Category Archives: In the Company of Cloth

notes from a quilter, collage artist, fabric collector

Rainy Monday

It’s raining again so I’m glad I got in a couple of walks this weekend, including one around Mount Auburn Cemetery. The fall plantings at the cemetery were full of both color and texture. Just gorgeous.

On our local loop, we came across another dead flicker. It’s upsetting. What is going on?

I also made progress (I think?) on about four or five small quilts. Located one more of the infamous tulle-covered “potholders,” so was able to cut out two more rows of houses. More on that tomorrow.

Fish tank

Paris Collage Collective — visual prompt the peaches

Can I just tell you it’s swampy here? Even when the dew point drops to a tolerable level, the soggy atmosphere and landscape are, well, noticeable.

It’s like living in a fish tank. The sky darkens for the third time today to deliver more rain.

Paris Collage Collective digital collage

I’m not complaining really I’m not. Not when Greece is under water, Libyans search for the dead after two dams burst, and the Atlas Mountains will soon snow on entire communities recently made homeless by an earthquake.

Death and wisdom

Owls, traditionally associated with Athena, symbolize both wisdom and death. My sister loved them. It made buying her little mementos from my travels easy because somehow owls are everywhere — on mugs, placemats, statues, and puzzles. Picking up these trinkets was one of the few things I did to accommodate her neediness that I didn’t mind.

Now those owls live here. They’re all over the place.

Last week a scrap of paper sandwiched between two sheets of contact paper appeared on the hall rug upstairs. The Virgin and Child. Huh?

At first I thought it was of the many prayer cards that I brought home from Assisi. They have a way of turning up at odd times and in odd places too.

But no. The back revealed a newspaper article which told me this was made by my sister. Cutting pictures out of magazines and newspapers was her only real creative practice in the end. I remember thinking it weird, as in deficient, that she never DID anything with her cut outs. Lately, however, I’ve begun to see the scouting and collecting as a kind of art form in itself.

I know I’ve shared other times my sister’s made “visitations” — the shattered blue Pyrex dish, her large painting falling like a guillotine. How narrow the evasion of harm! With the appearance of Mary and the Christ Child, can I assume we’ve entered a new, softer phase, perhaps one rife with atonement?

But whose, you ask — whose atonement?

Peabody Essex Museum maritime exhibit

Being in Salem this weekend allowed me to notice a change. How memory is fading. The relief of that. There was a time not too long ago when just driving by her exit, never mind sitting down and having lunch at the end of her street, would have tightened my chest and filled me with dread. I’d feel hints of the weary exhaustion that went hand in hand with our visits. Every visit.

That seems to be muted now.

Patchwork love

The patchwork I was piecing as a base for a village quilt was supposed to be incidental, more frame than subject. But I liked it too much. So I let it get bigger. Stand on its own.

From this
To this

Meanwhile, here is the appliquéd rectangle both before and after cutting.

I may opt for machine stitching in the construction of these small compositions. Between the felt backing and the inclusion of batiks and upholstery fabrics, I’m not sure my fingers are up for the needlework.

Me at the Peabody Essex Museum yesterday

That clever mask: made by

But look at that hair! Ugh. I always wear it up so what’s the point of having it long really? I may just bite the bullet and go short again. My aversion to the idea has generally been that a short do requires maintenance. Not more maintenance, but any maintenance. I used to flinch at the cost too but that is less of an issue now.

It continues to be muggy here, though temps have fallen. We notice Finn slowing down on days like these and maybe in general. He turned NINE this summer which is hard to believe.

Child’s chair repaired. K is really good at this kind of thing. Problem though? When I tried it out, I was simply checking for proportions and it turns out that a lack of padding makes it pretty uncomfortable. So we’ll see.

Gratitude and Garbage Picks

Thankful for AC! Even today, with less sun, a slight breeze, and considerably lower temps, walking 2.5 miles and re-entering a cooled house is to feel next-level gratitude. Woosh!

Our garbage-picking days are mostly behind us, but a reno around the corner on Cypress Street is spitting up some irresistible items. Took two mirrors last week and, get this, a child-sized upholstered chair.

Would its diminutive proportions accommodate me? Would it feel comfy? Yes and yes! K is fixing the broken leg and then I’ll put it upstairs for zoom calls and writing.

Have any of you read Lessons in Chemistry? My comments, below, will be deleted at week’s end because I don’t generally like to leave negative reviews online.

But boy oh boy. Giving the dog a point of view? Sloppy and silly. Other points of view sliding around willy-nilly? Again sloppy. Making your precocious kindergarten character’s reading materials be utterly, laughably incredible? And then there’s how this is a book about a pioneer in a TV cooking show and no mention is made of Julia Child in the acknowledgments (which ran to four pages or more).

Having said that, I get the appeal. It’s a page-turner and the heroine is an unyielding, outspoken resister of cultural norms in all the best possible ways. Think: Katharine Hepburn.

And of course, I have to applaud the author because this debut was published when she was 65.

From the other end of the age spectrum comes the impressive Nightcrawling, also a debut, written by a 21-year-old. A gritty coming of age story about a teenaged girl whose parents are unavailable and whose older brother abandons her (essentially), so what does she do to meet the rent? She turns tricks. Turns out, a cluster of disgusting and corrupt cops start using her services and she becomes embroiled in the exposee of their criminality. The plot was good, as was character development, but what really stunned me were some of her unusual and starkly original use of the senses to describe ordinary parts of life.

If you’re looking for short and sadly sweet, I recommend Irish author Claire Keegan. I read both Foster and Small Things Like These. These are short enough to be considered novellas and read like long short stories, really. Lovely language, poignant plot lines, and goddamn the Catholic Church.

I’ll save the biography and my favorite book pictured, The Sweetness of Water, for another time or, knowing how things go, maybe not another time.