August 2012

the arts20 Aug 2012 06:10 am

Stories in Yarn

Creating art yarn is an abstract exercise, using only strokes of color in a thin strand (and the texture of those strands) to create something new, something a knitter can fall in love with. Yet, for me, color has the possibility to recall stories, personalities. As a lover of stories in general, this keeps me exploring the medium of this most basic of the fiber arts.

Bad Girl Maleficent

Bad Girl Maleficent

“Bad Girl Malificente”

I started spinning because all the kids were doing it. No, really–my homeschooling younger siblings and their peers were all learning how from a close friend. Not being a kid, it was a little embarrassing to be the last to pick it up. It would be more embarrassing to never learn, though. A lot of secret practice later, and I actually got a job at a tourism-focused sheep farm because of this skill.

It was there I got a chance to explore the dimension color could have in a yarn. One of the sheep breeds on the farm is Jacob Sheep, who are spotted and have a naturally two-tone fleece. Spinning up a roll of that wool, watching the balance of black and white shift to create texture was fascinating. Like dominos falling, was the thought that crossed my mind, or moonlight on cobweb by night. Not long after, I was given some beautiful dyed wool. I spun the soft blue up with gray and white natural wool I had, like clouds against sky. When I was finished, the colors were strongly reminiscent of Haku, in the film Spirited Away.

Memories of Haku

Memories of Haku

Memories of Haku

It was ridiculous—it was enthralling.

I’ve since realized that I associate things strongly by color palette, be it movies, places, or even the ones imagined from the descriptions in a book. When setting up my yarn shop, and checking out the competition, I found that I wasn’t the only one doing this. Not by a long shot–artisans crave inspiration.


Arabian Nights by Weird and Twisted:

Arabian Nights

Arabian Nights

Weird and Twisted Etsy store


Mei from the Totoro Tribute series by quovadishandspun



quovadishandspun Etsy Store


I’ve always been a fan of Impressionism, using broad streaks of color to invoke an image and mood, and treat my yarns as that sort of canvas. In the end, my work is not even a finished product. I just take colors, focused by stories I love, to makee material for yet another artisan to create with.

As my skill catches up with my ambition (never for long, but it does happen) I try to create skeins that use not only the multiple plies for dimension, but also the length, the texture. My Phoenix Spiral yarn is one of my best so far, and it followed a very specific narrative arc, each step from death, rebirth, maturity, back into fiery death and rebirth as the yarn would be knit up. The knitter’s finished object will have a narrative built into it.

Phoenix Sprial

Phoenix Spiral

Phoenix Spiral

I love working in an old art, with new inspiration. It’s exciting to be part of a revival of hand-made materials, and also a wave of geek-themed art, too. The best part, though, is being able to turn around after encountering a piece of art in another medium and celebrate it by drawing out its colors.

poem13 Aug 2012 06:18 pm

She was an apple thief
a thief of summer’s fruit
it was just natural to poison what she fed on
after all, who
would pity the rat that ate of poisoned bait?

And she was quite another sort of vermin
her seven tails dug seven trails
behind her, no matter where she went
and the voice was infinitely fairer
than the evil maw it came from

in the snowy woods of ebony
her blood-red lips lay hidden
and her lair was a grave of apple cores
that’s where she had taken the fruit
of poison, the two-faced apple

it is also where she lay asleep in ice
as if it were a bed of crystal glass
who would have thought that all this apple bite
could leave her merely sleeping?
The prince saw her sleep in this deep

deep forest and to her lips
he lost his mind
he kissed her and kissed the poison from her lips,
drank it from her throat and collected
the stray drops of venom from her teeth

Gone mad from kissing poison
it is no wonder
that he had people dance themselves to ashes
in fire shoes of glowing iron
–how his eyes gleamed when they danced!

It is no wonder also
that he would keep her apple sweet breath
beneath his tongue, his pillow
and in the fabric of his sheets and that his
shrouds were made of apple peels
that the beast had woven tightly, like a noose

poem06 Aug 2012 07:09 am

I may be just a metal woman,
rust for brains,
but hot lubricant courses through these tubes.
I want more than a battery powered thrust
between my legs.
I am looking for love
a man to ignite my jets,
but no one with an ounce of fresh gristle
wants to be held in my solid grasp
They run as if rocket powered.

I thought I’d build me a man,
all pistons and genuine aluminum six pack.
I collected the parts,
drew up the schematics,
but though everything functioned,
went down and up as needful,
I could never find the place
to install real lasting love.
It wasn’t long before he left me
for a vending machine.

I think I might try again, someday,
to build me a metal mate,
a man with big pistons and a sense of fun,
but first I need to work out
where you put the love
and how you keep it there
so it doesn’t fall out
or corrode or snap,
unless you want it to,
after one vend too many.

This poem will be published as part of “Songs of Steelyard Sue” (ISBN 9781909252028) by Lapwing Publications later in the summer.