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my secret garden


A garden has this advantage, that it makes it indifferent where you live. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some mornings it takes an age to wake up.  Today is one of them, so I have been poking around on the Internet trying to clear off the fog.  Karin's Style Blog had a lovely post of hand-made items designed by Meesters & Van Der Park .  The above carpet, made of recycled blankets, is just one of their many colorful and clever designs.  It lets me dream of a summer garden to be.  A garden of pinks and blues, yellows and purples, anything but this monotonous slushy grey.

fly fishing


If fishing is a religion, fly fishing is high church -- Tom Brokaw

The CMO caddis is now available through Orvis.  Why do I mention it?  It was invented by none other than my father, Mr. CMO himself.  I have a collection of flies he made for my birthday several years ago.  They are amazing.  Tiny bits of fur and feathers, yarn and beads- each one is a unique work of art.

The commercially tied version of the CMO caddis has many attributes.  Here are the few my father mentioned in a recent email:

  1. High floatability, even in turbulent water due to the body construction from hollow elk hair, tied on top of the hook shank and then formed into a post.
  2. High visibility, due to the elk hair post. It has the perfect silhouette seen from the trout's view below the fly's folded wings, front legs on the water, and a narrow body.
  3. When cast, lands hook point down and post up 90% of the time. A twitch will aright the other 10%. The very light body and the weight of the hook-bend cause this pleasing attribute.
  4. Contrasting body and thorax attract trout and triggers strikes; trout find the brilliant sheen to be irresistible.

Okay, so I don't really know what this all means, but it sounds impressive.  Actually I remember what a body and thorax are given distant memories of quizzing my daughter on the parts of an insect for a 3rd grade science quiz, the rest I can imagine. 

au bonheur des dames


Will you buy any tape
Or lace for your cape,
My dainty duck, my dear-a?
Any silk, and thread,
And toys for your head
Of the new'st and finest, finest wear-a?
  --  William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale

I just finished Emile Zola's Au Bonheur Des Dames (The Ladies' Delight or The Ladies' Paradise depending on which translation you read).  I was entranced.  As a lover of any and all things pertaining to cloth, I reveled in his rich descriptions of silk, lace, wool, etc.   The story is set during the French Second Empire, a time when industrialization and commerce were changing the ways business had previously been done. 

As I flipped from marked page to marked page in a vein attempt at finding the perfect quote, I realized that the beauty of this novel is the manner in which it sucks you into its interior, similar to the window displays Zola so beautifully depicts of the novel's primary place of location, the department store - Au Bonheur Des Dames. 

I could say more on the economics discussed, the interaction of the characters and such, but I think I will leave you with this very small taste:
There was nothing but white: a full trousseau and a mountain of sheets on the left, curtains like shrines and pyramids of handkerchiefs on the right to exhaust the eyes.....

Imagine stepping into such a department store! 

The above image is of Emile Zola as painted by Edouard Manet.


Good morrow, friends.  Saint Valentine is past;
Begin these woodbirds but to couple now.
--  William Shakespeare from Midsummer Night's Dream

St. Valentine's Day has come and gone.  I was rather dismayed by all the radio and television programming surrounding the lack of a valentine.  I know it is supposed to be a day for romance, but  I've always considered it to be a day for acknowledging the care one has for others whether romantic, platonic, or familial.  It must have been ingrained in me while in elementary school when each student decorated a shoe box for the receipt of valentines and assorted sweets.  What's romantic about receiving a Scooby Doo valentine from Charlie who sits three seats back and frequently steals the ball from you at recess?

Now of course, I had every good intention to write my own and send them out to friends, but once again, a holiday slipped past me.  So I am going to share two that were sent to my daughter and me by our "mysterious" valentine.  Thanks Sam!

l'esprit ou les mains

So by craft or art
We can give the part
Wholeness in a sense.
    --  Robert Frost from "Kitty Hawk"

Today's entry title comes from my new web pal, Stephanie.  I appreciate the literal translation of her words from French - the spirit or the hands.  A beautifully crafted object has a sense of spirit.  The marks of the maker are present.  Time is noted through its construction.  There isn't a separation between the concept and the making, they are integrally intwined.  Yes!

The above piece is new. It's titled "Remission."  A very serious and somber piece that I thoroughly enjoyed making.  I've been struggling the past year with how to connect my medically-themed embroideries with my interests in the knitted figure as metaphor for motherhood / parenting / living.  What do you think?

When I first constructed my website I was concerned that my different bodies of work looked disconnected from each other.  This has certainly been my experience with curators.  They either know me as a "knitter" or a "beader."  I need to write a general statement that highlights the underlying theme of all my work - healing - but I haven't a clue as how to begin.  Okay, a small clue, but the task is daunting.

Photo by Sanders Visual Images.  Great work as always Larry!

zero degrees


Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king;
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing,
“Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!”

--  Thomas Nashe

When the temperature is hovering around zero degrees as a high and the earth is covered in a powdery grey film of crushed street salt, I fix myself a cup of tea and look at pretty fabrics dreaming of the next quilt to make.  I know. I know.  It's not like I don't have enough to do with my knitting and embroidery, but who can resist fabrics like those from the online fabric store Super Buzzy?! They even carry the Japanese yarn Make Make with yummy names like Creamscicle. 

Yesterday I met with my friend Corinne of Lucky Penny Knits.  We chatted until lunch turned to dinner and day to dusk.  My head is still swimming with the many ideas we bounced over soup, bread, coffee and cake.  It's rare for me to have a compatriot with whom to share knitting, designing, and a love for dogs.  Did I mention that she has a book soon to be coming out of the most delicious dog sweater patterns?  She once made one for Gerttie, my dog friend and schnauzer extraordinare who died this time last year.  It was a patchwork with a cable collar.  I will have to dig around my photo albums for a pic.  Anyway, it was good to get out despite the cold.  I forget to allow myself down time with friends when schedules are so hectic that even a pee break seams like a luxury. 

In true motherly fashion, when I learned yesterday that my daughter will be working for Gallery 37 three evenings a week.  I freaked from thoughts of her shivering in the cold while waiting for the bus, so naturally I decide to whip out a pair of leg warmers in time for tomorrow.  I have 1 more to make.  I had better get back to it.


red thread hats

"Your heart's desires be with you!" -- William Shakespeare

When work becomes tedious, but in the end enjoyable, you know you are on the right path.  I've spent the day typing up the patterns for the maternity sweaters, adjusting the sizes from just medium to small, medium, large, and extra large.  My brain is full of numbers and more than a tad numb, yet I am energized to design a new series. 

You may know about my Red Thread Project.  I want to write a book based on the concept.  It's to be filled with pictures of performances, letters from those participating and receiving, as well as a collection of hat patterns designed by me.   So, I was thinking that I would introduce several of the patterns here - on line.  They would be free to use though not for resale.  Yes?  Some for knitters, a few for crocheters, and a few to be felted. 

I will start with one this week with my daughter in mind, hence the above image of the heart.  It is also a component to a new installation I am sketching out.