Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July 4 weekend

This weekend, I finally carved out a little time to explore the High Line, which is a really fantastic public space created out of an abandoned, elevated structure that used to carry freight trains above the west side of Manhattan. I had heard a lot of good things about it, but wasn't really prepared for just how really, truly awesome it is.
It pushed a lot of my buttons square on: the interplay between industrial and natural, choosing to redefine what constitutes urban public space (i.e., thinking beyond plunking down a spread of lawn in the middle of asphalt), a love of good design. I was particularly taken with the wildness of the plantings, the fact that they are meant to evoke the sense of the space gone to seed. That constant reminder that this was abandoned, industrial space that has been reclaimed from the brink of irrevocable decay is beautiful and haunting and refreshing.
Even the way the designers handled the way the walkway and the fauna ease together is thoughtful, graceful and evocative.
I also was impressed by the way that the park space was integrated so comfortably into its urban surroundings, that the graffiti and buildings and hanging laundry supported the overall aesthetic, rather than distracting from it, though I had a bitch of a time trying to get photos without billboards in them somewhere. I'd go so far as to say that it felt like a celebration of the full range of human experience instead of an attempt to create a respite from the more unpretty parts of it.

I didn't notice wildlife other than insects, but I do love a good, fat bumblebee.

And speaking of urban wildlife, I spotted this guy when I was walking back to the train. Bugs don't bother me at all, especially outside — in fact, I think they're pretty fascinating in all kinds of ways — but I can see where cockroach haters might get squicked out by this.

I got a fair bit done over the weekend on some long-standing projects too. I've been socking away all of the grey handspun from the last few years that isn't enough for a sweater, but definitely have enough now. It's pretty much all sportweight-ish, and will likely end up as an Icelandic-style cardigan with a patterned yoke. There are three different charcoal varieties (a mohair faux-boucle, some romney/alpaca/glitz and a small skein of what I'm pretty sure was Lincoln/mohair singles), three skeins of light romney/sparkle on the right and 12 oz. of a medium, warmer grey romney/mohair.
At this point, I'm thinking that I'll cast on provisionally for the yoke, work that in some kind of color patterning primarily in the darkest and lightest shades, with a little of the medium to pull that in, then work most of the body and sleeves in the medium shade, using whatever is left for some patterning at the lower edges. I had toyed with the idea of overdyeing the whole batch to make it that much more cohesive, but scrapped that pretty quickly. I really love the natural wool colors.

I finished all of the pieces for Yank, but had returned the book to the library and need to get it back to have the schematics to refer to before I block the pieces. There's no real hurry on that, since it's JULY, but it would still be nice to finish it up.

I also did some sewing(!) on a skirt from Favorite Things. I used some cheap-but-cute cotton that I got at Jo-Ann's at some point, one print for the body of the skirt and another for the flounces. The especially nice thing about this pattern is that while it doesn't call for a zipper, all of the elastic is at the back so there's still a nice, smooth front. I've gotten into the habit of tracing off pattern pieces onto waxed paper in case I want to make other sizes or just not wear the original pattern to tatters.

All of the flounces attached to the panels:
It went together pretty quickly over the course of the weekend. If I hadn't put the flounces on, it would have been doable in a day, but they're just so damn cute. The fit is good, there's plenty of room for taking long strides and it's reasonably flattering, from what I can tell.

Initially, I was hemming it on the machine and it just looked like crap. I could tell it wasn't going to hang well. So I ripped all of that out and started hemming it by hand. It's slow going and my stitching certainly isn't going to win me any ribbons at the fair, but I'm enjoying the process and pretty happy with how it's turning out. Curved hems, though, can bite me, the gorgeous, tempestuous creatures.
The hem is half done as of this morning, so I'll have that done by the end of the week, I should think.

The weekend also included a couple of spectacular sunsets. This one was the night of the 4th, as far as I can remember.


Heather said...

Cockroach schmockroach - What. are. those. SHOES????!

Natalie B said...

love the intention of grass growing between the cement walkway

Juno said...

Silver shoes? Holding out on me? And yes, the 4th was the most astonishing sunset ever

Melissa said...

The photo of that sunset is amazing, but it's the shoes that really, really caught my attention. They're fantastic!