Lizards in the Leaves

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

Oct 31, 2008

Dia de Los Muertos...

...days to honor ancestors and one's dead in many traditions have this time for such reflection and ritual. This is considered to be the time of year when the 'veil between the worlds' thins.

I'm in the middle of a respiratory illness (problematical because of chronic asthma) so I can't do what I originally wanted to do this year. Here's just a wee offering...

First, something to make:

The full tutorial for this guy (they call him "Morty") can be found on the Berroco Design Blog here.

Here, to stand for all those of my beloved dead, is my mother George-Anna, c. 1926 at about age 3. You see behind her some of the iris she adored all her life, iris that my grandfather grew on his flower farm at College Hill, Ohio.
Yes, that is a real owl she is holding on the stick.
I don't remember the story about the owls exactly, but the clues to it are in several negatives in the family papers I salvaged, negatives of each of my mother's sisters and one of her father, holding small owls on a stick. I think that something happened to the mother owl and my mother's family handfed and raised the babies... I'm hoping I'll find more clues as I begin to read some of the massive amount of letters and writing my mother left.

I know that my Aunt Suzanne was always called Hootie because of her love for owls. I wonder if these pictures mark the time when that nickname came into being.

Owls are surrounded by myth and mystery. So I think this is a wonderful picture to post to mark this focus my thoughts on those who came before (whose lives have become so close to me as I've gone through the papers and built the family tree) and those dear ones who have left my sight in my lifetime....they know who they are. They know they are beloved still by me....
Blessed be,

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Oct 29, 2008

Vote, Baby, Vote!


Oct 27, 2008

Pretty Iro 81

Martha at RiverWools got in some new colors of Noro Iro, one of which just resonated with my inner soul - #81. I immediately made a pair of easy-peasy fingerless mitts and just as immediately gave them away to my friend Cheri, who always makes me the recipient of the Spring Hospice daffodil bouquet deliveries (and sends Harry and David when I have appendectomies..)

And then I made a second pair, doing the ribbing with a lovely bulky lilac wool yarn, Cascade 110. While I'm not so sure that mitts really do justice to the amazing colors in this colorway, I'm pleased with them. (Besides, I have three more skeins to work out the justice....)

Underneath these mitts, you might recognize the out-of-print, oft-sought, now-way-too-pricey Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt.

That's a story for another day....


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Oct 26, 2008

Poetry Reading - How it went

This picture is the only picture I took - when I first arrived. There was just no way I was going to be able to play photographer and still do the three things I needed to do: mc the reading, read for 15 minutes, and enjoy the poetry of others. So this is the only picture of that reading that you'll get.

If I had been able to take pictures, you would have seen that for most of the time it was standing room only and most of the attention was focused on the performances. We had 10 people sign up for the open reading and many listeners. And ALL the poetry was alive and meaningful (I never use "good" and "bad" to describe poetry, but prefer Anne Sexton's choice of "alive" or "dead." ) and we had men and women, young and older (our age range was 17 to 60.)

Sarah and I were very happy -- we planned a reading and people came! Lots of people asked if (and hoped that) poetry readings would become regular. I believe they will.



Oct 22, 2008

Poetry Readings


I'm nervous, I'm excited. This came about after Pete Wilson, owner of Coffee Grounds, saw something I'd posted about missing the readings that used to be there in the 90s. He wrote and asked if I'd like to organize a reading. Despite the fact that my dance card is pretty full with the Maple Center workshop on art and loss (a post due on that soon), I said OH YES!

If this goes well, we will try to make it a monthly event. On this first one, I get to be a 'featured poet' along with my friend Sarah, so I'll be reading for about 15 minutes. Oh, and the flyer was designed by my son Shaun. Thank you, Shaun!!!

I'm extra-excited, because I recently found out that another downtown poetry reading has been started at ArtReach. I've written about ArtReach here before - a downtown space that opens two nights for people to just come in and make art. Shelves of supplies to choose from, big tables and helpful Jack and Kathy if you'd like some direction or instruction. Sometimes Paul goes and plays saxophone in the gallery room while people are creating in the other:

I can't tell you what a warm feeling I get when I'm up there, with all the nice people in the space, working on something with one of my granddaughters, hearing my husband's music pouring from the other room. My daughter-in-law DeAnn's salon is quite literally underneath this space, on the first floor. The yarn shop is a few doors down on the other side. Cosy. Downtown Terre Haute is just a second home to me and getting moreso all the time.

Ahh, this turned into a Downtown Terre Haute lovefest...


Oct 20, 2008

Simple Things - Face Cloths

Here is the finished organic cotton face cloth (a wash cloth I use for making a comfort ritual of face washing with Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Milk) :
...and another - in WEBS Valley Cotton - a mercerized pearl cotton for weaving. I used a strand of 3/2 in Royal Lilac and a 5/2 in Lizard Green:

and another in FoxFiber organic cotton, a strand of a brown and a natural:
and a fourth in a very fine white cotton flake, two strands:
I haven't yet washed and dried these - all but the last are a little stiff, but should soften nicely after a good washing and a tumble in the dryer. The last one is yummy-soft already and I love the texture that the cotton flake creates - it's just a corner-to-corner garter stitch square like the first two, but looks quite different.

I have two giant cones of this cotton flake that I got on eBay years ago - I'm so pleased with the way it works up doubled. My intention when I bought it was to dye it, and perhaps I will now.

I really enjoyed working on these simple projects - these are great for mindfulness knitting. I used an Addi Lace circular for all (#3 or #4, I can't remember and I didn't write it down.) That nice point and the finish worked very well with these fine cottons to make the knitting a pleasure.

I loved the crochet edging work, too, which I just made up for each one. A simple single crochet around the basket weave, and a shell-like edging for the others. On the garter stitch cloths, I started with a CO 3, and on each row slipped the first stitch (as if to purl), then did an increase (K1front, K1back) of the second stitch. When I got to the width I wanted (somewhere around 50-60 stitches), I began to decrease, still slipping that first stitch and doing an SSK with the second and third stitches. That slipped first stitch gives a very nice base to crochet into for the edging.

One caveat: perhaps because of the bias knit, the cloths tend to take on a slight diamond shape rather than square. I don't know if there's something I could do to prevent this - my pals at the knitting shop thought I was being too critical/fussy about this!

And perhaps I am....


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Oct 4, 2008

Recuperating Knitting Thoughts

(Fairy Ring 08.22.08)

So I'm about 10 days after surgery and feel pretty well. I still have some minor soreness and tire a bit too easily, but all that should resolve in another week or so.

I have been resting a lot and thinking long thoughts and, what is most pleasing to me, have been doing a lot of knitting. I got out the three pairs of socks-in-progress that I hadn't touched in ages - two were stalled at the heels and one at the toe. I like to do heels and toes at home where I am not distracted and have the plain parts to do as carry-about knitting. So I turned two heels and kitchener-stitched a toe, cast on for the second sock of that pair and now have lots of the compact, plain knitting that socks can provide to occupy me when out and about.

For the longest time, I've been wanting to make more face cloths - I love knitting that I can use, it makes a nicer ritual of face-washing to have such cloths. I really want to have some in organic cotton, but kept resisting ordering some because:
a. there is so much available now that I had a hard time deciding on a particular yarn and color (I'm very attracted to Blue Sky Skinny in their low-impact dyes, but also like the natural colors)
b. I have so much stash, it's hard to justify any more yarn purchases

Then today, I remembered that I have some Fox Fiber organic cotton yarn on cones:
- in three colors and three sizes, all pretty fine. I just don't usually think of this because it's so fine. The last time I used this was for a little weaving and for my Peace Mother doll.

My hankering to have a little organic cotton face cloth made me get out the Fox Fiber...and then there was that 'd'oh' moment. Double it - use two strands - d'oh.....

So...I picked the 3/2 oatmeal, wound off a ball and started my little heart's desire, using one strand from the center and the other from the outside.

Its softness is okay, but I think that with a good washing and some time in the dryer, it will be moreso.
Fox Fiber also has the characteristic of darkening after washing, so that will be fun to see how it changes.

In any case, this was a good reminder to me to remember that finer coned yarns meant for weaving can often be bought at a very good price and that using one or more strands makes them suitable for knitting.

One caveat to remember though is that often yarns meant for weaving (especially warp yarns) have been coated with a sizing agent to strengthen them to withstand the weaving process. When washed, the yarns soften and full. This can wreak havoc with a knitted project in which gauge is important. So if one is going to use weaving yarns to knit a garment, it is best to skein the yarns and wash them first. See this post by the Yarn Harlot, wherein she skeins and washes the yarn she used to make Kate Gilbert's interesting Sunrise Circle Jacket, a pattern from the Spring 2006 Interweave Knits.

Well, those are some of my knitting thoughts today. I'm hoping to use this down time to sort through WIPs and get some more things worked on or completed or....gulp....frogged.