Saturday, May 28, 2022

Firefly cotillion


When I am working the night job, I get two breaks after dark. If it's nice out, I sit outside. Nights like this make it very difficult to come back inside after only fifteen or thirty minutes. The neighbor's magnolias haven't bloomed yet but my gardenia up in the mailbox garden is having an orgy for itself.

The last of the cloth got color yesterday. there may be some overdyeing. won't know for sure until after the wash and dry. This is cloth that I'm keeping for garment or quilt making. Premium muslin and a couple of Brooks Brothers tuxedo shirts. 

The two blouses hanging over the chairs were a gift from a friend. Soft cotton lawn and the perfect fit but born in four-inch square plaids of blue and white and orange and white. I settled that. Sweetie approved.

Colin grabs another spectacular sunset from the ramp at LZU.

Friday, May 27, 2022



Nearly eight! 
We will have a handful of days like today before he goes to day camp in July.  Weather permitting, we'll rotate between the park, the pool, and the library. He is a ball of energy and has that unmoored social ineptness so common to singletons. But he'll find his way because he is sensitive and smart. 

He loves to hear about the tomfoolery (he also collects archaic language) that my night job delivers on a regular basis. 

Last night a restaurant manager called to report that she received a phone call about a naked man on the roof of the restaurant. As soon as she hung up the phone, another call came in. This time it was the naked man calling. She hung up on him, called the police, and went outside to walk around the building to see if anyone was out there. Or up there. Nothing and nobody.

Charlie was hysterical and said, "She should have told him NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, NO SERVICE!"  I wish I had been that witty. 

This park is fifteen minutes from home. Wide-open, brand new equipment in a very large oval yard surrounded by wide sidewalks and low walls with polished concrete seating. I need to remember my seat cushion.  Beyond the playground, are open fields with miles of walking paths. There is a little kid's playground on the other side of the park. Pavillions for picnics and BBQs. All that's missing is a splash pad. Charlie plunges in and leaves me to my devices. I sit where I can see the kids. Check for his blue/black flash every few minutes.

Today was different. I found myself watching the perimeter. Looking for the out-of-place person.  And I wasn't the only one. An elderly gentleman looking like Santa on vacation set up a canvas folding chair in the shade off to one side. He had a huge hardcover novel but didn't turn many pages. Across from me on the other side of the playground, a black woman, arms folded also looking behind the children. Noting who came and went. We watched. Behind us, the teachers and families of a kindergarten class were setting up a graduation party under the big pavilion. Clutches of little half-pints in red and gold caps and gowns flitted around the playground like hot butterflies. 

 I put my cloth on the pavement between my feet . The cloth had nothing to say today. 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

All hands


Sometime last September I had a duel with a jar of salsa. The lid would not come off and I wanted that salsa. Without bothering with the usual methods of coaxing a stuck lid - you know, tapping it on the table, running it under hot water, etc. - I grabbed it and used every ounce of strength I had. 

Yes! There was salsa. There was also a very painful swelling on the back of my hand over my two middle knuckles. The usual remedies didn't help much.

A week or so later, I went for my booster shot. The dispensing pharmacist welcomed me behind the screen. He'd noticed that I had difficulty with the paperwork and was cradling my lumpy hand. He asked me to spread my hand out on the tabletop and explained that in Pakistan he had been a hand surgeon. He had me move my hand thus and so. Touched the swelling very gently and declared that I had torn a tendon. Ice, rest, and a long recovery period were prescribed. No more fighting with recalcitrant jar lids. And a COVID jab for good measure. He was right.

Today was the first time since then that I was able to thread a needle and use it without any pain. I'd almost forgotten it was something I did all the time without even thinking about it. I basted a few likely players into position for about an hour and called it enough.

 Actually, it was Bailey who called it enough. He's a peripatetic fur snake but when he wants love, he leaps into your lap and demands it. Clambers over whatever you have in your lap, damn the pins and needles.  

Maybe for only a minute or three before he dashes off, but it's always a miracle to see him drop the tough guy routine for a dose of mama love. Irresistible.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

A heart of darkness


I frighten myself. I imagine I frighten a lot of you gentle souls. For that, I'm sorry. 

Like many, I couldn't sleep last night. Charlie has a little cold. An earache from swimming. Every time he coughed in the next room, I was reminded how being a parent, even a grandparent, is having your heart outside of your body for the rest of your life. In its place, I have a black hole full of lightning and lasers.
Awake, I kept imagining the terror in that classroom. Do you really think they all died instantly? There is no god that good.

If anyone says "thoughts and prayers" to my face, they may well experience the wrath of Kali.
When I did fall asleep, I imagined myself moving through the night with a machete in each hand. Finding the NRA puppets, one by one. Slashing. Laying waste. I have never been more furious at being an old woman.

All I have is my vote, and I did earlier in the day. What money I can spare will go to the Blue candidates who need it most.

Beto was magnificent today. And I can't wait for the 1/6 findings to be televised. The revolution WILL be televised. 

And over all of this, the sweetness of summer.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Store update


This one is ready and one other.  I've left the pieces larger than I used to pack in the fat baggies.  Hand-sized for the most part, some larger. I've tried to put a large variety of cloth and colors in a bundle. Likewise the threads.
You get to chop them up as needed.  

Email me to order.

This one is SOLD.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Summer still new

There was a Spring this year. Brief, flirty, but we had it. 
The heat and humidity snuck up on me yesterday.  I've had a cold for a couple days - sneezing and runny nose are the extent of it. Not enough of a bother to get tested since I live like a hermit and still mask if I have to go out. 

This may be the best investment in good clean fun that I've ever made. 

Everything flourishes. I have sunflowers for the first time. Now all I have to do is keep the climbers from strangling them. A daily battle with a potted garden.

There is a ton of dyed cloth. Enough to go around for a long time. I still haven't done up the muslin for my summer dresses so there will be at least one more round of dyeing.

School is almost over here. Charlie went in the pool for the first time yesterday. 15 minutes and his lips were blue but still, he had to be dragged out. It's going to be a fun summer.

All of this busy-ness is a distraction from a clutch of admin-type stuff that I'm not doing. You, know, wills, taxes - that sort of nonsense.

One accomplishment has me all full of self. Finding a tolerable new. local primary care doctor/facility. Bloodwork all came back astounding normal. My health coach, a charming leprechaun of a boy, wants me doing cardio in a pool somewhere to spare my miserable skeleton.

So, we will swim till we sweat  WHEN the temperature comes around. Sushi replaces the roast beef hero, ginger ale traded for seltzer, and some vitamins for slightly elevated triglycerides. 

There are still books to write, cats to herd, a child to see raised. Life.


Sunday, May 15, 2022

Day 2 - the cloth

It's starting to look like rain. A perfect end to a special dye adventure. We started on Beltane and will end under a full lunar eclipse. I will leave all these outside tonight to receive the moon's blessing.

I lift each wet bundle and shake out the oatmeal. The dye is exhausted at this point. I sweep the crumbs up and toss them out into the weeds. I don't compost this stuff because I also use salt in the mix. 

As much as I've read about salt killing plants, the weeds that grow so fiercely under and around my deck must not be hearing that conversation. 

None of the colors will transfer to the plastic and only stays a few rains on the deck boards.

I can't wait to wash and dry this large piece of lightweight linen from an online resource. I don't usually buy new cloth but I wanted to try using linen for some summer shifts. Couldn't leave it plain old white.

 Somehow my favorite linen blouse got mixed in to this lot and I didn't realize it until I flipped over the wet cloth on the deck (which was already strewn with dye-dusted oatmeal) and saw the row of mother of pearl buttons and the Structures label. 

Oh well. 

Day 2- more dirty thread


There was a clutch of thread skeins that I didn't get to the last time I was making dirty threads. Today they partied with the vintage cloth.

I should have shown how this goes from step one, but here's the reveal. 

Some of these I call over-cooked, colorwise, but I shouldn't rush to judgment. Cloth and thread always appear darker and more intense when they are wet.

These should wash and dry out to some nice strong colors.

Color from the closet- Day One


modern light linen

For me, dye days rely so much on the weather. 

I need early morning light to gather materials and decide what colors I want to work with. Then the day needs to cook up hot and bright - I have a great market umbrella for shade this year.  

As I'm working this year, I'm talking to myself, taking notes paying attention rather than running on autopilot the way I usually do. 

Telling and showing someone who's never done this before because that's how the book will be. 
There are so many random little bits that I don't even think about.

 Like, let the cloth have a good soak in the magic sauce before dyeing. Mixing a big batch and throwing the cloth in is the first order of business on dye day. 

There was a tub deep in the closet filled with pieces that I didn't get to last year. Some from the Italian Bridal collection, an embroidered cotton lawn nightie. Embroided damask napkins. Vintage sheets and pillowcases. A lot of varying weights of linen, some garment weight, some service weight. I have whole bolts of 22" wide coarse weave toweling. A natural fiber too coarse for cotton. My best guess is linen.

A lot of it got color today. 
Again, I will be hand washing/rinsing this lot.

Most of these will be for sale. I'm still thinking about the format. 

Stuffing it all into a plastic bag isn't working for me anymore.

My thought was to get a card table, 36" square.  Lay out a single layer of pieces until the table was covered. So a square yard of cloth and two skeins of dirty thread to a bundle. How to wrap it? How to ship it? 

It seems like the Christmas card method of sending threads is working out well. 

I suppose if I had to choose what color dye to fumble all over myself, this would be in the top two only because I have enough to waste.

Note to self - kitchen gloves are too clumsy for  dye mixing 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Color by Buggy Oatmeal


It's been so long, that I had forgotten how easy this technique is. And how satisfying the results are. I should STFU now because things are still drying in the sun. 

I am paying strict attention to that Demon Fuschia, so each piece is being hand-washed separately to prevent that creeping pink contamination. More handwork, but worth the trouble.

I found a box of all that vintage Italian bridal stuff from last summer that I didn't get to dye. Some of that lightest weight linen I bought online and a few test pieces of some premium bleached muslin from HoAnns. All of it taking up the dye like drunks in the dessert.

I'll be adding most of this to the store, so check back.

And there WILL be a book because there is no way I can keep up with the demand for my cloth. 

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Dirty Threads!


And there's a bunch. Plenty to go 'round.

Some changes. 
I won't be posting photos of sets, it's just too time-consuming. Most of you have trusted me to choose for you, so I'll be starting there.

The hanks will be coming this way as I won't be winding them onto cardboard bobbins (I'll send them along until I run out). I'm sure everyone can handle that part of it. Or should I make a video?

I'm experimenting with new packaging options - kicking those floppy old plastic bags to the curb.

Each skein is still 11 yards of DMC six-strand cotton hand-dyed with Procion MX dyes. 

A set of FOUR skeins is 23.00 which includes postage in the US. 

Sorry, I'm still not risking the PO boogie for international shipments.

I'm having issues with receiving electronic payments so checks or money orders will be the way to pay. You were wondering what you were going to do with all those checks anyway, right?

I'll be moving all these details to the shop page shortly.

There is still not enough hand-dyed cloth to offer for sale, but I'm thinking of making up some smaller kits that include thread and cloth.  Just a taste to get you hooked, if you already weren't. 

 And thanks for all the interest. 

Questions? email me.