Friday, September 29, 2023

Stuffed cusspot

I spent this glorious morning updating the dirty threads inventory, here and here

Then this little devil crossed my radar.

Before one of the demon cat posse decides that this is a new toy, I've decided to let it out into the world of usefulness. $65 includes postage anywhere in the US.

There are four full skeins of Dirty Threads in the bottom. I have topped it off with hand-dyed scraps until it feels like a ripe avocado. You know the kind- use it today or tomorrow at the latest. I chose the scraps with an eye toward variety.

The cusspot itself is crocheted from Lily Sugar & Cream cotton thread and then hand-dyed with my mix of Procion MS dyes. Once you empty it out, it can be a great thread and scrap catcher.

You can put loose change in them. All manner of little things that shouldn't be left wandering around.

I have dipped them in a water and acrylic medium sauce, shaped them, and then allowed to dry hard.  Hung one up to be a birdnest but had no tenants. 
The original is now stuffed with cotton and catnip leaves and sewn shut. I think I want it back. And I still have a half cone of that thread just waiting for a frosty day.

Sunday, September 24, 2023



I cut this one roughly in half. There was too much going on to use it whole. Still not sure what direction the story will be taking. 

Hating some of it and being wonderstruck by other parts reminded me of the earliest stages of one of my favorite, most successful pieces, Blue Wave.

Created in a time of turmoil, I remember so many times when I'd pick it up to work on it and say "What the fuck?" as if elves came in at night and messed with it. I was ambivalent to the very end, and then I fell in love.  

I've been studying the process pictures and remembering how much depended on being open to changing directions, staying in the moment, and not settling for anything less than Wow with every session.  

Most importantly not allowing whole cloth to dictate the story. Others must come into play. 

I was in the stitching chair from 10 to noon waiting for the Xfinity guy to come and make a miracle or two and I've already messed up by spending too much time stitching on it when I haven't spent a minute on composition. 
Tiny Gingher storks to the rescue. 

Time to clear the design wall and dump over the River basket.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Shop keeping

Here and there

I've also done some over-dyeing today and will be adding new sets in a day or so.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

The wax this time

Before anything else, I have to tell all of you constant readers that I finished reading Dee Mallon's novel yesterday and I was deeply and profoundly moved. 

Works of literary art are few and far between these days. I feel privileged to have seen this one come into its own. Congrats, Dee. Now, for wings to fly! 


There was no crone stirring a steaming vat over a fire, but there was a sweaty woman stooped over a kitchen sink, swearing every time the water - -from a boiling kettle -- got too hot even for gloves. 

If sweat and cursing is the magic ingredient, so be it. I had forgotten just how wild, beautiful, and unpredictable this process can be. 

A week ago I was hoping for a better camera. This week, I'm giving thanks for the old one still doing its best.

The linen fought the wax just a little. The quandary comes when you have to decide if you want to use the hard or soft side of the cloth. Crisp lines and sharp images or the slightly blurred ones that have their own little ghosts inside.

The wax hits hard and fast, sometimes preserving the existing color, sometimes not and there is no controlling it. Best you can hope for is to not get burned.

These pieces are large, the smallest up top is 41x29. Loomed vintage linen. Middleweight, a little slubby, like silk noil. 

All of them have been ironed which could be a sign that end times are nigh. 

This one is larger. I'm going to take it outside to get some overall shots.

All of these will be for sale, either whole or in pieces. That's up for discussion.


Raven dye is forgiven for being less than black. That was all on me but this stony mossness is all its own. I had forgotten how gorgeous cotton damask shines up when you iron it, giving up the ghosts of its original designs. This one is also large. Heading out to the park for a photo shoot, if the skies don't open up in sympathy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023



Working with resists calls for you to think about how what will remain works with what's born again, changed radically. 

I can't remember the last time I fooled with soy wax resist. Ages. In the scrap basket are a few pieces of cloth showing evidence - a white freckle or slash here and there. I like the way my natural gestures come through when slinging hot wax.

 What I remember most is how friggin' messy it is and "Fierce", representing my largest fail. And the failure was much more about a weak black than the soy wax.

Jumping on a notion without planning and preparation is (for me) either a big win or a hideous mess. This could go either way. Just as I spread these out on the deck to cure, it started to rain. You can correctly interpret "cure" as I was too hot and sweaty to fool with any of it a moment longer.  These are large pieces, feet by feet. 

What I do remember is that my hot water was not hot enough to do the job. When the time comes to finish up, I will be entertaining the neighbors by putting my biggest pot on to boil over the firepit in the front yard. Picture it! Someone is bound to call the police.  

Thursday, September 07, 2023

Take heart...


...even though I feel like I don't have any to spare with this touch of 'Summer's over' melancholy. Season endings does that to me. A New England trait that's born into us even if the weather (wherever we wind up) is boring or radically different. I did get one more day in the pool! 

My heart has been stretched out of shape lately. Nothing drastic or dramatic, just a constant prickle of emotional shoves and a few kicks. 

Keeping a public journal of sorts does it too. Social media will do it for you without asking. My phone is failing in weird ways and I'm almost grateful, but in reality, one more bucket of bullshit to deal with.

In a fit of busywork, another Garden Heart gets stitched into being and now waits on top of one of the linen table moppers trying to get me to decide what it wants to be. 

Not much compares to having a furred, purring creature under your hand as you fall asleep at night.

That is my very first cusspot chock full of thread ends she's guarding. Have not yet caught her moving it, but it's never where I need it these days.

Saturday, September 02, 2023



I looked it up to make sure that I was using it right. Some words get stretched and overused to the point of deviation. Redux is one of them,

Long-time readers will remember the Magic Invisibility Cloak - my half-cocked approach to a project I should have thought about for more than five minutes. But that was back in the day when I was working a half-witted job (from home, thank goodness) and had eight hours an evening to busy my hands with something that should have taken more than just the other half of my wits.

But it was fun for most of the production. I can look at it now and tell when I was running out of ideas and steam.

Once it was done, I only wore it in public a few times because I didn't have any good answers for people who would accost me in the grocery

store or the post office wanting to know if the circus was in town. "Overkill" was one way of looking at it. 

I was reminded of a time when I was staring at a guy who was trying to look like Alice Cooper - his hair was six inches of black roots, fringed with white and neon green at his shoulders. Church wear these days but, back then, he got all the shock value he was going for. 

I stared at him openly, not judging, but wondering how the heck it was done. He gave back a challenging stare and I said, "Well, you did want people to look at you, right?"    He thought about it for a second, then said, "Yeah. That's what I wanted."  Everyone went away happy.

So back to redux. The cloak hung around the studio much longer than useful so today I dismembered it, preserving the more interesting elements. The ones I didn't rush.

I can look at each piece of cloth and remember its provenance. (sigh). the things we fill our brain wrinkles with.

If anyone is interested in any of these pieces, let me know.