Wednesday, March 30, 2022

1st dyefest of '22

I was prepared for a day of blazing sunshine with temps reaching 80 degrees, but the day dawned heavily overcast, chilly, and damp. Scaling back was easy enough.  Tangible and intangible results were affirming. 

Small batches take much less time than dye extravaganzas of previous seasons leaving yours truly with enough "spoons" left to carry on the rest of my life rather than draped over a fainting couch for a day of recovery. 

Only six colors mixed for small batches will lead to a wider range of colors over all.

All in all, I'm pleased with the outcome. 

Now to adjust everyone's expectations with regard to marketing. 

I'm not going to be offering these for sale until I've had a few more sessions. Build a little inventory and consolidate packaging and shipping operations. 

I have a lot going on in my life, good stuff. And like anything good, stuff demanding of my time and attention. Dirty Threads will remain a side gig for the time being. 


Art wilding


I freed another largeish quilt yesterday. Some ancient history, "Clubbin' 2007". Even though this piece has never spent any time exposed to the light, there has been significant fading.

Black has always been the most difficult color to brew with MX dyes. This is a picture when it was new.

Not much to look at anymore, but it will make a nice yoga mat, picnic blanket, or car seat cover. Function over everything else.  The hard part is waiting until there is no one around to say "Hey, you forgot something!". The note reads "finders keepers. a gift from the artist." Then I scuttled off back to my car. I really wanted to hang out to see if anyone picked it up, but no. There's the challenge. I removed the label and brought home. Record of release.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Waiting on the Sun

A surprise visitor in the studio this morning. Sweetie rarely ventures the stairs these days, but the temporary configuration of two refrigerators in the kitchen has been blocking her morning sunning.

Spring chill hangs on here, but my weatherbug son just told me Wednesday could bring 80 degrees. The first dyefest of the 2022 season looms. I know I won't get excited until I pull the dyes out of the cupboard and start mixing.

The week that's raced by since the last post? Writing in fits and starts, but mostly reading. 

           One of my crit partners and your ragmates, Dee Mallon, has written an astonishing novel. We have been trading pages and critiques for years and she's finally flung herself across the finish line. As the traditional publishing process goes, her story is a long way from getting into the reader's hands, but if there's any truth at all about the cream rising to the top, this book will be a bestseller. Congratulations, my friend!


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

giving grace all 'round


I had to look it up to be sure. People toss that expression around carelessly. Words matter. 

So I can say with confidence that I am allowing grace for this piece, my writing. and myself. Stop judging this piece which is so far from done.
It's for me to stop sulking because my work doesn't know where it's going or what it will be. Yet. Accepting that this is how I work and trying to change that now is a mistake. 

Drawings and plans for stitched pieces always die on the page. A few notebooks are full of the corpses of things that never inspired me enough to create them in cloth.

Outlining a book has proven to be a steel cage.  I sketched the first one: two parallel lines that crossed, curved back, crossed again, then fell into a spiraling widening helix. 

The next book isn't even ready for a sketch yet. The big picture, as yet unrevealed by the details that I have been accumulating. Notes, paragraphs, scenes - lots of them.  

                                                        Details like this. 


"She hates himself," Bea told Tam.

"Sad. sad, but true. We all have little a both in us." She grinned into her hand and laughed. "One of Murph's buddies told him I was too mannish. Murph punched his lights out. Men who talk like that are 'fraid of women. What do you make of Teddy down at the flower shop?" 

 "He's got a lot of girl in him?" 

"So you understand. It's not easy being different like that." 

Annabea was learning hard lessons about being different every day in school."But Lady G is different. Like she's two people at once and boy is she hard on that other guy."

"Hush now and learn this. Ain't nothing more private than how people think about themselves." 

The details will gather. I will make order, sense, and purpose and the story will reveal itself.  I need to not be in such a damn hurry.

Sunday, March 20, 2022




THAT was fun. I've missed the hunt.

I went to my favorite thrift joint yesterday for the first time in two years. I did forget what the discount days were, but no matter.

100% silk anything was the quarry but not a whisper of silk anywhere, but I did score seven gorgeous pieces made of summer breezy cotton lawn- the kind of dresses and blouses that come with a second and third layer because, well, decency. 

This flouncy, three-tiered dress yielded an acre of some wonderful gauze or harem cloth. 

There were two tuxedo shirts from Saks 5th Ave that never went to a wedding. A super-fine, supple weave
that I've never seen in a dress shirt.  Everything scoured up nicely and I spent a pleasant evening deconstructing (more like dismembering) the booty. I can't wait to get this stuff into the dye pots. Still on the lookout for silks.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Studio visitors

 It's nice that visitors come by. Makes me wish I had a bar or at least a cooler up here. Some refreshments while we hang out, chat and chill. 

Charlie rousted Salem from her sunning spot to soak up a little Vitamin D. I thought he fell asleep, he was so quiet for so long. Simple pleasures.

Colin is at loose ends because his shift has changed. No more overnights, he's back to afternoon evenings and we get Brisco Field sunsets again!

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Vote me up UPDATE

 Just as I am having second thoughts about this cover, Prophets Tango made it to Cover Wars! I don't need to tell artists about the value of free exposure😉. 

Vote here just once!   I read the fine print. You can vote ONCE DAILY for the whole week! 

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Hatching a fat baggy

 Not bad for one take, right?

There are now two fat baggies left including this one that I just repacked (without taking a shred for myself). They are all pretty much the same, content-wise. Once I have a nice mix I make a point of not hand-picking. I just grab and stuff until I run out of cloth or bags. Equitable, I think.  

Three bags shipped yesterday, these are all that's left, but once dye season begins, there will be more.  I'm going to be looking for some silk, gauze, and cotton lawn to fill out the collection of damask table linens I have lined up for the first dyefest.

Sunday, March 06, 2022

things to come

In a small act of faith that the will of decent people everywhere will prevail, I'm hoping to resume international shipping come summer.

No, these aren't new. A few shots from last year's harvest, but a perfect representation of things to come.

Some changes, though. 

Each skein will still be 11 yards, but I won't be winding them onto the cardboard bobbins anymore. Even though the "wind off" was my favorite part of the process, the final reveal has become too labor-intensive for my tired paws and eyes. 

I have a lot of cardboard bobbins and will include them with each order until I run out.  You probably already have your own method,  but I'll make a little video of how I transfer the loose thread to a bobbin with the least amount of snagging or knots.

So, same Dirty Threads, just a minor change in presentation. Yours to do with as the muse moves you.

The weather is coming around. Preparations are ongoing. 

Email me if you want to be notified when the shop doors open.


Thursday, March 03, 2022

digital learning days

Yesterday, we had what his school district is calling a Digital Learning Day.  Ready or not, it may be the wave of the future, for us at least. I really need to get my math understanding up to speed.  I didn't really get proficient in arithmetic until Jake was in 4th grade. It was one of the gray areas of my education that got overlooked because I was good with words and read beyond my years.  I showed him how I add and subtract three-place numbers and he showed me how he had learned to do it. We agreed that there are many ways to arrive at a correct answer, no calculators need apply.

Then he became completely besotted with some vintage technology. This Walkman was my Dad's. He was Charlie too. The tape we found inside it was something Colin copied from a local radio station back in the 90s. Charlie was quick to figure out how to use the Fast Forward button to get past the incessant commercials.

It was a beautiful day and we were alone at a nearby park so I decided it was a good time to release another art quilt into the wild. Charlie did not really approve but wanted to come back after lunch to see if it was still there. I have to make some real tags instead of what looks more like a ransom note!

World and domestic news developments have left me incapable of much else beyond this most important activity. Caretaking the most precious.