Tag Archives: “dee mallon”

Boston Strong – journey of a quilt


I was working on this quilt when the Marathon Bombs went off.

Here’s a slideshow of its making (it’s 3 minutes) – Boston Strong Now II

As my regular readers know, my husband, younger son, and I were touring CU/Boulder at the time. It was snowing very hard. This inspired me to fill the pathways spooling below the houses with white.  Boston-Strong-four-huts  Boston-Strong-indigo-plaid Boston-Strong-leaf-roof  Boston-Strong-wholeAt some point, the quilt was exposed to moisture, and some of the color of the red wool challis bled into the sidewalks. While before it had been a quilt that occupied my lap while hearing the awful news, now it was itself visually linked to the event.

For once I’m glad it took me so long to finish a quilt because it let me come ’round to seeing that the primary message here is one of hope. The little scene speaks to community:  our paths cross each others’ paths; our homes touch each others’ homes; a single moon guides each and every one of us.

It helped that the Red Sox finished the season so triumphantly!


poppy comin’ along

poppy comin' along by dee at clothcompany

This is hanging off the tablecloth in the dining room. A new way to view.

But the real experiment here is ‘sharing’. Keeping it simple… can I find a better way?!!

Shared this photo directly from PSE11 gallery into flickr and now blogging directly from flickr….

Normally, would open PSE organizer, edit, (mostly to re-size) and then save compressed image to a folder (that I now have to triple click and scroll to get to (thank you update!)), THEN go to wordpress and upload image twice (thank you update there, too!! because wordpress recently added an additional step to insert image).

So, does this work?!! Even with a quick edit from wordpress, this is a boatload easier!

dog and cat


Jack looking dashing back in April

Jack today

Jack today

kitty made of recycle pant material - frayed too much!

kitty made of recycle pant material – frayed too much!

doorknob makes for feeling of welcome

doorknob makes for feeling of welcome

Scratch disks are full, or I might have cropped out the shadow of my head (above).

But such things are minor in light of a visit (the fourth in three weeks) to the vet with Jack. I will know just how bad the news is tomorrow or the next day, but it appears that he has cancer.



perspective – not necessary, but good!


straight base translates as flat; roof line doesn’t match up with house

This white house emerged months ago as I pieced up muslin for what would become the “Red House”. I was immersed in barn raising at the time.


pin board


roofline better; perspective created with a single strip of blue floral slanting up from front corner to back corner

Two different green plaids are used in the roof. I think another piece is required to overhang that right rear facade.

real rooflines

real rooflines – earlier in season, many years ago

There are flash flood warnings here.  My phone actually honked to tell me so. Based on the rain and wind, I would not have guessed there to be any danger (and maybe there isn’t).

Speaking of phones, when I took my failing-to-connect-to-the-internet iPhone to the Genius Bar, everything operated just perfectly. The ‘genius’ took notes (on his tablet, naturally), but I could tell he thought I was a technology-challenged moron (and maybe I am). However, I came home and all the same problems reasserted themselves. And I don’t see how it could be an issue with our router, because everyone else in this household is connecting to the internet just fine.

As maddening as these tech issues have been — for weeks now (Photoshop crashed twice while posting yesterday — one time recovering; one time not) —  I really could use some perspective there as well.

What is the emotional equivalent of a blue strip of fabric lightly laid, just so, to make the line of the foundation travel back? What perspective would ease getting through a series of technology issues that show no sign of easy resolution and that undercut my ability to stay connected (and THERE’s the psychological metaphor for one of the mechanical failures — it’s always there).

“WALK AWAY FROM THE SCREEN, Dee” isn’t going to cut it for much longer. I should take Michelle’s comment from yesterday to heart: “Breathe”.

when to abandon, finish, or begin again

How do you know when to abandon a piece? Or, if the decision is to spare an unliked work, how do you go about finding the will to finish it?



Shooting this little quilt out of focus and cock-eyed accurately captures my lack of affection for it. Initially, I set out to ‘improve’ it by continuing to applique scraps — applying some sheers for additional interest and a variety of teeny chips of geometric prints to suggest more windows. However, the backing fabric is a polished cotton (and I suspect designed for outdoor use) and it became evil to try and stitch through.

So! I cut it up.


more interesting already

Cutting up a quilt otherwise designated for the garbage doesn’t take much nerve, particularly when you haven’t spent all that much time on it the first place. Now I am committed to finishing it and will use one of the Berninas to do so (sparing the thumbs is generally a good practice!)

So — NOTE TO SELF — prior to abandoning a piece, you can:

One – cut it up, rearrange it (if necessary or fun, cut up TWO quilts and mix and match). (DONE)

Two – Using a zig-zag stitch, butt edges together and unite them. (DONE)

Three — Add additional scraps to surface, in my case more rooves, windows, and a red hot sun.  (IN PROGRESS).

Four – bind or not. I’m a lot less compulsive about the need for a traditional binding.

Who knows? Maybe this little Summer Village will usher in a whole slew of Finished Things.

For the first time EVER I am viewing the prospect of a period in which I limit myself to the task of finishing in-progress pieces as something appealing — as a source of freedom, even.

Funny isn’t it? How something that for years (finishing, finishing and focusing on finishing) has seemed nothing but an exercise in the SuperEgo — dull, lacking in spark, with an oppressive need for semi-accuracy — can suddenly carry a whiff of delight?

Perhaps this is a testament to the weight of things undone.

And perhaps this new stance on finishing is an indicator of just how toxic the process of selling your work can be. In most of the previous ten years, finishing a piece was synonymous with readying it for sale. That’s a big “UGH” all on its own, and it must have carried a large enough spread of contamination to pollute the process of finishing.

marcias quilt

actually, many quilts were completed to give away as gifts!


Just wondering. Didn’t mean to sound SO incredibly down on selling.

holly fair booth

Holly Fair, Cambridge, Mass. — one of the very first craft fairs I did

Can you imagine a whole wall of Global Warming quilts (mostly pieced already) backed and quilted and edges finished in some manner?! The Witness quilts (two of them, I think) — bound and complete? The Middle Passage quilts resolved (remember? I dunked two of them into the indigo vat, which kind of stopped me short) — bound and quilted as well?!! A couple of baby blankets, quilted and bound, if only to donate them to Children’s Hospital (because there are some – uh-oh – bumps that I won’t be able to quilt out).

adding tornadoes and rain to Global Warming WIP

adding tornadoes and rain to Global Warming WIP

First step I suppose would be to make a list.  Isn’t that often the First Step? I’m willing to wager that I have more than 25 quilts in progress.

We shall see. We shall see.

On another note — Hope everyone had a Happy Father’s Day!!

We did. First, with a visit to my sister in Salem (we ate hot dogs next to her alley-sidewalk garden) and then with a meal at our kitchen table together (a rarity these days). K. wasn’t even supposed to back from China yet, but his meetings wrapped up early. So being altogether was treat enough, but then C. brought dinner from the supermarket where he works and I made Fallen Chocolate Cakes (only 3 Tbs of flour!) which we ate with vanilla ice cream, and in my case, a fair amount of moaning. D. gave his father one of his best B&W prints of the mountains that he photographed (on film!) during our recent trip to Arizona.

print and pinhead

print and pinhead

teach what you want to learn


simplest components from African mask (see last picture, below)

We’ve all heard that right?  We teach what we most want to learn.

On the eve of teaching another class at The Boston Center for the Arts, I ought to be asking, then, “What is it that I want to learn right now?”

Hmmmmm. How to take a motif, maybe, and ‘go deeper’ with it (whatever that means). But I know what that means.


making faces

Or here’s a corollary: we give the advice we need to follow. This is extremely useful for me personally, because two of the people I routinely give advice to are Oppositional, with a capital “O”. Sometimes all I can do, is turn it around.

What advice have you given recently? Don’t fudge it by scanning memory for advice you WANT to hear. I recommend just thinking of the last three things, the most recent things, you have said to someone… in an effort to be helpful.

I’m always telling certain people to be more organized, or more responsible (and yes, yes, that applies here) but here’s the most recent thing offered:  yesterday, I suggested to someone that she partner written memoir passages that are painful with those that are joyful, so that the juxtaposition told a story, on top of those told in the passages and, possibly, to make it bearable to write the really tough stuff.  My idea for her was that a one-two step like that had the potential to turn into a dance, given sufficient air and trust.  So? Trust. Give work air? Partner the ‘uck’ with the ‘yahoo’? That’s probably pretty good advice for me right now.


building from the bottom up

Little changes make big differences

Little changes make big differences

eye lid adjustment

eye lid adjustment

looking askance

looking askance

add patterns!

add patterns!

Tomorrow’s adult class will be ‘more sophisticated’.

two sections (top and bottom) that may or may not belong together

two sections (top and bottom) that may or may not belong together

But, I’m wondering, maybe the more you break a thing down, the more complex it becomes. This I have seen time and time again in the manner of Jude Hill‘s designs and thoughts and cloths… the simpler she makes it, the more avenues spin off in every direction.

So maybe for the adults, I should make it EVEN SIMPLER!

Female kifwebe mask, late 19th or early 20th century. Unknown Songye artist. Democratic Republic of the Congo

Female kifwebe mask, late 19th or early 20th century. Unknown Songye artist. Democratic Republic of the Congo