Whether you are a fellow fiber artist, enthusiast or just an admirer, walk along and talk with me on my journey.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Spearmint Breath

I was encouraged to share some things I wrote in a Creative Writing workshop...

"I will go to the bank by the wood and become naked and undisguised." -Walt Whitman

Photo credit -Mark E. laRowe Photography 
Spearmint Breath
There is weirdness and oddness that is part of a creative's life.
I looked at the words I laid down without out noticing.
Follow the mountains.
Cherish your today.
Discover being "naked and undisguised" in your thoughts.
Dream of the sniff of hay in the barn,
the green of the pasture,
the radiant glow of a daffodil...
Be with your kindred spirits as their fluff speeds through your fingertips.
Reality lives in the spearmint breath of a sheep or maybe even, a yak.
The universe is offering that, which I will not be inhibited from accepting!
The words are hollow, but happy.  I think them as a melody playing in my head.
Be naked
Be undisguised
Share your melodic and happy thoughts
or not.
Reach for victory.  Celebrate the mountains climbed.
Just don't choke on enthusiasm.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Some Old Quilt

I'm working on my daughter's quilt this afternoon. It's an old quilt we found at a yard sale several years ago. We bought it for $20 just because we liked it. It's Pink, white and a very light green. She's away this weekend, so I decided to work on repairing it. I've not always worked with fabrics and quilts. But since I've been at The Fabric Shop, I've gained a much better understanding of it all. 

Each of these blocks were hand pieced. The sashing, binding and quilting were all done.by.hand. When I bought it, the woman told me it was just an old quilt...  

Ive always liked it. It's
soft and well worn. But after working on it for the last hour, I have a newfound admiration for this "old quilt" and the hands that made it. It's a piece of art and history of its maker. How many hours did it take the quilter to finish it. What did she do while she sewed? Was there music, tv, children at her feet?  Was dinner simmering away?  I hear very little about quilters hand-piecing their work. It's just not really done anymore. There's no time for it. Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against sewing machines. Machine quilts are beautiful too! It's just some stuff to think about. ✂️

Friday, September 11, 2015

Sometimes, you just need to tell the story. September 11th.

I was asleep.  My six week old baby lay in his cradle next to me.  The phone rang, jolting me awake.  It was my husband.  He was calling to tell me about the first plane that flew into the World Trade Center.  I watched the news for only a few moments, and realized I was witnessing an act of terrorism and an historic event.  My other children were two and a half and four.  I watched the rest of the day in absolute horrific amazement.

At the time, we lived in Nashville, Tennessee, very near the airport and National Guard Armory.  Low flying planes and helicopters flying overhead were a regular occurrence.  That morning, the skies were empty and eerily silent as all flights nationwide had been grounded.  I never imagined the sounds of jets flying over my home would be a comfort.  Ordinarily, they were an annoyance and a reason to pause phone conversations.  I would have loved to hear the normal sounds of air traffic and erase the horrible events of the day.

So many thoughts crossed my mind.  How far reaching were these attacks?   Where were my family members?  After calling my Dad and my sister, some of these anxieties were calmed.  My brother-in-law had been flying into New York on business that morning.  His flight was diverted and put down elsewhere.  Finding transportation home was a nightmare for him.  According to the FAA, 4,000 flights were grounded that day.  All these unfortunate travelers then had to secure a way to either reach their original destination or go home.  Fortunately, my brother-in-law was able to rent a car and make a very long drive home.

Later in the week, I talked with my brother.  I asked him where he was on Tuesday.  He casually mentioned he was in the air on his way to New York as well.  He hadn't been traveling for work recently, so his news shocked me.  In retrospect, neither my brother or brother-in-law were in danger that morning. But the unpredictability of  terror attacks fueled everyone's anxiety.  It frightened me to know the people I love and care about were even close to this event.

While talking on the phone with my husband later that morning, I asked if he was going to come home-fearing for his safety.  He was somewhat incredulous I felt he needed to be home.  I wanted my little family together and as safe as we could possibly be.  I had even wondered that morning, if our water would be safe to drink.  When terrorists want to end the lives of as many people as possible, water seems like a natural choice to me.  At that time, no one knew the extent these attacks.   Thank God, I was wrong about it.  Looking back, I was a sleep deprived, saturated in postpartum hormones, mother of three-and in particular,  a six week old baby.  All we had built together could be wiped out so easily. 

I watched the news most of the days following September 11th.   My four year old, inadvertently absorbed as much as he was able.  He was angry, but in a sad very controlled manner.  Bin Laden's image was shown over and over and he had seen it many times.  My little son said he was angry with the "man in the dress" and wanted to "send planes to hurt him".  We all wanted to hurt him.  My son both amazed me and broke my heart with his comprehension of everything that happened.  As the weeks following September 11th unfolded, the rest of the country's sentiments matched my son's. And well, we all know how Bin Laden's story ended.

Today, as I watch the 14th Anniversary coverage of September 11th., the same tears fell for the same reasons as when this day first occurred.  So many lives were lost and changed forever.  Two thousand, nine hundred and seventy-seven innocent people.

Thankfully, we have risen from those ashes.  We stand together and sing God Bless America, hold our hands over our hearts and stand strong against the dark and evil forces that changed us forever.  My flag flies proudly every day.  I am a patriot.

While attending our kid's high school football game last fall, the soldier in the photo sat down in front of me.  We all stood as The Star Spangled Banner began to play. .  The sight of this man in his uniform saluting our beautiful flag brought me to tears.   It's not just this one man, but all the men and women he represents.  It's their loyalty, service and love of Country that pulls at my heart.  For, without these brave patriots, we would not exist as a nation and have the freedoms it affords us.

Blessings to all who serve to protect our great nation

I later showed this man the photo I had taken, and asked his permission to use it.  I thanked him for his service with a lump in my throat.  He was being deployed to Africa shortly after we talked.  I'm thankful to report he has returned safely to his family.

Moral Fiber!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Vegetable matter

As I was knitting along on a shawl today, I stopped to pick a bit of vegetable matter out of my yarn. I took a moment to look closer at the little bit of hay or fuzzy weed seed I had procured. 

Suddenly, I felt quite happy-warm and fuzzy in fact, to think of the living creature who had some dinner crumbs left in her fleece. It reminded me of my own sheep. They created a wreath affect around their necks from sticking their little faces too deep into the roll.  It was cute and funny until I needed to process and spin that wool! But today, it just took me back in time, watching my sheep be -sheep.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Memories and saltines

When I was very young, my sister and I woke up early on Saturday to watch cartoons.  It's a pretty foreign concept to little people these days.  They can find cartoons at virtually any given moment of the day.  But Saturdays were special to us for several reasons.  Obviously, the cartoons were highly rated.  What else would make children who didn't have to go to school, get up earlier than normal?  The snacks we prepared, were the second jewel of Saturday mornings! We had; (and this is the short list) potato chip and pickle sandwiches, milk shakes (there's a story here too), butter, dark Karo syrup blended together and spread on white bread!  Oh they were yummy!  But the one standing out in my memory today, is toasted saltine crackers with butter.

A very, very, long time ago, in a land far far away, saltines were made four to a square.  The box didn't come with four separate sleeves.  There was only one and the crackers were all connected.

They looked just like this!
We would toast this "sheet" of saltines and proceed to slather them with butter.  The butter would sizzle as you rubbed it across the cracker.  It tasted pretty good too. 

I still love saltines.  But finding this little sheet of four connected crackers is impossible to do these days.  This makes putting them in the traditional toaster a little tricky.  ;) 

What is my point? I'm not exactly sure. I miss those little sheets of saltines!  I miss cartoons on Saturday mornings.  I miss my sister-we live pretty far apart.  I miss the snacks.  Most of them I can recreate.  But I just can't bring back everything together.  I was having a saltine with some soup today and it all came back to me-like it was yesterday. 

Oh, and the story about the milk shake- it went like this... One Saturday morning, I apparently pestered my sister to make a milkshake for me.  She made them for us from time to time.  I was too young to actually do it myself.  So, in between cartoons, she took me to the kitchen, had me stand on a chair and gave me a glass of milk to drink.  Honestly, I thought she was really going to make a milkshake..  I drank the milk, then she put her hands on my waist and shook me from side to side...  She said "There's your milkshake." and left the room.  Today, when I think of this story I laugh and shake my head.  (That's not what I did back then!)  

Don't ever ask about a haircut I received from her my junior year in high school-wink wink.  

I think that's enough reminiscing for today.  

Thanks for the memorable snacks Dee.  xoxoxo

Thursday, August 7, 2014

"I'm Fine"

It's a beautiful summer morning.  But for me, time is slowing and a somber veil is slipping over the day.

Paul was my friend.  He wasn't my dad or uncle or brother.  But he played all these roles in my life.  Paul passed away this morning after a long and courageous battle with cancer. 

I have countless memories of being with Paul.  But today, I will share just one.

Quite some time ago, we were sitting in church alone together.  We were praying for another friend.  When we were both finished, I passed my little prayer book to him.  It was opened to a page with this poem...

I'm Fine

There's nothing whatever the matter with me.
I'm just as healthy as I can be.
I have arthritis in both my knees
And when I talk, I talk with a wheeze.
My pulse is weak and my blood is thin
But I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.
I think my liver is out of whack
And a terrible pain is in my back.
My hearing is poor, my sight is dim,
Most everything seems to be out of trim.
But I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.
I have arch supports for both my feet,
Or I wouldn't be able to go on the street.
Sleeplessness I have night after night,
And in the morning I'm just a sight.
My memory is failing, my head's in a spin.
I'm peacefully living on aspirin
But I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.
The moral is, as this tale we unfold,
That for you and me who are growing old,
It's better to say "I'm fine" with a grin
Than to let them know the shape we're in.
--- Cardinal Cushing

He read it, looked at me and grinned his huge Paul grin, giggled softly and said "I'm fine"! 

I love you Paul.  
I'll miss you always.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This whole completion thing...

How big is your fiber stash?  Could it, does it take up a whole room?  How many projects do you have OTN? (on the needles)    How many projects would you call a WIP?  (work in progress)  Do you lose track of all your needles because they're on your WIPs or OTNs?? 

Then, my new and personal favorite...PIGS (Projects In Grocery Sacks)

Whenever I decide on a new project, I do not ever have the required yarn or roving.  Not ever.  I will search and search for the perfect color, fiber content, and gauge.   I'm certain the people I live with have to wonder, but never articulate, why don't you use up the stuff you have?  I don't really have a good answer for that!  Typically, what I have doesn't meet my standards for the upcoming project!  It's just not right.  :)

All this is and more is part of a disorder I have discovered and named since becoming a fiber artist-  It's called Fiber Accumulation Disorder or FAD.  I like to say the whole name...it sounds more official.

Fortunately for us, Ryan Gosling is here to help assuage us of our guilt surrounding Fiber Accumulation Disorder.  I can hear the angels singing!  There is hope! :)

Yes!  I am dedicated to my work!  But as any person with a real, functional case of Fiber Accumulation Disorder knows, we never.ever. leave our Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Knit Picks or independent Yarnie receipts just laying about-do we??  No.  They are tucked away, someplace out of the way, where they won't see the light of the day until we retrieve them for a ceremonial burning. 

I recently found a whole glossary of slang knitting lingo which I am compelled to share with all of you!  Some of these made me laugh so hard, all the cats scattered!

Ambistitcherous Having the ability to knit in two different styles
BeauFO A beautiful Finished Object
BFL blue-faced leicester, a breed of sheep
Bicraftual Someone who both crochets and knits
Bistitchual The ability to knit in two styles eg. English and Continental
BMFA Blue Moon Fiber Arts (yarn company)
BSJ Baby Surprise Jacket (pattern)
CAL Crochet ALong
CIP Crocheting In Public
Clap Clapotis (pattern)
Colorway The name or number assigned by a manufacturer to the color (or multi-colored combination) of a yarn
CPH Central Park Hoodie (pattern)
CPY Crystal Palace Yarns (yarn company)
CTH Cherry Tree Hill (yarn company)
Darn Overs (DOs) - The YO’s you forget and have to tink back to. AKA @&%^#&%@!!
DB Debbie Bliss (designer and yarn company)
DPN Double Pointed Needles
DS Destash (sell unwanted yarn)
EOR End Of Row or Every Other Row
EZ Elizabeth Zimmermann (designer)
FO Finished Object
frog To rip back (for the sound “rip it, rip it”) by removing the needles from the project and pulling on the loose end of the yarn; also applies to crochet
Generally used when mistake is found below the row you are currently working, or when completely un-doing an entire project or piece. (see Tink)
frog pond a storage place for knitted and crocheted things waiting to be frogged
FSOT For Sale Or Trade
Gifted The act of giving yarn/items to another for free.
GOFO A GOrgeous Finished Object
ISO In Search Of
KAL Knit ALong
KIP Knit(ting) In Public
KL Knitting Loom
KP Knit Picks (yarn company)
LK Loom Knitting
LPW Lamb's Pride Worsted (yarn)
LYS Local Yarn Store
LYSO Local Yarn Store Owner
MK Machine Knit(ting)
muggle non-knitter
NoTN Not On The Needles
NWT New With Tags
OTH On The Hooks
OTN On The Needles
PIF Paying It Forward (or Pay It Forward)
PIGS Projects In Grocery Sacks
Pooling When one color in a Variegated yarn bunches together in an area.
Puddling According to the Yarn Harlot, similar to pooling, but more like a blotch.
SABLE Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy
SEX Stash Enhancement eXperience = buying yarn
sock(s) in progress
funny way of saying skein of yarn (skein+hank=skank)
Socks That Rock (yarn)
South West Trading Company (yarn company)

Tink To undo knitted stitches by reversing the knitting motion, effectively un-knitting the stitch. Used when fixing an error on the same row you are knitting. (tink is knit spelled backwards) (see also Frogging)
TOAD Trashed Object Abandoned in Disgust
UFO UnFinished Object (usually a WIP that has been abandoned or neglected)
WIM Work In Mind
WIP Work In Progress
Wool of the Andes (yarn)
WPI Wraps Per Inch (number of times yarn will wrap loosely around ruler or similar tool in one inch; more wraps indicates thinner yarn)
yarn barf (yarf?) a big lump of yarn that accidentally gets pulled out of a new center-pull ball, when you’re trying to find the endYarnie independent dyer or spinner with a small business

I hope you have a wonderful day!  Decide to create something beautiful.  Whether it's in your mind or with your hands.