traveling

31 01 2010

I took my youngest child up to Loyola University, in Md this weekend. She had a tour on Friday.

Knowing there might be snow coming (pardon the understatement), we decided to stay overnight and see the Baltimore aquarium anyway. It was like taking Hotels 101. Before hitting the major points of that class, let me tell you how wonderful the Baltimore Aquarium is. First of all, although DC has a “National Aquarium”, the BAltimore Aquarium is now also considered the national aquarium, so don’t confuse them.  The Baltimore Aquarium is in Baltimore, MD inner harbor. It’s priced rather steeply for a “National Aquarium” at $25.00/person.  The aquarium is beautiful, both inside and out.  There are multiple levels, as well as multiple buildings and nooks.  We almost completely missed the Jellies exhibit because they were tucked away across the harbor (accessible by a glassed in walkway over the waterway), and in the dolphin bldg.  The dolphin show requires an additional fee, which we didn’t feel we could put to good use, so we weren’t even going to go to the dolphin bldg. Our faulty assumption was that it only contained the Dolphin show.  We also almost missed Australia because of tricky navigation.  Ugh, I’m not directionally challenged, nor is my daughter, so there are probably a lot of people who get home, and ask what “Australia” exhibit?  Jellies?  Anyway, we loved watching the skate and sharks glide through the water, and “buzz”us as we stood just inches away on the other side of the glass. We could have counted the teeth on the 7′ long shark. Scary.  We also LOVED the jellies exhibit, and my daughter got a very nice video on her phone.. I’ll try to put a copy of it on here later. That will be a lesson for me.  The harbor was beautiful, but parking is $22/day! It doesn’t matter whether it’s a public lot, or your luxury hotel, you are going to pay that.

We had dinner at Houlihans, which is on the waterway, and were very impressed with our service, which was quick and friendly. Thanks Ashley;0)  We had nachos, lettuce wraps and a martini trio of key lime, cosmo, and something blue.  They were yummy. We were surprised at the options on the Harbor. PF Changs is on the harbor, Ruth’s Chris, Chipotle, Houlihans, Blu Bambu, etc. Lots of fun choices.

OK. let’s get to the hotels.  When we arrived, the parking attendant suggested we go to Pier 5. The hotel next to the aquarium (which has 4 piers).  The hotel is privately owned, and tries to present itself as a luxury hotel.  We checked rates at the desk, and it was pricey at $200+/night……$250 with taxes and fees.  Well, if you think I can pay that price for a hotel, I’ll tell you, it would have to be a very, very special occasion. Taking my last child to the inner harbor the year she is going to move out of my house, might qualify, so I asked if, since it was a light weekend, traveler-wise, could they give us a harbor-view room at that rate, and they acquiesced.  Delighted, though broke, we went up to the room, to check-out  the view.  The room hadn’t even been vaccuumed!  AND, our $200/night room had an upholstered chair with a 24″ tear in it!!!   Whattheheck?????  We went directly downstairs and told the desk manager that we just couldn’t stay at Pier 5, and went over to the Marriott. It was lovely, but the area was full of traveling politicos, and we decided to seek a slightly less costly and less busy accomodation, just off the water.

We stopped at the Hyatt/Homewood Suites across the street from the Marriot, and got a huge….. let me say that again, HUGE  suite (probably 700 sq/ft) for a fraction of what Pier 5 charged us for what we affectionately call “The Dive”.   We loved the suite at Homewood. Thanks Kenyetta. We had a kitchen, living area, hall, bedroom, and bathroom,all  in a corner suite, on the 9th floor ,overlooking the city, with a tiny bit of the harbor visible, and the waterway just visible also. It was excellent, and I’ve already booked my room for Memphis, next month at a Homewood Suites. We had a great stay. We walked around the harbor area in the evening, and woke to news of heavy snow in Richmond. We knew we couldn’t afford this lovely suite for 4 or 5 nights should we get snowed in. So we high-tailed it out of there despite the fact that we had a 2:00 check-out because we are Hilton Honors members.

Our intended destination, when we left Baltimore, was Alexandria, VA.  If we could get there, we would decide whether to attempt to get on home.  It should have been a 1 hour trip, but the snow came down as if it were being popped out of a theater popcorn popper at intermission.  By the time we hit upper Marlboro, Md, we had to get off  the interstate and try to find a room…..an unfruitful, hour-long search, we couldn’t find anything in our price range (remember, we had our card swiped at Pier 5, so our bank thought we had spent that money.  It is not available again for 5 days!!!). Back on the interstate, which had improved in our absence, and we made it to Alexandria. Our first stop was a Comfort Inn, on Van Dorn St.  We won’t even GO there, except to say,”I felt like I needed a fumigation from just stepping in, asking the rate and stepping out again”.   It turns out that our original ‘destination’ would be just a mile or two up Van Dorn.

We arrived at the Wingate property called the Hawthorn just in time to feel safe getting off the rd.  The hotel looked great, and joy abounded. A suite is just $79.00. That includes breakfast, and efficiency-like acommodations.   Our room heater didn’t work, but we were on the 9th floor again, and the heat from the other rooms kept us safe, if not comfortable. We were offered a space heater, but the offer made me feel a bit unsafe when you think about how many fires are caused by space heaters, and we might be on the 9th floor of an old bldg with someone in another room kicking their covers off onto their space heater.  The room had only one trash can, in the kitchenette, of this room. No bathroom trash can?, and burn marks  in the chair and the carpet. but other than that and the suspicious, whitish ooze stain dripping down the bathroom wall, we could be considered $79-comfortable.

Well, I have driveled on for about 1200 words, let’s call it quits. If you visit Baltimore’s inner Harbor, check out the Homewood Suites, ask for Kenyetta, and tell her we sent you, OK?

Have fun, and I can’t wait to get home to my fireplace, hubby, a pot of hot, home-made stew and my loom.

I’m home now and received a warm welcome by the husband, a roaring fire, and a pot of John’s yummy stew. The loom will have to wait, as I must get my taxes sent out first thing in the morning. Welcome home.

C





More chiengora!

28 01 2010

Churchill’s fiber arrived yesterday. This Old English sheepdog fiber is pretty felted, as you can see from the photos, but able to be pulled apart and carded. I’m posting pictures here of the fiber as it arrived, as it’s picked apart and loaded into the carder, as it comes off the carder, and the luscious batts it actually is. What a beautiful coat this used to be. I wonder what it will be next? A coat again?

I’m almost finished the shelties, have the Bearded collie, which will eventually be a wall hanging of some sort, and of course, lbs. of Churchill. Looks like I’ll be carding up chiengora for a while.

C.





Freshly woven – Hopsack? and liturgical work

27 01 2010

Have you heard of hopsack? It’s a cotton or linen fabric that’s loosely woven and has threads grouped and woven as one. In Jeanne’s hopsack towels (see photo), there are 3 weft threads woven in alternating sheds and 2 weft threads woven in the corresponding sheds. It’s a variation on plain weave. Jeanne choose vibrant colors that suit her vivacious personality;0)

Another wonderful success in the studio this week is Colleen’s liturgical stole.  She has some banana fiber that has been spun into a highly textured, lustrous, but compact yarn. She wanted to use it for a liturgical stole, and so we looked at various base fibers and decided that the base of the stole should be linen and she would use the banana as weft. She chose an undulating twill as her weave and did 3 inches of plain weave, and then several of the banana in the undulating twill. WOW, the texture of the banana was lovely, but overwhelming as the ‘body’ of the stole. So wonderful communicator that she is, Colleen told me what her vision for the piece was and after a little bit of sampling, she began weaving a banana ‘trail’ through the linen background of the stole. The results are exactly what she envisioned and we are both enjoying satisfaction in her success.

I’m still working on the Sheltie Chiengora commission. The client decided to have the 2 colors plied together for a nice uniform yarn throughout the areas where there is sufficient tweed yarn to maintain the two-color ply.  It’s a very nice fiber. Soft, but more like a merino with memory, than angora (like a lot of chiengora undercoat).  I’m anxious to finish this chiengora and begin the next. I have some Old English Sheepdog coming in this week, and I LOVE spinning OES, Polish Lowland, bearded collie, etc. My own family raised/bred Afghan hounds when I was a child, and I hope to get an afghan hound commission soon. I think my afghan hound background may be the beginning of my fiber awakening.

OH, more pics of the chiengora in progress. Don’t ask me why I’m using 2 different wheels…. I’m such an oddity.

Spin softly and weave with Joy!

Cherri





Weaving in Cherri’s studio

25 01 2010

Currently, we have several people working on samples on table looms, so there isn’t a whole lot to see. Here is what I can show you for now:





Spinning and weaving chiengora

25 01 2010

With the new year well into swing, I’m working on some of those chiengora commissions. Right now, I’m working on some Sheltie. It’s 3 dogs . I’m keeping the fiber colors separate to spin, and perhaps will combine them in plying.  Then I have some bearded collie, and a mixture. I’m waiting on a few more commissions which I’ve been chatting about, but don’t have the fiber yet. One is Old English Sheepdog. Yes, of course you’re jealous. It’s awesome fiber.

Spinning chiengora is a wonderful way to start the new year. It’s so personal and it commemorates a very cool relationship between friends.  Sometimes, it’s a memorial of a lifelong friend who has passed, but often, it’s an honorarium of a present companion. I generally receive pictures, and often, stories recounting the years of fellowship the pet has enjoyed with a family and vice versa.  I’m loving 2010. Here are some pictures of the current fiber and yarn.

C.





Bay School of the Arts and Mathews, Va

22 01 2010

Today, I spent the day with a friend, traveling to Mathews, va to judge the wearable art/fiber art show at Bay School of the Arts.  It was a very good little show.  There were 5-6 hooked rugs, 6-8 pieces of weaving, several quilts, some jewelery, some very nice sewing,  embroidery/stumpwork worth seeing, 10 pieces of so of weaving, dyed silk scarves, felted items, etc.

We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the quality of work that is showing up at this little gallery in rural Virginia.  If you get the chance, go by and see the show. When you do, you really should cross the street and visit Chef Todd at his restaurant.  He has a delightful restaurant, which I will drive my husband to just for a lunch or dinner.  It’s worth the 2 hour drive.  Chef Todd has a great restaurant where diners are received with small town warmth and hospitality. There is nothing small town about Chef Todd’s daily offerings.  The specials are definitely able to satisfy the gourmet palate, but if it’s not gourmet you are looking for, he also has a simple, barbcue sandwich that just melts my heart. No gooey bar-b-cue sauces on this excellent meat, it’s delicately smoked flavor is it’s big boast. Next to the flavor, is the moist, succulence of the meat.  I always love Chef Todd’s bar-b-cue and his cucumber salad when I go to Mathews. To be honest, the cucumber salad haunts me when I can’t get to Mathews often enough.

Back to Bay School of the Arts.  The exhibit opens tomorrow evening, and I really recommend a visit.  If you go tomorrow night, you’ll have the opportunity to meet the various artists, as well as some of the staff, see the exhibit and the center.  It’s a favorite place amongst those I teach, because of the precious people there.  Tell them I sent you.

Take care.

Cherri





Goings on and the fiber/wearable art show in Mathews

22 01 2010

Today, I spent the day with a friend, traveling to Mathews, va to judge the wearable art/fiber art show at Bay School of the Arts.  It was a very good little show.  There were 5-6 hooked rugs, 6-8 pieces of weaving, several quilts, some jewelery, some very nice sewing,  embroidery/stumpwork worth seeing, 10 pieces of so of weaving, dyed silk scarves, felted items, etc.

We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the quality of work that is showing up at this little gallery in rural Virginia.  If you get the chance, go by and see the show. When you do, you really should cross the street and visit Chef Todd at his restaurant.  He has a delightful restaurant, which I will drive my husband to just for a lunch or dinner.  It’s worth the 2 hour drive.  Chef Todd has a great restaurant where diners are received with small town warmth and hospitality. There is nothing small town about Chef Todd’s daily offerings.  The specials are definitely able to satisfy the gourmet palate, but if it’s not gourmet you are looking for, he also has a simple, barbcue sandwich that just melts my heart. No gooey bar-b-cue sauces on this excellent meat, it’s delicately smoked flavor is it’s big boast. Next to the flavor, is the moist, succulence of the meat.  I always love Chef Todd’s bar-b-cue and his cucumber salad when I go to Mathews. To be honest, the cucumber salad haunts me when I can’t get to Mathews often enough.

Back to Bay School of the Arts.  The exhibit opens tomorrow evening, and I really recommend a visit.  If you go tomorrow night, you’ll have the opportunity to meet the various artists, as well as some of the staff, see the exhibit and the center.  It’s a favorite place amongst those I teach, because of the precious people there.  Tell them I sent you.

Take care.

Cherri