1. Piedra Del Sol / Sunstone

    February 2, 2012 by Carol

    In observance of Brigit, a poem (actually, part of a poem because this is a very long poem):

    Piedra del sol (Sunstone) by Octavio Paz

    I want to go on, to go further, and cannot:

    as each moment was dropping into another

    I dreamt the dreams of dreamless stones,

    and there at the end of the years like stones

    I heard my blood, singing in its prison,

    and the sea sang with a murmur of light,

    one by one the walls gave way,

    all of the doors were broken down,

    and the sun came bursting through my forehead,

    it tore apart my closed lids,

    cut loose my being from its wrappers,

    and pulled me out of myself to wake me

    from this animal sleep and its centuries of stone,

    and the sun’s magic of mirrors revived

    a crystal willow, a poplar of water,

    a tall fountain the wind arches over,

    a tree deep-rooted yet dancing still,

    a course of a river that turns, moves on,

    doubles back, and comes full circle,

    forever arriving:

    New sweater just in time for spring!


  2. Mental Note: Remember this Forever

    January 21, 2012 by Carol

    This morning my almost-three-year-old daughter climbed into our bed, vaulting herself into that much coveted nook between mom and dad.  As she snuggled in deeper, she beamed at both of us and said: “You guys are my BEST FRIENDS … ever!”

    Goooooood morning!

    What a nice way to wake up in the morning!

    If you’re here for the knitting, rest assured I have good news.  Spiral Yoke is DONE, has been donned and found worthy, and took a trip to the spa.  After a lavender-scented bubble bath, she is now resting (and drying) on the dining room table.  Photos to follow.


  3. Review: The Native Star

    January 5, 2012 by Carol

    I like weird books.  Not necessarily weird for weird sake but mainstream fiction about sad people having sad sex and going to fourteen funerals is kinda why I couldn’t stomach the thought of an English degree.  The world is a crazy place!  The glass is half full!  And reading is for entertainment.  The first thing the Sumerians wrote about was beer and folk tales so c’mon people!  Let’s have fun with it.

    The cover art does not suck, eh?

    The Native Star is M.K. Hobson‘s debut novel, published by Ballantine Spectra in August 2010.  I know Hobson’s name from my volunteer work with BroadUniverse, an organization that promotes women writers & editors within the field of science fiction, fantasy, and horror publishing.  (Is that a disclosure?  I do not know the author at all.)  So when I saw this book on the shelf at my local indy bookshop, I read the blurb and said, “Heck yeah! This sounds like fun.”

    Set in an alternate 1880s United States, Hobson’s novel follows a backwoods witch and an urbane warlock who must race across the country just ahead of government-funded, ultra-menacing blood sorcerers.  The action is exciting, the magic has meaning, the romance is not sappy or heavy-handed, and Hobson’s language is precise.  She also sets us up for a sequel (The Hidden Goddess, released eight months ago) that did not leave me feeling irritated and oversold.  Instead, I was running to my computer to look up the deets.

    My one beef — because no review is complete unless the reviewer complains about something, right? — is that the subplot about Dag was kind of left hanging.  Maybe Hobson covers this in the second book, but that seems unlikely.

    Not a fan of fantasy?  I promise you, if you can manage the Lord of the Rings trilogy or Harry Potter heptalogy (the books, NOT the movies!) then this will not be too weird.  And it would make a good film.

     

     


  4. Vegetal Dreams

    January 4, 2012 by Carol

    To the uninitiated, this would seem an odd time to talk about the garden, but for those with the itch, this is our hidden season.  The one full of seed catalogs and vegetal dreams and grandiose plans.

    First of all: this balmy “winter” made it possible for me to finish bagging my 58th through 65th bags of leaves in mid-December, long after the yard waste truck stopped trundling through on trash day.  (I dumped them on the sleeping vegetable garden.  The worms will thank me later.)  The unseasonably warm weather makes me think I should get a jump on the spring cleaning.  For example, herding the pots of probably-dead plants tucked throughout the garden, terminally waiting to be planted.  Or picking toys out of the sandbox.  The ones that haven’t filled with water, frozen, and burst, that is.  Those can stay and provide some color to our brown winter.

    Second of all: I received my first SERIOUS garden tool as a gift from my husband this year: Felco hand pruners.  This is the kind of tool you wipe clean after every use and even oil and sharpen occasionally.  I got a cool leather sheath for it and even a tiny tool that is supposed to help take it apart (it’s rather wee; I am in doubt).  Monster thistle, you watch out!  Now I’m cooking with gas!

    Speaking of gas, my husband got a flame-thrower thingy from a friend who understands his manly need to torch offending vegetation.  Why bend over and pull a weed when one can simply push a button…?  No I am not sneering.  My inner villan is rubbing her hands together with glee!

    Thirdly: I renewed my Mother Earth News subscription today.  I freakin’ love that magazine.  When I discovered it several years ago, I was floored.  Here it was, the magazine of my people!  I didn’t realize so many other people thought like me — all DIY and loving the planet and homesteading and more liberal than the liberals — and I live in a college town.

    Just goes to show… we aren’t alone.  Ever.  We aren’t even all that unique (having kids made this really clear).  If you have a thought, someone somewhere is thinking the same thing.  And we haven’t even touched on the multiverse.

    It is amazing to realize how many friends are out there that you haven’t met yet.


  5. Swirly

    January 2, 2012 by Carol

    I am now into the yoke of the Spiral Yoke Sweater.

    Spiral Yoke detail

    my stitches are a travelin'

    another crappy, "oops, where went my daylight?" photo

    I could be done (this is a theme, no?) if I weren’t distracted with some quickie knits here and there.

    For example, I made warmish socks for my skinny boy:

    worsted weight on little feet makes quick work

    These are knit in leftover bits of Lion Brand Wool-Ease for washability and warmth.  They may be only 20% wool but that’s 20% more than all of his other socks.  The couple of handknit pair he has are in intense rotation so I decided to help a boy out.  These made a good traveling project for the month of December now that I am done knitting sleeves (ahem) for my sweater.  I think I could make a pair in 2-3 evenings of knitting if I weren’t busy with a sweater.  And I don’t sit still much while I knit.

    I have been abstaining from resolutions and major project declarations so far this new year.  Not because I think it’s a useless exercise.  I am seeking clarity.  December was too busy for inward reflection.  I am a gal who appreciates a little naval-gazing, so I am at least glad to have finished December and begun January.

    Now, back to my sweater and my Harry Potter movie marathon. (I’m halfway through.  The movies, that is.)


  6. Happy New Year!

    January 1, 2012 by Carol

    I spent the last hour of 2011 trying to spend money on my business.  How about you?

    For the self-employed, I cannot recommend this method of supply management.

    I really hope I don’t regret my new business card design in the morning.

    Now that it is after midnight and I am buzzed on caffeine (another bottle of new year’s champagne rests warm and unopened atop my fridge), I figure I have some time to burn before I will be able to sleep … and you know what I want to do?

    This will mark me as a giant yarn nerd if nothing has so far.

    I want to make a big pile of sock yarn on my dining room table.  I want to look at it all at once and dream about the things I will make in 2012.

    Who’s with me?

    I am thinking, for the first time ever, that maybe all my sock yarn won’t become socks.  Hmmm… hmmmm!


  7. Sleeve-Sweater Coupling Achieved!

    December 8, 2011 by Carol

    At Knit Night last night I finally joined the sleeves (#2 and #4 for those who are counting) to my sweater body for the Spiral Yoke pullover.  Squeeeee!  I’d be knitting the yoke right now if I weren’t writing this.

    The big question is: Will it be ready for Hanukkah/Solstice/Christmas?  Stay tuned for further developments.

    My drawstring, lined bag sewing continues.  A few nights ago I cut up some old button-down shirts to use as fabric (saving the buttons, of course).  It’s an experiment.  Pros: cheap to free and I get bonus buttons! (I have a thing for buttons.)  Cons: Butchering a blouse is more work than a roaster for dinner.

    I should use my rotary cutter.

    Where did I put that thing?

    On a completely unrelated note, I am still searching for the perfect productivity app for my phone.  I suspect that “perfect” does not exist.  I am currently enjoying Remember the Milk but am irritated by some of the limitations that are only available to pro members.  While I don’t mind paying for something useful, RTM’s terms are steeper than what other apps charge: $25 per year as opposed to a one-time fee of a few dollars that most apps that cost anything charge.

    Nevertheless.

    I may be sadly widget-less, but RTM is my favorite so far.

    Back to knitting!

     

     


  8. I read it on the Internet: Robin McKinley knits

    December 1, 2011 by Carol

    I recently started a Twitter account for Entangled – come find me under EntangledDesigns if it please you! – and did what any red-blooded tweeter would do and “followed” a ton of other knitters, as well as some family and a few famous people whom I thought might be interesting or amusing.

    One such famous person was Robin McKinley, beloved author of fine books like The Blue Sword and Deerskin and Door in the Hedge and The Outlaws of Sherwood.  I’ve been reading her books since I was a young adult and, like most authors, she was mostly a name on a cover.  A name I was always happy to see and an assurance that good things lay within. Of course, I have small children (plus husband) and at least two jobs additionally so I am not at all current with her oeuvre.  Or anyone’s oeuvre.

    Quite unexpectedly, amidst all the knitting tweets, came a tweet from McKinley… about knitting.

    Just like in her books, she is so funny!  So real!  Read it here:

    Frelling Knitting

    You know what this means, don’t you?

    Coolest. Author. Ever.

     

     

     


  9. And then there were two

    November 29, 2011 by Carol

    There is some kind of Murphy’s Law at play here.

    After years of window shopping and sighing over rigid heddle looms of any size — anything bigger than an inkle loom — a week after I learn how to string my new TIA, my mom (whom I speak to by phone every day and is intimately acquainted with my every craft, triumph, and travail) says, “Oh, would you be interested in another loom?  I’ve had this one at my house for a few years.  I didn’t know you’d be interested in it or I would have told you about it sooner.”

    Um, YES!  But why didn’t we make this connection before?!

    Meet loom #2, a 20″ Beca, solid cherry, made probably in the late 1970s:

    Beca has a nasty old warp on her.

    So in the space of three weeks, I have two modest-sized rigid heddle looms and plans to warp one of these ladies for some houndstooth.

    I’ve also been sewing:

    Abstract fabric art

    The sewing has been a compulsion that I cannot explain.  Costumes, drawstring project bags, fabric dolls, doll clothes.  I think it is my internal frustrated quilter crying out for time and space to work.

    A few of my pretty bags

    Or maybe I just like to sew now.  (I can hear some of my friends gasping with surprise.)


  10. Oooo… Pretty!

    November 21, 2011 by Carol

    Once upon a time there was an average 30-something mother of two who went to a Halloween party.

    M arrived and said, “Did you check your email today?  I have something in my trunk for you.”

    “No…” I fumbled for my schamncy new smartphone, trying to get to my email as I trailed behind M to her friend’s car.

    You will not believe what she pulled out of the trunk!  It was just about the last thing I could have imagined.  Right after a dead body…

    A LOOM!

    For me!  For free!  I was speechless.  I may have skipped across a leaf-strewn field and pumped my fist in the air.  (There is some backstory to heighten the dramatic unveiling, involving a near purchase a year ago of a beautiful loom for $150, over which my husband and I exchanged harsh words.)

    This is TIA

    Welcome to my new baby, a 1976 TIA 20″ rigid heddle loom, complete with a stand gifted to me by my weaving enabler (and ultimately the person responsible for turning M and her free loom in my direction), G.  A week later, G taught me how to warp her and I was off and weaving a sari silk scarf.

    This beautiful skein of sari silk is almost one of my oldest pieces of stash.  I foolishly bought just one skein and have never been able to settle on a project for it.  Nor apparently just go buy another skein, don’t ask me why.

    I can't wait to see how the texture blooms after its first bath

    The sari silk is working out well as a scarf.  The warp is Paton’s Kroy sock yarn and some leftover yellow cotton, Classic Elite I think.

    The only question is: what do I weave next?

    Always ready for a close up