Monday, August 2, 2010

Farewell to a great musician and man

I found out yesterday that Seattle musician and conductor George Shangrow was killed on Saturday in a car crash. He directed Orchestra Seattle and Seattle Chamber Singers for decades and was a huge presence in the music community of Seattle and Puget Sound. I only sang with OSSCS for 2 years, but in that time he took us through an incredible range of choral repertoire that included Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610; Bach's St. John Passion, cantatas, and Christmas Oratorio; Handel's Messiah (an annual event for Seattle!); Haydn's The Seasons; Mendelssohn's Elijah; Brahms's Requiem and a cappella songs; Britten's War Requiem; and works by Northwest composers like Robert Kechley. He wasn't afraid to program little-known works as well as audience favourites. His concerts always included an orchestra-only component; one of my favorite memories is listening to the orchestra float through the second movement of Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto with Mark Salman at the keyboard. He had an infectious enthusiasm for all of the music, and an enviable ability to sketch out the shape of a piece quickly and clearly when teaching it to us. At the same time, he expected a lot from his choir and orchestra and I hope we met that expectation as often as possible.

George was also a gifted keyboardist--he frequently played in concerts around here with flautist Jeffrey Cohan and other musicians, and conducted the OSSCS Messiah performances from the harpsichord--and a generous person. He loved to host post-concert parties at his house where the choir and orchestra would sit around chatting, eating hors d'oeuvres, drinking wine and listening to the recording of that day's concert.

Farewell George, and thanks for your enthusiasm, dedication, and talent. My thoughts are with your family. We'll miss you.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Checking in

I signed up for the Ravelympics. It might just be a fit of optimism, because I tend to be pretty bad about sticking to things like that. I'm planning to knit the Drifting Pleats scarf. Progress yesterday was pretty slow because I didn't have dpn in the right size and the ones I had in a size up only had 4 needles instead of the 5 I needed. There was also some confusion about when the opening ceremonies actually started (thank you NBC), and a really lively dog that I'm dogsitting right now who has an unholy interest in yarn.

Today is going to be slow too--I'm singing in Seattle Sings for Haiti, and the rehearsal is not the right place to acquire new knitting skills like those pleats. Ah well!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oh, hai.

...It's been a while since I've been here. It feels like the combination of Ravelry, Facebook and the rare moments of actual face-to-face contact with other humans have been holding my attention recently.

Yup, I'm still knitting. I'm doing the Tour de France KAL, which is being held on Ravelry this year instead of on the blogs. I had started to knit the edging for the christening robe from Heirloom Knits.

But I got distracted by the plight of some skeins of Silky Wool. I had meant to make the Gathered Yoke pullover from Interweave Knits, but partway through I realized that my gauge was too tight and I didn't like how a looser gauge looked, so I frogged it and started the Drapey Neck Silky Tweed Cardigan by PiPiBird (pattern on Ravelry only) instead. the way, I'm not being paid by Ravelry to shamelessly plug their site, I just like it.

Part of my goal for this year's TdF KAL was to finally finish a bunch of WIPs, including my market bag from last year's KAL. I'm kind of getting there, but weaving in the ends really takes it out of me.

I have managed to finish something! Behold, the Ocean Toes socks from Cat Bordhi's book...what's the title? I think it's New Pathways for Sock Knitters. It's the one with all the different templates for heels etc. I had some trouble picking yarn to use with this book, because most of my favourite patterns call for heavier sock yarn (e.g. Socks that Rock mediumweight) whereas most of my sock yarn is lighter weight.

The cats continue to look cute and beg for food.

I started taking a couple of short photography courses last week, so now I have more motivation to go around photographing all kinds of random things.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Done done done done done!

Finally! Hooray!

Pattern: Bayerische socks, by Eunny Jang
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock
Needles: 2.0mm Addi Turbos for the first third of the first sock. 2.0mm Knitpicks circulars for the rest.
Date started: December 2006
Date completed: May 2009
Time spent swearing at the cables, needles, and any cats unlucky enough to be nearby: a lot, until I got the Knitpicks needles
Time spent glaring at the first sock in progress and debating whether to continue or frog: months, maybe years, on and off
Time spent actually knitting the socks: 1.5 - 2 months?
Lovefest for the finished socks: in progress
Gloatfest over the finished socks: in progress
Bad karma accumulated from all the gloating: I'm cornering the market!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stuff in trees, the citrus edition

I went for another walk around Green Lake today. The weather was perfect, sunny and just warm enough that I could wander around without a jacket and with minimal sweating. I walked by one of the docks just as a guy caught a large carp.
Sorry, I got a little excited and used the wrong shutter speed. I swear there's a carp in the photo.

Oh, there it is.

All sorts of things were blooming.
There was a heron on one of the turtle logs.
The bald cypresses were starting to unbald.
And there was a large snack's worth of clementine oranges stuck in one of the trees along with several pieces of string.
I'm not sure what that's all about. Maybe it's a tribute?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More knitting!

Pattern: German Stockings by Cookie A.
Yarn: Trekking XXL, about 1.5 balls, colourway 146 (I think?)
Needles: 3.0mm to cast on, 2.5mm for the cuff, 2.25mm for the rest.
Quibbles: I think my gauge changed--the second sock is slightly looser than the first. Also, I thought the cuff was going to be too tight so I used larger needles, and now it's too loose.

Chugging along, knock on wood
Pattern: Bayerische socks by Eunny Jang
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock
Needles: Hoo boy! I started with Addi Turbo 2.0mm, but they were too blunt. I got fed up with trying to do cables with those things and stopped working on the socks for a while. Then I heard about KnitPicks' needles and picked up a pair. The cables worked pretty well on those needles, well enough that I finished the first sock, but I kept wondering if the Addi Lace needles would be even better. I bought a pair last weekend, and it turns out they're actually too sharp for my taste, and probably for the yarn's taste as well--the needles keep splitting the yarn! Plus, the taper on the tips is pretty abrupt. I've switched back to the KnitPicks needles and am halfway down the cuff of sock #2. I hope the gauge stays the same.

Not a happy sock model

Not interested in modelling right now

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Just a few words


Pattern: Evening in Eden
Yarn: Louet KidLin

Getting there, knock on wood

Pattern: German Stockings, by Cookie A.
Yarn: Trekking XXL


Pattern: Provincetown Pullover
Yarn: Black Water Abbey 2 ply worsted

Pattern: Gathered Pullover
Yarn: Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool

Totally not impressed