Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Over the weekend, I visited a favorite museum, the American Museum of Natural History. Among the many excellent things to gawp at was this very tall, very thin origami tree, provided by Origami USA.

AMNH origami tree

The ornaments are wonderful – stars and comets and dinosaurs and sea creatures and birds and bugs and mammoths and horses and masks! DH liked the Tyrannosaur; I liked the centipede perched on an orchid (click to view larger).

Origami Tyrannosaur   Origami centipede

I never tire of the museum, which is even more wonderful than Night at the Museum. It has liberal pay-what-you-wish admission, but the suggested "SuperSaver" admission, which gives access to all of the special exhibits, left me a bit weak at the knees. Yeesh. I was pretty sure we were in a major recession in March, the economists finally have made it official, postdated to last December, but it would seem the treasury secretary and some others still won't admit the global economy is in a swoon and consumers could use help.

Somewhere I read that the Russian composer Tchaikovsky, after hearing a then-new celesta (a chime-like instrument that looks like a small upright piano), was determined he would be the first to feature it in a major work. He imported two from Paris under the cover of greatest secrecy – and indeed used them to sensational effect in "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy."

The Nutcracker is such a holiday chestnut now (cf. this year's holiday stamps), but I've wondered what it must have been like back in the day to have experienced its debut. Perhaps not unlike how I feel about this sugar plum of a sock, worked in new-to-me Malabrigo Sock, colorway Abril.

Juta's Stocking in progress

The yarn is as singular as any I've used. It has a low velvety nap, almost like chenille, and it's on the low end of sproing for a wool yarn (Nancy reports her socks sag). Yet it's tough, surviving multiple swatch-and-frog sessions, and the knit fabric is light and supple. The yarn is pettable and face-worthy, and I'm eager to try more in all manner of projects.

The pattern is no less stellar. It's a Nancy Bush classic, Juta's Stockings, in Folk Knitting in Estonia – easy-peasy (no twists, braids, or nupps) but completely satisfying. The stitch pattern is strong enough to be handsome in any yarn, yet quiet enough to let the yarn shine. The fit can be tweaked by adjusting the number of stitches at the front and back of the sock.

It's a plum combination – and I do love sugar plums!


Carole Knits said...

The museum sounds great! I don't think I've ever had a sugar plum.

Bezzie said...

That tree is amazing!!! I never did have the huevos to buy any sugar plums at the farmers' market. Maybe next year!

Daniele said...

Awh....sugar plums. Lovely color and texture.

All of the ornaments are spectacular on that tree. Worth going to the museum to see, for sure. :)

Kim said...

I swoon over the term "velvety nap." Love the imagery and how it roll soff the tongue. Bummer that Nancy's socks sag. I hope it's just a fluke. I love love that origami tree and how it looks like birds and insectsd are flying around the tree.

Jessica said...

What a great tree! I really need to get back to that museum sometime soon. The socks look great!

I can't imagine what shipping a celesta was like back then. Those suckers are heavy!

craftivore said...

Sometimes I think the lobby of the museum is the best part, especially if it's very crowded. I love your description of the Malabrigo, it reads like a wine label.

Deborah said...

miss "talking" to you in blogland. sorry i've been absent but life do call and holidays involve so much to do, sure hope i get to see you again during this season!

Lisa said...

That tree sounds great. It's been a long time since I have been to that museum - I bet my daughter would like it.

CrazyFiberLady said...

That tree is amazing.

I have to second as to how well the Malabrigo sock withstands much frogging. I'm on my third attempt and mine is still in excellent shape.