Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Around the World Swap

The card I made as an enclosure.
I love to travel.  Granted, having three children under age 10 has limited my travel somewhat in recent years, but it doesn't change the things I love about travel.  I love being 100 percent in charge of my own schedule.  I love the feeling that when traveling one is truly oneself...being away from the demands of friends/family/work has the effect of creating a cultural vacuum where one is only who they really are.  I love the perspective one gains on one's own home and lifestyle from a distance...when one sees that other cultures do things very different and equally legitimate ways.  And of course, I love what everyone loves about travel...that every day on the road brings a new and interesting/engaging experience and so is EXCITING.  This experiential approach is in contrast to many people who travel with a checklist in hand and aim to see sights and move on.  I am not a "tourist,"  I am a "traveler."  Travel has been so central to my life that when I read about a new "Around the World" swap theme through Ravelry, I couldn't click fast enough to sign up. Without further ado, I give you the "itinerary" sent to my swap partner...designed to lead her through all her most beloved destinations in one imaginary trip.

Oddlief's Knitting Tour of the World

Thanks to a color copier she had her very own Passport.

Day 1:  Flight from Seattle to China ...Airline lost your baggage  :-(  Lucky for you this aged flight attendant had an extra original 1970's Beijing Airline flight attendant bag he was willing to give you for the remainder of your trip.  You will be so retro-chic for this tour!  And with all these pockets, it will make a nice knitting bag after the trip.  IMG_0166
IMG_3412You pack your book you were reading on 100 must-see places in your new bag and begin your adventure.
Day 2:  CHINA- While in China you pick up a few stitch markers in the market.  They are symbols of good luck - you may need some's a long way around the world!
IMG_3414Day 3:  MONGOLIA- You try to fit a Mongolian cashmere goat in your bag, but he bleats too much to go unnoticed.  Instead you pick up some "Kathmandu" yarn made from merino wool, silk, and Mongolian cashmere.
IMG_3398Day 4:  TIBET-  Dang, where's an embroidery needle when you need one!  Luckily you are in a part of the world where beautiful embroidery is everywhere.  You pick up a handy little needle case with images of local gods and goddesses.  They seem more serene than you feel.
IMG_3415Day 5:  AUSTRALIA- Just to be sure you don't lose this bag, too, better get a luggage tag.  Ah, this one works..."Ripping Yarns"- not only the name given to local folk tales of murder/ghosts/intrigue, but also reflective of how you feel after botching the socks you were knitting during that long plane ride. 
DSC04810Day 6:  (PERSIA)- OK, you can't really stop here because it no longer technically exists.  Somehow, the flight attendant passes by with her Duty-Free cart and you spy in the back a bottle of vintage AVON brand perfume (my swap partner listed "any Avon product" as a like)..."Persian Wood."  Your favorite- and one you haven't been able to find for years!  You buy a bottle.   May also come in handy in all these places where deodorant seems unknown.
Day 7:  NORTHERN ITALY- Travelers belly subsides and you find yourself in a land full of wonderful food.  You gorge yourself like a tick for a day and pick up a box of local "Torrone"  candy.
IMG_3416Day 8:  SPAIN-  Desired for centuries, real Spanish saffron.  You buy a jar and debate over whether to use it to make paella or tea. (my swap partner listed saffron tea as a like also).
Day 9:  Fly to London, Heathrow.  Rent car and drive over countryside.  It's a long drive.  Good thing you have some Werther's candies in the car.   Park at Blackpool on the northwesternmost coast.
DSC04808Day 10:  Boat to ISLE OF MAN- Here you pick up a book of graph paper for drawing the cable pattern you've been designing in your head.  You love it because it shows historic images of woman shearing sheep alongside the men, as well as women there spinning yarn.  Perhaps these images of knitting on the Isle of Man are in the local museum.  You vow to go check it out, but never make it to the museum because you are sidetracked by the beautiful countryside.  No worries, you pick up a brochure for the online museum.
While touring the countryside, you stop at a couple of farms and find the locals very friendly.  One teaches you about the species of sheep nearly unique to the Isle of Man, known as the MANX LOGHTAN

photograph courtesy British Wool Marketing Board ©
MANX LOGHTAN sheep are a Northern short-tailed, multi-horned breed native to the Isle of Man. The word Loghtan is derived from the Manx words “lugh” (mouse) and “dhoan” (brown). Both sexes can be horned or polled (hornless), with two, four or occasionally even six horns being recorded.
The wool is moorit (red-brown) and is used mainly for the production of un-dyed woolens but is also suitable for the manufacture of tweeds.
The Manx Loghtan is listed as "at risk" by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
IMG_3418IMG_3420You purchase some of the handspun yarn from this unique sheep.  The family likes you and appreciates your interest in their animals.  The spinner's husband decides to give you a family heirloom - an antique horse brass with the triskelion symbol emblematic of the Isle of Man.  You don't know what you'll do with it (belt? Handbag buckle?), but it is such a meaningful gift that you thank him nonetheless.
When it's time to leave the Isle of Man, you have just a single coin left- the nearly useless 1/2 pence.  You like the "Cushag" and recognize the design as the yellow bloom of the common Ragwort long regarded as the national flower.  You decide to make it into a fifth stitch marker.
IMG_3423Day 11:  IRELAND-  Ah, home- your beloved Ireland.  You pick up some Bailey's Irish Cream candies and head for the Knitting store where you can finally get that pattern for Kilt Socks you've wanted for so long.
IMG_3405Day 12:  ORKNEY ISLANDS-  Only stopping briefly here.  Long enough to stop in the airport gift shop and pick up a coin purse to keep all your change from shaking around the bottom of your bag.  Ah,  and it works perfectly for holding your notions as well!
IMG_3422Day 13:  ICELAND-  Your last stop.  The natural beauty here is overwhelming and you spend the day steeping in the Blue Lagoon and marvelling over the many falls and volcanoes dotting the countryside.  There sure are a lot of sheep here!  What do they eat!?!?  There's just enough room in your bag to fit a pair of Icelandic socks...that's the wonderful thing about buying woolens while travelling- they squish.  Oh, and you could probably fit a bar of the delicious local chocolate, too - after all, there's ALWAYS room for chocolate!
Day 14:  HOME!!!  You've done it!  I hope you enjoyed your adventure  :-)


Friday, April 1, 2011

Woolapalooza 2011


DSC04734Here in Massachusetts each spring, the Mass Audubon Society puts on a small fiber festival with a big name... Woolapalooza.  This long name is a reference to a annual music festival featuring popular heavy metal, alternative, punk rock , and hip-hop bands, dance and comedy performances, and craft booths which has been touring North America since 1991 called "Lollapalooza."  Lollapalooza spawned "Wallapalooza" which is the name of many rock radio stations, including 105.7 in Chicago.  It is also, curiously, according to the online Urban Dictionary, "when a female inserts 15 eels into her vagina, at least 5 of which must be Candiru, the parasite that swims up urethra. After all 15 are inserted, a male inserts his penis into the vagina (ignorant of the eels inside). The female then wraps her legs around the male, locking him inside and screams "WALLA WALLA WALLA WALLA" at the top of her lungs as the Candiru make their way to his spam javelin."  Really, I'm not lying...this shit is too crazy good to make up.  I don't know how any of this relates to Woolapalooza, but it does make for a catchy sounding name.

DSC04765Anyhow, Woolapalloza took place on Drumlin Farm - one of the many wonderful sites managed by Mass Audubon.  Drumlin Farm is, as its name conveys, a Farm...complete with animals, and the festival corresponds with the spring shearing day for its sheep.  DSC04767Along the outdoor path, organizers set up a series of tables displaying the steps between sheep shearing and the production of garments and is cleverly called, "the Path From Sheep to Sweater."  It is geared maiinly towards children and the event is full, from morning until evening with children learning to





and CRAFT with yarn.

DSC04731The kids and adults both delight in the animals, including this angora rabbit who is having a crazy hair day.DSC04774

DSC04768DSC04773And, at the end, fiberholics like myself can reward themselves for baring the cold by purchasing lovely small-batch indy-produced yarn.