Feb 2 and a hideous green

feb 2

It looks much more yellow here than in the box! The thread I used (Sulky rayon machine embroidery) is that awful bronzey yellowy green that shows up before spring really gets started. It does not show up so well in the deeper texture of the machine needle felted fabric. I'll try using some heavier thread on the next one. I do have a layer of iron-on stabilizer on the back because without it the stitches go right through the felt. 

I wonder, too, what I really need for a base layer. I was told to use basic craft felt for most work. I don't like the looks of that, and I can make huge amounts of topography in it by overworking particular areas. I have some wool jersey that I felted (on purpose!) that is a little heavier. I could try not using anything, and letting the wool felt to itself. Wet felting relies on the wool felting to itself, and containing any non-felting inclusions. I don't know if dry felting does that. 

So, I have some experiments to try. 

I will leave you with a picture from Family Circus: 

Family circus pyramid

I like Alice just hanging out on my back, holding Aerin's foot. 


stars in/of stars

twenty six

Once I could draw a five pointed star, in roughly 3rd grade, I remember putting them everywhere. (I was a child of deep enthusiasms.) This star was a thing I figured out one day much later – each line of the star could be extended beyond a single star and into a series. There is something pleasingly self-referential about a star made up of stars. 

In other news, Family Circus restarted tonight. Henry is teaching us, which is a pleasure. I think Al likes not being outnumbered by females sometimes. Henry is astonishing, and funny, and pushes us all which means we'll do new things this session. There will be pictures!

fire! in a good way!


Aerin's young man got torches for juggling, and hadn't tried them out yet, so we all piled outside to help. Aerin brought her fire poi too, and let Alice try them. It turns out juggling in the dark is hard, and juggling flame in the dark is really hard, because you can't see the handles, and you tend to focus on the flame, and it all gets pretty exciting pretty fast. The third picture is AYM working with one torch. The first one is Aerin noodling with one torch but not letting go, so it works more like poi. 

The poi, in contrast, are on the ends of chains and you spin them, so seeing them is a smaller issue, but the potential for whacking yourself in the head is higher. Which hurts like whacking yourself in the head with a (largish) superball, and chars pieces of hair and smells bad. But you don't run the risk of catching the wrong end of the torch in your hand. 

a helping hand

"Aerin, can I stand on your shoulders in the kitchen for a minute? I want to try something…"

"sure. What?"

"you'll see"

loud thumps and banging, some "get your elbow out of my ear" and "oops, sorry" and "my eye" and I find this in the kitchen


and then


and nothing left but her feet in the ceiling


um, yeah

Alice has been kind of wrapped up


working on her science fair project. She has taken on Molecules as a topic, and it goes on FOREVER.

Aerin has been going batty
with studying for (and passing with flying colors thank you) midterms. She has also been at the receiving end of a series of talks about what to expect in high school. And started signing up for classes.


I’ve been hanging out

trying to remain calm, and mostly failing. I have been knitting a lot, the happy socks are almost done, but the rest of the creative endeavors have taken a back seat.

I continue to collect and wear objects of a very specific set of colors. I am continuing to roll with it, because it is still kind of fun and exciting, and it doesn’t feel dangerous yet. Out of character definitely. Unexpected, yeah, that too.

Which is why I went into the store full of brightly colored sparkly stuff from India and exited with these chinking on my arm.

Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I figure if I can make myself laugh, it is a fine place to be. Plus I gave away one of my rhino shirts. Just peeled it off and handed it to Janet, which made her crack up, especially when she saw the new rhino on the shirt underneath…

The thing of the week is late again. These are the beginnings of it

mixed silks
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

by now, you know I’m good for it.

TIF 7 almost done

TIF 7 almost done
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I need to trim it up square, and decide on borderage.

Also today was circus class with Red Kate. We worked really hard on handstands and stretching, and finished with things we were practicing – I did a roll up on the fabric (getting more interesting) and Kate is working on splits.



I am hugely amused by the mother/daughter straddle-up head stands. Sorry it comes up so huge, I’ll fix that soon.

Oh, and Red Kate here –


2007 intentions; the scorecard

At the beginning of last year I wrote a short list of things I intended to do over the year. It wasn’t the usual list of lose weight, stop spending money, eat right, but instead a list of things I thought would make me a happier and better person if I managed to keep them in mind. I gave up on resolutions a while ago, and tend to examine my life in Feb to see if anything’s changed.

It came out to a list of six things:

  1. make a fabric postcard every day
  2. talk to friends more, every couple of days
  3. knit all the socks from the Blue Moon Sock Club, when they come in
  4. call my mother more, at least every other day
  5. ride the new bike when the weather is above 45 degrees
  6. ride horses whenever the opportunity presents itself, no sloping
    off after cleaning stalls just because you can’t face a particular
    horse or don’t quite feel like it


postcards? check. I learned a lot about exercising my creativity, and why exactly I’ve been buying all that
cool stuff that is cluttering up my workroom and all kinds of things. I am thinking of a more detailed report on the postcards later.

Talk to friends? mixed. I can always visit with people I like more, I think I improved it some but there’s room for more talking,

knit Blue Moon Sock of the Month? failed, almost utterly. I started the first pair and they made me grumpy and unhappy and I’ve turned the heel and failed the cabling exercise on the cuff and now I have to frog them and do it better and at the moment I hate them. Then I kept from starting any of the subsequent ones because I was holding the first over my own head in a "finish your vegetables first" kind of way. (yeesh – mixed metaphors and all, that is an UGLY sentence!) So even though I kind of want to knit the last two, I haven’t started them yet. And I stopped knitting until I stepped away from the Blue Moon fibers entirely and got something that spoke to me and knit my own pattern the way I like. I finished them just before Christmas but haven’t managed to post them yet. My conclusion? I am not a knit along kind of soul.  I am OK with patterns in books but better with a recipe I can pull out of my head and follow.

call your mother
? needs improvement. say no more.

ride your bike? I could do a lot more of this. Whenever I do ride, it makes me happy. I don’t ride around town for errands because I hate dealing with the traffic at three intersections that I have to go through. I keep thinking there have to be better ways, but I’ve ridden all over town and it is just easier to walk for most of the errands in the middle. I could try to use the bike for grocery shopping. Maybe that could make an intention for next year.

Ride horses?  did great while I had a barn with an indoor ring and horses I liked. When I got busted back to a horse that made me ache, I stopped. Stopped over the summer. Restarted at two barns in the fall but chose the one with no sheltered riding for the winter, which makes the whole ride all year thing kind of difficult. I may need to think about how intent I am on riding, and what exactly I want to get out of it.

On the whole
? one rousing success, one abject failure (with introspection) and 4 mixed, with some excuses.  I can either add them onto the list for next year, or go for a new list from scratch. I think my hope for the intentions is that new habits would become an integral part of what I do, so I could think about adding other things to the list in the future. Although some were just tests, to see if the thing itself was fun (a sock of the month club – apparently not fun for me) or uplifting or energizing. Or spreading joy. Whatever.   

I’ll work on the set of intentions for 2008, and post them when the year has changed.

happy feet?

Dec 18
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I’ve been catching myself dancing in the kitchen. Al looked at me and asked if I was happy. I didn’t think I was, but apparently my body is happy. It jumps and spins and shuffles through the kitchen, doing plies and demi-kicks and little leaps. I couldn’t begin to tell you what this is about.

This postcard is more of my muse’s tiny strips, this time with a big white block in it. The part to the left of the block is vertical strips with the ragged edges showing, but it is hard to see in the photo.

I had a great visit with two women after yoga today.  One is new to me, one I found again after losing track of her for six months. It was very nice – tea, laughter, life stories… exactly what I wanted.

Circus is daunting. I can climb, but I get worried about being too high and having my arms give out. I can do ugly straddles and splits, and a foot lock, but my strength to weight ratio is still not so good. I am working on both halves of that – decreasing weight, increasing strength – with what feels like limited success. And yet, I can do what I couldn’t six months ago. Probably I need to take a longer view.

Alice had the end Holiday Solstice concert for her school. The Montessori school is mostly a pre-school, with two smallish class rooms of grades 1-3 and 4-6. The concert had a range of songs mostly sung and shouted by tiny adorable children torn between waving to their parents and staring at all the rest of the strange adults in the room. They sang. They signed Twinkle. They brought down the house.

The Upper El class sat primly at the back, taller than anyone else, with Alice in the middle singing where she knew the words, smiling gamely at the songs many kids had been singing for years. I was proud of her. Al and Aerin came and cheered her on too, just as I promised. That is what families do. When someone is competing or performing, the rest go along to cheer them on. It is part of the deal. Alice hadn’t experienced this end of the deal much – I think she liked it.

leaves that were green

Nov 6
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

Like I said before, I think of fall containing leaves with bright colors, while brown is for later, or trees that aren’t really trying. But, once the leaves drop, they turn brown, frequently a nice color and with a lovely crunch and smell. I can’t quite quilt the smell, or the crunch, but I think I did get the color.

Alice is working on turning a lump of rock into a bear shaped lump of rock. This entails a fair amount of sanding and rasping and results in a pretty good pile of dust.

amorphous bear

I think she’s been imbibing Andy Goldsworthy as well, because this is what showed up on the camera:

Alice’s spirals

In family circus, Al and I both managed a (painful and not really graceful, but a milestone) move called a Hip Key in fabric. We have documentation:


Al was so cute: he kept his toes pointed through the whole thing…