Category Archives: Sewing Clothes and for the Home

Snow and time

It’s coming down hard. Brush the car off one hour and the next it’s covered again — with four inches of snow! Been shaking the branches of the arbor vitae and holly.

Still finding bottle brush trees to put away.

With all the sticks littering the backyard, Finn just wants someone to play with him when he’s out back. Right now, though, he’s snoring, curled up next to K.

March is birthday month: both boys, my brother and sister in law, and my mother in law. A few pictures going back to first boy’s first year.

A little peanut in a Moses basket.

A first Christmas in Florida.

The Uncle Fester phase.

Precious commodity: sleep.

PJ’s from Korea. Pond my mother made.

Bumpers, quilt, and curtains I made. A happy chappy (Oh Lord, was there a heating pad in the crib?)

First trip to the Vineyard. Two color ear flap hat knit by moi.

PO’d kitties. Suddenly not the center of our world.

Stay warm if you’re sharing this blizzard and if not, stay cool while ever more shit hits the fan in Washington!

A last shot spit up by FB this morning. Not from his first year, obviously.

I have arrived. I am home. 

Reading Thich Nhat Hanh yesterday, I came across the lines: “I have arrived, I am home / in the here and now. / I am solid, I am free / In the ultimate I dwell.” Last night K and I walked the labyrinth over at Boston College and the first of the lines stayed with me, adapted a little:  “I am here. I have arrived. I am home.”

I passed on the opportunity to gather with others at the State House and chose this more solitary act instead. It was too cold to watch every heel/toe/breath but I sometimes sent a prayer heavenward: “get him out peacefully”.

All that urgent yearning and: “I have arrived. I am home.”  Such contrast!

December 19 — can we call it the “new longest night” of the year? “I am home. I have arrived.”

Today, my sister and I shopped for our holiday dinner at a little Salem market called Steve’s which she insists on calling Frank’s, a fact that would amuse you if you knew my husband’s family. Anyway, bringing my bags out first so that I could return and get her bags second, I repeated: “I am home. I have arrived. I am here.” Crossing the tarmac with plastic rattling — such an ordinary moment and one that I might normally on some level rush to get through! Instead, those grounding and life affirming words: “I am home.”

On the second trip out, imagine my delight when, just after repeating, “I am here,” I looked up to see a banner half a block away reading: Where You At?

“I am here. I am home. I have arrived.”

We had liverwurst with wasabi and mayo on pumpernickel for lunch and I left in time to miss the 3:00 school and shift-change traffic. It was a “yes” day.

And just now, I finished a Pussyhat for a friend marching on Washington next month. They’re supposed to be knit and I plan to also knit a few when my pink yarn arrives, but in the meantime, this one was constructed out of a cashmere sweater, polar fleece, and wool felt. (Pussyhat Project).

Don’t ask me why or how, but it feels like “moving on”.


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.

Because it rained

20140729-082526-30326986.jpgThank goodness it rained on the last Sunday in July, because instead of taking a walk that morning, I went to the MFA.  It was the last day of a quilt show that it would have killed me to miss.
IMG_4648There were about six rooms of beautiful traditional quilts, with a lot of text about the collectors and the quilters’ use of color.  Another friend of mine took exception with how little was said about the MAKERS and how MUCH was said about the collectors.  I spent almost all of my time looking at the quilts, so it wasn’t something I picked up on.  Before I judge the exhibit on this basis, I would want to know what, if anything, they knew about the crafters.  It’s very possible that in the case of many of the quilts, NOTHING was known.

a whole room of Amish quilts!

a whole room of Amish quilts!

In what little text I did read, I noticed an repetitious emphasis on the use of color (we get it! complimentary colors look good together!!) and a real lack of information about the technical structure of the cloths.  Gorgeous trapunto and stippling went without mention; one quilt supposedly had discharged cloth in it where I could find none.

feathered diamond. Penn. 1890's

feathered diamond. Penn. 1890’s

But! I still thoroughly enjoyed the show and firmly believe that quilts belong on the walls of our art museums — and not just the magnificent Gee’s Bend quilts, either.

All the photos were taken with my phone, so please indulge the lack of focus!

20140728-224146-81706517.jpg

bold and dynamic use of plaid

20140729-082526-30326631.jpg

20140729-082528-30328326.jpg

An entire room of variations on the Log Cabin pattern was my favorite part of the show, not only because of the quilts themselves, but because the grouping revealed how profound an impact color/value choices have on design.  All the quilts in the room used the very same pattern and yet were radically different from each other.

20140729-082528-30328670.jpg20140729-082529-30329385.jpg

IMG_4687

unbelievably small strips!

20140729-082527-30327942.jpg20140729-082529-30329802.jpgIMG_4665 IMG_4667 IMG_4668

20140729-082527-30327633.jpgThis was one of many beautiful nine patches in the exhibit.  The show made me appreciate the uses of white when making patterns and colors sing.

20140729-082527-30327307.jpg

20140729-082530-30330158.jpg

woolen, tied quilt — nine patch and rail fence

20140729-082530-30330521.jpg
IMG_4636 IMG_4637 IMG_4638 IMG_4639 IMG_4640

Heading north

Cold and raw here. Seems like spring has not made up its mind to arrive. Oddly, it is warmer in Montreal. We’ve been checking. Hope to cross the border well before dinner.
IMG_9186D. has an anatomy exam this morning and will sleep ’til the last possible moment.
IMG_9175IMG_9125I delivered the nursery school quilt yesterday.  The kids were making glop, but managed to gather round and have their various, individual responses without getting any on the quilt.  One boy wore the deepest frown possible. I loved him for it. The best part of the endeavor, of course, was spending time with the students.
IMG_9093I really only have a couple of little tricks about the project, but plan to do a (mostly pictorial) tutorial. Took the pictures, anyway. Above, it is not quite done.

The ligularia seems especially brave this year.
IMG_9187We are off to Montreal this morning — moving C. into a new apartment, then bringing him home.  The usual disclaimer: two (vicious to you, darling to us) German Shepherds will be here with Jerry.

A few of the star series pieces will come for the ride — perfect for lap quilting!

catch up

woven-in-tree

woven exercise from Jude Hill class made into ornament

aqua-window

wool, cotton, and silk fabrics for this one

windowsill-pins

cupcakes and tea pots lining the windowsill

grey-tree

I had fun stitching the snowflakes

this one hails from Montreal

this one hails from Montreal

turtle-hung

tabs have since been finished

turtle rolled and ready to ship

turtle rolled and ready to ship

niece's choral group - Handel & Haydn Society from yesterday

niece’s choral group – Handel & Haydn Society from yesterday

I’ve been on a tear making cloth trees.  Next up?  A few aprons.  I am looking forward to a Cookie Swap this Friday, to C. coming home next week, Christmas, a couple more festive gatherings, and, at the end of the month (oh I can’t wait) – my second cortisone shot for right thumb.  Hard to do some of the basics lately.  Fortunately, can still sew.

Tomorrow is a doctor run with my sister.

Apron and Mickey

apron-and-mickey by dee at clothcompany

Here’s the apron I referenced the other day, back when it was just a bunch of woven strips attached to a rectangle of linen. I am wearing it now. It works.

For an apron to work for me, it MUST have strings long enough to tie in front, so that I can tuck a dish towel into it. Pockets unnecessary.

For the many quilters and fiber artists out there who make work as gifts or to sell, how do you know when something’s A KEEPER?

I knew I wanted this for myself, but sometimes I DON’T. One way to turn something I haven’t admitted I want to keep into a keeper is to price it too high. Ha!

P.S.  This apron combines the learning from two Jude Hill classes (Spirit Cloth) — Cloth to Cloth and Contemporary Boro.