovely for the nerves, as you can imagine. I can feel it all the way down to my palm. Ugh.

So, while I can’t NOT knit, I’ve been trying to take it easy. Early in the week I played around with this:
Although I was familiar with all the techniques already, Nona’s excellent improvisational knitting tutorialreally got my creative juices flowing. The swatch remains in this condition, due to my laziness about digging through my stash to pull out other bits and pieces. But it’s still on the needles, so one day soon it may begin to grow again.

I also started working on Tahoe, using my purple Heirloom Breeze(ordered from Ozeyarn…they’re wonderful!). Last week I said that I didn’t want to look like a giant Easter egg, wearing all purple (egg comment courtesy of a rude coworker from my distant past). Then I figured out my problem with the yarn: I don’t want to make something that’s 100% purple Heirloom Breeze. It’s wonderful yarn, but for me it needs some embellishment to de-purple it a little.

Then Tahoe came along and inspired me to cast on. I will probably use a dark shade of fingering-weight yarn (Koigu or something similar) to tone down the overall color a bit. And I may end the sleeves at 3/4 length and finish them with a few inches of lace edging in the contrasting color. No photos yet–it’s in the boring inches-and-inches-of-stockinette phase. But someday soon, pictures will be taken and posted.

This weeekend, by the way, is not only mon cheri’s birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHRIS! I LOVE YOU!!!!!), but also our 4th anniversary–on the same day–so we both took a long weekend off.

Hope you all have a great weekend, too.

Eye-Candy Friday (and Comcast woes)

Well, it’s now January 19th, and I’ve had Internet access for about four days this month. Not once, but twice, our cable was literally cut (by a Comcast contractor or someone in the building). And to make matters worse, the building is getting an extremely “weak signal.” Ugh. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent dealing with this.

Hopefully I’ll have fully functioning Internet access soon. And hopefully no one will go back into the cable room and slice our wire a third time.

Meanwhile, it’s EYE CANDY FRIDAY!

Enjoy….
(c) Hannah Six, 2006

PS. Click on the photo and admire the GORGEOUS curves in the shingles!

We’re back – in body, if not in spirit…

Once again, Cape May was wonderful. I love the shore during the off-season months…it’s lovely and melancholy, and more peaceful than any other place I can imagine.

Now I’m returning to the daily “grind” (that’s a bit of an overstatement), trying to catch up and get back into the swing of things. So until I can post “for real” (I’m a perfectionist and refuse to put up a half-assed blog entry), I’ll leave you with this…

Cape May, Here We Come!


After 10 days of dealing with the cold from Hell (it’s going around D.C.), followed by two days of rushing around to finish everything we couldn’t do while we were sick, Chris and I are finally getting ready to leave for our annual trek to Cape May, where we always stay at the WONDERFUL Albert Stevens Inn


I’ll be gone for a week, and won’t have computer access. But you can rest assured I’ll be knitting and knitting and knitting (socks, of course, since it’s Socktoberfest) time. Doing lots of reading (I’m into Elizabeth George these days). And, of course, buying yarn!

Oh, and we’ll be EATING! Lenanne cooks up the most amazing breakfasts in the world…we’re always stuffed until dinner time, at which point her husband, Jim, gives us the low-down on all the best restaurants in town, from good cheap eats to pricey gourmet chow :-)

When I come back, I’ll post some more pictures on my flickr page (to see last year’s photos, click here).

Have a wonderful week!