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Mythology, Love, Optimism

Today I woke up with TV On The Radio’s Song “Golden Age” In my mind. YouTube won’t let me embed the video so you should go watch it here. But I’ve posted the lyrics below.

I know there’s a lot of grief and uncertainty and anger about what is happening in our world right now, between our financial troubles and the litany of ongoing troubles of war, poverty, hunger, & oppression. But there is something in me that is incredibly, impossibly optimistic. I know what we have to do is hard. But something in me says – bring it on.

And what is it we have to do? What am I asking for? I’m inspired by this song & this video. I don’t pretend to understand what the symbolism means. I’m not sure I am meant to. What I’m responding to is the idea of creating our own mythologies: in a three minute video, or in our daily interactions with others, or our ideas about who we are and where meaning comes from. Do we subscribe to the mythologies that keep us from knowing ourselves and each other, that keep us in a cycle of blame and remorse? Or do we create a new myth: we are all connected. What we do in our daily lives has an impact on the world. Love is real. Make your own mythology.
Golden Age Lyrics

Heart beat soundin’.
Ricocheting in their cage.
Thought I’d lose my balance.
With the grounds bounce and sway.
And all this violence.
And all this goes away.
And the vibes that rise like.
Fireflies illuminate our play.

Some light being.
Pulled you up from night’s party.
Said clap your hands.
If you think your soul is free.
And the silence was astounding.
‘cept some “Oh Lord!! Mercy Me’s”.
And oh you can’t stop what’s comin’ up.
You’re never gonna stop gonna live it up.
And oh it’s gonna drop gonna fill your cup.
And oh it’s gonna drop gonna fill your cup!

The age of miracles.
The age of sound.
Well there’s a Golden Age.
Comin’ round, comin’round, comin’ round!

Give it up.
‘stead of grabbin’ for decay.
What we viewed as gold.
I believe pollutes this space.
And its grace ascending.
Like a snake up your tree.
Up your happy ending understanding.
All your s’pposed to be.

Let it move right in.
Let it kiss your face.
Let it sow your skin.
In perpetual embrace.
Like I said “Love’s Light is Laughter”.
Like the sun spittin’ happiness into the hereafter.
Oh here it comes like a natural disaster.
Ah blowin’ up like a ghetto blaster.
Ah here it comes, bring it faster!
Ah here it comes, bring it faster!

The age of miracles.
The age of sound.
Well there’s a Golden Age.
Comin’ round, comin’ round, comin’ round!!

Love, don’t you falter.
Burnin’ hearts.
Dragged behind.
The horses dancing on the altar.
Hooves breakin’ Gods.
To diamond dust and stars.
And there you are…

Now we’re all allowed to breathe.
Walls dissolve.
With the hunger and the greed.
Move your body.
You’ve got all you need.
And your arms in the air stir a sea of stars.
And oh here it comes and it’s not so far.

All light beings.
Come on now make haste..
Clap your hands.
If you think you’re in the right place
Thunder all surroundin’.
Aw feel it quake with the joy resounding.
Palm to the palm you can feel it poundin’.
Never give it up you can feel it mountin’.
Oh its gonna drop gonna fill your cup and.
Oh its gonna drop gonna fill your cup!!!

The age of miracles.
The age of sound.
Well there’s a Golden Age.
Comin’ round, comin’ round, comin’ round!!!!

The age of miracles.
The age of sound.
Well there’s a Golden Age.
Comin’ round, comin’ round, comin’ round!!!!

March 30, 2009   2 Comments

Leslie Hall is blowing my mind

I subscribe to Handmade Nation’s Blog in my reader and Faythe posted something that has made me incredibly happy. I’m not even going to try to explain what is happening here. And I don’t care. I love it.

March 14, 2009   2 Comments

Fiber CSA

If I had $150 this might be what I would buy with it. Like a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for food, this is like buying a share of the fall havest of YARN. Genious.

March 7, 2009   1 Comment

silly seminary

February 23, 2009   No Comments

EZ I Never Knew You

Elizabeth Zimmerman

I’ve been interning as a chaplain at NYU Langone Medical Center since September, and I’m sorry I haven’t posted more about it. It is hard to blog about these personal and still unfolding experiences. But I did write a midterm paper that included the following work of fiction. Apologies to EZ’s daughter Meg Swanson & anyone who was lucky enough to know her while she was here – I’m sure she was much more eloquent.
I was asked to “Select a passage from Scripture or your own faith tradition and write a brief verbatim with a dialogue between you and one of the characters.” I don’t have scriptures for my faith tradition. So I chose to have a chat with Elizabeth Zimmerman, a famous knitter who died in 1999 at the age of 89. Her motto was “Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises.”

In her 1971 classic knitting text Knitting Without Tears she begins with these words:

“Most people have an obsession; mine is knitting.

“Your hobby may be pie-baking, playing the piano, or potbelly-stove collecting, and you can sympathize with my enthusiasm, having an obsession of your own. Will you forgive my single-mindedness, and my tendency to see knitting in everything?

“If you hate to knit, why, bless you, don’t; follow your secret heart and take up something else. But if you start out knitting with enjoyment, you will probably continue in this pleasant path.”

And later in her introduction:

“Now comes what I perhaps inflatedly call my philosophy of knitting… Its main tenets are enjoyment and satisfaction accompanied by thrift, inventiveness, an appearance of industry, and, above all, resourcefulness.”

I imagine that like many prophets whose words are later used to hold up ideas about how and why to behave in one way or another, that Ms. Zimmerman had no idea the impact her words would have on the knitters who came after her. Her approach to knitting is empowering, she admonishes the reader over and over in her texts to use her own intelligence and ingenuity to figure out how to do things, even as she gives helpful and careful instructions about everything you might want to know about how to knit. Her approach is based on the quality and value of the act of knitting as much as it is about the pleasure and sense of accomplishment that comes from making something well.

Nothing would give me more pleasure than to have the opportunity to speak with her. I imagine her where many of my conversations take place these days, in a hospital room.

EZ is 98, female, retired knitter, widowed, three children. She has been admitted for chest pains.

Her room is full of colorful flowers and cards. She is sitting up in bed and quietly knitting a gray wool sweater. There are knitting tools and extra wool on her nightstand. There are no visitors at the moment, though her room has been mostly full of visitors coming and going all day. EZ looks tired and thin, with boney hands that move in a relaxed way over the wool and needles. She looks up as I enter and smiles. I smile too.

C: Hello Ms Z. I’m sorry to interrupt your knitting. I’m Callie, one of the chaplains here. Is this an ok time to talk?

EZ: Oh heavens, the chaplain! If you can bear such a heathen you are more than welcome to sit while I knit.

C: Thank you. I guess you are feeling ok if you are up to knitting.

EZ: If I weren’t up to knitting one could only conclude that I was dead! Ha ha!

C: (I laugh too) I have to tell you, it is really a pleasure to see you, even if it has to be here. I’m a big fan of your work.

EZ: Well that is most kind of you.

C: I’m sorry, I’m supposed to be focusing on you and how you are doing, but your work has inspired me in such a way that it has actually brought me here, to this moment in the hospital. I’m actually a little twitterpated.

EZ: Well that’s just foolishness my dear. I am just like all your other patients here, waiting for results, waiting to get well, waiting to die.

C: Forgive me Ms. Z, but I thought you died in 1999.

EZ: Oh well yes, I supposed that’s so. But still, what’s so special about being dead?

C: Hm, well, you tell me.

EZ: It is quite marvelous you know, to be one with everything in the universe. And just like I expected I might add.

C: Really?

EZ: Oh yes. Now I can knit rivers as easily as I knit yarn here now, I’m afraid it is all quite the same thing, dear.

C: How so?

EZ: Well I don’t have to tell you that using your own creativity and ingenuity in knitting is quite like practice for being a decent human being. It isn’t really so much about WHAT you make in this world, it is about HOW you make what you do manage to produce. Do you think the homeless child you donated a knitted hat for sees that imperfection you were so worried about? No. She sees all the other stitches dear, every imperfectly personally made stitch is like a hand stroking her hair. Or you own sweater, you made it yourself didn’t you?

C: Well, yes.

EZ: I knew it. It suits you perfectly. You know a woman glows brighter in a garment she made smartly for herself. This sweater, how long did it take you to make up?

C: Almost 8 months, I’m afraid I put it down for a while when I was not feeling so happy.

EZ: And why would you do that child? Knitting when you are not happy is just as important as knitting when you are happy.

C: I guess I didn’t want to put my bummer energy into the knitting. I’ve always thought that what you feel when you are making something somehow infuses the end result.

EZ: Exactly! And this is just why you must knit through your sadness, despair, anger, and confusion. Think of it this way, what kind of world would it be if all the wool in the world were gray?

C: Kinda lame.

EZ: Precisely! Without the white and navy and red sweaters, that favorite color of yours would be quite dull now, wouldn’t it? The same is true of all things dear. I’m certain those sad stitches are what make your sweater sing. You really mustn’t let your difficult feelings get in the way of your knitting.

C: Is this what you do?

EZ: I’m afraid so. The universe is a complicated place. Sorting out all the bad from the good would just take too long, and I’m much too lazy for that sort of thing in any case. I just gather it all and make use of the lot. I wouldn’t want to waste any perfectly real feelings by not knitting them in.

C: And then what happens to the difficult feelings?

EZ: Well they are the pattern stitches of course. Whenever I have something to use that I hadn’t planned on, I find a way to make it work out to my advantage. You can too dear. Just look at this lovely color pattern I’ve knit into the hem here. (I can see that she has just finished her sweater and has somehow knit in a border of red snowflakes while we were talking)

C: Wow.

EZ: Now, would you please give this sweater to the lady in the next bed? She hasn’t had a single visitor while I’ve been here and I think she might like to know I’ve been thinking of her.

C: Oh, I’d be honored (I’m tearing up a little here). Thank you so much for taking with me Ms. Z. Really, this has meant a lot to me. Is there anything I can do for you before I go?

EZ: Just keep knitting dear, you know there really is just so much to learn, you’ll never run out of things to keep yourself full.

C: Thanks again Ms. Z.

February 2, 2009   3 Comments

Holiday Trunk Show

Fact & Fancy Trunk Show

Yep, Tuesday 12/23 I’ll be at Fact & Fancy live & in person making custom canvas & leather pouches on the spot from my inexhaustible scrap collection! Pick your materials, and in just a few minutes you’ll be the proud owner of a versatile, super functional, durable zipper pouch. Custom pouches starting at $15? You crazy.

Fact & Fancy

75B Hoyt St. Between State & Atlantic in Brooklyn, NY

Tues December 23, 6-8pm

December 12, 2008   No Comments

The First Quilt

I spent some time this summer quilting with my boyfriend’s family, master quilters all. It was my first attempt, a log cabin style made of my friend Jamie’s old shirts she wore in  college when we met. I learned so much! And I can’t wait to make the next one. This was a gift for Jamie’s kid Linus (I know, who wouldn’t want to make that kid his blankie). Thank you so much Catherine, Anna Marie, & Esther!

November 22, 2008   3 Comments

Fashion Emergency II – Accessorize

Ok, firstly: I have the very best most spectacular friends and family. Really, I can’t thank you enough for all the comments, on the blog, on facebook, and in your emails. I had no idea you would so enjoy chiming in on my outfits!

While I do appreciate all the comments along the lines of “hot” and “smokin” I must admit – this is not really the look I’m going for: elegant, sophisticated. I know I’m smokin, I don’t need to advertise it to everyone at my brother’s wedding.

A galvanizing comment was made privately by my Auntie: “Who says you can’t go shopping? I want to talk to this person.” Sheepishly I dragged my friend Annika all over Williamsburg last Saturday looking for something that wasn’t made in a sweatshop that I would look great in and feel good about wearing. Not optimistic! But low and behold, the very last shop we wandered into had a beautiful vintage dress that fit perfectly, felt flattering, and seemed like the right vibe. I bought it. It was affordable.

And so now the accessorizing begins. Here’s my idea: I could craft a wrap of cashmere sweater scraps and chiffon with silver details to match the dress: something that would just wrap around the shoulders and attach with a button or tie. Then some dark stockings, perhaps in a color that coordinates with the sweater scraps, and some ankle strap metallic shoes with a low heel. If there is enough, I can even make some sleeves for more warmth. I want to break up the black with some other dark neutral colors or maybe something like a jewel toned teal or green.

What do you think?

Thank you!!!!

November 1, 2008   6 Comments

Fashion Emergency

I am hereby calling my first virtual style council. I’m the sister of the groom. The wedding is one month away. I am not allowed to purchase anything new. I need your help!!!

I’ve gone through my closet and pulled out everything I think is even close to working. I’m going for elegant & sophisticated. Though it isn’t formal, my brother will be wearing a tux. It is an evening wedding.

Help me Obi-Wan, you’re my only hope. Comment below on what you think works and doesn’t. Make suggestions. Be honest about how fat my ankles look in those shoes.

Special thanks to the best boyfriend ever: photographer & blog tech support.

October 23, 2008   7 Comments

DIY Salon at MAD

Welcome to the craftiest season of the year. If it’s not whipping up your Halloween Costume, it’s creating a holiday meal, warming up with a ball of yarn, or planning a party to share the spirit of crafting with your friends. I’ve been up to the latter!

Tickets on sale now!
Church of Craft‘s DIY Salon at the Museum of Arts & Design!
Thursday November 6, 2008 7-10pm
$10/$9 for members
2 Columbus Circle (their new home)
for more info call 212.299.7777 or purchase tickets here

Join MAD and the Church of Craft for a night of hands-on making, music, food, and drink in celebration of the Museum’s current exhibition Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary. Local do-it-yourself artists (your fellow CofCers!) will demonstrate their personal skills and help guide you in creating your own projects. Techniques will range from making notebooks out of junk mail to making yarn out of old sweaters, among other contemporary twists on classic crafts. In addition to do-it-yourself workshops, the DIY Salon will include handmade snacks, craft beer, and a live DJ. Guided tours of Second Lives will be available. Over 200 people did-it-themselves at this event last year, so don’t miss out this time around!

October 20, 2008   No Comments