Wednesday, April 29, 2020

moving on

I don't usually wash the table moppers until the end of the dyeing season, but these two have been on the deck boards for a while.

Bird poop, dirt, leaves. Just leaving them hanging over the railing in the rain didn't help. I was surprised at how much color stayed.

The greenish one is a couple yards of airy, cotton gauze. I think it's what some people call Harem cloth. The warm one is an old worn, damask tablecloth, thin and fragile.

A few more rounds on the dye table and they will be going into the scrap basket.

Words again. Messages.

A solution to laying out text came in a dream. I needed a way to keep order without marking the cloth. A disappearing grid. Easy. Creases ironed in, then a temporary line of running stitch. All will be resolved.

Paying the price for rushing into this one. I already don't like the font. Two letters in. Time to pick out and think about it for another night.

I took my car for a spin today. Checking the battery and tires cause it's been sitting for a week. I think.
 I have a COVID19 test scheduled for tomorrow morning. I'm more interested in an antibody test but that may be weeks away.

Stuff is tasting better so I made a killer lasagna. I have not lost the touch.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Mending, mourning.

With a little time and space I can write about this past weekend. I spent most of Sunday mending this poor denim shirt that would probably be happy to retire to the  ragbag. Another pocket repair.

Late Saturday night I found out that an old friend--distant in both time and years--passed away just last week.  I had the choice of believing he died with his family around him, his wife of more than half his life holding his hand, or the terrible alternative of our current experience.

This sad news, missing my own distant family and friends, cut off from those who live close by--all stewed together to drop me into a well of misery. Arms length, I know I was grieving for everything all at once.

I let the sadness have its way, gave it space to thrash and moan until it was exhausted like an overtired toddler.

Now, there's laundry. Dishes to wash, rugs that need vacuuming. A work schedule that has to be adhered to (in gratitude that I still have a job and income). Best, there is cloth, thread and dye to use up and stories to work on.

Provincetown, Cape Cod. '69

Friday, April 24, 2020

a week's worth

This time, I got to pick from what was left because I had no specific project in mind.

Dirty Threads are on the way, some went Tuesday, FLOWER went today. I have no idea how long the mail takes these days. Let me know when stuff gets there?

I'm looking forward to the next run, but it's going to be a while. Raw materials of this sort are not considered essential.
The view out my kitchen window one day this week when it wasn't pouring rain. I think it was Wednesday.

Our lawn is so lush it will be a shame to cut it. Makes me wish for sheep. I would plant it all to flowers and veggies, but there's barely any direct sunlight.

I'm going to do some research to see if I can get more information about this tablecloth before I turn it into a robe. The patterns are unique and I've seen a lot of damask tablecloths in my time messing with the cloth.

rolling with the cloth

Back in the studio.
The more things I find, the more I'm missing. These lazy log cabin blocks are ready to be assembled into a top, but I have no batts and probably nothing large enough to back it with.
I really don't want to do another curbside order with HoAnn.  And who needs a quilt at this time of the year anyway? I'll build it, then it can wait for the second act.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

unplanned excavations

 It started off with Salem trying to jump up onto my desk in search of cat cookies and bonking her head on the pull-out armrest. She allowed me to pick her up and accepted a soothing cuddle complete with jet engine purring. She is not generally demonstrative.

After a minute, she decamped to the chair at the back of this picture. It has been piled high with large, rolled up art quilts for a while now and covered with a terry robe and cat hair. After a minute of circling, she barfed right where she usually nests. Hasty cleanup ensued and all the quilts were moved to the bed.

Very fittingly, this one was at the top of the pile. "Big Bad Voodoo Daddy" was an homage to the dear departed Voodoo.  Been some time since I got carried away like this.

 After all the quilts were moved, this small throw remained. It's in pretty sad shape.

I started experimenting with repairs some time ago, but, as it turns out the repairs have not much to hold on to. It's as if the original piece is evaporating.

5x5 feet give or take, I crocheted this some time in the early 70's. I remember where I worked on it because it was not very portable.
The 12 ply cotton string was rescued from the post office where my mother worked. When the old post office moved to the new building, several giant cones of packing string were headed for the trash. Not on my watch!

It was Macrame time, but I never learned any of those trendy moves and tucked it away until cold weather brought out my crochet craving.
 You can try, but sometimes, there's just not enough to hold on to.

Monday, April 20, 2020

the finds

Shockingly, that Romeo Y Julieta cigar box turned out to be empty. I've always loved cigar boxes to the extent that I never took them for granted, especially wooden ones. The cheap, cardboard sort were not to be trusted with treasures.
The wooden one, icons unto themselves. This one has already had a repair. I glued a strip of cloth over the paper hinge that must have been torn or disturbed. I love that soft, satisfying "thunk" sound when you let the lid drop. This being 420 day, I know exactly what I'm going to be using this one for. The other is home to a set of Berol colored pencils. I haven't used colored pencils for anything since I was in grade school, so I have no clue or memory of the source for these. People send me stuff. I send thanks and stuff gets filed. Sort of.

I rummaged in the fiber closet a while to see what I may have to use for my own Wind Robe project. It's a beauty, but at 72" square, it may require more cutting and fitting than a bigger cloth would. I want this robe to hit mid-calf and have plenty of space inside it around me. There's one on eBay that I have my eye/bid on. We'll see what happens there.

This will probably get incorporated into that robe. That and lots of other smartass remarks. Planning ahead for a muslin lining.

In other strange and wonderful finds. I so loved Firefly that I have never seen the last disc in this set. I was hoarding it! The time has come.

Addendum. I went to the post office today to ship Dirty Threads. You would think, by the number of cars in the parking lot, that they were giving away cases of toilet paper. I took a hard pass. I'll try again tomorrow.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

the long weekend

Too long. I've been letting the days get away from me in unproductive ways. Making things is not always a good thing. But, I'm out of string. I made all the masks I can stand for a while.

I was sitting at the machine, debating whether to get up and wander in circles when my eyes fell on that little double stack of IKEA drawers. What was in all those drawers?

Surprise, surprise. I did NOT get rid of all my machine thread. Big and little spools and cones of King Tut cotton quilting thread. Bottom line bobbin thread, actual bobbins - the finicky special ones just for my Janome. I remember buying three packages of them from a little quilt shop that been closed and gone a long time.

While looking in the closet for the good quality quilting fabric, I found a crazy log cabin waiting to be finished. Loud, fun.

I did what I could with Baily judging me from the ironing spot. Will you look at the chaos?

He just gave me a good laugh. He stands on the vanity, drinks from the leaky tap then looks longingly at the bathroom window and then at me.

I'm trained, so I know he wants to sit in the open window so I open it. It's two stories up, but the screen is tight.  He made the bold leap, settled on the ledge and the sky split open with lightning and thunder. He fell back into the trash.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

someday, shopping

FaceBook kept putting ads for French Market bags on my feed. Some nice to look at, but who knows made of what. A few touted they were made of recycled fishing nets. And the prices!

Anyway, things have been slow at the night job. The flow of calls had all but dried up. Idle hands and all that. So I looked closely at the pictures. I found a basket with cones of cotton string and a rayon/bamboo blend, my J hook and I got busy making it up as I went. Did I mention that I don't really know how to crochet? That is, I don't know what these stitches are called and have no idea how to follow a pattern. Taking something as one dimensional as a piece of string and building something useful with it has always intrigued me.

There was a little trial and error. Some ripping out and starting over ,and unexpected assistance from three cats who I thought were well past the kitten-with-string stage of life. Silly me.

So this came to be during a George Clooney kick. Over two nights, "Descendents" and "Michael Clayton". George demands perfection although I may go back in and do some strategic reinforcement at what might be stress points.

There's string enough for just one more. I think.

Someday, some shopping.

Monday, April 13, 2020

after the storm

Which didn't really even affect us...much. People lost their homes, lives even, in other parts of the state. I heard a crack, thud and splash around 9. It happens in heavy weather, the trees have grown close, crowding in.

Around midnight there was a roll of thunder so deep and wide, so long the house was vibrating. I started wondering about other possibilities. A train was derailing nearby, a jet was coming in for a crash landing on the roof. Fun stuff. Nearing midnight, my phone kept waking me with tornado warnings, but when I looked at the radar map, we were on the edge of impending doom and only getting licks of mayhem. I fell asleep and slept soundly through whatever happened between midnight and 6:30. Then I got up to make coffee, never really thinking I needed to do a damage assessment.

I've been writing here since 2005 so I'm pretty sure most readers are sick to death or at least overly familiar with pictures of my swimming pool. My blue heaven.

Jim came into a small insurance settlement the year after we moved into this house. He was injured on the job and as a result, had to make a big change in how he made a living. I know a lot of men would have made self-pity purchases with that kind of money, trucks motorcycles and the like. Jim bought me, us, the family this pool.

He built all the decking around it that makes it look in-ground.  It has had the same liner since the day it was set up in 1999.  All props to a company that probably struggles because their product is so awesome. Thanks for all the years, Splash.

It's too soon to tell, but we've patched a few small cuts in the liner in the past. Tomorrow, the pool guy, Colin, will get in, clear away the debris and we'll make an assessment. We just joked, at least we got ahead of the fornicating tree frogs this year.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Spirits linger

Make what you will of the imagery. I believe in Spirit.

I woke up to a wash of bright sun and knew it was not going to last. Took this quick and dirty picture just before the cloud cover slammed shut and a quiet rain began. No chance for a better shot.  I'll pin him up on the board with the other Littles for now. It was all about saving that one scrap.

For unknown reasons, Easter in our non-religious family evolved into a mini-Christmas where the boys were more excited by one or two small, but coveted toys than they were about the candy. Coloring (and eating) the hardboiled eggs was all me. In that spirit, Colin shopped for a small pail of treats and toys and left them at Charlie's doorstep on his way home from working the overnight shift.

While we were still in New York, visiting and feasting with family was a given. Someone always made a ham, something I never cooked. Get dressed up? Not that I can recall. Church? Never.

It's very disturbing that in the name of religion, people will be defying local ordinances and going to Church there to further propagate this pandemic. Probably a lot of people who ONLY go to church on Easter and Christmas while decent people stay at home and practice loneliness to keep families and unknown healthcare professionals safe. These selfish fools will be clogging up the hospitals and morgues in two or three weeks. Damn them all to hell, if you believe in that shit. Think I'm biased against the biggest racket ever created by man? You betcha.

Although neither were affiliated or practiced any religion, my parents tried foisting church hypocrisy on us before we were old enough to call it out for the bullshit it was, hauling us somewhere vaguely protestant where I'm sure my Dad sat in the car and smoked

New shoes (and clothing) for Easter was a common financial burden for so many parents back then. All I wanted was a new pair of sneakers, not another pair of patent leather flats that I might only wear that one Sunday and wouldn't even fit come September when school started. I used to daydream about painting my feet black with my Dad's shoe polish just to see if anyone would notice.

Appropriately, weather from hell, aka Alabama, is bearing down on us, the worst coming after dark tonight. I am settling in with things to occupy my mind and my hands. An image of a French Market bag floated by on the web. I blinked and said, I can do that. Why didn't figure in.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

a day on the cusp

Here's that culinary industry from the day before. I'll eat the leftovers at every meal until they are gone.
~What to eat when~ has never made sense to me. Unsupervised, I served my kids grilled cheese and chicken noodle soup for breakfast and Cheerios for dinner. Whatever, whenever. We are true omnivores.

Yesterday, it was so cold in the morning I really didn't want to get out of bed. The furnace was turned off and I had left all the doors and windows wide open. The down comforter and duvet were all aired as well. Bed never felt so safe and comfy, but 930 was the limit.
I find the longer I lay in bed, the more miserable my bones feel. I miss the anti-gravity of being in the water but the pool is in a terrible state and weeks away from spring cleaning.

 Today, it bounced back to 70 and sunny and demanded attention. My mailbox garden is overrun with those irises and a gardenia bush that had better give me some blooms this year. The peonies are puny looking but there were buds. I put all these anomalies down to my poor stewardship and climate change.

The lawn is scrubby but thick. A shock because we never really got the leaves off it in the fall, just mowed them to shreds and let them fall.

This is the grove. The four crape myrtles set to the points of the compass. Still recovering from the chain saw butchery inflicted on them two years ago. I think they might bloom this year.

I sat on the lawn behind the mailbox, pulling weeds and hacking out tubers of iris. Baily and Salem inspected the work then scampered across the street to visit my neighbor's daffodils. They both seem to understand the need to look both ways even on our quiet straightaway.

I scratched up enough bare dirt to hide some sunflower and morning glory seeds to go with the zinnias that self-seed so well each year. I miss planting marigolds and such, but I won't go shopping. I may never go retailing again. It's been thirty days since I last went into a store and I don't miss it, much, but if Colin wasn't doing all the necessary provisioning, I'm sure I'd be singing another tune.

The weatherman promises that the South is going to hell in it's Easter basket tomorrow with "tornados" being the lead word in all the forecasts. Timing is everything.

Friday, April 10, 2020

a looking day

But I got a lot of things done. Overdue stuff, like vacuuming. Dish doing. Cooking even. We had spaghetti with meat sauce last night on a night where I would typically rather not cook and call for Chinese. It seems like our favorite place is closed for the duration.

My Croc ballet slippers rescued from the depths of the Closet from Hell. I wore them to Jake's wedding and nobody noticed. I never had to take them off because they hurt my feet. Brushed off and brushed out (I thought about scorpions) I will try to get back into the habit of wearing something on my feet.

The deck pots and planters got a little love. Old, tired dirt dumped over the side and new soil added. I need to go out and round up a large team of worms.

I'm not so certain this angel needs a head.

I got sidetracked playing with the resident Legos - the ones that never go home with Charlie so whoever needs them always has them.

Facebook memories usually sticks to pictures of people. Today it just brought some lovely things to look at.

Home. The view I grew up with.  The still water so rich with life.

And an in-progress shot of Demons Dance

Some dyed cloth from years ago. Great inspiration for upcoming dyefests.

I remember the steps needed for all that texture!

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

stitching protection

What started out as a small mission to save a scrap of cloth has turned into a small project (for now). A badge (remember them?) of protection.  A cloth angel.

 I'm going to linger with this one a while.  A great relief from mask making and we all need to give ourselves whatever small relief we can find these days.

Thank you, Jude, for the shout out. Your work, your philosophy, means so much to so many. 

For now, I'm taking reservations for Dirty Thread. I'm investigating in order to bypass the pest hole, I mean post office, and for the next dyefest, I will have a Mystery Apprentice! Stand by for clues.

Although we are only across town, it's been a great relief to be able to send fun and useful stuff through the mail to Charlie. I deliberately ordered 11x17 sheets of good paper to go along with a set of watercolors, big bright pans of fun.

The only advice I had for him was "own the page!". It looks like he understands damn the white space and go wild. I see a budding Kandinsky or Frankenthaler!

The paper is heavy enough to take acrylic paint so when the watercolors run out, we'll move on to the hard stuff!!

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Sunday catch up

Breaking self-regulation here. I guess you can't call it a rule if you only have the vaguest intention of it being enforceable.  There were to be no distractions from writing.

right. as if.

I uncovered this scrap again to find it unraveling dangerously and decided that it needed saving. Of course, this will grow. The way a common word becomes uncommon when paired with another. Then the phrases grow legs and gather in bunches, restive. Then the whole herd of those wild phrases takes off for parts unknown. Story!

I'm supposed to be somewhere and have one minute to figure out how to get there. I'll be back. Sorry, K. I didn't have Zoom configured on my phone. I'll try again.

Bailey (aka Killah) is annoyed when I encroach on his corner of the bed. "Bitch, this IS a Cali-king. Do you mind?"

He has been wreaking havoc on the lizard population of the deck.

Movie recommendations! "Hidalgo" with Viggo Mortenson is showing on Roku. Good even with commercials. "The Road to Perdition" with Tom Hanks on Netflix and, yes it goes this low..."Deuce Bigelow, Male Gigolo" again on Roku.

These arrived yesterday and HOLY SHIT! In what universe have I ever paid 12$ a bar for soap? This one and forever forward. The bars are big and fat- if you drop one on your foot in the shower it is going to hurt! The fragrances are intensely intoxicating and you'd better like whichever you choose because it lingers even after thorough rinsing. Lather? So rich, so gooey...closest comparison? Fresh cum.

Addendum. Although I couldn't figure out the Zoom call, I was able to sit in on my first live livingroom concert that musicians are giving. Dayna Kurtz is an amazing singer/songwriter and just minutes before I had to log in to the day job, she had me in tears with "You'll Always Live in My Heart" then finished with this gem.

Saturday, April 04, 2020



I'm not fond of production work. So many times in the past, I've started a pieced quilt, only to abandon the project out of boredom. My response is to not measure - free piecing and winging it, results being "eclectic" and "unique". Nice ways of saying "she has the attention span of a chipmunk". Truth.

The pattern used to make this mask must be adhered to, even as the curved piecing involved does bad things to my brain.

 I have thread. I have cloth. What I don't have is the stamina to sit in that chair for hours on end. I can feel my spine collapsing on itself, moment by moment, then I stagger to the bed and lay on my back for a nearly equal measure of time. Not good.

With no elastic (which I wouldn't wear anyway) I've resorted to cutting strips of jersey and making bias fold style ties. The cloth? I kept a few of Jim's heavyweight t-shirts. The cloth curls on itself so sweetly, so obligingly, making the ties is a pleasure. The lavender ties are from a wishful-thinking tank top of mine that's hung in the closet for at least ten years, never worn. Who knew it would ever see noble service.

I miss buying marked-down flowers from Kroger and Publix. I don't even know if they have floral departments anymore. I haven't been in a store since the 11th.  I'm also not going to any of the big box stores for the purpose of buying flats of annuals. I have seeds to go through and start.

Oh, there are new threads in the store. Reservations only for now.