Lively Fibers, Deadly Dyepots

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Slouching Towards Berwyn

"It's easier to die than to move ... at least for the Other Side you don't need trunks." - Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose

Well crap.  It's time to move again.  

The apartment (and cheaper rent) we've been waiting for has, somewhat suddenly, become available, so I find myself thrust back into the always stomach-churning state of Moving.  New place is in Berwyn, which is about a 30 minute drive from Chicago.  It's sort of a blue collar pseudo-burb.  It's also place that used to be home to the (now decommissioned) towering spindle of used cars, as featured in the cinematic classic Wayne's World.  We have one month to get this mass of art supplies and animals over to the new place so I can put some color on the walls and set up house.  I'll miss many things about Roscoe Village, but in truth I've just about had it with living in this close proximity to this many people, and their babies, and their cranky nannies, and their ubiquitously small white snarling yappy dogs.

My street is Stepford in Chicago.  I don't really fit in here.  The average female inhabitant of this neighborhood seems very much into fertility treatments and Italian double strollers, with already thin yoga-panted moms power walking fiercely night and day, so many sets of twins brandished in front of them of them all like spikes on the front of a demolition derby wreck.  These shots are of Justin and Odile, but I'm always out there too, in pyjamas/sweats with blatantly unpresentable bedhead, not power walking, decidedly non-designer dog in tow on leash, sticking to the shade.  Not terribly employed looking, for all my noodlings, and most of the time the mutt tows me.  At least the rust and metal junk I find in the alleys here is amazing.  I hope they have rusty junk in Berwyn.  I'll bet they do.

Roscoe Village alley, Chicago

My Etsy shop and most of the internet I continue to neglect at the moment as this next great shakeup commences, and of course the second you write off your Etsy shop you start making sales again, right?  I sold next to plum diddly over the holidays and then started ignoring my shop and just focused on making things, so now of course people are buying from me again.  Not that I'm complaining, mind you.  It's just funny. 

"I vant to be alone."
Have I mentioned that people allergic to cats probably shouldn't buy anything from me?  I try hard to keep my nip-addled miscreants away from the goods but every so often I'll be carding batts and reach into a bin for more fiber and find something like this.  The lovely yet ferocious Eve does have a fine silvery pelt but I fear she wouldn't blend well in the drum carder. 

My "to be listed" bins continue to fill with yarn and knitted things, and though I'm loath to list things on Etsy in a timely manner I have been working on some prototypes for possible new products like long knitted sleeves and shrugs.  A person can only pack up house for so long each day, and when I'm done packing I sit and spin or knit.  

Currently this happens while watching, or listening mostly, as knitters listen more than they watch, every episode of Sherlock over and over again, or catching up on the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series from the 80's.  What can I say?  Victorian-type sociopathic men are my anti-drug (so long as they're strictly fictitious).  Needless to say the poster of Johnny Depp in From Hell drinking laudanum-laced absinthe in the bath will be hung solemnly in the next kitchen as well.  Because apparently I think I'm still in college and that's it's still okay to put posters of cute actors up even though I'm married and in my 40's. 

Here are these sleevey armwarmerey things (armwarmery??) I've started turning out that were actually inspired by an episode of Cadfael. 

One of the medieval peasant extras was working in the background of a scene wearing what appeared to be cutoff sweater arms, scrunched way down around her wrists with tons of volume like those huge socks I've seen pictures of Japanese schoolgirls wearing.  My version is evolving as an elongated V-shaped tube with some yarnover holes around the top to thread some type of decorative tie through, being at this stage a few long ribbons of nice shreddy sari silk.

All those millions of balls of spindle yarn I've mentioned previously are coming in handy for making these things.  What I'm after is a sort of convertible arm warmer that can be worn fat and rumpled or pulled up and tied more snugly above the elbow.
Here's Justin's manly arm modeling one of them for us.  Those whimsical silken streamers dangling down would go over great at his IT job, wouldn't they.  

It hasn't been so long since turning out my most recent batch of the thick crazy wheel-spun art yarns, but as always when confronted with my empty drying rack, I feel guilt and self-reproach.  My rack should always overfloweth, thusly.
I am going to miss my cobalt saturated bathroom with morphine blue x-mas lights and the opulence of my Light-Up Lenticular Lord to watch over my wooly endeavors as they dry after a nice dye or wash.  His Omnipotent Effulgence will hang in the next bathroom, though, and adorn whichever obnoxious shade we decide to paint this time.  Do Lively Fibers glow in black light?  Indeed they do.  

This shot pretty much sums up where my head is at, creatively.  Yarn, lots of yarn, and oh, some beads creeping into frame.   
Beads?  What beads?  I've been spinning damnit.
So these are just some paper clay beads I fiddled with one night when I was too lazy to bake anything as sophisticated as polymer clay.
Rustic?  check  
I don't know what I'm doing to finish them yet but I'm positive my influences will be apparent to at least some readers, should I still have readers after so long spent waffling and whining and not blogging.
Came across my first batches of polymer clay beads from a few years ago and dumped some out for reevaluation.  Another perk of the new place is an enclosed back porch where I can bake and burn and solder all manner of poisonous materials with plenty of adequate ventilation and a door to keep my kamikaze cats from rushing the work table and trying to kill themselves, as is their wont.  Anything to rack up the vet bills, so the cats say, is good.
Baby's first hammered wire in the faux-primitive bead faux-repairs here.
The imitation amber was made using the most excellent Victoria Hughes book Polymer-The Chameleon Clay, and the faux bone was made from an old Luann Udell article in one of those fat craft magazines I never buy anymore.
Here's a shot of vintage inspiration in the form of fifty cent necklaces scored recently on a trip to Value Village.  I got 'em all hung up by my little ink shelves and now I just have to pull everything the hell down and pack it up.  Who knows when I'll see any of it again, the way I pack.  The one in front of the carved stamp has mercury glass beads, oooh.  Or at least that's what I think those are.  No expert am I.
Bad photo, but this one kills me with its old, old leather neck strap hand stitched together from many short sections.  It has to be from the sixties or seventies.  I'm picturing a very stoned person doggedly trying to convert a longer necklace into a groovy choker to wear to the Mott the Hoople concert that night.  If only one could channel acid flashbacks from cast off jewelry.  Love the brass chain. 
Odile would like me to remind everyone that she is indeed neglected, mistreated and forlorn.  Only half of the couch does she get, and innumerable massages per day.  It's not enough, is it?  Let us weep for this poor tortured and overburdened dog.  She is clearly dogxausted from this long post. 

Eve, meanwhile, is in a bin of soft things and is. not. moving.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A wee confession, with picture post to follow sometime soon.

I'm just going to come out and mention that I'm dealing with a little bit of phobia when it comes to blogging publicly.  This isn't going to be a super-personal blog but I'd like to get this out there so none of the new people I've been following or who might eventually want to follow me will understand that I'm not ignoring their comments or posts when I'm slow to get back about anything.

Boils down to a surprisingly ugly and character-assassinating turn one interaction took with a friend some years back, pretty much just a total misunderstanding between two "strong personalities" as another friend termed us at the time (I think that might have been polite for opinionated loudmouth assholes, and yeah I'd have to cop to that in application to myself in general).  At any rate, it was stupid and brief and I don't even blame the other person for any of it, but it was bad enough to precipitate my almost complete withdrawal from online chatter everywhere.  I mean, I went and deleted all my friggin' Amazon reviews lest some minor un-ill-intentioned thing I said set someone else off and I'd get yelled at again.  That's just how shitty and bad I felt at the time, and how much of a wuss I've been about posting anything anywhere since.  I think it's what bigger, meaner, tougher bitches than I like to call "butthurt" on various net forums.  "Aww, she took her wuddle butthurt and made all her amazon reviews go 'way, aww..."  That sort of thing.

And this was a few years ago!  Ample time to forget about it.  I'd been in stupid fandom flamewars online long before that one incident, with strangers, and thought I was thicker skinned than to let something get to me this way, but when it's someone you're actually friendly with that you like and suddenly a dragon appears from out of nowhere and it turns out that you'd conjured it yourself with some little reply to something that you didn't think could cause such fiery offense...  I pretty much just wanted to hide everything I had online so it wouldn't happen again with someone else.

Maybe I'm pathetic in this regard (and others no doubt) but it's taken me a long time to work up the nerve to go public with anything again.  I've had to do it all in tiny little increments spaced far apart.  The etsy shop, the flickr, all that and this blog is me trying to get over my stupid shit and stop being a wuss about posting, and even harder, to stop being such a wuss about facing comments and replies and such.  I swear I'm really not such a sensitive shy buttwhipped little thing in RL, but apparently I do play one on teh internets.  It was news to me at the time, unwelcome news, but it was a long damn time ago.  The amplified hermit behavior got stuck in there but good.

I mention this because if I'm horrifically slow to reply to comments left here and to check back on other blogs to see replies to comments I've left for anyone else, and if I don't update for ages and seem dead, well, I'm still being a near-total social net phobe but trying to get better about it.  Some days it feels like I just can't face interacting with people but I want to be a big girl, I do.  Unfortunately an acrid taint of cringing whining coward still wafts in my room and clings to all my things.  The net is chock full of bad interaction and misunderstanding, and you can think you've become immune to it but sometimes something hits a raw nerve and before you know it, you're slimed.  It can be very hard to become un-slimed again.  I know I've accidentally slimed other people too in heated debates (over important things like Vulcan reproductive anatomy no less), back in the day, and witnessed their retreat from this forum or that one.  Not all landmines are set deliberately, but they still suck enough to deal the dreaded net slime.

So here's to growing a pair at long last and getting over it.

(My pair, incidentally, will be Vulcanoid in character and accordingly tinted light green.  In no way will my pair resemble tropical fruit or swell to gigantic proportions every seven years, despite what anyone back on alt.startrek.creative.erotica or wherever might say to the contrary.)

So there's enough of that.  It's tiresome and I won't be bringing it up again.  I'll shut up now.

Actually no, I won't shut up about other stuff.  There, see, it's working already.