The Highlights Reel

While I was at The Knit and Crochet Show, more than one person commented to me that they couldn’t take classes the entire time because it was too much for them to absorb.  Wasn’t I totally overwhelmed?  Nope, not at all.  The entire event was an adrenaline rush and I enjoyed every moment.  A week after I got back, after reliving the entire event through writing the blog posts about it, I crashed.  This wasn’t all because of the show; August is break month for the Harry Potter Knitting / Crochet House Cup.  I push myself hard during the term, achieving feats of crafting that I otherwise wouldn’t attempt, and I appreciate break month!  Don’t get me wrong — I still crafted and had fun adventures in August and September to date.  Here’s the highlights.

August

S’s 5th Birthday Party

My cousin’s daughter turned 5 and had a birthday party at the zoo.  It was the largest kid’s birthday party I’ve ever attended — 28 kids and 30+ adults.  I made fondant cupcake toppers (I don’t think I’ve mentioned here that I’ve got mad cake skills?  I don’t make cakes as often as in the past).  Since I live 2+ hours from my cousin, she bought cupcakes locally and I put the toppers on when I arrived at the party.

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And I was the first person in line to get my face painted.  I got to the party early so I could get those cupcake toppers on the cupcakes and the few children already there showed no interest in getting their face painted.  I figured I’d beat the rush!

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I knit the birthday girl a Barbie dress.

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Sorting Yarn

A few months ago, my friend Nancy and I went to the home of a member of the weaver’s guild who had passed away (see my blog post).  She wanted her yarn to benefit the guild.  Nancy and I sorted it to pick out anything that was suitable for demos.  We always have a little takeaway for kids and are constantly on the look out for yarn for those.  We packed up any project kits or yarns suitable for weaving and brought those to the guild’s annual auction.  The money raised from the sale of those yarns is designated for demos and will be used to buy yarn for takeaways once we use up our current stash.

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Orlando Shakes Open House

From the Weavers Guild meeting, I went straight to the Orlando Shakespeare theater for their annual open house.  I’ve never made it to this event before and had a great time.  I went to all three panel discussions — one on lighting and sound production, one on building props, and one with the directors and educators about visioning and producing individual plays and the future of the troop.  They also had a small display of props and costumes from previous productions.  Here’s a small selection of the spectacular costumes, which are created in house, in conjunction with the theater department of a local university, and with the help of many volunteers.

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Akerworks

My order from Akerworks arrived!  I got 6 bobbins for my wheel (one in each style) and 3 drop spindles (one in each size).  I didn’t take pictures before they got pressed into service, but I’m sure you’ll see pictures in future blog posts.  I did take a picture of the lovely hand-written note Adan included in the box.

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Ravenclaw Staff

I accepted a position as blog mistress for The Ravenclaw Aerie, the blog for the Ravenclaw Tower in the Harry Potter Knitting / Crochet House Cup.  This is a big part of the reason for the neglect of my own blog; planning and executing for that blog has taken the time I had for blogging.  Now that we’re on a schedule over there, I expect to be back to my own blog regularly!  Most of what’s on The Ravenclaw Aerie is probably only of interest to those in Ravenclaw Tower or the Cup, but one of the first posts is about something else I did in August.  Ravenclaw Porcupine Snuggles works at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.  She and two of her colleagues drove from Baltimore to New Smyrna Beach, FL to release Cougar, a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.  I met them in New Smyrna Beach so I could witness the release, and Porcupine Snuggles and I wrote a blog post about it for the Aerie.

Disney with Beth

My friend Beth came on vacation for a week and we spent lots of time at Disney!  We ate at the Be Our Guest restaurant in the new part of Fantasy Land in the Magic Kingdom.  We did not expect to be able to get a reservation because this restaurant, the interior of which is a replica of the castle in Beauty and the Beast, is sold out 6 months in advance.  We checked anyway; someone must have cancelled because we got a 1:15 pm reservation!  The restaurant is stunning inside and out.

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On the day we went to EPCOT, it poured.  My mother, Beth, and I walked from The Land to Journey through the Imagination without seeing any one else walking around (everyone else was smarter than us — when we got to Journey through the Imagination, the ride was down because the building was struck by lightning!).  It was eerie, and made us think about what the park is like after it closes.  We waited for Journey through the Imagination to be back up, and after we got off the ride, the rain had settled down to a normal rain shower rather than a deluge.  We headed towards the World Showcase, wading through a calf-deep puddle on our way there.

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All the rain made for a beautiful sunset!

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Sick

A couple days after Disney, my husband got sick with a very bad cold.  I caught it from him and it turned into a sinus infection.  Yuck!  For the last week of August and the first week of September, we took turns feeling misearable.  Not much got accomplished around here.  I was coughing so much that fiber crafting wasn’t even viable 🙁

September

L’s Birthday

Fortunately, I felt better in time to fly to New York City for a long weekend celebrating my sister’s 40th birthday.  Before she arrived on Friday evening, her friends and I went to the Global Fashion Capitals exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum.  Here’s a couple of interesting pieces from that exhibit.

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We were trying to decide what to do next when I saw someone walk by with a Mood bag.  For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Mood is a fabric store and is the place contestants on Project Runway shop for the fabric used to make their creations.  We decided to go to Mood and since it was a lovely day we walked the 10 blocks to the shop.  I was totally overwhelmed by Mood.  On the ground floor, there’s a two-story section of upholstery and other home decoration fabrics.  To get to the main shop, you take this old elevator, operated by an elevator attendant, to the third floor.  Once there, you have another 3 stories of every fabric imaginable.  I have no idea how the contestants manage to shop for fabric in only 30 minutes!

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Yes, I did pet Swatch!
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One section of the leather department.

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One day, we went to the Tenement Museum (no pix allowed there).  Our grandfather grew up in the Depression-era tenements of the Bronx, so this was a poignant visit for us.  Afterwards, we wandered around SoHo and I bought my first ever pair of Fluevogs.

Later that evening, my sister and her friends went to a play.  They bought tickets before I committed to the trip, and I wasn’t able to get a ticket to the show.  Instead, I took a train out to Long Island to visit law school classmates and meet their 4-month-old baby.  It was good to see them!

The next day, my sister, her friends, and I went to the Cloisters Museum, and visited their famous room of unicorn tapestries.

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We ate fabulous food every day, including the best doughnuts I’ve ever eaten, from The Doughnut Plant.  The interior of the shop was adorable, with doughnut pillows on the wall, a doughnut tile backsplash, and donut chairs!

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The last night, my sister and I stayed in her friend’s apartment in Brooklyn.  The friend was out of town, but gave us a key.  The apartment came with bonus kitty, Billie.

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Billie was super sweet and reminded me of my Pepper, whom I still miss very much!

Although I lived in the Northeast for nearly 30 years, I had never spent more than an afternoon in New York City before this trip.  I had a wonderful time and hope I get to visit again!

Spamalot

For the fifth year in a row, Chris and I have season tickets for the Orlando Shakespeare theater.  The first show of the season was Spamalot!  It was absolutely spectacular.  If you have the opportunity, you should totally see this show.

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Orlando Maker Faire

Last weekend was the Orlando Maker Faire.  The Drunken Monkey Spinners and Weavers of Orlando shared a booth for the event.  Nancy and I spent the entire weekend in the booth; other members of the two groups spent one day or the other.

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This was the fourth year of the Orlando Maker Faire.  Last year, they expanded from the Science Center and included some exhibits in the park.  This year, they expanded further, with arts and crafts exhibits in the Orlando Museum of Art, which is located on the opposite side of the park from the Science Center.  The expected attendance at this event was 15,000; I didn’t hear an actual number after the event, but it is by far the highest attendance at any event where I’ve demoed.

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The Science Center was wall-to-wall people; the Art Museum, where we were located, was steady but manageable.  This was a fantastic event to demo.  The people coming to this events are makers themselves.  They like to know how things work and ask lots of questions!  I spun the 50/50 Camel Down / Silk that I bought from Red Fish Dyeworks at The Knit and Crochet Show.  I only got 1 ounce spun, out of 4, in the 17 hours I spent spinning!  This is partially because I talked to lots of people, but also because it is spinning very fine.

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Hey — there’s one of the Akerworks bobbins I got in August!

Florida Fiber In

This weekend is the Florida Fiber In.  I went last night, but won’t make it there the rest of the weekend.  I picked up some Black-Faced Valois locks and some Bombyx Silk fiber, and spent a couple hours spinning and chatting!

Fiber Crafting

The new HPKCHC term started on September 1 and I’ve been crafting like a mad woman.  I haven’t taken pix of anything yet, but I’m working on that today and tomorrow.  I’ll have a Year of Projects update post sometime tomorrow.

Ongoing

I have also been working on improving skills to benefit my blog.  I bought my first DSLR camera (a Canon 70D (affiliate link)) and a Pro-Am video camera (Canon XA-10 (affiliate link)).  I added Adobe Stock to my Adobe Cloud subscription.  I used my Lynda.com subscription to learn how to use Adobe Bridge, then used Bridge to move all my photos out of Apple’s Photos app and into their own folders on my external hard drive.  I’m still working on adding metadata and tags to the photos.  I had 19,000 photos and videos in Photos and have a very hard time actually finding anything when I’m looking for it!  It’s a lot of work to organize, but I believe it will be worth it in the end.  I’m just starting the Lynda.com courses on Adobe After Effects and Lightroom, to further improve my photography and videography skills.

So that’s the highlight reel of the last six weeks.  What’s your highlights?

 

KCBW6, Day 7: Your Time, Your Place

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Today’s prompt is to write about my crafting time and space.  I realized that every time I attend a special fiber-related event, I write an entire post on this blog.  Sometimes I mention going to my regular spinning or knitting group, but I’ve never written posts about the various groups I attend or my day-to-day crafting experience!

Crafting at Home

When I craft at home, it is almost always in my living room, while watching tv.  If I’m knitting or crocheting, I sit on the couch, and there’s almost always a cat in my lap.

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If I am spinning or weaving, I can’t sit on the couch because it is too low and I can’t sit all the way back.  Instead, I grab a “kitchen” chair and sit in that while I spin or weave.  “Kitchen” is in quotes because these chairs are part of a table & chairs set that I bought for maybe $60 many years ago (at least 20), but they are no longer used in the kitchen.  The table is an extension of my desk and the chairs are totally beat up because of the cats.  The chairs float around the house, pressed into service as cat beds, cat stair steps (so poor arthritic Pepper can get to her favorite sleep spots), step stools for me, etc.

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Travel Knitting

Since I’ve traveled so much the last few years, travel knitting is a regular part of my crafting time.  If I’m on a plane, I am almost always knitting.  If I’m a passenger in a car, and we are traveling a distance, I’m knitting.

I took this picture on my recent flight to Hartford, CT.  I often put my ball of yarn in the cup holder on the tray to keep it from getting away from me.
I took this picture on my recent flight to Hartford, CT. I often put my ball of yarn in the cup holder on the tray to keep it from getting away from me.

Crafting Groups

I regularly attend 3 groups that meet monthly as well as one weekly group.  I’m thinking of adding a fourth monthly group; they used to meet on Wednesdays, conflicting with my regular weekly group, but they moved their meetings to the second Saturday of the month.  I haven’t been home on the second Saturday since they changed the meeting.  I’m planning to attend that group in June and see if I can make it a regular part of my schedule.

Wednesday Knit Nights

The weekly group meets from whenever people arrive until 8 pm at my local yarn store (LYS), Knit!, located 3 miles from my house.  I’ve lived close to Knit! for 12 years, and ever since I picked up my knitting in 2006 after a hiatus of several years, it’s been my LYS.  Marney’s had knitting nights before, usually during the fall and winter, but I’ve never attended because of my schedule.  Last fall, she started up knit nights again and I plan to go every week, though of course I don’t always make it.  Most Wednesdays, there’s at least 6 or 8 people there.  On busy evenings, there’s been as many as 20 and no room to walk in the shop.  On the occasional slow night, there’s 3 people there.  I am excited that Marney decided to continue the knit nights through the summer this year!

l to r: Susan, me, Dawn, and Lisa.  We're all regulars on Wednesday night.
l to r: Susan, me, Dawn, and Lisa. We’re all regulars on Wednesday night.

Drunken Monkey Spinners

Drunken Monkey is a coffee shop in Orlando.  The spinning group meets on the first Saturday of the month from 8 am to 11ish am.  Most months, we have at least 8 people in attendance.  The most we’ve had is about 12, counting the 5-year old son of the group’s finder and the non-fiber-crafting husband of one member.  I joined this group in June last year, a few weeks after I got my spinning wheel.  I always bring my wheel because I can’t spindle spin!  Other members bring wheels or spindles or knitting or crocheting and we spend a lovely morning chatting over fiber.  Other coffee-house guests often stop and ask what we are doing, and we explain to them a little about how spinning works.  If you are ever in Orlando on the first Saturday of the month, you are welcome to join us!

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Weavers of Orlando

The Weavers of Orlando guild meets on the 3rd Saturday of the month in Winter Park, Florida from 10 am until noonish.  Sometimes there’s also presentations in the early afternoon.  The Weavers of Orlando has about 100 members and most meetings have 40 to 50 people in attendance.  Visitors are always welcome at these meetings, if you find yourself in the Orlando area on the 3rd Saturday of the month.

We have a number of members who live in Florida for the winter and elsewhere for the summer.  This is the lowest attendance I've seen since I started attending the Guild last fall, probably because some of the snow birds have flown off to their winter homes.
We have a number of members who live in Florida for the winter and elsewhere for the summer. This is the lowest attendance I’ve seen since I started attending the Guild last fall, probably because some of the snow birds have flown off to their winter homes.

Wekiva Knitters

The area I live in is called Wekiva, after the nearby river.  One of the librarians at the local branch organizes Wekiva Knitters; the group meets at that branch on the 3rd Saturday of the month, 1 pm to 3 pm.  Since the library is a polling station, including for early voting, during elections the group is cancelled or rescheduled.  The attendance varies dramatically from one month to the next.  Sometimes there’s only one or two people there.  The largest group I’ve ever personally seen is about 10.  My own attendance at this group is erratic.  I first went in August of 2012, then didn’t make it there again until June 2013 due to travel and other obligations.  I really enjoy this group, though, and try to get there as often as I can.  It’s only a mile from my house (shorter, as the crow flies), so if I’m home there’s no excuse for missing it! image

KCBW6, Day 4: Bags of Fun

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Today’s prompt is to share the contents of our knitting bag, crafting caddy, or other tool organization system with you.  I don’t usually use a knitting bag and I don’t have a bag dedicated to that purpose.  I keep each WIP in its own gallon-sized Ziploc bag which contains the yarn, needles, pattern, embellishments (like beads) or unusual tools needed for the project.  When I will be crafting out of the house, I might just grab one of the WIP Ziplocs and toss it in my purse.  If I will be working on multiple projects or the project is large, I’ll put everything into an appropriately sized bag to make it easier to carry.  While I have a pretty impressive stash of yarn and fiber, I don’t have an extensive tool collection.  I like my tools streamlined and multifunctional.  It’s fun to dig through my stash, looking for just the right fiber.  Once I find it, I want to get to work with as little fuss as possible!

I’m writing this post a few days after the St. Johns River Festival of the Arts (see my blog post about that), when I spent two entire days in the Weavers of Orlando booth, doing demos.  On Saturday, I mostly spun and on Sunday I mostly wove.  I also brought a knitting project with me.  This is the most stuff I ever carry at a time, so I figured I would take pictures of everything in the bag.  It’ll give you a good sense of the scope of my tools.

My Knit Kit

I love my Knit Kit.  It’s the one thing I carry with me wherever I’m crafting.  It fits in my purse and it’s got all the everyday tools I might need in a pinch.  I had a Knit Kit, but left it at my sister’s when I was helping her move, so I just bought a new one at Distaff Day in January.

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It’s got a row counter, double-ended crochet hook, tape measure, and blade built into it.  The cover on the bag is a needle / hook sizer.  The interior compartment holds a pair of folding scissors, stitch markers, and tip protectors.  I never use tip protectors and don’t like the rubber stitch markers, so I removed them and stocked the back with my own preferred tools:

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Two tapestry needles, a sewing needling, a key for KnitPicks interchangeable needles, lobster claw clasps, gourd safety pins, and jump rings with interior dimensions of 3mm, 5 mm, 8 mm, and 10 mm.

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I use the jump rings as stitch markers.  I use the lobster claw clasps and the gourd safety pins (available on Amazon (affiliate link)) as row markers.

Spinning Supplies

Of course, I had the Cormo that I’m currently spinning.

I had extra bobbins, just in case I filled the one on the wheel.

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I had the two metal posts for my built-in lazy Kate, the ball of yarn I’m using for leaders, and spinning wheel oil.  I take the metal posts of the lazy Kate out of the wheel when I’m transporting it so that they don’t damage my car.

 

Weaving Supplies

I had a pile of warping sticks.  I brought some with me to place around the knots as I wound the beginning part of the weaving on the cloth beam.  The rest of these came out of the weaving.  They’re dirty because they fell out of the weaving on to the pavement or floor as I wove and because the llama yarn that is my current warp is pretty hairy and shedding a lot.  Fortunately, they are easy to clean since they are vinyl.

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Bobbins with the yarns for the current project and empty ones that I already used.

 

The balls of yarns for the current project, for when I need to wind more yarn on the bobbins.

The card telling me how many inches of each color to weave, and a pen to cross off when I’ve finished that section.  (If you want to weave a Dr. Who scarf, don’t bother trying to copy this down from here.  Next week, I’ll have a blog post with a link to the Google spreadsheet that has all the information you need).

 

Miscellaneous Bag Contents

The Super Secret Shawl in its project bag, in case I wanted to knit rather than spin or weave.  I ended up not knitting at all during the weekend.

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A finished Summit shawl, knit by a friend.  She asked me to block it for her and gave it to me while we were at the Festival.

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The apron I was wearing while doing demos on Sunday.

Not in the Bag

I have a few tools that I really like, but didn’t need to carry over this weekend.

My fiber scale.  I have a kitchen scale that I use only for cooking, and this scale which I use only for fiber-related purposes.  I weigh dye on it.  I weigh leftover skeins of yarn to calculate the yardage in a finished object.  I weigh loom waste to calculate how much yardage I lost in the waste.  I weigh bags of fiber to see how much I have left to spin.  I love this scale.  It weighs in either grams (down to 0.1 gram) or ounces.  It has a tare function so I can put a bowl on top, reset the weight to zero and put larger items in the bowl for easier weighing.  It weighs up to 2000 g (about 5 pounds), which is sufficient for my fibery purposes.

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My mini scissors.  When I travel, I take the foldable scissors out of the Knit Kit and put them in my checked luggage.  Technically, I should be able to take them in carry on because they are less than 4″ long, but I hate to take the chance.  If I don’t have checked luggage, I leave the foldable scissors at home and toss these mini ones into my carry on.  Unfortunately, they are a little too fat to fit in the Knit Kit scissors section, but I love them anyway.

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My needle notebook.  My entire collection of knitting needles and crochet hooks lives in one zip up binder notebook.  The entire collection.  If I wanted to, I could carry all my needles with me all the time.  I rarely take the notebook with me, though.  I just don’t need to have all my needles with me.  I probably will bring the binder with me to the TKGA Conference in July, and think it’s awesome that it is so easy for me to do so.  I purchased this binder from KnitPicks, back when I first bought my interchangeable needle set in 2005 or 2006.  A few of the interior zipper pockets came with the binder, and I bought more pages separately.  Unfortunately, KnitPicks discontinued the binder several years ago.  I think it’s the best item they’ve ever sold for needle storage and don’t know why they discontinued it!

At some point, one or the other of my cats sharpened their claws on the front :-(
At some point, one or the other of my cats sharpened their claws on the front 🙁
Each pouch zips shut.  This one, in the very front, has the extra keys and cord end caps.
Each pouch zips shut. This one, in the very front, has the extra keys and cord end caps.
Each size cord has its own pouch.  I made the labels; the pouches did not come labeled.
Each size cord has its own pouch. I made the labels; the pouches did not come labeled.
My crochet hooks.
My crochet hooks.
US size 3 and smaller aren't available as interchangeables and are the only needles I have as fixed circulars.
US size 3 and smaller aren’t available as interchangeables and are the only needles I have as fixed circulars.
There's usually two sizes of needle tips per section.  In the mid-range of sizes (US 4-9), I have at least two tips in each size.  I only use larger sizes infrequently, so only have one pair of tips per size from US size 10 through US size 17.
There’s usually two sizes of needle tips per section. In the mid-range of sizes (US 4-9), I have at least two pairs of tips in each size. I use larger sizes infrequently, so only have one pair of tips per size from US size 10 through US size 17.
I keep a KnitPicks needle sizer in the front pocket of the binder.  It has to be a KnitPicks brand sizer because KnitPicks has two different size needles (2.25 mm and 2.5 mm) marked as US 1s and two sizes (2.75 mm and 3.0 mm) marked as US 2s.  I have needles in all 4 sizes, and only KnitPicks branded sizers have slots to differentiate between them.
I keep a KnitPicks needle sizer in the front pocket of the binder. KnitPicks has two different size needles (2.25 mm and 2.5 mm) marked as US 1s and two sizes (2.75 mm and 3.0 mm) marked as US 2s. I have needles in all 4 sizes, and only KnitPicks branded sizers have slots to differentiate between them.
The binder lives on a bookshelf in my office, tucked in with the fiber library.
The binder lives on a bookshelf in my office, tucked in with the fiber library.

 

 

 

St. Johns River Festival of the Arts

This past weekend was the St. Johns River Festival of the Arts, held annually in Sanford, Florida on the first weekend of May.  The Festival was held Saturday from 10-6 and Sunday from 10-5.  More than 125 artists had booths and expected attendance was 30,000 – 40,000.  The Weavers of Orlando guild had a booth and we set up to do spinning and weaving demonstrations.  I was in the booth helping with the demos on Saturday from 12-6 and the entire day on Sunday.  The weather was spectacular.  Mid-70s to low-80s, with a breeze blowing off the lake and little humidity is perfect weather for an outdoor art fair.  It was a wonderful weekend!

The Weavers of Orlando Booth

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The view looking out from our booth. The sky looked liked this the entire weekend.

We actually had two booth spaces — 52 and 53 — and they were right in the middle of a street.

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We had a stand displaying woven items made by guild members.

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We taught Kumihimo braiding to kids.  We had 160 Kumihimo disks made by guild members for demo purposes; we gave out the last ones about 3:00 pm on Sunday (the guild goes through more than 1,000 Kumihimo disks in a year).

WoO members Nancy (foreground) and Bev teaching Kumihimo braiding to Festival attendees on Saturday.
WoO members Nancy (foreground) and Bev teaching Kumihimo braiding to Festival attendees on Saturday.

We brought the 4-shaft Dorset floor loom and any attendee who wanted to try it out got a chance.  We had a 3 yard warp on the loom, and by about 4:00 pm on Sunday, the entire length was finished!  One attendee, a 12-year-old girl, will be sewing bags from the finished fabric.

WoO member Marilyn encouraging a first-time weaver.
WoO member Marilyn encouraging a first-time weaver.

We also had a couple of table looms and members wove on those throughout the day.  On Saturday we had three or four people spinning.  I was one of the spinners on Saturday, and I got almost 2 ounces of Cormo spun.  On Saturday evening, when I got home, I warped my rigid heddle loom so that I could bring it with me on Sunday.  I brought my wheel on Sunday also, but I spent most of my time weaving on the rigid heddle.  I got about 60″ of weaving done!

Around the Fair

On Sunday, I took an hour or so to stroll around the fair.  Many Festival goers brought their dogs with them.  I didn’t get any dog pictures, but I get a picture of this unusual pet:

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The parrot’s owner told us that he is a rescue bird.  His wings are clipped so he can’t fly.  He likes to sit on the handlebar of her bike and spread his wings out while she rides, maybe to get the sensation of flying.

I also saw another unusual pet walking around: a bunny rabbit in a harness and on a leash, but I didn’t get a picture of it!

On Saturday, this stilt walker was part of the festival entertainment, strolling along the street and interacting with crowds.  The head is a puppet controlled by the walker, and she did a wonderful job of making that head interact in a way that made it seem alive.  More than one child gave the bird a drink from a bottle of water!  When it was time to distribute ribbons to artists, the stilt walker was along for the ceremony.  I didn’t get close enough to see for sure, but I think the puppet head was taking ribbons out of a basket and handing them to the artists!  We found out from a Festival organizer that this stilt walker is a Disney employee and the Festival contracted with Disney to have her at the Festival.

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Artists

I bought pieces from four artists.

Nicola Barsaleau

Nicola Barsaleau is a Gainesville, Florida-based printmaker.  She creates her work using a methodology which has been used for centuries.  She starts by drawing onto printmaking linoleum with graphite.  By using graphite, she can erase and change until she is satisfied with the image.  Once the drawing is complete, she uses a curved tool to carve out sections of the image to make the block.  She then applies an oil-based ink to the block and presses it onto paper to make prints.  I bought two pieces from her:

Six in the Morning (photo from artist’s blog) (see her blog post about the piece)
Six in the Morning

Untitled work (photo from artist’s blog) (see her blog post about this piece)

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Six in the Morning is a limited edition print and a Father’s Day / Birthday gift for my birdwatching father.  The untitled work is for me.  I loved the image of the bee and the reminder of how necessary bees are for pollination.  I also love the round mandala-like shape, which will blend with another piece I have from a different local artist: a mandala created by manipulating a photo of an endangered gopher tortoise. The untitled work is not a limited edition; Nicola told me she loves this particular piece so much that she wants to be able to print as many as possible.

What the FORK?

The next piece I bought is a pendant from Oswego, New York-based What the FORK  (website, Facebook).  All of their pieces are made from old silverware, which is welded and hand-manipulated into new shapes.  I bought an octopus pendant because I have a wee bit of an obsession with octopi.  This piece is not pictured on their website, so here’s a picture I took myself:

image

 

Kirk Dodd Photography

Kirk Dodd is a Merritt Island, Florida-based photographer.  Most of his work is High Dynamic Range photography, a technique in which multiple images are taken with different settings, then layered to create a final image.  The piece I bought is not on his website, and it seems strange to take a picture of a picture, so you don’t get to see it.  Sorry!  It’s a stunning image, taking at a Florida beach of heart-shaped lightning over the ocean.  The image is take at an angle at the point where water is breaking on the beach, so the beach is on the right / lower edge and the ocean is to the left / upper edge and the lightning is in the middle.  It’s beautiful.

Touch of Key West Photography

Mark Weeter is a Florida Keys-based photographer who specializes in underwater photography.  Smaller pieces (up to about 16″x20″) are printed on aluminum.  I really love this technique because it seems to bring a luster to photos that you don’t get any other way.  Larger pieces are standard photographic prints.  He and his wife frame the pictures themselves, using wood reclaimed from old lobster pots.  The frames are pretty cool, some with barnacles still attached.  He had a larger black and white photo of a sponge that I just loved, but after my other shopping it was more than I could spend.  I settled on a smaller piece, an 8″x8″ image of a jelly fish, shot from below.  This image isn’t on his website.

In Conclusion

I had a wonderful time at the St. Johns River Festival of the Arts.  Since it is always on the first weekend of May, that means it is always the same weekend as Maryland Sheep and Wool.  I’m not sure how often I’ll go to MDSW in the future; any time I’m not going to MDSW, I’ll definitely plan to be at the St. Johns River Festival of the Arts!