01 September 2006

Photo Shower

It seems there's been a little bit of a photo drought around this blog of late, so hopefully this will remedy things a bit. First, I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised to hear my name mentioned on last week's Cast On. Brenda gave a little plug for my felted catnip mice, which I make & sell to support my yarn habit and which I need to be cranking out for Rhinebeck. Lately, though, I manage one before my wrist says, "You must stop now." Tonight I felted three that I've done over the past couple of weeks, which I can now add to the 13 or so waiting to be stuffed.


Theoretically, at one a day I could crank out another 50 before Rhinebeck, but let me tell ya, stuffing them with dried catnip is both time-consuming and rough on the fingers. Cats love them, though. Tolo - or Tolo Mousebane, as he'd like to be called - eats them systematically once he's decided that they're properly dead. He starts with the tail, then over a period of several days eats (and scatters all over the house) the catnip "guts", then slowly eats the rest of the skin over several months, until you find little scraps of felted mouse carcass hiding under the couch.

New Acquisitions

Our mail carrier has been very good to me this week. Monday brought me two eagerly-awaited packages. This is the Shetland 2000 yarn I got from Yarns International.


That's moorit on the left and mooskit on the right. They're undyed natural Shetland yarn produced by Jamieson & Smith, who handle about 90% of the Shetland wool clip. I also got their Shetland 2-ply jumperweight from Schoolhouse Press. The color on the left came in their older skeins, while the color on the right is in their new 25g put-up, which the EU has apparently required them to do to meet uniformity requirements.


So at some point, once the wrists are calmer, I'm going to take both of these for a test drive as possible choices for Meg Swansen's Schoolhouse Shetland Pullover.

On Wednesday, we had a substitute mail carrier (and a cute one at that!) who brought me this from Black Bunny Fibers (As I write this, Carol's stock has been completely cleared out, but keep looking, 'cause she does wonderful work).


This is a romney blend yarn in a colorway she called "Plum Jam". I watched this yarn on her site for a month and really tried so hard to resist. I've also been kind of holding out for more skeins of worsted weight merino like the one I bought a few months ago. But after a month of watching it inexplicably not being bought, I decided it must have been meant for me and bought it. It should be just enough for a toddler's sweater, so I plan on using it to make one for Dulaan. I don't know if I'll sign on for the Black Bunny Hopalong, since it'll be a while before I'll be able to pick up this particular project, but it looks like a fun time for Black Bunny aficionados.


Franklin's writing about his meditation experiences have been a much-needed push for me to look into Buddhist meditation groups in this area. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time, but life has always seemed to get in the way. This evening I was to have gone to a Buddhist meditation group that meets weekly at the Unitarian Universalist church in Portsmouth. Life, however, got in the way again.

Last night at work was pretty much non-stop all night - not overwhelming, but not relenting, either. And since I was sleep-deprived going into it (long and fairly boring story), I was not in any better shape after 15 17 hours of it. So ultimately, I decided sleep was more important than meditation, particularly since meditation requires concentration. There's another group which meets twice a month within walking distance of home, so I may try to connect with them on Monday evening.

That said, I thought I'd share a little story of the one time I experienced what Zen practitioners call kensho. It didn't occur in a zendo, there were no robes or incense or gongs, or even meditation, involved. I was barely 18 and it happened on the campus of Presbyterian College on a beautiful Spring day.

I don't remember much about the circumstances other than that I was waiting for someone and decided to lie down in the grass and watch the clouds go by. It was warm and sunny and there was a nice breeze, and I believe I was lying there for some time when it hit me. It was one of those things that you have to experience in order to understand, but for a very brief instant it felt as if I disappeared into infinity itself.

It scared the hell out of me at the time. I was raised in a mainstream Protestant church. Presbyterians just don't have religious experiences like that, especially not if they're unscheduled. It was also several years before I did any study of Buddhism, so I really had no context to understand what had happened. I did realize fairly quickly, though, that I had had a very profound and precious insight.

I suppose that one of my reasons for looking for a meditation group is the chance that I can experience that feeling again, now that I know it's something to revel in, rather than fear. I know, though, that it will never come if I try to make it happen, so I'm looking for more practical benefits from meditation - a better ability to deal with my stress, which in turn feeds my chronic pain, which sucks up a fair bit of my energy, which....

Still, one can always hope.


SaraSkates said...

Most excellent yarn. I want some. And cool re the mediation - hope the nearby group works out.

Anonymous said...

Love the catnip mice. My 9 (yes, I said 9) kitties would love them!

Chris said...

Hee hee - I love how Tolo works through his mice! The Plum Jam is lovely indeed.

Anonymous said...

I've taken a look at that meditation group at the Unitarian church too (what a gorgeous church that is!) but I've never made it. Come on over the bridge sometime though and we can meet for coffee or something.

FiberQat said...

A couple of times I had moments of what I can describe as ecstasy (and no sex was not involved). It was an awareness of something really incredible and wordless and it hit me like a freight train from out of nowhere. Then during an intense training, I experienced another moment of awareness.

You'll find it. Keep on your path of exploration and you'll find it.