Sunday, November 22, 2015

a few more lines

It keeps asking for smaller things. tighter focus. A few lines of code is turning into an epic.

Dropping down from the  4x 12wt cotton to four strands of machine rayon to carry one strand of gold or silver metallic.

Needing a little mindless escapism, I am watching the American Music Awards. For a few minutes, I was feeling lost and out of touch.

After a few more minutes, I realized that it wasn't I who was lost and out of touch.  There is nothing enduring going on there at all.

Here is where I find the most meaning and fun lately. I spend thursdays and fridays with Charlie and experience the world anew through his eyes.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

playing catch up

this scrap pulled me in this morning

Lest ye think I either shuffled off this mortal coil or have been snatched into the witness protection program. No excuses beyond being absorbed by life and it's trivialities. All the little things that make up our time. I've been needing to buy some new 1.75 reading glasses. The last pairs I bought were cheap and are warped and scratched. My eyes have been tired from fighting with them, so there's been no stitching at all this whole week until this morning.
"codelines" continues

I left the space heater on in the studio knowing that the morning light would be waiting for me in the sewing chair. It's passed now, an hour is enough. I'm lingering over this piece like a box of truffles. There will be another right behind it or maybe, a kid quilt or two. No Christmas gifts. I won't put myself under the gun like that. It's enough that I've promised my crit partner a rough draft manuscript by New Years!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

the marked day

I hate the way the calendar we use wobbles through time. Dates falling on different days, year in and year out. The sloppy flux of numbers on paper. One day, more or less, in a whole month of days, so I'm not going to pin any crown of thorns on this one.

By some fool's measure of time, it's been two years since Jimmy had to leave us. On some days, it feels like forever; on others, just yesterday. It's been hard on all of us who counted on his love, his calm presence, his confidence in all things.

He and I never talked about this day as if not believing it would come could hold it back. Yes, once or twice toward the end. We made our promises to each other and kept them. He is proud.

We do what we must, what he would insist we do. Live life and love it, joys and heartaches coming in all flavors, bitter to achingly sweet. I don't feel as if he is receding from me in time. Each day that passes brings me closer in time to where he is.

So here's to you my darling. All my love, all my life.

Saturday, November 14, 2015


On a gentle note, our feline codger, Voodoo appears to be on the mend, taking larger portions of food. Sitting up and complaining loudly about the room service and hogging the bed.

The weather got seriously cold overnight and I got the rest of the houseplants in at the last minute. This morning, from the prime seat in the bathroom, I observed something moving the jungle vines of the jojoba plant. Something as yet unseen lurks.

The french knots continue to blossom on "code lines". and speaking of french...

The tragedy in Paris.

I have no platitudes here. No merciful thoughts for the innocents. I want to run through a crowd of these animals and help them to their damned reward with my rusty machete. And won't they be shocked when they find out just how pissed off Allah is at their actions and attitudes. I am out of patience with religious fanatics of every stripe.

Contemplative stitching is difficult when what I really want to do is paint the streets with the  blood and brains of terrorists.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Pause for Crass Commercialism...

...which means somebody needs something that costs money!

In case you were wondering just what a Fat Baggy was, this picture should help clarify and what a deal they are.  First, there is tea and an episode or two of "Downton Abbey" reruns or something like it - engaging but not demanding. "Predator" and "Aliens" work just as well.

I sit with one or two large tubs of random, hand dyed cloth and select small pieces making sure I don't repeat myself. Then I roll them up like tiny Cuban cigars and cram them into these little bubble mailers until I can just barely fold the flap over and pull the glue strip. And people buy them!

I've learned it's smart to write the address on the envelope before I stuff it. Writing on the stuffed ones is like writing on an angry hippo. On average they weigh out at the post office to be 1.5 pounds, give or take an ounce.

I'm working from these two tubs right now. There are at least six more. My stock is well churned and shuffled through. Some of these pieces go back to dye sessions from several years ago.  If you've bought one in the past six months, I'm willing to bet that you've already used up much of it.  Time to restock!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


A little sunshine, a spoonful or two of kitten food and some water. Voodoo may be working on his tenth or eleventh life.

He curled up next to me  last night and I listened to him breathe, his purring like a locomotive idling in a siding. Little by little he quieted and the spaces between breaths grew so very long.

More sun and warmth for him tomorrow. He can watch me drag all those houseplants indoors. Winter will be hard on him this year.

It was clumsy, but I stitched with him in my lap for as long as I could hold the position. The swarms of french knots are working out nicely. There's always tape for cat hair.

Monday, November 09, 2015


The Kantha stitching was gone with a flick of the pick and left a few rows of shadows that will fail as I handle this piece.   As I suspected, the solution is my old favorite, the French Knot. They do the construction work and yet remain unobtrusive, only gaining design strength if I group them or make them fall in lines. These are done with four strands of 12wt Sulky cotton. There will be lots more.

I'm kind of in vigil mode today.  Voodoo is feeling every bit of his seventeen years on the planet and is needing a lot of attention. He spent the night with me last night, mostly cause he couldn't get up and relocate.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

ongoing stitchery

I'm not liking the white running stitches. Too much going on. Quiet white space is needed here.

 I'll let it rest a while before I take the scissors to it.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

a new holiday

We haven't done Halloween here in years. I got tired of handing out candy to stunted thugs and mini-hookers who didn't seem to know that the tradition called for a little verbal give and take, such as "Trick or Treat" and "Thank You!" We had many years of great trick or treating in the past complete with the one scary house on the block with the lights out. It's my turn.

My house is dark and scary on a sunny day - no decorations of any kind since I retired the lace ghosts. I'll make sure there are no lights visible from the street and spend the evening in peace.

Today I shopped for what I'll be making a new tradition, my own take on the Day of the Dead. Tomorrow there will be lasagna, music, beer and fond memories.

Tonight, I'll pamper my cold with a stitch in and sketching out a new novel. I'm going to back this with a cotton batt so I can do something with all that white space. organize it with stitch.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Got an email late yesterday. Well, me a bunch of other folks, I'm sure.
Sorry. None of your work will be traveling to Art Quilts Element next spring. 

Seems like such a long way off. All I can think about is what's happening here.
It sure makes all other endeavours look puny.

I found this scrap in with a load of socks. Looks like more B&W pieces will be in the works.

Monday, October 26, 2015

more code

The current WIP is a continuation of something that was started maybe three years ago, I haven't taken the time to dig through the archives here, but I know it was one of the pieces that I took to Kinkos and pulled color copies of on heavy weight paper. I'll have to revisit that. The prints come out beautiful in case you haven't tried it.

This stormy grey bit is actually the collar from a tuxedo shirt that I used for a table mopper in a dye session and then dismembered. It flapped around in the river basket like a broken wing for a long time, noisy, always surfacing. "Use me."

I think about the occasions or performances it must have witnessed. You just never know what clothes have been up to.

The older section keeps reminding me to loosen up and not be so literal. Then I study it and think that it needed more work too.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

code lines

The new banner was just two pieces of cloth peeking out of the "save me" basket.

This piece occupied my hands this morning while the light was good and cats begging for attention weighed me down.

It's closing in on being done and I don't want it to be because then I'll have to start another. 

Starting is hard.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

day and night

"Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” 

― David MitchellCloud Atlas

Karma VI
This has been hanging on the other, vertical design wall away from all the other chaos. I've decided that it needs more construction type work before I can call it finished. Could be that I'll stitch it right to a canvas if I can find one the right size.
It's 20x21.

Even as I am stitching with opulently colored fabric and threads my eye keeps being drawn to the vigor and violence of the black and white things in the room.

I loved saddle shoes back in the day. Would wear them again if I could find the right ones.  Waiting for the sunlight to come through the front windows to get back to this one.

Monday, October 19, 2015

overnight changes

It got cold overnight and I brought Mr. Wilson inside. The rest will get their frog/lizard check tomorrow and join him.

It was so nice out over the weekend that on Sunday I took the overflowing river basket to the park and staked out one of the new picnic tables with the intention of working on this piece.

As I started looking for a certain color thread, I pulled more and more tools, UFOs, bags of thread and miscellaneous crap from the basket and found a trio of stinkbugs lurking. One by one they were evicted and I spent an hour sorting and reorganizing. It needs a serious offload.

The stitching didn't happen until much later during a short Downton Abbey orgy. I find I can't just stitch. There has to be something else going on. A ballgame, a movie, an audiobook. I have to disconnect the brain from the hands otherwise I get bored and quit or bad stitching things happen from overthinking.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

yakkety yak

Charlie and I hike up to the tennis courts they have where he lives. I've never seen anyone playing tennis so I'm sure they won't mind us taking advantage of clean surface and sturdy fences.

He's got language by the tail with a non-stop patois of gibberish that leaves this mere mortal clueless. He gestures, uses inflection and clearly wants to have a say.  There's also a strong note of pity for his witless audience especially if I try to imitate him. The arched eyebrow glare is priceless.

Monday, October 12, 2015

stitching on the clock

While I was composing this last night, I was trying to recognize how the activity related to writing. It doesn't.
It's much more gut reaction to the materials.

Every move I make with cloth is a yes/no proposition - unless I get carried away and stitch a bunch of crap that gets ripped out when the smoke clears - it happens.

 I'm not in any kind of rush here so each yes/no is going to be considered and seconded. I've set everything here in the studio/office so I can stitch between the Tales of Woe that I listen to every night. There's a story in that crap, lemme tell you, but you'd die of boredom before midnight.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Studio update

The rain and then the chill and I realize I'm weeks behind getting the studio ready for winter. Now that I've moved the day job computer back in here, it won't be long before I trundle the little heater out of the closet. The studio will be cozy and it looks like there will be stitching.

I pulled the birthday chair out into the room and gave it a thorough going over with the vacuum and reinstalled the sliders under its feet. Sucked up every speck of spider crap and web in that corner of the room and put up new Festivus lights.  That's two corners of the room deep cleaned and re-ordered.

To crown the process, I dug into the river basket, weeded out a lot excess and dug up a handful of UFOs that aren't beyond hope or help. I have discovered that 1.75 cheaters are not going to be sufficient. Time to bump up to 2s and shorting stitching time accordingly.

I have to go to the DMV to take an eye exam on Tuesday. I may lay off any further eye torture until then.

Friday, October 09, 2015


"Your eyes will lie to you first, but you can trust your other senses." he said. "Close 'em. Go on." He waited.

"Now, hold this. Bring it up to your face. Breathe it in. You can feel the truth of it.
Be still and find it in memory; what it's here for. Touch finds the truth every time."

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


This is where it begins. A scrap in the sunlight or fire light will catch my eye and beg me to touch it, pick it up, consider it's provenance and how far it's come. It was something else, long ago and now it's waiting.

"What's next for me?" it whispers.

"Find me a partner. Several. Let's dance. Let's become a part of a great whole, something to behold.
Something to hold. Something to cling to. Something that will serve. Let me last beyond myself.
Make me."

Sometimes we all need a guide, a waymaker.

Monday, October 05, 2015


Things are three deep on the design wall.

This a quick and dirty shot with my cell phone which is taking increasingly crappy photos.

The quilts were up so I could reshoot everything with the big camera for AQE16. That's right. Once more into the ring.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

summer slipped away

while it was raining. We've been lucky. No big storms or hurricanes - just days on end of damp drizzle that intensifies to need an umbrella rain and then slacks back to drizzle. Fungus weather.

Over the past two nights, it's become cold. Drear. My old cat Voodoo insists on spending his days outside on the dyedeck. Willful. Worrisome. They take charge of themselves no matter what we want.

I've been overwhelmed by too many obligations and a shortage of personal resources. The day before I was to be cleared to return to work full-time, a nasty little virus took hold and has further sapped my energy. I would rather sleep than just about anything else. So I do.

Any day now I am going to have to bring all my houseplants inside and find places for them to survive the winter.

the best days of the week, I spend with Charlie who is a full fledged toddler now. He wants me to put his shoes on him even before he's out of his Pjs.

Here is a brief moment where we both throw back to "baby" times. He's adept at the sippy cup and any day I suspect all those "bobbies" will disappear.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

the threads

I'm more excited about these than the cloth this time. There were some accidents in the color process due the insistence of my feline apprentice, but from those came some serendipitously gorgeous, thirteen yard hanks of thread magic.

Due to the lack of sunshine/warmth this is the only way I can dry these after soaking and double rinsing them. Incredibly tedious. I had BETTER take up stitching again. There are maybe a dozen more waiting. I lost count and ran out of washcloths.  A few will be up for adoption.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Last Chance see the show at Phoenix and Dragon.

I'll be over there first thing Monday to take everything down.

It's been grand.

email me if you have any questions

Friday, September 25, 2015

Dye Fest Wrap-up

The weather went from wonderful to rotten almost overnight. I still haven't cleaned up out there - the board of health will be calling anytime now.

After a thorough rain rinse, these six and eight-foot strips were machine washed and tumbled to just damp and then let hang to dry. What started out as an enormous, fringed tablecloth - linen - I'm pretty sure, was ripped into nine or ten "scarves" although they won't be offered up for that purpose.
The cloth is coarse, not at all skin friendly. I plan on cutting these up in two or three-foot lengths as ground cloths, or bases. Each piece will be photographed and priced individually which is going to take some time. Bear with me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sept dyefest, day 2

So this turned out to be the day that Summer turned her back on my neck of the woods. It even rained on an off late yesterday. All unexpected by a bout of intense wishful thinking on my part.

It's okay. Rain rinse is very good thing. As I expected there was some weakness in some dyes, but that's okay too. What was left behind is subtle and deep. I may decide to overdye some of these and even have thoughts of hand painting with dye. I found a beautiful calligraphy brush in the chaos.
I cut two large tablecloths into long strips about a foot wide and may make some scarves out of them if the rough hand of the cloth can be tamed by the dryer. Everything is in a raw state now so what you are seeing here is as ephemeral as the weather.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Staycation Dyefest, part 1

 Not nearly sunny, but still warm enough. The mosquitos found me quickly so this fest cost blood as well as dye.

These threads are DMC six strand cotton and a handful of DMC Baroque which is kind of like Perle cotton on steriods. We'll see how well it likes the dye.

Half of these dyes have been exposed to less than optimum storage practices this summer so I expect the colors to be not nearly this strong come the wash out. I'll get back to all this tomorrow afternoon.