Fixing a hole

Looks like Finn wants to learn how to cut strips on the bias!

 I got so many amazing suggestions on how to edge this cashmere sweater over on Facebook!!  In the end I grabbed a piece of soft wintery-looking flannel that was large enough to cut two inch strips on the bias. The grey of the flannel is silvery while the grey of the wool is a warm grey.  Not a great match, in other words.   I decided to prize completion over perfection and, anyway, it’s not so terrible.   Maybe this will inspire me to rework the necklines on two black cashmere sweaters that are languishing upstairs.

Even a used garment bought on a half price sale day is money poorly spent if you never wear it!   Later I will connect up two more squares for the Hearts for Charleston quilt — Mo’s and Nancy’s.   I was able to actually weave the edges together this time, using the new corduroy base under Mo’s square.

Stock, Shadows, and Metta

IMG_2530I have made the stock for Thursday’s gravy. How nice that someone else is cooking the bird! Neither of the boys will be home this year and we are staying local, so it’s Low Key Central here.

Cornish game hens were on sale over the weekend, so I cooked up a pair for dinner recently and saved the carcasses. Threw in a pack of wings (a “Cook’s Illustrated” trick — their bony gelatinous makeup helps with stock consistency and flavor). And then the usuals: fresh herbs, onions, potatoes, carrots, salt, and bay leaf. I had another chicken carcass in the freezer. That went in, too. Later, I’ll make cranberry-orange relish.

Meanwhile, the November sun remains warm. Longer than other years? I don’t know. The temperatures dropped radically today, but the light has yet to be rinsed of all its gold.


IMG_2233IMG_2235A circle opened on Saturday here — one of intention and long-knowing. We used to meet often and for decades. Now we meet only now and then. Our prayers and talk turned to many things, but a major theme emerged:  the hazards of inserting ourselves into other people’s business. This flowed into honest attempts at ‘claiming our own shit’. A Jungian shadow dance, for sure, only we stayed seated (in marked contrast to what might have gone down 18 years ago!) (“It’s okay to grow older,” said C).

IMG_2237What is worry about another, really and truly, but a form of projecting our own shit onto them? Mother, sister, child, friend, parent — it doesn’t matter. Health problems, organization problems, questions of motivation, ambition, or money — it doesn’t matter. The particulars don’t matter because the line you cross is always the same: it’s either my business or their business (or could also be God’s business, Byron Katie would say).

When it’s someone close that you worry about (especially a dependent), interference may seem legitimate, but it cannot hold. Offering advice and forming expectations always wreck a soft heart!

We talked about ‘compassionate detachment’.  About how having boundaries is essential and serves the other.
shadow-dog-treebranch-deemallonWe said Metta for ourselves and for those we worry about. Always for the self first!!  I brought in the Hearts for Charleston Quilt squares and we said Metta again — for the nine who died as well as for the three who survived.IMG_2548Maybe that’s all you really can do for another human being? Utter the words: “May they be peaceful. May they be free of inner and outer harm. May they know joy, wisdom, and compassion.”IMG_2238purple-shadows-dog-branches-deemallon


 It is such a pleasure to stitch these Hearts for Charleston quilt squares together! It seems that there is an organic order. I’ve moved them around a little but the actual joining has easy.  Some line up. Some overlap. Most quilters added a healthy margin around the square which, as it turns out I’m including to some extent. This means that Mo’s square, which is exactly 10″ square, needed some additional cloth. Today I stitched it to a dark blue checked cordoroy that I cut from an old shirt. It won’t show much, but the color and checks will blend well.

 Tomorrow some friends come by for a first blessing of the squares. We will probably do this again in December.  

To read more about this project,
please refer to the the sidebar category:
“Hearts for Charleston Quilt”

To investigate this style of quilting more
(most of us are students of master stitcher/storyteller Jude Hill),
please visit “Spirit Cloth


glassball-deemallonThe leaf blowers blow. The dog goes nuts seeing another dog. My sister announces she is going back to bed. Twitter turns unbearable. Coffee cools and I need to get going.

But before I head to Salem, I just want to say THANK YOU to all the readers of this blog and those of you producing your own work and posts because I am so, so grateful for this circle… how it holds me, informs me, and helps me to grow. This community stretches across national boundaries and feels particularly worthy when the world reveals how fragile and fraught with hate it is. 

I wish my pace and rhythm here were more sustained, but — you know — stuff keeps getting in the way. Happily, one of the things taking my attention right now is reading through the 400+ pages that I’ve written over the last three years for my fiction project (single spaced!!). Someone said (Natalie Goldberg?) that when she gets a student writing a novel she just wishes them a good journey, because it is like sailing out into the wide, wide ocean alone. Yes. And seeing two binders full of printed pages has provided an island for me to step on for the moment. I can turn and see where I’ve been and I have a little less panic about getting back in the boat and continuing toward the far shore.  

Hearts for Charleston – Cindy 

This delicate and floating heart arrived from Washington state from one of my favorite fiber artists and bloggers — Cindy Monte (blog: handstories).

Instead of employing nine warp and weft strips, she used three and three. The result mimics a pieced nine patch and keeps the reference to the nine deceased Charlestonians going.  Her tiny stitches create such a lovely surface! Note that there are nine stars to commemorate each of the passed souls.

 The white “thread beads” (Jude Hill’s term) scatter along the appliquéd indigo “ribbon” as well as up and out of the center of the heart — looking to me like the Milky Way. Both the look of the dots and the feel of them somehow give me a sense of holy space and hope.

   I encourage you to go to “handstories” to read what Cindy wrote about the making of this square. Also search: “Harriet Tubman” to read about an inspiring, educational collaborative quilt Cindy made with young students.   

To read more about this project,
please refer to the the sidebar category:
“Hearts for Charleston Quilt”

To investigate this style of quilting more
(most of us are students of master stitcher/storyteller Jude Hill),
please visit “Spirit Cloth


Pumpkin, dog, and holly

door-pumpkin-deemallonThere’s been a bumper crop of black walnuts this year. Thumping down, littering the garden and lawn. Rolling, feeding the squirrels, getting squashed by cars. There are dozens in that big tub and I have two boxes of soy milk to pre-treat swatches of cotton and linen, but not sure I’ll get to it. IMG_1423There’s been the bed bug situation, for one thing. I think we are on the other side of it, but my sister’s entire apartment has to be unpacked. I head up there today.

And there’s been a fair amount of writing. I did a kind of official page count yesterday and was thrilled to discover that even if I eliminate HALF of what’s there because it’s weak or stupid or doesn’t fit, I still have a novel-sized amount of pages. Not necessarily a novel, mind, but I am feeling excited about paring down and shaping it up. 
Meanwhile, I am not yet ready for the slide into winter.  The good news — new curtains on the back wall of glass. For YEARS, I have hated how much of a fishbowl our family room becomes at night this time of year, but not anymore!!!

Stay tuned for the final Charleston heart. They’re all here now so I have to begin. I woke up this morning with the edges on my mind.

P.S. Do you see Finn staring out of both doors?