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Monday, July 18, 2016

Would a hug help?

Last night, as I inserted the last of those silly, charming, fun, and interesting videos and links into yesterday's blog post, I could hear that the News was on in the next room. Not good news, either.

The continuation of the global brutality and confounding violence, intolerance, and hate has been the top story for weeks now. Yes, I know, the top stories are always nasty, but I think it has been a lot worse lately.

I avoid watching the news. It gives me nightmares. If I can sleep at all. {sigh} I suspect it relates to being a bit too empathetic, a "fixer" {or wannabe fixer}, having a vivid imagination, and tending towards a "Lawful Good" D&D alignment. {Yes, even when I'm being serious my "geek" and odd sense of humor shows.}

The nightmares are definitely bleeding into every part of every day life.
Add to that the potential of my country electing a megalomaniac "reality" TV personality as our president and.....  
       ......      {Must remember to breathe...}


There has been a long pause in the typing.
I'm trying not to write up a tirade of "What the hell is going on?!?!?".

What it comes down to is this...I can't understand what is going on.
I didn't understand what was going on in December 2012.

The only thing I can do is try to help as I can and do the best I can in my tiny place in the world.
{Yes, this is me trying to dial down my personal panic, sadness and fear.}
I keep wondering if some compassion would have stopped these people from doing what they've done.
Would a hug help?
Would a lot of hugs help?

Two more offerings:

These two videos show we are capable of doing better. Of being better.
Heck, that we've been better.
The vast majority of our lives are made up of small moments. Small decisions. Small gifts.
Perhaps the small day to day efforts can inspire change or the culmination of many small actions can result in something big and wonderful and heartful.

E-hugs. Many, many e-hugs.

"Video that will change your life. I have no words left."

"Arigato from Japan Earthquake Victims" 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Ya know that "Easily entertained" thing about me? It's still true.

So I've been going through my, uh, substantial pile o'e-mails. It's one of my summer goals to reduce the pile in my inbox by over 400 e-mails. {Well, I can dream, can't I? Oh...well crimony! I've already reduced it by over 170! Guess I should keep dreaming. ;-}

So, during the e-mail perusal (excavation), I have come across a whole slew of "ya gotta see this" emails with charming, interesting, and fun links to a wide range of videos.

Yep, gonna share:

A very recent yarn-y video gift from a newish friend: "Film Muffler".

This is technically a public service announcement - but beautifully presented: "Embrace Life".

And the Louisville Leopard Percussionists kept me entertained for quite a while:
Steel Leopards: "Check Yes Juliet and Happy"


Simon's Cat always has something fun:
"Field Trip"

And has become something I like to check out daily:
NASA's Astronomy Picture of the day. Extremely spiffy!

Lastly, this is an old favorite: NASA/SDO's 2012 Transit of Venus
"NASA/SDO's Ultra-high Definition View of 2012 Venus Transit"


Thursday, July 7, 2016

My View of the Loft Yarn Storm

So, I paused in mid-post yesterday having realized I was about to commit spoilage. ;-)

So now I'll post the pictures I took during the Loft Yarn Storm installation. We "Yarn Stormers" started early in the day with some shade, but the Arizona sun warmed up and lit up the Loft courtyard pretty quickly.

(As always, please click on the pictures to enlarge.)
The fully "dressed" bicycle stands. 
I was a 2nd pair of hands to a variety of people and I stitched coverings measured/created by another talented soul onto two of the Bicycle rings. (I stitched a granny-square/lace crochet duo onto a stand somewhere in the center and the pet-able velour woven one in the picture below.)
  (Yep, the picture on the right was my view as I stitched on the velour strips.)

One of the core projects was to create "people" from the posts on the front of the Loft Building.

I thought the mirror-face was very clever and I love the "wooly" popcorn. Ah - and you see now why legs were knitted? Spiffy, yes?

For the post above, the hair is roving and {durn it!} I didn't get a side picture - there are tufts of colored roving in the hair to match the painted mask. The middle portion is woven neckties (very clever) and I'm smitten with the multiple technologies that go into the skirt. It was ?crocheted? from VHS tapes with CDs attached to the skirt with cassette tape.

This is the excellent felted face above was created by the ladies at Spirited Hands. The picture soooooo does not do it justice.

I should have taken a closer picture of the face on this one - the lips were hand made and the eyelashes were, well, eyelash yarn. Obviously some nifty weavings were included in this figure too.

The above figure has hair made of wool roving that was partially felted so the hair was a bit like dreadlocks (cool!). Obviously I was most intrigued by the top and bottom of this figure {wry grin}.

 The planters in the courtyard were also all yarn-ed up and looking spiffy. Several of these were "tagged" by Textile Tagger, Kristin Wolfe from Phoenix.
(She also covered the eastern-most bicycle loop in my first picture at the top of the blog.)
 I believe the above were covered by the Tucson Yarn Stormers.

 And I understand the three above were created/covered by Kristin Wolfe.
Remember the sheep with which I was so smitten at our Birdhouse Yarns meet up....yep, now you can see why I was so surprised at the size of his "fleece".

We had a couple of small scale visitors (pun intended) but I only got a picture of this one.

 For some reason, this above picture is one of my favorites - I LOVE that someone made a yarn-y string of lights. (There were tassels on the trees too but I missed getting a picture of them blowing in the wind.)

Folks stitched various bits together, wove strips through the fence (I helped some with that) and a particularly talented and zealous crafter Pre-Yarn-Stormed an entire bicycle:

As previously described, some shawls were donated along with some lovely felted bits and even the bench in front of the theater lobby was re-covered.

Lastly, the two sculptures in the area just east of the main theater took on a whole 'nother artistic vibe:
Remember the flowers from the Birdhouse Yarn meet up? 

 Beautiful, clever, web-weaving and ya gotta love a spider in gold high-heels!

The movie itself was fun, inspiring, artistic, whimsical, charming, and offered a perspective on small, subtle art and powerful grab-you-by-the-lapels installations.
My favorite would have to be the installation by Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam. I want to go play!

My favorite Barbara Kingsolver "Where It Begins" quote from the movie would have to be:
"Drape is the child of loft and crimp; wool is a stalwart crone who remembers everything, while emptyhead white-haired cotton forgets. "

In typical Tucson Monsoon-ish fashion - it rained. {wry grin} Over an hour before the movie time, the rain poured down - right over the Loft Theater. The Yarn Storm held up very well in the Rain Storm. And people still came out to see the movie and the yarn graffiti that night!

All in all, the surprise, admiring looks, smiles, and general delight of the people who came to the Loft Cinema last night was charming, heart-warming, and such a gift. There were also quite a few non-guild members that joined the Yarn Stormers before the movie in knitting, spinning, etc. in the Loft courtyard. It is a truly lovely thing to be surrounded by people who share similar creative interests!

The Yarn Stormers met this morning to pull down all the fiber-y delights that adorned the Loft Cinema courtyard for just two days. It took about 20 minutes to remove whilst it took us nearly 3 hours to install.

More Yarn Storms are planned for later in the year and I think all the fiber folk that were involved in the Loft Cinema Yarn Storm are looking forward to our next Yarn Monsoon.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Blogiversary Yarn Storm!

Ok, the Yarn Storm is not actually in honor of my Eighth Blogiversary (although that's kind of a neat idea...Hmmmm). It just happened to fall on my Blogiversary and I got to help!

The Loft Cinema inspired all this by having the good taste to plan to show a Fiber Artist documentary called "Yarn". They also had the excellent taste to invite the Tucson Handweaver's and Spinner's Guild to be a community partner and to apply yarn graffiti (aka "Yarn Storming" or "Yarn Bombing") to their courtyard and theater lobby.
Excellent Yarn Storming definition courtesy of the very spiffy Deadly Knitshade :
"Yarnstorming: The art of enhancing a public place or 
object with graffiti knitting or crochet 
(and running away giggling)."

I won't be dropping names here since I don't have permission from everyone, but I have to say the folks that embraced this concept and ran (knit/wove/crocheted/knotted) with it are truly stellar! And the woman who organized the whole shebang is amazing and I'm pleased and proud to know her.

Artists and crafters from outside the guild joined us in planning the Yarn Storm decorations as well as how to utilize the strips and squares knit/woven/crocheted/etc. by sooooo many folks.

We had a few meetings to plot/craft together and many people came by to drop off knit swatches, woven samples, partially completed sweaters, placemats that had woven up just a little too small, experimental or beginner projects as well as nifty crafted items (like a snake) that were well-executed but awaiting the revelation of it's true purpose in the series of Yarn Storms planned for this year.
Our first Yarn Storm meet up.
 I know...ignore all the glasses and focus on the fiber and busy hands. By the way, our meeting was also an ode to World Wide Knit in Public (WWKIP) day - and we were very public (although a week early).

The above is a coiled (and very cleverly made) snake and a pi-shawl that was donated to the cause.
I wish I'd gotten a picture of the snake being passed from person to person down one side of the table looking like it was slithering it's way down the long edge of the table.
The pi shawl was someone's 1st design effort but she indicated it had too many errors and she didn't really like the color - so it was donated to the Yarn Storming effort!

Our 2nd Yarn Storm meet up. 
I mostly knit strips and squares and offered my 2-cents worth on various sub-projects during our meetings. I expected to be at work during the installation so I didn't pledge to graffiti anything specifically but I did my best to support the effort and enjoy the atmosphere.
Ooooh - the atmosphere for the 2nd meeting was at the Spirited Hands studio. (One of their workshops will definitely be on my Christmas list.) They felt such lovely things and they created an amazing felted face for the Yarn Storm!!  (Picture included further below**, although the picture doesn't do it justice!)

Our fearless and creative Yarn Storm leader started making wigs from the donated roving and sheep locks. Fun, clever...and warm to wear. ;-)

I continued to knit strips and honored WWKIP day the next week when I hung out with the DH and his best friend (a Cleveland Cavalier's fan) as we watched the final NBA playoff game. (I had concerns if the best friend would make it through the game or fall over from the stress.)

One of our last meetings was at our newest LYS, Birdhouse Yarns.
Folks had been creating more things for the Yarn Storm. LOVE the knitted legs, crocheted Converse sneakers and especially the Flat Rat underneath the right shoe. Why knit legs? You'll see.

The sheep you see above...well, aside from being very cute, he surprised me later with the size of his fleece!   The apple was cleverly created....yep, to go with the snake.

And people were knitting, crocheting and making loop flowers!! A full garden (or courtyard) worth.

So the day of the install, (turns out I didn't have to work!) we met at the Loft Cinema with knitted, crocheted, woven, and stranded fabric strips, water, hats, needles, yarn, scissors, stepstools, etc. in the early morning hours. {Our thanks again for the Loft Cinema staffers who answered questions, met with us in the early morning, sat and waited for our creativity to run it's course, and especially for bringing the Yarn documentary to Tucson!}

Kudos and appreciation are offered to all the folks, like me, who provided strips of fabric, supplies and much encouragement.
Admiration and thanks are also offered to the various folks who worked to create a particular look, theme, project, and all the general spiffiness you'll see in the following pictures. **
Talent and imagination lives in Tucson!

Hmmmmm. Sorry. **  No, really - sorry.
I'm going to pause here. I will finish this post tomorrow. I just realized it would be mean of me to post pictures of the full Loft Yarn Storm when folks would/should see it tonight at the theater without spoilers from me being posted earlier in the day.

So - more tomorrow - after we've dismantled the Yarn Storm at the Loft Cinema and enjoyed the Yarn Storm by twilight tonight along with the YARN fiber artist documentary.

Kind of appropriate for a Blogiversary, really.
With the promise of another blog post - tomorrow.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

"Chess?" and also some Yarn-ish videos

I was charmed by a gent at Le Buzz this morning. The husband and I stopped at Le Buzz for breakfast after a morning walk. A gentleman was seated at a table near the entrance with a chess set laid out in front of him and a sign that said "Chess?". He waved the white king at me and asked if I'd like to play a game. I declined since food was the current priority but I was tickled by the concept. 

A bit later, he had offered a game to several folks and had received a variety of polite and appreciative declines. About then, a young man (maybe 7-ish), his mom and twin siblings (about 3-ish) had come in and the man offered a game of chess to the eldest who had stopped to look at the chess set curiously. He said he didn't know how to play and the Gent questioned "Would you like to learn?". The youngling said he'd like to but he had to ask his Mom. Mom apparently agreed and the youngling came to sit cross-legged on the chair across from the Chess Gent. 

The Gent explained what the various pieces could do and offered a modified version of the game using three black pawns and three white pawns The goal was to get a pawn to the opposite side of the chess board. The Gent did an excellent job of explaining his moves and the pawn's abilities. The youngling was well engrossed and did an excellent job mastering the short version of the game. By this time, the Mom and younger siblings had joined them at a nearby table. Mom was pretty nifty, recognizing this opportunity for her son to learn a bit about chess. She had the younger ones start on their take-home breakfasts and encouraged the elder son in his play. The smaller of the twins came to "help" the big brother and was briefly pulled up on his brother's lap to watch closer. The twin-ling shortly went back to eating breakfast with Mom, the cinnamon roll being more enticing. After both players had each won a few rounds of the pawn-only version of the game, the Chess Gent added a Rook to the play. Again, he did an excellent job explaining the moves/rules and kept the game fun and interesting for the Youngling. They stopped after about 15-20 minutes and Mom thanked the Chess Gent and collected everyone to head out. I had found the episode to be very heartening and spiffy and offered a "Well played, gentlemen!" to the players as we passed by on our way out. 

Yarn-y Goodness
A friend recently sent me this well-known knitterly video so I thought I'd share it with you-all. 
The Last Knit by anneke: 

The above video reminded me of a few of my other favorite Yarn-y videos that I had originally shared here in 2010:

I still LOVE this Natural Gas Commercial featuring Knitting: 

And I am still smitten with the skill, grace and strength displayed by one of the last rug felters in Iran courtesy of Peace Industry

 Lastly, just in case the movie sold out before I could get there next Wednesday, I picked up my ticket for next week's showing of "YARN" at the Loft Theater. 
Happy Dance!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Yes, it really is a dry heat. There is just a lot of heat.

Greetings and Salutations! How you be?

Just over 2 weeks ago we were enjoying high 80 degree weather and then last week the "Blast-furnace" summer heat arrived. It had been rather nice (and a little unusual) to have the less than 100 degree (37.7778 C) weather for as long as we did. {sigh}

So, about the "It's a dry heat" joke about the Arizona heat. Not so much of a joke.
There realllllly is a difference between 100 degree heat with almost no humidity and 100 degree heat with 80% humidity.
In Arizona when it says "80% humidity", it means it will rain - probably a lot.
In say, Texas, when it's 100 degree heat and 80% humidity, it means I wouldn't be able to breathe. It would feel like trying to breathe underwater to me. {Been there, gasped that.}

The pros of Blast-Furnace heat?

  • The first load of laundry hung out on the line is dry before the second load is done in the washer. 
  • Solar cooking is totally feasible (and yummy). 
  • The heat encourages indoor activities (such as weaving, knitting, and catching up on Netflix).
    {Hmmm - Blast-furnace heat is a bit similar to being "snowed in" during the winter (with smaller {cooler} knitting projects and less baking and holiday decorations).}
  • Solar energy is also totally feasible {still pending for the DH and I but when I was a kid, my Dad setup a solar water-heating system for our house that worked great}.
  • The Blast-Furnace heat makes our 82 degree house (82 is our "away" thermostat setting) seem downright cool!
  • The "siesta" concept becomes very appealing. 
  • Parking spaces are more valuable based on the amount of shade the space offers. Parking closer to work/school/store is less of a consideration than if your car will be less than180 degrees when you return.
The cons....well, the cons are pretty obvious. Heat stroke, sun burn, dehydration, etc. 
Um, yeah. Common sense goes a long way when dealing with the obvious. 
We do tend to be a bit light on earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and Mississippi-style flooding. But we do excel at blast-furnace heat. No where is entirely perfect. 

So why am I talking about the weather? 
Well, it is pretty darn hot here. 
And...how else do you start a conversation up with folks that you haven't spoken to in a long time? 
Yep, the weather is generally a safe topic. 

So, I'll end with this: I've thought of you often and I kept meaning to write, but I kept putting it off until after the next school deadline. And then there's always another school deadline. Even now, over the summer, I have things I'd like to finish from the last semester (and the one before that) as well as prep-study I'd like to do for the coming semester. 

But today, I thought I'd pop in to say "Hi!" and I thought I could break the ice with some comments about our Blast-Furnace heat. {wry grin}
Talk to you soon. KiniaCat

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Already - an adventure for 2016

Greetings and Salutations!
How you be?

I am returning to a semblance of normalcy after collapsing over the Fall Semester "Finish Line" the week before Christmas.
No Holiday cards went out. I didn't get the Christmas lights on the house. {sad}
And no decorations inside the house to tempt the pica-cat palate. {not sad about that one}
Working 6 days a week for the Holidays, attending classes 2 days a week, spending time in the digital lab 2-3 days a week, and monitoring the weaving lab 3 days a week just about did me in!
{I must be getting old.}

It's the 5th day of the New Year and already we had an adventure! An adventure that is inspiring this blog post in more ways than one.

Our adventure appears to have started sometime after midnight after I kissed the DH to welcome in the New Year and then promptly went to bed 'cause I'd been up for 20-mumble hours straight.
When I got up the next morning/the First Day of the New Year, the house was a brisk 57 degrees (14 C). Now we don't heat the house to a without-sweater temperature but 57 degrees clearly indicated the heater was not functioning correctly.

I played with the thermostat and got the heater to come on, but it didn't sound like the gas was running/igniting and there was only cold air coming from the vents. I considered the cost of calling a repair person on a major holiday {shudder/not just from the cold} and began to plot ways to be cold-comfortable so we could hold out until Monday. When the DH got up, I handed him the thick robe I'd made him years ago (that he never wears because he's a guy {which means his personal thermostat naturally runs warmer}) and explained my findings and hold-out plan.

He agreed and referred to our adventure as "camping" for the rest of the weekend.
So we called the repair guy to get into the queue for Monday, put another blanket on our bed (flannel sheets were already in place), broke out the space heaters (one had to be liberated from the shed where it had been stored in a garbage bag), brewed some coffee/hot chocolate, and opened the south-facing front window blinds as we usually do to bring in whatever winter-sun/heat we could.

Our high temperature in the house over the weekend was ... 65 degrees (18 C). The low was the 57 from New Year's Eve. Not bad…but we did get lucky with a sunny weekend. The clouds moved in Sunday night but the repair guy came Monday morning before the first real drop of precipitation or temperature and the house-dragon roared back to life and provided us with some heat for this wet, cold week.

I did a little baking to help warm the house and the cats….their routines didn't change much. At night, they slept on and around us as they usually do and during the day, they enjoyed the winter sunshine as they usually do:
Even Gryphon came to hang out with us (with the
sunshine) in the Living Room.
Brothers Nikoli and Mikale
So this blog post was inspired by the heater adventure and…. because I too tend to hang out in the warmest room in the house (the living room) during the winter. However, I'm writing this post where I usually do - in our cold dining room - with the shed-released space heater pointing right at me. ;-)

Happy New Year to you all. 
Let's enjoy what we can of the adventures life sends our way.
Blessings Be.  KiniaCat