Tag Archives: “hand stitching”

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

sun in sun out

It is one of the those days where the sun and clouds cannot agree. A sunny morning turns dark at noon.  A dramatic spattering of rain dries to nothing, and the sun reappears.  Then it darkens at two, to the point of needing to turn on indoor lights, thunder threatens, and a half an hour later, it is over.

But I think it is a good day for a graduation, if for no other reason than it is the day that graduation is scheduled.

I am working on the former cardigan panel, quilting up a storm.

The areas that I had tucked and gathered to shrink the shoulder span of the cardigan cannot be untucked without significant reworking of the sky, so I am edging over the bumps and quilting more than I might otherwise to make the dimples of the surface somewhat uniform.

Here, a piece of the red and white Irish linen dish towel finds a place.  Because it was out.  Because I needed it.

The bottom denim edge I am contemplating leaving as a pocket, a place where prayers or ticket stubs could be housed.

There are lots of ways for cloth to be useful besides covering our bodies.

Once I determined that this panel would become a birthday gift for K., I consciously selected some clothing to represent his (our) family.  That grey paisley wool was a sweater I wore to work last year, which shrunk terribly during a less attentive laundry moment.  The blue and white checks were either D’s or C’s pajamas.  The denim cuff came from a rejected pair of jeans of K’s (pants which after I cut the cuff of, I tried on – and lo and behind they fit! I will be repairing them for me). A piece of C’s shirt is not yet there, in the mix, but will be.

Building a House with Supports

The boro sampler that I made awhile back is turning into a house — perhaps for another garden installation?

There is something satisfying in turning a rag-a-mag-tag piece into something functional, even if marginally functional.  A purely decorative piece based on a peasant tradition of patching holes to extend the life of a wardrobe rubbed me the wrong way… in the same way that basing a fashion trend on torn/refugee-like/distressed garments rubs me the wrong way.  Wearing out an article of clothing by LIVING in it seems so much more in accord with good value and good values.

The last felt house was constructed as a grouping of fabric panels first, and then the branches added, second.  This time, the branches are integral to the construction, creating some decisions about which way to push the edges.

“Having a spine” is a refrain, here.  And “building supports in”.

Collage with Fabric


Parts of the whole — vintage lace, cuff of New York City scenes polyester shirt, pale taupe and white shirt pieces (shells and floral clusters), phototransfer of Mexican flashcard (the ladder), iron on transfer of self portrait, inkjet-printed words on linen.


“I WANT TO GROW” was not the sentiment I began with, but as I pawed through my scraps of words and what I call “precious tidbits”, these two phrases seemed to work.  I, in fact, DO want to grow.  It seems odd to say this, but for a long time (the time almost exactly coinciding with the intensive years of parenting two boys, two years apart), my growth was not at all on the radar screen.  Survival, more like.  Their growth.


Here, a shell, ripe cherry tomatoes and peas, as well as a fragment of New York seem to echo the longing for ripening and fullness.


The ladder makes the rather obvious connection to UPWARD growth — not spiritual growth, necessarily — but certainly in a direction counter to downward. The fact that both of my parents grew up in Brooklyn makes the quilt resonate that much more.  Both of my parents were from poor families.  None of my grandparents went to college.  They were seamstresses, bricklayers, and shipbuilders.  My parents’ growth was up and out, in a way.  They left the city, went on to have a family and careers.  And mine?  We shall see, I suppose.  There is the question of time.  I find it interesting that although I have a graduate degree in law, I am working with my hands — sewing and digging gardens.