Thursday, May 31, 2012

larger things calling

I set aside the current WIP for a rest and pulled this monster from the UFO pile this morning and started the hand stitching. Still wondering if and how it will make any impact on such a large piece. One stitch at a time I guess.

Put in another couple hours of Hard Labor this morning trying to get the pool cleaned. Life, death and circumstances have thrown the pool schedule way off.

The eight inches of sludge in the bottom of the pool was so inhospitably nasty that the frogs wouldn't even lay their eggs in it. They all went next door to the neighbor's pool so there's no need for a big tadpole rescue this year.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

starting places

I spent some time stitching this morning; the sun is breaking through the heavy cloud cover from yesterday that was just plain depressing. A serious change of pace is in order so I'm off to attend to a long overdue outside chore. Pictures when it's gorgeous again. ..

A note on my design process - it always starts with color. the shapes are already there, the hacked remains from other projects jumbled together in the big scrap basket.

 I settle on three to five major elements, a base, and then spent a good bit of time shuffling the shapes around until I'm happy with how they are relating to one another.

 I rarely trim the pieces, more often rip, fold or turn the shapes as needed. I try to work from all four points of the compass to make sure that the design is working well.

Many people, myself included, "find" creatures in my work. I can't deny that they turn up but feel the need to let people know that "representing" is not my starting place.
No need to delve into the why of it all. There they are, even if I change the original orientation of the work. I'm just happy that people look long enough to find something that intrigues them.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

vicarious fun

Jake & Missy are in NYC all week as genuine tourists.
 I saw them yesterday on a live webcam from Times Square! I hear there will be Sabrett's hotdogs for lunch!

Time to start planning my own trip!

and time now to stop stitching  now and do larger, standing up things...

Monday, May 28, 2012

b&w tribute

It's much too soon but eventually I will challenge heart and soul to work in black and white.

Karma was an endlessly fascinating photographic subject. Her rich lack of colors on both ends of the spectrum, the length of her silky coat and flexible laziness made it appear that her markings actually changed from day to day. Some kind of cat magic.

Some days she appeared more white than black, other days, the other way around.

I don't think I have cloth black enough.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


I hate it but the necessary evil, the air conditioner, is now blocking my view of the drive and half the north light that came in that window. Still, there's the strong east light from the other window and the early morning hours to get things done. The world is quiet and the time is my own.

Now I'm wondering if the embroidered bits are too busy even though the values/color blend in..what, if anything, could my stitching add? More could be way too much.

Friday, May 25, 2012

the solace of stitch

One stitch after the next moving as water in the river or clouds across the sky.


HRH Madam Karma has departed and we, her loving subjects, are bereft.

For seventeen years she taught us the essence of imperial languor, grace and dignity.

Rest easy beautiful girl.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WIP 5.23.12 updated

Unbidden, they come into our lives and take over.

that green spotty thing left town for another project


Yes, you might recognize this last scrap of the gold and grey damask from this piece's funny how certain pieces of cloth that are humble and unprepossessing in person become integral to more than one finished piece of art. I've done it often. Have you?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

WIP on the wall

It's so nice to be able to get to my design wall again. I worked on this during the storm last night. There were a lot of satin stitched circles that all got picked out as soon as they were finished. Instead, I'm using areas defined by rows of a wrapped split stitch. I'm happy that it can be seen from across the room - my biggest complaint about spending time hand stitching is it's lack of visual impact unless you are right on top of it. This piece is 34"x27" overall.

bag change time

My summer tote, which started life as a Vera Bradley dufflebag (back when she was wallowing in monochromatic paisleys). I never  took a picture of it then. The overall yellow with acid green was not easy on the eyes but, hey, it was half off.

 It had a rough ride in the commercial washing machine recently - a lot of the small pieces of damask completely disintegrated - so I spent a few days repaving it with a stronger, more vibrant set of scraps.   It's not as candy box pretty as it used to be but still sturdy and full of years of service so I'm giving my good leather bag the summer off.

Monday, May 21, 2012

sitting still..not

I was working last night and, between calls, picking idly through a large basket of miscellaneous scraps. I came across a large piece of  linen (?) that had been a garment of some sort but was so deconstructed all that was left were the back yoke and two sleeves.

Suddenly I was seized by the need to thread up a needle and do some hand work.

I'm off today and you would think I'd pounce on the impulse to sit and sew but I have to ration my chair time carefully. Since getting back from NY I'm having a hard time spending my eight hour  shift sitting anywhere, even with breaks and stretching. .

Sunday, May 20, 2012


I finally feel like I am getting somewhere in this room and it feels great.

Jake came by yesterday and removed the useless wire racks that we installed in the closet. They were perfect back when this was a bedroom. I have learned that you can stack plastic tubs full of cloth only four high so I'm still thinking traditional wooden shelving (built to accommodate the storage I already have) will be the answer. I will be consulting my personal master carpenter. He loves it when I owe him favors.

This is one of my first "Flings" - a summer weight quilt, just top and back. All cotton, the top is machine pieced hand dyes with inset vintage cotton embroidered bits, also dyed. The back is plain muslin and joined to the top with wandering scrolls and paths of hand quilting. The tongues on the edges, just for fun.

I am napping under Ocean Homes (below) these days so Blue Fling  is up for sale in the store.

Ocean Homes

Friday, May 18, 2012

beautiful friday

While I was waiting for the sun to get in through the morning window I took a little quiet time to wrangle a few stones for Jude's project. This is harder than it looks because I seemed to have picked the most rebellious pieces of cloth in the basket for the needle turning.

This room is only 10'x11' and I keep shuffling piles of things and boxes from one quadrant to the next but don't seem to be making any progress or order. The real problem - the one I have been avoiding - is tackling the closet.

There is lot's of help with the cleaning.

 The Lord of the Lounge is recovering from a catnip hangover this morning. This part of the work table will be avoided entirely which means no machine stitching until he relocates. That's okay, there's plenty else to do.

 Digging through boxes, an old favorite was unearthed-

 This small machine built and hand quilted piece is called "Moon Music" from back in 2006. There was some acrylic and paint and a little bit of embroidery. It was one of the first pieces that I permanently mounted to a painted canvas.

I'm not happy about so much wonkiness on such a small piece and have removed it from the canvas and will wash and block the piece and remount it over the weekend. Updates on Monday.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


This piece was machine appliqued back when I was still enthralled by a bizarre array of commercial cotton prints and just breaking in the Janome 6500.

 It also has some hand stitching and a signature! One has to wonder what one was thinking. Possessed by Aliens? Most likely.

Now it's a nice little go bag. About 14"x12" with a trixie little inner pocket for a cell phone and a pen or two. Not heavy weight for toting canned goods but easily a book or a nook, wallet, keys and your Groucho disguise.

This is fun and it will get easier as I wade through that stack of slackers.

Oh did you want it? Check the store...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Now that I have the trick of boxed corners down pat, each one of these experimental quilts is going to become two or three art quilt totes. Time to stop languishing and get to work my darlings!

beach cleaning

Further excavations in the studio uncover more treasures like this nasty beach.  Here and there  are stains from when this hapless stitcher dropped a half eaten plum which rolled merrily across the surface. Now I have fruity little stains to treat and will toss it in the wash and see what happens.

This piece, "Walker"  (from '08 I think) moves over into the store.

Monday, May 14, 2012

wrapping up

One more day off and I'm  happy to have pushed on  through the final construction steps of this quilt for my friend Janice.

It got bogged down a while ago when I got carried away making the top so large  there wasn't enough of the green jungle leaf cloth for the back.

Just the other day I was delighted  to find another print that was the perfect compliment to her first choice for backing. 
All that remains is a day or two of machine quilting..some more great leaves I think and it will be good to go.

It's so nice to work on something that will have a long life of service.

"Lavanderia" in Philly

I just got a phone call informing me that my piece in Art Quilt Elements 2012  at the Wayne Art Center was sold last night..the last night of the show!

My heart caught in my throat for just a moment. What strange and wonderful feeling.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

I had my Mother's day gift yesterday..both sons here at the same time for an hours worth of companionable conversation.  Since I get my props from my family all year long I really don't feel the need for a big fuss one day out of the year.

I've decided on my project for Jude's Contemporary Boro class. Most everyone will be working on some sort of garment but I'm just not feeling wearables right now so I decided to make a replica of my favorite grocery tote. It was plain canvas once upon a time but I dyed it and added the print inner pocket.

 I can put twenty pound of stuff in it easily but it would be better for the bag and my body if I had two bags with ten pounds in each.

[[Slept badly last night due to the Samuel L. Jackson of tree frogs taking up belligerent bellowing in one of my potted tropical plants right outside the door to the deck off the bedroom. Twice I got up and tried to find and relocate him without success. Just now by daylight I found him, hunkered down SLEEPING! Bastard. EVICTED!!]]

I can blame my slow brain today on Mr. Frog and  will take the in's, out's and reverses of this mitered corner technique one slow and sure step at a time so I don't have to rip out any machine stitching. The Janome is set up for sail-making right now..vicious.

 A while ago I purchased a yard of this ridiculously overpriced artist's canvas at Binders with the intention of actually painting on it. The idea of using it to make something serviceable is much more satisfying at the moment. There will be enhancements of course.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

beautiful day #4

We don't get too many perfect days like this one here in Georgia.70 degrees, low humidity and just enough breeze to bring the flag to life and cause the trees to dance.  The house is opened at every port and I spent some real time digging in the studio today. Studio spiders are banished.

Everything that was on the design wall came down, two large bags of trash removed, an open (as in "full sight") shelf was established for UFOs and  the big fabric sort is underway. This quirky little drama needed closure fused to the back and I've moved it over to the store.  I honestly never settled on an orientation and kept working at it deliberately from all directions but never locked it in.  It's 10"x14", faced and ready for framing.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

stitching meditation

With a few chores and a follow up visit to the doctor out of the way (all is well) I rummaged around in the studio and uncovered this UFO.

I recall that I stopped working on it because I convinced myself that it was just too large for hand stitching and yet I was reluctant to put it under the machine needle.

So,  I made comfy in the downstairs chair and spent time hand stitching on it while  a thunderstorm blew through the afternoon. It felt good.

Monday, May 07, 2012

moon poached cloth

It took a lot longer than usual but sitting and choosing the fabrics and doing the webwork to post these is quiet, easy work. Here's the lot of them. Now, I'm going to refurb my own scrap basket and see if I can remember how to thread a needle.

Sunday, May 06, 2012


That's enough standing at the ironing table for one afternoon. I taken a few choice bits for myself  (above) and now will sit and group the rest of these to go into the store tomorrow.  I had some additional surface treatments steps planned but the cloth is tender and these colors seem to be all that's called for this time around.

cooked by the supermoon

She's  baaack.

It's so good to be home. There are so many people to thank, and so much to think about and share that I can't find the end of the yarn to start winding that ball, so, one foot in front of the other and start with familiar tasks that give satisfying results.

I went out on the deck early this morning and rescued all of these from the little baggies and jars they have been pickling and poaching in since a week ago. Lesson one...there was zero dye in the liquids.  In a while I will get some help getting these up to the laundry.

After being gone for a full week which included emergency  surgery and a short hospital stay, there is unpacking, paperwork, housework, web work...all sorts of work to get caught up on but right now reconnecting with family here, touching base with distant family and friends and putting my hands on the fabric is all I want to do.

My reason for traveling in the first place was a long overdue visit with my Mom. It was very hard to say goodbye yesterday.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

waylaid -updated

I left for NY as planned on Sunday morning but had no plan for being admitted to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy at the crack of dawn on Monday. Convalescing here for a while

I got to NY  midday, with mild discomfort but fever and pain set for real by dinnertime and it was off to the ER at the Rockstar of hospitals, Northern Westchester Hospital...if you must get sick, it's the place to be. The staff, the care and the technology were all the best. My sister Kitty got me there and stayed 'til I was tucked in and diagnosed. The plan is to fly home on Saturday.