Tag Archives: linen

Something lightens


“River House”

This house was built in preparation for the class I’m teaching this Saturday at the Boston Center for the Arts.*  While probably not apparent to a viewer, this quilt pulls together many elements of recent learning.

How so? For one, it’s lighter than I usually work (exploring white online with Jude Hill).  It has a less defined horizon line. The house sinks into its surroundings better and displays a little perspective (the two barn pieces taught much!!! here and here).  And, the attachment techniques are more refined (and yes, that is the same green plaid I used to roof the two big Barns).

component building

Off-top building” —

By that I mean connecting small elements with stitch prior to trying to connect them with the background (the “top”).  In this case, I HAD to stitch these teeny house elements together, because I couldn’t keep lifting and shifting the background fabrics without going nuts if I hadn’t. Once stitched, I could easily lift the entire component and rearrange the background fabrics.

Note to self: when constructing a component, use pieces of fabric that are already part of the background!

Reducing the number of pins required for when the piece is in your lap is always a good thing. And, this component-building has the additional virtue of reducing stress about shifting windows and doors, some of which are smaller than a standard-sized postage stamp.

‘sky’ fabrics dyed in backyard last summer using chemical indigo (I know! I know! – haven’t gotten to the plants, yet)

Again, because of the work with white over at Spirit Cloth, I laid some gauze over rectangles on the surface. They are staying. For a while, I shifted the house lower down (photo above) and exposed a piece of the underlying linen napkin (just above the roof). I liked wondering what it might be like to leave an unadorned white section, there, right in the center of the quilt. What matters? The house? Or the empty space above?

‘shadow’ of house is an overlay of polyester from a shirt

It is not something I have committed to yet. In the photo above, I have shifted the house back to center, covering not only the white linen, but that mauve rectangle (another goodie from Sandy Meegan, by the way!!).  I like knowing that that empty rectangle is still there, even if I’ve covered it.

Of course, the entire underlying linen napkin is THERE.

The pale blue water fabric came from a fabulous skirt depicting scenes of a European city on a river. I normally eschew ‘cheater’ fabrics (the name says everything, doesn’t it?), but here I am happy to employ.


Back in 1980, I lived in SF and worked in a copy shop.  The best part of the job was access to a color copier, which was BRAND NEW technology then!  The house image came from a photo of a duplex I occupied during the last two years of college.

And here’s a more recent picture (photoshopped church from Newtonville):

Lastly, a collaged card using a cut out photo of a quilt and an Inkydinkydoo moon stamp:


* Class is at Boston Center for the ArtsSat. June 1, 10:00 to 1:00
Free! (but contact the Center, it might be full).

series, collar, rain, and shelter

SERIES.  The new series is comprised of self portraits, any of which could be captioned: “me looking deranged”.  This makes No. 2.  (No. 1 in flickr stream recently).  This well-loved Irish Linen dish towel (I think “linen” warrants a capital “L” here) was finally retired from its kitchen duties last night.

COLLAR.  A strip of the dish towel is being auditioned here as a collar on my boro work-in-progress (in Jude Hill’s Contemporary Boro class, online).  Just like I enjoy the visual pun when my older son wears Old Navy garments with the words “Established 1994” (because HE was established in 1994), there is something fun about wearing the words, “Made In Ireland”, because even though I wasn’t, my ancestors were.

I THINK I am 100% Irish.  Was always told this.  But, my mother’s father was born and raised in Hartlepool, England and had a British accent, even when I knew him decades after his arrival on Ellis Island (I found a copy of his ship’s manifest on the wonderfully historic Ellis Island website).  He (Albert Jacques) met his wife (Alice Healey) in Brooklyn, and her family haled from Co. Cork – but was my grandmother born in Brooklyn? Or in County Cork? I can’t seem to get a straight answer.  My father’s parents were both Irish (Mallon and Kinney), but I don’t know when their arrivals to this country took place.  Probably a generation or two before my grandparents, though.  My father has a namesake on one of the rolls for the Civil War – one of the MANY (come to find out) William Kinneys who fought with the militia coming out of Pennsylvania.

But, back to the garment.  The red disturbs my plan to stay monochromatic and since the fit of this thing is going to be problematic, I think I’ll force myself to stick to the blue plan.  The sleeves may come off to convert the shirt to a vest if I can’t find a way to cinch the waist a little.

RAIN.  The rain is making surfaces shine. The rain is making me appreciate shelter. The rain is making wonder how all the sleeveless prom attendees tonight will stay warm!!

SHELTER.  Sometimes the places we find solace come to us unbidden, or as surprises.  Like this spicebush.

Under the boughs of this bush-turned-tree, not only do I feel a sense of shelter, there is a hint of magic. My husband thinks it is perhaps ‘too big’ for its spot, but, though I prune aggressively every year, I will fight for its right to overcome our notion of what fits.  It has umbrellaed up and out from the small twig I put in the ground years ago into a beautiful small tree that creates a tunnel toward our garage gate.

I love the way when I stand under it, everything that is so familiar looks different.
How grateful I am for this fragrant, light-catching green, vigorous grower!

Crib quilt

Finished this little boy blanket top today.  Center terra cotta section (a beautiful linen leftover from a curtain job years ago) was made during the Treasure Island quilt process last year (made for Wendy Golden-Levitt, remember?)  I also found a scrap of the pirate fabric from that project, stitched it to linen and a super-soft, striped decorator fabric, and plan to mail it to her.  (P.S. – do you see my silly owl who looks like she belongs on Sesame Street?!!)

In the process, last week, of rooting around in my stuff to make a display at the JCC, I also unearthed a tower that I pieced around the same time.  Added lace, and appliqued a moon — it is nearly done also.

All this finishing!

And then there are the scraps from the baby blanket –

This little elephant emerged.  I’m hand quilting it this evening, and it’s almost done, too.

And more scraps –

Meanwhile, I am working on the lap-pin-dark-mess quilt, which is slowly becoming less of a mess.  It is a metaphor for life (aren’t all sewing projects?) – I do what I can, taking one little section at a time, knowing it’s okay to return and do some more later.

There is so much else to rattle on about, but for now, this lace post is fun to look at: Janet Haigh

One poppy to remember, another poppy to forget

Just added another poppy to the Cement Sack quilt.  This one is ON TOP of the tulle.

Transferred two black and white xeroxes onto coffee-stained muslin.  The trombone did not come out so well, but a trident on the same page did.  Both are in the upper left.

Here is that figure that has shown up in the Witness quilt and the wet-paper-basement-calamity collage.  She is the one who dreams, who has seen, and who seeks to go beyond all that lodges in the past.  She is part of all of us.  This recent posture is one of burdened grief, but she has other moods as well.

Perhaps “moods” is the wrong word — “patterns of consciousness” more like.

And speaking of drugs (the opiate reference in the title), here is the holder of my current drug of choice — a coffee mug!  Suitably chipped, stained, and very much in use.

A busy day of gardening and travel ahead.  A good thing.  A change of perspective and some fresh air will definitely do me good.

spring light

The spring light flooded our family room late this afternoon.  I don’t remember it ever being lit up like this before.  By the time I got my camera out, it was the shadows that interested me, so I haven’t captured the golden warm moment at all, really.  I share the photo of our kitchen TV and dinner clutter only because it DOES capture the light a bit better.

When I look at this picture and I don’t think, “Gee, cool, there I am in the reflection.”  No, I think, “Why was that light on?!”

Soon, our neighbor’s 200 year old copper beech will leaf out, and the light will be dappled and less intense (and that’s nice too).

With the poppy pillow commission finished, I can finally get back to my big-big quilt.

Recycled shirts and tiny pieces of Most Favored Fabrics (like a trading status!) are turning into huts and villages, here and there.

I took so much time to piece these big sections, that it would be a shame if I hid all the evidence of that work (i.e., the SEAMS), but that is the temptation right now…

That blue spade fabric (a roof of rain?) is cotton that K. brought back from India last month.  It was hard to cut, because it was such soft cotton, but cut I did. It is one of many fabrics that translates into “RAIN” in this piece.