Wednesday, July 18, 2018

night skies

 Some of you know that most of my free time and all of my creative blood has been channeled away from cloth and stitch in recent years.

I still enjoy dyeing vintage cloth from time to time.

My personal stash is at a sane level now that I've gotten honest with myself about if and when I might take up the cloth again and sent much of it out into the world for other artists to use.

That being said, these three pieces came from the last dyefest

Large. Spread your wings large. I'm thinking about mapping one of the locations in my book. 

A bird's eye view of a village. A nighttime scene, the owl's eye view. Moonlight and streetlamps, a forge stoked for work. Starlight, fireflies, and campfires. A train rushing through the dark. Candlelight. 

This place in particular because it's also going to be the main setting for the next book. I have to clear the design walls and hang these pieces and see what they have to say to me. 

Maybe nothing, maybe everything

An excerpt from the work in progress: Prophets Tango

Anna claimed the quilt as her own toward the end of her twelfth year when it was stained in the night on her first date with the moon. Tam had prepared her mentally, but the physical evidence stunned and mortified her. She waited in her room until she was sure Murph had gone for the day before she spoke to her aunt in an embarrassed whisper.
“Throw it out?” Tam boomed. “Girl, bring that here to the sink and let me show you the miracle of cold water. That nightie too. Come, let this be the least troublesome blood in your life. See to it, Mary, Amen.” She drew a crooked cross on her own forehead with her finger, then mock spit in one hand. “Quick now, before the stain sets. I show you how.” Once washed, it took both of them to drape the heavy, wet quilt over two ropes of the clothesline, backside to the sunshine to stave off fading.
Late in the afternoon, Anna went to see if it was dry. It had been a hot, airless day and the quilt had slipped and hung like a book from its spine over one rope, the ends close to the grass. She crept between the two halves, the space created by the width of her shoulders lit up by the sunlight poking through the layers of cloth and stitch, tinting that light with a kaleidoscope of color. Arms over her head, she searched for the place - a lavender block with a broad yellow cross - that had been stained with her blood. The cross was high, just out of reach. It was unmarked. Clean.
The quilt was old, Tam said. She’d found it on the banks of the reservoir one day when she and Murph were fishing. Someone skilled in the handwork, but short on artistry in Anna’s opinion, had made it from scraps of clothing a long time ago. It had been patched front and back too many times to tell the old from the new. Blocks of different sizes ran over one another in no particular pattern or intent. There was no maker’s mark.
Anna pulled it from the line, folded it carefully and was carrying it back to her room when the mental images overtook her. She got as far as the shade of the towering maples by the back door as the quilt gave up its history in visions as varied and overlapping as the blocks it was made of. Generations of lovers, tender and fierce, had twisted and rolled in its folds, tangled over and under it. Images of sweating, straining bodies of all kinds streamed through her as she clutched the quilt tight against her sore breasts.
She knew about sex, in theory, all farm kids did, but this was a revelation of flesh. As quickly as the panorama of lust made its impact on her, the visions shifted to the tenderness of babies and children, swaddled and cuddled in its folds as they dreamed and peed their way through their nights. Another shift. An old woman lay dying. She pulled the corner of the quilt over her face, giggled like a girl and gazed up through the colors at her last light. A young man, insensate, the blood from a wound to his head trickled through his blond hair to be soaked up by the quilt. Another shift and the cycle began again. More lovers, more paroxysms of passion, weeping, and laughter. The giggling of children receded into soft comforting darkness.
Tam found her curled over the folded quilt, face down in the grass. Anna woke to a cloth cooling on her forehead, her aunt sitting on the bed beside her. Tam patted her hand and said, “I didn’t take you for one to get the lady vapors, Annabea. Shame on me. You okay now?”
Anna blinked up that the slanted ceiling and said, “Where’s my quilt?”
“Right down there by your feet. Too hot for covers in here. You were all asweat when I bout tripped over you out there. What happened?”
She looked at her aunt, saw the worry lines on her face, and said, “Damned if I know.”

c. Deborah Lacativa 2018

family first

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

string theory continued

call me underwhelmed.

they feel a little stiff. I'll give them another wash and rinse and see what comes of it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

string theory

A while back I was gifted this fat skein of silk/cotton. The individual threads are very fine, a little thicker than regular sewing thread.

I hung it over the back of my office chair trying to work out how to wind it into small balls.  Lost my place in time and...the whole thing wound up caught in the base of the swivel chair. The only solution was cutting through the hank.

So now I have hundreds of single threads that are about 42 inches long. Plenty to mess with, right?

I was able to easily tease out eight or ten threads at a time, didn't count, and wound them onto these new plastic spindles, small enough to hold the lengths tight.

And now, we'll see if they like getting dyed.  This is pesky shit. Like putting decals on fly wings.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Charlie Monday

 He'll be four in a few weeks.  A force to be reckoned with.


first returns.

I got a nice a range of blues. That's a color that will get away from you in a heartbeat if you let anything else near it. Blue just loves getting it on!

There'll be a bunch heathered strangeness and some greens and golds coming up, but winding these buggers is not what I want to be doing on my day off.  Soon enough. I'll post the whole lot of them in a day or so.

If you trust me to pick you a raunchy rainbow and want to pre-order in sets of four, six, eight, or go Crazy, email me.
There are still warms from the last group available if that's what warms you.

I left the image large so if you open it in a new window, prepare to be knocked off your chair.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

out of the blues

A dash to the store for gloves. recalling there was no fabric soften. squeezing the boxes. sniffing the flavors.

The memory of the smell of a load of warm, dry towels he dropped in my lap opened a mile-wide chasm of missing him.

He used to watch me do this magic from the couch. Come out to see what was making me smile. Smile with me.

Tease me for purple fingers.

There's magic in memory, too.


Wednesday, July 04, 2018

July 4th

Sweetie dumped over my tray of dirty threads this morning, obliterating my (dumb) identification system.

This batch is bereft of blue/green/ and purples anyway. When I finish the batch I'm prepping now, I'll come up with another harebrained scheme for getting everyone what they want.

I have to work the day job today. It's been a long time since I've worked on a holiday. So far so good, it's been quiet. The idiots are out blowing themselves up somewhere.  Don't feel bad for me. This morning there was pool time.

Saturday, June 30, 2018


He told me the numbers this morning. I can't believe it. Happy Birthday, Colin. Here he is passing on the gaming gene to Charlie.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Storm light

Had a Charlie Monday that turned into quite the adventure! We went to my friends pool, had nearly two hours of serious pool time. With the help of swim belt, he's terrifyingly fearless, flinging himself into water over his head, kicking and paddling like a pro.

One minute the sun was shining, we sitting on the edge of the pool  having popsicles and I happened to stand up to see this coming at us over the pool house. Moving fast. There was no thunder, no wind.

We scrambled to gather up our stuff and put on shoes - never mind change into dry clothes! and dashed for the car. I just managed to get Charlie belted into his seat when the skies opened up. I took a back way to get him home and it was driving in a car wash. Traffic lights were out and we all had to trust that everyone would relax and take their turns, four-way stop style.                     

Charlie was a little apprehensive at first but I put on a new CD, a disc from Above the Clouds, the Glen Frey collection and we both loved it. Got us home calm and collected, if a little pruney.

Colin took the second more dramatic picture from close to our house.

Sunday, June 24, 2018


There was a brief thunderstorm midday and after it passed, the light was just so.

I brought the river basket out onto the high deck to see if the cloth had anything to say to me.

Too much.

I need to empty it out and put all these beautiful things away, out of sight for a while. I'm tempted to make a garment of some sort which will mean that no one will ever see them.

I'll give it time. They'll star another time, another place.

The heat and humidity have the gardens in glory.
Add caption
I corralled a couple dozen tadpoles. They eat lettuce and broccoli and when they get legs and leave the bowl, they'll live out here in the houseplants.

Saturday, June 23, 2018


I know. It was a few days ago, but I've been busy. Up to my ears with Life, including family, work, and art - like everyone else!  But Summer is well and truly here. Those of you who have come around for a while know this scene well.
This summer marks the twentieth year of this magical place.

I was beginning to worry that, due to a combination of circumstances, it might not happen this year. But Colin got it done including rescuing a half-million tadpoles that had been conceived and born during the delay. Bucket by bucket, he took them down to the creek. Froggy resettlement on a huge scale.

There was an infrastructure fail that allowed about half the new water to sneak off down to the creek, but we got it fixed and refilled.  I don't want to think about the upcoming water bill, but I will be working a little overtime in the upcoming weeks - and it will be worth it!

We moved into the house and before changing anything else, Jim made this happen. There had been a small financial windfall as a result of a life-changing, on the job injury he suffered and he decided that this was the best use of a good chunk of the settlement. We never regretted that decision.

Yesterday, I went in for the first time. For fresh from the ground water, it was refreshing, not freezing.  I have to remember to bring my hat down there and am shopping for a floaty. Also have to set some time limits. Nah, that's crap!

Every time I get in, it's like church and I have Jimmy to thank for it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

going dark

The level of inhumanity on FB has reached a level of toxicity that I can't take. The problem is that it's really not about FB at all. It's the news from the so-called leadership of this country.

 I can't even call it my country anymore because I don't recognize it.  There is work to do and none of it happens on social media. You can leave word here, email or call me.

Please feel free to copy this graphic and use it any way you want.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Charlie Tuesday

a surprise Charlie Tuesday and will rerun it tomorrow until this new medication gets his ears back on track.

I need to start taking some audio because he says the most remarkable things.

I've been waking up with nightmares about what is happening in our country.

Friday, June 15, 2018

more from the 'verse

Another unexpected, wonderful gift. 

My friend spent months at her childhood home sorting the wheat from the chaff of her family's life. Knowing my predilections, she brought this back for me.

My very first typewriter was a Remington, a behemoth, not a portable like this one. I closed my eyes, placed my fingers on the keys and the touch was so familiar it was eerie.

This was the first thing that occurred to me:

Thursday, June 14, 2018


Another fistful of day gone haywire. I just don't roll with the punches the way I used to, but it's not all bad stuff. Just stuff.

A few days of Charlie being off because of ear infections. (he's on the mend now)

My self off because I've allowed myself to become as sedentary as a walrus and the longer I let it go on the worse it will get.

After days of some high powered shopping, new laundry machines were delivered and installed today thanks to the generosity of a dear, kind soul who saw my need and set things right. I will be forever grateful!

The process of taking things out of the closet until all the favorite stuff is dirty is instructive. After three weeks, give or take a day, of handwashing undies in a bucket and hanging them on the line, I still have a bunch of clothes in the closet. If I haven't worn it in the past few weeks and won't wear it come winter, it's going to Goodwill which was most likely where it came from in the first place.
two simple souls from Sears

Friday, June 08, 2018


It's been a hectic week. Too much going on that I had zero control over. I need to get over that.

After several weeks of dreary wet weather, we've had a string of roasters and the plant people have gone bonkers.

That pot is three feet across now sporting one mutant purslane, a couple of rescued marigolds, a lavender and one stalky grape tomato that'st going to need a stick tower soon.
My pool is still icky green and filled with polliwogs - there are only so many hours in the day, Colin tells me. But today I spent a chunk of my hours at a friends pool. Hard to believe that this place is almost always deserted. What is wrong with you people? 

Nevermind, the solitude is heavenly.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Neutral magic

These are up for grabs here

If y'all like 'em, there will be more.

Who knew all you color freaks could get so excited by some b&w, like I can from time to time!

Sunday, June 03, 2018

the special days roll

It's been a very long time since I've had two consecutive days off from the Whine Mine. I'm still not used to the luxury of it. Offset that with by Friday night I'm ready to tell someone exactly where they can shove their concerns. Enough of the day job, I still have 24 hours of freedom!

Saturday was Charlie day this week. Jake's birthday was 6/2 and if it wasn't for his brother, I would have forgotten!! We went on a pilgrimage to Bass Pro Shop to further outfit Jake's tackle box. The fish have finally found him and he's having a ball. Colin pitched in to help.
June 2, 1985. We couldn't wait to get the fresh one home.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

the weekend

Two new rounds of Dirty Threads were hatched out despite the weather, but it's gonna be a while before I do this again. You can grab some up here:

Everything step took twice as long as usual. Tedium is not a good creative partner.  Come some real summer weather and I'll think about doing it all again. Maybe.

I had some sleepover company Sunday night! We watched junk TV, made art, ate junk food and generally got up to no good, but a good time was had by all.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

monsoon spinning

It's been a hectic week. Cooking up thread, editing/writing and dealing with house crap. We finally passed inspection for the insurance (I think) and, in response to my money-saving efforts, the Universe said "Hah!" and my old Maytag finally up and died. Colin and I conjured up some fix-it magic a year ago, but this fail sounded ominous.

The machine was a gift from my folks when we first moved here. Twenty-four hard, abusive years. Mom & Dad, I sure got your money's worth out of this one!  Time to drag it and its mismatched partner, the Dryer from Hell, to the metal scrappers. Time to start a new tip jar.

There was some innovation too!

Friday, May 25, 2018

no nests

I left this hanging outside on the high deck. Since no bird elected to call it home, I've brought it back inside. Fill it with quarters and call it a vacation fund. Should buy me gas to get to Destin and back.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Magnolia Rains - updated

I did some very different things with this latest batch of threads.

I put took them out of the sauce in small groups, six or eight at a time, ensuring they were pretty wet when the dye struck.

 The salt/sugar mix was very humid - clumpy. I chose some pretty antagonistic colors, including things that I had been avoiding, like Avocado, hot pink and Hard Red.

The neighbors magnolia trees are blooming and it was threatening to rain. Atmosphere + chemistry.

At first, I was worried that I had knuckled them too much. (just what it sounds like) and then the skies opened up after they had only been batching a few hours. I left them in the rain all night long. The first rinses were very murky, then this happened.
it's a magical batch!

More hot, wet days ahead so I'm going to take another run at getting those golds, aubergines, and limes before this batch is available.