Category Archives: In the Company of Cloth

notes from a quilter, collage artist, fabric collector

Time to build a sky

Back and forth: upstairs / downstairs, machine / hand, ground / sky. One of the yellows popped too much and in all my bins, incredibly enough, I couldn’t find the yellow I wanted. Dunked a few in tea and soaked overnight. We’ll see. 

It’s in the 40’s and time for the snow to go! Big, crusty banks still abound. 

End of day

We are both zonked: Finn from playing with his buddies and dog-walker Rafi; me from chopping rock hard snow and revamping two chapters.

Just made a few more machine-pieced components for the Pale Village quilt. It’s time to iron for a while and watch comedy — maybe I’ll finish watching Mike Birbiglia’s “Thank God for Jokes” on Netflix. In this show there’s a hilarious riff about the schism between “on time people” and “late people” (‘How do on time people feel about late people? Well, we hate you is all’).

Pick any three

How three become a story.

This morning I found a big pile of finished Soul Collage cards in my studio (what can I say? And also, aren’t there more somewhere? And what happened to the two dozen plus color copies ready to be trimmed and mounted? — This is what ADD looks like).

Years of Tarot reading (and now Soul Collage card pulling) have taught me that while within every single card there is a story to be found, with three cards, the story tells itself.

These three narrate a tale of parenting. Happening right now. There’s the young man being launched! Into the mountains, specifically.

After a bit of a fall (Humpty Dumpty) and emergency care (doctors have more skill than all the King’s horsemen).

Now the three of us huddle close, two holding up the third for the moment. Fluid, shared creativity will outsmart that horned and hulking bully. Bye bye big reptile guy!

(Fluid creativity is also what ADD looks like, PS).

The meaning of the dance photo is heightened by the fact that the image came from a glossy Vail resort magazine that I clipped years ago. We were at the resort while both boys were still in high school. It was a really special, once in a life time kind of get away (courtesy of my brother). D. fell in love with the Rockies during that trip.

There are a lot of “launch” cards in my deck. That I picked the one with a snowy mountain range demonstrates how synchronicity informs the process.

‘Nuff said. Much still up in the air. There and here. I have tons of pictures from our wonderful trip to Charleston and need to figure out how to share them. Reconsidering Flickr: yahoo keeps getting hacked.

It’s fifty degrees here. Hotter, I’m told, in Boulder.

Salem and gratitude 

This Quaker burial ground dates back to the early 1700s. I pass it coming and going to my sister’s apartment. I noticed it especially today and not just because the snow made it beautiful. I’d heard a podcast on the drive up about opening ourselves to the idea that in every single moment, we receive the greatest possible gift: our lives. And in the next moment, we receive it, and the next. This had the same radical softening effect of the repetition, “I have arrived. I am home. I am here.”  

This moment is a gift (I’m alive!) and this moment is a gift (still alive!) and this next one, too. Of course, spending time with someone who doesn’t drive, struggles to walk, and needs oxygen most of the time can make a person grateful too (I’m running an errand! In a car! Going into the drugstore on my legs!)

Now that I am no longer paid by the state to act as one of my sister’s PCAs (personal care assistants), it’s easier. I go for a visit. Not to labor. I thought I might mind losing the income. But this is so much better. 

We watched The Wendy Williams Show and priced French presses online. Ate pizza. I bought her wine (a battle I gave up ages ago). And then I left. 

Now that I’ve got a podcast app on my phone and figured out Bluetooth settings for the car, I worry a lot less about the drive. Last summer, really long delays were making me crazy!

This is the exact face my sister’s cat made the day she adopted her. Stink ears, I called it. But the cat’s name was one letter different from my sister’s and she understands scowling at the world. 


Her new PCA is doing a nice job straightening up. For some reason my sister lets her do things that she wouldn’t let me do. 

And tomorrow is another day to write! To walk around on my legs! I am here. I have arrived. This heating pad is the best ever. There is food in the fridge, shows in the queue. A love bug dog shares the couch with me as dark falls. We are not over, America. 

Two miracles 

This African violet has not bloomed in years. Possibly decades. I probably shouldn’t write about how I’ve almost relinquished it to the compost heap a few times, but I nearly did.

But look at it now! It’s not just the surprise of its beauty, it’s the timing. What better winter than this one to process sun and soil into a deep purple flower — long after all expectation of it had vanished.

The other miracle was the how the vigorous telephoned protests placed by an engaged and vigilant public made the GOP back down on their lovely first proposed legislative act of eliminating the independent ethics committee. Wahoo! Way to start the congressional term right!  This successful protest pierces the grey winter sky with a shaft of light.

PS. That Pinocchio figurine was photographed by me and double exposed with the type using the Diana photo app. I’m pretty proud of it.

Done, done, done

A ditty from a prompt in class this week. “Peas and the rice done, done, done” comes from a song sung by bondmen and women during the age of slavery.

Speckle, spackle lint
Globe, orb, light
Star prick, potato cut – Fie!
Cookie cutter, duster buster —
IMG_7148
Done. Peas and the rice,
done, done, done.

In the dark, we tag along in
ignorant clumps. Safety
in numbers? One arm
finds a rail, a toe stubs
rock. “Ho there!”
A single organism, we turn.

Out on the deck early, a
powdery blue sky offers its
solace — beauty
that can be referred to again

and again, lasting and constant.

Except it’s not
lasting. Or constant.

Look how swiftly the clouds
cover the setting and
glorious moon — in the short interval
it took you to dash inside for your camera.

view-from-bed

What happens when the shifting
markers of beauty verge
toward extinction, not merely sway
and decay with time?

“Ho! There! Ho!” No one
corrects course. The inevitable crash
sparks discussion, as if pinpointing the
cause of the wound trumps all other action.

In this season of cold, shattered bones and
bruises are nothing next to damnation.
Who knew lying would win
the hearts and minds of so many?

Sprinkle, dash, salt and mire.
Blood stream, character, impossible glow.
Peas and the rice, done, done, done.

Catastrophic, relentless capture
of the future: too swift to
block; too pervasive to illuminate.
It threatens to be so cold, there
are warnings.

The party lanterns bob and strain on the deck
rail, hanging, forgotten, so long
past their June flings. Remember June?

The moon hangs like a darling,
punctuating the morning with
soft, ridiculously sweet loveliness.

Just above the eave – “Ho! There!”

She runs inside for her camera, but it’s too late. The grey fuzz of
cloud shoved by a cold, cold
wind has changed everything.

She missed the moon
but caught a dream of power — a friend gathering her skirts to make an entrance. Stately. Invested. Prepared. She will
study everything, consider all the
players, account for the force of history. Seventy years of wisdom coming to bear.

Such a dream!

Mighty beech. Singular gate.
Ho there! The icy air seeps
through the window frame.

IMG_8206

In the kitchen, you watch the
tiny grain moths zig-zag
against their doom.  Slap. Slap.

The dog pants beside the fire.
Dots and dabs of light on the festive tree
blur after you take off your glasses,
offering another version of pretty.
Remember Wallace Stevens
trying to decide which to prefer:
the blackbird’s cry or just after?

As if calibrating how much reality you can stomach is anything like weighing
the relative beauties of music and silence!

poppy-egyptian-close
We slide into a
Bosch painting – celebrities being eaten by plants,
destroyers appointed to protect, eggs sprouting legs. Babies cry all the way
from Aleppo. We are
cursed and lack the explaining mythology.
Stab, slice, potato cutter — fie!
How quaint a cut to the finger. Apply pressure,
glue and presto — no more blood.

There goes the moon, behind its periwinkle
shroud. Time feels a foe this season.
Arctic air whips up its icy announcements
and someone, somewhere takes it as proof
that everything is as it always was.

Who will measure the cold and with what instruments
after they round up the scientists?
They’ll say: ‘Study moles and circuits. Or lumps of coal.’

“Ho there!” How about darkness? Make
a chart that nobody will believe
and store it somewhere in Canada.

The money will disappear along
with the truth, so button up.

“Ho there! Ho.” We smile and drink. We bundle up. We exchange
sweets and trinkets while frigid air sweeps down from the north.

So, go ahead – dream of power
or dream of extinction. Dream of
capturing the moon with your

bare hands. But when you wake,
with thermal underwear and corrective lenses on, gather your skirts and make an entrance. Somewhere. And speak.

“Ho there. Ho” Peas and the rice
done, done, done.

Festive salad and Salem visit

Lost my mojo. In fact, the campaign and election were disturbing enough to convert me from a “woman who yells” to one who cries. I still feel off, but miss my blog peeps, so here I am with a modest offering of food. This delicious winter salad has four ingredients: romaine, slivered radicchio, thin-sliced red onion, and pomegranate seeds. Topped with a mustard/garlic vinaigrette on the tangy side. The red bits look festive, don’t you think?

Good thing it was tasty because for some reason the frittata bombed. Came out like a rubber mat with inclusions of goat cheese. Seriously.

C acted the good sport and came to Salem with me today. Removed a cruddy rug. Got the AC unit down to the basement. Moved the bed and the exercise machine. We shopped for food and wine. Pictures were hung, curtains put up, and a few decorations fetched from storage.

This was AFTER C. bagged up another five bags of leaves for the neighbor who hired him, making a total of 28. Whew! It was the last leaf pick up in our town. On our side of the fence, it went pretty painlessly. The guy I thought I hired never showed and I’m glad because being outside and raking was one of the sanest and most grounding activities of the last few weeks.