Tuesday, July 26, 2016

"just going" with the last harvest

To that end, I decided that the last two harvests needed to be showcased, so I did the unthinkable! This morning there was IRONING!!

I always tell my customers to iron the damask scraps before they decide how to use them because the heat, steam, and pressure brings out an entirely different character inherent in this cloth.

Using the first morning light through my north window I've done my best to capture some of that character. Iridescence is very difficult to capture digitally, but I think you'll understand. You can click through most of these pictures to some very large images.

I confess I was thinking about something else altogether while I was ironing. (If you don't do that yourself, something is wrong.)

                                      All will be available here while they last.

Proceeds from all this glory will be funding a trip to my first writer's conference in November. Yes! I won the scholarship, but there's airfare, lodging, and even writers have to eat!  It's a big step in a different direction, something I'm very excited about!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

It's a Wrap.

That dye session was quite impulsive yesterday. I haven't reflected on what possessed me given the general lack of planning and state of unpreparedness. Still, it's done and over.

Everything has been rinsed, rinsed and washed and is tumbling in the dryer right now. That mechanical cat purr makes me want to curl up and go back to sleep.

I don't know what this batch will be like after the machines are done with them.

I cut/ripped this strip of vintage damask from a large table cloth as I was getting things ready yesterday. I tied it around my forehead to keep the sweat from getting into my eyes. In a lifetime of performances, this bit of cloth served well one more time.

 This morning I'm marking it just a bit to commemorate my last dye session.

Although things have been turning out beautifully and have been well received by people wanting the cloth to incorporate into their own art, I finally have to admit to myself that the passion for doing it is gone. We all know that work without passion is just, well, work.

 For a time there were echoes, but no more. So it's time to let it go.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

dye day

I've been sorting and straightening in the studio and came across a big basket of things waiting for dye and some wretched things just dying for another chance at color. It's hot and murky out, so why not. The dye deck has been a mess so a hasty clean-up was necessary, but I powered through most of it before falling into the pool.

I pulled a couple of pieces out of the soup late in the day and it looks like the dyes, even though they've been in the house, have lost a lot of their kick. Nuff said. Rinse, wash and dry tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


There's nothing like a long heart to heart with an old companera to get a fresh set of eyes on things. I can only hope the good was reciprocal.

Time passes and a weight has been lifted, and the way is clear for great and wonderful things. Nothing like giving oneself the gift of a good reading.

Monday, July 18, 2016



When you start seeing random images of things in an around a studio, it's a pretty safe bet that nothing much is going on.

I started another one of those little flings today, just to get the cobwebs off the machine. And yes, hands, fingers, and feet seem to be remembering production work.

Monday, July 11, 2016

this from 2005

The Real Reason Why Kids Refuse To Go To Bed.

I am planning a quilt based on the Truth (as I perceived it) behind a common childhood prayer. You know the one I am talking about... I can clearly remember thinking "If I should WHAT before I wake?? Wait just a minute here...". And then, if you forgot to bless someone you cared about at the end, they would die. How could a kid sleep with that kind of anxiety?? 

My solution to dying or being killed in my sleep was to NOT sleep- willingly, that is. I can remember every single detail of the view from my top bunk and when we moved to the house in the suburbs, I would creep down the hallway and hide under the lace-draped dining room table just behind my parent's field of vision and watch TV until after the Tonight Show. Something about Johnny Carson made me feel safe. And he looked a lot like my Dad. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016


I spent some time sorting scraps this morning, setting these aside for a gift. The phone rang and I was gone from the room a few minutes.

Cloth. A world of purpose.

Friday, July 08, 2016


The events of the week, national and personal, have been enough to make me want to sign up for a stint in an opium den. Can't stitch, can't type, can't write or read three lines in a row without dropping the reason for opening the book.

 I don't know why, but at some point this morning, I tried to say the Pledge of Allegiance. I got to the second phrase “...and the United States of America” and... nothing. The problem is that I learned it before they slipped the God business in there. The anticipation of the gap was preying on me. I was never able to stay in sync with the rest of the class, always finishing ahead of them. I had one teacher scowl and call me a Heathen.

Fearing early onset Alzheimer's, I tried again with something simpler with deeper roots. “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake..” that's the one that kept me from getting a decent night's sleep from the time I was two or three when my aunt, grandmother or mother sat chanting that to me at bedtime waiting for me to join in. I never did.

“If I should die??? wtf?” Problem solved. Do not close your eyes. I don't think I willingly fell asleep until collapse before I was a teenager. Not to mention that whole 'bless this one, and that one' and so on, because if you missed someone, they were dead meat. It wasn't too long before I would deliberately leave someone off the list if I was tired and a looking forward to tomorrow.

My mind properly misdirected with pious drivel, I took another run at the Pledge. I made it to “the Republic” and again, the yawning silence. 

A little voice inside my head said, “We are so fucked up.” I knew that voice. You can always count on Jiminy Cricket for the truth.

Then a TV sound bite chirped, “God, help us!”and Jiminy answered from my disordered mind,

“Do you think I'm a damn vending machine? You put your money in the plate and I fix everything to your satisfaction? Nah! I'm done with your stupid shit.
You'll have to solve this problem on your own. The lesson endeth here."


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Hurry up and flounder

Sunday morning is prime creative time for me, but today I checked the calendar and realized I have about three weeks to finish and ship a quilt so, no writing today.

Colors and cloth were already chosen but I had to ditch the original plan that included a lot of hand appliqué and substitute a technique I used once a long time ago. Pretty straightforward as machine sewing goes, but when I sat down at the Janome I discovered that I was suffering from a combination of Shriveled Skills and residual deficits from the NOT stroke or some other dire diagnosis that had me in the hospital for a week exactly a year ago. 

My left hand is clumsy and not steady and I had to slow down to avoid stitching my fingers together. Not good with a white base cloth.

We won't talk about the machine needing a good cleaning, oiling and new needle – things that were new project standards in the past. I had to think hard about how to use the bobbin winder, thread the thing, and when it did glitch (of course it did) when I looked into the bobbin nest I didn't recognize it and kept visualizing the innards of my long gone Kenmore. 

All in all, a disturbing few hours but, I won't give up on the machine if this project turns out the way I hope it will.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

wandering scraps

On my last run to the post office to ship off a fat baggy, I couldn't cram it all into the envelope.

I brought them back in the house and they'll get included in the next shipment!

On and on

I bought these flowers on June 4th. I'm beginning to think that stuff in the little packets they give away with the flowers might be either the key to eternal life or the cause of zombies.

Thursday, June 16, 2016


...is what it takes, something I have never been awash in. Still, it's never too late to change.

I've started committing my best hours -between wakeup and tennish- writing. I have a not quite first draft that's leprous with issues and has never been seen by a beta reader and I cannot waste one more of those precious minutes on anything that doesn't matter as much to me. November will be on us before we know it.

Sometimes I long for the mindless hours I spent on cloth. Not really mindless, just a completely different place in the brain at the helm. An autopilot who had a great sense of color, was a fair hand at design and technique and had all the confidence in the world that what she was doing would turn out okay, sometimes even great.

Deep in the stash closet, I came across a batch of old school cottons. I think it's the last of the Thompson muslin that I rescued from a wholesaler who pushed  bolts of cloth around with a small bulldozer on the concrete floor of a musty warehouse. It might be the last cloth that company made with American-grown cotton.

Anyway,  I can see I was intent on getting as much dye into the cloth as possible. It has a wonderful hand and I'm looking forward to all the hand applique I have planned even though the deadline for this project is about a month away. Family obligations are the best kind.

Charlie moving all his worldly goods into the playhouse. Moments later, everything was transferred back to the crib. (Repeat cycle four times before lunch.)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

blue sunday

We gathered close and celebrated Jim's birthday today. Just Jake tinkering on his car and Colin in the kitchen making chili and a mess. Me, out in the yard being Nana.

Charlie continues to be my soul salvation.

I have a lot of thoughts about the sad turn of events in our country, but I need to push it all away as far as I can. It's making my heart sick on a day when it's already aching.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

40 years

Despite what I said here, I doubt that we would have done anything different on our fortieth anniversary that we did on the vast majority of all the others. Stay at home, make a meal together, trade cards, flowers and perhaps small gifts.

Jimmy might have played DJ while I worked in the kitchen unless he made chili, then I would have sat and stitched.

 We might have taken a dip in the pool, weather permitting. Then a shared movie and reminiscing over a meal. All of life's simple pleasures in one day, special only because of the date on the calendar. They were all special. I did my best alone today.

I got a great deal on some just marked down sunflowers and roses. And I couldn't resist a little Charlie chair to match mine.
and the mail man brought treats too.

Friday, June 03, 2016


I spend Thursdays and Fridays with Charlie. The best days of my week. There is nothing else to do but watch and participate if I can. It's what I did when Jake and Colin were this age. Be present.

Watching him discover things for the first time is so delightful. The public pool where he lives is big and crowded so we cooled off on the patio this morning.

What gets him laughing? The slapping sounds our feet make in puddles on the concrete. The wet squeaking squirts from the little rubber ducks.  A wren perched on the railing a moment to see what we were up to. Charlie held out a cup of water with a hopeful look on his face. Life is good.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016


That other banner got annoying very quickly. I'm glad I save the old ones.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


You can clearly see the difference between the wet and dry cloth when you look at the header. Me? I like loud. I know others, not so much. So, there's something here for everyone.

This latest batch makes me wish I could take a two-week vacation from the day-job (what doesn't?) so I could work out this thread of hue, tone and texture, but I'm well aware of the serendipitous nature of my process.

I'm inclined to want stronger, louder colors so you know where the next batch is  headed, whenever that gets to happen. MORE COWBELL!

 I've taken a few for myself. Another small group has been assigned for further development. The rest will be for sale, either in whole pieces or in small parts as part of the ongoing Fat Baggy campaign.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Stars so far

this group is turning out to be very special. Only a few decanted so far. The rest will hatch out later today. I'm going to be taking reprographs of some of these before they get used or sold. Also, thinking about selling some whole. Much more later.

They are all in the washing machine right now...it feels like Christmas eve.
I expect a loss of intensity, but I'm one of the few artists I know that will use colors as intense and rowdy as the one in my header above.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

quick & dirty

We all know about wet pictures. Still....

This one is staying with me even if it loses a step after the wash, which I don't think it will. This is that Irish double damask, 42x36 give or take a bit. I think this is going to be my personal Freak Flag!

lying in wait

And wait they will. I'm so done now and won't have time to open these bundles until. Late Friday or Saturday. We chill and poach.