Lizards in the Leaves

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

Mar 24, 2008

Two Years Since....

This second anniversary of Patrick's death has been far more difficult than I expected, for both Paul and me.
Perhaps because of my mother's recent death, perhaps because that first anniversary was almost looked forward to....I think we have this notion of a Mourning Year that gives us a sense that something has been completed, that things will get better after that year, that healing can truly begin.

and they do. and it does.

the second anniversary has come around and brought with it intense memories, feelings, sensations of that terrible, awful weekend and the stunning days following.

I've been unable to write much about Patrick, and I've been unable to think complete thoughts about him. It's just images, phrases, bits and pieces of feeling that are weaving in and out of the days and nights lately. And I don't seem to have the....will or energy... to direct them into anything coherent.

Paul wrote this year. Better than I've been able to write.

"Monday, March 17, 2008

For Patty, on a Special Day

Hello Patty. Today I miss you worse than ever, but at the same time I feel your presence, your energy, even more than usual. Still living between your nightmares, even creating a few new ones on my own unfortunately. (It’s hard for the old man to deal with the energy sometimes, but so far the collateral damages have not been completely devastating mostly because of the kindness of those involved.)

Anyway it occurs to me that there is more beauty, more vitality in one of your nightmares - and I have shared some of them - than in all of the so-called happy dreams I’ve had my entire life. Another thought from outside: when I’m running around town and get into a kind of bubble, imperviously floating from one street to the next, as if the traffic stops for me or somehow lets me sift through, no one even aware of my presence, then I’m simply being gone and continuing on with that feeling the rest of a day, I think of how you floated through your time here so quickly, in some ways with everyone being so unaware of your real consciousness even if you did affect everyone so deeply with your creative energy, your smile, your surface happiness, your zest for life. And it really makes me happy and sad at the same time, tears of joy and sadness for having known you and still being so connected with you despite the gap that grew between us the last couple years before you passed over.

I know that sometimes you thought about death, as a release from the torture you were going through, even as you struggled for life, but now as you move into the light, I want to thank you for all the energy and creativity you’ve released in me - what a fantastic gift. I am still working on how best to use it, constructively and in a centered way (it’s tough but nothing I’d rather be learning). I don’t know if you ever could have imagined while you were on this side what effect you have had on me; but now that you are getting the word I hope it works for you too Patty. Hope it helps you into the light.

You know we’ll never forget you, never stop loving you, and whenever I play it’s for you.

Saint Patty’s Day 2008

Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.
Sarah Ban Breathnach

Mar 5, 2008

An Elephant

This is a favorite book of my granddaughter Sophia:
An elephant encounters a chubby little red-haired baby, invites him for a ride and then goes on a bit of a gustatory crime spree, stealing cookies, meat pies, apples...and going 'rumpeta, rumpeta, rumpeta all down the road' ....with a growing line of shopkeepers chasing after them.

It's a splendid read for grandmas who used to want to be actresses and quite enjoy dramatic picture book interpretation. And I have lovely memories of my husband reading this to Patrick when he was Sophia's age. Unfortunately, as I looked for current places selling the book, I discovered it is out of print in the US and only available at a reasonable price in the UK. My copy is one we've had since the 80s and is literally in pieces.

Sophia and I have had so much fun with this book that when I saw a simple pattern for a knitted elephant, I just had to make one for her.
Two actually -- here you see the nearly-finished first one, and the completed flat body of a second, larger one:

Finished, wearing a little hat of a spool-knitted scrap:
And here Elephant is united with her new owner, a little red-headed not-so-chubby toddler:

I got the pattern out of this book written for children:

Here is a picture of the follow-up book.
Both of these books are essentially '....the Waldorf approach to knitting captured between two covers...' You can read more about them near the bottom of this page at Bob and Nancy's Bookshop.

Next, I think I am going to make a little pink piggy and I'd like to make that gnome pictured on the cover...

Mar 3, 2008

Kunstbar (Art Bar)

Be careful what you order at the Art Bar.....

Mar 2, 2008

Making Gifts for Others

Normally, I don't start out to knit or crochet something with the idea in mind that it will be for a specific person. Well, unless it's for me...and it's probable that I start out with me in mind for most everything I knit or crochet.

I have a miserable track record with finishing things that start out being for a specific person. Furthermore, it's worse if I the person knows I'm making something for them. Even if they want to pay me. Ask Marie who waited more than a year for some fingerless mitts. So that's why I just won't do commission work and why, if I am making something for someone, I try not to tell them I'm making them something.

Of course, if you make something for someone and have kept it a secret and not gotten any input from them, you run the risk of making something that the person won't like. Which creates all kinds of sitcom-type possibilities - the hideous afghan that is hurriedly pulled out when the maker visits, or worse, isn't found until the maker discovers it has been used in the doghouse.

I know someone who knitted a scarf for another and saw it later lying crumpled on the floor of the recipient's car along with accumulated detritus of fast-food wrappers and other trash.

So when I set out to make something for my daughter-in-law DeAnn, and determined to keep it a secret until Christmas...I knew I was taking some risks. I mitigated them in several ways:

(1) by making something she had seen, tried on and admired when we went together to a tea sponsored by my LYS, Riverwools and my LBS (local bead shop) Beading Paradise. Yarn and bead samples were given out, and lots of finished objects were passed around. One was the Chanson en Crochet from Wrap Style. DeAnn tried it on and looked smashing in it. I could tell she liked it a lot and I think that the impulse to make one for her came to me that moment.

(2) by telling my granddaughter Raven about the project, swearing her to secrecy, and soliciting her opinion on the color choice. Now color is another issue involved in Knitting for Others: I simply cannot bear to work with colors that I find irritating, no matter how much the other person loves them. So to insure my finishing the project, it's vital that I work in a color that is, at the least, not irritating. Love of process is a huge part of why I do what I do, so the process must be fulfilling and pleasing to me.

(3) by creating for myself a Rule of Non-attachment and No Expectation. I decided that any time I give someone a gift I've made, particularly if it is a surprise....I will give it freely, without attachment to either the object itself or the expectation that the person will love it, wear it, use it. And I will tell that person so! I will tell them that all I need is to know that they know how much love and affection for them comes with the gift and how much pleasure I got from making it and thinking about them. I will tell them that I will absolutely understand if it does not resonate with their spirit and that if not, I would like them to pass the gift along.

I know that the above all sounds a bit woo-woo, and perhaps even ridiculous and impossible. I'm sure that some will think it's just pretty words, that I couldn't possibly really feel that way.

But I do. And I can say that I felt an amazing freedom open for me when I thought that out. A freedom to make something for a particular someone, the opportunity to think about a person I care about as I'm planning, to hold them in my heart as I work. I will still try very hard to make something I believe they will like and, hopefully, love. But it's really okay if that doesn't happen, so long as the object carries my intention to them. It's okay if the object itself moves on.

That particular project for DeAnn turned out splendid all the way around. I loved working on it, and she loves wearing it. She recognized it immediately as the capelet design she'd tried on at the tea. It turns out to be a perfect little wrap for her to wear at work. She's a hair stylist and it gives her the extra warmth when she needs it, with all the freedom to move her arms she needs.

Here is DeAnn modeling it for me one day in her shop, The Parlor:

Because DeAnn finds wool uncomfortable, I made this in a cotton I love to work with: Manos Stria. It works up into quite a light garment compared to other cottons, and the softly shifting color variations are very pleasing to me (you can see them better in this picture:)
I used a leaf button:
The pattern is from the Interweave Press book Wrap Style
and if you have this book, do click the link there for the corrections downloads!
It's a good idea to do a search for errata or corrections for any books you get. Lately, it seems like every pattern I've been drawn to is one with mistakes in it. This capelet had some doozies, but luckily I realized that something was amiss with the pattern before I got to that part, so I had no frogging to do (do you frog crochet or is there another word for undoing rows and rows of crochet?)

Now here's the best news. This capelet pattern is available at the Interweave site for FREE!
And it's the corrected version....
Chanson en Crochet