Lizards in the Leaves

Rustlings in the green....imagination, art, whimsy

May 17, 2017

work in progress - stitch

work in progress.
or could just be a 'what-if?'
play or experiment.
it's a 'we'll see...'
[unstitched remnants of kantha cloth which are stitched remnants of vintage saris,  stitched to a remnant of a cotton blouse which was accidentally washed and dried with an ink pen]

May 15, 2017

Finished Object-Scarf-Close To You

Pattern: Close To You by Justyna Lorkowska
Yarn: Queensland Uluru (as color A) and HiKoo CoBaSi (as color B)
Needle: size 6 circular

The only pattern modification was making it for two colors. I used B for the eyelet row and the 3 rows following it. On each eyelet row, it begins with BO 8 stitches. Rather than cut Color A each time and attach Color B, I chose to bind off those stitches using both yarns, and carry the non-working yarn up the side.

This pattern was super-easy to memorize and thus a pleasurable carry-about knitting project.

About halfway through, it became clear to me that this scarf was not going to be for me, and soon I knew just who it was for. I'm packing it up this week to make a journey to a dear friend. Meanwhile, I have started another.  We'll see if I get to keep this one!

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May 9, 2017


bees, sea, grieving

this death
     that one.
          all those.

the wind full of Amazing Grace,
the sky full of our eyes,
the earth brave with her burdens,

but grieving

about her ruined sea
about the bees


about the time
she’ll hear us say remember


 ---Zann Carter
[first published in Dirty Chai, Issue 8 Fall 2015]

I want to blog a bit about my poetry, because that is a huge part of my creative life. I am happiest and most fulfilled when my days are composed of writing time and fiber arts time. The tactile, in-motion process of working with fiber and beautiful tools complements the cerebral process of writing, working at desk and computer - each an antidote to too much of the other. Often, too, each art informs the other.

I no longer post my poems here because most journals consider that to be publication and they will not consider previously published work. Two years ago, I began a concerted effort to submit my work here and there, to enter contests, etc., so it's important that I follow all the rules.

At any given time during my effort, I had 10 or so manuscripts out for consideration and at the end of a year or so, had gotten 7 acceptances out of perhaps 50 total submissions. I think that is a fairly decent ratio. I am gearing up again for another such effort.

Right now, I have one batch of poems out. My goal last year was to do at least one submission a week. And I specifically set aside Sunday as Submission Sunday. That routine worked very well for me and I quite liked the alliteration. I think that this time I want to challenge myself to submit more often, and to take advantage of simultaneous submission when journals allow that and it seems most of them do.

I can post links to my poems in online publications and I believe I can post those poems here as well as poems in print publications after they have been out awhile, with an acknowledgement to the publication.

So. We have just ended National Poetry Month. It was quite a wonderful month. I was delighted to be invited to participate in a reading and panel with three other local poets, held at the public library. That is how the month began for me.

April ended with the Lit Launch - an annual event with local colleges and universities, where all the literary magazines are distributed. For several years, our DIY lit mag, subTerreanean, has been invited to take part as well. subTerreanean comes out of the poetry community we've created with th' poetry asylum, and a monthly open reading that is in its ninth year.

I was also invited to read some of my poems at Indiana State University - that was on May 1, so it seemed like it was part of National Poetry Month as well.

And then there was this year's NaPoWriMo - the annual poetry month challenge to write a poem every day. I've completed it five times now. This year, I managed 23.  And I'm not at all unhappy! As usual, when working at the rate of a poem a day over a period of time, some are promising, some are not, and a couple end up splendid and ready to meet the world.

May 2, 2017

Small Dyeing -Turmeric root results

 I love this fabric, harvested from a thrift shop garment. This is the only example of 'before and after', because I forgot to take pictures before the dye pot.

Pieces cut from vintage cotton sheets bought at yard sales.  

The only bought-new cloth. Unbleached cheesecloth.

I like the general mottled effect. This from stuffing the cloth into the mason jars rather willy-nilly, so color did not reach all parts evenly.  I am also much happier with the results of using the root + alum, as opposed to the times I've used ground turmeric/no mordant at all. In that case, the color was an almost fluorescent yellow, garish. This is bright, but tempered a bit.

After I filled the mason jars with the dye water, roots and cloth, I had some roots left over. So I took a larger square of the yard sale sheet cotton and  randomly laid the roots on the cloth and made a bundle (which of course, I forgot to take a picture of) which I steamed for about 30 minutes and then set outside.
I left everything, mason jars and bundle, for about 48 hours, before opening things up. All went into a salt + water bath, then a good rinse. Air-dried and ironed. I didn't iron the cheesecloth.

Here is the result of the root bundle. Look at the nice burnt orange marks! 

 Side 1 - outside of bundle

Side 2 - inside of bundle

Overall, I am really pleased with the results.
Small dyeing.
It suits me.

Apr 30, 2017

Spring things: storms, dyeing

Bundle of nerves here, two days of storms racing through, a great deal of rain, moments of terrific lightning and thunder, and, last night, a brief pounding of hail. Lily trembles from head to toe and heads for the basement - even the sound of heavy rain has her alert, anxious.

I may not tremble from head to toe, but our history with rain in the basement and flood losses leaves me with a triggered anxiety when heavy rain is in the picture, a regular patrol of the perimeter of the basement which is my main fiber studio. Wet vac at the ready, dehumidifier going, and snake-check & replacement. (Snakes = 3 foot tubes of absorbent material to position at vulnerable points, guaranteed to slurp up a gallon of water.)

One more day is promised of gloomy gray, and stormy moments and rain. One more day of reframing, of reminding myself of water's joy,  how the plants grow so well, of gratitude for the cycle of rain and sun.

Meanwhile, I  put my herb plants in containers yesterday during a lull: three varieties of basil, thyme, lavender, rosemary. I went ahead and set them outside on the little brick patio at my back steps. And this morning, they seem happy, none the worse for the hail.


Also yesterday, inspired by this post by Jude Hill at Spirit Cloth, I started some small dyeing in mason jars. I had never dyed with whole turmeric root before and found some at a local shop, the Asian Market in downtown Terre Haute. 

Jude's method is just to boil the plant matter a bit,  add some alum (1/4 tsp should do), and transfer to a mason jar or two, adding the bits of cloth and thread to dye. Like her, I'm not drawn to using yellow and turmeric yields a bright and vivid yellow, but I like the idea of over-dyeing it, or using small bits here and there.

I put white cotton squares and rectangles in one jar, and some colored fabric, a couple of kantha pieces, in another. In each, I put two skeins of embroidery floss, a grey, a pink, a brown and a color I can't remember. I wish I'd taken a before picture of the materials.

I am also wishing for some sun to give some more heat to the process, but that's not happening.  So we shall see.

Apr 28, 2017

reading this


— John Inslee, 0 to 9, issue #5, January 1969

Apr 27, 2017


I think I am using up all my online communication allowance on Facebook. My blog became sparse and sporadic when I found my way there. Wondering today if it has to be either/or.

The very next day after my last post I got sick with the Coughing Thing That Lasts Six Weeks. And I found myself unable to resume working on the 365 Embroidery. I've given myself permission to let it go. The illness and the direction I want to take with stitching have moved me into a different space.

On the ottoman are bits and pieces of what I am playing with:

Nothing is finished. Little is connected. The bits are afraid of commitment.
(Pottery faces come from Lyn Belisle's Etsy shop Earth Shards, which is on a break at the time of this writing.)

A lot is going on inside me, I seem to be moving into a different space. Always becoming. Never finished. C'est moi.

Different relationships are springing up between me and fiber arts. For a time, knitting and crochet were giving me no pleasure, so I stopped. Now I am knitting again, and finding the rhythms useful.

I am remembering 'small is beautiful.' Letting go of the notion I will ever create large works in fiber, those sculptural pieces that dance in my head, that require installation and large spaces for display, storage. No, I work small. I like  working small. Right now that is taking the form of these pouches:

Knitted body, crocheted top edge. Trying to write up a pattern. I think it is simple, that it will be good practice for pattern writing. But I find myself getting lost in trying to explain every detail. Every little nuance of the way I've made these, or perhaps the why.

Can't I just write: "Thread drawcord through the dc round'?
Must I write: "Thread drawcord through the  dc round, over one dc, under two dc, ending with at least one or two dc between the ends of drawcord" because I've found that threading pattern is most pleasing to me?

I think I must simplify, be concise. Allow whoever might use the pattern to find their own just-right threading and finishing touches.

What goes in these pouches? Little treasures, crystals, herbs, I think.