Saturday, May 30, 2020

the Dixie Mink getting an upgrade. (In case you don't know, my Dixie Mink is an oversized, denim workshirt.)

Salem has taken to hiding in my cloth closet, nesting up in a small basket that held a few almost finished badges. I took them out, taped off the cat hair (she's a first-class shedder) and I'm in the process of stitching my own gang colors on each sleeve.

For the moment, I've abandoned the robe notion. All these weeks of isolation, I've been wearing a few long, sleeveless gowns that I cobbled together from scraps. That wonderful, soft Provence cotton.  The last thing I need is another "my eyes only" garment.

 If I'm to keep living I want to declare a few things in public.  Still contemplating what to put on the center back.

I live in a suburb of Atlanta, which I'm sure you know is in turmoil, along with other American cities, in response to the murders of  Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.

Wearing " I Can't Breathe" is what I feel, but do I have the right?
The only thing that gives me any hope is VOTE.
We ventured out yesterday.  Charlie has a pretty good grasp of what's going on and was eager to be my masked Ninja. He's really too big to be riding in the cart, but for both of us, it's safest. Inside the front entrance of every Publix, there is a bench that he climbs to get in and out of the buggy because I can no longer lift him.

This reaction came when a man who was not wearing a mask, cut in front of us as we observed the Please Stand Here tapes on the floor. Charlie is still five and he gets it.
The woman waiting on us in the deli knows us well enough that she doesn't have to ask what we want. We all watched the man as he walked off. She shook her head. I said it for her, not quite loud enough for the man to hear because I was with Charlie.


Saving this one for later. I start a new shift today.  5pm to 1:30am. The sweet spot of the night.  Most of my adult life, I've chosen to work lates. That's when interesting things and people are happening. I don't know how nine to fivers can stand the boredom.

BUT, at the moment, there has been an influx of calls from the most selfish, entitled and rude people I've had to interact with since I was a telephone operator for AT&T.  It's been a long time since anyone has opened a conversation with "Listen, bitch."  My easiest reply is no reply at all. A supervisor once called my silences "New York Deadly".  Sometimes I remind people that they are being recorded. That gets me a hasty hangup or both verbal barrels in a new volley of abuse. Either way, I win.

I'm always grateful that I don't have to go home to that person whose life is in the shitter because their gym is still closed and I can't tell them when it will reopen.

On balance, many people ask how I am faring. They are glad to hear that I work from home, and generally want to engage in any kind of conversation beyond the business at hand. We laugh to hear each other's cats or dogs demanding attention. We aren't supposed to, but I do. It's the night, after all.

and this!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

a grand accomplishment

                               This is what I want to do next. I just love what Hazel has done with her treasured cloth, her love and time, and a little bit of my thread.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Silk and cotton saved

Now we're having fun. Thanks, Liz, for reminding me that we are not knitting. It doesn't matter if the pieces are two to four feet. It's all good.
I can remember gnashing my teeth for want of just six or seven inches of that certain green I was using. 

that stitch

Beyond the cross-stitch that my grandmother tasked me with when I was five (with these same, maple hoops) I'm self-taught. Pretty sure I never invented anything that didn't already have a proper name.

I call this stitch the wrapped rope, which is likely something I lifted from a sailing tutorial.

It's a simple way to make a stitched line show up better, cast its own shadow.

Here I'm using three strands of DMC cotton and a single strand of metallic machine thread for a little sparkle, all four threads doubled and knotted. The main stitch is the simplest split stitch.

Go slow if you fool with that metallic stuff. It heats up with too much friction and tends to snarl.

When I'm taking a curve, I've learned to make the stitches a little bit smaller to preserve the line. Sometimes I draw the letters on the cloth with a pencil. Sometimes I wing it. Making the decision to STOP and back out a stitch that didn't sit right is a moment to moment thing. You'll be glad you did it.

Once you have your line, wrap it by sliding the need under each stitch at a 45-degree angle in the direction of the curve. Try to not catch the cloth underneath. There's little resistance, so this part tends to go quickly but snarls always lurk, so take each one slowly. Admire how cool it looks.

Sometimes I cut the thread down to just three strands of DMC if the letters are small or space is tight and I want to reduce bulk.

Play with it, see what you like, what you don't.

If you have questions, I'll watch the comments and get back to you.

It's pretty much finished except for a little punctuation and getting turned into a little pillow. I'd love to find a feather pillow to fit it.  And some herbs to stuff inside. A dream pillow.

I've been floundering lately, so I've cast this circle for myself.

Asked and answered.

My bad

 The last thing I did here was promise a stitch tutorial. I took a clutch of pictures that turned out crappy.
 Then, LIFE, and boy, am I out of practice and shape for being Nana! It's disturbing how much that skillset (and the flesh) has deteriorated since BC (need I explain?)

No excuses, unless you count sloth & ennui.

And where do I get off lecturing a five-year-old on the dangers of uttering the words "I'm bored" ?

In the first picture we are parked across the street from a construction site where, right at the edge of the road, a squad of excavators and dumptrucks were frantically laying waste to the countryside for who knows what. They were trenching and laying yard-wide pipes, building mountains, climbing them precariously, then knocking them down - so something huge. We were both fascinated for about 20 minutes.

I don't know what I would have done without the assistance of his uncle. Colin is passing through a second child/teen hood with the video games, et al that he and his brother did without when they were kids and such stuff out of reach, and thank goodness.

Monday, May 18, 2020


I know y'all must be sick of seeing these by now, but this was yesterday. Today they are gone. I haven't looked yet but there was a pretty heavy rainstorm in the last few hours. I hope the wind didn't knock the vase over.

Salem and I were waiting for a friend to arrive. After much sweat, swearing, and soil stabbing, the irises have all been rehomed to make room for my annual extravagance of annuals and anything else I can coax out of the dirt from seed.  Note demon Baily at 3 o'clock preparing to raid our tranquility. 

Earlier in the day, I continued the studio rummaging turned up actual elastic, both quarter and half-inch, and a bunch of small shreds that had been bundled together with what intent I don't
recall. I do remember that Timeless Treasures check was once a two-yard cut. It made me dizzy to look at then and now. This is all that's left of it.

work continues here. LESSON. I should have done a mockup on paper instead of scribbling directly onto the cloth. The words and lines are crowded, and the letterforms are too studied, but it's growing on me.

the last glorious hurrah.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Dirty Threads

Yes, finally.

Not these. These are mine. As you can see, I've been very generous to myself. I may need a bigger lunchbox.

Your threads are here

Friday, May 15, 2020

pagan offering

Only these few blooms this year from both peonies. I think the soil is tired and needs some help. There is also a tree trying to take root up there that needs ousting. It was 80 today and the flowers were beginning to lean over and explode.

The birdbath/watering hole sits in the center of the crape myrtle grove up by the mailbox. It's maybe 20 feet from the road.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

pink fire

I've been missing pink, too. Paw pink, sunburn pink, flirting pink, cotton candy pink. In the whole toolbox, there was only one.

Next dye run, I'll attend to this, but with caution. Dyeing with the intent of pink usually ends in a bloodbath.  Pink is a color you have to sneak up on. Cajole. Nab. Comfort and hold.

The peonies at the mailbox garden will peak in the next few days.

I'm going to cut, arrange, and display them in a unique way. Can't bring them inside, the scent is just so powerful this year.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

dirty thread

Thanks to everyone who's come looking for Dirty Thread.

I'll be posting a few more sets tomorrow here.

There will be more coming up as soon as it warms up outside here in GA.

If there's anything special you are looking for, colorwise, email me. I'm sorry that I still can't ship anything outside the US.

Friday, May 08, 2020

psycho spring

I shouldn't complain about today's all-day rain and cold. Others in the north will see their baby plants go under a blanket of snow that could stick around long enough to kill things. 

The rain set in and it got so dark, I had to stop stitching. Going has been slow on this one. Deliberate.
It became a "sleep with the cats" kind of day.

Yesterday was as perfect as the weather gets in Georgia. Clear, dry, sunny with just enough breeze to carry the scent of Confederate jasmine if you're lucky and Bradford pear trees if you're not. Nice enough to decide that a ride with my co-pirate to the carwash would be a cool thing.

He was just so glad to see me after a long day of home school with his friend Mattie and her Mom. There's a basket on the seat next to him full of his things- small toys, books, a journal, and a set of markers - all things he chose himself that live in my car. He held the basket on his lap a moment, stirred things around, and said, "My friends."

He was fast asleep ten minutes down the road, didn't even wake up when we drove through the carwash. Back at his house, I parked in the shade and let him nap a while in what must have been the blessed comfort of familiarity.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

the less than festive dyefest

I described this small batch of threads to a friend as "hinky", that is, odd. Colors were not as expected. Conditions were right but I'm thinking that several of my colors are failing - old or suffering from my casual storage technique.

Lessons, that I should have remembered from previous misadventures in dyeing. I should have gotten some tattoos.

DO NOT WASH ITEMS WITH SOY WAX  RESIST IN WITH THE OTHER CLOTH! Yes, everything has a slightly greasy feel because I forgot that my hot water is not really hot enough. All will have to be rewashed at least once.

NEVER wash woven or crocheted cotton items in with damask!!

The French Market bags are ruined. Functional, but ugly as hell and the soft thread has left lint on everything. Lint nicely stuck down to everything with a gloss of soy wax. Nothing that a lot of elbow grease won't cure. The majority of these cloths will be headed for the scrap basket.

Monday, May 04, 2020

in the negative

Or so the test results report. I am relieved. At the same time, we are going to continue life pretty much as we have because we live in a shithole state full of very ignorant people. I will NOT die of stupid.

One concession, one big change, is that I will be getting to spend some time with Charlie. A picnic is scheduled for tomorrow!

I think children have suffered more than anyone from this isolation. You can explain a microscopic danger to them, but the chain of consequences that might result from one person's thoughtless behavior is something I wouldn't want to frighten a child with. They have so little control over their lives as it is. 

I've missed him and his silliness so much.

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Now, we wait.

We were turned away from the testing center in downtown ATL because I didn't have photo ID. I misplaced my drivers licence the same day I voted early.  My renewal is in October so I wasn't all that concerned. 

When we got home from the city, I went to the DMV online and was able (because they changed the rules) to buy a replacement without taking an eye exam in person.

We found a county office that was offering free tests, no ID required. Took a long drive on a beautiful day, endured about ten seconds of unpleasantness. The Georgia International Horse Park was swarming with police and military presence who organized the ten minute appointments with all necessary safety rules for both patient and providers.


We had our name and DOB checked at five seperate stations, and were on the way home in about fifteen minutes, including a drive thru Mental Wellness checkpoint where a perky, masked nurse asked "How you doin' hon? Y'all doing okay?"
Southern hospitality at its finest.

Results by email on Tuesday.