Thursday, June 29, 2023

The Junes take wing


Wrapped, rolled, and ready to rock.

I had maybe half a cone of DMC left and decided the time was ripe. Hot, humid, and no inspiration pouring from my own stash.

Right out of the gate, the fates conspired to mess with me. I messed with them instead. The little tub marked RAVEN was empty. Lesson: is the container empty? Throw it out!
Using what I had, I cooked up my own black, as neutral as my internal color wheel could make it.
When it came time to mix three primary colors, I made a point of taking a left at each turn, NASCAR style instead of my predictable course. Once I made enough of each, I used those to set up three complementary colors  - the weird cousins got to sit in.

They look really good at this stage. Crispy. I ran out of salt and had to add sugar. Remember, the crystals are just a means of carrying the dye to the thread. I've read that a little salt goes a long way in pushing the dye molecules into the thread molecules, but you can't prove it by me one way or the other. Not like I'm standing there with an electron microscope and a stopwatch as sweat drips into my eyes.

They are washed, rinsed, and rinsed again. Now hanging in the herb dryer on the high deck. 
I have to keep an eye on the weather because there's no cover anymore. 

It's still hot and humid, but now overcast and I think we are starting to experience some of the smoke from the Canadian wildfires.

I'll be spending the rest of the morning getting the rest of them out to dry. So, good folks who were expecting me to get to the post office today, I'm sorry. But, you will be reaping the benefits of a fresh lot of dyed cloth and thread in your order if you left the choices to me.

And when all was wet and resting, I took my roasted carcass into the pool to dig even deeper into this terrific novel. 

I finished it this morning and I feel like I've stepped out of an old-time cinema where I watched an extended version of "Casablanca" and now I'm blinking in the hot sunshine wondering what year it is. 

A while back, one of my readers commented that Prophets Tango made her feel like she had just discovered the work of author Amy Harmon for the first time. I made a mental note and promptly lost it. 
Last week I was in the library and this was propped up with the librarian's summer picks and I took a chance. Looking forward to reading more of her work.

If anyone has read my book and reads this one, let me know what you think. Colin called it a "Cosmic Coincidence"

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

A cycle


When you can look it right in the face and not call it by its name, it will own you.

So, depression...fuck you. 

Workarounds work. Although I did finish up the last quarter of this right-handed. What is the proper tool or treatment for the backside of something like this? Some kind of iron-on shit? If I decide to sell it, the back will need to be properly finished off, and protected. Then again, I might just save it for my Dixie mink come the cooler weather. 
There will be more in time. Making them is like eating potato chips.

Sunday I met with one of my oldest friends. 
Once a season, we invade a favorite Mexican restaurant and take up a booth for two or three hours. It's a big place. Management doesn't seem to mind.
 It's good to have common ground to chew over with a smart, pragmatic woman. She said (something like) all the world leaders need to drop dead and their wives or daughters take up the jobs. Shit will get fixed properly, quickly, and equitably. We are team Jack Smith.

She reminded me of Gratitude and how it is the best antidote for any brand or level of self-pity. 

This bit of linen got into the writer's bag as a towel for drying my fingers before I handle the phone or paper. It seems to have a story, but for now, it's just going to serve. 

I feel a little bad mocking Salem when she is in the throes of catnip intoxication. Dignity to the wind! Also jealous. When I'm this stoned, I need to be on the carpet and stay there for the duration. 
Another fabulous sunset by my firstborn who is about to turn 43.  My first, and biggest gratitude is for both of my sons. 

Monday, June 19, 2023

Lefty to the rescue


I always wanted to do my hair in a French braid, but had no clue how to go about it. Then, one day, I was at the doctor's office waiting to get blood drawn for something forgotten and the technician had to kneel down to get supplies from a low cabinet drawer. 

Her hair was a rusty brown. Sleek, shiny, and braided to her head from the crown to the ends well past her shoulders. I studied that braid intently. That night, I dreamed about how it was done. 

I can't remember the specifics of the dream, but the next morning I hung my head over the side of the bed, brushed out all the knots, and did the thing. 

The first time I did it so tight, my eyes tipped up at the corners. My sister is a hair professional and told me that I've done is called an inverted fishtail braid. It wasn't like I could see what my fingers were doing. 

Today I gave Lefty a shot at the needle and thread. Give Righty a rest and flex the part of the brain that learns new tricks.

Just the stabbing pavers stitch for now. Slow motion eases the way. It was surprisingly easy enough to be satisfying. I'll save the wrapped rope and knots for Righty.

I have misplaced words during conversations more than I like lately, so I'm pushing the gray matter into new and different situations to keep the grooves from smoothing out. 

I've written a Tarot Spread to be included in the new novel. Haven't named it yet. That will come after I use it for a while.

Meanwhile, slackers abound!

Sunday, June 18, 2023

open heart


The shape is ubiquitous, but I never cared for the flat, two-dimensional version. The shape inside the stamped paper lace cut-outs. 

The engine of life is so much more complex. The actual, fist-shaped, meat version is unpretty. Brutal looking. 

I shouldn't have even started this one, but there's the nature of compulsion. 

Some over-use/abuse of my right shoulder (probably pool cleaning related) is causing a distracting level of pain in my right shoulder to fingertips. Stitching, even a few minutes at a time is suspended.

I can talk my keyboard through the motions of getting words on paper. There's that for now.

It's Father's Day. My sons learned from the best. 

Friday, June 16, 2023

A very fine friday

 Except for the nasturtium seeds, everything here came from the big box dead wagon or trash can (I can't dumpster dive anymore. It requires a partner and I don't know anyone willing to do time for stealing dead geraniums.) But if you become a regular, even a browser, the cashier is more likely to cut a deal with you rather than see plants with a little hope thrown in the garbage. 

Sometimes, if I'm real quiet, I hear them humming. and grunting. and complaining. 

During odd hours this week, this audacious little heart demanded to be manifest. I obliged and immediately put it to work on the side of the writing tote that I drag around. Usually, it's Just In Case (a spirit moves me). 

Over these last few days a large chunk of the work in progress, book four, fell into place. I wrote out notecards for all the scenes I have that are half-baked. gooey still and flexible.
Being able to put them in some kind of order gives the book a beating heart. It's quite thrilling when the smoke clears.

I'm also seeing a way forward for another book that's been on the back burner for several years. 

And today I got my happy place back. Thirty minutes of work brushing and siphoning, then an hour surveying my domain from the floaty. (Deep gratitude for Samantha providing an electric air pump) . We have a few anoles, I hear the tree frogs at night. Dragonflies came in low and slow to inspect me then flitted off for discussions. 

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Scrap refresh


I've been making up orders (bless you all) and felt that the scrap basket could use some pizzazz. 

Actually, the giant tote that I keep my personal stash in fell off the third closet shell while I was shoving things around looking for What Was It?

I went down the rabbit hole poking around in it. Some things still dazzled others made me wonder what I was thinking or smoking that day. 

I won't call it death cleaning. Just the realization that my "somedays" are much more likely to have been promised to other activities or people. Things that will give me a lot more satisfaction than completing another stitched Whatsis that will be lucky if it becomes a potholder or a placemat. 

There was a big stack of those in another tote. Stuff that's mostly finished. As in Now What?

At least a well-made quilt gets to be useful so I'm thinking that if one of those "somedays" turns up a little empty, I'm going to whip all of those little projects together with the sewing machine, break out that double-sized Warm&Natural batt that's been roosting on a high shelf, find or cobble together a backside and create something useful out of all that wishful thinking.
So, now there are bits and pieces of my cloth history going back ten, fifteen years in the scrap bin. 

I have a lot of commercial prints that I've hoarded, too, but didn't add them in. Quilt backs eventually, I guess.

Salem and Bailey doing their best to keep me indolent on a rainy day.  Yesterday, I got thirty minutes in the very cold pool doing cleanup work before the skies opened up. I would have stayed, but never with thunder.

And from Colin at the airport last night, this miracle. The weather flexed from nasty to glorious three times yesterday making the day seem eternal. It was disorienting. This sunset promised a beauty today, but I'll wait and see what the weather gods have up their sleeves.  
I could use a Sweetie or two.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

First dibs


I got mine!

(As she congratulates herself on her restraint)

Now to make room in my threadbox. And pesky? I gave away all those cardboard bobbins. 

Distant thunder just now. With it, the first rain in weeks! The gardenias have been blooming and dying in one day. I have been carrying gallons to the pumpkins out front and the deck plants. Amen.

 I can feel the plants and animals unfurling. Opening. Drinking it in. 

Thunder answers. You're welcome.

Friday, June 09, 2023



It got hot here. Not as much humidity as we have near my swamp, but the cicadas told the tale. Jake and Charlie have a great workaround.

That bird was a female Baltimore oriole. 

It's good to be home.

The cloth and thread that I left to dry on Sunday have held the "wet" promise. Vivid and varied. 
Now, sorting, photographing, uploading....all that tedious stuff as I can make time for. Life. 

     Until I can get all of these into the store, if you trust me to choose four thread colors for you, I will add them to a full baggie of scraps for you. Email me for details.

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Workspace away

This is my workspace for this week.  It faces west so later in the day, retreat to indoors is necessary. 

There is just enough breeze to evaporate your sweat and cool your skin. The wind chimes on the far end of the porch barely whisper.

It's tranquil here. A distant rooster or cow now and then. Mourning doves and other songbirds, but mostly deep stillness. 
Now I know what the real cure for tinnitus is. Quiet, dressed in quiet, and carrying a bouquet of quiet.

A bird I've never seen, pale orange with dark tail tips just flashed by. No clue and no inclination to find out. He lives around here. I'm only visiting.

Charlie is in a very brief summer school program. I drop him off at nine and retrieve him at noon. Then we hang out. I'm soaking it up because, after this week, I'll have to schedule time around camp to see him.


The words are like stitches. One by one, they add up to a sentence, a passage, or a scene. The overall picture is still forming, but the groundwork has been laid. 

Saturday, June 03, 2023

Starting from scratch


The day rolled up hot and loud shouting, "Don't waste me!"

There were some threads measured, waiting. A few linen garments dismembered earlier. A fat handful of old damask napkins. Shockingly large when I shook out the ironing. A sad khaki hobo bag that I bought a few years ago. A fat hank of 70/30 silk/cotton, all waiting.

The colors? I didn't know what I wanted. I sorted all the dyes into primary groups, turned the labels away from me, and went from there, again holding back the Raven. 

We need rain, but it won't come tonight so I'll be hand rinsing all of this early tomorrow. Then packing for a week away. 

If you've placed a request recently, forgive my poor follow-thru. Life and family had to come first. I will hold your place in line and the store will be replenished for you to take a second look.

The dyedeck gardens have run wild. Sacrifices may have to be made. Why do I keep growing mammoth sunflowers in pots? 

The linen table moppers are going to be fabulous by the end of the season. There will be discharging and soy wax work along the way, otherwise it will all become mud.

I rolled some of the threads into linen bundles to see how wet batching works as opposed to leaving the hanks in the sun to poach fast.

The thread ran out pretty quickly so I  turned to some old-school techniques for the remainder of the cloth. The mason jars were ecstatic.

Buttons will be salvaged. Seams will be picked. I'll have some time on my hands in the upcoming week. Not here, but I love how cloth is so portable.

The neighbor's magnolia trees are in full bloom. The scent stops my train of thought, but it brought a memory. Tomorrow is my wedding anniversary. Jimmy would sit on the couch in the living room where he could see me working on the deck. Sometimes he would step outside and say "What you were grinning over. Which one? Yes!"