Thicket

I hope you’ve had a restful weekend. This week, I thought I’d post a line-drawing from February, using my 0.3 Copic Multiliner. I kind of wore the 0.3 down on this one.

I was missing the grass and flowers and a feeling of flourishing. I think at the time, I was also feeling in the midst of a tangle and transition (without a clear path forward in sight) and moving at about a snail pace (at least, that’s how it felt). Sometimes, I am the snail on top, dangling on a thing and looking for solid ground in all the jumble; at other times, I’m the snail on the bottom, on stable earth and looking for a sense of voyage. Both must reckon with the unknown.

Through the drawing, I realized that life-thickets have their own splendor if we can stop and look around. Maybe what feels like an impasse is a sign that things are taking time, growing in complexity and diversity. Maybe a new way forward is forming. Perhaps something (something) is coming into fruition in a way we can’t yet perceive. In any case, let’s hope these snail pals can make it through the thicket and reunite!

I hope you are enjoying some real grass and green thickets of your own, now that Spring is in swing.

Until next time.

shawl nostalgia

This one’s a knitting post, looking back.

When I finished my very first lace project in 2019, I gained a new appreciation for lace-knitting. The Dinner at the Eiffel Tower Shawl is a good entry-level lace project. By that, I mean that most of the shawl’s lace panels consist of simple yarn-overs (skipped stitches that produce little holes) that repeat across the entire row. Nothing too complex.

Knit up in Berroco Folio, a blend of rayon and superfine alpaca, I remember that I completed the shawl over the course of 3 weeks. I remember that, to avoid mistakes in the lattice lace (the “diamond” areas), I pre-marked the 7-stitch repeated pattern with a piece of yarn at 7-stitch intervals before working all of the actual stitches. It was labour intensive, doing this over 200 or so stitches, row by row, but I learned that dividing my stitches in this way made trouble-shooting problems infinitely easier.

I love the flow state of “mindless knitting” — the kind of knitting that consists of rows and rows with few stops and starts. I learned that lace is quite different. It required my intense attention. The contrast is the difference between getting to cruise on the highway vs. making frequent stops and starts in city traffic. Lace absorbs you. It is a state of being.

When I completed this shawl after having worked at this turtle pace, I was incredibly proud. It marked a “level up” in my knitting skills after years of doing simple stockinette projects and some minor work in cables.

Nowadays, I don’t feel like I’m doing much “leveling up.” I am learning to be content if I feel like I am holding steady, creatively-speaking. Given the current circumstances, I find my knitting (and general creative) bandwidth narrowed. Drawing and art feel fluid, improvisational, and forgivingly open-ended; I draw a little pink cat-person in 20 minutes, and I am happy. The counting, casting on, stitching, and modifying required of garment-knitting surpasses what I feel I’m capable of these days, and I am coming to terms with that hiatus. I’m learning to see it not as a limitation, but an opening onto something new; there is value in taking a break and adapting my media to the constraints of what is possible. But how hard it can be (for myself, and others) to adapt expectations to a new set of circumstances… When these days are over, I’ll keep this wisdom of treading gently (again, on myself and others).

I guess I write this post to acknowledge my knitting nostalgia. It’s not merely nostalgia for a much-loved project, but also a remembering of the maker that I was, and had grown into over years — she had focus and capacities which, now, seem far away and unreachable given today’s atmosphere of ambient uncertainty. Maybe, one day, she’ll see lace glory again. For now, I’m okay with looking back in gratitude that something beautiful was possible.

A favourite moment after completing this project was going to the woods and filming the shawl under the sun on a breezy day. This clip makes me wistful for that summer. I hope you enjoy this moment of lace-calm, set to one of my favourite sunny day tunes. Full song below.

Until next time. 🎶

Toucan fiber folk

I hope you are having a restful Sunday.

This week sees a new knitting friend to add to last week’s: a toucan who is enjoying some knitting and sunlight in a purple lopapeysa sweater.

I have always loved toucans and their stunning colours — they are the opposite of camouflage, brazenly themselves. At least that’s how I think of it.

And Spring is a good time for artists (I am speaking for myself). The return of the sun makes colours extra vivid, bringing out their worlds of feeling. The surfaces and textures of stitches, fabric, and fiber become more brilliant, too. Working outdoors or with windows ajar, I feel connected to the slow sprouting of life around me. A quiet sweetness of being becomes possible.

Wishing you peace and sunny days this week. 🙂

Kitty fiber folk

Hello, there. Friday seems to have crept up on me. What a busy week it has been. I didn’t want it to slip by without a post, though — so today, a recent picture of a feline fiber friend.

Drawn in my favourite Faber-Castell pencils, this kitty is a keeper and collector. In time for Spring, she comes with a provisioning energy, reminding me that all of the little bits and bobs that I once squirreled away for Winter (the metaphorical and the literal one) are still useful. Those collected and once-dormant winter-stored bits are ready to be brought out and given new life. “Here they are!” the kitty says, as the yarn hovers up and into a blue sky of possibility. Maybe it is high time that I return to my stash.

Have you tapped into keeping or collecting energies lately? Or maybe rediscovered a long-hidden stash of semi-forgotten goodies? The life of the maker is full of hidden treasure.

Whether you’re spinning up a storm, gathering skeins from that big basket of yarn, or are simply allowing some colours and remnants to commingle and dream themselves into something new, this kitty is for you.

Until next time. 😺

Outstanding blogger award

The wonderful Helen at CrawCrafts Beasties nominated this blog for an award. Thank you, kindly, Helen, for the nomination! Readers, if you haven’t yet, run (don’t walk) to see her lovable handmade monsters — the Beasties — in action. They are incredible!

So. Part 1 of the award is to answer some quite fun questions, posed by Helen. Part 2 is to nominate outstanding bloggers and ask them some questions of my own. So without further ado, here are some questions and some answers. And then some questions again. 🙂

Helen’s questions

Coffee or tea? (or no hot beverages at all? ) Ooh, that’s going to be tea for me, and non-caffeinated herbals 96% of the time. I never quite got into regular coffee. When I tell folks that I made it through school without caffeine, I get the disbelief-look. Caffeine tends to have too many side effects for me, so tea always wins.

Where in the world would you most like to visit, and why? When I was a kid, I used to love reading the world atlas. For some reason, the islands in the Pacific always fascinated me the most — just the idea of being surrounded by all of that water and the distance from the land masses of the world. I imagine generations of ocean navigators, long before GPS, building dugout canoes, braving the unknown, watching the stars, and peopling the islands. So, I’d love to tour Polynesia and Hawai’i. In my dreams, I’d travel mainly by water.

What is the most delicious meal you’ve ever eaten, and where did you have it? Speaking of islands, I’ll never forget the first time I had fresh lapu lapu (grouper). I was in the Philippines, in a coastal town named Agoo by the South China Sea. As a hospitality, our host went to the beach, caught us a bright red grouper, and prepared it for us over coals and fire. I have lived in the memory of that meal ever since.

What have you made that you’re most proud of, and why? It would have to be my little doe dolls. I made them in 2018 and hadn’t sewn a thing in over a decade. But, one day, I found myself making a paper pattern and hand-sewing little deer — one a bit sad and under the weather, and another one to comfort it. I made them during a challenging period in my life; sewing them put me back in touch with a sense of joy, love, and strength. I learned that creating things was a powerful form of self-care. 🙂 You can read about my thoughts on that here.

What’s your plan for today? It’s been a busy week. Rest!


More Outstanding Bloggers

Ok. I hope those answers didn’t put you to sleep. Time for nominees. The authors of the following blogs get an Outstanding Blogger Award because they not only produce beautiful content and images in their chosen media, but these bloggers also pair their beautiful work with thoughtful and uplifting writing that makes me reflect on the creative life. Creative blogs at their finest and very much to be read and enjoyed.

Cognition and Crochet

D’Nali

fabrications

Placid Painting

the quiet photographer

Woolly Wednesday

Yochet Crochet

My Questions for You

If you’d like to accept the nomination, here’s the drill (no pressure bloggers, this is only if you happen on this post and are up for it!):

In a post, answer the questions below, linking this nomination page. Nominate up to 10 Outstanding bloggers of your own, and create up to 10 new questions for them. Here are my Q’s.

  1. What are 3 creative tools or supplies that you can’t live without these days?
  2. When did you first start working with your art or craft medium? Why did you choose it?
  3. If you had all the resources you needed, what would your dream project be?
  4. What is your favourite season, and why?
  5. Name a place that inspires you to create.

Ok. I’ll plan to be back next week with some new artwork! Until then.