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Archive for May, 2009

I finished a shoulder shawl, knit of a remarkable ribbon yarn called Giotto, in the colorway October Afternoon. Here is the shawl, photographed on a Spring afternoon.

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The manufacturer is Colinette, a Welsh company, which makes it all the more special for me.  The yarn is hand dyed, with amazingly fun color shifts.  Here is a detail, kit on size 11 needles.

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The band from the hank (www.colinette.com).

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After some trial and error, I decided on a pattern for the next yarn, called Susan, in the colorway Catherine the Great.  This yarn is a chained yarn, space dyed beige, pink, rose, greens, and burgundy.  This yard wants to be seen, and any complicated stitch will be hidden by the colors.  I decided to use the purse stitch, yarn over and purl 2 together.  Lots of loops of yarn in an airy knit using 3.25mm circular needles (for travel.)

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The yarn is handpainted by Schaefer Yarn (www.shaeferyarn.com).  Each colorway is named for a “Memorable Woman”. 

And here is the experiment – a photo taken through a $3 kaleidoscope.  I hope someday to find a better kaleidoscope where the focal distance is clearer.  I found one in the botanical garden in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and would love to have one in my garden, too.

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Last Friday (May 1), Nina didn’t have her usual class, so we both took the day off.   In the afternoon, we went to the Smithsonian.  Nina’s pick of which museum to start with was the Natural History Museum, and we went through the new exhibit about The Seas. I think the high point for me was the jar of pickled krill.  I’ve heard perhaps a million times that whales eat krill, and krill is small.  Well, I have now seen krill, and I can tell you krill are eeny-beeny inch long shrimps.  The Smithsonian has a gallon caning jar of them. 

The Seas displays are very nice, although I must ask, what is with all the low lighting?  Is this a way for museums to save money?  Is this to preserve the color of the pickled krill?  I am an old person.  I need a little bit more light – and some bigger lettering on the signs?

Truth be told, the Natural History museum was awash with little critters of the School Trip variety.  Sadly, three minutes in that museum on a weekday will prove beyond a doubt that young people are now being raised without a shred of manners, and that School Trips are a complete waste of time.

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This is an etching of a shark on the glass of a display case.  Beautifully done.  When sharks lose a tooth, the gap is filled in by a new tooth.  I knew that – but how?  It turns out there’s a roll of new teeth behind the top tooth.  Here is a picture of a big shark jaw with the new teeth waiting in line to fill in:

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How. Cool. Is. That??!

The noise and behavior of the children eventually drove us out of the Natural History Museum.  We walked toward the Capitol Building, through the Hirshhorn garden and fountain, and into the Museum of the American Indian.  This museum is a lost opportunity.  Maybe someday it will become what it ought to be.  The main floor has nice bathrooms, however, and no crowds of children (because there’s nothing there to engage them.)  We did enjoy the outdoor sculpture called Always Becoming, which is a series of dwelling-like structures that are built to weather in the elements such that they change over the years. 

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The components of the structure are engaging, and they give a sense of welcome.  However, the vegetation around the sculpture looks like weeds.  Sort of like a vacant lot.  That does not work.  Is the “lawn” is not being mowed out of intentional messiness, or do the weeds symbolize abandonment.   Or is it not intentional?

Moving on, we came to the National Botanical Gardens.  John and I loved to look at gardens, but we never got to the National Botanical Gardens because it involved too much walking for him.  (There are a very few handicapped parking spots, though.  So we might have managed.)  Some of the outdoor gardens have a nativist focus, which is great.  The East Coast has been so very worked over, I’ve never been clear on what plants are native.  We found a lovely fountain with chairs and umbrellas.

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Here is a photo of Nina, enjoying the fountain.

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Inside the conservatory, there is a sun room with “pretty” plants — orchids, hydrangeas, begonias — and a separate conservatory of tropical plants.  The latter is quite humid with a cat-walk around the top which gives you a view from within the canopy (well, sort of, not really that high.)

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This is a spectacular bunch of blues.  A dress this color would be perfect!

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To find this sparkling red bromilead, you must climb the stairs to the cat walk.  Most of the tropical plants are greens,  and this plant was an amusing surprize to encounter.

After the museums, we attended a recital at Montgomery College — two women students.  We have attended many concerts this semester, but on Wednesday, Nina was part of a concert.  The Montgomery College Chorus and Orchestra performed the Mozart Requiem.  There was a large orchestra and chorus, and 4 soloist (not pictured.)  What with the low lighting, there’s not much detail.  Nina is about a third of the photo from the left, behind the orchestra and about in the second row.

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Here is a photo of just her corner of the group:

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She is still hard to spot, but about in the center of the photo.  The Mozart was very well done.  Each contribution – the orchestra, the chorus and the soloists – were excellent. 

I’ve heard there will be a summer chorus for adult singers from the community, with a performance at the end of July, and I’m going to sign up for that.  Montgomery College will host the chorus in association with the National Philharmonic Chorus which sings at Strathmore Music Center.  I had not known about the association between the college and the professional chorus.  This provides great opportunities for the students and the community.

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