This past weekend I ventured out in the pouring rain to the Whole Bead show in Providence, RI. I’ve been attending this show for years and it’s always been easily accessible off of Route 95, at the Holiday Inn on Atwells Ave. This year, however, they decided to change the location to the Rhode Island Convention Center on Sabin Street. I got lost going by the Mapquest directions but quickly stopped and asked for directions. Ah, why didn’t the directions mention that second left? Argh. Back on track, I found the parking garage and followed the signs up to the 4th level. Thinking of that Seinfeld episode where they get lost in the parking garage, I made a mental note of where I parked my car and headed in.
To say that the halls at a convention center are monstrous is putting it mildly. The booths were set up in a square grid with extremely bright lights illuminating all. The combination of the vendor lights with the hall lights bouncing off the tables of glittery beads gave me an immediate sense of disorientation as I stepped through the hall entrance. I decided to do a walk through to give myself a sense of who was there and what they had to offer. I was also on the lookout for my favorite vendors. Alas, with the change in venue came a change in vendors and I couldn’t locate my favorite stone bead seller, Raj from Oregon. My favorite seed bead seller was there, however, but his inventory of seed beads was half of what it usually was. I did manage to acquire some unique muted fall tones.
I feel another free-form piece starting to brew.
I got some good deals on pearls (75% off) and a beautifully unique bone pendant of Guan Yin’s head cradled in a hand. As I have a pretty extensive bead stash at home, I’m always on the lookout for a unique seller besides the usual stone and crystal beads and precious metal findings. I found one on my way out. Susan K. Nestor Studios from Ann Arbor, MI creates stamped resin pendants in various muted colors like I’ve never seen before. What really caught my eye, however, were the stainless steel and colored silk neckrings she had on display. I’ve been searching for something simple to highlight some free-form peyote and polyclay pendant ideas I’ve been gestating and these were just perfect.
Right around the time I found out that I was going to be a grandmother for the first time, my Mom, an avid knitter, gifted me with this gorgeous yarn and showed me a new stitch. It all flowed together so synchronistically that I decided to knit a blanket for the baby, using my new yarn and the stitch I just learned. We have since found out that she is a girl and her name will be Gabriella, Ella for short. She is due to be born at the end of October and we can’t wait for her arrival!
The stitch is not too hard once you get the hang of it. It creates little diamond shaped units that build upon each other. You create 2 diamond shapes (the bottom edge is curved instead of pointy) and then pick up stitches from the right side of one diamond and the left side of the other to create a new diamond that links them together. You continue in this fashion and can make your piece as wide or as long as you want.
I found a book through my library system called Domino Knitting and the pattern and stitches in that book reminded me very much of this pattern.
The yarn I used is called Noro “Matsuri”, comprised of 87% cotton and 18% wool, giving it breathability along with warmth. The only drawback is that it needs to be handwashed but I know that most washers these days have a delicate or handwash cycle so that should be ok. I also think that any handmade knitted piece should be delicately washed anyway.
As I write this, memories drift up of my daughter’s favorite blanket when she was a child. It was a pure white crocheted blanket, created by one of my colleagues at the bank where I worked at that time. She loved that blanket so much that…well…sorry, Aim….we ended up calling it the “string” blankie. Memories like that fill my heart with warmth and love.
I hope that my new granddaughter will love her new blanket, too.
Happy Fall! This morning I am enjoying a cup of rich, dark Yunnan Golden Tips black tea. While the tea itself is a dark chocolate color, the leaves are a beautiful golden yellow. These are the very tips, the new growth, of the tea tree. In Yunnan province, the particular type of tea plants that grow there are actually trees with very large leaves. The tips are carefully plucked and processed to create special lots of this tea.
I had some fun arranging the wet leaf on this misty rainy morning.
The aroma and taste is of exotic spices and dark honey with a silky smooth mouth feel. There is a hint of earthy smoke in the finish. This tea would go very well with milk or cream but I don’t think it needs a sweetener because of its natural sweetness. I steeped the leaves for 5 minutes in boiling water.
There was a period of time last year where this type of tea was very challenging to obtain. I think it was because of the quickly growing popularity of Pu-ehr teas. The leaf used in the processing of this tea comes from the same area and tea trees as Pu-ehr tea. I’m happy to say that there is a return of the Yunnan blacks this year but a lot of what I’ve seen so far is very special and more expensive.
The weather forecast is for rainy skies all weekend as 2 storms head up the coast to New England. I am going to devote most of my weekend to working (and hopefully finishing) a knitted blanket for my soon to be born granddaughter Ella. That’s why I’ve been quiet this week. All of my free time has been filled with knitting needles and yarn! I’ll post a picture soon.
I’m also headed off to the Whole Bead show in Providence this weekend, too. I’ll post a picture of my newly acquired treasures as soon as I can!
While Labor Day weekend marks what most consider the official end of summer, this is the actual last weekend of summer. While I am feeling somewhat wistful thinking about the passing of all of those deliciously warm days spent outside in the garden and lazing on the backyard deck afterwards, iced tea in hand, I am also looking forward to the crisp, colorful fall and a cup of a darker, spicier tea warming my hands. Not quite yet though.
In honor of the summer’s passing, this morning I’m sipping a very very light tea, a white Ceylon from the Adam’s Peak estate. The leaf is gorgeous, long thin slightly curved pieces resembling the delicate ribs of a fan. This represents the newest leaf on the tea plant, the tender budding leaf.
This tea is entirely processed by hand from the careful plucking to drying in the sun to the heating process to stop oxidation. Here is an interesting article from the BBC news about the processing of a white tea from a Sri Lankan tea estate.
A soft sweet aroma drifts up from my white porcelain teabowl as I savor my first sip. I have steeped the leaves in 165 degree F water for 3 1/2 minutes. The liquor holds a hint of color and tastes smooth with light fruity flavor notes.
The softness and delicacy of my white tea slows me down to focus on each sip, helping me transition from a very busy workweek to the more relaxed pace of my weekend. A perfect tea for meditating on the most recent happenings of my life and the change I can feel in the air.
If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.
Today I had 2 goals in my studio. First, to prepare the face cab for my first journal bracelet. Second, to work on my freeform bracelet.
I found some old leaf canes in my polymer clay stash and reduced them to a very small size. Then I framed the porcelain face cab (on the left) with cane slices. Well, I liked the look so much that I took out one of the glazed face cabs I created last January and did the same thing with it. So, I’ve decided to use the 2 face cabs, one for September and one for October. In a previous post, I talked about honoring the trees that were taken down in our backyard last week. There were 2 of them so I’ll create a bracelet to honor each tree. I’ve also created a whole bunch of leaf beads from the canes so I can also use those in my bracelets.
After my polymer clay work, I started balancing out my freeform bracelet by working on the side that was bowing in. I’m hoping to be able to finish with the body of the bracelet soon. Then I’ll document how I create the pearl and loop clasp.