Thursday, April 18, 2024

One word at a time... how the story gets told.

Loose. Easy.
Slow and focused. 

These damask shreds will be a part of it.

Satisfaction guaranteed.



"There Goes My Heart" by the Mavericks

For the very first time  I have a desk dedicated to writing. That sounds so odd. The old work chair still knows my ass. I need a cool lamp. Something lurking in a thrift shop somewhere. Dragons and brass. It'll turn up. Maybe a riser to keep the laptop cool. A desk calendar. 

What is this about? Wanting this change. 


 Deliberately. The beloved stitching chair has served well past its retirement. Or maybe my spine has just thrown another facet.

Likely, a sad combination of the two. I haven't been able to sit there for much more than a half hour without pain that stays even when I get up. It's down in the living room now serving as a spare. 

 The replacement has come, free, from a corporate reshuffle. Firm, upright, tight and gray, a recliner that never will. THAT lack of personality will be addressed soon. 

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Show me your Dirty Threads...

 ...and I'll show everyone what great taste you have. Send me pictures of your stash and I'll add them to this post.

                        I've given this post its own page - Thread Nests

Lori's Dirty Threads need their own zip code.

Jennifer's dirty threads

My monster lunchbox stash 

Hazel's horde of Dirty Threads 

Dee's Dirty Threads 

Tina's Dirty Threads nesting

Liz's so tidy Dirty Thread stash

Nancy's threads sneaking out.

Catherine's thread nest

Jude's thread nest

the Dirty Thread nest of Grace of the West

Here is Joann's disgustingly orderly hoard of Dirty Threads. 

Saturday, April 13, 2024

A worky Saturday


The scrap basket is chock full!

The trouble is each time I dip into it, I sneak another piece of cloth into my stash. 

Charlie has discovered the funny pages and he is fascinated. Some of the strips are a bit obtuse for a nine-year-old but we read every single one. Talked about religions, meaning, sarcasm, and the sad fact that there were only six pages of funnies. 

Oddly, he particularly liked the ones that were part of a serial even though we came in on the middle of the story.  To be continued. I'm sure.

Friday, April 12, 2024

A wild leap


Remember this from last September

I set the cloth aside because I was engrossed with Dee's book, "The Weight of Cloth".

The new threads put a fire under the ongoing stitched Spell project but I'm still not happy with the thread colors so I'm parking that one for a while. There was a serious shortage of blues. It took me all morning to decide which side of the cloth to use and which end up. Now I'm committed.

For this one, I'm using the same text, and still digging things out of my thread stash.

BUT (and it's a big one, folks) I'm not laying out the lettering. With nothing more than base guidelines that I first ironed in and then basted, I'm winging the lettering a word at a time. It feels like too much control is wrong for a spell of any kind. 

It's going to call for the kind of focus I have lost recently from spending too much time escaping life into the glowing screens. Writing requires the same focus and I've been groping in the dark on that account lately, too. An electronic fast is in order. 

Tuesday, April 09, 2024



I could not ask for a more perfect coda to a dyefest than an all-day rain. Lightning just flashed and thunder rolled in from far off. The light is pinking up.

 I was exhausted by the time I finished the last of the threads. The break for watching the eclipse was enough to get me through basic cleanup. 

By evening the certainty of today's rain pushed me to spend the early evening finishing the threads in the kitchen while I listened to a ballgame on the radio. I'm grateful that I did. The cloth I left for the rain to handle.

Speaking of gratitude, this post set the tone for my day. Thanks, Dee. 

As intended, there's a delicacy, an understatement to the color of this lot of thread. Some of the subtly was intentional, some not. The blues lost some ground because it was just not hot enough for them even in the sun. Time has proven that turquoise and his cousins need 80 degrees to come through strong.

It's going to be a few days before I start posting these for sale.

image by Diana Taylor. "All Night Rain" by the Atlanta Rhythm Section

Monday, April 08, 2024

Dyfest eclipsed

 Did I mention the magic ingredient is sweat? All the thread has been washed,rinsed,and laid out to dry. Tomorrow we'll see what gives. I worked slowly. Being methodical, correcting colors at the halfway mark. Broadening my willingness to accept a color made me a little cranky. Maybe it was the time constraint of the eclipse. I wrapped up about fifteen minutes before the peak dark. Sat out front with the cats and observed with my cardboard glasses.

I shot this over my shoulder without looking. The fur people were unfazed. They noticed, but seemed to be underwhelmed.

Start Your Engines!

 The weather is cooperating albeit a little chilly right now, but by noon the sun will be over the yardarm and I'll have the heat the process needs, fingers crossed. I hope to have everything done and dusted by the time the eclipse starts. My most distinct memory of the last eclipse is how weird colors looked as the moon and sun did their dance. Not trusting one's eyes was disorienting.

Here's where any help or instructions I have to offer will fall short because, during the color mixing process, words fail and instinct takes over. I have eleven of these little shakers left. One went AWOL somewhere under the deck where it's now king of spiders and slugs, forever. I sometimes wonder what color was in it, but not enough to crawl down there and find out. Eleven is a good number. 


I started with the notion of three sets of primaries with each set having a warm, neutral, and cool. But things went sideways quickly when I remembered that I also wanted some complimentary blends or browns. 

I've also started something new. That stainless steel shaker has a little bit of everything with a hot dose of Raven. A dollar well spent at GW.

None of these hopefuls will prove out until the dye hits the cloth and thread. That might be the most exciting part of the process. I don't measure anything so every color created at the kitchen table is unique, a true one-of-a-kind. 

When I get outside, I find myself saying "Yay" or "Yuck" and yucks can be amended quickly by adding color in whatever direction I think it needs. 

Winding, measuring, and tying off the skeins is something that happens while I'm half-watching TV reruns.  
                           Vroom vroom!

Sunday, April 07, 2024

eclipse eve


Go here for the rest of it. Keep your eye on the guy on the right.

I've been looking at color all day. Broke out the acrylics and paper for a little flexing. The deck wasn't as bad as I thought. Pick up and hose off mostly. 

I've been leafing through a kind of color Bible.
My big color compass, Joan Mitchell.  (Liz- our exchange in the comments is still relevant)


I must have a dozen of these steel hotel pans all over the house. Bathrooms, studio, kitchen. They are so useful. Tomorrow I'll use them for steeping a few larger pieces of cloth. Let them stew in their juices during the eclipse. 

Everything is filled with fresh water because the hose head leaks. The front end of my process is relatively low water. The next day, I pray for rain to help with the first rinse. 

The new Thyme in the foreground and the Old Lavender are so alike in form, but so different under the nose. And look at the moss growing on the sides of the fiber pots!

A cover


Once I get fixated on a title that would mean carved in Carrera marble if I had the skills and I crave the skills. 

You know there are videos of sweaty, muscled guys chiseling marble statues? Quite mesmerizing to see art materialize from a lump of rock. 

This would be my version, minus the sweat and muscles, of bringing an idea to life.

Parking this for a while because I have to finish prepping the dye deck for tomorrow.

What will you be doing during the eclipse? 

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Spring break


"Like a week in the country..." lyrics to something and the cure for what ails us.  The storms only gave us a lick of lightning and thunder last night. 

The first thing I did when I got here was take the grand tour of the new treehouse. I climbed the ladder and checked out the built-in bench to prove to myself that I still could. 

I would have put it a lot higher, but that's not my call. 

This is the view from the front porch. The people across the private road farm all organic. Last year this field was filled with giant sunflowers and cabbages as big as pumpkins. Just behind him is a field where cows wander around moaning with delight over all the new green grass. 

I hope he didn't see me staggering around the front steps stooped over planting nasturtium seeds everywhere. Surefire crop if Jake doesn't mow them.

It's a good thing that fine linen is so forgiving. I had to pick out the "r" and move it. Before it looked like Slash and Bum. I'm taking my time filling in the heart. This is the first time I've attempted anything realistic in stitch and I think the swords turned out pretty well. 

Friday, March 29, 2024

title and theme


I love this hard-assed morning light. In a week or two it will be filtered and muted by the new leaves on the big Water Oak in the front yard. At the moment that tree is festooned with strings of yellow, pollen-laden flowers.  All parked cars are yellow. All eyes are a little red.

A new car wash nearby is having its grand opening giving away free car washes. I got one a little while ago and the attendant said I should come back again tomorrow. Jumping Jack Flash was seriously filthy.

I'm working on the layout for the Spell project but I have to stop and find a hard surface to work on. Large enough to tape the cloth down. Hard enough to allow for a good transfer. In the meantime...

This cloth was folded into thirds and hand-stitched two-thirds of the way on the sides to form what looked like something to hold paper money

I didn't think I'd ever use these. So full of history and mystery. But when I pulled this one from the river basket and saw the monogram, there was no question that I would use it. 
Putting the bells on a cart before the horses are even born, I'm making a cover for the novel I'm working on. Their surname is Bell. 

Where did my metallic gold thread get to?

A disturbance in the force of my household has been healed 

and it's Baseball opening day.