Tag Archives: embroidery

Scripted and unscripted love

After reading Fiona’s post describing the making of her banner for Mo’s project (“I Dream of a World Where Love is the Answer), I decided I wanted my own embroidered “love”. So I stitched the word on a strip of walnut-dyed cloth just below an appliquéd heart. It seemed a good spot.

Have you noticed how often typing on a phone that one mistakenly types ‘live’ when one means ‘love’ or ‘love’ when one means ‘live’?

The quirks of a teeny iphone keyboard dishing up a philosophical message is emblematic of our age — for what is life without love?

To live is to love. To love is to live.

If one is loving, of course.

We were out of town this weekend and I got to witness the tender care my sister-in-law gave her 91 year old father. Did he need anything? Could she read his cards to him? Didn’t he look sharp in yellow and how about walking down the hall a little ways? I reflected on how my manner with my sister in no way approaches such soft, tenderness; how I could NEVER get her to walk down the hall a little ways; how impatient and defended I can be.

There are lots of reasons for the differences, reasons both exonerating and out of my control, but the weekend felt like an object lesson anyway.

Because it was also Kentucky Derby weekend, the guys made mint juleps.

The visits are always short these days and all the more precious for being so.

Young grasshopper

IMG_7266Given how enthusiastically I embrace TV nowadays, it sometimes amazes me to look back and recall how little I watched growing up, or in college. But one show I enjoyed was “Kung Fu”. When I added the silk image of a young person doing T’ai Chi to this cloth, the piece’s title suddenly and irrevocably became: Young Grasshopper.
IMG_7265The scan of the boy came from a collage, which eventually became a SoulCollage card. I just checked my Flickr set and it isn’t there — another reminder of the stack of cards waiting to be photographed.

I am on the verge of deciding to make my own Tarot deck — I have wanted to for years, and so what stops? I think it helped to read about Mo‘s philosophy — that is, of enjoying (instead of avoiding!) the idea of shouldering a task which may extend beyond her born days. Definitely not an attitude I would normally cotton to.

IMG_7267More snow. And pounding rain last night. Some of the heaviest slush I have ever lifted (heating pad, here we come!) Because it was slush below and frozen on top, I had to chop it first with the half-moon edge-trimming tool. The good news? No water coming into the house ANYWHERE.

heart exclaiming

Three days ago, the ‘exclaiming’ heart (below, right) seemed to me a little bit cartoonish, funny, just this side of ironic. . . reminding me of Lynda Barry‘s work somehow (if even a little).


heart exclaiming

Today, it looks stunned. Vulnerable. And we are, with news that Jack has lymphoma. Either Stage III or IV. There is so much to say about it, and him, but I am at the tail end of a day that featured one thing after another, just about every hour and a half (most of it good) and the pull toward either my book (DeLillo’s “Libra”) or ‘the crap out zone’ (TV and a snack) is too strong.

I’ll leave you with two images — the first of one of the amazing catalpa trees towering in our yard. This time of year, the orchid-like blossoms tumble down the roof of our garage and litter the walk and plants below. Until they turn start to stink in rotting piles of brown, I feel like royalty… walking the petal-strewn path!

Catalpa blooming

Catalpa blooming

And, one of the places I like to sit and read.

one place I like to read

perfect height off the floor!

Waiting is done


This is the finished “Waiting for Jessie” quilt. It had a strange history (see below) with much cutting and moving of pieces.  I started with a lot more purples.  At one point there was a little Japanese doll fabric square in the border.  The moon was bigger.  When the quilt resurfaced after a long hiatus of being hidden in a pile, I renewed my efforts to finish for my friend’s birthday in July (originally it was for her 50th – and made during a time when she was often up late waiting for her daughter to get home.  Now that daughter is a senior in college and her younger child just graduated from high school!!).

A couple of weeks in, during this round, I found myself hating the raw-edged trees with their zig-zag stitching, but wasn’t willing to begin again, so I kept embellishing to try and make them ok.  Added some mottled red kimono silk as a path.  I like that path.

But, the trees never really got to a place where I think they are ok.  I added some batik that looked like trees, and that helped, but mostly because it distracts you from the trees in the central square.

Because the process was a series of problem-fixes like that, and because I was trying to incorporate some new approaches as well (prime among them – more embroidery), it’s not surprising that it’s not quite a fully realized piece.

But this is how life goes (or mine does anyway).  We start.  We change our minds. We botch. We fix. We experiment.  And, at some point, it’s good enough.

Here’s the years-old starting point:


another day, another stitch

Still not used to effect of embroidery on these things.  Not sure I like.

But I love this hand-dyed thread from India.

Made this little thread sketch over the weekend, using colored pencils to make the floral design pop a little more.  Having just heard that Maurice Sendak died, I would love to make a sketch of one of his characters.

This apron was supposed to be for Newton Open Studios, but two things: one, I pricked myself and left a drop of blood on the trim and two, the edging looks too much like sheets from JC Penney.  I AM employing a green sheet there for the edge, but I expected it to look a little transformed.  Instead, my maroon trim made it look MORE like a sheet!

There are several pouches in various stages of finish.

Back to work!!


PS – I had to change the title because it was attracting fabric seller spammers!  Ugh!

The Tortoise and the Hare

bleached-strings by dee at clothcompany

Yesterday was the last Improv Quilting class until September. It is nice to feel the approach of summer, and a different pace and set of concerns on the horizon, and it was hard to say goodbye. I will miss the weekly dialogue about cloth, along with the more personal notes about trips, children, grandchildren, former occupations, and so much more.

And, the house will miss the weekly call to clean up. In a fit of pre-class kitchen clean up, I bleached the strings to our Roman blinds — and look at the result!! I have been meaning to do this for ages. It is ALWAYS satisfying to do something you’ve been meaning to do for ages.

I am signed up for three online classes this spring, which will very much mark the turning toward summer. So excited. Karen Ruane (Contemporary Embroidery), Glennis Dolce (blog – “Shibori Girl”; class – Indigo Dyeing), and Jude Hill (blog – “Spirit Cloth”; class – Contemporary Boro). Pretty great, right?

Here is a turtle cloth that I made yesterday.  It was to practice needle-turned applique, which I used for the critter’s feet, head, and tail.  I used a cloth weaving from another Jude Hill class as the shell.  This was a first in many ways.  I used Jude’s method of invisible basting prior to attaching the turtle.  I cannot believe the difference it made in terms of stabilizing the layers and making it POSSIBLE to enjoy the subsequent handwork.  I may be slow, says the turtle, but I’ll get there.

The dark green was a little too dark on the red, so I lightened it with a white oil pastel.  I’m not 100% happy with that result, but it’s better than the untouched green.

I may be slow, but I’ll get there!

(It wasn’t until re-titling this post that I noticed the rabbit above!)