Master Knitter?


I just started a program with The Knitting Guild Association to become a master knitter. It is the strangest sensation to be doing this, and also the most comforting thing I have ever embarked on.  Unfortunately, I do not trust myself.  I know how I am, how I get really into something and then later get bored and move on.  And really this is only the beginning of one step.  Oddly I have tried everything all the way through to the last part of the program, and yet here in the trenches, starting fresh and new, I am learning somethings.  Like how to capture stitches before you rip out to a mistake.  (As you knit so shall you rip).

I have been reading, already, about the history of fiber arts, and about world textiles.  I am absolutely fascinated by the first archeological record of fiber, woven fabrics, knitted string skirts, embroidered and knitted things found in various digs.  I am curious about the way indigenous people create their traditional arts, like Navajo blanket weaving, Mayan (Guatemalan) blackstrap weaving, Thai story cloth,  mud bark paintings from India and parts of Africa, String” fabric from Myanmar and Tapa cloth from Hawaii. I am, and always have been, fascinated by traditional patterning and motifs, going deeper than Fair Isle and looking at the Sammi people.

I was interrupted in my knitting fever, and now am fully in remission.  I went through a phase where I knitted all the time.  I don’t want to always go back to the giant rift in my life, but it had such a significant impact on my life I don’t know what else to talk about.  While I was putting my ex through graduate school, I added 20 hours a week of waitressing to my full time teaching job.  The only thing left that I could do creatively was knit.  And knit I did, I designed several sweaters, failed at a few too.  And I think my ex was disdainful of it, like hanging laundry on a clothesline, I think he viewed my knitting as something loser country people do.  Maybe that is why he left me?  I will never know.

When he left though I mostly stopped and didn’t knit for 8 or 9 years.  There was a brief layover period where a friend and I knitted purses and sold them, and I started a blanket as a wedding gift for a friend I lost in the divorce, I was heartbroken when I wasn’t invited.  And I never finished the afghan.

I did buy a spinning wheel, and I love using it, the rhythm of the wheel, is soothing and calming.  But it is not something that ever drew my interest deeply.  I adore and love weaving, but a large and complicated loom necessary for intricate patterns hold no interest for me.  Warping my little rigid heddle is hours of work and pain in my lower back, makes it hard.  Knitting however has jumped back into my hands, knowing you will never be an expert weaver at this late stage, leaves a prohibitive feeling in you as you work it.

One could say that perhaps I should return to painting, and perhaps I should, in time I might with the same vengeance I am embarking on with knitting.  I have many ideas swarming in my mind.  image


Booger Bigfoot on His Grand Adventure

Hi, my name is Booger, I was brought to life merely three days ago, the first word I uttered was not my name as most Fabric Americans do, but the words, raaahhhrrrrr wraaahhhrrrrr raahhhrraaaaarrrrrrrrrr.  The very next day my new Flesh American companion decided to take me on an adventure.  We traveled to a secret location in the Fingerlakes Region of New York to go on a Sasquatch hunting expedition.  There was a rumor of a Sasquatch siting along the shores of this lake and it was time to do an investigation.

Here I am chillin' it was windy so I took a break sheltered in these rocks.
Here is a really flattering picture of me.
Here I am strapped in and ready for an adventure!
Don't get too excited, the humans were just practicing so they would know how to take a casting when they find a bigfoot footprint in the woods.
Who is the KING of the hill?

While I was riding on the console of the truck, I told my new buddy, the Pirate, that my name is Booger.  To heck with the Princess of Art all she heard was me doing the Squatch call.

We actually ran into a couple and the man said he had seen prints along a marshy shoreline one time, so it looks like this lake is a good spot to do some Bigfoot Research.  Looking forward to going back, but the humans said we would have to wait until it warms up.  How on earth they manage without fur is anyone’s guess.

Signing off for now.


Giant Bigfoot


Artist in Residence?

Value Study in Rocks

The drive up is one of my favorites, I often imagine taking up illegal residence in one of the shacks along the way, but it is the stay that makes the drive worth it.  She jokes to me that in the summer I should come to live here, because she wishes to acquire an artist in residence.  I am not less than half actually interested, I dream of bringing my laptop and writing a novel, or a memoir, of painting watercolor paintings, trudging up the long hill to the barn with my easel and canvas tucked under with my acrylic paints in hand.

Rock Cairn by unknown ADK artist, there are many along the path up the hill to the barn and my hiking buddy the Sanchinator.

She talks of early morning paddles and wanting more culture (pronounced cull tcha).  We visit with an old friend we haven’t seen in 18 years, and the friend says both that of all the people who would seek her out to friend her on Facebook, we were two that she said Oh YES! to.  And she also says she is not at all surprised that after all these years we are still friends, she calls us both mellow and so put together, we both laugh.  Maybe not so much.  But I feel butterflies in my stomach, because she is a person I love, and her husband and her children too.  Very much.  I bring fabric for her son to make a zombie, and her daughter to make an owl, the son goes skiing, but the daughter who at the age of 8 is already learned to sew quite well,  sits with me while we research other stuffed owls and we sit at the high table in her dining room and sew the face and wings.

Willow Owl made with batiks, quilting fabric, flannel, DMC thread and buttons. This was designed with my help by my friend's 8 year old daughter. She stitched the whole face by herself.


Detail of “Willow” the Owl face

Before I leave I take a photo of a painting which once may have had  name but I no longer remember it, for so many years it has just been The Big Yellow Painting, and it hangs in the room where her hot tub is now, but once hung in a larger living room than she has now.  I love this place, both for the quiet, the dark, and the warm hearth of her home, for the organic local foods, and home cooked and home gardened everything.  For the wood heat and the solar panels and the on demand water heat.  Most of all I love it for the fact that we are still friends and these days better friends than we have been for many long years,  and that her home and family are part of my heart.

The Big Yellow Painting, Abstract Painting that I made 23 or 24 years ago using acrylic paint on watercolor paper. This painting is approximately 6 feet by 4 feet in size.

Monkey Zombie Pirate

Finally after several weeks of not really making any worthy art I have started to get creative again.  I have a friend who dresses up as a pirate for fun at pirate festivals and the Renaissance Fair.  He recently bought this stuffed monkey to add to his costume (along with a cane toad purse which was very cool!!)  He asked me if I would Zombi-fi the monkey for him.  I wanted to get some ideas and inspiration, so I typed Zombie Pirate Monkey into Google and found there is a website by that same name, which is ridiculously funny to me.  My friend asked me to do this and then, and then he actually took out a box of beads and said I could look through it.  I found this to be a rather dangerous thing, I suppose trustworthiness does not pay on such occasions.  He had some great skull beads and he also had some animal vertebrae, some stones riddled with tiny holes from one of my favorite places in the region called Chimney Bluffs.  There were other lovely beads in the two boxes he had.  He also had a bone that he said he thought was from a turtle.  He is an avid hunter and fishes too, I wasn’t sure if he said he got the bone from one of his excursions or if a friend had given it to him.

Once I got the monkey back to my studio I started to look through my fabric.  I love that time when you start to go through your fabric and you discover pieces you didn’t remember.  So as I was looking for some fabric that would serve well for making the teeth I found some purple fabric with ghostly skulls running in a long line down the length of the fabric and made that into the scarf.  I also had some fabric that is my least favorite color, brown, and it has pink skulls on it but the cross bones are knitting needles, a must buy the minute I saw it at Mission Rose in North Syracuse.  I made that into the belt.  My Mom was visiting and sewing at one table and I doing my hand sewing at another.  She helped me sew a couple of items on the machine too.  So the end result of a relatively normal looking stuffed monkey, with a hangman’s noose to hold it to The Pirate’s belt.



Monkey Zombie Pirate Face detail


The Pirate Hook for the Monkey Zombie Pirate

Rodney Longlegs the Stuffed Rooster

Stuffed Rooster doll.

This is the second of three dolls cut from the same template.  But the last ended up being a seated rooster, this one is standing on very long legs.  I am really please with this design and expect more to come from it.  It is an easy pattern to cut out and to sew up.  He is made of various cotton quilt fabric, wire, and buttons.  He is stuffed with bamboo fiberfill.

New Dolls Rooster and Zombie

Rodney Rooster

This is a rooster that I had an idea for the minute I woke up this morning.  I made this one today and sold it but would have sold it again because a woman who had looked at it previously had said she would come back (which I hear all day) but then actually did 5 minutes after I had sold the other doll.  Shoot.  I cut out two others so I will make those and post.  Try as I might I could NOT get him to stand, one of the time’s he just fell backwards onto his but with his feet out in front of him so that is how he left my display.  A rooster sitting about.  He was really adorable when finished and little kids kept stopping to look at him while I was working on him.  LOVE it!

Spike Detail
Spike the Zombie

I named a previous Zombie Albert after my uncle, although that is his given name he goes by Spike.  He has been on death’s door a couple times due to severe heart trouble.  One time he actually died but was revived (it kept him out of Vietnam when he had his first open heart surgery around the time he would have been 18  or 19 I guess.)  Anyway over Thanksgiving he once again was at deaths door and came back.  So in honor of my Uncle Spike the Zombie.