As promised, here is the visual record of ‘Blue Valentine’. I’m still calling it a valentine even though over the course of its making it became a family portrait — including a memorializing (of a sort) of Jack’s passing. First post was here.
Morning light reveals quilting
I brought the small quilt on our recent camping trip, and when I wasn’t reading, “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen, I was stitching in and around hearts. Recall, the guys were gone for two days on a hiking adventure up Mt. Washington.
Ammonoosuc Trail Head
reading companion and the best book I’ve read yet this year (and I have read some really good books!!)
made heart blue; added red threads; birds did not make it; used one of the many woven strip rectangles I have lying around; appliqued pieced scraps or just scraps
added lots of quilting; once windows extended to the right, I saw a roof in the red; dog stitched/ripped out; couched baker’s twine around big heart; covered red ‘extension’ threads; where some fabric intersections were unruly, let myself apply whip stitch heavily
added blue X’s (kisses) on disintegrating dog shape; filled out roof and filled in windows
gave dog form again — for a while
added window to heart
created ‘matching’ roof on left (which gave large heart appearance of having wings); added MORE windows; red ‘base’ to structure is distorted blanket stitch atop chain stitch
added more windows; scraped away some of the ecru silk to reveal red ribbing — getting to idea of revealing scars or wounds, or merely showing underlying structure
added two more small hearts so that there is one for each of us (including Jack) — changing piece from Valentine to Family Portrait. I like the downward dip of the lower edge. Bamboo skewer is a temporary hanger
This Morning Glory showed up the day Jack declined and has been blooming every morning since he died. It’s one of those reseeds that come and surprise and re-instill a sense of the glory and power of nature. Because of the timing, I can’t help but consider it a tribute to our Jack.
beauty in the ‘burbs – five-pronged star is sacred to the Goddess, by the way
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).
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!
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.
One of the best birthday gifts this year was a silk-covered, beaded box full of antique textile scraps and little, aged bags of sequins and beads (thank you, MR!!!). I added some sparkle to the bird’s head.
Those are keepers… but I’m not sure about the sparkle, island below. I think it interferes with the nice grid that is generated by the woven strips.
She is almost ready for binding. This will be a quilt where I add to the edges rather than true it down. This blue silk, while luscious, pulled apart at a pace that amazed me – shrinking an already too-small back.