Mar 30, 2014
Mar 26, 2014
Pondering NaPoWriMo - a National Poetry Month challenge to write a poem a day in April. I have successfully done it three times now and the experience has always shifted my work in meaningful ways plus given me a great deal of material to work with, even a few poems that are pretty whole, requiring little in the way of revision.
But this April, I will be away at the Small Knits Symposium for 4 days at the end of the month. So the pondering is on how that will affect the poem-a-day goal. Do I start early or finish late? Do I try to write poems during the symposium? That will mean handwritten because I don't intend to take my computer. I will have my iPad which has a MacJournal app (MacJournal is the environment in which I journal and write poetry) though writing on the iPad is cumbersome to me.
Part of my writing process is working on a keyboard. Whether typewriter in the olden days or computer now, I have always noticed a dramatic difference in flow compared to composing poetry in manuscript. I have used that difference, too. The act of handwriting must use different neural pathways or something. There is definitely a difference in the way I connect with my
Found Poetry Project
This project is just beginning. As I obscure the original words on the page, the lines seem to create the appearance of weaving and I am as interested in exploring and extending the visual effects of textiles as I am in locating the poem hidden in the page of words.
It was a leap for me to begin to alter the pages of the 107-year-old book I am working with. I did not choose a book that is in poor condition or disbound. No, I chose a book that was just fine. And doing this to the pages, then tearing them out, seems....like I am breaking a taboo, committing a sin if not a crime. But my bookseller/booklover soul merely winced as I made that first ink mark. It did not cry out in agony, merely winced.
What becomes interesting is the relationship I am developing with the book of essays I am pillaging for parts. Title: From a College Window. And its author. Arthur C. Benson. He seems also to have written fantasy and supernatural tales as A.C. Benson. Even the names of the previous owners are part of my thoughts. And a search. I believe this is the grave of one of them.
It will be interesting to see where this project takes me. It is exhilarating to find something that combines my love of words with visual art that evokes fiber.
Mar 22, 2014
Morning Tea Thoughts
Morning tea. So visually lovely, I had to take pictures. As I looked at this picture, I realized that what makes this so very lovely to me is:
that substantial blue/white pottery vase was made by one of my oldest and dearest friends, Tandy, & it has accompanied my life and given me great pleasure for more than three decades
that thin china teacup was made in Ireland and my son Shaun was with me the day I bought it at that little Irish import shop in South Miami more than two decades ago
that iron teapot warmer was bought for me behind my back by my daughter-in-law Lisa when we went to Teavana on the Boston trip that Shaun orchestrated to get his agoraphobic mom back out in a world beyond Terre Haute, IN
the bliss-making tulips were a gift from April, and made me feel so special and remind me of the poetry reading and the sweet community of heart writers Sarah and I are privileged to hold space for each month.
the tea, called Bohemia was lovingly hand-blended by tea whisperer Lindsay Luna, one of the many creative and inspiring women I've come to circle with through online magickal & spirit stirring experiences.
the oil lamp was purchased from an Illinois potter at a Crossroads Arts Fest and illuminated countless Saturday night meals shared with my granddaughter Sophia. It was Our Thing for a long while.( Now we make linguine & Wacky Cake and watch Cake Boss. Everything changes, nothing perishes.)
the tea tray was a garage sale rescue, broken and restored to wholeness by me.
These are but Things I know. And as I am in the midst of a space-clearing, Thing-discarding, Chi-freeing whirlwind energy....I realize one of my questions before letting go of a thing is 'how much JOY does this vibrate with?' Not nostalgia, not poignancy. JOY. All of these Things are keepers.
(Sometimes my Facebook posts want to be blog posts and often I stop writing over there and come here. This one I left there, but it really wanted to exist here as well...)
Mar 10, 2014
I spent much of it worrying whether or not the electricity would go off and lying on the sofa in a kind of stupor, wrapped in blankets, snuggled with Lily, my dog-being friend. Apart from the worry, it was an enjoyable stupor.
For three years now, I have chosen to consider time from Winter Solstice to Spring Equinox as retreat time, and refuse to make any commitments, and have the luxury of not having to go into the world much at all during this time. This is the first year when I have actually come close to a state of hibernation, and I think it may have done me a world of good. Apart from the worry.
The blanket I wrote of in my last entry is in the home stretch. It would have been finished by now, but I am dealing with awful pain in my right shoulder, which I directly attribute to working it.
I have dealt with similar pain and loss of range of motion in each of my shoulders in the past, and somehow, after long periods of time and physical therapy each of them resolved. And yes, both seemed to be the result of stress from fiber art work. Spinning in one case, knitting in the other. I am hoping this will resolve as well. And trying to find my handouts for exercises from the PT.
I am still knitting, though for short periods and not with large needles and doubled yarn.
Here is a new (to me, anyway) Noro!
Kibou - 54% Cotton, 34% Wool, 12% Silk - a generous 270 meters per 100gr ball
I made pouches for my husband (to carry saxophone parts) one in colorway 11, the other in colorway 9. This was a perfect project to get a feel for this yearn.
Worked sideways on #8 needles. 30 stitches in reverse stockinette (what the stockinette stitch gets called when you choose to make the purl side the public side). Sewed up bottom and side and topped with a round of single crochet (Hook size B), a round of double crochet, a round of slip stitch. Draw cord is just a length of chain, threaded over and under 2 dc around.
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
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.
Brass (stamped with my Words) necklace by Liz Lamoreux
My public words: Make + Move
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.
Cake & Candles - chosen for me by my granddaughter, Sophia
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.