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.


  1. so it's finally real. i'll miss having you so close. even though berwyn isn't really that far.

    1. It's really not so far at all, I mean we've been driving carloads of stuff over there a couple times a week and it goes quickly. No worse than getting across town in bad weather or rush hour or during freaking festivals. Justin's going to be taking the train in for work every day so it's not that big of a deal. Just more room in which to accumulate piles of unfinished projects!

      I still have to reply to our last email. We've gone so crazy with packing and painting over here that I'm doing well to stay in touch with anyone. Mmm, paint fumes...

  2. lOVING YOUR TEXTILES AND BEADS , have you seen the new BBC series on Sherlock, super cool, you should be able to catch it on utube.Sorry about the capital letters, I've got 2 cats who tend to like hitting my keyboard!

  3. Aaaaah, Carrie - too long since I've been over here. My head has been down in the clay, and it seems i can no longer do more than one thing at a time!
    Shame on me though - I adore everything about your blog, which makes me smile in recognition, and laugh loudly throughout! I too am a lover of the Jeremy Brett Sherlock, and the spendlid sight of Johnny in the bath, monged out on absinthe!!
    I just LOVE your papery beads, which to my mind, need nothing at all doing to them, other than sticking in your shop and selling. Oh my - ditto your polymer clay ones, which are just shitting gorgeous!!!!!!!
    Oh dear, I hope your move wasn't too revolting, and that you nest yourself into your new home quickly. Is this somewhere less populated?? That can only be a good thing!! Living in the woods is the most wonderful thing, although it may be what's responsible for turning me into this slower version of myself, that previously didn't have a problem doing more than one thing at a time!!
    That moggie of yours is no fool, is she?? They always find the very best places to be. (Sorry, Eve - you look like a very refined lady, and not a mere 'moggie' at all!!)
    Hope you're all enjoying your new home.

    Petra xx


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