Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I is for...

...Isabel, who turned five. Five! She's so grown up.

She planned her own "surprise" party. She picked out the cupcakes and decorations. Then she told us all to hide behind the couch and jump out and surprise her when she came into the room. We spent the afternoon getting group manicures while she dazzled the entire salon staff.

...and Indigo, my new favorite color. I don't think I can ever give up plum, but I've been crazy about that deep, tattooish blue. I chose indigo for my manicure and I knit this simple skirt with deep, dark blue kitchen cotton. It's swingy and ruffled. I feel like a five year old when I wear it because I am so delighted by the girly-swirlyness of it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Knowing when to say goodbye

Have you ever been in a miserable relationship much longer than you should have? I was with Isabel's biological father exactly 2 years, six months and 15 minutes longer than I should have.

I should have run when that pregnancy test was positive. I thought I owed him a second, third, fourth, hundredth chance because he was the father of my child. It turns out he doesn't deserved to be called a father.
I should never have adopted a "fired" seeing-eye dog. The podiatrist at the clinic I used to work for told me the sad story of a blind-assisting dog that was about to be destroyed because he didn't fit the mold. He acted up a little too much. His owner would be dining in restaurants and Elgin would run over and lick plates clean. Cute, not destructive. Right?

Wrong. He ran away. I'd have to pay a huge fine every time I got him out of the clink. The dog puked at least ten times a day from eating yarn, aluminum foil, entire sacks of bread (including the sack.) He never once let us pet him. I wasn't his master. He wasn't supposed to love anyone else. I actually felt that he hated me. I would try to take him for long walks and he would trip me and tangle me in the leash. He would lunge at every piece of garbage, sometimes making me fall. He humped everyone and everything.

The fifth time I had to bail him out of the pound, my father finally took him to a boys' reformatory school run by a friend of his. It was on a farm. 100 lonely boys don't care if a dog wants to be loved. The dog is probably bald now from petting.

Where was I going with this? I felt sorry for this yarn when I saw it at the thrift store. I thought that it deserved some love. I was wrong. This yarn is cursed. It's a bastard. This is the fourth time it was knit and it just can't behave. I'm going to put it in time out for a few months. Then I'm going to felt it. (I only felt/full yarn I hate. Take that, jerk yarn!)

P.S. Never, never, never, ever try to knit puffy sleeves with bulky yarn. You are just asking for heartache if you do. Trust me on this one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Circuit Training for Fiber Arts

I've been making progress. I am trying to manage my time. I knit to relax and I stitch to be inspired. I have projects all over the place. Sometimes I work on five different items in one day. I sit down and pick up the project that is calling to me at the time.

That's why it takes me so long to finish something.

I'm starting a new series of embroidery projects. The entire set is dedicated to my life as a military wife. I'm pretty stoked about it. My sketch book is filling up so fast...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

April Snow

It's snowing--hard. So much for golf this weekend.

I managed to find some fun yarn at a tag sale. I love vintage yarns. I got some pink wool/mohair blend to make something for Isabel. I also got some vintage sock wool and white mohair for a shawl.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Spinning Hack

Here is a quick little hack for spinners. My Lazy Kate isn't tensioned, so I have started using my needle gauge to tame singles while plying.


Skin Deep

Here is a new embroidery.

I'm not sure what to say about skin. It's the layer where beauty lives and mine is ugly. I have awful skin. I am still breaking out in my thirties. A single mosquito bite will leave a deep red mark--sometimes for up to ten years. My belly ripped into shreds of stretch marks by my second trimester. I have cried buckets over my fragile and sensitive skin.

When it came time for me to do this piece, I was tempted to make it ugly and repulsive. I couldn't do it, though. I wanted this skin to be pretty and flowery. I don't want to focus on negative things any more.

Skin Deep - flash closeup

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

G; H

I'm late with my G post.

G is for Garter Stitch.

My favorite stitch--it's bouncy and energetic. It's soothing to knit. When I started David's Korea blanket, I had grandiose ideas for lace stitches and colorwork. Then I realized that this blanket was more my comfort than his. All of my anxiety about losing my husband for a year goes into this blanket. Garter stitch is my Valium.

H is for Heart.

I remember sitting in a psychiatrist's office once and listening to his discourse about defenses. He was using a Lego blocks metaphor. The image of this heart struck me instantly and painfully. Sometimes I feel like my heart is so full of defenses and walls that it's actually made of stark blocks. Still, I think it's a beautiful image.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Questions I Frequently Ask My Husband--All of Them Stupid

  1. Why would you do that?

  2. Are you really going to eat that?

  3. Do you think I'm boring?

  4. Do you think I'm pretty?

  5. Is this ugly?
  6. Do you have to do that in bed?

  7. Are you listening?

  8. Why would you leave those on the coffee table?

  9. Does it bother you that your wife is crazy?

  10. Why don't you want to model the socks I just knit you?
I talk a lot. David doesn't.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Cervical Dysplasia

This is my self-imposed art therapy for cervical dysplasia.

I had a bad pap last year. I don't want to talk about it. It was awful. Here's the embroidery. I wrapped it over canvas stretcher bars.

I have also discovered that I have a natural talent for arbitrarily assigning embroidery stitches to represent bodily functions. My services are free--a gift like this can't be hidden from the world.

I ended up mounted the brain. Maybe I don't need as much Puritanical Practicality as I think I do. Maybe I can make something just because I want to--just to make myself feel good. Maybe I don't have to have a good, sturdy purpose for everything. Maybe I can just enjoy having ideas and seeing them through. Maybe I can finally start taking down the cross-stitched puppies my mother in law has hanging in our house. (Despite the fact that she lives in IL.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Easter Egg Dyed Roving

easter egg dyed roving , originally uploaded by alexcateye.
Spring? Is it here? Really?
We ignored Easter. David was at Mark's funeral, so we barely acknowledged it. I snapped up the bargain dyes from the Commissary and had some fun. I used citric acid from the health food store instead of vinegar because I'd tired of the stink.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Taking Responsibility for My Own Happiness

Maybe it's just the Prozac talking, but I've been feeling lately that happiness and fulfillment are not abstract concepts I'm yearning for, but something I have.

I don't want to be an artist. I am. I just am. I'm a stay-at-home mother and my life is filled with art. I'm exploring my emotions through embroidery, expressing my love for my family through fiber arts, and instilling passion for craft and self-expression in my children.

I wasn't forced into marriage and children. Nobody forces me to stay home. I made a choice to do so. I make a choice every day to enjoy it and to feel complete because of it. My job is beautiful and important because I make it so.

Someday, there will be other phases of me, other options. Right now, I'm happy where I am. I am content to know that my work is meaningful.

I thought I'd also post some pictures of my latest yarn. It's a failed attempt at boucle that I wound into a center pull ball and cabled for a very interesting aran weight yarn with a lot of drape and texture.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I won I won I won I won

I won a blog contest hosted by Black Rayne. She sent me a beautiful little log cabin blanket which Isabel immediately stole.

My brother, who recently died, left a pregnant widow. She's giving birth some time this month. I'll be sending the blanket to her later.

I mostly wanted it to see how she picked up stitches. Her work is so perfect and lovely.

I recommend that you stop by her blog. She makes cute, interesting things.

Thanks so much!


Muscular and striated vs. sickly and green. Yin vs. yang.
Chemical signals are bulky and awkward. The synaptic clefts huge and uncrossable.
Are they at odds or at peace? The dendrites seem ragged--frazzled.
I think of my neurons as: somewhat sickly, somewhat special, someone creative, somewhat different. Some are long, sinuous, and muscular. Some are reptilian and decidedly Prozac-colored. Years of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications and treatments have shaped these images.