Friday, June 30, 2006


This is exactly how I feel about knitting, quilting, blogging, and my new craft room. Alas, if only I were independently wealthy ...

"When I work on a quilt, I put away all thoughts that are not helpful and channel my energies towards relaxing and becoming one with my fabrics. Since I work intuitively, this is absolutely important. I begin to see shapes in my head and think about how to cut them out of my huge palette of colors that I have hand-dyed in my basement dye studio. Never, ever do I think about what others expect or want or what will sell, but rather I look at my time in my studio as a process of discovery. I love being inside my brain and pushing myself to think in ever more complex ways because I know the ideas are there for the taking. It’s all about being focused and disciplined and making use of one’s abilities. And about being alone, in solitude, so one can think and feel deeply without interruption. I have definitely grown far closer to myself rather than to others because I see my quiltmaking as my experience which has nothing to do with other people."

-exerpt from Nancy Crow's artist statment, as posted on WhipUp

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Home sick

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday - home sick.

It's not such a bad deal...

Yes, he's wearing his favorite socks (snowmen) pulled up to his knees, and a Manny Ramirez (Red Sox) t-shirt as a skirt. Wifey was napping, obviously.

P.S. THANKS so much for all the Matisse quilt love. I'm completely bowled over by everyone's kindness.
P.P.S. Emails will be slow for a while as I struggle with my FT job, PT consulting job, and PT teaching gig while trying to heal the lungs. ...cough...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Favorite Things Monday - Matisse

I absolutely adore Henri Matisse. I especially adore his paper collages. Every piece seems so simple. Deceptively simple. Most champion his use of color, which is certainly stunning. But I love his lines -- the curvature of his paper cuts, sketches and brush strokes. In fact, if forced to pick just one Matisse piece, this would be my favorite because I'm entranced by the bold black strokes that form her body.

Reclining Nude with Blue Eyes

Matisse is pure inspiration. So it's with no small tangle of nerves that I present my homage to his Blue Hair - a quilted wall hanging.

Back (for those who like quilting lines):

Signature detail (meant to mimic Matisse's):

If you noticed a departure from the original, you are correct.

The biggest change was to the woman's body. I drew her curvier and larger (read: more realistic). In addition, Matisse's Blue Hair has always bothered me because I couldn't figure out where her arms are. So I interviewed my local experts. Wifey thought both were thrown behind her. Mom thought both arms were above her head and she was wearing a scarf (nude+scarf? ... Mom... I don't want to know). I thought the right arm was behind her and the left was above her head. So I took the liberty of altering the piece to match my vision of this woman's ecstatic leap.

This little quilt was supposed to be a 50th birthday gift for a very dear friend. Two years ago. I had planned to replicate Blue Hair exactly, but I never started it. However, with birthday #52 coming up this week, I decided to get to work. Once I started tracing the print, I realized that her arm placement and body shape bothered me. And I believe this was the obstacle to starting this project long ago. But I took the liberty of 'fixing' it for a modern feminist audience, and now I'm happy.

Also - I'm hooked. Wouldn't this make a nice Kaffe-Fassett-esk quilt?
Large Composition with Masks

Happy Monday.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sucker for a Quiz

I'm a sucker for a good quiz, found via MsFortuknit. Are you surprised by the results? Me neither.

You Are 35% Normal

(Occasionally Normal)

You sure do march to your own beat...

But you're so weird, people wonder if it's a beat at all

You think on a totally different wavelength

And it's often a chore to get people to understand you

Falling Apart

Apparently I'm not meant to work 3-4 jobs simultaneously, because my body is falling apart. I have a couple of chronic health problems that I've learned to live with, but this effing vacation week, I'm totally falling apart. In addition to the chronic crap, my Mom (a Nurse Practitioner) thinks I have pneumonia. Pneumonia? Who gets that? Isn't that some 18th century disease, like rickets or shingles? Or a disease for the young, old and frail? After I stopped coughing and bitching about this ridiculous possibility, Mom convinced me to schedule a Doctor's appointment. Grr! You gotta love a woman that can sit back and listen to her daughter hacking up a lung while bitching about 18th century public health and the overuse of antibiotics in contemporary America. Yeah, Mom's a saint.

Of course nobody likes being sick, but it's not the nasty symptoms that bother me, it's the fatigue. I don't like sitting still*. I always have a full schedule, by choice, and I don't appreciate some effing virus/bacteria getting in my way. If only these bitty bugs were large enough to see, I would smush smush smush them into oblivion! Arrrrrgh ... smush. Arrrrgh ... stamp. Arrrgh ... splatter. Arrgh ... schmear. Argh ... sleep.

*Please don't say things like, "perhaps your body is trying to tell you to slow down." yes.yes.I know. But slowing down doesn't actually work. I've tried. I just get antsy and bored. So this is me.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Favorite Things Monday - the Catch All Episode

I'm on an MIT-vacation this week, and I'm feeling super happy. Perhaps this is why:

Because I'm cool and happy, it's hard to pick just one Favorite Thing today. Let's start with yarn, since presumably that's why you're here.

NYC indulgence, part 2:

That's yarn from School Products, the oldest yarn store in Manhattan and former employer of my favorite local teacher/designer/commuter/pal Alison Green Will. Alison -- the older (Russian?) guy who owns the place sends his love. What you see here is:
1) two 1lb cones of some mystery 50% wool, 50% acrylic (read: washable) yarn in precisely the same cornflower blue that I wanted for a sweater for Little Man, but which became a knitting bag. And ... it was $12 per lb./cone. Score!
2. one cone of a mystery white laceweight merino blend that I have no idea what to do with, but it was in the $5/cone bin, so I brought it home. Any ideas?
3. Two skeins of Koigu in a slightly variegated black. I know ... I know ... it's boring. But I wear black socks to work nearly every day in the winter, so these will get a LOT of use. And, if I choose a lacy pattern, I might get something closer to knee-highs.

When I write about shopping excursions like this, I start to feel guilty and ... even a bit ... hypocritical (she says sheepishly). After all, in my early blogging days, I wrote a scathing critique of this practice. Since then, I've learned a bit about quality materials, am less black-white about the topic, and I'm slightly more financially solvent (not much, mind you ... but a little). However, I still prefer bargains, and recycle materials whenever possible. Perhaps I've found a middle ground?

The New Craft Room:
One night, while dragging my PumaQuilt supplies from one room to the next, in a futile effort to avoid Wifey and the Kitties, I decided I needed "somewhere I can get the hell away from you creatures" my own craft room. A few days later, it dawned on me that our landlord keeps a small room in the back of the house for his storage. Landlord – can I pay you a little more money each month so I can get the hell away from those creatures have a home for my supplies? Sure. (????!!!!!) After a couple weeks of finding all my hiding places, dragging piles into the new room, and creating some semblance of order, I present to you … a room of my own!

The Whole Thing (yes, it’s really small)

If you want details, the "Craft Room" set on Flickr will show you where everything is located.

The Left (her better side, I must say)

The Right

The Yarn Stash (you know you want to see it)

Random Stuff:
-Tooth hurts. Vicodin rocks! Root canal tomorrow morning. Wee!
-Lots of teaching prep and consulting work to do this week - the main reason I'm taking these "vacation" days. I hope to squeeze in some serious crafting time though, so there might be exciting FO pix.

Whoah .. I've been on the computer for a long time. I need a smack-down.
Mafia ... let's review your priorities for this week:
1. Consulting Job
2. Wrangling Family Finances
3. Teaching Job
4. Showering
5. Crafting

Do you see "dick around on the computer" on that list? Yeah ... I didn't think so. Go call your client.

OK. Gotta go. Ciao.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Rocky Islands

The Goddess of New England was clearly offended by my last post, because she convinced Poseidon to surround the Amtrak rails with the most incredible beauty today. The coast of Connecticut was unbelievable. Pale blue skies. Dark blue water. White sails. Densely packed marinas. Lighthouses. Bridges. Train tracks. Trees. Clapboard houses. Rocky Islands.

Then I rolled into Boston, exited the train and heard "Mommy!" from the end of the platform. Little Man came galloping down the platform, jumped into my arms and snuggled into my neck. Could I possibly love anything more than this child?

While Wifey, Little Man and I strolled to the car, I breathed in the slightly salty Boston air, greeted the cluster of financial district towers and felt genuinely glad to be home. I missed you, Boston.


In the wee hours of tomorrow morn, I start teaching again. In spite of spending many post-conference hours prepping, I still don't feel prepared. I spent most of the train ride today cramming knowledge into my head, structuring a compelling lecture, and caffeinating my brain into chemi-creativity in order to design a group activity. Finished? Nah. Never. But I'll do the best I can all morning, and happily spend the afternoon with my wee family.


Stay tuned for ... Photos of NYC yarn. The story of my new studio/craft room. No MIT work next week, but plenty of consulting and teaching prep to do. A misbehaving tooth and the narcotic that's smacking it into submission. Fun times!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Mobile Blogging Machine Enabled

Coming to you live from New York City, it's the Mafia and Danielle yarn crawl work conference. Starring Joelle Hoverson and Brian(Bryan?) in the role of Purl Patchwork genuises.

With a bit of pre-conference free time, Danielle and I ran down to Purl Soho and Patchwork. I spent most of my time in Purl Patchwork. I love this place. I wanted to curl up in a corner and have someone pet me with cotton prints. I'd make a great shop cat. Meeeow. You hear that Joelle? And I'm tough too. Mrrrow.Hiss.

Purl - what's not to love?! Turquoise facade. Artfully simple arrangement. Stunning fabrics.

I had a mission. Little Man needs a new quilt. His inherited-from-Wifey store-bought jobby is falling apart. Now that I'm done with the Puma quilt, I can focus on my dear sweet. The plan was to copy the capri stripe quilt from Pottery Barn Kids.

But of course, I was immediately drawn to Heather Ross's amazing whimsical prints. And it was all downhill from there.

Stacking bolts with cutie Brian(Bryan?). He's my new best friend.

With the addition of some very helpful advice from Danielle and Joelle*, Brian(Bryan?) and I decided on these.

*I didn't realize I was in the presence of knitting royalty until we left the store and Danielle said, "how cool is it that Joelle Hoverson helped pick out fabric for your quilt?" Yep. Pretty cool. Also, it's a good thing I didn't know. I would've done something stupid like drool on her.

In addition, Little Man will get two new pairs of summer bum-around pants.
Swimmy Fish.

Dream Bikes.

On the way to NY, we stitched and bitched and pissed off nearby elderly gentlemen who wished for peace. Two words dude - Quiet Car. Go find it. In spite of MonsieurGrumpyPants, there was real progress on my knitting. My Mom's mohair poncho grew.

The Eris collar grew. [yes, I brought an entire cone in my garment bag. I'm a dork.]

The Work Conference ...

provided a nice backdrop for Little Man's socks (yarn from Woolarina). If anyone asks, I most certainly was not knitting during the keynote address.

One final thought - NYC. I miss you.
I lived in NY for a very intense year+ when I was 20-21. I loved it then, and I love it now. Everytime I roll down road or rail into Yonkers and the buildings start to grow, I get this childish little grin, and simultaneously fill with excitement and relax into a sense of home. This is based on many many things, but a significant part is my dear sweet friend Diane, who I was blessed to spend Tuesday night with. And I'll have her again tomorrow night. Wee!

This photo blogging opportunity was brought to you by the letters M, I and T, who believe in 'investing' in their employees. I raise the mobile blogging machine in your honor. MIT rocks.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Favorite Things Monday - Dear Friends

When Wifey and I were planning our wedding, we took the advice of many many people and registered. In spite of my initial apprehension, I realized that straight people register all.the.time and that I should partake in this tradition to avoid future bitterness about the well-heeled houses of my straight friends. And of course, the registry was filled with gifts we liked, opposed to that hideous crystal bowl.

As we started our registries, we encountered the not-surprising computer database fields of "bride" and "groom" and the 5 second pause whenever the lovely ladies at the bridal registry table realized we were not bride and bride's maid, but the.couple. In times of aggravation, Wifey reminded me that we could've been a couple in 1950. Nuff said.

As it turns out, registering was tons of fun! We decided on Macy's (because a ritzy friend convinced me that it was necessary), Crate and Barrel and Target. The Target list was easy-peasy. The Crate and Barrel list was pretty damn easy too.

But the Macy's list was hard. I felt guilty because everything seemed over-priced and unnecessary. Except this one thing -- I fell deeply in love with this huge bowl, but shuttered when I looked at the price (@$120).

I mentioned this to my co-worker and dear friend KickBoxingGrrl. She said "Register for it. Maybe someone will buy it. You never know..." So I did, and for the next few months, I watched as items at Target and Crate and Barrel were "fulfilled" and the Macy's items (notably 'my' bowl) were left "unfulfilled". I know, I know ... you're not supposed to watch the registries, but seriously ... who doesn't? Liar.

A few days before the wedding, I showed up at work to find a huge box waiting for me. KickBoxingGrrl said, "I didn't want to haul this all the way to western Mass, and I didn't think you'd want to haul it back to Boston. So here's your wedding present." I opened it up and just about died when I saw 'my' bowl and a pair of matching serving utensils.
"Are you crazy?" I said.
"Well, you've been talking about it for months. What did you expect?"
"But it's so expensive. You can't afford this!"
"Oh stop. Do you like it?"
"Of course. I love it!"
"Well, then shut up and say Thank You."
"Oh ... right, right. THANK YOU so much. You really shouldn't have done this!"
"Shut up and say Thank You."
"Right ... Thank You, but ..."

My bowl always has a very prominent place in my house. And it reminds me of my dear friends and how to be a dear friend. Generosity of time, money, energy, love, and even bossiness is something I cherish and aspire to.

Thanks to KickBoxingGrrl, to Diane, to Danielle, to Barbara, and to all the other women who have given so much over the years. This is particularly timely because I'm jumping on the Acela tomorrow for a work conference in NYC, and have blocked off time to spend with Diane. I can't wait to see her!!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Roller Coaster

On Wednesday night, PumaMom and Sidekick came to my house to 'decorate' the quilt. As a classic-style non-femme lesbian, I was terrified of what could happen when two Synchro coaches attacked my quilt with sequins and rhinestones. After a lovely dinner and a bottle of champagne (how sweet is that!??), we spread the quilt across my living room floor and they pulled out boxes and canisters of sparkly things. eeeeek! But as they started placing the rhinestones and discussing color, shape, size, I calmed. And most shockingly, when the final bits and bobbles were laid in their permanent locations, I actually liked it (!~!~!). Then we glued and glued and glued.

And all day Thursday I sewed bits and bobbles. After two train rides, one MIT SnB and a couple hours of hand-stitching last night, PumaMom came to pick up the -finished- quilt. I considered taking pix, but there was no natural light for the arty (and descriptive) photos I envisioned. But here's the real surprise ...

After she left, I cried.


Those people who know me will be picking themselves up off the floor for a couple minutes which will buy some time to tell you others that I.don't.cry. I just don't do it. At about age 6, I 'trained' myself not to cry because it was a sign of 'weakness.' At age 20, when I decided some therapy could be helpful, I tried to train myself to cry again. For a couple years, I could shed a tear or two, but I'm back to the dry-eyed-dyke of yore.

So I was quite surprised by this crazy emotional response. PumaMom was taking "my" quilt away from me. Forever. Who knew that I was that attached? Not me.

But this morning was the perfect antidote. I slept a little later than usual (ass-crack-of-dawn as opposed to hellish-zombie-ass-crack-of-dawn) so I took a later train. My drowsy clicks on Little Man's socks attracted the attention of a little girl who sat next to me. Her father and two younger sisters had to sit a couple rows back, so perhaps she was thrilled with the freedom. First she stared. Then she reached out and gently touched the Addi cable. Hmm ... a future knitter. So I pulled the earbuds out, turned off Ms. Nano, and chatted with my new 8 year old friend. And within minutes, she had the size 0 needles, MagicLooped Addis, and 1/2 finished sock in her hands. 20 minutes later, she was skillfully throwing sock yarn and knitting teeny stitches. She told me that she likes Hello Kitty and asked if I could knit Hello Kitty socks. Sure, I guess. I told her about 'kid's needles' and thicker yarn and starting with a scarf. She charmed all 8 people sitting near us, to the point where each successful stitch was met with claps and cheers from the herd of commuters. At the end of the trip I gave her my business card. I hope she emails me. If she does, I'll send her a package of needles and yarn. Anyone know where I could find needles with Hello Kitty on the tops?

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Thanks to M., I nearly snorfed my tea all over my desk this morning.

Go snorf for yourself.

And fess up in the comments -- how many of these dances have you done?
I've done very nearly all of them ... eek!

The Puma quilt is very nearly done, and an update is coming soon. I really needed some time with the pointy sticks, so I picked up Little Man's socks-in-progress yesterday, and I'm feeling much more centered now.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

12:05am Tuesday

3.5 hours of puncture wounds & debauchery

Dos Equis Amber
Tums (mostly gone)
Trader Joes dark chocolate (yes, that's a pound. shut up! I've had it for a long time...)
my dear sweet love, Ms. Nano, playing my girl Brenda Dayne from Cast On.

decapitation: what happens when good needles go bad

post-decapitation ritual cursing at "quilting" needles and the installation of the good ol' "standard" size

after the 7,000th bobbin eff-up in the last 48 hours

Holy shite, this might actually work!

Still to do:
-finish quilting
-applique one last piece of t-shirt material
-cut binding strips
-pin binding
-sew binding

Monday, June 05, 2006

8:30pm Monday

The Puma Quilt countdown begins ...

Front (apologies for the craptastic photos)


Puma's Mom and Sidekick are coming to my house on Wednesday evening to decorate the quilt with sequins and other such synchro swimmer adornments. Still to do:
-finish quilting
-applique one last piece of t-shirt material
-cut binding strips
-attach binding

Can she do it? Yes she can!

Favorite Things Monday - the Quilting episode

Since most of my weekend was spent at the machine - quilting, quilting, quiling - my mind is filled with fabric and thread today.

One of my Favorite Things is this quilt which hangs in Little Man's bedroom and was designed by Wifey's 29yo sister, Little.

Little started quilting many years ago, but has only taken it seriously in the last 5 years. An idle interest in mosaics morphed into her signature quilting style. Her mosaic quilts capture locales that hold meaning and memories for her loved ones and show the most amazing details. In a quilt for a dear friend, she showed his house and included the exact flowers that grace his front garden.

This quilt pays homage to the many weekends that Wifey and Little spent on their father's boat in the Thousand Islands, near his childhood home of Watertown, NY. It also pays homage to the family's love and cohesiveness. Her father (FolkMan), a penniless folk musician, who became a civil engineer late in life, grew up sailing with his 3 brothers and 3 sisters. As young adults, the boys (plus a new brother-in-law) decided to buy a boat, pooled their money for a down-payment, and took out a long-term loan. They're now paying the loan on boat #2, and sailing has become a family legacy. Every spring the brothers convene for "The Bro's Weekend" under the guise of getting the boat ready for the season. In actuality, they give her a little TLC, set sail, and spend the weekend drinking, smoking, playing music (or as FolkMan would say, "John scratches away at his fiddle"). Nearly every weekend during the summer, someone from the family clan, now spread across the northeast and beyond, takes the boat out to explore the Thousand Islands or to gently rock in the calm waters. And every fall, the Bros convene to pull her out of the water before the snow flies.

As new Bros were born into the extended family clan, many embraced the sailing lifestyle and committed to these mysterious weekend rituals. So when Little Man was born, FolkMan was delighted to have another "Bro" in the family and eagerly anticipated Little Man growing into his sea legs.

Although I initially resisted the idea of my Little Man heading out to sea with his grandfather and a bunch of other aging hippies for some chest-beating male-centered bonding, I know that these men love each other in a way that I've never seen before. I now hope that my Little Man will set sail every summer and learn the strange rituals of male love from the teddy bear Bros.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I'll Take Two

"The 5-foot-10 ... comes with flowing red hair, knee-high red boots with spiked heels, and a form-fitting black outfit."

Blogging for LGBT Families Day

It's Blogging for LGBT Families Day, so I'm blogging* for LGBT Families!

"What is Blogging for LGBT Families Day?
Blogging for LGBT Families Day is a time for bloggers to write about LGBT family issues and collectively raise awareness of LGBT families, our diverse nature, and how current prejudices and laws negatively impact our lives and children. I aim to make people more comfortable interacting with LGBT families and discussing LGBT families with their own. I also hope the event will make people more informed voters, showing them how their decisions at the polls directly affect the families in their communities.

When is it?
June 1, 2006. This date falls exactly between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. As such, it honors mothers and fathers equally, but also conveys that not all families fit into the traditional structure of one mother and one father. June 1 is also the start of LGBT Pride Month."
-from Mombian's post

I don't have the brain cells to write a new post today. Just read the last two, which are pretty timely.

*I do whatever M. tells me to do. Thankfully she still doesn't mind bossing me around.