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Tourist Trap
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Tourist Trap

Project Spectrum was born out of one of my New Year’s Resolutions…

…To be more conscious of my surroundings – to take the time to "smell the roses" – and to notice the small things…

Not only is this a large part behind the philosophy of Project Spectrum, but it also plays a part in my regular life. I live in a great region that has so much beauty, so much history, and such great attractions – and instead of always saying "I will get there someday…", I have decided to take advantage and get out there to learn more about the city: going to the museums, the parks, learning more history, taking more time to see the beauty around me.

I have played tourist in my own town before, and yesterday I got the chance to do it again. I had a little help from my great friend, Becca!

Bec and I met in our first year of college, and became so close after our study abroad summer in Israel in 2000. She moved back to DC last fall for grad school, and it is great to spend more time with her! She is sporting the awesome freeform crochet scarf that her mother made for Hanukkah. We were walking down the street and a random guy said "That is the ugliest scarf I have ever seen!" and then he smiled and said "I love you." It made us laugh, even if it was kind of weird… (Check out Becca knitting on her Hourglass sweater!)

We met at the National Building Museum, located just off the Judiciary Square stop on the Metro red line. Becca was working on a project for school, and I am never one to turn down a trip to the museum, so I tagged along. So glad I did!

Exterior of the building

Interior of the building’s main lobby

Just for scale: me next to one of those columns – they were like giant redwoods!

It was such a beautiful place, and we were only able to spend an hour there – I had class to attend at 4:30. We did enjoy the Washington: Symbol and City exhibit. Many other exhibits piqued my interest, so I am already planning a second trip.

Some other random beautiful sightings on our walk around DC:

The Chinatown Gate – look at those colors!

The United States Capitol Building

Supreme Court Building – with no protestors outside – I guess it was just too windy and cold…

The Lion, the Lolly, and the Wind

Despite the cold wind in our faces, we managed to have a lovely afternoon! Many more afternoon visits to come…

I want to thank you for seeing the potential of Project Spectrum, and for realizing the potential that you have to inspire someone else with your unique ideas about craft and color. I am bursting at the seams with excitement about all of the possibilities! Thank you for making this possible!

I want to thank my friends Heather and Jenna for being my "sounding boards" about this whole Project – they helped me work it all out in my head last Sunday afternoon at Heather’s new pad – offering suggestions, encouragement, and giving me more inspiration! (and Jenna let me try on her Cutaway! love it!)

My knitting has been merrily rolling along – a progress report will be coming soon. The Bellini shawl was off to a great start, and then started to pool into a very unattractive pattern. I am going to give it another try with a different size needle – I hope that does the trick. Just before it went awry…

Looks like Becky is excited about color too – specifically RED!
I joined her Red Hot Sizzling Sock knitalong – how could I not? I love socks. I love red. Done deal.

…and the yarn for it?

KnitPicks Sock Garden Geranium

Happy Thursday!

PS- Anyone want to express themselves creatively in the form of some buttons for Project Spectrum? My little button seems subpar!

*UPDATE: I have received some great buttons! I will post them soon, and participants can choose which ones they will use on their own sites. Thank you for all of the contributions!

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46 Responses

  1. Amy Lu

    Being a tourist in your own city sounds like fun! Unfortunately, Sheboygan is so small, I could see my whole town in an afternoon! (grin)

    I love the idea of the Spectrum project, count me in!

  2. Chris

    Sounds like a lovely day! I love playing tourist in my own town, but I haven’t done it enough recently.

    Sign me up for Project Spectrum! I need to broaden my color range. :)

  3. isel

    Hey!! I don’t want to know you were anywhere near the White House, The Mall, The Washington Monument, etc. without letting me know.
    I’ll sneak out to meet you. :D

  4. melissa

    i think it’s wonderful you’re playing tourist in your hometown. there is often so many wonderful things just around the corner and we all take it for granted. i for one am sad that i don’t get to hang out in nyc more since i go home to jersey on weekends. but your right, it’s all about making time to do it insead of making excuses and putting things off. that’s a great resolution!

  5. Amy

    Being a “local tourist” can be so much fun – you’ve got the right idea. I’m still discovering lots of things here in Chicago. :)

    DC is one of my favorite cities to visit (actually, for everyone in my family) – thanks for sharing some “new to me” places to check out on my next visit there.

    The widespread enthusiasm for Project Spectrum is great – thanks for sharing your idea & inviting us to join in!

  6. Paula

    Loved the DC pictures-I fell into that “I’ll go there one day” mentality when I lived on the Hill, and it got worse when I moved to NW DC, though I spent a lot of time at the Nat’l Cathedral. I also loved the sock yarn, I have been searching for red.

  7. margene

    I’ve been swatching for Cutaway this morning. It would be a very easy to wear sweater. AND it might be pink..perfect for March CP. CP is a wonderful way to help us all be aware of our world. There is so much around us that we never see. It’s been so long since I’ve been in DC. Thanks for showing me around;-)

  8. zarah

    You are so lucky to live in such a beautiful city! I am really looking forward to Project Spectrum. Great idea!

  9. April

    I love reconnecting with my buds =) Looks like you really enjoyed yourself.

    People are so weird, aren’t they? The comment you guys got is odd, I think some people think that if they say, “I love you” after any sort of insult that it makes it OK somehow. It’d be better to say, “That’s so ugly that it’s COOL” hahahaha – but I don’t think it’s ugly, just happy and whimsical, which is what it’s supposed to be. =P

  10. heather

    What a fun and blustery day!

    I can’t wait to see some of the buttons for Project Spectrum…amazing…can’t wait to start.


  11. Isela

    The Lion, the Lloly and the Wind…awesome! I love the pictures, thanks for showing us :) .

  12. Dana

    Thanks for the wonderful DC pictures, Lauren! It makes me so happy to see beautiful pics of my adopted hometown. :) Have a good day -

  13. Lil Sarah

    Oh, lauren, great post, what’s new though? Your posts are always wonderful…I need to visit DC also. I have to be honest, Raleigh is not the most attractive downtown area, but I should look up some more history there. When we went the other night for that show, there was so much construction going, yuck! ohh..project spectrum:) cute girl..hope you have a good day

  14. Skylar

    Oh, how I love DC!!! I am incredibly envious of your location to my favorite US city. I could spend 2 months there and never get tired of it.

  15. jess

    awesome column! Actually that is what I most recall about Washington, the awesome hugeness of the place…

  16. Elizabeth

    I need to visit DC someday. Love architecture and museums so it would make a good vacation. You seem to be so full of energy. How do you do it?

  17. Amanda

    I love your picture of the Chinatown gate! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful pictures…


  18. Moni

    I love it when you share your adventures in D.C.! i so need to get over to that side of the country.

  19. NessieNoodle

    mmm. I love playing tourist. I too live in an amzing part of the country with so much to offer. I love that this is one of your resolutions.
    Red hot SOCKS! this may have to be my red projet for March.

  20. Carole

    So, when my family visits DC, will you play tour guide?

  21. Angela

    The Chinatown gate is really beautiful! It’s funny how you’re born and raised in a certain place (San Francisco, for me) and you never ever get to do the things that tourists do. I went to Alcatraz for the first time a few years ago and my boyfriend who was born and raised here still has never been! Anyways, do I spy your transitions cowl in those pictures or is that something else?

  22. Amy

    Project S is a wonderful idea. I’ll look forward to seeing all of the different interpretations of the colors.


  23. Gracie

    I love playing tourist in my own town. I think so many times we take it all for granted when you live so close by to something. However, now that we moved, I actually need to figure out what there is to see around here!

  24. Estee

    Thanks for the tour of DC, it looks so beautiful.
    I’m going to be a tourist in London this weekend, isn’t it great being a tourist in your own town.

  25. Rebekah

    Those are some great pictures, what lovely architecture, and of course sock yarn.

  26. Teresa

    Ooooo-it looks so beautiful! Adam’s job may take him to DC in the fall, and if it does I am hoping to go along with him. It is someplace I would love to visit. Will you be my tour guide too?


  27. Rossana

    Lolly, you’re just too cute! And I LOVE your geranium sock yarn!

  28. knittingnurse

    I’d make you a button, but I don’t know how to do it! :-(

    Any good tutorials out there?

    BTW, that column was AWESOME! I love taking things of beauty in like that. Doesn’t it just amaze you at the thought of how that could possibly have been made?????

  29. Sarah

    Oh my goodness I have a lot of catching up to do here at your blog. I must say you’ve inspired me to go out and be a tourist in my own town now, what a fun idea! I absolutely love your new project “project spectrum” can I play too. Rach told me all about it and sounds way too cool! Some day you’re gonna have to let us all in on your secret of how you manage to be so busy and still so productive and clever too!

  30. Jane

    I grew up in and around Washington, and those pictures were a treat! It is one of the most beautiful cities, isn’t it? I miss the trees…Thank you for stopping by my blog today, too!

  31. Melissa

    I feel the same way about my city (Chicago). This year I’m also trying to make more of an effort to take advantage of the museums, theatre, parks, etc., that Chicago has to offer.

  32. catherine

    love the view! man, i really need to tour the east coast, especially out nations capitol! big hooray for spectrum project, i will try to come up with some kind of button.. although i really like the one you have!

  33. Kristin

    Love the DC shots. They look like postcards. Glad you had fun.

  34. eyeleen

    glad you were able to enjoy yourselves, despite the wind. I love walking around DC, its nice to be a tourist once in a while.

  35. chris

    Hello, Miss L! I love your New Year’s Resolution. I think we all could definitely benefit from smelling the roses and living in the moment more. Good for you for carrying your vision through! Being a “tourist” in DC must be INCREDIBLE. The pics you took are just stunning and the amount of history there is unbelievable. I would love to make it out to DC someday to take it all in… and to check out all the awesome LYS’s with you guys! ;-) You folks always look like you’re having the best time, knitting and chatting! I’d love to hear more about your study abroad in Israel someday- that must’ve been such a fantastic adventure for you and Becca. And is that your Noro cowl that I spy in that pic? ;-) Take care, Lolly! :-) Love ya, C.

  36. elemmaciltur

    Gaaaaawd, I need to make some progress on the socks I have on needles. I just keep getting immersed doing swatches for the Knitting Olympics.

  37. Julie

    Hey Lauren! If you end up having a rainbow week in the Spectrum, I send you a picture of a giant Celtic Knot poster (2′x3′) that I spent months coloring. And where was that lion? It didn’t look familiar.

  38. megan

    Lolly, I totally agree that we should all take more time to appreciate the small things. It’s so easy to overlook the little things in life for which we are so fortunate. So what a super idea! Thanks for sharing your pics from your journeys around town – what a wealth of culture you have right at your fingertips!

  39. Leah

    I love playing tourist! I miss living in a tourist town!

    The Geranium is beautiful. I have seen some pretty socks knit up with that yarn. Great choice!

  40. elisa

    Okay – so my goal will be to have my geranium socks knit up by MD S&W. Yay!

    I love project spectrum and I can’t wait to see how you and everyone else interprets it!


  41. Jenna

    Ooh, you can see a bit of my cleavage in that picture, ay! :) I enjoyed being the sounding board and I owe you guys thanks for your suggestions for my scarf. I’m acutally not wild about it so far – I haven’t finish the whole pattern repeat yet, I’ll consider when I get there.

    Playing tourist in DC is better than being an actual tourist in DC. At least you know how to ride the metro :) love ya, girly.

  42. Ragan

    Oooohhhhh! Red socks!!! Fun!

  43. jacqueline

    You know, this is one of the main reasons that I love my Minute in Melbourne posts. I know it probably bores you guys silly – but in taking the photos and researching the post, I actually end up learning so much about my own town!

  44. Terby

    You have some really pretty photos of DC in there – it’s a neat city, and there’s a lot to see. It’s nice to see “tourist” photos from someone who lives there. When actually visiting, it’s a lot harder to know what to go see! (This from someone who really only saw the inside of the convention center and missed all the fun stuff.)

  45. Fannie Pie

    Thanks for the great pics of DC! Love the project spectrum idea! Keep up the good stuff!

  46. Wanda

    It is always so much fun for me to play tourist in my own town. You get to learn so much about the place you live and see so many interesting things that you take for granted.

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