Category Archives: Music

Insta-May

A round-up of my Instagram pictures from the past month.

Insta May 14

I started my first ever container vegetable garden this spring- I planted tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, carrots and cantaloupe. I have enjoyed watching my little plants grow and am amazed at how much they have grown in just the past month. I just noticed the first tiny zucchini forming and am over the moon with excitement at the prospect of having my own home grown veggies this summer.

 
My sweet blog friend Kim of Hand Eye Crafts has been commissioned to knit doggie bones for inclusion in a bark box type of product, and she sent Henry one and it is the cutest thing ever. I have to constantly stop him from bringing it outside because he loves to dig and bury bones. This is his indoor only bone.

 
Joey and the band played a show at Suburbia Music festival and it was a bright, hot and dusty day, and we had an absolute blast at the show. It was the inaugural year for this festival in Plano and I hope to see it continue next year.

 
It’s almost summer and I’ve re-ignited my attempt at becoming a runner. Running is still one of those things that is very difficult for me and I am working on my stamina so I can keep up with Joey. My goal is to be able to run 2-3 miles at a decent pace without walking.

 
We still have our backyard bunnies and Joey even witnessed a mama bun nursing a burrow full of baby buns one day just feet from our back door. He said it was the craziest thing he’d seen in a while. I usually spot a bunny or two (or three!) almost every afternoon from my kitchen window. I love spying on them.

 
The third week of May was international mail week, as the baby sweater package I mailed to my friends Tim and Liis in Switzerland finally made it to them, and the very next day we received a package from Johan and Anna in Sweden, sending us a vinyl copy of the Basko Believes album, Idiot’s Hill, which we recorded at Joey’s studio in Denton last June.

 
We took a quick weekend road trip up to Indiana where Joey is originally from for a family memorial. I loved the cool nights and crisp sunny weather and oh, the green! It is lovely there. I can’t wait to go back when we can spend a little more time. At a pit stop in Illinois, I picked some daisies to decorate our dashboard for the drive.

 
As soon as we returned from Indiana, Joey geared up for another few rounds of touring. Festival season is upon us, and I will again become a ‘tour widow’ for the next few months. We celebrated his departure by indulging in some Tex Mex while trying to determine the number of countries he’s visited in the past few years. I’m just watching those frequent flyer miles add up and thinking of the next big trip we will take together. Mexico, Iceland, and France are on my list.

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Paris, pt. 1

Today Joey is in Paris. I always assumed that after having the opportunity to travel to some of these places myself, I’d be less jealous the next time he went without me. Apparently that is not the case and I find myself daydreaming of Paris. As my thoughts today are on this beautiful and still-magical seeming city, I thought I’d share my experience in Paris.

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We traveled overnight from Amsterdam to Paris on the tour bus. I awoke in my bunk to a sliver of light coming in through the curtain and the sound of cars driving and honking. I peeked out the window and was eye level with a piece by the street artist, Space Invader on the side of a building. It momentarily brought me back to Brooklyn, where I would walk past another of his pieces on an almost daily basis. I woke Joey and we decided to stretch our legs and find out where the showers were.
It turned out we were parked outside the venue the band would be playing that evening and our tour manager was sorting out where everyone could get cleaned up, so Joey and I decided to take a stroll to find some coffee.
We didn’t have to walk very far before we found a patisserie and grabbed an espresso each, a slice of quiche, and an eclair to share. (When in Paris, right?)

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After breakfast and determining it would be a few more hours before our hotel room would be ready, we decided to take another little stroll around the area. It was during this walk that I discovered that Paris is much more hilly than Texas. We walked up and down cobblestone streets, past brick walls with moss growing along the cracks in the walls and past some of the most charming little apartments and I was already picturing what it would be like to live there. It was very windy and kept threatening to rain- we actually did get caught in the tiniest of cloudbursts before we headed back to the venue for sound check.

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We had about an hour before dinner and I really wanted to see Sacré-Cœur, so we hopped on the metro towards Anvers. When we hopped off, we had lost our sense of direction and weren’t sure which direction to walk. We stopped at this corner flower shop and asked the kind old man “which way to Sacré-Cœur?” He did not speak English and I don’t speak French, so I just repeated “Sacré-Cœur?” in a questioning tone. He still didn’t quite understand what I was asking for, but fortunately a man standing nearby spoke English and translated for us. When he told the old man we were looking for Sacré-Cœur, the old man’s face brightened and said “oh, Sacré-Cœur” in the most beautiful French and proceeded to tell is to take the metro to Anvers. Grateful for the assistance and embarrassed that my Texas-accented attempt at pronouncing Sacré-Cœur sounded not even remotely recognizable to this kind man, we turned to go. I was still so confused. We just got off the metro at Anvers, so why would he be telling us to get back on? We walked a couple more blocks, thinking that like the NYC subway sometimes each stop has multiple entrances and exits, perhaps we exited at the wrong sortie. We came upon the next metro entrance and quickly realized we had gotten off at Avron, not Anvers. Silly Americans! We arrived at Anvers not too long afterwards and arrived at the steps to Sacré-Cœur just as the sun was setting.

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The show that night was a crowded and sweaty affair. The venue was way too small to hold the crowd that gathered and the air was thick with the heat and humidity from all those people crowded into a small room. The band sounded excellent and I spent part of the time watching from the small sound booth and then squeezing my way backstage to the tiniest upstairs green room with the most insane death-trap staircase/ladder that I’m not soon to forget. After the show, I could hear everyone milling about just outside the venue as cool crisp air wafted in the windows, a welcome refresher after the crowded show.

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Insta Janu-February

Bet you didn’t notice that I forgot to post an Instagram roundup of my January goings-on. I didn’t notice either, so this time you get January and February smashed into one Insta-double-whammy. (I promise it’s not as painful as it sounds).

Insta Jan Feb 14

During the first part of January we were in Aspen, CO where the band played a couple of shows, one of them was a big New Year’s eve bash. The shows were excellent and we toasted the new year in grand fashion. It was such a fun trip and we were even able to squeeze in a visit to a natural hot springs pool nestled in the mountains, and a couple of days of skiing. Back home in Texas, I’ve spent the past month and a half working, working, working, with a few stolen moments here and there for doggie snuggles and knitting and crafting. I released my Wayfinder Mitts pattern, re-released my Hill Country Hat pattern, and am wrapping up a new design submission that I’m super excited about. I had a birthday just a few days ago and celebrated with lots of sweet treats, good friends, and wonderful mail surprises from Joey, who is already back out on tour.  Now I’m getting ready for some warmer weather (aren’t we all?) and looking forward to casting on a couple of new knitting projects.

 

 

Hill Country Sessions

I’m excited to finally share the article I wrote for the Spring 2013 issue of Pom Pom Quarterly!  I’d like to add a note that the album that the article discusses, Israel Nash’s Rain Plans is now out via Loose Music in Europe. 

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Hill Country Sessions

As a knitter married to a touring musician, I try to join my husband on his travels as often as my schedule will allow and I always bring my knitting along for the journey. This particular trip finds us down in Texas Hill Country about an hour’s drive outside of Austin, Texas. We are here for two weeks while Joey records guitar for the upcoming Israel Nash album with some of our closest friends.

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photo by Tim Underwood

The setting is perfect for recording an album: there are nine of us holed up in a big ranch house that is surrounded on all sides by tree and cactus-covered hills. The closest neighbor is over a mile away; too far away to be disturbed by any music that goes late into the night. The cathedral-ceilinged living room has been transformed into a recording studio; the cowhide rug on the floor is crisscrossed with cables running from the many guitars and amps to the mixing board and analog tape machine.

Joey guitars

Photo by Tim Underwood

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As the band sets up their gear, my friend Laura and I set up our gear. We are staking our claim to the two lounge chairs on the back patio that overlook the valley that provides a stunning view at sunset. It is an idyllic setup for us: the guys will record their album while we lounge within earshot of the music, knitting away and enjoying each other’s company. I’ve brought along a ball of tweedy yarn and some circular needles and a vague idea for a slouchy hat that I want to make.

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The day fades quickly into night and I find myself knitting stitch after soothing stitch as I listen to the sounds of a song coming to life. The song they are working on has a dark and beautiful sound, and has most definitely been inspired by our isolated surroundings. It is the ideal soundtrack for knitting and watching the moon rise above the hills.

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One afternoon we decide to go on a walkabout to tour the natural springs that are in the area. We hike down into the valley, careful of our footing as we walk over chalky white rocks and through dry branches and thorny grasses. There is an artist living nearby that creates intricate sculptures out of the flat rocks that are abundant in the area and we happen upon a few of her works and study them with appreciation. As I survey the many precisely-placed layers of rocks, I am reminded that much like recording an album or knitting, some of the best creations are made slowly by building layer upon layer, stitch upon stitch.

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photo by Tim Underwood

As the days pass by, my hat is taking shape at a leisurely pace. I’m picking it up and putting it down often between dips in the swimming pool, walks to pick wildflowers or trips into town to refresh our stores of food. I’ll knit a few rounds as we’re all sitting around in the evenings, listening to the day’s work and discussing the songs left to be recorded. Just as I’m not in a rush to finish my hat, I’m not in a rush for my time here to be over, but before I know it I am binding off and weaving in the ends and packing my bags into the car to head home.

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Our trip has been full of so many fun memories that are forever linked in my mind with the songs that were recorded while we were here. And when the album is released and I hear the songs again, you can bet I will also be listening closely to see if I can hear sound of my knitting needles clicking away in the background.

On Rock Shows and Knitterati in London

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I arrived in London while Joey and the band were at the BBC recording an interview.  I made my way to the venue for that night’s show, where the tour bus was parked and unloaded my bags.  I decided to venture down Upper Street, knowing that Loop wasn’t too far away.  While I was window shopping, I got a text from Joey saying that he was just a couple of blocks away so I headed back in his direction and spotted him quickly.  We must have love-radar because he spotted me at almost the exact same moment.  We had one of those movie-scene greetings, where time stands still and you’re hugging and kissing in the middle of a busy street in a fabulous city- it was pretty magical.  Hand in hand, we strolled down towards Loop and popped in.  I got to finally meet Meghan Fernandes and Lydia Gluck of the wonderful Pom Pom Quarterly, and Meghan helped me pick out a British yarn. (I snagged that gorgeous skein of hand-dyed BFL sock yarn from The Uncommon Thread shown above).  Meghan also told me that Stephen West was knitting in their upstairs room, so we headed up to meet him as well.   Stephen was very nice, knitting away as we all talked about music- it turned out he would be attending the Iceland Airwaves festival that Joey would be playing soon.  We left the shop with my skein of beautiful British yarn and, sadly no pics with Meghan and Lydia or Stephen.  (I blame the jet lag for not thinking to snap an iphone pic at least).  Meghan and Lydia came to the show that night and I had a great time hanging out with them.  It was so lovely to meet them both and I hope to work with them again soon.

 

It’s-a-small-knitterly-world-post-script:

Since I was unable to stay on tour with the band through their Iceland show, I sent Joey with the sole purpose of making sure to snag me some Lopi yarn while he was there.  This  morning he popped into a coffee shop to ask where he could buy some yarn, and who else was there but Stephen West, knitting away with the WestKnits Fun Squad?  I now have a sweater’s worth of Lopi on its way home to the states with my wonderful knitwear-loving husband.

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Insta September

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Wow. I can’t believe it’s almost OCTOBER. Looking back at some of my Instagram snaps from September, I can see why the month passed by so quickly. Joey and Midlake are gearing up for the release of their new album* and just completed a mini-tour of the Southwest which ended with a two-night-stand of performances in our hometown. We also received a test vinyl pressing of the album and sat down with a glass of wine and listened to it in its entirety. It was a nice way to celebrate the end results of a lot of hard work. The band also has a feature article in the October issue of MOJO Magazine and proud wife that I am, I kept harassing the poor people at Barnes and Noble by calling them almost every day to ask if they’d gotten it in stock yet. It has finally arrived and I snagged a copy this week.

Knitting and design-wise I’ve been squeezing in a bit of stitching whenever I can, during my lunches at work and early on Saturday mornings with my coffee. I’m working on the Rekaviður hat pattern by Bristol Ivy and its coming out really nice. I also spent a day knitting with a couple of my lady friends, getting them both up and running on some fun fall knitting projects. I’m looking forward to a couple of calm days where I can work on a new design using some lovely Quince and Co Owl and all I can say is that THERE WILL BE CABLES.

I’ve really been enjoying the change of the seasons lately, even though its a rather slight change here in Texas. The skies are darker and darker every morning as I’m leaving for work and the evenings have a bit of a cool breeze wafting about. I’m very excited for fall to get here, and I’ll be clicking my needles making something warm and wooly when it arrives.

(*Antiphon is out in the US via ATO Records on November 5th and in the UK via BellaUnion on November 4th. You can pre-order it here and I highly recommend you check it out. It’s AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL.)

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Insta August

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August brought me a little bit of downtime to finish up a design that I’m very pleased with and time to start plotting my next few designs.  I’ve been looking at lots of yarns online and trying to keep myself from always picking heather greys, though they are my favorites.  Joey had a two week trip to Europe with the band and I got to watch one of his shows that was live streaming online.  I watched it with another of the band wives and we clapped and cheered and even snapped a few pics of our husbands onscreen looking like badasses and it was almost like we were there.   I even snagged one of Joey’s instagrams to share here—just look at that crowd!   Once he was back home we had a couple of lazy days together, strolling around town after a nice brunch and later him puttering around in the studio while I sat within earshot knitting.  I’m hoping for a similar couple of days this weekend!

A Day at the Beach

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We have some friends in town, Johan and Anna who are visiting from Sweden. Johan is here to record an album at Redwood and Anna is here visiting the states for the very first time. While the boys spend their days making some really beautiful music in the studio, my friend Felicia and I are doing our best to make sure Anna gets a good glimpse of Texas while she’s here. This weekend, we found ourselves sitting on the beach of a lake that felt like an ocean.

We packed ourselves into the car; I squeezed in alongside Anna, Felicia, and our friend Shayla and her two littles and we started making our way north towards the lake. It was a classic Texas summer day—bright blue skies with gorgeous white clouds and the feel of the hot hot sun on your skin. Anna had her camera out during most of the drive, snapping shots of the horses and cows that were grazing the pastures that lined the small farm roads.

We arrived at the swimming beach and made a quick dash to the water which was the perfect temperature for cooling off in the heat. Tons of bright umbrellas were staked in the sand and lots of excited swimmers were having a blast and splashing around on colorful inflatables. Kids were laughing, dogs were barking and families were grilling food and enjoying the sunshine.

Our day was full of so many fun memories: we swam out to the buoys, we caught a rogue dolphin inflatable and we grossed out when our toes touched the mossy rocks on the lake bottom. We made up silly water games and laughed really, really hard. And at the end of the day, we drove home sandy-footed and waterlogged and with that sleepy-happy feeling that comes from a day well spent with good friends.

 

PS- if you have some time, be sure to check out Johan and Anna’s websites linked above.  Johan has an amazing voice and writes beautiful songs and Anna is a very talented painter who recently had her work on exhibition at the Louvre.

Insta April

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This April, Joey and I were up to our usual escapades and getting out to enjoy the pretty spring weather a little more. I bought some pretty yarn for a new knitting project, enjoyed some wine on a Friday afternoon at work, and spent some good times with good friends at our favorite bar. We spent a weekend at the Ranch and met my parents’ sweet new cow dog, Camo, and had a fabulously fun time at a Louisiana-style crawfish boil with the band. My friend Felicia and I did a woodsy photoshoot for my new knitting pattern and we came across a snake while trying to get a good shot. I started up my new knitting project while sitting at Redwood Studios and listening to some really great violin being recorded for one of Joey’s new projects. We have had plenty of new bunny sightings in our back yard and one time Henry even sat next to me, the two of us spying on them together. Joey invented a delicious new apple flavored New York Whiskey cocktail for the bar that I named The Big Apple Sour, and I got to listen to a sneak preview of the new Midlake album that is coming out later this year. I marveled at the prettiness of brown speckled eggs in my new egg tray, and had an epic fail when I attempted to bake my own pizza dough. Joey bought me a pretty gardenia plant to cheer me up after the pizza incident, and we spent many an afternoon on the tennis courts having a blast and enjoying each other’s company. And as always, love was all around us.

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Insta-March

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March was a busy and music-filled month.  We kicked things off with the 35 Denton music festival, where Redwood Studios played host to tons of bands over the course of three days, and the next weekend we went to the SXSW music festival in Austin, where Joey played a showcase with Israel Nash. We were introduced to Laura and Israel’s brand new baby and spent a couple of great nights around a giant fire pit while the guys made some great new music.  I went to a fabulous ladies’ champagne and tea party, and knitted a new wooly hat while I was sick in bed with bronchitis for a couple of days.  We also saw the first signs of spring with budding trees, blue skies and an Easter celebration, where I tested out my crafty cooking skills by dyeing Easter eggs and baking bread.  Next up: I’m looking forward to April’s nice weather, Joey’s birthday and getting back into some knitting!

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