Lizards in the Leaves

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

Sep 29, 2006

Lotorp 3

I am trying out a new way of keeping records of my work. I have a nice bound book in which I make notes about patterns, but it's quite unorganized and often difficult to find particular notes. I won't give that up, but I do need some way of keeping better records. What I did this morning was create a template in AppleWorks, with the grand idea that each time I start a project, I will create a page for it, using this template. So, following is my first project recorded in the new system:

Lotorp 3

Pattern: Lotorp (by Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton, Noro Revisited p. 42)

Yarn: Body: Noro Kureyon 182
Edging and Seams: Brown Sheep NatureSpun sport weight in Mountain Purple

Needles: Clover bamboo, #6 straight; Addi steel hook, 3mm

Comments: I changed the pattern, doing 2 M1 increases every other row, instead of 1 increase at beginning of each row. Marked increase side with safety pin.
I also made visible seams by joining with slip stitch crochet, randomly inserting hook in front or back to give a kind of meandering look. Strap and opening edges were edged in single crochet, alternating back and forth between inserting hook through front or back. The point of that was to create an edge that looked the same from both sides. I used Brown Sheep NatureSpun sport weight in Mountain Purple.

This is actually the 4th Lotorp, I realized. The third one was the one I made much bigger with CTH Potluck, felted it, and had it shrink dreadfully in the depth of the bag. It needs some rescue work to make it functional, so I suppose I just chose to forget entirely that I made it.

I also suppose I should mention that, while gossiping at RiverWools, I managed to twist the strap and sew it that way, discovering my error only after I had neatly woven in ends and snipped them. I tried to figure out how I could make the twisted strap become a whimsical design statement, but that was in vain and I set about undoing the seam -- a tedious, somewhat frustrating task that I chose to view as a penance of sorts, a reminder that gossiping is Not Nice. (No matter how much the gossippee might deserve to be gossipped about.)

Started: ????
Completed: 09.28.09

Clover Day

Yesterday was Clover Day - the 7th anniversary of her arrival in our family. She appeared out of nowhere, licked my hand, and followed me home from my morning walk. Well, not followed exactly....she trotted ahead of me, eager, sniffing everything in sight, tail going like a fast metronome.... She was joy on 4 legs.

I was always perplexed by my own actions that morning. I did not want the responsibility of having a dog. Normally, I'd have told the critter goodbye and go home, I'd have gone in my house and shut the door and had my tea. But that day, I went to my back yard gate and opened it and said, "Come in."

It was the joy she exuded. I wanted that pure, unbound joy trotting around my house, curling up behind my knees, prancing around my yard....

She must be about 8 now. The black patch around her eye is greying, she has become a tad more sedate, but the joy is undiminished.

We are so grateful for Clover's presence in our lives.

Sep 21, 2006

Scribble Lace Shawl

First, I'd like to thank everyone who expressed their sympathies and lit a candle for Patrick and shed tears for us after reading my last entry. It helps, it really does. I also think that, wherever it is that Patrick has gone, it helps him, too.

I have recently finished two Knitted Things, but only have a picture of one - a Scribble Lace Shawl from the pattern in Mason-Dixon Knitting.

Proper credit is given by the authors (who have a lively collaborative blog) to Debbie New. New, I believe, is the originator of the term "scribble lace," and if she wasn't the inventor of the technique itself, then she was the Unventer. Unventing, of course, is the term Elizabeth Zimmermann used (unvented?) to describe the act of unearthing or re-discovering something and presenting it in one's own fashion.

You can check out Debbie New's inspirational knitting
(including Scribble Lace) in the wonderfully titled Unexpected Knitting. I couldn't find any blog or Debbie New-dedicated site, but I did find this wonderful page at Philosopher's Wool with pictures of her work, available as post cards.

Oh dear, if you've gone there, you won't be very impressed by
my scribble lace shawl:
But, it is purty, isn't it? Scribble lace is done with a very thin yarn (even thread!) and a very thick yarn. I did mine with KnitPicks Shimmer laceweight in Grape Jelly and the new(!) Noro, Silk Mountain, which is a curly boucle yarn that makes me think of leaves and vines. It doesn't have the dramatic color shifts of most Noro, but I think the Shimmer color also sort of dimished the color shifts it does possess.

About the knitting itself - you do it on BIG needles. These are Addi #17s. This was not a meditative, relaxing knit-up, even though the pattern is easily memorized. The laceweight was a bit slippery on the Addi's and so I needed to be attentive and mindful (which are not bad things to practice.) But my main problem with these needles is captured perfectly in the photo -- the annoying glare! I've never felt so....annoyed and irritated with knitting needles before I kept having to move around so that the glare was minimized. My eyes hurt just looking at the picture!

Martha at RiverWools thought scribble lace would make a good window covering, so I draped it over the porch screen. Paul liked it and was disappointed I wouldn't be leaving it up.

And writing of Paul, I'd like to publicly congratulate him on the acquisition of an alto saxophone! The cool thing is that he has never played the saxophone and he's taking it up for the first time. Now. Age 50. Whoo, hooo!

I've always been a proponent of the "never too late" school and remember the book of the same name by John Holt, whose ideas on learning and education were probably the most influential to me in deciding to homeschool. In Never Too Late, he wrote about learning to play the cello at mid-life. Yet more inspiration....
Is there something that you want to learn or do, but have been reluctant because you think it's "too late?"
Just something to think about....

Sep 18, 2006

Six Months Since Patrick Died

"Let your children be as so many flowers, borrowed from God. If the flowers die or wither, thank God for a summer loan of them."
-- Samuel Rutherford

Six months ago today, we lost our son Patrick.
Two whole seasons have passed without him, yet he has often been present in sweet and mysterious ways.

I'm not sure that I have ever written here about how he died. I think I need to do that. I'm not sure why, but I need to do that. And the story seems to want to be told today.

For two years, our family went through with Patrick the terrible journey so many families go through when a member struggles with drugs and alcohol.

I never wrote about that because I wanted to protect Patrick's privacy. He was so young. I felt he deserved a chance to recover and move forward in his life without his mother broadcasting his problems over the Internet.

The very short version is that Patrick was excessive in everything he did, for good or ill. People always talk about him in superlatives-- 'he was the best metal guitarist' 'he was the funniest guy I know.' When he drank, he drank too much. When he practiced guitar, he practiced for hours. When he did drugs, he did too many kinds and too much.

After his terrible accident in November 2004, in which he fractured every bone in his face, we were grateful beyond words that no one else was involved and that he lived. We thought he would change his behavior. He didn't. The medical and legal consequences merely gave him an almost unbearable burden on top of the burdens he was already carrying that caused him to try to "fix" himself with drugs and alcohol.

For another year, we rode the roller coaster of addiction with him. In January of this year, we began to see changes. His light was returning. He got a better job. He had a better place to live and was expressing some pleasure in simple things like fixing up his "...lair."
He was nicer, more thoughtful.
We thought he was clean and sober.
We didn't realize he was just trying and only sometimes succeeding.
On March 15, he got his driver's license reinstated and he and I picked up the used Malibu we'd bought for him. He and I had the best day we'd had in a very, very long time.
I hugged him and told him it felt like we had just completed a terrible, difficult journey together and a new one was beginning.

I saw him one more time, on March 17, St. Patrick's Day. I hugged him for the last time, standing on the street by his new car. We spoke once more, by phone, around 5:30 that afternoon. I was in my therapy session. Usually I turn off my cell phone, but I hadn't that day.
I said to my therapist, "If it's Patrick, I'm answering it."

I'm so glad I did. He said he had some money in an envelope for me. And his last words were "I love you, Mom."

What we know is this: He was very, very happy that day. Lots of people saw and spoke to him, and that's what they remember. He bought some things at the Dollar Store, he went to the mall. He wound up at a party. He got home around 5 a.m. on the 18th and he put on some music.

Then he just put his head down on the table in front of him and never got up again. The description of the scene allows us the comfort of being fairly certain that his death was peaceful and that he did not suffer.
The official cause of his death was "accidental polypharmacological overdose." A contributing factor was listed: an enlarged left ventricle of his heart. We know from our own research that very likely he damaged his heart from drug use.

He was 20 years and 46 days old.
We do thank God for the summer loan of him.
But the summer was way too short.

Rock on, Patrick....we will always hold you close in our hearts....

" Emptiness is bound to bloom, like hundreds of grasses blossoming."
-- Eihei Dogen, Sky Flowers


Sep 17, 2006

Thank You, Peacock & Two Caps


I cannot let another day go by without my public thank you to Peacock! She was my wonderful Secret Pal in SP7 - the first and only SP project in which I've participated. I couldn't have asked for a better Pal. We've continued to stay in touch and hopefully will be able to get together in person next spring. She recently had knee surgery and I kept checking her blog to get updates on that. One of the things she did pre-surgery was to get a LOT of packages out to her various swaps and pals. When I saw that picture in her 08/16 blog entry, little did I know that one of those packages was for me! At the same time, I finally got a package sent to her -- some things I'd planned give her when SP7 ended, my little thank you that was delayed by our family tragedy.

A big Thank YOU, Peacock!! Hugs to the stars.... Mary Engelbreit book, a lovely card, a beautiful peacock feather eye in glass ready to hang, the yummy Aplets and Cotlets with nuts (disappeared fast!!) and three kinds of tea with fruity things that smell so fresh and...fruity. And are pretty to look at, too:
And tucked in somewhere (I can't remember where, maybe in one of the purple tea tins), two tiny turtles:

Finished Objects! The number of unfinished is approaching pathological. And I keep starting new things...

At least I finished these - caps for the 103rd birthday of the mother of an old family friend, Myobi. They knitted up quickly using Encore and size 7 needled and a basic top down pattern. I varied the brims, a 2/2 rib on size 6 needles on the white, a 1/1 rib using size 5 needles for the lavender/green. Both caps have a picot bind-off.

I'm the epitome of fiber snob, but I enjoy working with Encore. Despite its 75% acrylic content, it has a pleasant hand. Most people want nothing to do with hand washing of clothes, so for gift-giving, especially to busy moms or adults caring for seniors, I think it's thoughtful to give washable gifties. And frankly, I have a tactile problem with SuperWash 100% wool - so far all that I've worked with feel icky to me. Except Baby Ull, I think.

Molly came back for the weekend and popped in yesterday:
That's The Holy Grail Camera around her neck.
The sun-glare obscures the interesting bag she made.
It's a silk-screen on a purchased tote. She's planning to make more using her own photographs. At IU she's in a crafty dorm - there's a ceramics room and a darkroom and a room '....with looms and stuff..." So, creating things is just in the air. I wish I could show you the coloring book she created for her former roommate's birthday present. She made the pictures from all her own photos.

I am working on a lot of things, including (hopefully) getting back to work at selling books on eBay. That's good! Now, if I can just shake this odd sort of 'under the weather' feeling I have...


Sep 10, 2006

Water Ingathering Ceremony

Today was the annual Water Ingathering Ceremony at my church, the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Terre Haute. This ceremony has members of the congregation pouring water into a communal bowl--water which, ideally, was gathered during summer travels. If someone forgets to gather water, or didn't go anywhere, they can use water symbolic of their summer journey (whatever that journey might have been.) Some of each year's water is saved and added to a bottle with water from previous years. Ours goes back to 1998, when we first added this lovely ceremony to our calendar. Sometimes a bit of that water is used for something special during the when some was used in the grief healing ritual done for me last April.

As I thought about what I might add to the bowl, I realized that we are within a few days of marking 6 months since Patrick's death, and it seemed that for me and Paul, this ceremony had very much to do with that. That feeling was intensified and confirmed for me when our service opened with the children standing before the congregation, shaking percussion instruments for our first hymn, an African-American spiritual called Wade in the Water.

A week after Patrick's death, his bandmates and friends held a memorial show, at which they collected money to give to me and Paul. We used the money to give an honorarium to Reverend Bill Breeden and to make a donation to the church. We specified that the donation was to go to the Religious Education program and earmarked to buy musical instruments.

I don't know if any of the instruments being used by the children today were purchased with that money, but that doesn't matter. It warmed my heart and came to me like a Sign that they were up there playing today.

When I went up to pour my water into the bowl, I said just that.

And then I said this:

As always, my summer travel was interior. Since the death of our son Patrick at the beginning of spring, Paul and I have been on a journey upon which no parent wants to go. But some of us must.

And the path is different for each of us - even when we travel side by side. And it long as it lasts.

Many in this congregation have provided us with lodging and nourishment along the way, have walked with us where they could and for this we are so grateful.

I have brought spring water with my tears in it.

There are also drops of five flower essences, ones I chose to work with on my journey through grief and loss.
Walnut, Sweet Chestnut, Bleeding-Heart, Forget-Me-Not, Borage.

Flower essences carry the subtle energy of fresh blossoms steeped in glass bowls of spring water placed in the early morning sun.

So I add from my summer journey a water of tears and new light and blooming things.

Blessed be.