Apparently when holidays are in effect, I don’t quite get blog entries posted on time. This past week, my best friend of over 20 years was on holiday visiting me, and in a couple of days, I will be on a quick holiday in Amsterdam. Forgive the sporadic posting!
Although the word 'holiday' comes from the words, ‘holy day,’ there is an Indian festival, Holi, that is taking place from the evening of March 1st through March 2nd this year. (Holi’s date coordinates with the moon cycle, so the date differs each year.) And it just turns out that Holi is a perfect inspiration for the month of March.
Holi is a festival of colors and love. Revelers often engage in activities with friends and family to celebrate the end of winter/beginning of spring, the triumph of good over evil, and the anticipation of a good harvest. If you have ever seen photos from a Holi celebration, you will have seen people covered head to toe in bold, colorful powder, known as gulal. In addition to the tradition of singing and dancing that Holi brings, the throwing of gulal and colored water on one another symbolizes positivity and rejoicing. (Does this not sound like the best holiday ever?!)
I have never taken part in a Holi celebration, though I’d love to someday, but I am definitely ready to welcome spring! (And rejoicing in love and celebrating good over evil sounds pretty good too). So, in honor of these Holi days, let’s paint the town every color of the rainbow!
Speaking of painting the town with color, for the month of March, a fiber art installation/yarn bombing will be gracing Asheville’s downtown “Main” Street, if you will. (The street is actually called Broadway, but the street goes straight through our downtown and it’s a hub for shops, restaurants, and passersby). The colorful panoply of knit and crocheted squares was designed and crafted by local artists, myself included. It was fun to be a part of such a great display of creativity! (And for a good cause too...)
The installation is to draw attention to Artspace’s “Arts Market Survey,” which is designed to test assumptions and develop a project concept that meets community needs for affordable housing and studio space for artists and creative sector businesses. The installation is being displayed at The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design, a nonprofit arts organization in Asheville, NC, who along with Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, aim to “Keep Asheville Creative.” The survey runs through March 26th, and the colorful fiber installation will stay up through then, come wind, rain and sun (and oh please no, snow!).
Let’s hope this cheery exhibit garners a lot of attention for the survey and Asheville continues to be a bustling hub for artists and creatives of all kinds!
Now that I finished knitting squares for the yarn bombing, I have switched my cheery yarn play to the Free Your Fade shawl by Andrea Mowry. After my first experience with knitting a shawl last year ended in a frightful frogging, I have steered clear of any sort of lacework and shawls in general. But I got some confidence back when I watched the KnitStars class with Andrea, and the shawl made it onto my 2018 Make Nine.
Even though spring officially doesn't start until the 21st of March, this shawl has spring tidings all over it. It's Holi-inspired - multicolored, speckled, variegated, sparkly - and it will most likely be on my needles all month. That is to say, unless my trip to Amsterdam has me really go color-wild and I also squeeze in knitting something psychedelic by Stephen West! (I am going to Amsterdam to accompany Dylan on one of his work trips, but I will absolutely be visiting the Stephen and Penelope yarn shop!) Either way, I'll be in shawl territory, and colors will be dazzling my needles this March.
I also plan to dust off the ‘ole sewing machine for some spring celebration stitching. (We’re doing some construction in the room where my sewing machine lives, so I will literally have to dust it off.)
It has been quite warm around here, even creeping up near the 80s (already), so the plants have started sprouting to life. Daffodils are everywhere, shining their sunny petals to the sky. Their joyful yellow inspired me to dye some white pillowcases with turmeric in honor of spring, because why not, right?
Let me first say that I have no idea how to dye fabric or yarn, or anything (not even my hair - I go to the salon for that!) but I Googled it, and the pillowcase turned a lovely color, and I consider that to be success. At the end of the month, I am going to be taking a natural dye class at Echoview, so I am sure I’ll hone my techniques!
For now, some cheery, natural-dyed pillowcases will soon become something happy on my sewing machine. (Keep an eye out for the Make post later this month!)
How do you celebrate Spring? Taking any holidays, or participating in Holi days? Welcoming a whole lot of color into your crafts? I'd love to hear how you welcome the changing seasons, feel free to comment below or send me a message!