Category Archives: piecing

The light it speaks

Of spring.

Even before we’ve tinkered with our clocks, the light speaks of spring. Soft and democratic, it offers its glow wherever it falls, instilling a sense of hope.

Is this different from “radical hope” — something I’ve read a lot about since November 2016? Radical hope galvanizes. Forces us to say ‘yes’ to things, because saying ‘no’ is not enough (Naomi Klein).

Radical hope is an act of courage (Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark). Not for the faint of heart. Solnit writes, “Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists.”

Terry Patten writes in A New Republic of the Heart that “a radical robust hope lies on the other side of despair. It can energize and sustain us, inspire our highest capacities, make us a powerful positive force … and help us address our inconceivably vast challenges.”

Cynicism is easy. Hope takes work, builds community, etc. These are necessary reminders. Medicinal, even.

But yesterday offered a less dynamic sense of hope. Nothing catapulting or conspiring. Soft and inviting, it offered a whisper of spring.

Even when a slow-poke cocker spaniel (on a retractable leash no less), forced Finn and me to walk a stretch of Route 9 at rush hour, I was not diminished.

We negotiated past old and crusty piles of snow. Avoided the paper refuse that might house irresistible tidbits. The roar coming at us. Two tons of steel intent on getting to work. Car after car with their threads of exhaust. I remained open. Open to the assaulting noise. Open to vulnerability — aware of the risk — a slip here riskier than elsewhere.

Maybe because it was warmer yesterday, maybe because February really is the month when the turning of season makes itself felt, but in that motion and noise and ever present possibility of calamity, there was hope.

It came unbidden. Full of promise. Announcing itself with a flutter. Quietly.

Where does hope reside for you these days? Is it something you have to work at? If so, how do you do that?

Pix and captions Thursday

After run to SSA in Waltham, stopped at Russo’s — grocery extraordinaire (and cheap). It was me and the Sicilian widows and old Chinese ladies.

Love me some baby bok choy and black rice.

Still no spare key!

For some reason, lately I’m wanting to turn bits of patchwork into pouches.

Fucking hilarious. On Netflix.

The road today. Some puddles hiding sheets of ice.

Back light and self pity

It’s a little funny to me that just beyond this serene house quilt is the huge mess associated with tree clean up.

Happily, my brother in law came to help yesterday, otherwise we’d really be behind the eight ball.

It’s still a bit daunting. For one thing, on closer inspection, we noticed that the tree did hit the house, so I’ll need to get an insurance adjuster out here as soon as possible (after two back to back nor’easters, I imagine they’re very busy!) More snow coming Tuesday, P.S.

With the ladder leaning on an about-to-be-cut branch, there were plenty of Wily E. Coyote jokes.

We tried to broker a meeting between Finn and his dog cousin, Ziggy, and did everything right up to a point — (starting in neutral territory, keeping a good distance, then closing the distance, then a break apart) after which it did not go well. It turned into a minor disaster, actually, because when Finn went apeshit, I slipped in the snow and let go the leash. Ziggy seems to be fine, but it didn’t prevent one of my self-pitying laments about difficult dependents.

Speaking of which, after eight years on the wait list and three application updates, my sister has gotten subsidized housing. This is the best possible news for her (and secondarily for my brother, whose financial burden will be greatly reduced). For me, it is a giant chore with no real benefit (did I mention self pity about difficult dependents?) I am happy for her, don’t get me wrong. I just wish there was someone else to orchestrate the move.

Meanwhile, these are my last few weeks to prep for Newton Open Studios. We will pay rent for my sister’s current apartment through the end of April, which hopefully will make the transition manageable.

(Just so you know, we moved all her belongings into storage in 2009, out of storage in 2010, and then had to assist with near complete possession pack up during the bed bug ordeal last year. These were the same years that we moved our sons a total of seven times).

Balsam and lavender

The top sachets are filled with balsam from Maine while the two in the basket are filled with lavender.



Two crib quilts in progress: one fall and one spring. Seasons are so much better than gender for categorizing baby items!

It’s a grey day portending rain. I continue to receive birthday presents, like this adorable elephant (how nice is that?). We’re currently watching the Netflix series, “The Frankenstein Chronicles” which I recommend. Ned Stark, from Game of Thrones, plays the compelling lead. I’m guessing that this show is what “The Alienist” hoped it would be.

I hope you’re having a nice weekend!

PS I read the superseding 25 page indictment of Rick Gates this morning before even getting out of bed. I don’t think Manafort will flip — do you? I just learned that the Dem-Memo has been released, so I’ll be reading that before dinner, which leads me to ask, “What will we do when this drama is over?” It is absolutely and completely riveting.

Cool day, warm colors

It’s snowing hard. The tension on my machine is off. The Great British Baking Show is on.

Warm colors are nice this time of year. This wonky log cabin will be a baby blanket. We called baby blankets, “baa-baa’s” in this house. How about in yours?

I used to go down to Pembroke to a fabric wholesaler to buy cotton and scissors. Not so, these eight-inch dressmaking shears. They came from Amazon.

Just so you know (re: my carbon footprint), Pembroke is probably a 40 minute drive.

I’d been sawing at cloth for nearly a year. Having sharp scissors in the house is as delightful as getting a decent haircut was last week!

PS. The light behind the quilt makes clear there is at least one seam that needs straightening. You know it’s crooked if I’m prepared to fix it!

The Barn

Having this quilt on my wall for a while meant a couple of poor color transitions had time to prick at me. When I decided to give the piece to my brother for Christmas, I decided to tackle those spots before shipping it off. It’s not always advisable to attempt “improvements” of this kind.

First, I added some yellow in the foreground to pull the eye foreword and interrupt the blockiness of the patchwork.Stitched a few dark patterned strips on either side to lend depth and to interrupt what had been a distracting light area to the barn’s left.

And finally, I applied more hand quilting here and there and added some red bits to adjust the perspective lines on the cupola and far right eave (not terribly successfully).

The tweaks are okay. Maybe not what I hoped for. With additions like this, you always risk of either disrupting the spontaneity of the original design or of creating new problems while fixing existing ones.

This piece ran the additional risk of spoiling the (possibly impressive) fact that it’s almost entirely pieced.

Anyway. The upshot is that my remediation, successful or not, has whet my appetite for learning. How come I never learned perspective? Really? And, maybe it’s time to learn how to manage transitions more skillfully by attending to color values.