Tuesday, March 21, 2023

scrapped updated 3.24.23


There are THREE left.

If you ordered scraps in the last week, they are on their way! Post Office said arrival for all on this Thursday or Friday. 

While I was making these up, I kept seeing pieces and looking the other way while the HAND snuck another little gem into the River Basket. To prevent this, I closed my eyes and stuffed bags full by feel. There are nine or ten left.  Here's the store link.

I have some new vintage scouts working in the field! Looking forward to warmer days and bigger messes out on the dye deck. This will be my first dye season since I retired from the day job. It's going to be interesting. I'll be doing a lot more documentation, maybe even some videos. Tutorials? A book?

 I don't know yet. Still thinking it all through.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Studio time


Look at this little crazy. Giving it her all even if her pot mates are on death's doorstep. They really need to be repotted in some real dirt and put outside in the shade so I can ignore them. The best treatment for cacti in my experience. 

I'm still mulling over how disturbed to be over this. 

You can't see it from this angle, but I laid out the lettering with a silver Prismacolor pencil - it erases easily from cloth. The next letter where the needle sticks up is a lowercase "a".

I drew it completely backward. 
Am not now, nor have I ever been, dyslexic.

store update:

There is still some cloth from the 2022 dye sessions. More new cottons and lightweight linen than vintage or damasks, but still rich with color and textures.

I've abandoned the square yard fussiness in favor of expediency. Back to stuffing the 6x9 poly bag full. I have about a dozen left, so SALE.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

away sweetly


This cloth has been hanging on the design wall patiently waiting its turn. Could be it never gets cut up or incorporated into a larger thing, it's so strong and singular all on its own.
Look down there in the foreground at the little Christmas cactus playing at being an Easter bunny.


I went "up country" on Sunday to stay over and spend the day with Charlie because they had no school on Monday for some administrative business. It was a welcome break. It's a shock seeing him after two weeks he's growing so fast. We've dispensed with the booster seat but there is still a wicker basket of toys and other crap in the back seat.

Sunday night another rainstorm blew through but Monday was glorious. He wanted me to time him running around the house with the stopwatch on my phone. Lucky me hit the camera button instead. 

All the neighboring herds were out enjoying the new grass. Sheep, cattle, cows, burros, horses. You can hear them from time to time mooing. 

Earlier in the day we had Poker 101 instead of boring math practice. Still, there was money involved. Adding, subtraction, probability, odds. He is discovering that math is in everything one way or another.
Hilariously, he learned to bluff accidentally and I learned that I have zero poker face.

 Sunday afternoon poker was a family tradition at my house. I joke that I was raised in the Church of the Inside Straight.

My family moved to the country when I was seven. Each Sunday my relatives would come for lunch and spend the afternoon into dinnertime playing nickel/dime poker around the kitchen table. Ballentine beer and the air blue with cigarette and cigar smoke. My Dad was a Charlie as was his father.

My Mom scuttled around the players in the tight kitchen cleaning up after dinner. My grandmother took over the TV in the living room. Kids were banished from the kitchen, but I had mastered the art of sitting quietly and was allowed to perch on a stool behind my Dad or my uncle and observe what was usually a friendly game. 

Holding a lame pair of sixes, my Dad leaned back to confer with me, silently. Stay or fold? Me, ever the wise guy, pushed a dime from his pile into the pot. We won that hand, but I was never allowed to sit in and play on my own. That would have been too much acknowledgment for a girl child.

Somehow, that distance was important to my understanding of the game, the people, and that my place would not be in their world in just a few years. 

Charlie and I laughed and learned as we went along, hand after hand. Later, I found a high-stakes poker tournament on TV and waited for him to spot the difference. He could tell that even with their poker faces on, they were anxious, and crabby even the big winner. On his own, he picked up that professional gamblers had flushed all the fun out of the game.

We went out to play.

Sunday, March 12, 2023


Well, there's a familiar sight.

This view from the stitching chair is a bit more cramped looking but much more functional. Big J is plugged in and ready to rock.

A pre-dawn thunderstorm had the cats trampling me out of my dreams. Just as well. Stuff to do and traveling later today. 

The greening is on us and I have a bunch of new seeds for the woodchip pile. The area needs to be tossed a bit with a rake and some stubborn shrubs taken down to their roots first. 

Saturday, March 04, 2023

Country storm


I picked Charlie up from school Friday afternoon. Waiting in the car in a complex pickup routine is nerve-racking. 
Still, it's efficient.

Robin Hood did his daily read with me. Some how, fifteen minutes spiraled into an hour. He makes me laugh out loud.

Jake got home minutes before the strong thunderstorms with hints of tornadoes. We were out on the front porch two minutes when the wind brought the rain in on us. Rather than drive home, I stayed the night. 

The cat crew were not happy about their ringleader skipping town.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Spring sounds wet


They are out there. There's a little tributary from the creek creeping through the woods almost to the property line. Not clear exactly why but the frogs are loving it. Still, they've moved into the pool and have started playing with their plastic combs after dark. 

No matter what the weather is doing, I haven't lifted a finger toward the garden. I am excited about taking cuttings from Jake's camellia. Such an exotic and yet research tells me they are ubiquitous in old Georgia gardens. Some kind of snobbery going on, which is evident when you price one at Lowe's or Home Depot.

The deck is a huge mess. Jake wants me to get rid of the fiber grow pots because they will rot the wood they sit on. I love them because they are covered with the greenest moss. Maybe I'll put some pallets underneath them. Cheap fix. 

It's only going to be flowers out there this year. (If you know, you know.) Vegetables come from Publix or Kroger.

So here, the thread is ready, patiently waiting for me to find a patch of mindlessness to start measuring and winding. Better Call Saul or Game of Thrones will do the trick but for the moment, when I watch TV, I sit on the floor in front of the TV at attention because The Last of Us is on. Right now I'm delaying watching the latest episode because the show is emotionally exhausting.

I cleaned and oiled the Janome this morning. Reacquainting myself with all his many tricks and wiles. I will be putting both the Featherweight and the 99K up for sale. It's a sin to let them languish the way I have.  This one gets the job done beautifully. This is a little test piece of that heavy linen using a modified herringbone to join two finished edges. The rest is just silly stuff, but I've worked it before and might work it again when patience with hand work runs out.

There was a fabulous complex dream last night. A minor character wants a much bigger role They have so much to say it's hard to tell if they are good or evil. 

it's keyboard time.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

As if we could park time.

Mudcats Picnic from 2008

A little pillow that's held up pretty well. Spent time in Charlie's crib. Kicked around with his plushies. In the car for a while. Then came back here with the layover. Poor thing has been a cat's tuffet most recently.

I took it apart for a few repairs and a good cleaning.

Just 12x12.  Back then I was enthralled with how easily needle and thread passed through damask and muslin. 

The tiniest stitches. 

The line of two-ply 12wt Sulky cotton whip stitched closing the seam where I stuffed it with some poly crap that is now so coarse you could scrub pots with it.

All of this mindless activity is just a distraction from the things that must be faced. Dealt with.

Sweetie ticking down her days. Bailey has to wait until Monday with an infected injury. How these innocents--and they are purely innocent--take over such chunks of ourselves. 

Tay & Grace. Grace & Tay.

Somewhere along the way, I've misplaced my fire. but I went to the park today after the temps rebounded from below freezing to nearly 55. Sat in the sun and dragged pen across paper for a while. Stared at the turtles and woodpeckers. The words wandered aimlessly, but the doing of it, the writing, felt good. When it was time to go, I left another large quilt on the bench. 

That felt good too. from 2007. A time traveler.

Thursday, February 09, 2023

Eyes wide open


This sunny day from a couple of years ago reminded me how much I used to enjoy the deck off the master bedroom that overlooks the pool. It's in wretched disrepair. Unsafe. 
Plans are afoot to set it right. 

This expanse of heavy, vintage linen is going to be the base for something new. Something large, but I'm uncertain about leaving it white. 
  These players await my decision.

And the very last of the 2022 Dirty Threads are gone. Time to inventory the dyes and equipment. I'm also thinking about how I'm going to share the how-to going forward. 

Sunday, February 05, 2023

No news...

...is good news.  A family tradition.

I was kind of shocked that I haven't posted here in over a week, but it's been quiet. I've been quiet.

There are demons - stupid shit like facing a backlog of tax filings. Giving in to the idea that I have to find and pay for an attorney for "elder law" issues. 

Facing and dealing with changes to the book - an updated edition, likely putting all three books in one volume.

Another prime avoidance tactic for pushing ahead with book four - rounding up all the rabid rabbits I've already written and seeing what sticks.

I find endless ways to avoid all of these things now that I'm not tied to a schedule, none of them adding up to much. I'm still looking for a nap after lunch-ish which wouldn't be so bad if I didn't go to bed by 8 and waste the evening watching TV.  All told, put it down to mid-winter doldrums. We haven't suffered any weather extremes here in Georgia, so I'll shut up about that before I jinx the situation. 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

connectors for flow

This one has been troubling me, the overall look of the thing (a good picture might have been nice) was disconnected, and scattered. Without flow. 
Pacing off, broken.

Gaps too large for mere lines to bridge. Worse than plot holes. Continental drifts of space.

Then I remembered the Orbs. Bubbles of color in cloth and stitch, echoing curves. Stepping stones.

Each one like a conversation with a character.
Who are you?
Who do you care about?
What do you want?
Can you live without it?

It's working. It will be a matter of choosing just the right colors and knowing when to quit. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Storied scraps


Having the design wall cleared and available (previous post) is a big part of getting this room back to being a working studio. Finding stacks of UFOs is a strange side effect. What was I thinking? Not what I'm thinking now, for sure.

The winter morning light is as harsh as ever. The birthday sewing chair needs its seat refurbished. Or maybe it's my ass that needs work. Having a time limit for seating is not all bad. 

I won't complain about the weather here with friends losing their minds in the extremes. There are limits to what humans can get used to. Nothing like that happens when the weather is merely dull.

Some days just compel stitching. I'd forgotten about the late-day sun coming into the master bedroom. Only about an hour, but enough to wrap up the day.

Monday, January 09, 2023

A glimpse inside the sausage factory


Milly has claimed the sewing chair for the moment. At least she's content to watch - no kittenish interference or playing from this one. She conserves her energy in an admirably human fashion. 

The studio is mostly reconfigured, but I have orders to fill. 

The scrap basket was looking a little anemic when I spied a stack of really colorful cottons on the shelf. I was well into ripping into them when I realized that this was the Kona cotton that I bought and dyed to make a couple of summer shifts for myself. Last summer.  Oh well. Nothing like a change of plans. If I had made a couple of schmattas no one would ever see all this glorious cloth. Now it's going to be in the world. 

If you buy a scrap bundle, a suggestion. Fill a big bowl or the bathroom sink with warm water and drop or two of Dawn. Give it all a gentle wash and rinse. There might be a tiny bit of pink in the water but it won't stick to anything non-organic. Finger-press the bits out to dry flat on an old towel. You might even get crazy and iron them! 

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

painting to move the needle



Some time ago, years now, I bought some stuff to paint with. The intention was to paint directly on unprimed canvas. Straight to the cloth.

The project got derailed and the tools tucked deep away.

During the reorganization, I found them. Golden color concentrates. Medium and heavy gels, matte and gloss.

No canvas around, so 18x24 inch multimedia paper. Heavy. A step away from card stock. Brushes that I have had since the late '60s. I never went cheap on paintbrushes.

Once the pallet is set up, I'm off to the races. No plan, no direction, and sure enough, no backing out. Every stroke a commitment. 

And it's messy AF. I'd forgotten about that part. Clean-up time

I have them both up on the blank wall in the studio. Tomorrow I'll know how they stand up to the light of day. Think about how this fits into my profound lack of plans.


Monday, January 02, 2023

The morning after

January 1. 6:49 am. 

This is fog and smoke from the ton or two of explosives set off within a mile of my house. I don't want to call them fireworks because there's rarely anything visible. They just don't get high enough. But the noise! Poor Bailey spent the night under the bed. The girls were unphased.  There was a surprising lack of gunfire throughout the evening. 

It was almost 8:30 before the day could show its face.

And here's mine. Unfiltered and not-yet-caffeinated. Gimme a minute.