Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Sunday, June 28, 2020


this lasted mere minutes
Sundays used to have a feel to them. Not that we were ever churchers.

 Food shopping. A meal prepared to be shared by two or four at most. Never strangers. The Sunday New York Times, filled mostly with benign entertainment and destined to soak up bacon grease. Cannolis. An old movie on TV. Some laundry. The prosiest stuff.  All of it wisped away. 

I had to move my car today so I wouldn't be blocked in tomorrow morning. When I got out of the car, the sun seemed wrong in the sky. That Saharan dust being brought down by intermittent monsoon-style rain has affected the light, as if the clouds are too thick, too low. 

I dead-headed the marigolds in that hard light. I was having a hard time accepting that this was Sunday now. The heat and humidity were smothering. Back inside, I collected my wits with some stitching and some reading, then stumbled across this breath of fresh air:                       Wheesht by Kate Davies.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

a little late day mayhem

The explosion you hear in the opening seconds, that nearly caused me to drop the phone, was a transformer somewhere nearby. Another loud thing was a great tree falling in the woods somewhere to the left. There's a creek down there and the ground is too wet to hold these big trees in heavy winds. Every year a few more fall. The more I listen to this, the more I suspect there was a baby tornado nearby. That weird wailing noise midway through..no clue.

The power was out when I retreated from the deck. Five hours before it was restored. Even at 5:00pm it was too dark for much but napping.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Weeds galore & more

My mailbox garden needs attention. If it would stop raining or roasting for a few minutes. Maybe tomorrow. 
Last night there were horny does yodeling in the front yard. 

There was also a plumbing debacle around 2am that kept us mopping and plunging (to no avail) until 3. 

Professionals were called first thing and because I was so good at describing the issue (the plumber's daughter) we were passed off to a Jetter

Perk up your ears, homeowners with septic systems. This is a new thing halfway between getting the sink snaked and digging up the septic tank. They use high-pressure water into the clean-out trap ( I didn't even know there was one) and all was made well and functional in about twenty minutes. And reasonably, compared to the other two options.  

I am left with the majority of my towels befouled, now outside on the deck taking a drench in this monsoon. I may boil the best and ditch the rest given they are all worn raggedy. 

This is still a long day of work away. Gaskets need replacing from inside. 
A trip to the pool store for a few chemicals - the two feet of water left in it is already a lovely shade of green. But I know how to fix that. 

Saturday. Maybe. It feels like making plans is asking for trouble. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

a thread runs through it

And the Dirty Thread sets I promised are finally posted

Most of them, anyway. Some of the pictures came out pretty crappy, so I'll add them in when I get two spare minutes to rub together.

Over the weekend, I finally decided on and committed to a company to design the cover for my novel. I didn't have to be told more than three times that doing my own cover would be a lot like being my own lawyer in a murder trial.

Oh, I've made a clever little placeholder (I am so in love with that photo, but I scrounged the original off the web which is a big no-no.) but I'm leaving it to the professionals at Bookflydesign.com . 

I looked at cover design sites until my eyeballs were bleeding. Most went from bad to worse when you specified "romance" or "paranormal". I'm so sick of sweaty, chiseled abs and tattoos I could puke. Somehow I found Bookfly. Here's their portfolio. This is a class act. I traded emails and put my electronic pawprint on a contract. Big step.

As a reward, I gave my self some stitching time this morning. More words lifted from an old song.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Leftovers

This is the big basket that I'm picking from for Fat Baggies.
I found a box deep in the closet with about ten years of dust on top. Inside, what might have been my personal hoard. All of it now added into the mix. 

Smooth cotton sheeting that took the dye like print. Thick, thready pieces of Irish double damask (impossible to find on the cheap anymore). Cotton lawn so fragile it tears like paper. Woven pieces of some natural fiber.

Yes, I did snatch a few pieces back into the River basket. 

Two views of the same basket after I dug deep and pulled a handful to the surface.

Addendum - apologies Cynthia, Linda, and Michelle. Murphy's Law wisely conspired to keep me from the post office this morning. 

When I got there, the line was out the door, BUT they were letting too many people into the lobby AND I'd left my mask at home.

Also, it's Georgia.

I'll try again, midday Monday.

Friday, June 19, 2020

A Cloth day

The words got away from me yesterday, 
but the pictures usually do the talking.

Distant friends and family have been on my mind. 

Out of reach, but never out of mind.

This lot of cloth rescued from an acute case of LINT, one by one. A full roll of packing tape and hand wash and dry for each piece. 

The hummingbirds were scandalized.

Miss Salem has finally decided that Colin means her no harm, even though she did leave him with a pound of fur right after this shot.

And fingers crossed, the pool seems to have been rescued from the mid-winter tree fall disaster. Repairs to the liner are holding. Pump and infrastructure test tomorrow. Marine putty and super duct tape at the ready!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

the stash

I'm good on thread for now and the river basket is overflowing. The problem is, I have to set cloth and thread aside for a while so I can prod the book to life. 

But there's still plenty. I took all pending orders to the post office this morning so mailboxes across the country will be lighting up by the end of the week. Let me know when they arrive!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

dirty threads: the Summer Run (update)

I'm going to call this group the Summer Run. This basket is actually heaped high now!

It's going to be days before I can start to curate sets of six and post pictures, so if you don't want to wait, and trust me to pick six (with a little coaching from you) email me with a little guidance of what your set should look like. 

Or you can wait for the pictures.

I've lowered the price because times are strange and we could all use a little breathing room. Stitching shouldn't be a luxury.

Fat Baggies  are back in stock!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

dream teeth

It's too big to show in one piece. 84" on a side, not counting the teeth. But it's just the size I wanted. Now I can put away the duvet and feather quilt, which, nine nights out of ten, winds up on the floor.

At this point in the process, I'm going to use it as it. Let the pieced front and the muslin back get comfy and close without any pins or stitching. 

Then, as the spirit moves me, I'll start stitching them together with some 12wt. Sulky cotton. Nothing crazy, four to six stitches per inch.

I need to remember to work with the backside to me  so I can see what's going on. Stitching will be mostly lost in all that print on the front. Words? Spells? Song lyrics? Whatever comes to me at the time. For now, stitch needs to take a rest.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

My fling

Well, that got out of hand in no time!

It covers the top of a king-size bed and reaches the floor on both sides. I really wanted it square, so some cutting and shuffling are in order.

At first, I was going to make the square by folding the length in half and seaming the three sides closed, but it's a bit wonky. Time to drag out the laser level.

Once all is on the square, I may consider that gray damask for the flip side. I'll pin them together first. See if it's too much weight. If  they aren't too heavy together - this is just a chill chaser, not a winter blanket - I'll stitch on them together, see how the needling feels. More likely, I'll buy some unbleached muslin for the back. Keep things simple.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

the cloth

I invited three large damask tablecloths to the party. Two became primary and secondary table moppers, work surfaces that picked up the scatter from the thread dyeing process.

I almost forgot to fix both of them with soda ash.
I'm debating how to cut them up. Add them to the available scraps.

I'm going to start with fairly larges pieces, say 24" square, give or take. I'll iron them too. See the shine.
Here's a close-up of this one. The black didn't hold as well as I'd hoped.

Pieces of everything will be in the shop soon.

There is a lot of thread coming up soon.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Sometimes magic

Ten yards down, a thousand to go. Give or take.

It's been a long time since I've been so pleased with the fruits of a dyefest.

Keys to remember. Patience & Pacing. It's a lot of physical work in hot and sweaty conditions. Prep everything in the days before. Mix colors fresh, right after coffee. Label your colors! Good to know what works and what doesn't so there's no waste in the next go-round. Measure if that's the way your soul pinches you. I don't.

Wait until after midday to begin. Tent or hat a must.


I put two large damask tablecloths down on the work surface. They are informed by spills and scatter.

They will need a splash of soda ash water if you want to keep the color. Or not, they can come to the next dyefest for a rematch.

The new colors made a big difference. Cotton Candy and Hot Pink jumped right in and set things afire!

The blues ran true. Lapis a strong player. I never buy green. Greens are born.

So all of this, cloth and thread, sat under the rising Strawberry moon until a thunderstorm swallowed it whole. They rinsed in the rain, then baked in the humidity the next day. More rain, all the while steeping in the scent of my neighbor's magnolias.

I'm still deciding what to call this batch. It will come to me while I'm winding them off.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

A hot mess

Right after this sunset, the pink moon peeked over the opposite horizon for a few minutes before it was swallowed whole by a thunderstorm. Cloth and thread remain out in the elements until tomorrow. A very special batch.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Dye day looms

I'm planning a big dye day tomorrow, pacing myself. Lots of thread and cloth are already prepped and waiting.  These are new colors. I will be using some of the old as well and blends, of course. I rarely use colors "straight out of the can".

I will be dyeing about a dozen skeins of that cotton/silk twist.

There will be black and white, like bakery thread, a range of pinks and greens (missing from my personal stash).

Are there colors/blends you've been wanting to see?  Leave your suggestions in the comments.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020


Happy birthday to my youngest son, Jake.

I was a mere producer. Jimmy, the director.

We did so good with our love.

The Provence Fling

A morning spent waiting for something else has produced this. Lighter and bigger than I thought while working at the machine.

I may slice and splice once or twice.  There's another quarter with a few more dashes of color, but I don't think I'll have enough to do both sides this way. Some other cloth and manner will step in.

When both sides are done, I'm thinking I may overdye them. One in saffron the other turquoise. Cohesion.

No batting, just front, and back that will be stitched together with my running quarter that never, ever goes in a straight line. Think of spaghetti. But not with the Dirty Threads. I have spools of 12 weight Sulky cotton that flies through the cloth with a slash of Thread Heaven aboard. It stands up to use and laundering best.

I'll need some safety pins.

The crowd cheers me on.

Monday, June 01, 2020


good start to my week

Charlie Monday is reinstated for the summer. There will be a Charlie Friday as well.
We will be looking for new and different adventures.

I still can't get him to drive.