Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cloth to Cloth

I am so excited about this online class I'm taking. It will unfold as we go, but I am approaching this as a chance to focus on an aspect of myself I haven't been in touch with in a while. I have always, it seems, embroidered and made quilts. I dabbled at one point in crazy quilting, which combines both. But this is different. It adds story-telling to the mix. And weaving. And while I am not approaching this as focused as some of my classmates, I know it will change the way I produce my art. At least for now. My challenge will be to take the parts of this that are me, and not copy Jude's work, or the work of my classmates. So much energy in this group- so many talented people.

Here are some photos from my dying session yesterday. I used indigo dye for the first time. Who knew that an indigo dye bath had a 'flower' ( the foam on top of the liquid), that it needs to proof like yeast, and that it is a WONDERFUL acid green color. It's the oxygen in the air that turns it blue. And watching it oxidise was a coool experience.

This is about 2 yards of muslin that I folded and bunched.

This is my attempt at 'shibori'. I wrapped the fabric around a pool-noodle (didn't have a pipe) and secured it with rubberbands, then scrunched it down. I LOVE the water-ripple effect.

Pretty fabrics drying in the sun
I hope to be able to start weaving these and other fabrics together and start embroidering/quilting them together today. Housework? dinner? Pizza and a quick vacuum ought to take care of it!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Today is a day for honoring the mothers. Those who nurtured us and helped us to be the best we can be. I wish I had pictures to share with you of all the women I honor today. My Mom, her mom, my Dad's mother, and his sister, these are the women who taught me to knit and embroider and sew. My sisters, (who are SO much older than me!).My step mother, who loves and supports in the background. The women who nudged me in the right direction and the women who screamed in my ear. I thank you for the gifts you have given me- and I hope to be a model to the women who come after me on this journey of life.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I guess you reach a point, eventually, when you just want to be the person you know you are inside. Not all the different people others know- the person YOU know. I know a lot of things about myself- good and bad, nice and not so nice. And I want to take my time in this season coming up to BE. I want to take my time reading a book and knitting a sweater. I want to start 20 projects and finish them little by little. I want to spend hours on the beach just watching the waves. I want to SLOW DOWN and not feel driven by the lists I make in my head. I want to putter. In the house, in my studio, in the garden. If the Master List Of Things That Need To Be Done gets items scratched off or checked- good. If it doesn't happen- it doesn't happen.
I promise to keep my house clean enough that you don't need to worry if I bake you something. And I'll go to work every day I'm supposed to. And I'll blow the World's Biggest Bubbles with Noah and Zoe. And I'll decide to go to the beach by myself with just a chair and a bottle of water and a good book on the spur of the moment. I'll walk more, because I want to. I'll eat more veggies, because I want to. And if I want to have popcorn for dinner- I'll do that, too!

I have been knitting a lot. I love the way I can knit and also be with everyone. For so many years, I made quilts, and something about my process of making quilts kept me isolated from my family- I guess I needed space. But now that the kids are gone, and there's no guilt stopping me from spending as many hours as I want in my studio- I find myself making a nest for myself on the couch- with one or two knitting projects at hand. And Walter on the other end of the couch, telling me stories. Or visiting with my kids and grandkids and finishing up a shawl (simply knit only- I can't talk and do hard stuff at the same time!)I love the connection to my mom and the other women in my life, the generations of women who made things of function and beauty for their loved ones. And I love the way knitting allows me to be PRESENT and still busy. I feel wrapped in the love and goodness of people like Mrs Van ( my best friend's mom), my father's mother, my aunt Sis, my cousin Ann, my mother-in-law, Jackie.

I will grow with this particular needleart for a long time. So much to learn!! And so many new friends to make on this learning journey. I love going to my knitting group- a collection of smart, witty women who read and knit and who view the world the same way I do. We teach each other and go home energized, and usually a little less confused by whatever aspect of our knitting is challenging at the moment.

I am taking an online class from Jude Hill. I am very excited about this. I have never taken an online class- and that in itself will be a bit challenging. This is an embroidery class, I guess you would have to say. About embellishing and producing 'slow fabric' that has a dream-like quality that really appeals to me. I know that I will learn a lot, and be challenged to create something that speaks of me- but I haven't got a clue about how this will unfold.

I know I'm not very good about posting frequently. I'd like to do better- but I will only say that if the time is right- I will post. I don't want this sharing to be another bullet on the Master List of Things To Do. So, my dear friends- take what you can from this- leave the rest- and savor the moments you have, big and small- treasure the people in your world, and use your creative spirit- to make a perfect cup of tea, or the mug to hold it in. Just USE it!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Settling In

I think I've recovered from all the stress I put on myself for Christmas this year- my goal of 6 pair of socks and several other hand knits, along with a sweater for Luke- was waaay too ambitious! So- New Year, New Plan- I'm only going to make small things as a surprise from now on. And that is small things as defined by ME, not by the knitting gurus who crank out a sweater in a weekend. And that will set me up with fun projects and much less stress.

On my needles at the moment are a shawl for Megan ( it was supposed to be for Christmas/ birthday, but needed her approval- good thing, cause we changed it from a sweater to a shawl- and a very fun knit, so far.)

I'm also trying to make a 'spinner' beanie/ stocking cap for Noah- He's taking hip-hop dance class and needs something with some padding for spinning on his head! (He's getting pretty good- btw!) So I thought that I could make him a stocking cap as usual, but when I get to the crown/ decreases, I'll use three strands of wool instead of one- and that should make it easier in his noggin!

Zoe is making good progress on her hat- she is knitting in the round ( I set it up for her) all she has to do is knit and knit and knit. It's a pretty blue baby hat for her cousin on the Klingaman side. This is a pic of her with her first finished project- a washcloth for Mom!

I'm excited about the Olympics- less than two weeks to go- I am part of a group online called the Ravelympics- we all compete to finish a challenging project during the Olympics- from cast on to bind off- I am making myself a shawl from the yarn my sister, Sue gave me for Christmas. It's a gorgeous blend of merino and bamboo in a fabulous color- we shall see....

Probably the most exciting thing for me recently ( Recently?? Try in the last 8 years, since Noah was born... ) was being invited to participate in the artwork for Patti Digh's newest book- Four Words. There was a bit of a time crunch- as it was less than 2 weeks from request to deadline- but I made it- I sent off my artwork yesterday and will wait to hear- This was a very big thing for me- I was to illustrate the phrase- Do Something You Fear. I realized as I procrastinated the project for the 3rd of four full days I had to work on it- that putting the ideas in my head into a finished project was REALLY scary!! I could see it in my head- I had two or three different ways it could go- but I don't think of myself as being someone who can draw- and the rules were no text- so I had to convey the message with only images. I knew that the double message of a mother bird watching her baby fly was the idea I wanted- but putting it into fabric was something I thought and thought about. I finally went into the studio and cranked it out- I used hand-dyed fabric from my home-workshop last summer, and I did manage to draw the birds. So, illustrating the phrase- Do Something You Fear- ended up being something I feared! But I did it. And I'm ridiculously proud of myself!

We had a major winter storm over the weekend- In NC that can mean from 2 inches to 20 inches- we got about 5-6 inches and the temperature has stayed very cold- a lot of the time, because we don't have snow plows down here- they plow the interstates and the major roads and wait for the rest of it to melt. So we have a delayed opening today- and we had a wonderful weekend kindof trapped in our houses. But with firewood and milk and snacks we had a great time! The dogs weren't too sure about the whole thing at first, especially while it was still snowing, but ended up loving it- I'll put some pics of them up.

Hope this finds everyone settling in to winter
and it's joys and challenges.

Keep being creative in all the things you do!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy New Year, everyone- I didn't send out Christmas cards this year- not sure why- ran out of time, I guess. But I still wanted to wish you all a wonderful New Year. Somewhere I was reading about choosing a word to use as a guide for 2010. Of course there's always- 'healthy' and 'organized' and quite a few idea words that make me think of positive and uplifting things.
So- my word will be 'us'- working on what started this whole journey- the man I love and our friendship, romance. We plan to do more fun things together. Megan and Jaime's trip to the Bahamas really inspired us.
How about you? What would your word be? Do you want to get more fit- more organized? Do you want to slow down? Get busy? Volunteer? Find a dream? Follow a star?
I don't believe in New Year's resolutions. But I do believe in the Yellow Brick Road- in looking towards a goal and putting one foot in front of the other every day- leaning on your friends when you need to, and leading those you love when they need you to- and making your way through this incredible life, knowing that The Emerald City is within your grasp- and that friends and family are what each of us need to get there. I love you all- I wish you a year filled with all the best- if life is handing you too much to bear- reach out and share that with your friends. And if your life is wonderful- reach out to those who need a hand. Happy New Year- Mary