for the love of metaphor

Recently one of my teachers came to mind, a travelling poet who came to my class when I was 9, to teach us youngsters about a vital tool for creating magic in our lives, metaphor.
beloved metaphor! Without you life would be so three dimensional!
My Alice, in her reading and writing over the years has struggled with a certain longing. “It isn’t enough to know dragons are there behind the mist; I want to see them!” Having wrestled for most of my life with this very same yen, and only recently come to peace with it, I can commiserate, but my only words can be, “Dreaming is as real as waking life.” For the most part these words have fallen flat to her young and very literal sensibilities.
Then remembering John Cann, the poetry man, and the art I produced in his classroom, I had a thought:
Simile is posing as something else, whereas metaphor really is the thing. It only requires one’s own personal alchemy to enact the transformation.
I explained this to Alice, and she finally got it. I could see understanding and acceptance in her eyes. “I just have to figure out how to do the Alchemy.”

wild feather people

socks a plenty

hmmm. For about a week I couldn’t even bear the thought of going onto the computer. I haven’t been blogging, or reading blogs. I have barely been able to check email. Funny how that happens.
I even spent a few hours being very very quiet. My mouth may have been open, I suspect it was. All I can figure is that I have been going through an “incubation period.” I am over my splendid stupor, though, and I don’t feel awash in the next step of… whatever I should be stepping into.
Anyhow, I will make a half-hearted attempt to play catch-up.
Tonight’s post is going to be about the sock swap that consumed all my time for an unmentionable amount of hours. Last week. Sheesh.
I made these:
and well pleased I was with them, too.
They are a pomatomus variant. I didn’t carry the pattern down the foot, for purposes of speed, and I like them like this. I was thinking that this would make a wonderful hat.
I received these from my partner Rahime at Prayer For Rain:
socks I got in a swap!
They are a wool/bamboo blend from Trekking XXL, and a beautiful yarn. I don’t have many handknit socks, and these would be a humungous addition to my collection, but they are a tad too small. Quite upsetting it is to Rahime, and I can totally relate, so instead of giving them Alice like I thought I would, I think I will take the toes off and knit them a bit longer.
she also sent me some merino sock yarn, which thrills me ’cause I never buy that kind of yarn, so the gift is meaningful to me, for sure! I am going to try some toe-up socks with it.
I have been all about knitting patterns lately. Kind of a departure from my patternless life, but I think it is the structure I need at this time.

Okay, tomorrow (maybe) I will regale you with a bit of alchemical musing.
Til then you can check out the Helvetica Hegemony. Who knew.

norwegian folk shawl pattern

The shawl in yesterday’s post has gotten some attention and I thought I would dredge up the pattern for the people who have asked. Brought over from my LJ archives and edited.

“I thought I would post a recipe for a Norwegian shawl, in the school style, as I’ve heard it called.

Susanne Pagoldh says in her book Nordic Knitting that you need 1300 yds of wool for this.
You cast on the outer edge in the example I am giving. Since I am using a fingering weight yarn and a size 5 (I think) needle, I will CO 580 sts. A heavier yarn ( and correspondingly bigger needle) would probably be about 350-450 sts. I haven’t done one like that, so I’m not sure. Mark the center stitch with a marker or a thread.

The rule on this shawl is to K2 together at the beginning and end of each row, and K2 together after the center stitch marker each row. (dec 3 sts each row) This ensures that your shawl gets smaller. It ends up as a kind of boomerang shape, very long.
I knit each row (garter st) for about 16 rows, and then do this:
keep doing your standard decreases, and *K2 together, YO* for one whole row.
Do 3 rows in the garter stitch pattern, and then do one row in the *K2 together, YO* pattern.
You could follow that with with 8 rows of ribbing, or just more garter st, and then do another set of eyelets, as above.
After that, I do a longer stretch of garter, maybe 12-16 rows, and then the eyelet set again. And repeat until it’s done.
Once you are done knitting, you can crochet around the whole outside, or not. You can add fringe on the bottom edge, or not.
Very simple! and open for interpretation.

This shawl is both functional and elegant, and is sure to get you tons of compliments.”

the shawl I knit for alice several years ago

(alice is maybe 10?)

mosaic monday

containers, mostly, and then some
1. 99 Bottles of Caustic Solutions on the Wall…, 2. Tea At Trafalgar, 3. inside, 4. Dead Trilobites, 5. Pastel Tracks, 6. Fabulous Flame Fetish Cape, 7. DSC09665.JPG, 8. Barrels, 9. cases and basket, 10. Sewing, 11. Jar of Rocks…… errrrr, buttons., 12. afternoon light, 13. t.i.l.t.: fairy blossom tea, 14. clearcut in progress, 15. Japan Yellow – 25, 16. Casks, Ardbeg

inspired by the new flickr group,

has it been four days yet?

well, golly I think it has. Must be time to post to the blog. I actually have this task on a list for the weekend. I don’t know how many times I have come out to the computer to post and gotten distracted, and then gotten distracted from that… and so on. Do it, now, Bramble.

Nothing like the smell of fermenting cabbage to let you know it’s a good day.
nothing so beautiful as a bowl of wilted greens
Our local farmer’s market has started up and I bought everything for making kim chee, baby bok choy, daikon radish (I use the greens in the ferment, too), garlic, green onions. The ginger, salt, and chiles needed had to come from offsite, but it’s going on now. I could make up a gallon a week and then have some for a few months! Oh heaven.
Speaking of local, last night’s dinner was comprised of food that was almost all grown or at least processed in this region. flour, olive oil, and vinegar were the only imported items. Wild caught salmon, salad greens, potatoes, blackberry vinagrette, locally baked bread. I’m no foodie, but, damn that was good.

Alice knocked me out with her combinations of knitted textures today.
knitted textures
I made the shawl but not the sweater.

I love wool! I love wool! I love wool!
There, I’ve said it.

Speaking of wool, I have been knitting knitting socks. The end is in sight on this pair of socks for a swap, and it needs to be. I got my partner’s socks in the mail Friday, so now I feel abashed. I can’t show a picture of my knitting til I get them sent, I suppose, although I said right out what I making several posts back. let it suffice to say that I am extremely happy with the progress, late-ish though it may be.

Thursday I wrote a bunch of notes for a blog entry and then scrapped them as being too self-deprecating. Worth keeping is the clarification of the aesthetic that inspires me/I am striving for. It went something like “organic outcroppings from structured technique.”
Look at kjoo’s shop for example.
My work seems flat, but I think it because I have looked at it way too much. Plus, it is a bit flat.
I am praying to break through my aversion to trading my work for money. What’s up with that? I am sure I subvert my success by being unable to imagine myself succeeding.
Wow, that’s profound.
It’s okay if people pay people to make what they do not! Or more specifically, if I am one of the people that gets paid!
Anyhoo, my problem is really that I imagine myself successful in an entirely different economic paradigm, and I need to get out of my hobbit hole and rewild the world I live in.
Which is, incidentally, what I am already doing. :)

live to dream…

…dream to live.

summer hat

A couple days ago, I drove for several hours, through the nearest city and into the farmland beyond to deliver a young ram to his new caretakers.
The night before, I was stressed about having to be somewhere at a specific hour. Mark just laughed at/with me. “then it’s something you need to do…” I realized that while some people may begin to feel anxious at the crumbling of their structures, the loss of control in their lives, my personal trigger for anxiety is exactly the opposite.

I begin to feel Fear at the prospect of any structure in my life.

Other thoughts on that trip, still moving around the theme of Time:
We have long lifespans now, on the whole, much longer than it was for folks Back Then. Could it be that people who live(d) in cultures that are/were not bound by Time as we understand it now actually lived longer lives at 40 than we do at 80? I know I can stretch time, literally. I practice it.  One moment can draw out and out and who knows if it is a blink or an hour? To measure it is to step back into clock time and therefore contract the moment.
You know what I am saying?

The drive through the world of people really illustrated how little interested in that world I am. I mean it. The world of shopping, television, the seemingly insatiable appetite for the same stores, laid out mile after mile, these all seem like a bad dream, but  one that I am not having, moving by in the periphery.
I will not be distracted by them.
Without being an outdoorsy type (oh my lungs!) I am completely commited to my relationship with Nature.
Yesterday I could not fathom the move to town. I wanted to cry, I wanted that change so little. It will be alright, once I get over into that life. I just have to make the crossing. That’s always a sure way to dredge up some resistance…


and some thrift scores.

new cup

new dishes

new plate

How I love my eclectic assortment of dishes.
I have the most casual collection of restaurant china. There are certain patterns that are recurring in my life, but none that I specifically seek out. Of course, if you were to run across any of this:
palm leaf
I wouldn’t mind if you sent it me!

Here is a thought provoking post from Cosy. It gave me pause, and during the pause, I remembered a wee manifesto I had written a couple years ago. So I went ahead and moved it over to this blog.
I have been slow in moving over the archives from my live journal but they are all over there if you really must know.

Did I not mention dirt? well, here it is:

When I moved to this house I had dreams of gardening, but I quickly realized that there was no soil to speak of in the backyard, the place where my garden must be. The people who put this trailer in 30 years ago had scraped off all the topsoil to make a space, and the only dirt that wasn’t strange sandy clay was all contained in the thin layer of sod. I set about to make dirt where there was none, a task that requires patience and taxes loving but more orderly partners.
Cardboard, manure, straw, rags, sand, layers and layers of these elements put down when I had them, no science involved.
This is the first year I am really feeling like my garden is worthy of that name.
A chaotic approach pays off!

One more thing to play catch up over the last few days.
I snuck in a project for myself; I was attempting to make the most unique head scarf with a pieced border (as my hair is getting long and I have to accept it) but the darn thing was too thick at the corners and wouldn’t tie.
small tablecloth
So now it is called a small tablecloth and for sale. What else am I going to with it? It is pretty enough though.

perfect day

Beautiful beautiful day. This is where Opal gets to spend her horse time. It’s quite a menagerie over at Joan and Vicki’s.


These beasts have very very good lives.

Some links that have been moving me:
I want this wooden bento box. And this book on making old fashion root beer and ginger ales.
Recently added to the links list is Kiliii Dreaming. Nature photography for the most part. Here is a great picture of turkey vultures. They are among my favorite birds. Kiliii’s site came to my attention after he built a driftwood kayak with Mark’s friend Brian of Cape Falcon Kayak.

The recent disappearance of the honeybees has been really hard on me. I will need to make a post just about my thoughts about this. There are many.

You know I like to keep you abreast of Opal’s musical preferences. They are so varied! In current hot hot rotation are Kraftwerk’s Trans-Europe Express, an Old school hip hop mix tape that I have been dragging around for 18 years (Siberian Nights!), and Nightmares on Wax‘s DJ Kicks. Gotta love it, especially as it is playing all day. Poor Alice. She likes the dulcimer.

Opal says, “Records are like big, lo-tech cds.  They got the grooves and stuff.  They got the grooooooves.”

it's about time

i trade
hee hee. I have been needing a little sign along these lines for my craft table so I thought I would make today’s random stitch exercise have a purpose.

so hey! I was tagged by helle the other day to do the 7 things meme. Random facts or habits? okay!
1. My car is usually at least half full of other people’s recycling.
2. I have spiral tattoos on the top of both feet.
3. I lived for several years without electricity. We always kept a car stereo available, powered by batteries, and usually one light, but little else.
4. I have dandruff.
5. I am passionately interested in insects.
6. For about a decade (when I was a kid), I thought I was going to be a professional actress (not a star). I was really into theater. However, I haven’t been in a play in over 20 years now.
7. I have a growing desire to be completely nomadic, on foot.

I tag 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

It was hard to pick people to tag. why? cause I don’t read a lot of blogs (it’s so hard to find the time!), and I have not commented on some of the blogs I do read, given the need for a google/blogger account which I haven’t gotten yet. also, I haven’t been blogging long outside of lj and I don’t think my blog is widely read…yet.

So, I had a breakneck weekend with tons of fun and very few stitches (outside of my mandatory daily rows on the Irish Diamond shawl). Saturday was Mark’s and my 16th wedding anniversary. Sally and Roger treated the whole family to dinner at Astoria, Oregon’s new Fort George brewpub. It was great food and drink (wasabi ginger ale!) and after dinner we wandered the Saturday night streets in sunglasses (well, I was) looking for deesert and checking out the action.
I could go on about the wonders of being married for so long, but it will have to wait. It is amazing, though. Over these long years, I have learned things I never imagined existed.

Sunday had Kate and I driving up to Seattle for a glitter meetup, glitter being an online forum. It is an odd thing, being willing to drive hours to hang out with people you have never really met. But Kate and I are fast real life friends and we met through the internet so whatever. It was a blast.
Here’s a funny photo of all of us. I’m in front, go check it out, I’ve got on this totally fab capelet somone gave me. Plus you can see the new sunglasses…

To add to the fun, a couple of us were stopped on the street by a young guy with a camera who said he was doing a street fashion piece for the Seattle PI. There goes one minute of my alloted 15 of fame…except I haven’t been able to find the photo online…

well I have a bit of stiching to do before bed, so I’m off. G’night!