Lizards in the Leaves

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

Apr 26, 2007

a very quick note

I have been very busy with a lot of details involved in the planning of the workshop on using the arts as a path through grief and loss. I've also been rather stunned at how difficult it has been for me to go back through my poetry and artwork of the past year so I can share it during the workshop.

I shouldn't be so stunned.

I should have known that those feelings are powerful and enduring and remembered that an ocean of tears is just below my surface.

I'm having a hard time, though, preparing the talk I am to give in the opening session. I have decided to treat it as a poetry reading and build it around some of my poems, most of them posted here when I wrote them.

More in a few days. I just wanted to check in.
(And I will have two new shawls to share - one which I did entirely in the random lace! )

Apr 20, 2007

2007 International Freeform Exhibit

It's up!
The online show for the 2007 International Freeform Exhibit is here.

I am filled with joy at being part of this.
My contributions can be seen here and here. If you love freeform, you will be enchanted by all the interpretations of the challenge subjects, The Elements. And the Tree of Life ornaments...oh my.
It is interesting to me to see the differences, and to see the unity as well.

I want to give public praise to Myra Wood, who took on the task of co-ordinating this challenge. She patiently answered questions, extended deadlines, and put together the online show. She is now receiving the actual pieces and is creating the in-person exhibit!

All the pieces will be put together in four wall hangings and the ornaments hung on a tree. They will be exhibited at the July national conference of the Crochet Guild of America, and the regional conference in Oakland in the fall. These conferences include knitting as well....

Scrumble for Women's Artistic Soul exchange-March

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Apr 14, 2007

The Very Special Shawl

Here is the seventh Isis shawl, made of that lovely thick-and-thin hand-dyed cotton I wrote about in my last entry. The Isis shawl is the pattern I chose to use for calming comfort work the week after Patrick's death, and over this last year I've posted pictures of the previous six shawls. I've given four of them away, the last one to my friend Cathie upon the loss of her daughter Lydia in December.

It is a very special pattern to me because of that connection. And because I began calling it the Isis shawl when I discovered it reminded me of Isis' wings when it is spread out and then months later read that the Isis myth is considered to be an archetype of grief and mourning. I read that in a book about losing a child. Synchronicity - yes!

On this one, I added to the inside back neck a small peace sign
because it was a gift to:

Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war activist whose son was killed in Iraq.

I was asked to make "something special" for her as a gift from Terre Haute Stop War on Iraq - our local group that formed in opposition to this war months before the war began.

I had the honor and pleasure of presenting it to Cindy at the beginning of her speech here in Terre Haute yesterday.

In the presentation, I told her it was knit with thoughts of her and her journey throughout, with admiration for her speaking truth to power, with profound hope for peace in the world.
I said I hoped she would feel it as a hug from one grieving mother to another. And I got to tell her that the Terre Haute activists for peace and justice think she rocks.

She was warm and generous of spirit and she gave me a big hug and quietly asked me what happened to my son. Then she proceeded to wear the shawl during the speech and in the lobby where she signed books and spoke with people afterwards.

I was as impressed with her speaking in person as I have always been impressed by her television interviews. She is articulate, knowledgable, and has a powerful but calm presence, and holds her own quite well when dealing with those who confront her with hostility. (And, boy, does she get confronted!)

On a lighter note, earlier this week I was running about saying I'm SO glad Cindy Sheehan is 6 feet tall. That's because the shawl came out much bigger than all the others I made because the yarn was thicker and needles larger. I had seriously considered taking out the final section (about 12 rows, looooooong rows) and reworking the edging row. And then I googled "how tall is Cindy Sheehan" and was astonished to actually have at the top of the list a link to a bio that had her height. My friend Cathy, who had met her at Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas, confirmed it. So it was actually serendiptous that the shawl came out so much larger than I'd expected.

In this picture, she is describing to me the very large peace pipe she was given at a previous speech, and saying she is happy that the shawl will be a bit easier to pack and carry.


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Apr 11, 2007

Tri-loom / Freeform Crochet Scarf

Here's a new scarf I've done with 9 triangles woven on the 12" tri-loom with 1/2" nail spacing. This generally gives me a loosely-woven tri and I'm enjoying working with this weave. This is done on the first tri-loom I got, from Laffing Horse/Common Threads.

The yarn is a thick'n'thin cotton with polyester binder, hand-dyed and purchased quite awhile back from Over the Rainbow yarns on eBay. Mary Ann hasn't offered this cotton in a long time, and I love working with it, so I'm glad I bought and stashed about 8 skeins. Each skein has about 375 yards and is enough for a knitted shawl or 3 of these woven/crocheted scarves.

I love the way it looks woven. Here are a couple of detail pics:

I joined the triangles with lines of freeform crochet, and was pleased with the way the triangles curved and distorted a bit. My freeform here consists mostly of sc and slip stitch, free in number and direction, rather than a lot of variation in stitches.

This feels nice and drapes well. Here are some different ways to wear it:

After Friday, I will post about a very special shawl I've made of this yarn....


Apr 9, 2007

Kiki's Random Lace

I finally started playing with the idea of knitting lace without following a pattern which Kiki at LusciousGracious calls "Random Lace." She has a very nice tutorial here.

This is just plain fun! And fast. And the results are very nice.

Here are my first two swatch forays, both done in Sockotta sock yarn with high cotton content (45%, I think, I can't find the ball band....) on #9 needles (cast-on and off with #13.)

I want to make some light spring/summer scarves, so began one in Garnstudio Silke-Tweede, which is 52% silk/48% lambswool.
Here it is nearly done:
The color is most true in the above pictures, a kind of light denim blue. I cast 0n and off with #13 needles and knitted the lace with #9. I didn't worry a lot about stitch count, a randomly shifting width was okay with me. It actually came out pretty straight-edged, even though my rows varied from 24 to 36 stitches. I started out with 24 stitches, allowing 2 stitches at each side for edge stitches. On all even rows, I slipped the first stitch purlwise, k1, k in random lace to the last 2 stitches, k2.
On odd rows, I slipped the first stitch purlwise, k1, purled across to last 2 stitches, k2.
It is edged with crochet, 2 hdc in each of the slipped edge stitches.
I did not edge at top and bottom -- I like it this way, and I think it drapes better, but it was a design-by-accident choice. I ran out of yarn just as I completed the side edging.

I "blocked" this by dampening it and using my fingers and steam iron to open the fabric. I know we're not ever, ever supposed to iron knitting (unless we are pre-meditating 'killing the yarn'), but I do very, very lightly allow the iron to touch the yarn. This is how I generally block. I like the result, but I'm not saying it's the proper way to do these things.

I've started another scarf in the Sockotta in the first picture above, and I'm doing it lengthwise, casting on 160 stitches.
So, if you haven't already done so, go take a lesson from Kiki and have some freeform lace fun!
And if lace isn't your wont, do take a look around elsewhere at LusciousGracious -- tons of inspiration, many free patterns and you will fall in love with this wonderful creative family!

Apr 8, 2007


I am thrilled to discover that wonderful crafty site, Whip Up, chose to show one of my projects (along with many other people's projects) in their inspiration post for their April Whiplash challenge, which is Cosies.

It was the felted knitting needle cosies I made from Cat Bordhi's pattern. You can read about it in my original post here. The larger cosy I showed being made in that post wound up adorning my ever-present water bottle.

This reminded me that I had another cosy post, in August of 2005, featuring my inhaler cosy. You can read about that one here.

Here's a picture of it today --
I have been kind of surprised at how well it has held up, considering it was made of a lightly spun thick merino singles. I suppose the sturdiness is due to its being felted, although it was not felted to the point of losing stitch definition. In fact, you can quite easily pull at it and open the spaces between the stitches.

It is literally in my pocket or purse every day, with all the rubbing and stuff jabbing at it that entails. Hmm, that sounds a bit like felting instructions - perhaps the life it leads just felts it more! It's got a bit of dirt collected, but no pills and no stitches have come apart.

I am being jabbed at now by the urge to create some kind of life metaphor out of this....our souls being felted in the pocket of Life....coming out a bit dirty, but strong...okay, okay, a bit grandiose, but I think my best ideas and metaphors begin wildly. It's the way I work, brainstorming and wild ideas -- believing absolutely that it's 'easier to tone down a wild idea than polish up a dull one.' So, one of these days I won't be surprised if a more subtle metaphor between felting and life will emerge somewhere in my poetry.

Apr 2, 2007

Three Works in Progress and a Finished Object

I took this picture last week, while busily working on three projects at once. I had them all out before me as I worked a bit on this one, a bit on that. Short attention span knitting. It made me quite happy inside to see the colors and fiber all together like that.

What we have here (clockwise from the top left) are two (yes, two!) more Round Trip Jackets and a Clapotis and three different Noro yarns.

I am making a Round Trip for my sister in Iro 61 (same as the pink/purple one I posted earlier), a Round Trip for me in Kochoran 18 and the Clapotis in Silk Garden 87.

(Actually, I have now finished my sister's RT. It is awaiting a bit of steaming and it shall be packed up and sent off by the end of the day. )

I started the Kochoran RT at about the same time I began my sister's. This pattern knits up fast when you do the bulkier yarn version. I'll post photos and construction details on the Kochoran when it's complete.

This is the second Clapotis I've done. The first I did in a fairly solid Mountain Colors Mountain Goat. I made it smaller than the pattern and thought it was ingenious and satisfying to knit, but wasn't terribly excited about the final piece. This one is full size and has all the excitement and change Noro provides. All the stitch markers are a visual delight as I work -- the ones I'm using are Susan Aguirre's Goddess Guards in purple and green with a couple of the ones made by Peacock, my wonderful Secret Pal 7 benefactress.

Clapotis has been my carry-around of late and I'm already contemplating doing another!

Oh, and here's the lace stole completed. But I feel like it needs Something on the ends - it's so long already, though, that I hesitate to do fringe. I'm seriously thinking of gathering the ends and doing a tassel sort of thing....

Weellllll...maybe not...
Here's to making all the UFOs and WIPS into FOs!