Wednesday, December 7, 2016


every doorway,
every intersection
has a story.
-katherine dunn

i've been thinking lately about the story of my cloth work. not so much of the story of how i came to do it, but rather the why of the art itself. whether the "art" in question is cloth, paint, music...or even the way i arrange my personal all boils down to my desire to reunite and record fragments of thought, feeling, and memory in such a way as to convey these fragments to others. to allow them a glimpse into my joy. my sorrow. my...whatever...and by doing this, i continue to discover new things about i relate to the world...through the process of quieting my mind and working with my hands and the interplay of them and the materials i am working with. this opens a doorway into the inner workings of how we each look at the world in which we live. provides an avenue for sharing...


Saturday, December 3, 2016

recovering a sense of play

"the creation of something new
is not accomplished by the intellect
but by the play instinct."
-carl jung

life can sometimes bog us down. adulting can be a very serious matter which can take over and rub the shiny off of just about everything.  in order to remain sane, we must remember to cultivate a sense of play.

play energizes us. enlivens us. it has the capability of renewing our sense of optimism and makes us open to new possibilities. in our art. in our lives. in general.

there are many ways in which one can play.  one of my favorites is to create and play with little people. needle chanting new spirit-filled people into existence and fanning the imagination with their stories.

here are three such people in their beginning stages. a perky boobed lady emerging from an old fragment of experimental batik. a woodsy fellow in winter holiday colors making his way from a vintage clothing fragment. finally, a peachy, flesh-toned dude taking shape from a "failed" dye experiment. beyond these few shreds, their stories are still transpiring. being whispered quietly in the background.

me? i'm carefully listening.
with scraps of cloth and fibre.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

changing perspective

"when i let go
of what i am,
i become
what i might be."
-lao tzu

these lovely rust dyed cotton fragments
were a gift from a delightful follower
on instagram (@pwendy). this buddha is
joyfully sporting new threads until inspiration
moves them in another direction!

a comment i made to erik shipley of ship's manor on instagram the other day was very enlightening for me once it took root in my consciousness.  a simple statement made about my style of knitting. something i have said a thousand times about being a process knitter rather than being results driven. one of those *aha!* moments that suddenly through open the drapes that have shrouded my perception about my own creative style. not only am i a process knitter, but i am a process artist!

this was a very liberating realization. freeing me of years of self-judgment and ofttimes debilitating criticism about harboring a plethora of unfinished work. reminding me of the joy i experience in simply creating for the sake of creating, not to race to complete something for the sake of being done with it. the many creations that rest in various stages of growth are just that: resting in a stage of growth. of evolution. all a part of my enjoying their process of creation. no longer accusing. no longer judging. but celebrating whatever process they are in. whatever step they are at along the path each moment. rather like a reminder of the way i try to live my life. in the moment. not grasping and judging but enjoying. celebrating.

there is something to be learned from these emerging fragments of the creative process. something delightful and invigorating!


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

use. reuse. and fanboy surprise.

"nothing lasts forever.
but the thing is,
you can reuse some."
-rick riordan, leo's mother, the lost hero

nestled in the bottom of community's work basket are tons of almost forgotten scraps. slumbering peacefully away. until now.  i can't let them find their way to the waste basket...or lay idle for too long.  so i have embarked upon a new quilt journey.  while being comprised of cast off scraps from community, i think it will need its own name. it's own story. i'm not sure what that will be as yet. perhaps they will begin to whisper more clearly as more blocks are created.

these diminutive blocks are a mere 4" and are based upon a block from Quilted Moose.  one of several in Louise's garden sew-along. i fell in love with this one block, however, and have decided to create an entire quilt out of it...with 3/4" sashing and corner blocks between each.  it will pull solely from scraps from community.  

instead of sequestering myself in the sewing studio at my treadle, as is my usual behavior, i wanted to watch some television programs while i stitched, so i pulled out my "new" 1965 Bernina 730 Record Zig Zag machine. i found this machine (born the same year i was, so it's not that terrible old. ha!) languishing away on a sale table in a local charity shop with a meager $22.50 price tag. 

this lovely old machine came with all of its original papers (including bill of sale), all of its original accessories, several extra accessories, sewing deck, an immaculate case (original) and two original keys!

after brushing the dust away and giving the machine a good oiling, i set it up to begin to sew...and then i realized: there's no foot control pedal! ack!  so before putting it away and getting out my other "new" machine (the brother i talked about in an earlier post), i went looking online for a replacement foot control. then it hit me: this machine has no foot control.  it is a dedicated knee control machine!  i'd heard about these knee control bernina's before, but being a die-hard pfaff fanboy (at least, when it comes to new new machines) i never gave it much thought.  always figured they were talking about a knee lift bar.  ha! you learn something new everyday! after a little playtime, i'm rather fascinated by this knee control.  it's especially nice when sitting on the davenport and sewing on my antique fold away table. no foot pedal to migrate away and be chased after! so i guess i can't pooh-pooh bernina's that i own one and actually really like it!  though, don't expect to see me replacing my computerized pfaff anytime soon, cuz i'm still a pfaff fanboy!


Sunday, October 23, 2016

something epic this way comes

"but i love halloween,
and i love that feeling:
the cold air,
the spooky dangers lurking
around the corner."
-evan peters

like rabbit, i'm late, i'm late... i always seem to stumble across these wondrous things late.  ah well, at least i stumble across them.  in this case, i'm talking about the epic halloween quilt along but together by flying parrot quilts which you can stumble across here.  it's not your average halloween quilt either, it's epic. it says so right on the web page...and truly, it is epic indeed!   

i'm using the suggested fabulous fabrics: ghastlies by alexander henry; spellbound by cotton and steel; lost and found halloween by jen allyson; chillingsworth's spooky ride. but i have also dug deep into my stash and even did a little local shopping around to add my own touch to this twelve week quilt along gem (if you follow me on instagram, you've probably already seen a good portion of these fabrics).  though, since the quilt along itself is officially completed, i'm going above and beyond...i'm going to enlarge the quilt from a lap sized to a throw sized quilt (read: twin...cuz bigger is always better in my book). to accomplish this, i'll be adding in extra blocks garnered from here and there and even a few surprise touches.

to get started, i've paper pieced the first week's blocks above. candy corn and witch's hats.  i did, however, alter the witch's hat pattern (no offense to the designer) cuz i rather like a taller hat with a narrower brim.  next up: spiders!

wait, what?!? halloween is next week?  well, perhaps for most folks...but for me, halloween is all year round, so whenever i finish this quilt, it'll be cozily snuggled under no matter the time of year!

happy haunting!


Sunday, October 9, 2016

"we do not live an equal life,
but one of contrasts and patchwork;
now a little joy, then a sorrow,
now a sin, then a generous
or brave action."
-ralph waldo emerson

contrasts and patchwork. a fitting description for my life of late. and so i continue to stitch to distract my mind. digging deep into the stash of vintage fragments. the smaller ones especially. all i needed is an inch of each.  a thousand tiny stitches while the treadle rocks rhythmically beneath my foot. needle chanting in its own right. not as simple as when working completely by hand, but meditative just the same. 

now a dive into my stash of neutrals and whites to fine a border and a back. some more needle chanting, a little tying, and then a leisurely dunk in tea dye pot and a romp in the dryer.

hindsight being what it is, i'm wondering if i should have embroidered vines and flowers on the border. perhaps even a scattering of blossoms across the tiny 1/2 inch squares...  that could be an entertainment for another day.  i hear we are expecting 4 1/2 inches of snow on tuesday...


Saturday, September 24, 2016

being open

"we all get so caught up
in the moment
of what we're doing every day,
it's hard to hit that reset button
and get pulled away 
from all that and see
life from a different perspective."
-tony stewart

this year has been a year of thinking. thinking about doing. thinking about what to do. thinking about how to do. what to do it with. not a lot of doing. just a lot of being stuck. being. stuck. you have to hold on to those two words separately. together they are too daunting. too damning. strung together, they accuse. they mock. they label.

being stuck: you are stuck. 

but separate, they hold the key to liberation from that accusation.

being. stuck.  

separate, they allow growth and hope.  being: the state of life and experience. stuck: a lack of movement. dormancy. you don't condemn a seed for not yet blossoming into a glorious plant. you nurture it. encourage it to grow. so why do we disparage ourselves when we become dormant? stuck?

it is time for me to focus on the first word. being.  when we break the statement, being stuck, down this way, we can allow ourselves to grow. there is an open-endedness to being. a promise of something more. something different. now it is being full.

being full.
      of promise.
             of hope.
                  of potential.


Friday, September 2, 2016

an untrue story?

"if history
is any indication,
all truths will 
turn out
to be 
-dean kamen

"the untrue story of ship's manor"... how can you not be drawn in and enamored by an introductory line like this??  erik shipley, the mind and talent behind this untrue story of ship's manor, creates the most exquisitely hand-dyed cotton and silk threads that you could ever dream of needle chanting with! my very first selection of his threads arrived this afternoon and i've been stitching away with them all evening. they are a delight! so vibrant and full of energy!  now, as you know, i've never been much for flosses and silks, preferring rather to throw in with the more substantial wildflower threads from caron. however, these sumptuous strands of erik's have carried me away on gossamer wings into a rich landscape of stitching pleasures! of course, this means, naturally, that you simply must have some, too!

meanwhile, on the other side of the needle, meet my new old friend: a 1964 brother 300 deluxe push button zig zag sewing machine! this sexy little number, dressed to the nines in apricot and deepest charcoal, followed me home for a local charity shop. now, i won't be so ungentlemanly as to call her cheap, but she was as easy on the wallet as she is on the eyes, let me tell you.  included in her travel valise are all of her original accessories, original foot pedal, original manual & warranty card, and her original bill of sale. in a society that seems to worship nothing but vintage singers, it is always a joy to find a gem like this one quietly shining her light beneath a basket. she sews like a dream and has obviously been treasured for years and will now be treasured for many more to come! who says other machines can't sing? i have a whole choir in my sewing room, and only a few of them are singers!


Monday, August 29, 2016

ephalumps a'stompin' 'round

"i'm truly surprised
that we seem to get by
without polka dotted elephants,
serving us pie!"
-marc johns

this past month has been a struggle at best. between another lay-off, job search, training, bodhi having health issues, piper growing older by the minute, and the ephalump of depression stomping about in my brain, it's no wonder i've managed so little stitching!  today, however, was an ephalump of another color: no, i still haven't managed to find a polka dotted ephalump to serve me pie, but i did manage a little needle chanting beneath a shady tree this afternoon.  a little romp through a cloth fragment stash and a little playing about with sharp objects.  not sure where i'm going with him from this point.  perhaps i'll work him into a little pocket. a zippered vessel for bits and bobs. a keeping pouch.  i recently salvaged some lovely old metal zippers that i should be able to harvest one from. there seems to be a little story there, somewhere. whispering quietly in the background...