Sunday, October 28, 2012

Swirly stars

I just finished a temari I've been planning to stitch for quite some time. Barbara Suess published the pattern on her blog last December and I had to learn a few things before I could try it. Things like how to make a really large ball. This one has a circumference of 43 cm/17".
I also had to learn about swirl stitches, which form the first layer of this ball. I think I can still learn a lot about how to make the swirl stitches neat but I think the finished ball came out looking cool in spite of my less than perfect stitching.
I chose my own colors and couldn't help thinking about a grade school teacher that claimed that red and pink just could not be used together. Ha!
   Adding the last step of white continuous path stitching is almost magical in how it makes the stars  appear more and more clearly. Thanks for a lovely pattern, Barb!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Except bikes

  When we traveled by bicycle in Italy, I loved the many signs indicating where bikes could go where cars couldn't. A wonderful thing has been happening in Madison recently. Signs like these are popping up all over.
It's getting much easier to get where one needs to go in the city. I like to see people using bikes as transportation as well as a healthy sport.
Some neighborhoods limit direction of car traffic but let bikes move freely so they can stay off busier streets.
Bikes are quiet and relieve traffic congestion—so shouldn't their riders be given respect and an occasional special perk? I wish that I could remind the less patient drivers that every bike represents a car that isn't in their way. At least the local traffic engineers are catching on.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Origami Butterflies

Mr. Rududu was recently all aflutter with the designs in Origami Butterflies by Michael G. LaFosse et al. from Tuttle Publishing. It came with paper with a different color on each side. Most origami paper is white on the reverse and that wouldn't work so well for making colorful butterflies such as this swallowtail.
Soon there was a cloud of paper butterflies in our house, of many species.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oooh! Oya!

   We just got back from a trip to Turkey. It was someplace I wanted to visit for years and it more than lived up to expectations. We saw many amazing things like ruins of ancient cities, swam in turquoise blue water, and ate delicious food at every single meal. One of the coolest things I saw were the oya: very finely crocheted lace edges on headscarves.  Here a woman uses a knitting needle to hold loops that she then crochets into. As you can see, the crochet hook is teeny and she has picked up stitches directly in the edge of the scarf. One can also buy oya that are made separately; they come in a 4 meter length as the scarves are very large.
 I bought my oya-edged scarves directly from a couple of women that hosted our tour group's lunch in their homes when we visited their village. After only finding somewhat mediocre oya in Istanbul, it was a wonderful surprise to walk into the dining room and find a bunch of scarves laid out in the most low key sales situation ever created. (I had to ask if they were for sale; I thought maybe they were just a presentation to show us what they did.)
I particularly liked the way the women matched the colors and motifs to the image on the scarf.
Even in the realm of oya, the amount of work in this one is mind boggling. I put in a pencil to give an idea of scale. Although while in Turkey I used one of my scarves to cover my head when I visited mosques, they look very nice as shawls over a blouse or sweater.
Later in the trip, I found an adorable necklace with these flowers that look like fuchsias. It includes seed beads.
I stand in awe of the craftsmanship of the oya artisans of Turkey.