Category Archives: House quilts

What’s the story?

It’s done. Sky indigo-dunked by me. Foreground silk, I don’t remember (arlee barr?) Pink linen: Deb Lacativa. Plaid house window: a shirt of my husband’s. There is blue-grey linen from Montreal, dark blue linen purchased in NYC in another lifetime, and scraps of a skirt that I wore to my last (and loathsome) job.

I keep asking myself — what is this little piece about?

Sometimes the story of the cloth can be found in the fabrics. The clock print would be the obvious narrative (the relentless march of time, etc.) but for me it’s all about that red plaid window. It’s warmth. It’s comfort. K wore it for years and years: camping, mowing the lawn, walking around the North Shore, fixing stuff in the house.

Somewhere I read that when quilters place a red fabric in the center of a log cabin patchwork square, it is to represent the hearth of home.

Yes. That.

A recent experience offers something akin to permission to think about this a little differently. The experience? — this season’s Project Runway (yes, it survived Tim Gunn’s departure!)

If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll know how often the judges insist on ‘story,’ which is something a little different and apart from the designer’s ‘voice.’ Each collection needs a story, the judges insist, a unifying theme. Sometimes what the designers say is laughably far-fetched, seemingly uttered just to satisfy the judges. Other times, you can see how the designer’s story directed construction and textile choices in a meaningful way.

Near the end of this season, the contestants were tasked with creating an installation, and the man who ultimately won simply could not find a narrative for his collection. He painted his cubicle an awful color and slapped up some floral cut-outs. It was dopey. It clashed with his exquisite garments. He flailed, openly complaining that he couldn’t find the story.

And yet, he won. The woven strips of leather, the craftsmanship, the authority of his designs were story enough, it turns out.

I’m still not sure what to think about this. Is the play of color and shape story enough? Maybe, maybe not. Listening (very part-time, I’m afraid) to Jude’s recent class, has me reviving old pieces. One side benefit to watching her create is this reconsidering of older work. IS this piece finished? Is that piece? Could something be added that would enliven it (i.e. tell a story)?

I’m quite certain that the reason making a gift for a particular person is gratifying, is because the recipient supplies the story. It’s built in. You start with this bib and that bob, and you’re off, all the while considering the person who will ultimately receive it. I know that this is an energetic matter, too, because as recently mentioned on Dana’s blog, after making a satisfying gift, I’ve tried to trick myself into thinking a subsequent piece was also a gift, to no avail.

Thoughts, please?

Little setbacks

Yesterday, Handsome Dog Walker announced he’s done with the dog business. As of the end of June. Damn! This was after spending an hour getting dates into an email and looking at a calendar with him. I knew this was coming, but didn’t know it would come this soon.

The last guy we used (years back) was just in the news because either his dogs or the dogs in his care (the coverage didn’t specify) killed a fourteen year old boy who was caring for them in his absence. So, he’s not an option. We used someone nearer by while in Denver because HDW wasn’t available and Finn came home with diarrhea and terrible manners (not enough exercise, supervision, or alpha energy). She’s out.

I’ll find someone — but so much for feeling a touch of proud glee yesterday at my organization.

In other dog news: Finn can be a hilariously jealous boy. Look at this! All I have to say to K is, “Would you rub my feet?” and the dog dashes over like a bullet and inserts himself.

Today we have cooler temps, but sun. A good day to walk the dog. To write. To braise some lamb shanks for dinner.

Little updates

Adding paths to bring the design forward. Roofed one house in teal so it didn’t disappear quite so much. Tree branches were found, cut, and stitched on.

After a string of beautiful days, today is cloudy. It poured most of the night.

Short trips and writing retreats are booked and dog care lined up. I’m on it!

Also, I just submitted a section of the novel to a ‘first chapter contest’. It’s not that I expect to win, it’s that I expect myself to keep doing this. Finishing and submitting. Wheee!

After a spell of floating from room to room downstairs, I’m back in the upstairs study. It’s good. My books are here. Most of my notes. And lots of light.

Rolling into June

Just posted this in my Etsy shop (sidebar link). Even though I pieced it before I even knew I was headed to Italy, it has an Assisi feel to it.

Enjoy a few more pix from my April trip. I’m off to edit my little tail off.

PS With the sun out and temps approaching 70, there’s a festive mood among neighbors. “Enjoy the day!” says one. “No parka today!” I say to another. “Oh at last!” I hear up the street.

Bounty of the garden

The bounty of our garden never includes vegetables because we have too much shade — but oh! Everything else!

Rhodies bursting into color. Comfrey stretching up in regal glory. Ferns gone wild.

Tidying the front bed a little. Planted two creeping junipers.

Everything (almost) dies under the front black walnut, so this year I’m going to plant some tall grasses in containers for a little screening.

In between ruining my hands weeding and planting, work is getting finished.

Cupcake pin cushion construction learned years ago from artist whose name I’m sorry I can’t recall but does it matter when there are thousands of tutorials on it now and Pinterest pix in the millions?

I like this new one because the open frets of the vintage button offer an easily identifiable spot for needles.

Choose color. Eat. Laugh.

It’s amazing what a dampening effect weather and disappointing news can have. Parts of Colorado got nine inches of snow! Don McGahn didn’t show up to testify and he’s not in jail!

It doesn’t help to be reading a book about a hapless, middle-aged failure whose failures would rank as astounding successes for me. K pshaws (he’s a champ), but still.

(Why continue reading it, you ask? Because it’s incredibly well-written and I want to know what happens).

A delicious homemade broth with ramen was a definite perk last night. We could walk there too, which was nice.

Another high point: a trip to a goodwill in a posh part of Denver where I scored some really good ‘cutters.’ The best one — a garment made out of African batik.

It’s a maxi skirt, so it’s a decent bit of yardage.

Also, I’m a sucker for stripes, so this beautiful cotton skirt grabbed my eye.

I photographed it on a quilt made for D (13 years ago?) to show the consistency of palette.

What colors draw you in, again and again? I’ve studiously tried to move toward a less saturated color wheel for years and not managed it. Tells you something.

This quilt represents probably as much success as I’ll get with choosing more subdued colors. It’s almost finished, PS.

This dress, while a 100% polyester, has just the kind of patterning that I love. Also, because it’s nearly sheer, it can easily be stitched on top of other fabrics. And check out the buttons!

So, what to do while Rome burns? Have a decent meal and indulge in colors that please you. Is that what I’m saying?

Maybe.

Guffawing over at twitter has its place, too.