Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Goodies in the Mail

On Ravelry I participate in a group of women named Kari.  Specific, I know.  It's turned out to be one of my favorite groups.  Sometimes these groups have a shelf life and you move on, but this one recently completed a dishcloth exchange.
"My" Kari lives in Ferndale, Michigan.  I knit her an entrelac dishcloth and enclosed a Burt's Bees wristlet sampler.  In a scandal for which the United States Postal Service ought to be ashamed, her package was opened and the Burt's Bees sampler missing.  I shake my head in disgust.
The story has a happy ending.  Kari crocheted a beautiful dishcloth for me in pale yellow and turquoise, and surprised me with a crocheted scrubbie and a HANDMADE nostepinne.  Stay tuned for Kari's new etsy shop, in which she will sell these incredibly gorgeous creations.  This one is made of tulipwood.
I am in the process of knitting a landscape scarf for Kari and it is thoroughly addictive!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bird Song

The story of how I met Jessica Burko.
I was a student at Eastman, and she was a student at RIT.  She and three friends decided to form a quartet of singers, The Sirens.  Before they made it big, they contacted me for voice lessons.  For graduate students with busy lives, they were surprisingly dedicated.  Several of them took individual lessons as well as the group workshops, and Jessie was one of them.  She has a sultry voice and was eager to improvise and interpret the standards, among them Angel Eyes and God Bless the Child.  The Sirens eventually disbanded, but Jessie's and my friendship has remained consistent through two marriages, a divorce, and at least ten moves!
I was lucky to be Jessie's model for her Master's thesis.  I also modeled for her when she visited me in New Haven.  It was a kick to see my hand or my profile integrated in her work, sometimes hanging on her living room walls.  While browsing through her web site I found a piece from 2007 entitled Bird Song.

There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one.  Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine.  And, dying, it rises above its own agony to outrank the lark and the nightingale.  One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in the heaven smiles.  For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain... Or so says the legend.

The sheet music is written for solo piano.  The grace notes in the soprano melody line lend a chirpy, happy, pastoral feel, like a walk in the woods on a sunny day.  The left hand keeps the beat in three, an inexorable march of time.  The music is cut, interrupted, by the scissors; stitched back together to the right, and torn where my face peeks out, searching, looking for the thorn tree.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Knitting Quotation of the Day

From Zen and the Art of Knitting, by Bernadette Murphy:

Knitting a sweater is a tremendous act of faith.  We undertake an ancient practice that requires hundreds of thousands of stitches and hours of concentration to create something completely new.
At any point, a firm tug on an unsecured piece of yarn could unravel the entire work.  Because knitting uses no knots, every stitch is little more than a twisted and twined bit of yarn, each section a group of simple but tenuous webs. When the work is finished, though, those webs coalesce into a garment rugged enough to withstand a lifetime of wear...
Knitting is slow. So slow that we see the beauty inherent in every tiny act that makes up a sweater.  So slow that we know the project's not going to get finished today - it may not get finished for many months or longer - and thus, we make our peace with the unresolved nature of life.  We slow down as we knit.  Our breathing and heart rate drop and knitters who've been at it a while experience a trancelike state that provides the same benefits as other forms of meditation.
Unlike other forms of meditation, though, when all is said and done, knitting produces a beautiful, handcrafted, wearable work of art.  Each garment reflects its unique moment in time and is as singular in its construction as the person who knit it - an image of its creator's spirit.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The un-birthday party

Last night my son and I had an Un-Birthday Party.  Some Fun-Fetti cake, Neopolitan ice cream, and plastic forks.  My friend Niccole said the whole apartment building "reeked of cake".  In a good way.  She brought coconut curry and Rowan's tweed; I taught her to knit using Lovikka and Susan Bates size 13 needles.  She said we were "freegans" (rhymes with vegans) because we like to barter.  Sounds good to me.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hello, world

My friend the cultural guru started her blog today.  Her introductory post is concise, entertaining, and witty.  Mine will be rambling and chaotic.  Margaret Prusan encourages us to write without limitations; write to open up possibilities.  That feeling of endless possibility in writing has been with me since elementary school.  

Recently I commissioned kimcappelliniart to complete a handbag I'd knit.  Besides doing an amazing job, she surprised me with a felt brooch and a small slip of paper which stated "Be joyful - your creativity inspires amazing results."  That is my hope for this blog.