Friday, July 3, 2020

Of green and white. Nature and man.

   It's hard to get back into blogging. But I've missed it. God knows all I do is talk, mostly to myself. I watch a lot of Twitch streams, and I'm always talking to people (and yelling at people) who can't hear me. In fact, that's where I do most of my spinning and weaving, right here at the computer, watching people play games. I've been foraging, hiking, fishing, gardening, driving 20+ hrs a week, working on a bowhunting course, same with herbalism, and gaming. Some stitching, some knitting, lots of spinning, and a moderate amount of weaving. 

Nick is in residential now, and he comes home on weekends. He's still not safe, and he's done a lot of damage to the house, and to me. I'm usually his target. Specifically, my head. Last year brought us the first of a few bad incidences. He seriously roughed up two of his staff, and both ended up quitting the agency. (The second one who quit refused to call for help when N attacked me viciously; I was on the floor, barely coherent, and she said she 'froze.' I think it would be best if she never crosses my path again.)

He arguably tried to kill me. Opening up about that is really hard, so I'll stop there. One of the few times my sister cried in front of me and told me what to do. One of two times I've ever had to call the cops on someone. Second time was to help T a month later because he was smashing his head and wrapping things around his neck. From there, those of you on IG know how that went- both went to the hospital a few hrs away, to the disabilities unit for three months and one month, respectively. T has been mostly better. N... he managed to make a few people quit their jobs (he weeded out those who weren't cut out for it, I've been told) and, yet, he has won over the strongest angels on his team.


I have a few gardens this size, but this is the one that is doing the best so far. I pulled up the old strawberry plants- the grandmother plants- and they're planted in a 'retirement' patch now. And I gave a few away. Still got a lot of grab- and- go strawberries out of this patch for the kiddos. I don't plant things like normal people do. I plant things wherever I feel like it or wherever it'll fit. It's more fun that way. I've learned that I have no patience for cabbage worms. They took out my cauliflower and they tried for the cabbage. I usually eat the outer leaves stir fried throughout the summer and, if the heads are big enough, I put those in the back of the fridge. No root cellar here, but I am thinking of installing a small removable one here. Like a narrow, deep, in- ground box.

Cotton! I'm about to separate these into big pots, one or two per pot. It gets so cold here I know I'll have to bring them in well before they're finished growing. I have a grow closet for seedlings, and some hydroponics spots. I had success growing a few bolls the last few years. These are brown and green, and I forget the breed. I can't wait to spin with these babies. You really bond with something when you spend so much time with it. Watching it grow from seed to sweater makes it an old friend by the time it's completed. We should all have precious things like that in our lives.

Still stitching, way too slowly, on this. I know I want to leave the edges raw. I like the unfinished- but- finished look sometimes. I have had a few people request this when it's done. I don't know who I'll give it away to yet. I discovered I prefer the look of quilting rows very close together, and that I prefer the drape of super- lightweight layers of cloth to the usual 4 or so layers I use on my quilts. I love the weight of those quilts, but I'm feeling 'lighter' right now. And crosses. I found my heart is at home with crosses. I'm obsessed with them currently. Healing, sacrifice; I see a head with arms outstretched. I haven't done yoga in a while (it's been over a month!) and crosses sometimes remind me of standing straight up, creating space in my spine, and stretching out my arms. Which leads me to think about matriarchy, another thing I love to study. Oh, how I miss my grandmother. What a lovely, soft leader she was. And then animism. Rabbit holes!

I've been going through all my yarn orphans to warp and weave into belts and strips for wrapping up old quilts and cloth to store in the closet. Really, these belts are good for so much. Trims for woven blankets, too. I absolutely prefer weaving with a rigid heddle. And I absolutely do not prefer weaving with this clamp.

Using this orange and blue strip as the backstrap. I just stab the hook through the weaving. That's probably inappropriate.

It's probably a little strange to weave dish towels on a backstrap loom with a rigid heddle, but it's working. The loose strings in the middle will be cut and the ends will disappear. I'm using an old... table leg, I think, that I turned into a tomato stake for a few years, as part of the loom bar, and pvc pipe for the other part. It works perfectly fine. I prefer the look of plain weave. I know everyone loves the complicated stuff, but I like to keep things simple. And primitive. My fancy days are fading. I'm at home with less, usually.

And cotton spinning. So much spinning, really. I've been spinning through my stash for comfort. Wool is an old friend. Turkish spindles are a new, very useful flirtation. Cotton is a new friend. The spindle on top in the below picture is a Mirkwood spindle, and it has "Tibor" for the artist, and 'Soul' (one of my nicknames) engraved in it, in Elvish. (I thought it was Elven. I guess I learned.) I'm working on a handspun cotton sweater on size 3 needles... it's not taking as long as I thought it would, but it is taking a while. My adhd doesn't help with that.

And, in light of current events, one of my favorite poems.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Plants and Cloth and Emotions

 It's been a crazy time. A crazy life. I lost a best friend (deception) and that was the straw that broke the camel's back. I crashed and I rebuilt and I'm glad I crashed. It's good to rediscover emotional self reliance. It's good to wipe the slate clean and start over mentally, and physically. It's not good to handle things the way I did initially but we crawl and we fall before we walk and stand tall. During the crash, I did a lot of damage to my whole self but I think I had to tear apart the facade to get to myself, to let myself back out again. Too many years I spent superficially dealing with life and coping with the stress of 2 special needs kids, my mother's death, and some other personal things. I hid and I pacified and I didn't cope. But I found my way back out. 

I miss my best friend but he was a man- child pile of garbage that took himself out. It felt like he died. I had to grieve. It felt ridiculous. I love too hard. I do have other best friends, my sister being the very best, and they're each special to me.

I lost myself in cloth, the kids, family, friends, (local and far away) gaming (WoW and Guild Wars 2,) gardening- especially permaculture, learning, quantum mechanics (I'm hooked.) and the cat. Can't leave her out.

About losing myself in cloth- internalizing and focusing on those stitches... I use my needle and thread to weave my heartache, fears, and excitement into whatever cloth I'm talking to at that moment. I stitch secrets that are solely between my spirit and the cloth. A safe place.
I think about a world without words. I think about communicating in silence, in love, and nothing else. Words are inadequate. Love is not inadequate. Not real love.


#2 son, the one who has been in temporary residential for 2.5 years getting therapy for severe autism, is coming home around the end of September. We're just working on getting services in place first. He comes home every weekend now. And it's challenging most weekends. We'll make it happen.

#1 son, moderate autism. He hit 13 (THAT age... and boy do we know it) and he hit it hard and fast. HE has developed some interesting behaviors that require vigilance on my part. I do sort of 'homeschooling' with him during his waking hours to keep him busy.

 So enough of that.

I have rented here for 9 yrs, and, this year, we can finally garden. So there are community gardens around the lot and a few of us have gardens on our own doorsteps. I have used every container I can get my hands on! I gardened all the time at my mother's house, now my sister's house. I will grow there again next year. My fruit trees are there. Just too much going on this year! My carrots are doing ok. Herbs are doing great. Tomatoes are late but faaaabulous. Zucchini, late but hopefully awesome. I only have one right now. Neighborhood cat keeps eating the flowers. We call him 'Neighbor Cat.' My own cat is "White Cat." I bet you can't figure out why.

 Star blanket... getting there! Tony and I stretched this out the other day. I'm going to make it as long as the blocks on the left and as wide as the blocks on the right. I curl up with it sometimes now but I usually bring it upstairs and put it on my bureau to remind me first thing in the morning to GET UP and PLAY!

There are so many moons and stars, and it seems fitting... I've been working on this for so many moons. And some of those moons were dyed and dried under the Moon. A number of hidden stars, too. And I'll add more. Maybe I'll forget and I'll be surprised when I find them again, and I'll remember the moments I stitched them in. And some trees that talk to the moons and the stars. As Maraad said, "In the Light, we are One." (World of Warcraft.) 

The back of one of the blocks is from Nicky's boppy pillow. I had to retire that poor thing. He got 12 years out of it. I'm glad I thought to salvage the cloth off it. I want to see it often.

 And, some old indigo, some new indigo, some chestnut and some 1800's pink scraps. It feels just right. Just the right thickness, perfect for a snuggle.

 I can't believe it's the end of August. Overall, it's been a wonderful summer. I am blessed.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Stars Moons Heart Fragments

Stars. I guess the blue and brown woven thingy isn't going on the top. I want brown and stars. Woven stars, now there's an idea! Brown and yellow? No, indigo and yellow.

 I still have lots of moons, too. Maybe the moons are planets, but they look like stars from where I'm watching. 

 The tips are bright blue... if things are too hot or too cold, they're brilliant. These contrasting things have a lot in common.  Top right, purple piece... that's from a blantee that couldn't handle dozens of industrial washes, fell apart at the hospital, and I salvaged a few little pieces. I got it at Jo Ann's and I love to find more of it.

 This one I like to look at. I'm not done working on it yet. Lots of plaid because hey I'm from Maine, why not. And I love it. And flannel. Shirts (and jammie pants) are made of super durable cloth. And it's so soft after a lot of washes. Perfect for a blankie!

...below, about how I feel. What once was THAT, is now THIS. THAT will be once again, but with more mending and scarring holding it together. Maybe a wee dramatic but I'm worn down and worn out today. Friends and loves need to be straight up with me, tell me what to expect, to keep their word, and try to remember what love and betrayal are. One we need in abundance. One we should never have to feel at the hands of the people we love.

...but anyway... this is something I've been 'sitting on' forever. For YEARS. The dark part is cloth that was hand printed in Britain. I bought it at a local fabric shop. The rest was 'stuff' from around here, thrown in commercial wool dyes I still have in abundance. I kept thinking for sure it would be a wall hanging but now I want it to be the center of a quilt. It's so soft. You would want to snuggle it. And the drape of it is gentle, pleasant... oh, gosh dammit, adjectives, you failed me here. 

And THIS is a little mug rug. I wish I could cover ever surface and the floor with them when the kids are home, because they think snacks and drinks belong EVERYWHERE.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

How it's coming together.

Something I didn't hit publish on, I guess. This is the star quilt I'm making for myself. Or whoever needs it at the moment, I guess. Just a snapshot and a few favorite places.

Right now and Nicky.

 Going in spirals. It's hard to get the words out, to talk about the pictures in my mind, the stories in my mind. I loved the movie and the book Journey to the Center of the Earth and that whole genre-  like The Goddess of Atvatabar. I know I had other loves along those lines. Even the Iron Dwarves in WoW inspire me... although I haven't been as into WoW lately. (Guild Wars 2, on the other hand... I may need an intervention.)

I've drawn pictures on index cards, backs of kids' paperwork from school, anything nearby when I get an idea. I made them in pencil and they're kind of hard to see... but I also tried to paint a picture with words one night when I had to get the imagery out to fall asleep. More a list of thoughts and words.


Under the earth


Eyes in the center to represent beings there... dreaming and looking out. Illuminating, with comfort of home and with hope.

Brown   earth   dirt   rocks  

Cavern   darkness   home   humble   cozy

Hide   safe from shame

thoughts safe from other people knowing

Wrap warm comfort

No stars   dream and wish upon stalagtites   wisps of light

Light from reflection   manmade light

Uneven shapes   blob ovals and circles   Bodies mythical   asymmetric

Sanity held by few stitches
 playful and gentle but insane
Child like, no anger

roads uneven   many started paths that go nowhere yet


Below is a mini version of what I was thinking of. I want to make a twin sized blanket version for myself. This is 'eco dyed'  ...I'm not sure what the material is, it feels like linen and silk. And behind that is coffee dyed cotton. And some chambray because it was too thin in one place. Then a rectangle of extra cotton because I pulled some stitches out to redo and the fabric got too thin. I want to add this to my big star blankie I'm still working on, probably at the top, and maybe on the woven blue and brown piece below. Nicky even put in a few stitches here.

 A bump in the road. Roads need repairs every so often.

 The blue and brown woven thingy. I love the way the stitched parts feel, the quilted down bits. I love the weight of it, too. I 'doodled' with stitching down bottom and I'm not sure how much I love parts of it... but I don't 'dis- love' it enough to take it out yet. I have a heart- tree planned for this, maybe two, on each side of the middle earth piece; or one instead of it, right in the middle.

 And then, this weekend, I hauled Nicky's blankie out of the basket for some work. It's heavy and I didn't feel like working on it for a while. I want to throw four- patches all over it. I've always loved 9 patches, and I did a 16- patch quilt a while back that got destroyed ::flails and screams madly:: that I enjoyed... but something about 4 satisfies me. That makes me laugh at myself a little, since I'm OCD over the number 3.
 But Nicky loves stars, and I love squares and 4 patches... disorder in stitching and order in everything else... so I'll find a place for it all. I want the blankie to be cool to the touch, the way cotton loves to be, and a little heavy like a slightly weight blanket, and soft and used feeling, not new and ...stern, I guess.

 Backside of it has some gems... an old flannel shirt or pants (I had both, same material,) HR print (I have these stockpiled somehow) and some "eco- dyed, eco printed" awesome linen from etsy. Nicky will be home for good soon... he's been at a temporary residential place for nearly 3 years now and 2 mental health hospital visits (and a few er visits) in that time. He still has some issues with aggression and destruction but he's doing incredibly better. I hope he'll be as stable at home as he has been where he's at now... he comes home every weekend and on vacation weeks for most of the week. His brother (who has moderate autism) is looking forward to it. Nicky is his 'best friend' and 'little brovah.' Nick has a Nova Chat and that helps him talk. Seeing how he behaves, you'd never guess how much intelligence and empathy lie within him. He's a little story all in himself, for sure.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Keepin' On

Fuzzy, because the kid doesn't stay still... it's getting bigger! I wanted it twin sized but I don't know if it's going to be. I want to add red and tan checkers to it. Some of my favorite wintery colors together. They remind me of my old hiking boots, with red laces... long lost. Or I gave them away.

But it grew feed and a head, so that's progress!

After finding out a few friends in the San Bernardino area were okay I could tune my freak out dial down from 10 to 7 and absorb the shock and heartache of what happened. I haven't had cable in 11 years and I plan to keep it that way. I found an old shirt I was going to throw away, and I wondered if I could sew with it or the needle would catch the whole time. Well, if I make the stitches a bit bigger, it's fine. I don't know how well it would dry after being washed, being several layers of knitted fabric. But it was meditative while I was watching my twitter feed explode with information.

Next, some cloth I got online from Heike at Gerdiary. The colors are perfectly cheery. And there's tan! I love browns. And grays. and BLACK. I love drab, especially when it meets vibrance. Earth and magic.

I like working on the backs of things, and the insides... it's like cleaning places you know no one will ever see: you know it's there, and it's peace of mind. Although I am sure someone will see the backs of this cloth. Top part, blue, from Jo Ann's. Awesome soft denim. Bottom, cotton/ linen from the quilt shop I dyed with, probably. To the right, some nearly bulletproof- but- soft cotton from the quilt shop. It's nice to touch, not so nice to hand sew through. I like grids, though. I think it's why I like most flannels so much. Flannels at the bottom= Goodwill finds.

I need to get this guy tacked down today. I don't know what to do with the edges, if anything. So maybe nothing with those yet. To the right of hte pink and blue is where I started, a funky nine patch. I like chaos in order. It's a safe place to practice insanity.

Like I need practice. I'm 38 going on 17.

Love that guy. : )