Tag Archives: silk

Blue Valentine

first iteration

first iteration

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

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.

Amonoosuc Trail Head

Ammonoosuc Trail Head

reading companion

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

other half of roof, windows gaining definition

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

added window to heart

'matching' roof on left, giving heart 'wings', MORE windows

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

more windows

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

changed from Valentine to Family Portrait

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

beauty in the ‘burbs – five-pronged star is sacred to the Goddess, by the way

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!

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.

bird sparkle head

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.

Such are the challenges!

Cloth like glass

Auditioning a new Journal Quilt (called “I Want Snow”) on a bedroom curtain got me thinking (or rather, ‘seeing’)…

about how the light passing through the three to four layers of silk, rayon, or cotton, muslin-backing, and lo-loft batting made the layers take on the quality of glass…

and about what it would be like to design ‘window quilts’ instead of ‘wall quilts’.

the blonde

Last week, I tried to turn a sketch into a quilt, hoping to capture the same quickness of construction and freshness of line.  It was a disaster because I was trying to copy something I had already made and wasn’t really looking at the fabric.

Once I started looking at the fabric, and forgot about the sketch, the face kind of assembled itself.  Originally, I thought I would overlay this with some dense machine quilting.  Now, I’m not so sure.  One thing IS for sure -“the blonde” is designated for show/sale on December 3 at the New Art Center, so she will be finished within the week (when I have said THAT last?!!)

K thinks she looks a little like me.  I can see that, but she reminds me more of my mother, or at least, my mother’s generation during their toddler-caring years.

Looking for Redemption and Crying Wolf

the red Victorian silk, for some reason, very hard to pierce with a needle

The sagas go on and on, don’t they?  Started this crucifix series before “the flood”, and why shouldn’t my particular saga have its biblical moments?  Because what day doesn’t go by, really, when I’m not looking for redemption in some form or other?  I am looking for redemption even on those days when it seems as though I am just trying to get through.  I am looking for redemption even on my good days — and by that I certainly don’t mean times when I feel like the master of my fate — but rather I mean days when I have enough wherewithal to entertain the POSSIBILITY of accepting life exactly as it is.   But here’s the thing, can one be —

”seeing things and accepting things exactly as they are”

and still find redemption?!!  Isn’t wishing for a world in which every mess is an opportunity and every delay, packed with meaning, by DEFINITION, a state of non-acceptance (because, let’s face it, there ARE situations in which there is no silver lining to be found!)

Well, anyway, there D. and I were yesterday, waiting and waiting for ‘the shoulder guy’.  It had begun to rain again, a status of weather that, THIS week, provokes a palpable dread.  The patients were flying in and out all around us, but D.’s name had not been called at the 50 minute mark (I complained), or at the 65 minute mark (I complained again), until at 75 minutes, after nearly leaving, and after listening to D. ask, “Why am I here?!  This is useless”, a few too many times, the assistant called us in.  The assistant called us in just moments after I had written in two-inch letters on the intake form, “WAITED 75 MINUTES”, which of course made me wonder — had I written “WAITED 35 MINUTES” on the form 40 minutes earlier, would we have been ushered us in sooner?!! (You begin to see just HOW superstitious I am).

Anyway, I stitched on this piece for awhile, not for one moment asking myself to call in the Christ-energy of patience, or noticing the disparity between image and mood.  That’s how irate I was.

I dyed the crocheted thread in onion skin-water

After 10 minutes with the doctor (who apologized so excessively I began to feel a little abashed), we scuttled off to X-ray.  And back.

And, OMG, the news was a little shattering (forgive the pun).  What first seemed (to me) back in the dead of winter as one in a long series of whinge-fests, and then seemed (to the chiropractor) like a separated shoulder, turned out to have been a fractured collarbone.  [YIKES!!!]  (Healed, already, I’m happy to report).

So, I apologized to D. (although not excessively).  Then, after quietly pointing out that the amount and volume of complaints make it hard for me to pick out any particular one as needing extra intervention, D. and I devised a code for ‘this really, really hurts and I need you to do something about it’.  Our code is, “Mom, this is an 8.”

A symbol of the effort in pushing all this fabric around!

This was GOING to be a post about the basement and the progress down there and how the disaster HAS turned into this amazing re-shuffling, re-ordering, and investment in storage units that has me psyched and energized (in other words, it has turned into an OPPORTUNITY).  I was going to add something about the dynamics of dependence and understanding one’s personal style of attacking a monumental task (because dear reader, what most of you didn’t know is that my husband was in India for ALL of this, which gave me additional OPPORTUNITIES for learning).  Perhaps tomorrow I shall return to that, after another two inches of rainfall, unless, of course, I have my cherry-printed wellies on again and am threading the hose out the back door and trying not to cry.

"ample moisture" indeed

PS  What shows up in people’s readers when I ‘update’ post?  I tend to write a draft, publish, and then update typo, by typo, and it would embarrass me if EACh of these appears…