Lizards in the Leaves

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

Jan 29, 2014

Stephen West Free Blanket Pattern

 A few days ago, I went on Ravelry (which I don't do often enough) and checked out all the Stephen West patterns I hadn't yet seen.  One of the things I downloaded was a free pattern for Garter Squish, a blanket made with doubled yarn on #15 needles.

It's really just a LOT of garter stitch.  There are two things that make it nicer - one, an easy-peasy I-cord border and, two, using the same yarn as the second yarn throughout.  This allows you to use a pretty wide range of yarns for the first, and gives it a color cohesiveness.

What really excited me was being able to use up a lot of the Noro Kureyon I have in stash. I love Noro and Kureyon was my first experience with it. But, truthfully, it is not an easy yarn to wear. I have, of, course, worn it  just because the colors were so unique and beautiful and wild, invoking the phrase,' Il faut souffrir pour etre belle.'  Though I am generally opposed to suffering for beauty, I'd make an exception for Kureyon.

Now the reason I can use it in a blanket that I fully intend to wrap myself, and snuggle down. into, is because that second yarn I'm pairing it with is Plymouth Encore. The softness of the Encore seems to be totally mitigating the roughness of the Kureyon.

This is a meditative knit and, as always, the lovely color changes of Noro, keep my interest high.

 Here it was 4 days ago:

and here it is today:

I'm wondering if I will finish it before the Polar Vortex finishes with us.  In any case, it has now grown enough to start being useful across my lap even as I am still knitting it.

Jan 17, 2014

Change, Words 2014, Age

This really is feeling like a time for some radical inner change for me.
Shifting. Transforming. Releasing a lot.
I’ve been thinking about Silence, about talking less. Listening more. Thinking more.
And Attention, Presence. More of that, too.

And Loving - Adoring - my perfectly imperfect life.

I finally chose my Word of the Year for 2014.
Okay,  it’s four words. Two pairs, one I’ll share, one I am keeping private.

Crescent moon necklace by Stacy De La Rosa
Brass (stamped with my Words) necklace by Liz Lamoreux

My public words:  Make + Move

exploring them:

make space make art make love
make progress  make waves make mistakes
make sense   make music
make ends meet  make a mark   make the best of it
make a full disclosure   make it work

move forward   move aside   move mountains  move heaven and earth
move it or lose it   move on   move through
move in   move over   move out of the way
make a move  put the moves on  get a move on 

and of course: make a move!

I’ve also been thinking about age - about being 62 and saying that. I’ve been wondering if I can drop the thought of my age in years. Because there is so much negative stuff attached to the numbers. Even the lower numbers have their own issues, but these upper ones seem to be almost physically harmful in the images and associations.

What if I can reframe, dump the baggage, rather than the number?

Or maybe it could be as simple as to stop claiming to be an age - as in “I am 62.”
Rather say, as the French: “J’ai 62 ans” - “I have 62 years.”

I have... the Wisdom of 62 years.
I have ... the joys & sorrows of 62 years.
62 whole years.
I own 62 years.

Yeah, I like that.  I OWN 62 years.
I’m good with trying it out for awhile.

What about you? Start answering the question, 'How old are you? with 'I OWN X# years.'
Then let me know how it feels for you.

September 2013,
Cake & Candles -  chosen for me  by my granddaughter, Sophia

Zann Carter, est. 1951.

Jan 11, 2014

Polar Vortex Jitters

For a week now, I've lived with ratcheted-up anxiety.

 A constant, low-level, jangling vibration running through my solar plexus chakra, which is where I usually experience worry, fear, anxiousness.  In the last decade or so, I've had a great deal of healing surrounding patterns of panic and anxiety, but found it difficult to find my space of tranquility with the intensity of this winter storm, the almost-a-foot of snow, the subzero temps, the threat of losing our power as so many others did, and a definite skirmish with some virus, threatening to end my record streak of not having any horrible respiratory infections since December 2012.

I sit here today, with the temperatures in a perfectly tolerable range, with the snow melting away, with our internet back and the stopped-up kitchen sink (which we lived with for 3 days) fixed. I am breathing pretty easily and feel - dare I say it - a bit perky! But also,  looking back over the last week, feeling a bit defeated. I'd hoped to accomplish so much this week!

 I even thought being stormbound was going to be a deepening of the journey I am embarking upon this year - a journey marked by my personal 2014 year card being The Hermit.

 IX - The Hermit, from Full Moon Dreams, a handmade deck by Lunaea Weatherstone
(She has an oracle page, using this deck. Try it!)

 I thought that auspicious when I did the calculation - The Hermit is also my Soul/Personality card for my whole lifetime. The Hermit. A kind of inner Seeker. Wisdom unfolds with Hermit. I'd like some, please.

But all I felt was anxiety and a sort of malaise that kept me from the tasks I'd embarked upon (for one, a great purging of my personal books as well as the bookselling stock.)

 Instead,  sleep, sleep, more sleep. Cocooned under two blankets with Lily curled in the bend of my legs. Delicious sleep. No anxiety when I slept.

And distraction. Reading when the internet vanished. Mostly Yeats'  Celtic Twilight: Faerie and Folklore (free Kindle edition here.) Watching Mr. Selfridge when it came back.

And knitting & crochet?  In my mind, I kept visualizing myself getting to projects I need and want to do:

tweaking and writing up patterns for my Starbrim Hat, my short-row hat & shrugs
selecting my all one-color yarns for the 2014 Freeform Challenge
finishing the piece I only submitted as a work-in-progress for the 2011 Challenge
pulling together the freeform workshop I will be teaching in April
sitting down at my Saori loom for the first time in months.

Instead, I sat and knitted another Very Long Scarf. Much garter, with random bands of stockinette. Knitting sleep.


Jan 1, 2014

New Year's Invitations 2014

This is what I'm doing today, sending invitations to that which I want in my life in 2014.

I'm inviting many of the same things this year as I did last.  Most of them came to the party, although the party of the year 2013 was definitely not as joyful or big or lively as I'd planned. In fact, much of it was filled with sadness, anxiety, frustration, despair.

 In June, my brother became critically ill, had a major stroke in ICU on top of septic shock and, at 59, is in a nursing home facing huge challenges and hurdles. He was already disabled, unemployed, poor, going to school to try to learn something he could make a small living doing. He was living on student loans. Now what little he had is gone, the whole fabric of the little life he was creating for himself, shredded. I am hundreds of miles away.  I wrestle again with the issue of suffering, of how we manage to engage with joy in our own lives when someone we love is struggling, suffering, losing so much.

I do not know The Answer. I just keep juggling, reframing, centering myself. And I pray a lot.  I keep a lot inside - so it might surprise people to know just how much pain I am in - on a daily basis - over my brother's situation and my inability to do anything to change it significantly.

The other issues I faced in 2013 are insignificant by comparison with what happened to my brother. I'll save my frustration for my private journal, though I know sometimes that others find it useful to see their own frustrations are not unique, but shared.

I'll just say that I struggle with the way I use (or don't use) my time. I should have a lot more to show for the year's work than I do.

So. Breathing deeply.  One thing I rarely lose: Hope. Capital-H Hope. And I am embracing this day as a day of quiet ritual, of active, moving affirmations devoted to the things I want in my life.

fiber art
functional space (making this is what I do instead of 'decluttering')
clean hair
clean diet
tai chi, lots of movement
self-care simplified


Lately, I have been knitting these LOOOOOOONNNNNNG scarves.

Not as long as any of the Dr. Who scarves, but perhaps 7 feet. Haven't measured yet. Garter stitch, big needles, cotton & silk-rich Noro yarns . A little stockinette here and there to break up the garter. But utterly simple knitting overall.  I won't say I meditate the whole time I am knitting these, but often enough that I am coming to think of them as my meditation.

And I am loving wearing the long scarf, the  smooshiness of the big stitches, the generous wrap of beautiful fibers at my neck, the insouciant long swath of colors dangling down my body. Sounds like I'm writing an etsy description and I just may - may- have a shop opened this year. We shall see.

Meanwhile, I am just knitting right now. Thinking long thoughts. Meditating.
Inviting a few good things to a small party.

 bright blessings of the new year + new moon