Friday, December 31, 2010


Threads for the day are accomplished on Pindigo. 
As often happens it turns into more than one thread and if you have time and inclination, it can be a couple of hours of peaceful stitching. Such was my day thus far. 
We put on a pot of my father's famous secret recipe stew and I am trying out a Lingonberry bread mix from Ikea, which is rising on the stove as the pot bubbles. 
Tonight-be still my heart- I will cast on for Brooklyntweed's Juneberry shawl in the color called 'nest'. 
A blissful new years eve!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

One Thread a Day

Pre New Years resolution: Ping/Pindigo is revived and a thread is commenced. (Ping is the name of the pattern, from Pinwheels, in the center to which I added indigo setting blocks.Thus: Pindigo.

Monday, December 27, 2010

snow day....

I think I am staying in. Maybe a good day to bake bread and make soup.. makes a nice picture though:) I am happy to have an unexpected day off. ALthough New York state has not declared a state of emergency, I think everyone should stay home.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Our tiny tree

haiku for Walter

note to my brother
when you were still in the world
my heart was lighter

Friday, December 03, 2010

the plan (subject to further modification)

Gratuitous cat picture-Poppet the lap cat
This year in my house the plan is to give everyone something hand made. Even if it is just a small something. Some will get a more involved thing gift than others but each one will get something made by me. I am considering not buying anything at all.
Maybe working in a mall for these last four years has inured me to the charms of consumerism, or maybe I am just lazy and do not want to go shopping. In either case, I am not going.
So far I have made lavender sachets, using left over four patches, and lavender harvested in the east end lavender farms,  and the socks and mittens noted in the last post. I have  a pattern for a doll for the one child who will stop by, which I may attempt to make while she is still young enough to like dolls, and I may makes some ornaments for the adults. I do not have time to knit hats for all or mittens or socks for all. But each item will have my time and consideration and perhaps that is what gifts should be about. After all, all of my children are nearly completely grown up.
look inside the cube -on the floor
Of course I have not been struck yet by the yearly Christmas Eve panic -the one where in I get catapulted into the crowds at the last minute, for the one gift that I was unable to get to, where I walk through the near empty store gazing with glassy eyes at the ravaged displays under the gaze of the exhausted underpaid employees, the ones who drew the short straw and who just want to be outta there and do not care in the least about my tear streaked, crumpled list that I slaved over, while I try to find that one item that clearly and unequivocally  proves for all time how much I really do care.
But at the moment, sitting here on my couch and my hot coffee, this seems an unlikely scenario. Of course I do not know what will happen if I am overcome by the panic.......
holidaze past at the mall
Now if I could just get off this computer and get busy sewing. There are sachets to be assembled.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

early bird

morning sky in december
I am up at the crack of early this morning even though I have to work the late shift. Oh well maybe I will actually do a stitch or three, after coffee of course. I have finished another pair of socks , in Blue moon sock weight, I will maybe add a crochet  picot edge in lime green for piquancy.
 "By George, I think I've got it! " I knitted these socks-toe up two at a time- with no pattern!! so I felt kind of good about that.
blue sock

{[(does anyone else think in quotations?) (Last night I started singing to one of my students "the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain..." when he finally 'got' the lesson that we had worked on for two days.  Fortunately he got the reference and we had a good chuckle.) {It is very euphoric when your student has a light bulb moment. }}

I have a cowl, Tudora Ruff , from Knitty, on the needles , a last minute cast on, using left over Shelter mitten yarn-more mittens on another set of needles- and another pair of socks that are in progress...and I have quilts on the design wall. I think I have enough to do. 

red cowl
I have been back on Weight watchers for a few days. I made a huge pot of minestrone soup and a nice loaf of bread to take for work lunches. I absolutely cannot eat mall food anymore..even the so called healthy choices are really not. So I have made this commitment to myself. It is hard because everyone at work has been bringing so much cake and sugary crap- albeit tasty sugary crap- to work and it looks sooooo delicious, but it is rarely ever worth it, (although Sophie's cheesecake came close) and I am trying hard to remember this. Also, I carry a bag loaded with fruit.
Beware! I am armed with clementines!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

whats afoot?

I am home in my nest after a busy holiday weekend. I worked 25 out of 48 hours ( including my commuting time) and all in all it was fun and went fast. But I am knackered.

Sooo... Today will most definitely involve a thread but maybe not too many. My hands are swollen and stiff. I am not sure if it is from too much salt? too much driving? ( I tend to have a death grip on the wheel) or just too much using the small hand held devices we use at work. dunno. But I will not let it keep me from at least some stitching. It may be on my machine until things loosen up a bit or I find my drugs. They are some where around here. The pills that the doc gave me for inflamed things. hmmm maybe in that basket over there.
Once I get moving I will be just fine....
and what plans are afoot (or a hand) out yonder? do tell.

Friday, November 26, 2010

We have fallen and we can't get up !!

We had a wonderful time at Jen and Jay's and I am grateful for my little family-the ones I made and the ones I did not make.
Never a Dull Moment.
If I had a ranch, that would be its name. I love you all!
Hmm maybe I should have a contest for ranch naming...lets do it! I will give the best ranch name a prize ( a.small.prize.) This is purely subjective and I am the boss of it. all are welcome to participate.

Monday, November 15, 2010

who I was

my knees sound like old wood being broken #beyondphysicaltherapy. I am not committed to writing: i still can't type, I have not been published in years, believe poetry is not marketable and not important. I am a shell of who I was (who was I?).
My children are depressed, my husband is overwhelmed. the cats are free range. the coffee is downstairs-too far ( see above reference to knees) I cannot afford physical therapy three times a week and I don't exersize because it hurts.I feel disgustingly fat and cannot believe the scale, which is never accurate, and so confirms this delusion. some days it say 10101 and other days it is closer s 10100 which is better albeit still way (weigh) too much. Is this a reflection of me always feeling like I am too much? too loud, too visible, way too needly too too too everything.
(wild thing, you make my heart sing. you make everything grooovyyyy)
There was exhileration. there was art bleeping *** edited to remove etc etc** everywhere. there was no permanence, no reliable food source. there were banners and broken glass and mahogany furniture, reminders of my grandmothers exquisite new orleans taste. there were Japanese relics of our travels. there was the pervasive smell of linseed oil in everything. there was,even then, the feeling of if only , if only , if only.
we wore clothes from other people, bathed and ate in other peoples houses, bore the scorn of other peoples belief that they were somehow superior in that  "we belong to some accepted, shared realm and you do not" sort of way.
We bore that scorn and we wore it with our cast off clothing , our lack of foundations, our bodies rarely clean-the bath tub was copper and the water did not run. for christ's sake this is america and we had no water.
still she painted . she tuned into the classical station on her fm radio and she painted while we deflected the scorn of our neighbors, such as they were.
so. there you have it. a childhood reflection. they come to me in the fall when i miss new england. you cannot go back. but you carry it forward in your cells somehow beneath the  teeth and bones, the memories still survive rising like ghostly mists from the wetlands.
now after days of rain- the street still shines with it- the sun pokes out.
I would be ok if I could just stay here with my books and my camera to see the sky with. Blue sky with clouds broken and strewn throughout. the birds emerge and call to each other. they sing we think. how do they hear us? do they at all? other than to be alarmed at our predatory presence?
I am nestled in my bed. coffee is in a cup propped up by a blanket- a fake fleece camp style blanket. My computer is opened to a mail program (a reader I tell my students, an aggregator. I do not use that word to avoid confounding them further. Poor darlings.) My knitting -socks, toe up, magic loop, short row heel, made with "blue wall", medium sock weight yarn from next to my computer. I do not have time to sit and knit much so I do a row here and a row there. no worries, there is no hurry. they will get finished eventually. In the back of my mind, there are the other 101 things I would like to finish, but I am practicing living in the moment. not doing so much wishing. planning. striving. goal setting. just be still.
"Just. Be. Still," she used to command to the squirming, noisy children,
right before the pinch.

Friday, November 12, 2010

In real life there are situations where we do not get do overs. However in our creative life, our advocation, crafting and artisan endeavors, we can and should scrap things that we are interminably stalled upon, or projects that give us no joy. 
In other words, sometimes I just want to start over. This can mean putting things away, out of sight, in order to rediscover them at another time, or just plain tossing them. Some would say that this is actually a necessary element of creativity. 

Today, I am wondering how it would feel to not feel obligated to finish existing projects. What would I choose to do if there were no works in progress. I wonder what I would do if I could start over. I do not mean in the big life sense. the problem for me is that since my identity is so infused with my creative spirit, it is not just a question of what I want to play with, it becomes who do i want to be and then I am mired in it all over again. The continuing saga of what do I want to be when I grow up.
Sometimes I just want to have fun. The whole serious discussion of what is creativity and why and wherefore, is beyond me. I intend to keep it there. Sometimes I just need to be out of the stream of ordinary  and into the flow of my creative universe. 
that is all

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Woodruff mittens

Knit in "Shelter" two ply worsted,color is "longjohn", pattern and wool from brooklyntweed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Silver Fleece

     Last minute I bundled myself into the car ( I had almost talked myself into not going out of sheer laziness)-Mike drove- and three hours later we were in Rhinebeck for the NY sheep and wool festival. It was a lovely fall  day out, complete with gusts of chilly wind and swirling dazzling fruit loop colored leaves. I almost bought a fleece-yes an entire fleece of which I was quite enamored, but Mike and and the better part of reason, prevented me. 

     We watched as the shearer deftly remove the entire fleece in about five minutes flat. He was so skilled, his small audience applauded after he was done. It was a beautiful shetland fleece, infused with lanolin and grass filings still in it,  and I lusted after it. The shearer invited us to step forward and touch it, and I could feel the oily lanolin and the warmth of the animal still held in the fiber. He told us that the sheep's body temperature is about 102 degrees and it felt very warm.

     Can you imagine??

     I had visions of lovingly carding and spinning the shimmering wool into lofty skeins which I would then knit into sturdy  guernsey's for my clan. Apparently I  had slipped into another century, or I was channeling some ancient Scottish  ancestor, who had the the great skill, the need, and the wherewithal to accomplish this.

     I did not buy the beautiful fleece. We watched the deft shearer shear a curly long haired goat whose fleece fell in silver locks to the ground and who was far less compliantly shorn of her dreads, than was her cousin the shetland sheep. None the less, he wrestled her to the ground and held her firmly on her back while he relieved her of her fleecy goodness. and we wandered away fleeceless. 

     But I did resolve, that if, in some future time, I keep the desire to obtain such a thing as this magical fleece, that I shall. And so it was that I came away with a renewed commitment to spin the fiber that I do have, and to bring my skills to where I could actually do the things I saw myself doing in my hallucinations.

      On the way home we picked up Sandy, Mike's dad's wife, and took her to dinner. It was a day well spent. Upon returning home, we popped an Inspector Lewis cd into the player and promptly fell asleep. 
     While we were away, Bailey had locked herself out of the house and had to break the back door frame in order to get in, but aside from that the house was still standing. And another Rhinebeck adventure has come to a close.

Rhinebeck 2010

     After much blue air and gesticulating (traffic), we arrived at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, in the early afternoon. It was a perfect-let me say perfect- autumn afternoon. Cool enough to need a sweater but not so cold that you wished for gloves-although I am carrying my gloves with me these days. I do not like to drive with cold hands.
     I will say here that I do not need  another skein of yarn, nor another knitting book or pattern, nor likely any knitting utensil. Therefore my purchases were not multitudinous, rather they were more of the 'this is unique and I may not see it again', variety.
     And here I will list them for you. Just three from big to small.

     I bought a bag, from the artisan, Julia Hilbrandt (who comes from Stanfordville). Now if you know me or even if you read my blog or my facebook posts, you know that I can and do make felted bags-and pretty nice ones at that. and that I have even ventured into using vintage wool for a bag or two. However. These bags were different, The were industrial and strong -and yet the details were noticeable and dignified. even classy. So I circled the booth, and took a walk around the fairground and saw alot of wool. Alot. Of. Wool. And then I decided that I would forgo the wool and buy the bag, because, after all, as I said in my words above, in line one of paragraph two, I do not need another skein of yarn. Not just yet. And I do love this bag. I love the look, the size-it will fit lunch, gloves, keys, ipad, wallet and knitting quite easily, and I love the details, as simple as they are they are well executed and poised on the edge of edgy. love that. well done Julia.

     For all of my declarations fo not needing more wool, I did buy just one skein of brushed mohair, because it reminded me of mermaid hair and somewhere in the back of my mind I have a fascination with mermaids and I want to paint (another) one and this lovely green, yards and yards of green, shimmering like mermaid locks in the surf, brought those mermaids back to the forefront of my mind. And for 20 bucks, it was worth it. I do not know the provenance, of the mohair , but it was hand dyed at "Handmade in the Hills", in Lawrenceville, PA. no website listed in the receipt.
My last purchase, small and beautiful, made at the Shipyard Point Glassworks booth, coming all the way from Maine. Beautiful, bright, brilliant glass knitting notions: glass buttons, glass tipped crochet hooks, lovely kits and these tiny wonderful stitch markers. I will likely go to their website and buy some more. I  bought these on my way out. As a place holder. Ahem. I know. Sorry for the insider knitting pun.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Teaching Money Matters dot com

I wish I had Deanna Schwartzman and Deanna Suckow as a teachers when I was alot younger and of a mind to listen. Actually i am not sure that those things ever occurred simultaneously. Perhaps it is never too late to learn..
I gave their book, "Money Management Manifesto", to Bailey, my one remaining teen at home (home for the moment) and she said she would be glad to peruse it as she recently realized that she needs to become more astute in financial areas. The book is a compendium of tools and references about how to avoid becoming strangled by debt while growing to adulthood.. It is designed by teachers who listened to what their readers and students needed and then wrote a book specifically designed to meet these needs. How cool is that. It is a workbook designed to be used with their book "Teaching Chidren Money Matters" with worksheets and agreements that can be used to help kids be financially aware. It is the antidote to easy credit card delusion.
A quote from their website,
'Our book "Teaching Children Money Matters: A Resource Guide For Parents, Grandparents,   Teachers and Students" includes resources you will need to help provide your children, grandchildren and students with the information and materials necessary for them to become financially knowledgeable.'
Apparently I am unable to add a picture as I am on the road at thia time so please click on the title to see their book on amazon. They also have a Facebook page and would be delighted if you looked them up and "like" their page. They are not famous authors and are thrilled each time their page gets "liked".
I plan to ask our library to add their books to the library collections.
Be healthy be happy ~Martha

Monday, September 20, 2010


Not dreaming so much of houses
but of conversations never had.
pointed and lucid and brave and
open eyed
not dreaming so much of houses
(I used to roam about in great white hallways always lookIng for the remnant which would allow me to recreate the whole from the scrap of tissue, like the fantasies of cloning from a single cell, reconstituted so that I could say what I had to say, undiluted, and be heard.
Houses that I picture in my mind as though they were still in tact. I do not dream these things anymore, although I remember them as though they were not dreams.)

Now I am in a train station or subway. Underground.
I know this from the noise, the tracks. Do they diverge? is there a choice to be made here?
I am speaking to my daughter. I am telling her my truth. The words are swallowed by the roar of the trains. She is looking at me and she too is speaking. The words are lost. Truth is relative, I tell myself. My truth is not her truth. I do not dream of houses anymore. I have moved on.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Colors of the Sea

Some progress has been made. I spend the day yesterday in my sewing room wrestling with this. The blocks are huge. 16 inches. It will be 128 inches square if I do 64 blocks. 8 by 8. My own ocean. Unexpected Elements are occurring and I am sitting with them. Allowing them to inform me of my next decision. Trying to listen.
Today I will walk along the shore. Later when the day trippers have gone home and the shorebirds are feeding along the water's edge. Maybe a bird block?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Favorite things

One of my favorite recently on the Internet, is the blog about tiny houses. This just makes my inner designer itch to jump in. It is a combination of doll house love, portability, escapism and possibility that lure me into the fantasy of creating a tiny house. I could put one in my back yard! I could have guests! I could bring it to the beach or the mountains! It could be my own private space for writing. knitting. dreaming. meditating. It is affordable. It gives its inhabitants independence and dignity. It is doable. It is creative..
It is a new canvas on which to paint some flights of fancy. It is nice to have ones fancy ignited from time to time..
Kent Griswold has done a great job of keeping his website current and appealing. I enjoy each look into the tiny houses that he presents on the blog.I invite you to take a peek into his tiny houses..see if your fancy does not get awakened.

new directions

Played about in Electric Quilt software tonight. Maybe adding some different blocks will ameliorate my ADD tendencies. It's worth a shot. tomorrow may see some new blocks on the wall.

Being back at work after a month of hopping all over the continent, is bestirring my feelings of dis satisfaction.

humming, 'is that all there is? if thats all there is my friends, then lets keep dancing.'

or maybe I am just addicted to riding roller coasters and the be-calmedness of my present is calling for the sea to be-stir.

For sooth, hopefully my renewed Storm at Sea will be-sooth me soul.

Taking a new direction with my Storm at Sea quilt. time to mix it up a bit. stay tuned..

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pi shawl thus far

Doesn't look like much yet. But it grows. Pattern is from wendyknitsdotnet in celebration of Elizabeth Zimmerman's 100th birthday.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Vury vury bizzy

phew! this month has been a whir of activity. guests and crisis' and a trip to Cupertino and a wonderful reunion in Vermont. OMG.
First. It was fabulous to have my friends here. Stalwart and supportive and I hope they had a good time. I regret that our family was being bombarded with one crisis after another which sidelined me and made me a less than gracious hostess. At the least I will recall it as a memorable visit!
Vermont. Sigh. A visit to our collective past and a gift of the greatest magnitude.A meeting of souls that remember each other in this life from nearly half a century ago.
My children growing and experiencing hard truths and I hope it makes them better people. My hope is that these lessons will be embraced and recycled into art and beautiful lives.
And a bum knee which needs looking after. bone cyst & tendonitis? that kind of diagnosis from the mri. I will try to learn more tomorrow if I can get in to see the doctor.
And bright and shiny Cupertino which was amazing. I came home and slept for 14 hours just to process some of the vast mountain of information that I tried to soak in. I met some talented and even brilliant people in whose company I was honored to be tutored in the craft that I practice in my job of teaching computer mysteries to adults.
As for my art and my craft, I have carried my wool and my cotton around  with me from the northeast to the san francisco bay and occasionally even took a stitch  here and there. I hope September has more time and space for  stitching. and that is what she said.