Lizards in the Leaves

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

Mar 30, 2006

I'm trying to understand the new world in which I live.
For one thing, the time zone is Zen. It is always Now.
Bits and pieces of my old world remain and I'm having to decide what to pick up, carry into the new and nurture...and decide what nurtures me. Knitting nurtures me. Spinning as well.

And pictures like this. Sunset at the North Pole with the moon at its closest point. [03.31 NOTE: Just discovered this picture is a digital creation, not real (whatever 'real' is....) see info at Snopes.]

Aurora pictures.

I've almost finished a little wrap in Silk Garden which I plan to give to Patrick's best friend and roommate, Tifani. Patrick's roommates were his family, too, and they are deeply wounded by his death as well.

At first, I wasn't even sure if I felt like knitting.
Saturday, I went downtown and had my daughter-in-law wash and dry my hair. Then I went down the street to RiverWools. RiverWools has been my sanctuary for so long - ever since Patrick's accident in November '04, and all the subsequent difficulties we faced legally, medically, financially, and his struggle with substance abuse. Then I added dealing with my mother's catastrophic decline into dementia last summer. I would leave one or the other situation and find the thought of going home so stressed unbearable. So I'd take my knitting and woe into the shop, where I always found some solace.

Saturday was no exception. Martha's hugs, her listening ears, the comfort of beauty in the new fibers (Colinette Stash Packs!)... I wanted a new project and found a little wrap pattern written by another Indiana knitter - it's bigger than a scarf, smaller than a shawl, and simple, but with enough of a pattern to make me have to concentrate a bit. I did have to rip it about 4 times before I got going properly, but it is the perfect project for right now.

The Silk Garden is 226, a lot of grays/browns with some blue and purple. I keep thinking of it as reflecting the kind of day Patrick liked best - overcast, drizzly. And I keep thinking of it as a hug for Tifani. I hope it will comfort her as the knitting of it is comforting me. I'll have pictures when it's finished.
love to all

Mar 25, 2006

Dear Friends....

I just wanted to write a note to say I'm okay.
It's been a week since my son Patrick's death, a week filled with emotions so huge and raw, I'm left exhausted. I'm glad we did everything we could ourselves. From his obituary to his eulogy to the whole preparation for our Remembrance Gathering on Wednesday night, it was family and friends working together to honor our lost one. 300 people came and stunned us with their presence and love. My small Unitarian Universalist congregation seemed ten times the size as they created a network of food-bearing visits, and took care of many things at our gathering. The picture above is the mural at the front of the church, painted by John Laska, a founding member of the congregation. Those reaching hands are also the hands of many of the members who reached out to us....

Yesterday we brought our son's ashes home and packed up his earthly possessions. These, and everything we've done this week, were sacred acts we needed to do as Patrick's parents, siblings, friends. An unremitting sadness is woven through the very air, but bringing our son home, out of the hands of strangers, made me feel whole, as though a circle was closed. The word "closure" gets a bad rap, I think. Most people think of it as a door closing, something taken care of, finished, done, closed off, stopped, ended. But to me, it's the closure of a circle - no beginning, no end, something whole and completed, an eternal turning round and round.

Paul and I have a long journey ahead of us, I know. If we're lucky, there will be more circles completed and we will find a way to bear the unbearable and accept the unacceptable.
I want to thank all you dear people who have sent thoughts, prayers, tears. Every one of those things has been precious and healing for us.

Mar 21, 2006

I-70 Graffiti

poem - if i had known

if i had known
that bright sunny Friday afternoon
standing in the street by your new car
hugging you
would be the last moment i would see you alive,

i would have framed it.
i would have folded it carefully
and put it in my pocket.
i would have rolled it up
and tied it with red ribbon.
i would have stapled it
to my heart.
i would have wrapped it
like a baby
and put it in a cradle
and sung it a lullaby
i would have sewn it
into a quilt
and slept under it every night.
i would have bronzed it.
i would have glued it
to a window in my soul.
i would have dried it
like an apple slice and eaten it.
i would have salted it.
i would have gilded it
and worn it around my neck.
i would have decorated it
like a christmas tree.
i would have lit it
like a candle and prayed and prayed.

i would have never
let you go

Mar 20, 2006

my son...

Mar 17, 2006

Illustration Friday - Feet

Letter to My Husband (2004)
digital photograph altered in Photoshop, AppleWorks

Illustration Friday - 03.17.06
Theme: Feet

Mar 16, 2006

Family Reunion, Channing's Scarf

I have slept most of the day, recovering from a deep exhaustion resulting from three days of excitement, joy, sadness and nearly non-stop talking with my sister whom I haven't seen for years, the number of which is so embarrassing I refuse to type it.

The excitement and joy was in seeing my brother Michael, my sister George-Anna and her four kids, Eli, Justin, Michael and Channing. The sadness is, of course, the terrible illness of our elderly mother, an illness which is now considered to be probable Lewy Body dementia -- a dementia with symptoms that are extremely difficult to treat, as it involves intense hallucinations and delusions, and strange, severe reactions to numerous drugs, including most that might possibly help with the hallucinations and the immense anxiety and fear they engender. It's vicious, and awful to see our mother suffering so....

But there were many nice moments in the last few days and I shall focus on those.
On Tuesday afternoon, my sister and brother took Mom to St. Mary-of-the-Woods, where the Sisters of Providence share a beautiful, serene wooded campus with St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. They had a lovely time and a serendipitous lunch. Oddly enough this is fiber-related as the Sisters raise alpacas! Mom loves to see the alpacas and we have spent some very peaceful time out there, including walking the labyrinth together. I have worked with many of the Sisters on various social justice issues over the years, but primarily on opposition to the death penalty, and it's a privilege to be in the same community with these dedicated women.

Later that afternoon, George-Anna, her daughter Channing and I went downtown and picked up my granddaughter Raven, who is the same age as Channing. I thought the girls would hit it off, and I was never more happy to be right! After Channing got a splendid haircut from my daughter-in-law DeAnn at her salon, we went down the street to visit with Martha at Riverwools.

Channing has just learned to knit and she brought her first completed project to give to her grandma (isn't that sweet??), but first I wanted her to get the chance to show it off to Martha and let me get a picture:

Channing's scarf looked like it was just made to go with the light violet winter coat my mother has, similar to the color of the chair at Riverwools.

Then I took a picture of Raven and Channing in front of Martha's Great Wall of Cascade 220:

Raven doesn't knit yet, but she's learned to crochet and has done several projects, including a baby blanket.

Tuesday night we had a great time at a big family dinner at Outback, though it was too much for Mom to attend.

After another day of conversation, laughter, tears, the gang left this morning and are safely back home in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina.
Remember those giant skeins of yarn in my last entry? Well, after I took off the ball bands so I could knit up a swatch or two, they did the most amazing expansion and shapeshifting into even more giant balls of yarn, the likes of which neither Channing nor I have ever seen. She was good enough to pose with them to give a better idea of the gigantorness:

Yeah, it's acrylic, but the colors are very pleasing to me, and look excellent combined. There is enough there to be using this stuff for years as little accents on my hats and in freeform work! As I've said before, I suscribe to the philosophy that even plastic can be redeemed by love, and I confess I kind of love these crazygiant balls of yarn.

Mar 13, 2006


A few days ago Kiki, over at the Luscious Gracious family blog, posted a picture of a ball of yarn as big as her head, synthetic and so cheap it overcame her good sense of yarn snobbery. It reminded me that I, too, had fallen for Such a Deal and bought these two babies (almost 100% acrylic) at JoAnn Fabrics a few months ago:

I put a normal-sized skein of Brown Sheep there for comparison, though I suppose it would have been better to put my head in there. These are HUGE (10+ oz, 875yds) and after I took the picture, I decided to knit up a swatch from them. Knitting from these humongous skeins just looks incredibly silly and I feel like laughing every time I look at them. If Alice had run across a knitter in Wonderland, she or he would have been sitting on a tuffet knitting from giant skeins like these.

From the absurd to the sublime:
Kettle-dyed, softly spun merino from Uruguay, this yarn is created by a small family-owned company that works with a women's cooperative. It is just such a pleasure to knit. I have been parsimoniously using the two skeins I had and dreaming of having more for ages. When I had a couple of good (for me) book orders, I decided to make my dream come true, ordering enough to qualify for the 25% discount at Webs.

I was going to write the Saga of the Latest Hat, but it's way too late and I'm way too tired, so it will have to wait a day or two. Family is coming in to visit with my mother, so I will be pretty busy elsewhere for the next few days.

I'll end with a picture of my latest attempt to find a hat model:


Mar 10, 2006

Illustration Friday - Tattoo

Illustration Friday 03.10.06
Theme: Tattoo

Mar 7, 2006

The Hats, the hats, the hats, the hats, the.....

Hats. More hats. Hats as therapy? Maybe that's why Cakey hats, Party remind me life is joyous and silly as well as awful and serious, sometimes at the same time. Mom's having a crisis-time, so I've not got much time for words here, but I did want to post pictures of what I'm up to when I'm trying to unwind, destress lately....
Here's a hat I'm thinking of as ....Hat for Creating Small Rainbows Wherever You Go

This hat has a wild might think I was daunted by the prospect of weaving-in all those ends, but I've actually found the weaving-in part of making these hats to be....not unpleasant. Actually, meditative....I just start at one side and work my way through the task, one end after the other, thinking of things (shoes, and ships and sealing wax) and I can see the progress and then suddenly I am finished and filled with that good feeling when something is complete.

So I wasn't daunted by the task, but intrigued by how this might look if worn on this side. I like the Wild Side. And so, for now, I'm leaving the hat with one.

I shall let you know if I dare to wear the private side publicly.

And the other day, I was toying with the idea of taking my face out of the hat pictures and drawing in a face. Here are various models wearing the Rainbow-making hat (I like Hilda at the bottom a lot):

And now here are all the hats I've made in about a week. They make me happy just to look at them, so I love them very much. The newest one I've made is always my favorite.

View from the top:

Hope The Hats make you smile, too!

Mar 4, 2006

Jeudi Gras!!

My clever, thoughtful Secret Pal struck again this week. Her creativity started with the box, which was beautifully, purply stenciled with designs.
It arrived on Monday, I think, but I was so involved with big, difficult stuff with my mother that I decided to wait to open it until I could take time to really enjoy the Event (and opening my sp's gifts are really capital-E Events!) Finally, on Thursday, I found the perfect time to open the package:

I got the theme (she does theme packages!) the minute I opened the first two flaps to see the Mardi Gras coins sitting there. I'm sure she packed it that way (remember my first package had a balloon that gracefully and perfectly floated out when I opened it.)
And here is the purple-green-gold -packaged fun:

and all the amazing treasures out to admire.

My detail pictures didn't come out so well, but there are Mardi Gras beads and coins, ceramic heart magnet, a set of zippered pouches, two round paper-covered boxes, one purple and one a Mary Engelbreit box ("Queen for the Day" - oh,yeah!), crafty spiral stamp and punch, some bits of shell and a little vial of sand, matreshka part III, a New Orleans jazz CD (which I am listening to right this moment), an intricate origami star, a purple-and-green-and-gold feather boa (whoo-hooo), a box of Zataran's Gumbo mix, and a gorgeous, mysterious, magical Peacock Mask.

SP wrote wonderful words in this card relating it to New Orleans and her residents today. It's a Mary Engelbreit illustration that also has some deep meaning for me right now.
The traveler is at a crossroads marked "your life" and "not an option" and headed off to her life...

And oh yes, this is a Secret Pal exchange among knitters, so there was this gorgeous stuff:

Adriafil GOLD

It's all shimmery, glimmery and looks like what I imagine Rumplestiltskin spun. It invites touching which I did every time I walked by the table
and I just had to try something with it, so I combined it with purple Malabrigo in this spiral ornament,
which I must admit looks like a bottle brush, but I'm sure I'll find the right way to use this spun gold in the future.

There was also this very interesting-looking fiber mixture to spin tucked in a pouch made of the most lovely black/purple/green iridescent fabric. Both fiber and pouch deserve a much better picture!!

Thank you so much, SP! You are wonderful at choosing things for me that are perfectly me. I love it all and opening this package was
a wonderful treat after a difficult week!

and now I'm going to post this and hope it doesn't come out all layout-weird as I've tried to be clever with text and images here instead of my usual image-center postings. Here goes....

Mar 3, 2006

Illustration Friday - Insect

Illustration Friday 03.03.06
Theme: Insect

Yes, I have a dark side. It isn't all elven woods and fairy pots. I usually start my Illo Friday work by finding text for inspiration. As soon as I saw "insect" was the theme, I knew I would do something with bees. I am fascinated by bees, I think honey is sacred, and I find naturalist books about bees to be poetic. Right beside me now I have The Dancing Bees by Karl von Frisch and Birds and Bees by John Burroughs (an 1887 Riverside Literature Series copy). I had all kinds of honey and flowers and bees buzzing about in my head....but this quote by Cocteau took over. I want it out of my head, and making it into the Illo Friday piece was the only way.

I feel better now.


Mar 2, 2006

Hat for Spring Dreaming in Elven Woods

hat for spring dreaming in elven woods
2006, wool, mohair, microfiber, viscose, acrylic, nylon, polyester yarns, knitted & crocheted

Hat ingredients
from bottom, clockwise: Filatura di Crossa BUFFO, Classic Elite CALLIOPE, Jo-Ann Sensations COSETTA, Adriafil BAROQUE

Using novelty-type yarns with synthetic content like most of the above is...well, a novelty for me. There is enough wool and mohair in the yarns to mitigate my fiber snobbery though. Recently, at Jo-Ann Fabrics, I discovered that there were some of the inexpensive Jo-Ann yarns with good wool content that I liked and I'm having a great time combining them with the more pricey yarns.

Here is my current 'on the hook' hat, two of the three yarns are from Jo-Ann and appeared first in the hat posted in my last entry -- same skeins! and the third yarn is Calliope, the very same ball has added some to all of the hats I've done so far.

Often I don't think I have a good color combining eye, but with these hats I feel like something is different, that maybe over the last few months my eye has learned something new. I think it may be because I am becoming more free and a bit bolder and because I make a regular practice of searching out the work of others (not just fiber others) to enjoy and admire.

I'll take a moment here to thank my friend Margot for sending me URLs whenever she comes across interesting art - fine, whimsical, cute, funky, fiber, paint, needlework, photography - a great variety. Thank you, Margot!!! Here's the latest one she shared: fibrelog. And once she sent me this gallery site.

And while I'm sharing, I've added a site to my sidebar listing of 'art/inspiration' - the work of Diana Lynn Thompson is... spirit food...