Tag Archives: “hand stitching”

Just Tuesday

An early run to Salem meant traffic around the Turnpike exit. The usual. It baffles me every time how the left hand passing lane slows down while the middle and far right lanes do not, even though the stream of cars merging onto the highway are coming from the right. Does anybody understand that?

After a good effort with clutter, my sister and I ate subs from the corner shop. This shadow of a notice in reverse on the bench where I sit to wait for the order caught my eye. Had I sat on it before? Right after I got back to Nor’s, a front moved in, pounding the sidewalk with rain and regaling us with thunder. I can’t tell you how grateful I was that only the heavens let loose this morning, leaving human drama for another day. There’s been a little too much human drama of late. Seriously too much.The rain stopped by the time I headed out.

Do you see Finn’s nose?

The rain we got over the weekend helped the garden start its June show. I wish I had a pile of mulch on the driveway more than I wish I had a decent haircut. Enough said. 
I am enjoying the freedom to stitch whatever I want. Perhaps a male warrior standing on a distant planet is an odd choice. He caught my eye years ago and was incorporated into one of the two Sketchbook Projects that I participated in (you can see the entire Sketchbook here). For some reason I keep going back to these images — maybe because they addressed transitions in the boys’ lives and the boys’ lives are in transition again.

This Sketchbook page came with the question: “What borders will you defend?” The figure came from an ad promoting the video game “Lost Planet”.

I’ve been alternating between pinning scraps to the board and then pinning the scraps to a base cloth for sewing. Having used this method before and been frustrated when it came time to trim away the base, I’m happy I remembered to leave the edges unstitched.



I love the sky and the snow and even the figure, but wish the figure was “mine”.  Such is the life of a magazine collagist.

stitching and stitching some more

IMG_7544There is the sense, with this Global Warming panel, that I could continue quilting for as long as time permits. The process of ‘connecting up’ some of the lines and colors between rectangles could just go on and on and on. Nevertheless, I think it is nearly done.IMG_7453 IMG_7455 IMG_7456 IMG_7457 IMG_7460Down in the studio, I have MANY other sections of this series pieced up and ready for something. Pondering, as I clean downstairs, what will become of them. Maybe some sections will stay very small. Maybe others will be surrounded with white. We’ll see.

surround this with white?

surround this with white?

make a narrow vertical?

make a narrow vertical?

IMG_7521

chugging along

blue-hut-startVacations (not mine), house cleaning, appointments, arranging college tours, two birthdays, SAT prep classes, allergic reactions (also not mine), snow, snow and more snow (and possibly MORE snow starting at midnight tonight).  Through it all, virtually no blogging, but a fair amount of stitching.

This b-day card for my younger son started with the central rectangle, which had been zig-zagged together at some much earlier moment.  The upholstery sample seemed a good base, picking up the check pattern of the ‘windowed’ linen.  For the roof and background, I used cloth that had been immersed in the indigo tub last summer.  Pairing almost anything with indigo-dyed cloth makes me happy these days, I don’t know why.   blue-hut-pinsSince D. is a Pisces, a bit of batiked fish seemed appropriate, and the cotton lawn in my scrap basket formed lovely, wrinkly moon and butterfly shapes when cut.  The pink linen backing is from a tunic that I used to wear.  This ‘card’ needed to carry a bit of me.

blue-hut-butterfly

I was determined to keep the butterfly simple.
blue-hut-moon

But, I could not resist adding ANOTHER backing cloth which adds a fair amount of additional graphic interest.
blue-hut-quilting

It is very nearly done – as are ‘cards’ for my older son (they were born two years, three days, and 15 minutes apart!) and for my husband (his is a Valentine).  More on those soon!!

Bird Woman: Power in Completion

In these quiet weeks, I am finding it hard to come back to the screen.  This screen, specifically.  Is it because the space where my knees sit is freezing cold?  (My hands are freezing right now, too) Or, because a pause midwinter makes sense from 1,000 perspectives? Or, maybe I have nothing to say (when has that stopped me before, you ask?!!).

An unexpected benefit to my neglect here, has been getting into a rhythm of finishing work.  Ironically, I had signed up to do a spring show and was DREADING the prospect of spending a season ONLY finishing things, but the moment I decided (for a host of reasons) NOT to participate, the finishing seemed to want to happen.   I have to ask myself:  WHY am I capitalizing words as if I am writing an article about the THRILL of orgasm for COSMO?!!  No.  Seriously, what is my deal about finishing?

Once Upon a Time, Bird Woman was born.  She emerged from scraps of embellished linen and pieces of a hideous 1970’s jacket, and some sequins that my cousin sent me at the time.  I put a small island of Victorian sequined black silk below her feet (that came from a friend for my birthday one year).  I made her wingtips look like flames, to make her a powerful bird.  I blanket stitched a full moon over one wing and she got even more powerful.  For her general environment, this creature was lucky enough to get one of the many woven cloths that I made during a Jude Hill class (it might be two combined, actually).  Then she went into hiding again.  I wondered where she was for awhile but I didn’t look for her.  She resurfaced, got some more stitching, then disappeared again.  I found her about two weeks ago, and now, apparently she is ready to be given a little more starry sky above her head, and some edges.

bird-woman-batting-cut

bird-woman-frayed-silk The blue silk  frayed like mad.  The NEXT time I used silk for a background, by the way, I ran a line of machine stitching along the side prone to giving off its threads.  The lost cloth here created a bit of a challenge – but not too bad.  Mostly, I was sorry to see so much of that Noxzema blue go.  After trimming the batting off, I auditioned backgrounds, with the idea that I would put the whole thing onto another cloth.
bird-four-backsI looked at these selections starting with upper left and going clockwise.  The purple velvet was nice, but I liked the burnt orange of my slippers (just visible on the frame’s edges) better.  The green and whites both fell completely flat.  But, orange?  Why, yes.  It makes the Bird Woman sing!  How can a single infusion of color do that?!!  But it does.  Orange makes Bird Woman sing!bird-woman-star-edgeHere you can see how I applied some tiny seed stitches and “X’s” to approximate stars.  bird-woman-stars-LThe upper edge slanted precipitously downward, and since I was loathe to lose anymore of that rich, blue silk, I tucked a kind of corny cotton printed with a night sky.  I will tuck something else on the left side to complete that edge.

This will be carefully stretched a bit before mounting onto its backing (which of course I had to piece because the orange swatch was not wide enough).   Stay tuned for the finished piece!!

What is your style of finishing a piece?  Do you run to it, with eager anticipation for the satisfaction of a job well-done? Or, do you resist? If you resist, how do you work with your resistance?

Blue Moon and Rabbit

I finished this quilt this weekend.

It was inspired by spending time under the catalpa tree this summer, dyeing cloth blue, and seeing rabbits feeding both here and in the neighbors’ backyards.  Oh, and the blue moon that occurred on August 31, 2012.

As I have mentioned elsewhere, I think the paper doll quality of the tiny garments on the clothes lines gave me a kind of innocent pleasure.  Perhaps I should make some paper dolls?!

I continued my experimentation with layering sheers, removing color with bleach, and using the ‘wrong’ sides of fabrics to achieve a more subtle palette.

The hand stitching is pretty dense and although I wished I had not used any ‘regular’ sewing cotton thread (even a single strand of cotton embroidery floss tugs better), I mostly like it.

The light is definitely changing in these parts.

And I guess since the equinox is not until this weekend, the cold I’ve contracted is officially a summer one.  Off to a hot bath!!

River is Wide, River is Deep

“The River is Wide. The River is Deep”.  That’s the name that I came up with for this little composition after adding the blue streaky batik along the bottom edge.  It was a lot simpler a couple of weeks ago.  Then a friend decided to buy it as a wedding gift.  We brainstormed about improvements, and then I spent a couple of weeks with it in my rotation of hand sewing.  I really like the idea of a deep and wide river as an emblem for a couple starting out.

I also like the way the little button adds a sense of friendliness to the structure.  New eaves of red were added at the last, for interest.  Moon went from a sliver to a sliver embracing a full outline.

The couple will be married in the Redwoods, so the twig seemed an appropriate means for hanging.
The front orange fabric hadn’t been tacked down yet, so I could tuck the front of the tabs under.  For the back side, I stitched a strip of cotton to hide the tab ends.
I didn’t see a place for a stitched signature, and the felt would not take ink, so I signed on the tab-cover.

I am almost finished with a piece I am calling “Storm”, as well.

More pictures of that quilt soon!

A light heart lives long.
William Shakespeare