Lizards in the Leaves

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

Jun 27, 2006

Two Knitted Felted Vessels

Project the other day: wind some of that wonderful Malabrigo I got months ago.
Malabrigo felts just beautifully so I made a little dish vessel, with an eyelet and picot rim in the color called Java Red. I also did a more pot-shaped bit of knitting in one of my new favorite yarns: Noro Silver Thaw, in color #5. Here they are just prior to me plunging them into a round of hot/cold water and vigorous massage at my kitchen sink:

And here they are, all transformed and dry:
The Silver Thaw pot is quite thin, but would probably be a nice small flower pot cover.

Pretty, no?
Halting all works-in-progress to spend a day making these was very good. Right now I have so many projects nowhere near finished and I just felt a sort of blahness every time I thought about working on any of them. I wanted some instant accomplishment gratification and these were just the ticket.
Now I ought to get in some serious work on the Baby Surprise Jacket. I'm not sure just where I am in this crazy-looking thing, but think maybe I'm about 2/3 finished...and that estimate may be generous.
Tomorrow's the last class and I really wanted to be finishing it up in that class. I don't think it's going to happen unless I work fast enough tonight to set my needles on fire...well, it's on Denise needles, so I guess they'd just melt and emit toxic fumes...

I'll end this post with a picture of someone who always manages to comfort me - Clover the Sweetest Dog Being in the Universe...this picture made me laugh...hope some of her sweet gentle nature wafts right off the screen and warms your heart. Namaste, Zann

Jun 25, 2006

Two Poems from 1986

1986 was the year Patrick was born.
When Patrick nursed, he would stare into my eyes, as babies do when they are eating. And I remember that his eyes had extraordinary specks and dots of colors and I felt I could just float away into makes me happy to remember those precious moments of communion.

The Sky of Patrick's Eyes

Baby, peering into the blue
clarity of your eyes
is to rise
from gravity,
slide right through
the glassy stratosphere
of your tears
into a pure beyond
where secret dark flecks
ride the black hubs of iris,
spinning out like galaxies
to the far rim of universe,
new star fields,
wheels of other

1986 was also the year my father died, when Patrick was 7 months old. My father was the first person to call Patrick "Patty" - the nickname his friends in high school had for him, although I think my father thought of it with the Irish spelling "Paddy." I wrote numerous poems about the loss of my father, but this one could have been written today...about the loss of Patrick....grief is...grief.

Riding the Wind of Sorrow

Grief takes you soaring
alone and unshielded
over the absent world.
Awake or dreaming, you must go
without maps, brave with mourning,
the wind singing in the maze
of your bones.
You weep in the dawn of new physics.
Loosened from linear time,
the demands of gravity and paradox,
you see old selves playing
forever together
and forgotten words are loud,
drumbeats on the blue
skin of the sky.

Descending too fast,
weighted by the sudden stone
of your heart,
you are confronted with love
that electrifies you.
His face draws close as breath.
Each freckle is luminous,
every gesture alive.
You stare right into the radiant center
of loss, astonished by faith,
your sorrow defied.
You stare until his hands move gently,
soft shadows crossing over
the sad new moons
of your eyes.

Today insists on being difficult and full of sad.
A friend told me about a book called The Hole in Me Since the Day You Died. It's a beautiful book of art done by seven people, as part of a counseling program using art for grief therapy. I've only been able to look at the work of one person so far (a man who lost his 20 year old daughter in a drunk driving accident), as it is so powerfully evocative of the emotions and feelings I have been experiencing that it's just too intense to look at more right now.
I've also begun to try to express my own feelings in a similar way, in a Moleskine drawing notebook. Pen and ink, watercolor, collage....I'm using them all.
Art heals.


Jun 23, 2006

Tri-loom Weaving

As I wrote in my last entry, last weekend I took a half-day workshop in weaving on the tri-loom or triangle loom. The teacher, John, brought 12" practice looms he'd made and let us take them home for a couple of weeks.
So, here's the wicked little thing that's occupied my time and energy since then:
What is so great about the tri-loom is that you create both the warp and weft at the same time! As someone who loves weaving but loathes warping....well, that's a huge plus. I scurried home after the workshop and went a little nuts, trying out various yarns:

I fell in love with the triangles woven with my favorite color of Noro Iro (#61) :

I am going to attempt to put these together in a vest, one panel of which you see at the bottom. There are all sorts of ways to finish the edges of the triangles and put them together. For this project I am edging them all around in single crochet (in a green Cascade 220 Heather) and stitching them together with a single strand of yarn through both loops. If there's any filling-in to do I will do it in the green in knitted seed stitch, which I think goes well with the woven modules.

I like the practice loom, but will have to give it back in a week or so. I've got my own loom on order from Hazel Rose Looms though! I ordered the 14". As you can see, there are also square looms offered and I believe that you can also weave the same way on those, creating the warp as you work. As I've wandered around the internet looking for tri-loom information, I've also seen a very large rectangular loom offered.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of triangle looms! I think the most popular ones are probably the really big ones - 3 feet to 7 feet! A whole shawl can be woven in 8-10 hours.
(Spriggs 7-ft Adjustable Tri-Loom at The Woolery )

My personal interest is in the smaller, more portable looms. My generally short attention span and need for frequent color and activity changes is well-served by them. I can weave a triangle on the 12" loom in about 15 minutes, then I get to crochet for a little while, then I can sew a couple of triangles together.

I joined a Triloom YahooGroup. There's some good photo sets there, but you do have to be a member to see them.

Most of the women who took the Tri-loom workshop also want to have another workshop in rigid heddle loom weaving, so I'm looking forward to that. I have a Kromski Harp Loom still in the box after two years. What a purty loom - it will be great finally to assemble it and learn to use it!

And, um...well, then there's my LeClerc 4-harness Dorothy loom:This has been waiting patiently for my attention for even longer. I got my Dorothy from a friend whose mother was into weaving back in the 60s- 70s. I'm thinking that maybe my Warp-phobia might be conquered by gradually working my way to the LeClerc!

Of late, I've found myself having sustained periods of peace and calm. I suppose I am coming into an acceptance of Patrick's death, though it feels horrible in a way to write those words. I remember I wrote at the very beginning that our task was to bear the unbearable and accept the unacceptable.
I am so grateful though, for the calm, because in that calm and peace is where I also feel a pure, deep, absolute love and in that love Patrick is close as breath...

Jun 21, 2006

Sidetracked & lazy

Just wanted to post a note to say I'm doing well, but haven't posted in awhile because I'm quite engaged in fibery activity. I took a half-day workshop in weaving with a Tri-loom and the instructor let us take home the small practice looms he'd made and...and... I've been a tad obsessed with making woven triangles and figuring out how I'd like to put them together and trying to decide just what I want them to be. And of course, I've got to try out all kinds of yarns and combinations...

That's the sidetracked part.

The lazy part is that I just can't seem to get motivated to take some pictures to post here, but soon I will! I have some lovely spinning completed, and progress on all knitting projects to share.


Jun 9, 2006

Current Projects

(Note 06.10.06 - I've updated the other blog - a chair is...)

Ah, this has been a difficult week.
Molly's last Academy concert, being without Patrick at that concert for the first time...for 14 years we've all gone to watch Molly dance each spring....and Molly leaving for her summer program. Lots of emotion seems to dismantle any peace I've managed to construct, so it's been a tough week.
St. Francis on my back porch tries to remind me:
Yes, there are a couple of tree snail shells there. I remember with guilt taking some from the Everglades back in the 60s when I was a young'un. These, however, I bought at a garage sale here in Indiana a few years ago. Tree snails are incredibly colorful and beautiful, you can take a look at some here.
Uh, oh - I just read this:
".... Beautiful and varied, these mollusks were once a popular collector’s item; overcollection greatly reduced them. To help protect them, the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission named the Florida Tree Snail a “Species of Special Concern.” By law, this designation protects them, dead or alive, from collection..."
So do I turn in my two somewhere??

Well, I have certainly digressed from my planned entry on current projects! Here you go:
Two baskets full of UFOs - although I guess that since I am working on all of these a bit each day technically they do not qualify for UFO status. (One of these days I will screw my courage to the sticking place and abandon my shame and do a post of my true UFOs...)

Here is my third Lotorp bag - done in Cherry Tree Hill potluck worsted.
I really like this a lot as it is. But I planned to felt it and did knit it a bit more loosely than I would have done if I wanted to use it without felting. So it must be felted. I think I will probably felt this in the washing machine instead of by hand at the kitchen sink.

And here is the Baby Surprise Jacket I've started in a class at Riverwools. Since I have such a terrible record for finishing things I've told people I'm making for them, I will let this be a surprise for granddaughter Sophia when it's done.

I'm making it in a New Zealand yarn called Magic Garden Buttons - a cute yarn, with lots of little primary color tufts throughout. It's a DK weight that I'm using double so it will be big enough to fit Sophia (hopefully) when it's cool enough to need a jacket again. This is 83% wool, but for my son and daughter-in-law's sake, machine washable.

Here is a long scarf, done lengthwise, garter stitch, with Silk Garden and an occasional row of Iro held double:
CO 200. I am feeling very brave. Normally, anything with a CO above 100 gets automatically rejected by me as a viable project. But since I made the shrug which had 160 stitches, one of my new mottos is: "Fear not to cast on 100s of stitches." That Baby Surprise starts out with 160 stitches and I just cast on jauntily. Will work myself up to the Adult Surprise (I believe that generally runs 360+). Maybe.

Progress on the 6th As You Like It Shawl. Noro Kujaku and Kidsilk Haze. I still love this loud bright crazy colorway. This is a yarn that has, every so often, areas where the yarn is wrapped in polyester thread, so you get these bright little loops poking out. I think I might even add felted beads or spirals - really make this a bit of wild woman apparel.

I carry around this project in the second Lotorp bag I made - it's a perfect bag for carting around a growing project (or two!) - an amazing amount of yarn can be stuffed into it and it just stretches to accomodate.

Here is something that almost did get UFO status. I just forgot about it. It's that shawl I'm doing with handspun singles. I am almost out of one of the colors I used to start it, so I've had to spin up some more singles in yet a different colorway. So far it's still looking pretty neat.
The bag I carry this project around in was made of Silk Garden by my Secret Pal from SP7, Peacock, whose generosity is only exceeded by her creativity and skill. She treated me to so many things I use regularly. is the modular knitting project I've begun and am absolutely determined to complete. It's from Dazzling Knits / Building Blocks to Creative Knitting by Patricia Werner. It's a vest made with the shell module. I've curled it around in a circle to photograph it, but that's actually a straight line of shells.

Since I have such a problem with an abundance of choices, I'm letting the Silk Garden decide on the colors. I'm using one color (#203) as the MC, and alternating between 3 others for CCs.
I thought I'd be making the Large size which takes over 100 shells, but after I measured and thought a bit (I won't be doing it with buttons, as I like to wear vests open), I realized I can make the medium which takes about 80 shells. I'm being very organized about this and my determination not to have another modular or freeform UFO. I've set myself a goal of 3 shells a day at minimum (all ends woven in), so I should be able to post the lovely finished vest within the month!
And now, after posting all this, I feel a strong urge to get back to working.
Peace and calm to all,

Jun 6, 2006

Dancing Daughter

Daughter Molly's last performance with the Terre Haute Academy of Dance was Saturday night. She was Carabosse, the wicked fairy in Sleeping Beauty - very creepy to see how evil she can be but her dancing made us so proud! There was also a wonderful duet with Jenna, another young woman who is leaving the Academy this year, too. It was Dueling Dancers, done to Dueling Banjos, and it was a wonderful witty piece that juxtaposed Molly's modern dance with Jenna's ballet.
Molly and Jenna were the last of the Garage Gang, the 14 girls who started with the Academy when it was in Patti's garage 6 years ago. So there were many tears shed as they both leave to go on with their dance adventures at Indiana University. Before that, Molly is headed off for 6 weeks of intensive dance at the American Dance Festival. She attended this program last year and loved it -she gets to see performances by the premiere modern dance companies, take master classes and otherwise dance for hours a day.

Instead of getting flowers for her this year, I got her this book:

The Dance: Poems (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets)

and these:
I've been buying these dancer pins one by one on eBay since last summer. My favorite pin, the one at the bottom, was also Molly's! Flowers are beautiful (and older brother Shaun got her a dozen gorgeous pale pink roses) but ephemeral and she'll have these pins and the book to enjoy far longer.'s a pretty emotional week in an already uber-emotional time.
Blessed is the knitting, the constancy of it in my life!
The other day I sat on the back porch all afternoon, with three projects on the table beside me, my journal and my knitting notes. I thought the table looked so pretty (esp. with the rose I brought home from the Flower Communion service at church Sunday morning), I took a picture for y'all.

In my next post I'll give details on the projects (one of which is....modular knitting with shell shapes! whoo hoo, I'm really doing it!)

Jun 2, 2006

Bags, Shawls, Freeform Musings

Fiber and Artish Notes

I’ve been busy winding some Blossom yarn into balls so I can make the Kemp bag from Jane Ellison’s Simply Noro pattern book. Here's a nice one to look at from the knittivist glittyknittykitty's blog.

I’ve finished the knitting of another Lotorp bag from Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton’s Noro Revisited pattern book. Here are the ones I did last fall:
Lotorp bag in Cherry Tree Hill potluck worsted

Lotorp bag in Noro Kureyon
On both of those bags, I added a needlefelted embellishment because I just didn't like the way it looked sort of unfinished where the pieces come together in the center.

I've changed the pattern just a bit and made my new one extra-large in Cherry Tree Hill potluck worsted (maybe bulky, I’m not sure) because I thought I’d like to felt it. Here it is knitted, but not yet sewn up:

I’ve also finished Shawl #5 in this pattern:
this one in SWTC Oasis soy silk along with Rowan Kidsilk Haze in the deep purple called Dewberry. I loved knitting it and it’s a joy to wear.

And I’ve started #6:
in my favorite Kujaku color (#22) with Rowan Kidsilk Haze in a deep rose called Blushes ( I think.)

How many of these shawls am I going to make? Who knows? I may always have one of them on the needles. Certainly at some point I will have enough of them for myself and begin to give them away!

Am once again poring over modular knitting books - Ginger Luters, Horst Schulz - and the freeform crochet/knitting work of Prudence Mapstone and Jenny Dowde, among others. I have been doing a lot of freeform in my hats, but I’d definitely like to do other projects - shawls, of course, and vests - utilizing these techniques. It’s certainly not as easy as following a pattern, even one I make up, but it’s what I really feel drawn to do.

I’ve been shying away from it....for a lot of reasons. Paradoxically, I’m drawn to this way of working with fiber because it is so open and free and allows for spontaneity and creativity - yet I’m wary of it because I have a terrible time making decisions, so many choices can imprison me, freeze me in a state of inertia. And I don’t care to count how many freeform projects languish unfinished...

I’m thinking it’s a good time for me to tackle freeform and modular work again. To be brave and bold and remember ‘it’s only yarn’ and just....just DO IT.

Grief and Grace Notes

The weekends seem to be the hardest. It was Friday 11 weeks ago that we last saw Patrick alive and Saturday when he died and the wee hours of Sunday morning when the police came knocking with their terrible burden of news and Sunday morning when we went to see our son for the last time. And it was a Saturday when Patrick’s friend came rushing to tell us he was having a seizure last year. And it was a weekend when Patrick had his accident in ‘04 and again the wee hours of Sunday morning when a policeman came to tell us he was critically injured. And when Paul’s twin was killed, again it was in the wee hours of Sunday we got the awful phone call.

So the weekends are very difficult. Every car sound I hear outside at night sends my heart racing and my stomach flipping around. Every phone call or knock at the door, too. I remember reading that Dorothy Parker used to say “What fresh hell is this?” when the phone rang (and that actually became the title of a biography of Parker) and that she meant it, too. Well, I can relate....

The journey through this grief is a healing journey like none I’ve experienced. There are some incredibly peaceful days, days when I feel absolutely connected to Patrick-in-spirit and feel I can live on, even find joy in living again.
Days when the hollow space around my heart feels full.
And that feeling can evaporate in one instant and crushing sorrow returns. And once again my heart is surrounded by an emptiness that threatens to be there forever...

Well, that's it from the Heartland today.
Love to all,

Illustration Friday - Portrait

Portrait of the Artist as a Chair (2006)
Wooden chair, shawl, soy silk and wool, knitted

Illustration Friday 06.02.06
Theme: Portrait

A serendipitous offering for IF.
Early this morning, I was frustrated trying to take a picture of me for this blog wearing my latest knitted shawl (via the mirror-in-the-bathroom method of self-portrait) and decided that just wasn't going to work this time. So I photographed it on the old folding wooden chair I love to use to show off my knitting. As I was getting the picture ready to upload, and thinking about the chair being the model instead of me, the title came to voila! I decided to use this for my Illo Friday offering today.

NOTE: Sunday 06.04.06
I’ve thought about this for two days now and have decided to add this note.
On Friday I was informed by Penelope essentially that this is not appropriate for Illustration Friday, and when I wrote for clarification (my note to her is posted in comments) was told IF wants to stick to a more formal definition of illustration (’drawing or collage medium’ ) and directed to a photography site.

As I don’t have a scanner right now, all my submissions since I started participating have been either photographs of assembled or found objects, digital collages with some drawing or words added, or Appleworks drawings with my mouse. As my primary love is fiber art, I had hoped to do more utilizing it, as in this piece as well as the one I did for last week’s theme Cake.

I still consider this photograph an appropriate illustration of the theme Portrait. Besides the literal fact that the chair is in the picture substituting for me, I also saw (albeit slight) some visual allusion to the iconic “Portrait of the Painter’s Mother” by Whistler. All in all, it seemed quite appropriate for this week’s IF and even a tad witty.

If I had put words into the picture or manipulated it with Photoshop, would it then become a formally defined “illustration?’ If not, then few of my submissions to date have been appropriate for IF.

I do not have the heart or will to argue this point beyond the initial response I sent Penelope or to worry about this formal definition each week.

So this is probably my last IF submission. I have really enjoyed the challenge each week and will always feel grateful for the creative sparks each one ignited as well as the kind email and comments I’ve received from others.