Category Archives: In the Company of Cloth

notes from a quilter, collage artist, fabric collector

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.

Serendipity and not

Once upon a time I stitched up a bunch of abstract squares. They were covered in black nylon tulle, because that was a thing I did early on, and they were close enough in size to potholders to have an unshakeable resemblance to them. In other words, I soon hated them.

What does a quilter do? Cut them up, of course.

The row houses above came from one such “potholder.” A series is born, I thought.

Two problems. One, I can’t at the moment find the rest of the potholders. Two, the simple selection of ground, sky, and moon rather instantly became more complicated.

Because I let it, I know.

No worries! I’ve found other rectangles to cut up. Also, the way I allow various permutations to have a say is endlessly interesting to me.

The detours don’t help finishing a series (or to be honest, perhaps prevent even beginning one). But there you have it. This is who I am.

This one started w/crazy quilt appliquéd square

Any previously-worked square cut carefully enough ought to yield two rows of houses.

Back tomorrow!

Look what I found

Woke to neighbor’s yard crew roaring just below my bedroom window then for hours endured tree work two houses over. Incredibly punishing. Finally put in ear buds and listened to a box fan. Whir, whir, whir. Then I could think and turned to sorting study papers — throwing out old chapter lists, old word count tallies, old email lists. A purge. Then vacuumed. Always feels good.

It is blessedly quiet now.

Dead Northern Flicker and rusted iron disk found within steps of each other on dog walk.

He was 23. John Lewis was 23 here.

Help with the puzzle yesterday.

I made company another version of the quinoa salad. This one had the same mix of wild and white rice but with barley and fresh corn in lieu of the quinoa. It wasn’t as amazing as the day before but still yummy. Is it because I served the quinoa salad while it was still warm? Maybe.

Already sick to death of Ramaswamy. Why is the press giving him so much air time? The man is a creepy fraud and a lunatic who makes Elon Musk look like a moderate.

Younger son has gone back to college. Starting today. Thoughts and prayers appreciated, especially since they won’t help the most recent victims of Nazi terrorism.

One of Paris Collage Club digital collages for week


In case you want a look back that’ll give you chills and maybe, hope. I who never cry, teared up. I know Biden is old and that can make us wish for different choices, but take a look and remember.

Meanwhile, this is happening in the basement. The closer K gets to retirement, the more house projects he takes on. Last week it was cleaning out all the gutters and oiling the wooden ones. I could hear that distinctive clank of the aluminum ladder being moved for a few days. Then he replaced that bedroom window that spontaneously shattered a while back on a day with a sudden forty degree temperature drop.

Fixed: the ice maker; the washing machine.

I think he’s paving a path.

Also, finding (more) skeletal mouse remains and patching holes in the old foundation.

When he starts organizing (and selling off) the massive coin collection in the cellar, I’ll know we’re close.

Same family that was in our backyard recently spotted on yesterdays dog walk

It appears that my first born is shopping for a motorcycle. Excuse me while I go scream in a closet for a bit.

My only response to him will be to ask if he’s a registered organ donor.