Thursday, April 30, 2009


Thirty days hath April: seize the day!
Don't trust to luck for darling buds in May.

A little quote from Philip Appleman’s “That Time of Year,” which I found on Kathy Spoering’s blog.  And so passes April…

Tomorrow begins the first weekend in May, and the annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival!  I actually thought I might have to skip it this year, but have managed a compromise where will I go down on Friday evening with a friend, and spend all day on Sat.  I have big hopes for meeting with Jody McKenzie to arrange some time to dye with her this summer when I’m in Maine!  Big hopes to find some madder plants (I so do not want to start from seed again!)! Big hopes to be inspired by fiber, yarn, drop spindles!

I’m blocking my “Clapotis” today and might take it with me since it’s supposed to be a little chilly and wet in the evenings.  (It’s not really mine to keep.  It will go to someone at some point, but I like ‘christening’ these knitted items by wrapping myself in them once!)Knitting Clapotis blocking 002
Last night I was in quite funk, doing chores and having a frustrating evening at home while my husband Bob was attending a second invitation to the TriBeca Film Festival.  This time spouses were not included.  This time there was a fancier reception beforehand, and a reception afterward.  There were gifts.  I was sulking…. then Bob returned home and gave me his bag of gifts:
2009 Tribeca Film Festival 002

Do you see that iPod shuffle lower center?  Can you imagine how amazed I was to find that???  Not sure I can fathom any company having the money to take a large group to the film festival, buy them dinner and dessert, and then give away all these great gifts: the tote bag is terrific on its own, so what a surprise to also find a picnic blanket (rolled up on the right), a bag of cosmetics, and a calendar commemorating the festival to go with the iPod!

Another lovely gift this morning! Garden 2009. rose breasted grosbeak 003  A rose-breasted grosbeak! Now I understand why I have such trouble getting things done!  I am always distracted!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Parting with Poetry (for the moment…)

In Neglect
They left us so to the way we took
As two in whom they were proved mistaken
That we sit sometimes in the wayside nook
with mischievous, vagrant, seraphic look
and smile if we cannot feel forsaken.

I love this Robert Frost poem that my younger son and I decided to memorize together.  “Together” is a relative thing…he was at school and I was here, at home.  It will surprise no one that he memorized it long before I did and had to help spoon-feed it to me.Blog Robert Frost

Painting of Robert Frost
by Huang Xiang






I want to memorize another short poem, just to see if I can. Here are two I’m considering:

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
                       Robert Frost


My life closed twice before its close;
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me,
So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell
                      Emily Dickinson

I supposed I’ll try not to write about poetry again too soon. I was happy to find two blogs and a website and to share them!
Poetry 180
Red Ravine
Poetry for Children (a happy discovery that this is the blog of one of my childhood friends! She gets the Proximity award from me!)

Blog Edna St. vincent millay

Ink, charcoal, colored pencil on paper  Edna St. Vincent Millay drawn by
William Zorach




My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -
It gives a lovely light.
                    Edna St. Vincent Millay

That poem reminds me of all of you who inspire me, who keep me searching for art and meaning…I see by the light of your candles! Life is short, but so full of passion!

Monday, April 27, 2009

For as Cleanthes said:

Blog poetry I found it.  It’s from one of Montaigne’s essays on the education of children, and here is some context:

“History is more my quarry, or poetry, which I love with particular affection. For as Cleanthes said, just as sound, when pent up in the narrow channel of a trumpet, comes out sharper or stronger, so it seems to me that a thought, when compressed into the numbered feet of poetry, springs forth much more violently and strikes me a much stiffer jolt.”

Still, in the little note I found, this quote is handwritten and signed ‘MWC.’ I still think it’s Billy Collins’s handwriting.  Well, why not?  Anything else is less interesting!

And I’m still hunting for my tapestry notes!

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Poetry Month

She, who cannot find her notes on looped hachure, and she who realized that Poetry month is almost over before she has posted any of her favorites, would like to offer this:

Introduction to Poetry

Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Blog Billy Collins poet

Painting of Billy Collins
by Didi Menendez.

When I went looking for my two books of Billy Collins’s poetry, which should have been on a shelf devoted entirely to books of poetry, I couldn’t find any poetry books….  I don’t remember rearranging the shelves, but now all the poetry books are jumbled in various places.  When I found Questions about Angels (which is not the book that has the poem copied above in it) I found a handwritten poem tucked inside the cover and signed, with flourish, “MWC.”

I swear I’ve never seen this note before.  I would also swear I bought the book new.  How could I have forgotten about this interesting poem, written out long hand, tucked inside?… because frankly I think those initials might be Billy Collins’s. I don’t know what the ‘M’ is, but the ‘WC’ could certainly stand for William Collins.  What do you think? The handwriting is fascinating…quite artistic to my eye…. 

Here is the poem:

For as Cleanthes said:

Just as sound
   pent up in the narrow
   channel of a trumpet
   comes out sharper and stronger….

So it seems to me
   that thought
   compressed into the numbered fact of poetry,
   springs forth much more violently
   and strikes me a much stiffer jolt.

And last, another favorite of mine, “Forgetfulness,” read by Billy Collins and animated by Julian Grey.


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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Signs of Spring

I am in the middle of another post that just doesn’t want close, or be completed.  So I’ll move on and hope to come back to it this week.

Here are photos of the lovely garden just outside Archie and Susan’s apartment building in Inwood.  I took this while walking toward my car on 4.08.Easter 2009 002

Easter 2009 003

A little bit of wonder in the middle of a busy city…called “Alexander’s Garden.”

And in my travels this week:April 2009 010 

April 2009 017





Woohoo!  A pink stretch Mini!

I’ve been catering to a painful back all week, getting better but still unable to do anything too demanding. But I did go into the city last night with my husband, where we met our younger son to see one of the TriBeca film festival movies, “Eclipse.”  It was terrific!   The music was especially wonderful, and I’m bummed today that I cannot find anyplace to buy Fionnuala Ni Chiosain’s music.  Worse, I’ve been reading about both Conor McPherson and Fionnuala Ni Chiosain, who are married, and both are so multi-talented that I just want to go crawl in a dark hole and lick my sorry, untalented wounds.  He is a playwright, director, songwriter, and she is a painter (with work in the Irish Museum of Modern Art), violinist, and composer.  The music in this movie is just wonderful, especially the choral works that evoke a requiem mass. 

Our seats were two rows directly behind the actors (Ciaran Hinds and Aidan Quinn), the director Conor McPherson, and Liam Neesam who must’ve joined them as a supportive Irish friend.  It was pretty awesome to be so near them and to realize that we were the first audience to see this film!

And last of all, a visitor to my garden this week:

april 2009 turkey 011

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bit by Bit

 April 2009 tapestry 001 April 2009 tapestry 002April 2009 tapestry 003

Cochineal Dyeing… I think if you click on the first photo you can just barely see the color of the dye with the little bugs in the pan.  I used distilled water to simmer the bugs for releasing the dye, and according to Michelle Wipplinger’s recipe (which I got through Deb Bramford), after extracting the dye with distilled water I could use tap/well water for topping off the liquid.  This did not work for me as I believe my well water is the source of what turned my bright red dye into plum/purple yarn.  It’s a lovely color, but I wanted red!

April 2009 tapestry 002

Three dyebaths…not much change between #2 and #3.




Hudson River Tapestry 002 April 2009 tapestry 004 My progress on Hudson River from last week to this week.  I’m done with the boat (yea!) and can now focus on the trees/cliffs/water/sky.  The trees are a bit fiddly but once I work out a system I hope I will at least be able to make steady progress. 

Now I’m  finally going to take a photo of the ‘Arwen Cardigan.’  I don’t know when I’ll get to frogging and fixing.

April 2009 tapestry 001

Some big collar, right?  Anyway, the rest of the sweater fits well (better on me than my svelte dress form on which it hangs badly!), and I like the zipper!  Of course, I have to take out the zipper and completely frog the collar since it was knitted sideways onto the neck opening.  I picked up a stitch from the neck edge every other row, but when I re-do I will either:

A.  Pick up a stitch from the neck edge every 4th row


B.  Knit the collar separately to a length I like and sew it to the neck edge, easing it in to make it fit.

I’m leaning toward “B.”

Friday, April 10, 2009

Feast Days

It’s that time of year when the spring holy days meet family birthdays.  We’re celebrating everything, and I’m in the kitchen creating three days of (hopefully) memorable breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.  I am thinking of all our grandmothers kneading the dough, chopping the veggies, standing over their simmering pots, stirring…

Cooking is a great creative outlet.  I also have the benefit of having my spinning wheel in the kitchen with me, and a basket of knitting right near my kitchen rocker!Easter 2009

Can you see the hellebore blooming outside the window?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Closely Woven Community


Valerie sent this blog award to me yesterday, and I am very touched and grateful!

"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!”

With the goal of propagating relationships, here are blogs that make me feel the proximity of our interwoven lives:

Valerie (I know, she just gave me the award, which means she already has it…what can I say? Her posts speak to me!)Tita Desert Tapestry Weavers (there is poetry too!) Mochimochi Land (commercial, but serious fun!) Cally

I know I need a few more, but it’s almost the incredible FEAST DAYS OF SPRING!!!…so I’ve got to tie myself to the kitchen and so some serious cooking and baking!

Monday, April 6, 2009

April Showers

We are having more than showers today, and it seemed a good day to stay in, do some baking for the upcoming holiday weekend, and spin during the waiting times of rising and baking.

A good friend of mine gave me this wonderful roving over the weekend. I don’t know why I’m getting such lovely surprise presents this spring, but I’m enjoying all of them.

This roving is from Linda Lee, known as exclusivelylindalee on etsy. It’s cotton, and I have not spun cotton since a very futile attempt once as a new spinner! Since I could only spin worsted back in those early days I could not spin the cotton I’d bought. I think I got rid of it in a guild raffle. Fast forward about a decade, and I am having a wonderful time with this beautifully painted roving, which is called “Phoenix Garden” colorway.

Cotton spinning (1)My, that decade sure flew by quickly! I have visions of a woven project with this yarn….just have to find appropriate warp, as I’d like to leave this yarn a singles so I don’t have to plan the color sequence in plying.cotton spinning 002

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sap is Rising…

…and I feel my creativity rising with it!

The rise in creative juices has led me to go exploring other people’s blogs, looking for what inspires them, how they communicate it, how they cope with the ebb and flow of creativity.

image_thumbThank you to Bonnie and Jennifer for the creative blogger award!  I’m thrilled that they noticed my blog!  Both of them do work that affects my internal spaces, and also makes me stop and analyze myself.  I look at Bonnie’s use of color with the eyes of a newborn, trying to soak up all her amazing knowledge of color and pattern.

The very first photo I saw on Jennifer’s blog made me realize I don’t actually have to hear music to have my internal spaces rearranged.  Just the photo of her harp in front of an empty chair, with all that potential for music  set my emotions in motion!  Her writings are sensitive, like harp music, and her wedge weave is wonderful….and rhythmic…

I’ve spent a couple of days nurturing my creativity by looking at other blogs: those recommended by others giving that award and those I’ve found while ‘googling.’  I am overcome!  Visiting these blogs has been an ‘artist date’ for me!

Weaving the Dream is a blog I stumbled on when googling.  There is a banner on her site that says, “Take a gentle step forward in your spiritual and creative journey.”  That’s just what I felt as I read through some of her posts. 

Magic Warp, by Steve Bremner.  The first post I read is about feeling that there is never enough time to weave.  That’s the very feeling that keeps me away from it.  That feeling is a real creativity killer, and is probably the biggest hurdle to any artisitic output.  It’s the devil.

(If you put your cursor over any of the names or blog names above you will see that they are live links.  I don’t know why they are not showing up as links without having the cursor on them. Most of this technology is a complete mystery to me!)

It’s amaryllis season at my house!March 09 002 March 09 001March 09 004

One more wonderful March surprise! A gift from my son’s friend, who thought I might enjoy tea from India.  He visited the estates where these teas were grown.


March 09 006


I wore these colorful socks yesterday, with an orange turtleneck, my denim shirt with the embroidered palm tree from convergence 2009 tampa fllast summer’s Convergence, and what else? Orange crocs!  It’s spring!