Lizards in the Leaves

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

Mar 29, 2007

Get Well, Channing!!!

I have lots of things to post, but today I want to post a big get well wish to my 11 year old niece in North Carolina, Channing, who had a tummy ache on Wednesday and an appendectomy on Thursday!

I spoke to her pre-op and she was her dear sweet self and sounded brave and confident that all would go well. My heart was warmed when my sister told me they had brought with them the shawls I made for them and found great comfort. I'm making a shawl for someone else (more on that one later) and my sister told me to make sure I tell her that a shawl is a hug.

Channing was just here two weeks ago and we had a lovely time and that's when I gave her the shawl I made for her. I wish I had pictures of her wearing it, but I only have Zelda wearing it:

This is the Bloom shawl from and the second one I've made. For the first one I followed the pattern exactly and blocked the shawl mercilessly. Even so, it is still quite a bit shorter than I like for a shawl. When I set out to make a shawl for Channing (a barter for the dozens of cookies she made for me to take to my friend Stephanie's 50th birthday party), I thought that an unblocked and slightly longer Bloom might be perfect for a petite 11 year old. And I also have this wild idea that she can stretch and block it in the future as she grows!

Construction details:
Needles: #15 Denise circular
Yarn: Noro Blossom #20
Here is how I diverged from the pattern directions:

-Bloom is a pie-wedge type short row shawl, with the rows progressing in 3-stitch increments. I added 6 stitches, so my cast-on was 39 stitches. The original pattern calls for 5 skeins of Noro Blossom and those added 6 stitches caused me to use 7 skeins. I also decided to do a bit of crochet at the neck edge which took a little bit from an 8th skein.

-I did not like the crochet cast-on suggested in the first pattern and used the provisional cast-on I usually use.

-I wanted a nicer and firmer neck edge, so I did one row of single crochet, turned and went back across the row with a slip stitch in the back loop of each sc.

If you're interested in my blogging about the first one I made, see these two entries from 2005.

Labels: ,

Mar 21, 2007

Patrick Burkett Memorial Fund

(Note 09.20.07: I can tell by some of the searches that lead people to this page that they are looking for my husband's twin brother, Patrick J. Burkett, the Michigan attorney who was killed in 2004 by a drunk driver. Our Patrick was named for him and was devastated by his death. We miss them so much and find it so difficult to believe they have both gone on.)

The short version:
A memorial fund has been created in Patrick's name at The Maple Center here in Terre Haute. This fund is designated for community education projects and acquisition of library materials focusing on the utilization of expressive arts for healing work.

Over this last year, people have asked if there was some place to make a donation in Patrick's name. Now there is....

Unfortunately, online donations can only be made by Indiana residents at this time. If you wish to make a donation from out of state, it would have to be via the mail or telephone. Information on making donations is here. They should be designated as being for the Patrick Burkett Memorial. The Maple Center is a non-profit and donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

The first project that this memorial will help to fund is a workshop, scheduled for April 28, entitled Creating a Path Through Grief Using the Arts.

The long version:
As I wrote before, I have been searching for service to do in Patrick's honor. While it would be logical to try to work on substance abuse issues, my experience with Patrick's addictions and their consequences has been so traumatic that I know it would not be healthy for me to be working in that area.

Over this last year, in mourning our loss, I discovered a profound solace and sometimes transcendence in working with expressive arts. I began to think that sharing my experience might be the way to honor Patrick's memory with service. As I explored the field of expressive arts therapy, I became convinced that this was the right path. Art has not only been my healer, but creating music was for Patrick one thing that made his difficult life bearable.

When Lydia Laska (another young adult in our Unitarian Universalist congregation) died in December, a memorial fund was established at The Maple Center for her. There are many artists in Lydia's family and it was decided to use the fund to create a workshop in Lydia's memory, centered on using the arts to deal with grief and loss. I was invited to be on the planning committee for the workshop.

In an act of great generosity, the Laska family chose to share this memorial and add Patrick's name.

As we've worked on this project, Lydia's mom Cathie and I have begun to see this as the beginning of what we hope to be ongoing programs on the arts as healing resources.

So Paul and I are creating a fund in Patrick's name, hoping to be able to continue this endeavor.

Mar 18, 2007

On the Anniversary of Patrick's Death

We dance and move and live and die in cycles and rhythms of a Mystery that is bigger than our tragedies, a Love that holds us all...and we just keep trying to stay in the embrace of that Love.
But we still miss Patrick every single day.
It's extraordinary to think it's been a year since the worst day in our lives. Our time sense is skewed in regard to Patrick. It really does seem like yesterday that I heard him say "I love you , Mom" on the phone, instead of a year ago yesterday....

I chose to spend the weekend knitting, and in the kind of Silence I learned in Quaker meetings, the Silence that is centered in the Light, the Silence that is alert, an 'expectant waiting.'

We had an experience last evening that seemed a perfect way to honor this date. An unexpected phone call caused us to take a drive near sunset, walk down railroad tracks between large, scary dogs in fenced yards and wind up watching a graffiti artist re-make his memorial to Patrick on a pillar of an isolated overpass. The rumble of cars and trucks passing overhead was the music. We stayed until the sun was well down and stars were shining in the clear, cold night sky.

Mar 6, 2007

Wildest Blue Thing

I am posting these pictures of my house in response to my friend Maitri's question in the Women's Artistic Soul yahoo group. Maitri asked, "What is the wildest thing you've ever done/made with the color blue?"
Okay, so it's not exactly wild, but it is the wild-est thing I've done with blue!

Here's what I wrote back:
"Paired it with purple accents and painted the trim on my brick house. Weeeeelllllll, *I* didn't do the painting. BUT I labored over the color choices. In the final choices I consulted my neighbor across the street who is an adventurous interior designer-beader-landscaper. I figured she was the one who was going to be looking at it more!

The painters thought my color choices were very unusual. My husband wanted to just re-paint it the original ugly boring gray-and-red, but then just left it up to me. He did not see my colors until the painting job was well underway. His comment, "You didn't tell me Timothy Leary was in on the color consultation."

When one of the painters was painting the door, I was sitting at my spinning wheel just inside. He kept shaking his head, and said, "Tell your husband it'll grow on him. It won't, but tell him it will."

silly, silly menfolk - afeared of a little color!

Actually, I would have liked to do the reverse -- purple with blue trim! Maybe next time..... "

And when I went out to take the pictures, there was Clover, peering out of the hole she made in the mini-blinds years ago. (I know if we replace them, she will probably wreak the same havoc on the new ones.)
This is her guard post spot, from which she sends forth her canine messages to all who pass by, especially other dogs and cats. The window is all smeary with what my friend Rhonda calls "pupkiss."

Mar 4, 2007

Round Trip Jacket #2, Lace UFO, Freeform Challenge

As promised, here are pictures of the second Round Trip Jacket I made, colors came out a bit light. This is Noro Iro #40.

This one took me about 6 days. I used #11 needles and it took about 5.75 skeins of Iro. It would definitely take quite a bit longer if you make it in a finer yarn than Iro.
The pattern is from the Fall 2003 Knitter's magazine (#72).

It has also been reprinted in the book Jackets for Work and Play from the Best of Knitter's series of books:

Here are, in no particular order, for those of you who are embarking on this round trip, some of the things you might want to know about my experience with the pattern.

1. There are two sets of directions - one for using a medium weight yarn like Silk Garden or Kureyon, and one using a bulky yarn. The one for the bulky yarn is pictured in a solid color and has garter-ridged sleeves. I didn't like those sleeves and chose to omit the garter ridges and do the sleeves in plain stockinette.

I did not try to match sides, cuffs, etc., but allowed the colors to fall where they would, depending on serendipity to achieve a pleasing, if unmatched, effect. I just don't care. I LIKE it that one of my cuffs is gray and one is greeny-black. To try to match Noro colors you have to use more of the (expensive) yarn and it slows down the knitting and turns it into a unpleasant chore requiring some calculating. And Noro does not help with any of that - every skein is different in some way.

2. Directions call for "invisible cast-on"(provisional) throughout. It is essential to use that for the very first cast-on of the back panel, because you will be needing those live stitches to attach the band as you work it.
In the other places where you will be casting-on, at the beginning of the band and at the beginning of the cuffs, the eventual use for those live stitches will be to join the band and cuffs with 3-needle bind-off. I didn't like that join (maybe it was the Iro, maybe it was my ineptness) so I just cast-on and cast off as I usually do and sewed the pieces at those joins.

3. When you are attaching the band and cuffs (as you work them) to the live stitches on the back piece and the sleeves, the directions call for joining with an SSK. This will leave a bumpy ridge. It actually looks okay with the Iro, since it's kind of a bumpy, lightly spun singles. Most people in the Knit-Along chose to do the join with a K2tog, which leaves the bump on the inside of the jacket. I did this with the above jacket and did like it better.
Cautionary note: When doing the cuffs, they are joined with a SSSK or a K3tog! Lots of people started those cuffs thinking it would be the same as joining the band to the back piece.

4. Those sleeves -- if you look carefully at the pattern pictures and some other pictures at Knitter's - you will see that they are really more a 3/4 sleeve. With only one exception, everyone in the KAL chose to make the sleeves longer. I added 10 rows to mine.

5. This jacket is really a sort of jacket-shrug hybrid, hence those short sleeves. I think some people were a little disappointed with it, wanting it to be more of a jackety-jacket. They wanted it to close better,or they thought it too short or that the gorgeous rounded band should be re-designed for a squared-off front band effect.

For me, this is absolutely my kind of clothing and I love that rounded band -- I made a large size in a bulky yarn, so it turned out longer than the others' jackets. I don't really like a front closure, so that was not an issue for me. I have to say, though, in wearing, this does have a tendency to slip at the shoulders, so I've thinking about creating some kind of shawl pin that's more like a frog, that I will place closer to the neck, rather than in the middle where most people pin it together.

6. Finally, though this is a pretty casual item of clothing, and dramatically whimsical (people will stare, the curious will ask all kinds of questions about it ) when made in Noro yarns, there was one knitter in our group who made one that would definitely be considered dressy. She used a Blue Heron cotton ribbon yarn. It was drapey and lovely. Right now she's making a short-sleeved blouse of the same yarn to wear under the jacket. It will definitely be an elegant twin-set.

If you do make this jacket, I hope you enjoy the making and wearing as much as I did and do!!


In addition to the zillion things I'm committed to doing right now, I'm trying to spend a little time clearing up the UFO situation. This is a lace scarf/stole I started two years ago at least. I'm using some Twinkletoes hand-dyed sock yarn from Over the Rainbow and size 8 needles. It's really close to being finished, in fact I think I'm just going to bind it off!

The pattern is from the book A Creative Guide to Knitted Lace by Jan Eaton. Looks like it's OP now and only available from used book shops. I don't know if it will wind up being one of those scarce, pricey OP knitting books -it's a rather basic guide-but there aren't too very many out there and some of the prices are already twice the original $12.95. The "look-inside (tm)" feature is available on that link to Amazon, so you can check out the index and table of contents to see if it's something you might want to buy.

2007 FreeForm Challenge

I'm happy to report that I did finish all the pieces for the 2007 International Freeform Challenge and have sent the pictures off to Myra for the online exhibition. Soon I will send off the pieces themselves and they will get to be on display with the whole group's offerings at the freeform booth at (I think) the two Crochet Guild of America conferences this year.

Of course, I can't post the pictures here because we want the online exhibit to be a wonderful surprise, but here is the yarn I chose to work with for the last element I did, Air.

This was a fun project -- I learned quite a bit while doing it. The deadline has been extended several times and right now, it's been extended by an additional two weeks. So, if you like to scrumble and want to contribute, you still have time. You do not have to do all the elements and the 3-D ornament. You can participate with just one piece!

Upcoming Workshops

Well, I've enjoyed making this post today. I have to get back to work on the triloom weaving as I am again invited to do a workshop. This time, John and I will work together on the whole workshop as one day-long event. Last time, we separated the two. But I was SO glad he stayed for mine and intuitively knew just where he could jump in to help.

This time I can return the favor by helping where needed as he does the nuts-and-bolts of getting people started with the trilooms. It will also be good to integrate the two, so that people might be able to finish one of the small projects I've designed by starting the weaving for it in the morning session.

I am also part of a committee at a wonderful new integrative health center here, The Maple Center. I will write more of this later, but the committee is creating a daylong workshop about using the arts as healing tools for grief and loss.

I have thought long and hard about what I want to do as a service in memory of Patrick. While it might seem logical to work on issues of addiction and drug abuse, the fact is that I cannot bear to have that in my life. Going through what we went through as Patrick struggled with addiction was devastating and traumatic. Right now, just writing this and thinking about it, tears are welling in my eyes...

So, it came to me that my service in my son's name shall be to those suffering loss, particularly the loss of a child, but loss is loss. I want to share how I have chosen to answer the destruction and loss in my life with creation and love. I want to share how art has moved me through some of the worst, most despondent moments I've ever experienced.

This opportunity to work with a number of professionals at the Maple Center comes about because of the other tragedy in our congregation - the death of Lydia Laska, who was just 22 when she died this past December. Donations made in her name will be used to fund this workshop. I will be working on one of the sessions with Lydia's mother, Cathie, who is an art teacher, painter and weaver.
Peace, love,

Labels: , , ,