What’s on your needles?

Since the beginning of the year i have been gathering unfinished projects to see what i actually have on needles or bobbins or spindles or looms ~ in other words ~ in progress scattered about or hiding in boxes or bags. So far i know i have the 2 main projects i am actively working on. One is Harmonia’s Rings by Sivia Harding in Spirit Trail Frija (a yarn i am absolutely infatuated with because it is so wonderful to work with). I started it (or rather Jeane deCoster started it for me) at Madrona last year. Cat Bordhi was wearing one and raving about how comfortable it was so i thought i should make one. I was busy in the booth so Jeane did the cast on and knit the first few rows. I worked on it for a while and then set it aside to be rediscovered this winter once i began my archeological dig thru my unfinished projects. My version is double stranded in 2 different color ways and other than the fact that i am knitting to the end of the yarn rather than the end of the pattern – it is almost finished.

My other active project (by active i mean i carry them around with me and work on them at least a little bit every day) is the ABSJ or Adult Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I started this one at Lambtown last year. Friends of mine – Nina and Jane, are knitting them for summer camp and it intrigued me so they helped me pick out yarn and i happily started while i was on the road to Rhinebeck. We checked in regularly and i knew from pretty early that something was wrong. I kept writing about the size of the jacket and both reassured me if i had my decreases and increases correct every thing would work out fine. Alas they were wrong! They would have been totally accurate if i had started with the correct number of stitches but apparently no matter how many times i read the pattern i kept missing one crucial piece – multiply the width of your favorite sweater by your gauge. So my gauge was one (no multiplication happened) and i have a finished baby bear surprise jacket. When i got home and showed them my tiny jacket we all got a good laugh and i started again – the first mini jacket is in Malabrigo and the second, more accurately sized restart of the jacket is in the original Terra from the Fibre Company. I had some left from the original milling and the colors and content have changed so i thought i would use what i have left to make a very colorful jacket. I am not very far in but it makes a good easy no brainer project (except for when you pick it up and knit the wrong direction) …… seems like there are possibilities for error in almost any project.

Pictures coming in the morning

This is only the beginning of my list……. So what’s on your needles/bobbins/spindles/looms?

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Betweem Madrona Winter Retreat and Stitches West

Greetings fellow fiberists

sorry to have been so long between posts – somehow the winter just vanished! In the Bay Area it is going back and forth between winter and spring – with some of those wonderful sunny warm days to tease me into thinking that spring is just around the corner.

Last week Maggie and i went to the Madrona Winter Retreat in Tacoma, WA – and what an amazing event that is. This year there were over 700 registered students and i don’t know how many fabulous classes! I love going to fiber events and catching up with all my friends and having the opportunity to make new friends as well.  Linda Cortright of Wild Fibers Magazine was the Saturday evening speaker and it was so wonderful to get to spend even a little time over dinner and get to catch up.  I will see her again at Stitches West but we won’t have even as much time as we did at Madrona – probably not even enough for a real conversation.

Today is Friday – i am about half way in between Madrona and Stitches. I have been repacking and trying like crazy to catch up – there is email and paper work and ads and the Golden Gate Fiber Institute and…. more i am sure but that is what is top of my thoughts. The Institute registration is doing really well and i am drafting a welcome letter to all the students. I am soooooo excited about our teachers and classes this year. So it is actually hard to focus on Stitches West and i really really need to! There are boxes to pack and yarn and needles to order and signs to make and AAAAHHHH! I would so rather knit -)

But focused or not – i will see you at Stitches West in a few days!

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Travel Notes

Good morning world. I keep meaning to sit down and write a long post about the power of weather and this trip has just been so long and hard (with all the WEATHER) that by the end of the day all i want to do is play with a couple of road weary cats, eat something and sleep!!! There has been no energy for writing or spinning or of anything.

I have a long list of things i have not gotten to: my lovely entrelac shawl that i wanted to have finished for the SOAR gallery, the scrumptious Abby Batt that i held out to spin (a gorgeous blue with pygora from Peppermint Pastures) sits in its little bag unspun, my horoscope shawl is off the loom and needs a net of knots for the fringe and its picture taken, i started some arm warmers and have knitted about 6 rows, and the list goes on. This list of course does not count the phone calls, emails and assorted businessy things i should have gotten done from the road. These days i try to plan in a “work” dcay – a day where i can sleep in a bit, get my laundry done, really walk the cats, and catch up on the business of Carolina Homespun and the Golden Gate Fiber Institute. This tip has been hard and fast and there was no time for a work day.

Last night i did find an RV place with a hot tub and that 20 minutes of  soaking bliss felt wonderful and much needed. Today we will get into Sunriver andjoin in the wonderful communtiy that is SOAR. I hope to have a moment to catch up with Judith about GGFI, have dinner with Jacey Boggs to talk about her class at the 2010 institute, check in with Tina about the class in Washington and…. plus there is set up the booth and try to figure out which things to fit into a very small 8X10 booth.  This year it will be hard because i really have some wonderful new things. Maybe  i can display them here since there will not be room in the booth for all of them!

Right now it is time to  pack up and hit the road – groceries and a post office have to happen before we get to Sunriver!

Pictures and links when i get there….

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Golden Gate Fiber Institute

I wish I were a better blogger- I think of so many things to write and then there are just not enough hours in the day.

At the end of July we had our second summer intensive of the Golden Gate Fiber Institute.  This year we had 5 teachers – Judith MacKenzie McCuin, Bonnie Tarses, Darlene Hayes, Jeane deCoster and Loyce Ericson. Students made handspun handwoven scarves, Horoscope Shawls and fabric, felted vests, many skeins of beautiful naturally dyed yarn and fitted patterns to make sweaters, vests and other garments.

I was able to take Horoscope weaving with Bonnie Tarses. As is often the case (in this instance due to all of the other preparations for the Institute)  I was behind in class – we were supposed to come with our looms warped and several of the other students did. I had my warp wound but not yet dressed on the loom. (Lann teased me and said I was “in danger of being weft behind” ;-)   Regardless of the state of my warp -I learned so much in the class – how to draft a warp using a horoscope as the legend, how to assign colors to letters and make woven words, and got to eat some of the best chocolate ever- thanks to Bonnie’s brother in law who is an amateur chocolatier.

I love the idea of using color as meaning – either horoscope or letters/words to create a piece of cloth that has meaning both in the intent and in the actual colors chosen.  I though a great deal about the time and care that goes into making clothes that are hand dyed, hand spun and hand woven (our theme for summer 2009 was Slow Clothes). We live in throw away culture – it seems that so many things are made to last only a short time and then be thrown away.  I love events like GGFI,  SOAR, Sock Summit and the Madrona Fiber Arts winter retreat because everyone brings the things they have made and they are so varied and intricate and beautiful. The skill and artistry we pour into our clothing always amazes me. It is as if to say – why make something plain when you can make it beautiful and lasting.  Ask most knitters – why knit socks? Or lace? Or sweaters? Non knitters will ask because they have not had the pleasure of knitting and/or of wearing a hand knit garment and see only the garment and the time involved and believe that you can buy socks or sweaters from any discount store for far less than the cost of the yarn.  Knitters know that those hand knit garments are treasures – knit with love and they are both beautiful and functional.


I have finally begun to weave my horoscope shawl – as I weave I think about the interplay of the planets, houses and signs in my horoscope. Right there in my weaving are the planets dancing thru house and sign each represented by 5 strands of bright silk. The Sun is a golden yellow, Venus is a lovely green, Mars is red (of course) and Pluto is turquoise. I am listening to Caroline Casey’s Making the Gods Work For You: the Astrological Language of the Psyche so I can understand what it means to have my Sun in Scorpio and my Moon in Gemini. I love weaving with meaning and symbol in color. I have plans to do more horoscopes and to make peace prayer flags and towels.

As I weave I am also thinking about next summer’s intensive – we have dates – Aug 8-15, 2010. We are working on a theme and teachers.  Something about old structures and new forms but that is only my internal working idea. We want to work with traditional and much loved forms and structures and see how we can expand them and push the envelope so to speak, take them to new heights or depths – whichever seems most appropriate

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An Army of Storytellers and Lovers

This week started out with a thump!

Tuesday’s decision from the California Supreme court felt like a giant thump to my heart and psyche. How could California – the bastion of progressive thinking,  legally create not only a second class (a group of same sex couples whose marriages remain legal) but a third class (all the rest of the same sex couples who can now no longer marry) of citizens in one huge step backward?  .  How could this state I love treat so many lives with such utter disregard? This and many other questions have plagued me this week. The biggest is….

What could same sex marriages possibly do to opposite sex marriages? I just don’t get it. How could my being married to the woman I love hurt any one else’s marriage? When a man looks into the eyes of his beloved wife is his love diminished or his marriage hurt because somewhere else another man looks into the eyes of his beloved husband? Is any woman’s sacred marriage broken because somewhere another woman is making the same vows of love, honor and respect to her new wife?

I was reminded over and over all week that change is happening and that as change becomes immanent, things often get worse before they get better. (Something I would have known in a heartbeat when I was sitting in my therapy office and somehow seem to have forgotten since I left it.) I was reminded of history – that California was the first state to legalize interracial marriages in 1948 and it took the US Supreme court to  make it legal in the last 13 states in 1967. That within the past 20 years gay pride events in the California heartland have been met by members of the KKK in full robes and hoods.  That in 1982 the Equal Rights Amendment was stopped 3 states short of ratification and that it has been reintroduced in each session of Congress since but has been held in committee – and HAS NEVER PASSED!  (Sometimes i worry that we all think “we have come a long way baby” and forget that the ERA never made it into the constitution and thus never became part of the law of the nation.)

Yesterday Lann and I went to Fresno with approximately 3,000 other folks from all over California and several other states as well. The crowd was mixed – young and old, queer and straight, every race and ethnicity was represented.   Many believe that we lost the fight over Prop 8 – the election not the legal battle -because we failed to speak to the voters in the middle of the state – people in places like Fresno.   The message of the March and Rally was clear – this is a fight for our civil rights and to win it we must come out and tell our stories.   We must become storytellers and let middle California and middle America know who we are.  We must remind people that we live next door to each other, our children go to school together, we go to church together, and we go to work together. We all just live and love and work and do our regular lives and that there really is no us and them -it is all just US and there is nothing to be afraid of.

So here is my proposal – let’s spin a little or knit a little or weave a little and tell our stories to one another.

“Let us be the change we want to see in the world” Gandhi

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Meet in the Middle for Equality

Last year on June 17th Lann and I went to SF City Hall with our priestess/minister and friends to be married. It was a historic day for California – the first day it was legal to be married as a same sex couple. It was a historic day for us in more ways than one – it happened to be our 26th anniversary. We joined hundreds of other couples – many like us could count their time together in decades rather than days or weeks. Many had children in their arms or gathered around them.  All were happy beyond measure. There were tears and laughter and stories told while we waited in line to get married – something heterosexual couples have been able to do without question.  We got our marriage license and then went upstairs to the beautiful rotunda to be married under the watchful eyes of the bust of Harvey Milk (Harvey – we so wished you could have been with us all that day and we knew that you were with us in spirit! What a glorious celebration you would have made it).  We signed our marriage agreement in Harvey’s presence and then filed it with the city of SF and state of CA.  (We left later that morning for Oregon and the Black Sheep Gathering where we heard from many that our wedding had been on the national news – we still have never seen the footage!)

Today I am waiting – almost holding my breath to see what will happen on Tuesday, May 26. The California Supreme Court has announced that it will deliver its decision about our right to remain married this coming Tuesday. It seems incomprehensible to me that they could take away our right to be married. Lann and i are “married” and will remain so (just as we were “married” long before the state made it legal to do so – we handfasted on our 7th anniversary and would be considered common law in most states if we were straight.) I almost can’t imagine that they could do anything but uphold our right  to be married. But then I felt that way before the election last November and I was sorely disappointed and distressed when a simple majority of the citizens of this state said no – we don’t believe in your right to marry. Some part of me believes it isn’t personal – but it feels very personal to me.  Why shouldn’t I have the same rights as anyone else?
I have been listening to Playing for Change – and in the words of one song – “You can blow out a candle but you can’t blow out a fire, once the flames begin to catch the wind will blow it higher” (from the song Biko by Peter Gabriel) – I want to feel hopeful, I want to believe that California will join the growing number of states that have legalized same sex marriage. I want to believe that change is coming but I am afraid to believe. Mostly I am afraid to be disappointed – it hurts so much!
I actually do believe that change is coming – it is just a question of whether it is coming here and now to California. The Courage Campaign organizers along with hundreds of other groups have called us to Meet in the Middle for Equality next Saturday .  Hopefully we will all meet to celebrate the newly affirmed state of marriage in California. The party is set for Fresno – the middle of the state geographically. Fresno also represents  the middle of the state in many ways politically as well and is a place where our queer brothers and sisters will need our support especially if same sex marriage is affirmed.
If Prop 8(HATE) is upheld and the rights of the gay and lesbian citizens of the state are stripped away (and possibly as many as 18,000 marriages annulled or unmade) we will meet in the middle to march in support of marriage equality and equal rights. Hopefully our justices have found a way to Meet in the Middle to support the rights of us all – gay and straight alike.
Either way – the party or the march is set for Fresno at noon. Lann and I will be there – please join us!

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Update from the Road

Blessed Beltane one and all!

Cinco de Mayo has come and gone and so has Beltane, Stitches South and Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. Maggie, Merlin and I are still on the road – now headed for Portland and TKGA.

This trip we have made a big loop around the country and gotten to see some new places in the process. We drove out toward Atlanta on interstate 40 (part of which is the mother road – Route 66) and now we are going back west along the northern route – through North Dakota and Montana. Along the way we stopped at the Yoder Popcorn Factory and bought red popcorn, followed horse drawn buggies thru the verdant Indiana countryside, got fresh cheese curds in Wisconsin and drove thru a couple of erious thunderstorms!. The Amish quilts i saw in Shipshewanna are to die for and so is the popcorn from Yoder’s! I even got a new teacup for our weaving class afternoon teas. (pictures coming soon- at least of the teacup)

Today is the first day i have seen blue sky in what feels like forever and tonight i got to watch a beautiful sunset in the western sky while the full moon rose in the east.

Did I ever get a chance to say I got great help in Atlanta? Well I did! Thank you so much Deborah, Nada and Tina!!!! Lann and I could not have done it without you.

more soonest

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On the Road Again

(A brief update from Lann while Morgaine is traveling.)

Sorry for the long delay between posts – it has been an amazing Spring.   You can always tell that “show season” has started, because our house starts to look like an archeological dig – a big layer of things that haven’t been touched since “Before Stitches” with a whole lot of the day-to-day rubble of life since then on top.  I am trying to dig out and catch up.

The best part of show season is that we get to see so many of our friends in person.   Morgaine got an early start on that with the recent retreat classes with Judith MacKenzie McCuin – several days at a time up at Point Bonita for spinning, then weaving.  It was a perfect time to visit the Bay Area – warming weather, blooming flowers everywhere and that wonderful feeling that life itself is bursting through all adversity.

Going to see the musical “Wicked” probably helped too – such a wonderful mix of childhood memories blended with stunning costumes, great performances and witty lyrics – we’ve been singing songs from it since.   I highly recommend that you see it if you get the chance, because it will redefine whether you consider yourself “a good witch, or a bad witch.”  We decided that “Defying Gravity” is our new theme song for loading in – and especially loading out after each show.

Morgaine is currently somewhere in Arkansas enroute to Atlanta for Stitches South.  We are really looking forward to this new show, and getting to see more of the countryside.  I will fly out to join her there, and then we’ll head into the Carolinas for a day or so of rest (so precious when she literally only takes a few days off each year!) before we arrive at Maryland Sheep and Wool.   I’ll fly home and Morgaine will trek back across the country to go to TKGA in Portland.   It’s over 6600 miles in all.

Merlin and Maggie are also having a great time as they all got to spend some time caravaning with Morgaine’s Mom across the Southwest (AZ to AR).  They just love getting to the campground each night and running over to Patti’s RV to get treats.   The long days and hard driving in wind and weather didn’t leave them much time or energy for visiting in the evenings, but they got to spend a whole day together enjoying one of the beautiful State Parks before parting to go to their separate events.

Well i’m off to go work on orders and get to the Post Office (yes – we even have one open on Sundays here – no rest for the wicked…).  Hope all of your are thoroughly enjoying this bright new day.    – Lann

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Keep the Fleece, and the World’s Longest Scarf!

Today at noon at Stitches West we will start the World’s Longest Scarf in our booth at Carolina Homespun. Come and join the fun!  Booth 723.

Keep the Fleece!

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Poem for the Fourth Annual Brigid Poetry Reading

He Na Tye Woman

by Paula Gunn  Allen

Lakes and Rivers.
Oceans and streams.
Springs, pools and gullies.

Arroyos, creeks, watersheds.
Pacific. Atlantic. Mediterranean.
Indian.  Caribbean.  China Sea.
(Lying.  Dreaming on shallow shores.)
Arctic. Antarctic. Baltic.
Mississippi. Amazon. Columbia. Nile.
Thames. Sacramento. Snake. (undulant woman river.)
Seine.  Rio Grande.  Willamette.  McKenzie.  Ohio.
Hudson.  Po.  Rhine.  Rhone.
Rain. After a lifetime of drought.
That finally cleanses the air.
The soot from our eyes.
The dingy windows or our western home.
The rooftops and branches. The wings of birds.
The new light on a slant. Pouring. Making everything new.

Water (woman) that is the essence of you.
He na tye (woman) that is recognition and remembering.
Gentle. Soft. Sure.
Long shadows of afternoon, growing as the light
turns west toward sleep. Turning with the sun.
(The rest of it is continents and millenia.
How could I have waited so long for completion?)

The water rises around us like the goddess coming home.
(Arisen) Same trip, all things considered, all times
and visions, all places and spaces taken into account
on that ancient journey, finally returned. The maps, the plans,
the timetables: the carefully guided tours into all manner
of futilities. Manners the last turn in the road: arid irony.

(Lady, why does your love so touch me?
(Lady, why do my hands have strenght for you?
(Lady, how could I wander so long without you?

Water in falls, misting and booming on the rocks below.
Tall pines in the mist, the deep carved caves.
Water in rivulets. Gathering speed, drops joining in
headlong flight.
Unnamed rivers, flowing eternally underground,
unchangeing, unchanged.
Water thundering down long dry arroyos, the ancient
of our faith. Drought over, at last. Carrying silt,
bits of broken glass, branches, pebbles, pieces of abandoned
parts of lost houses and discarded dreams. Downstream.
Storms of water, and we
hair plastered to our ecstatic skulls,
waving wild fists at the bolts hurled at us from above
teeth shimmering in the sheets of rain (the sheen)
eyes blinded with the torrents that fall fromthroughover
Rain. The Rain that makes us new.
That rain is you.
How did I wait so long to drink.

Blessed Be

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