Relax into a poem by Elan Mudrow

I sit with her Placing her in memory Giving thoughts strength, yet In her silence, she frightens me. I rely on others Camping upon her shore To soothe my worry. And although I haven’t Seen her rimmed with snow Echoing the clearest of nights, Pitted with raindrops Upon her clear face, Witnessed her held tight […]

via Mountain Lake — Elan Mudrow

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Amazing stories

Due to travel, I managed to read some thought-provoking, wonderful books last month. My family circulates books among one another — a lending library that goes from the one side of the country to the other, then back to the middle.

One of the books I borrowed from the family “library” was Please Enjoy Your Happiness by Paul Brinkley-Rogers. Gorgeous cover on this edition published in the UK. Like many true stories, you’re left with a feeling of nebulous (did he, did she… etc.) ending. I was able to suspend my belief and to feel like I was visiting those murky days right after WWII, in Japan. And if I were in occupied Japan, how interesting it would have been to meet the main characters — the narrator, a sailor on a US ship, and Kaji, a Japanese woman who was raised in China. They’re both in love with poetry, with music, and cinema. It was a  diverting book for a long airplane ride, and like the narrator (now older, and able to understand the gift of platonic love from Kaji), I wanted to step into the Mozart Cafe, listen to some challenging classical music, and see the story continue.

Now that Brinkley-Rogers’ memoir was passed on to someone else, I’ve begun reading Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You. So far I can only say that it seems to have a Faulkner-esque sense of time (looping back upon itself to move the story forward). And I hope that the loops will eventually jettison the family at the heart of the story beyond the great mysteries of loss that they’re dealing with.

So, are you reading anything I should check out?

Living vicariously

The posts I’ve seen about others’ trips to see the eclipse let me live vicariously. I would have loved to have planned something to go view it (we were in an area of partial eclipse, and were struggling to find an area of the yard free of clouds). Friends of mine went to the Jersey shore to view from the beach. Other friends drove to South Carolina.

I watched the NASA feed, and then enjoyed reading about trips to view the dance of the moon in front of the sun.  Check out Blonde Coyote’s post here. Lovely write up of a trip to Wyoming, and camping. You can see videos on the NASA website, if you were out of the viewing area, or fighting with clouds to view the shadows through a colander.

I’m also contemplating new patterns to knit, using lovely gift yarn. This pattern is really tempting: Woolly Woolhead’s Toph. And it reminds me a little bit of the patterns I could see through tree shadows during the eclipse. Tamara Adams posted a lovely pattern of coasters for the eclipse (link goes to Ravelry), which might be fun to create for tree decorations this year.

Keep looking up (unless there’s an eclipse and you don’t have special glasses…. then look down for shadows).

 

 

Sporadic like sunshine

Another beloved aunt passed while I was at a business conference, and so … much of July and part of August has been me settling my mood. The world seems unbalanced by losses of people I’ve known all my life, even though it was great to reconnect to their children and grandchildren.

Which is why I’m exploring changes — either reducing clutter or talking with the family about moving away from the land of government work. I couldn’t picture myself working as a lobbyist 2 years ago. I don’t think that will change now.

So, if you had to rethink your life, what would you do or where would you choose to go?

The family conversation has led to a lot of surprises. Sporadic changes have started breaking through like sunshine. We started to repaint the kitchen (which had been in a holding pattern, partly due to the heat and humidity and partly due to the unending tyranny of travel).

Due to the heat, I’ve been reading a lot more than knitting. Two books particularly broke through the gloom of impending thunderstorms and ever present humidity.

Paper Love: Searching for the Girl my Grandfather Left Behind” by Sarah Wildman. Thoughtful, somewhat devastating read about the author’s research into people her family left behind in Berlin. It’s fascinating and interesting to see the research connections and learn the choices that saved people (or didn’t).

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day” by Winifred Watson. An enjoyable farce from 1938 (filled with glamorous 1930s nightclubs and some typecasting). I can’t remember if Dovegreyreader‘s site or Cornflower‘s site that recommended it, or if I read about it on the Persephone Books site, and remembered it when I saw it on the library shelves. Anyway, whoever told me about it, thank you.

Getting back to normal-ish

Between this being the year of personal life challenges (loss of a beloved cat, loss of a dearly loved aunt) and struggling to fight against the negative energy in the air these days…. I’ve found that after I finish knit projects, I just *don’t* pick up the needles again. The world has been a bit too distracting and poisonous for me to trust my gauge. This lack of knitting mojo is not normal.

Reading has also been a bit “meh”. I’ll get started on a book, and then the characters feel flimsy, or the book doesn’t work with my mood (think I found a good one though… if it sticks to darkly farcical instead of veering into horror writing, I will be relieved).

I’ve been sketching. Nothing for the press yet, but I’m getting close. I’m contemplating something written with my next print piece, so we’ll see how far I get on it.

Today, I’m reading Knitty.com with a great deal of interest.

  • Ancyra by Susan Schira combines mosaic design with colors like antique smalti (visit Ancyra pattern here).
  • Wolkig by Martina Behm looks like a cowl in an upscale window on the Konigstrasse. I love how it looks, but would want to use a light, misty blue or copper for this design. Very inspiring.
  • And if you have scrap yarn that you want to show off, Longwing looks like a project that you could do while watching t.v. or reading. Am I right, or is it more complicated?
  • The cool tools section provides a lot of ideas for knitter gifts (hint, hint). Currently in love with this book.

Amy and co. have upped their game. Tusen tak!

And while things are getting back to normal-ish, the WordTapstry blog is likely to continue to be sporadic. Although I might manage to get pics up of the garden. It’s been glorious.

 

Hilde Domin – reading

Thanks to Buchmerkur Schroersche Berlin [Link here], I have started searching for English/German side by side publications of Hilde Domin’s poetry. I’ve stumbled onto the poems translated by Meg Taylor and Elke Heckel online here. Autumn eyes/Herbstaugen is particularly lovely.

I’ve also been enjoying a book on Harlem by Jonathan Gill. From the first altercation between the people already living there and the Dutch, to its place in history as a place for Jewish and Irish immigrants to start out, race clashes, and the Harlem Renaissance. The book continues through 400 years, and I’ve only reached the jazz era. 🙂 But it’s all history we didn’t learn in school, so I’ve been having a great time learning how much I didn’t know.

Bit by the Printer’s Devil part II

 

linocut-reflect

“Reflection” – final project: combined polymer plate and linocut print, hand printed with gradient.

In 2016, I took a course in printmaking, and I got to experiment with linocut, letterpress (with a polymer plate), risoprint, and a mix of two techniques for the final process. Of the 3 techniques, I found linocut to be the most satisfying, with polymer plate in 2nd place.

 

Here’s the breakdown:

  1. If you want to personally carve the blocks, be able to hand press (using a barren or the back of a spoon), or be able to adjust colors with your brayer, so there is a gradient on the print, linocut might be for you.

    lino-jacobsladder

    Linocut print, hand printed with back of a spoon.

  2. If you want to draw something, then process it in the computer minimally for a print that shows your drawing line (sending away the file to get a polymer plate [a bit like a gummy raised sticker that gets affixed to a metal plate for use in letterpress] back), then a polymer plate might be for you. Negative: I wanted to be more hands on with creating the polymer plate so i could adjust it as I went along, but that wasn’t possible with facilities available.
  3. Letterpress is exciting, and involves putting the plate into an older press [may or may not have any real safety features], there is an inking plate up top that the rollers go over. You’re able to layer different colors but not fine tune gradients. If you want speed, this will allow you to be quick, if you’re coordinated, and able to get the paper in and out of the pins in time. [Note: I am NOT coordinated, and that story leads to blood, and we’re just not going there again.] Polymer plate isn’t limited to just letterpress. You can use a setting up press to print these, and get gradients, which was very satisfying, FYI, and very close in technique to classical printmaking (and I’m fast at that).
  4. Risoprint: great results, very satisfying for the people receiving the prints (I made a little book). Negative: I had to use computer programs to lay things out, then send the files away to have them printed at a special facility. My local printmaking teachers are in process of getting a press fixed so they can do these in house, but it is still less hands-on than I wanted. Positive: lots of color theory, adjusting the weights of grey tones in two layers that would be printed in different colors (phthalo blue on one, yellow on the other).
    risoprint-unfolded

    Risoprint: unfolded book waiting to be put together.

    polymer-plate

    Polymer plate, printed in a letterpress.


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