Lizards in the Leaves

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

Jul 29, 2006

Freeform Bits 'n' Pieces

Here's a box lid filled to overflowing with 2 weeks or so's worth of freeform play.

These are knitted strips in Silk Garden #87, randomly increased and decreased as I went along, edged in single crochet in Nature Spun 3-ply sport weight yarn.

These are all crocheted spirals and circles, with a few little rectangles.

There's quite a bunch more as I have just been busy, busy making these bits and pieces. I'm not doing too much yarn texture/stitch/shape variation, so they aren't as varied as most freeform work. I think, though, that I am discovering my personal freeform style.

I'm working kind of small, with the Silk Garden being the thickest yarn and I'm using a lot of Nature Spun sport weight and some hand-dyed sock/fingering weight. Sometimes I am doubling the latter, but often just using it alone.

I'm changing between hooks - 3.25, 3.5, 4.0 and leaving lots of ends for eventual surface embellishment and connecting of bits. I've already embellished with French knots (one of my favorite embroidery stitches) on quite a few of the pieces.
And what will all this come to?
I have hopes of a vest, and have actually begun putting one together.
But it may only wind up being a box of pretty dream bits.
Either way, it's okay I think.

This iridescent green beetle entertained me on the porch steps today.
On a more somber note, I've begun putting some of the drawings from my Grief Art Journal in a Flickr photo set. Here's one I did this week:

07.25.06 Ink, watercolor
"Patrick's death rips through the whole of me.
i am trying so hard to survive and heal.
a grey fog of sad sometimes permeates everything."

The art journal is really wonderful for expressing my feelings and moods. And most of the time the drawings I do surprise me - very often they end up being very different from what I began to draw. I think working in this visual journal is one of the most healing things I do.
May all beings find peace.

Jul 25, 2006

Freeform Cuff Bracelets (revised!)

Blogger is being fussy this morning and just won't upload my pics, though it did allow this one to get posted:

a freeform crochet cuff bracelet, done in Kureyon #188, with a little goddess dangle I'm using for the closure.
(More, when Blogger's little fit subsides.)

Later, 9:30 p.m. ---
Finally, I'm able to upload the other two pictures. Here are the five cuffs I made, all but the one shown above are done in Silk Garden.
I like using the Silk Garden for freeform, because I can get some color changes without changing colors!
I think this one is my favorite, both for the colors (Silk Garden #249) and for the stitches.
My basic way of making the cuffs was to start out with a circular spiraling motif (I'm not sure I can call it a scrumble since I didn't change any yarns) until it was as wide as I wanted it, then I started working back and forth rows until it was the length I needed. I used a 3.25 hook. I am really pleased with the textured effects I got.

On most all of my crochet, I use as the front side what most people would consider to be the back side. I didn't realize this until last summer when I actually picked up a crochet book and started trying to do a stitch as the book depicted. I discovered that I crochet backwards! By that I mean that I put my hook into the stitches from the back and pull a loop through from the front. I'm sure that must actually be a technique or stitch, but it is the way I've always crocheted.

At first I thought, "...omigoodness, I have to retrain myself." Then I thought, " I don't. I can crochet however I please. I just can't teach anyone else." So I continued to crochet in my way until I started to do freeform and wanted to increase my stitch repertoire (which consisted of sc, hdc, dc.) I discovered that if I wanted to do bullions, they need to be made by crocheting through the front, wrapping the yarn the opposite way I've done all these years.

It was a little awkward at first, but I'm happy to report that I can now crochet the "right way" and the "wrong way" at will, often getting just the effects I hope for, along with the occasional surprise that makes freeform work so intriguing and delightful.

Jul 19, 2006

Peace Mother Doll Completed

She's here!
My peace doll is finished and I am so delighted to see her - I feel a sweet tenderness emanating from this doll, and the strength to carry the things she is charged with carrying - love, compassion, healing....

Here she is, striding in the world, in the green:
and here, in the little shrine of honor and refuge I created for her:
This little shrine includes the symbols of the spiral of life and heart of wisdom.
I feel some peace right now.
I hope some of it leaks out into the world, too....

Jul 18, 2006

Peace Doll

Decided to join in Noreen Crone-Findlay's Peace Doll project, which you can read about in her blog SacredDollsandBears. I love the spiritual perspective Noreen brings to the making of dolls and goddess images and have been wanting to create some of my own for some time.

My doll is emerging as a plump mother goddess figure, and taking on the dual task of carrying my thoughts for peace on the planet and carrying to me the healing I need on my grief journey.
She is being created of organic brown(ish) cotton from FoxFiber, filled with bits and pieces of yarn I save from all my knitting and crocheting.

In my old life, I was active in peace and justice issues, especially working to abolish the death penalty. I am still trying to do what I can. I did participate in the July 4th Solidarity fast with the Troops Home Fast and spent 5 hours at the courthouse holding my big peace banner. There is going to be another fast action here, scheduled for August 6th, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

I keep having a vision of working on something fiber-related as part of an action....we'll see.

Jul 17, 2006


I am moving slowly through the days, so foggy and distracted of late that if I try to move quickly, I will make mistakes and do stupid things. I know it's "normal."
I miss Patrick. Sometimes with a desperation and anguish and horror so intense that I can barely believe it is survivable. But I do believe it is. And so I endure.
And the enduring is made tolerable by many gifts from nature and from many compassionate people.

A Gift From Nature
Last week, there was a fast, intense storm that moved through. Afterwards, a remarkable golden light poured through my windows and lured me outside into the remaining drizzle. I knew there was the possibility of a rainbow and sure enough, there was a rainbow, arching over the house. The quality of light was very peculiar, it was about 7:30 p.m. and the sun was nearly set in the west.
The rainbow was faint, but visible. And it kept shifting about the sky, which was filled with rapidly swirling gray clouds. Suddenly, a whole clump of clouds to the east lit up with a deep rose color and a rainbow streamed upwards from the rosy glow.
I ran inside to get my camera, chanting "stay, stay...please stay!"
Well, sky phenomena are notoriously ephemeral and the intense rose circle was gone, and the rainbow had shifted yet again, but I quickly snapped 3 pictures. And the sky quickly grayed as the sun set.
When I looked at the pictures, I was astonished to see the full moon. I had not seen it with my naked eye and it only appears in the first picture, not the ones taken immediately after.
I didn't do anything to enhance this picture - if you look closely, you might be able to see the faint rainbow arcing under and to the right of the moon. I guess that for just an instant, the instant I took the picture, the cloud cover thinned enough to reveal Mother Moon. A gift, as was the radiant golden light that drew me outside....

A Gift from a Stranger
A couple of weeks ago, I received a wonderful email from Linda - a fiber artist in Washington. Well, she was not a complete stranger as I have seen and admired her work on Deb Brandt's show and tell blog. Deb makes glorious dyed rovings and invites us to send her pictures of what we create with them. That is how Linda found my blog.

Linda's email was open and compassionate and filled with an empathy that deeply touched me. She wrote that she was creating something with thoughts of me and Patrick as she worked, and wanted to know if she could send it to me. Within days, I was opening a box just filled with treasures -- all of them chosen carefully.
It was obvious that Linda had read a great deal of my blog because everything connected with something important or symbolic for me. You can see above the handmade collage card, a lovely handspun yarn from the Orcas Islands and an incredible felt rose (I will take a better photo of it one of these days - right now it sits on the mantle in the little shrine that has evolved for Patrick.)

And here is the astonishing, deeply moving piece that Linda wrote me about - a heart weeping rose petals. I've hung it on the door of Patrick's old room. I love it intensely. Thank you, Linda - I am almost overwhelmed at your generosity and your art is truly amazing.

Isn't it just the lovliest....???
And here is what I promised to show in my last post - the coming together of all those freeform pieces into...... a neckpiece! Ta Daaaa. I'm very excited about this. Even though all those hats I made back in Feb/Mar were freeform organically done, this piece is my first with actual scrumbles.

The rose just fits through the hole between the leaves and scrumble, to make a suitable fastener.

Oh, and Bullion Stitch in the scrumbles! I finally "got" Bullion Stitch. I can do them in my sleep now. It was a wonderful reminder about accomplishment and the 3Ps: practice, perserverance and patience. (Here's a nice Bullion Stitch tutorial I just found, maybe it wouldn't have taken me so long to get it if I'd seen this before!) I can't write about this stitch without mentioning:
Prudence Mapstone's little tome called Bullions & Beyond. You might have to google around to find someone selling her freeform crochet books - there are three that I know of. I was lucky enough to be able to get them all through my LYS, Riverwools.

I have more freeform in the works. Next post I'll be ready to show off my freeform cuff bracelets!
Love and beauty and creativity wishes to all...

Jul 10, 2006

a post for those who are concerned

("Silence", a painting by Sulamith Wulfing)

It definitely has been a bit too long between updates here. I appreciate so much the thoughts and concerns that people have for me, many of whom I've never even met in person. So to all who have asked, what I can say is that I am doing "okay." Surviving. Hanging in there. But it isn't easy. It isn't easy to live and move through what is a pervasive fog of sadness.

I have the added challenge and heartache of my mother's situation. Those of you who have been reading my blog for months know that she suffers from a particularly aggressive dementia called Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). One of the defining characteristics of LBD is hallucinations and delusions. Mom's are of a horrific nature that leaves her terrified and afraid to sleep, so she doesn't- and sleep deprivation worsens the delusions - a vicious cycle. And she doesn't trust me much anymore because I haven't been able to change her situation. So my close relationship with my mother is.....gone.

Loss upon loss for me, but her losses are unfathomable. In the next few days she will be moving once again within the continuing care community in which she lives. She will have to move back into the nursing home part and her world will be further reduced - to a small room shared with someone who is far more physically debilitated than she.

When they called Friday and told me they would be moving her today, I felt blindsided. I knew the move was coming, but the notice of it seemed awfully short. I will have to take care of her assisted living apartment, the possessions that she will not be able to take with her. I got off the phone and felt all sorts of fragile supports in my being begin to sway and collapse. My hands were shaking.

And that fog surrounds me. I have started to do odd, distracted things. Saturday Paul discovered I'd put the yogurt in the cereal cabinet instead of the refrigerator that morning. I looked for my purse for many minutes, not realizing I'd hung it on a chair practically under my nose. He advises me to be extra careful when driving, to be sure to focus on what I'm doing.

There are some lovely things in the world and finding them helps me to be "okay": fireflies at dusk, watching bats swoop and flutter, meditation, the Heart Mantra, the Messenger robins (another tale), the Mother's Wisdom cards
(pictures by the incomparable Sulamith Wulfing, amazing words by Lunaea Weatherstone.)

And of course, Fiber.
Recently I received an amazing gift from Linda in Washington. I hope to get the energy to take some pictures to share her art and generosity with you.
Pictures are the sunshine of a blog -- and an entry without is like a day without. I think that's why I've had a hard time making an entry here, because I didn't have the oomph to take pictures, edit them, etc.
This morning, when I was thinking I just need to make an entry, pics or no, I discovered I did have some pictures I hadn't posted. So, here's a little sunshine:

On the swift - a difficult-to-wind, but lovely skein of Makalu lace silk eyelash. If you just want to ogle pretty hand-painted yarns, take a look around the Makalu wholesale site.

Now I will tantalize you with some freeform bits and make you wait to see the finished piece that emerged from them:
I have too many unfinished projects - and the guilt that accompanies UFOs. I need to let that go. I just don't need to feel one more negative emotion. Right now, I am more than ever process-oriented. I need to just move with that impulse and not worry about: the modular vest, the Baby Surprise, the woven-triangle vest, the shawl, the shawl...

I am currently just freeforming, trying out stitches and yarn combinations. If a finished product emerges, great! If not, that's okay, too. The work, the activity, the yarn in my hands are what is keeping me going....