Saturday, July 22, 2017

mending

I like mending. Taking something that's been used hard out of love or utility, and bringing it back to life and usefulness with a cloth, stitch and some more love.  This was my Mom's little "go bag".
She carried it slung from her wheelchair for the longest time. It was stuffed with tissues, crackers, coins, pens, lunch leftovers sometimes. It would get pretty nasty when she forgot about the food that she'd squirreled away, so it's had its share of machine washings and every zipper still works. Credit to Vera Bradley for a well-made product. I've been needing something to hold just wallet, keys and phone. This will be perfect. Again.

My head is also mending today. two consecutive evenings with a migraine, courtesy of the toppings on the pizza we had for dinner (and leftover for breakfast) Wednesday and Thursday. Live and keep learning.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Invited back

I've been away from the cloth for a time now. While duty calls me back, it's the promise of something wonderful that will get me there.

I was digging through the tubs of cloth when these fabrics made themselves known to me because I'm still convinced that my missing notebook in here somewhere.

Dark and exciting for a baby blanket, don't you think? It could be the flip side of something light and fanciful. As much as I love the spots on the avocado field, I can't use it because they were discharged and won't stand up to a lot of laundering. I have mending to do, a slew of buttons to replace. All homey stuff that matters to someone.

And for fun, these. Making them is like eating potato chips. Why stop at one?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

seeing clearly

I've been lazy, taking "quick and dirty" shots with my cell phone. I'd forgotten how good digital photography can be. These are from the storm series. All are vintage hankies, doilies or cocktail napkins...I guess. Now, they are stars in their own right. There will be dirty threads in the same(ish) colorways, too.  I left the pictures large so you can dig in for the wonder.



Sunday, July 16, 2017

the storm that didn't arrive

All morning it looked like the sky would break open. Hot, thickly humid. There was no going outside for anything. I've been plagued by chaos lately, internal and external, so I did what was at hand - a long overdue purge and cleanup in the studio. Even half-finished, I feel a lot better.

During the rout of un-named boxes of unknown crap, I found a collection of hankies and other tiny, hand embellished things from an era before Kleenex. Into the pre-dye secret sauce, they went. I had a full set of threads prepped and ready for color.
An hour outside on the deck and the additional secret ingredient was my sweat. Everything is in the washing machine right now. If the finished products don't hold up to these wet shots, I'll delete them...the heartbreak of wet photography is real.






And Joanne...look at that little linen blouse. I could kill the woman for being so tiny!


Saturday, July 15, 2017

down on the farm


That is Charlie's grampa, Papa Doc. He does blacksmithing demonstrations at various venues including nearby McDaniel farm park. We visited with him a bit then toured the park on a hayride and spent time at an amazing new playground. Thank the weather gods for cloud cover.

The parks department has restored and maintained the farmhouse and outbuildings as a typical 1930's working farm. There was a table set up where someone would be giving a talk and demonstration about cotton. No one was around to answer our silly questions as it was early.

That shred of raw cotton in the right foreground got picked up by inquisitive fingers and dropped on the ground, from there to my pocket.



Once I got home, I examined the bit of fluff. I picked out all the bits of dry leaves. pesky business. There was almost a dozen of those little hard beans stuck in the fiber. I'm assuming they are cotton seeds and I'm going to see what I can find out about growing them.

Maybe I will spin the cotton into thread too. Obsessive. I know. There will be dye.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

creature comforts

Please tell me I saw this post when it was new and made all the proper, civilized responses. I love what Ann does with my cloth.

I rewashed all the waiters this morning. Sweetie had been nesting in them with her "friends". Said friends are being evicted in a mighty battle. Anyone with pets knows what the hell I'm talking about. Clean cloth stowed tightly in the closet until it's time for more dyes.


Studio archaeology

Small scrap from the tubs. Color by Sharpie & alcohol.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Remains of the day


This is what's left of round three. I'm going to have to make this a semi-monthly thing. Have more on hand when I put them up for sale. This is all that's left of round 3.

From round 2, every wish granted, every order shipped. Most have landed.

I need to get back to the story - there is no such thing as writer's block in this house. Not permitted.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

making

I took a few minutes in the bright first light of the studio to wind-off and prep the latest batch of Dirty Threads. I had my doubts about this latest group right up until the wind-off, but they are beauties. A new twist in technique has brought more depth and consistency. With dyeing, you just can't tell about colors until things are completely dry. You think I would have learned that by now.



I like to do this hand work while I'm listening to music, or NPR or a book on CD, just like people who are actively creating - stitching, knitting, crocheting - the hands are up to one thing while the mind is elsewhere.

My political escapism continues. I rewatched the first two episodes of  "John Adams" last night. This time I was paying extra attention to the so very much that went unsaid by his wife, Abigail - so amazingly portrayed by Laura Linney - Her hands were busy doing the thousands of things that home and children required in colonial times and yet her thinking was every bit as sharp and focused on the problems of the birthing of our country as were those of her statesman husband. I'd like to read more about both of them.

This morning, I left the external input off because I've been questioning a lot of things lately and needed time to listen for and process any answers. Handling/creating raw materials frees up that space in my head where the dialogue happens. I even took notes.

Those answers?
There is great value in all levels of making, especially when it comes to textiles.

Cloth and all that attends it is so basic to the human condition. We spin, we weave, we protect and adorn ourselves.

I'm struggling to find as much meaning in wordsmithing as there was in making blankets for warmth. The great Art/Craft divide remains. You can write to entertain or titillate. You can write to some higher meaning. Straddling the divide is trixie.


Saturday, July 01, 2017

dirty thread dancing



I fooled with some of the Dirty Threads last night. Reading glasses would have been good, but they were off somewhere wandering around with the other lost stuff, so I faked it a bit.
No bloodstains, so it's all good.


Just posted a new batch. Looking forward to doing so more vivid colors when the sun comes back out.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Jungleland

The first year we lived here in Georgia, it rained the entire month of June. Looks like a rerun. The pool is brimming over but if I got out there and the sun is not bright, I get chilled to the bone and the mosquitoes find me. Still, lush is lovely. It was a good, rainy writing day.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

the threads - Updated


Wholly unexpected that they would sell out in like, 20 minutes. Grateful to all who made it so. And take heart, there will be more. Who doesn't have fun making candy?

Well. That was fun and will be repeated in the near future. Did I mention that I had a 2000 yard cone of DMC floss sitting around wondering what to do with itself?

Kept these two for myself.
The rest of the first flock is here

Thursday, June 22, 2017

kitchen busywork



It's been gray, humid and depressing for days and I'm sick of it so had a little kitchen table dyefest to get on with making up skeins of embroidery floss to sell.

Now, my problem is what the heck to charge?  These are each 10 (not 8) yards of hand dyed, DMC 6-strand cotton floss.  No two of these are alike so if you are project oriented, I can't help you.

Clues anyone?

Saturday, June 17, 2017

the Haunted dyefest

It was stewish out Thursday - hot and humid like we have not yet had so far this year. I will soon invent a word to describe weather that weird because of climate change.

I was distracted. Thunder muttered just beyond the horizon.
I am also taking two different medications for back pain and when they overlap, strange things happen. Let's just say, I haven't been driving as much as I like.

I play music through a small wireless speaker and the playlist randomly chose Jimmy's chili cookoff tunes. I already had on new and very sticky rubber gloves so I let it roll.

He used to love sitting on the living room couch and watch me work the dye deck while he watched TV from the cool darkness. Every now and then, I'd hold up a piece and he would applaud and comment.  I felt his presence strongly this time. He would also keep time for me. "Come inside before you get boil over."

Every conspired to go too quickly. Get it over with. I couldn't get my head into the work too deeply but the mechanics kept me moving. The results are more than half Providence and the Stars.

In every dyefest there are always one or two stand-outs. I can't even think about cutting this one.  Update...it's the new shop banner now..




There is a lot of gauze that I will be parting with one way or another. Something in the finishing process kept it from taking the color too harshly so it has a dreamy, blurred quality.



that woven, ribbed sheeting takes the color in amazing ways.

I'm picking through the remaining white good with focus on the cloths, like this, that won't let me down as I sneak up on some really vibrant colors on the next go round.

A number of these pieces will be worked on again. Discharging, soy wax and overdyeing and other process things are all in the wings waiting.

Friday, June 16, 2017

stitch this! Updated

These ten-yard skeins of 6-ply DMC cotton have a heather thing going on.

What you can't tell from this picture is that the opposite side of each of these is a different color, most of them a darker version of the one facing the camera. The color transitions are short and sharp which can be problematic.

What I do with these is split the six ply in half and reverse direction or just "color jog" half and then put them back together. Does anyone but me get that? I recently joined the Mildly Offensive Fiber Artists on FB...this stuffs looks right up their alley. Glorious, dirty string.



update - I ran to HoAnn's and scored those cardboard bobbins. You can see below the variations better now and the deeper you go into each bobbin, the less white there is.  Lessons learned. 
Still they are quite tasty. I'll be selling some of them in the shop soon.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Storm, still

 Another rinse. I left them to it.

In the semi-dry state, I could see that several of these pieces turned out to be a cotton blend that took the color in a strange, blurred fashion. This happened because I was too lazy to do a few burn tests. Lesson learned.
I won't be using any of it. Other pieces got muddied by my over anxious manipulation of the bundles. I foresee discharging and over-dyeing in their futures.


The threads turned out so tasty. Need to find a packet of these cardboard holders. Fresh out.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

thunder, lightning and rock & roll!


I was in a mood. I wanted to flush the world away today.  Things got a little dark right from the start. Turquoise and Sunshine rode in to save the day from the darkness.

It got really hot and the pool behind me beckoned but I pushed on. Things got messy and out of hand quickly. Serendipity and Mayhem were having their way with this session.
Salt is in play. I haven't fooled with the crystals in years but the heat and humidity were perfect.

The sky went dark just as I was finishing and the thunder, lightning, and rain are putting the polish on this set of threads and cloth. Heavy blessings. It's all going to just be at the mercy of the elements for as long as that takes. Days maybe according to the weathermen. We hunker down.

my kind of Just Going



It's late. late for everything. Dyeing, swimming in the pool, staying out late to see the fireflies.

Better late than never.

The 2017 season at the Lawrenceville Frankenstein dye works commences.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

the new week begins

Mondays with Charlie are getting more entertaining now that he has a fair grip on the language. I can no longer claim Nana dumbness.  I just have to listen to him with an open mind because he says exactly what he means without the qualifiers and filters that grownups have built into verbal communications. 

Miscoms still happen owing more to my deafness than his experimental approach to English. We pat each other on the head and try not to get exasperated. I said, "take my word for it, you do not want to watch that TV show." He focused on which word of mine he was supposed to take and where was I hiding it.


This scrap of cotton sateen has been rolling around the floor with the dust bunnies and this morning I washed and dried it and decided it was a message that I should take seriously, so I took it for a ride in the car. I know, you were hoping for something else - something stitchy or dyeish, but I'm working up to it.

The water and air temperatures finally conspired to get me into the pool...the latest date since we put it in back in '98. My friends and family in the Northeast have been sweltering with our summer. It may finally be here.

Because there was no killing freeze this winter the level of organic activity in the water was off the charts...I have a lot of scrubbing to do. This will be my outside office until it gets too cold to get in.
This year, maybe Thanksgiving.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

wheels

Where have I been? More properly where will I be going? Anywhere and everywhere...now. Meet Jumpin' Jack Flash. He is a 2010 Honda Accord Coupe that has only 81K miles on the odometer, which, if you know anything about Hondas, is barely broken in and I would say by his physical condition, his former owners gave much love and attention.

I have not had a new car since I bought my friend Cliff's off him when he got deployed in 2002. That's right. I have been driving the faithful frog, a '01 Civic for sixteen years.

It was time, the price was extremely right,  and JJF is the car I have been hurting my neck over for years. You know, when it goes by and you crank your head around to follow it's progress? Well, maybe it's just me. But a certain combination of line, design, color, and action gets my full attention and now I'm driving it! I feel like I'm piloting a space ship.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Spectacle!


The screen is not big enough for the wonder of this. Colin stopped and took it on the way to work just now.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

digging in

A line from "Almost Famous" came to me this morning while I was trying to thread a needle with two strands of rayon, one 12wt cotton and a flashy Madeira metallic..."It's a think piece..."

but the truth is, it's a not think piece. I want to do something and not think about it so much that it doesn't matter what that thing is.

I've been too distracted to focus on anything that needs close attention like - who did what to who and when, and when, exactly did she know about it - the kinds of things that drive readers crazy when writers don't get them right.


I was planning a short vacation to the gulf coast, but now those meager funds have been diverted to handling this potential disaster before it becomes a reality. I can't even speak ill of this sweet gum tree until the guys get here and take it down. Then I will throw a damn party.

The joys of home ownership continue.  Yesterday I found out that the flooding we had on the lowest level of the house is not covered by the homeowners insurance. Busted pipes? No problem. Deluge from above coming in/around/through the foundation? Sorry.

First order of business is having the massive boxwood hedges that run the whole front of the house cut down and dug out. That is going to look like shit for sure. I'll get that estimate on Saturday. New gutters...of course. then the demolition downstairs.

I get it that there are people in the world who don't even have a roof over their heads or a place to tuck their kids in at night.  Bitching about my house feels bad, but it's all I have so I have to hang on to it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

fraught




The day started well enough. Coffee with an insistent kitty. Stop petting her and suffer the hooks.
The view of the pool that soothes and encourages me even if it's too cold to get in and clean yet and there is a tree looming over it threatening destruction that I have to have professionally removed as soon as possible, but I can't afford to sell a kidney.




And an hour of stitching on these dancing devils that I have been fooling with since forever. Someday I'll call this one done. Not today.
I went to the park to walk and stretch my miserable aching hips. Saw monsters from the deep in the turtle pond. That's another story.

Then just after I got home, things took a bad turn for some too close by neighbors. An eviction, heartbreaking enough, turned violent when shots were fired.

Before you know it, SWAT had the neighborhood locked down and all I could do was watch from the studio window. Although the house is two down and one over, I hardly know the people. No children, thank goodness. Snipers in camouflage were posted up and down the block and if you poked your head out the door you were warned back inside. Bull horn pleas to surrender went unheeded. Armed robots rolled up and down the block. Concussion grenades went off repeatedly. I watched and waited here alone. with cats. He surrendered a few minutes ago.

 No one was harmed.
my front yard

Thursday, May 18, 2017

the habit

It's very easy to let this habit of reporting slip away when nothing creatively shareable is going on. Writing is like that. Raw first drafts are hard enough to share with other writers in small groups. You are lucky if you can find crit partners who will be both straight with you and instructive. I've recently been that lucky and have been giving most of my free time over to the first draft, which is morphing into its first major revision.
my peonies have bloomed and gone!

Stitchers, imagine, if you will, a piece you've labored on, mostly in secret (shades of Quilt National!) - an epic piece, say 8 feet by 22 feet - that's right, I said FEET, not inches.  And so the powers that be have let you know that No Way will it ever see the light of day in that form and you have to make a triptych out of it. Somehow hacking it into hangable pieces.

At first, the rebel in me said, "Fuck you and your pony!" but after looking at this steaming pile of  222+k of words for a while, I think I've found a way to serve both the muse and the commercial masters, namely, publishers. Only time and whole lot more writing and rewriting will tell.

In the meantime - Life!  All these wonderful things and more.
Charlie and I steal his Dad's car and go the park and Publix for lunch!


I don't know what I would do without him, the Pollywog Savior of L'ville.

Partners in crime.