Lizards in the Leaves

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

Oct 19, 2014

Michael Carter, RIP

My younger brother died last month.

 I had the immense grace of being with him and my sister as he breathed his last, gentle breaths.

Now, we are two where once we were five.

Michael Channing Carter 1954-2014

Michael (already disabled with a back injury and poor, with no insurance) suffered tremendously for 15 months, beginning with abdominal surgery, septic shock, coma and major stroke in ICU. He survived all that only to encounter one health crisis after another in the months that followed. In the middle he had cancer, too.  He could not walk, nor could he speak or write because of the stroke. He went through radiation, chemo, more surgery and was declared cancer-free. He was an optimist and full of hope, seeming to come back from every setback with new determination to recover a meaningful quality of life.

On his 6oth birthday, after another surgery, he was told that his tissues were dying, that there was nothing more to be done. He entered palliative care and hospice. They asked if he was afraid of death. He said no. They asked him if he was afraid of pain and the process. He said yes. They told him they could help with that. And they did.

We were able to access a music channel that had peaceful, calming instrumentals, Celtic, New that vein. It played the entire time.  This, Pacific II by William Ackerman, was playing during those final moments six days later, pure serendipity. A song from one of my favorite albums. It wasn't until I listened to it again later that I realized how uncannily it mirrored those last breaths and long pauses.

So I am once again deeply grieving, wrestling with that question that comes up for me again and again: how do we accept the suffering of those whom we love?

I am sad and unmoored right now. But carrying on.

Blessed be. Namaste. Love, love, love.

Oct 16, 2014

Popping over say I still exist. Life and travel started happening for me back in July and my blog languished.

Since I last wrote I made an amazing trip to the east coast. A trip that had trips-within-the-trip. Ostensibly I was making a visit to see my son Ian in Boston. As planning progressed, I wound up with the following additional journeys:
5 days in Manchester, NH for the Crochet Guild of America annual conference.
2 days in Northampton, MA for a visit with friends from my bookseller days, a poetry reading and WEBS
2 days in Holliston, MA for a visit with my friend Kate at her gorgeous shop Kamala, where I participated in a SoulCollage workshop and two lovely women's circles.

In between all those visits, I had lazy days with my son where we just hung out together at his house. Knitting, binge-watching Netflix shows, getting to know my furry grandchildren, Moochie & Pixie.

I got to see the ocean for the first time since I moved to Indiana from Florida two decades ago. I also challenged my travel-phobia by taking a bus back and forth to Northampton by myself and negotiating the T back in in Boston on my return.

It took me a long while to fully return to Terre Haute. It was as though my body arrived back home one day and my spirit arrived many days later. Very odd feeling that was!

I got busy on some new goals. I've decided I'd like to be a better teacher and develop some interesting workshops and that I need to become more confident in my teaching.  To that end, I made plans with Martha at RiverWools to teach three classes in the next few months.

My first class is based on a simple short-row shrug I've designed. I'm calling it "Wedgies!" and will teach a little 'wedge theory' so that, hopefully, students might design their own short-row wedge garments.

I've had a lot of fun working on my materials and presentation and as I worked, my original EZ-PZ Short-Row Shrug became a little more polished and is now called 'Popover.'  I will give students both patterns, I think.

Some pictures of the shrug done in Noro, but it also works up nicely as a solid as well, though not quite so dramatically patterned and colorful!

Jul 15, 2014

Stitching a poem

A poem-making feeling comes over me as I am engaged in stitching these bits of cloth harvested from old sheets and clothes, some dyed/ stained with plants and berries. 

This is about floating and windows and  things passing by,like full moons ...

Jul 11, 2014

And one more test

Here is a photo from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery. I love the caption, "and she proceeded to burn perfume and repeat spells until the sea foamed and was agitated..."

Guinare of the sea Illustration by Maxfield Parrish

from The Arabian Nights: their best-known tales, by Kate Douglas Wiggin


Thinking of my friend Athena Perrakis, the Sage Goddess.


This may be my 500th blog post

...and I am using it to do more testing with posting from my iPad.
I want to see if I can do links. So here is the link to Jude Hill's blog 
Spirit Cloth

I have been reading her blog on and off for years, admiring the elegant magic of her work, been inspired by her asking 'what if...?'

This is one of the first things I made as I began Spirit Cloth 101:

The purple is fabric from a favorite pair of pants that wore until the cloth was soft, soft, soft and the seam gave way. This was years ago. I am glad I saved the fabric and am now using it. The patches are small pieces of one of the eco-dyed fabrics I made with Sophia.

So far, I am happy with this test. Will have to see how it posts.

Fabric Foraging

I am taking Jude Hill's Spirit Cloth 101 workshop (and getting a great deal out of it), but I don't have a great variety of the sort of cloth pieces I would like to do this type of work with: worn, soft natural fiber.
First, I rummaged through my own clothes that I had set aside for the annual yard sale we have with the rest of the block. Then, I made a foraging run to Goodwill. This was the result:

Mostly cotton, a couple of linen-rayon blends.
This next is possibly my favorite, originally a skirt. I may dye a few pieces of it.
I also like these, a fine gauzy material in two layers, the vertical stripes were on the inside of the garment, the plaid on the outside.
This post is an experiment, too. I am trying to see how I can post using my iPad. It would not let me upload pictures through the browser, though I could do text. So I am writing this as a journal entry in my MacJournal app, which has a 'send to blog' feature.
Here goes!

Jun 30, 2014

Botanical Dyeing

I have no idea if I'm doing this right  (I suspect there are a lot of "right" ways), but I like the results.

Trying to keep my granddaughter occupied on Saturday, I hit on the idea of doing an experiment in eco or botanical dyeing. I'm sure that there are better ways to do this, ones that might make the results less fugitive, but I played it by ear. It was an experiment after all.

First, we  ripped up a section of an old cotton sheet I thrifted some time ago.  She really enjoyed learning how you can make a tiny cut with scissors, then rip and wind up with  nice straight edges. I love the look of a ripped edge, with the threads unraveling here and there.

Then we went outside and gathered our botanicals:  mint leaves, clover blossoms, melissa, fallen petals, Along with a handful of black raspberries from a local farm, we were ready.

We each placed things randomly, folded the sheets, then rolled them around a stick and tied them.

We popped them into a steamer basket and pot that I have reserved for dyeing only.  I let them steam for four hours, adding water now and then. Then I let them sit awhile.

After unrolling and picking off the botanicals, I rinsed them in cool water, then gave them a dip in a vinegar/water bath and rinsed again.  Thinking dryer heat might help set the stains (yup, that's what this is: conscious stain-making), I dried them in the dryer. Then I ironed them.

And I think our experiment was a success!  I hesitate to make anything from these that might need regular washing, but I am definitely brainstorming other ways to use these textiles.

May 29, 2014

Unfinished Object Question

Can I get myself back into the headspace to finish this?

May 20, 2014

Catching Up

I was honestly shocked when I realized that I have not posted a thing for more than six weeks.  Even though I have that Blogging Without Guilt button over there in the sidebar, I still feel kind of awful that I don't nurture my blog enough.  Very glad Lizards in the Leaves is not a plant.  ( I'm a dreadful plant-nurturer as well.)

Since I last wrote I attended the Small Knits Symposium   held in Bloomington, IN. It was great fun and reminded me of how very much I enjoy being with the tribe of the Yarn People. I roomed with designer Barbara Benson, took classes from Lorilee Beltman, got to meet designer Sivia Harding and see everyone's lovely work.  The final event was a great brunch and an even greater presentation by the brilliant, inventive Cat Bordhi.  She brought pictures of some of her trips to Peru and told stories of her encounters with yarn and knitters there.

The book I brought for Cat to sign was not one of her knitting books. It was my worn paperback copy of Treasure Forest, a fiction book she intended to be the first of three. Alas, no more seem to be forthcoming. I bought this a month after Patrick died, and there was so much in it that spoke to what I was feeling at the time.  It seemed to delight her that I brought that book, and she told me that 'everything important" to her was in it.

In addition to the SKS, that same month (April) was National Poetry Month.  I managed to facilitate the publication of our fourth community 'open mic in a book', subTerreanean AND I completed my fourth NaPoWriMo - the challenge to write a poem every day.

Here is #21/30:

my intention
feels clear.

to wind a warp
of strong words,

for weft.

i weave

through an ocean
of fine cotton,

a sky of fragile silk

long pauses

to fall

Finally, at the last minute, I managed to complete the 2014 Int'l Freeform Guild Challenge. This year the challenge was to use only one color.  Awfully hard for me and I gave up. And it felt okay to give up. Much more okay than to continue the fruitless struggle that I had been having.  And wouldn't you know, after basking in a warm glow of relief, I had an inspiration that allowed me to get back into the challenge.

I can't reveal my piece yet, but will post as soon as the online show is live.

Right now, I am madly crocheting and knitting some sculptural bits and pieces that will become something or things. I am enjoying making them in the newest cotton-rich Noros: Taiyo Sport and Kibou.

One thing that they seem to want to become is: gloves.  (Remember, I make clothes to wear in dreams and alternate realities....) Here is the first one: Glove for Setting Intention (the intention set is to make at least five of these.)