Thursday, January 30, 2014

kantha stitching

I'm slightly daunted by the idea of finishing my knitting project during the month of February so naturally a little sewing diversion is in order. I haven't given up on the knitting already, just decided finishing a smaller piece first might build confidence. I've resumed kantha stitching a woven heart cloth made with cottons, eco-dyed silks, and a strip of Rumi cloth. A few of those tiny rose quartz beads might be included, too.

The pineapples at the grocery store were $1 each. Not huge, just right, and perfectly sweet. I decided to try growing the leafy stalk as a house plant -- the way to do this is to twist the stalk out of the fruit, remove two rows of leaves and then make thin slices with a sharp knife until you see root buds around the edges. Then it needs to harden off for two days at room temperature before being planted in soil or rooted in water. I'm going to root it in water to watch the magic happen. I've never done this before although the project was probably in every kids' science book I ever came across. Which is pretty many because we home schooled.

That's my daily kefir-straining ritual up there -- it never fails to grow -- you can see the lumpy-looking kefir grains if you look closely. I combine about a tablespoon of kefir grains to fresh raw milk in a pint jar, shake it up and set it on the counter to thicken and kefir-ize itself. I haven't had a bad cold since I started making and drinking kefir, close to two years now, I think. Whatever works, right?

I've been waiting in the darkness, so to speak, for today, the beginning of a new moon phase. The last few dark moon days have been quiet and dreamy -- reading, nesting, cleaning, and imagining. But now it's time to awaken hopes and dreams. It's time to believe in things imagined, but not yet seen or felt.

Thanks for visiting and a happy new moon to you. xo

Monday, January 27, 2014

a nice moonday

Today is a waning moonday moving into the sign of Capricorn. These last days of the current moon cycle beckon us toward self-discovery, reflecting, dreaming, resting. And in the mundane world, according to MoonTime, a moon guide, the waning moon in Capricorn is when to have your teeth cleaned. So now's the time to schedule an appointment around this same time, next month, February 24-25.

Something wonderful that I've discovered this month is flow, a magazine from the Netherlands. It's got soul -- not only is it filled with creative inspiration but also human inspiration. That quote by Willa Cather on the cover is from her book The Song of the Lark which I haven't read yet, I just realized. An interesting coincidence is that I read The Professor's House only a few weeks ago.

The January flower bouquet was rolled in wool and silk and steamed. That didn't do much so I plopped the bundles right into the water and boiled them both. I won't unroll either of these for a while but the golds and oranges are already showing. Then I decided to add a splash of iron water to the dye-bath from the boiling session and that was pretty amazing -- I dipped pieces of wool and silk in and they turned to a beautiful greenish gray almost immediately. Protein fibers are just the best. My iron water was made with 2 cups of water, 1 cup of vinegar, and rusty nails and other bits of iron. It doesn't look like much but it works.

I'm still slow-knitting the purple february lady sweater. I have to get cracking on this if I want it to really be a february sweater, so I'm resolved to knit at least two rows every day.

Wishing for a really nice week for all of us.

Friday, January 24, 2014

wholly mandala

It was so easy, this little mandala, #1 in a series of 13 moondalas, my dye & stitch moon art for 2014 -- very few decisions, no pinning and unpinning, and not too much second-guessing myself as I usually do. A soft ivory moon on a 4" square of grape-dyed wool, threads, and a needle. So simple.

Change is afoot on this planet of ours. I found some amazing moments of peace in the midst of the chaos -- if you have a few minutes, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Peace. xo

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


With the waning moon, I feel less like starting anything new now. I continue to stitch a few rounds here and knit a few rounds there. Doing some sorting and filling a box for Goodwill. Thinking about projects a little but just a little. Collecting materials. Reading and reflecting more. Noticing words I've not used before. Ingathering, like Talula up there with her thoughts.

I had the idea that a flower bouquet a month might be nice -- first in a vase and then on cloth. So far, I've used November's flowers and December's eucalyptus and this bouquet is January's.

The results from dyeing with avocado, I like the two pieces on the right the best, peachy wool and silk velvet, dyed with fresh avocado peels. The pieces to the left were dyed in frozen peels and pits together and turned out to be more drab. There was enough of the frozen dye-bath to dye a set of napkins but I decided to wait for a better color for them.

5 pomegranates from last autumn still drying. One rattles a little so they're getting close. Pinning bright hearts on the black velvet long cloth, I guess it's a heart cloth now.

To ingathering.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

full moondalas

"...moon bright, dark night, threads to sew, 'round I go, moon bright, dark night, threads to sew, 'round I go, moon bright, dark night, threads to sew, 'round I go, moon bright, dark night, threads..."

Yesterday's full moon was a full day of taking stock and winding up. There was stirring, squeezing, and straining. Full-moon feasting at mid-day with a girlfriend. Daydreaming and writing. Stitching a spell into the night. Drawing down the moon before bed.

My sewing ritual on full moons this year is stitch once again -- 13 moondalas -- using home-dyed wool and colorful floss. The first little moondala is just beginning to take form, a creamy moon on a 4" amethyst square.

I wanted a shade of violet for the background because the sky is sometimes that color early in the morning in January. So I tried to find violet in the dye-pot two different ways yesterday. The light blue/green wool, which I didn't use on this moondala, came by way of frozen purple pansy petals from last summer's flowerpots -- I like the color but it's nowhere near what I was looking for. And the successful amethyst wool came from a grape dye-bath made with frozen grape pulp and seeds, leftovers from making grape juice last summer.

As long as the grape dye-bath was in front of me, I thought I'd see what I could do with this blouse to change the hue. I'm pretty happy with the outcome and a hundred times more likely to wear it now.

Sure, unrolling the pomegranate and eucalyptus bundle was a moldy business but the eucalyptus leaves made it smell heavenly. I can't say how much I love the way white wool takes on color and pattern.

Straining herbal concoctions is another task for a full moon. There is more to strain today and it will be nice to get my little home apothecary in order.

There is satisfaction and pleasure in all this activity but now I'm looking forward to quieter, slower days ahead. Balance.

Monday, January 13, 2014

moonwatch: still growing, nearly full

I'm still going along with the moon -- beginning, making, concocting, gathering, doing -- drawing on waxing moon qualities of action and growth. 

A few mornings ago I lit the angel beeswax candle while having tea in bed. I love this beautiful candle, it has lasted forever it seems, and conveys a strong sense of guardianship.

Today I made magnesium oil spray -- I've been reading in The Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean, MD that we absorb magnesium better via a skin application rather than soaking in an epson salt bath or even taking it orally. Epsom salt, which is magnesium sulfate, is not necessarily the easiest form to absorb, while oral supplements can go right through us before they're absorbed because of magnesium's well-known laxative effect. 

Easy to make by dissolving one part magnesium chloride flakes with one part boiling water, it's not really an oil, the name comes from the oily feel of magnesium chloride dissolved in water. Two out of three of us are thought to be magnesium deficient, magnesium affects over 300 body functions, and the symptoms of deficiency are many. Some of us don't absorb it well from our food either, which would be the preferred source in my opinion. I referred to the wisdom and directions here to make and use my magnesium oil. 

I've loved these moon phase calendars for a long time now. I used to mark my moon times on them with a red felt-tip pen, I loved seeing the red circles try to form patterns. The 2014 moon calendars with red pens are to be given to the four young women in my life.

The white wool is for future dye-pots. That avocado dye-pot I started last week is not pink, it's sort of a dark orange. So I started two more dye-pots separating the avocado skins from the pits and neither of those are pink either. It's okay, I just wonder why I don't see pink. 

Wishing you a lovely week. Until the full moon two days from now, I'll be right here continuing on my projects and maybe even starting something new yet, who knows. xx

Thursday, January 9, 2014

boro patching, dyeing, stitching

It is definitely feeling like a waxing moon, isn't it? Or it might be New Year energy. Whatever, it seems to be motivating although I still wish there were more hours in the day. I know it's all a matter of perception and am working on creating a sense of time being as expansive as I need it to be. And trying to keep in mind that the word time can be interchanged with life -- there is enough life to do all that I want to do, life will tell, what life is it, life-permitting, etc. Thinking of time being life makes me want to spend it wisely. I've mentioned this concept before and first saw it in Slow Time by Waverly Fitzgerald.

I boro-patched a 5-6" ragged tear in Jan's jacket that made the inner pocket unusable. Mended and patched textiles are referred to as boro or rags in Japan so this jacket can now be called boro. It's his favorite one and doesn't have much time (life!) left. After I finished the patch and some other rips, it went into the washing machine inside-out on the hand-wash setting to prevent the outer cloth from further disintegration.

Some of my other boro patches are here and here.

I'm off coffee again and substituting with teeccino -- with a little half & half or cream, it's de-luscious. Nothing will ever replace coffee though, I'm just taking a break.

And here are the Thanksgiving flower dye bundles. I love the mossy, woodsy feeling of the outcome. I'd like to have clothes and blankets and carpets that looked just like these. The wool piece was wrapped around a burdock stalk from the garden -- this same stalk has been used over and over without breaking down and that's remarkable.

 The sky has been very blue -- this is through the skylight in the kitchen, so all I have to do is look up.

Doing more stitching on the components already in place on the long cloth. I'm sort of surprised that I thought this part was done because now it seems to need so much.

The avocadoes that have been accumulating in the freezer -- over 3 pounds -- are brewing in the dye-pot. I told Jan that this is what we were having for dinner. He said hmmm. He's probably eaten worse.

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending by the light of the beautiful moon -- look up sometimes, too. xo

Monday, January 6, 2014

13th cloth moonday

My thirteenth moon cloth for December completes 13 eyes to the moon, a sewing ritual that I began in December 2012. This cloth has a crocheted snowflake-turned-moon that my mom made -- it sort of matches the snowflake pillow -- and the star is Venus. The only color is the red on the roof and the door, although the photo has a red tint to the black background, I don't know why or how to change that. 

To live and create in sync with moon cycles was my intention (drawing down the moon over on the sidebar). I began each cloth on the full moon, thinking about what was going on in my life at that time. I cut and used all the months from one entire calendar cloth plus one month from a new cloth. Each moon cloth has a moon and a house with an eye to symbolize "an eye to the moon." This was most gratifying stitching and now I'm thinking about what kind of moon-making ritual might be nice for 2014. In 2012, I painted itty-canvases and that was a great experience, as well. 

Today is a waxing moonday in Aries. Beginnings are still very much in play with the growing moon plus with the energy and spontaneity of Aries, this next day or two could get exciting. I'm trying to discern between fleeting ideas and those that have staying power, something Aries sometimes lacks.

The sun is shining brightly here today but it's still cold, so I'll be staying in as much as I can. I hope you are happy and comfy wherever you are! 

And I'm wondering -- do you have any long-term sewing/making rituals or projects lined up?