Monday, August 6, 2018

Every so often, I have this guilt wash over me: why am I quilting if I'm not finishing things immediately? Why am I spinning if I don't have a purpose for the yarn? Why knit mittens the kids (and their father...) will lose within a few months? Or throw in the washer?

For the pleasure of it. But isn't that bad, to always live for one's pleasures? Does that mean most of what I do should be unpleasant? Does it reflect badly on my character to seek pleasure in everything I do?

Part of my love for spinning and knitting and stitching by hand and, though I'm terrible at it, weaving, is the big 'fuck you' I (usually) silently give to excessive consumerism. Plot twist: I love shopping. I love sourdough starters and I'm going to start making kombucha here this week. I love maintaining life, trying to help it live forever. I love growing our food, and I love being able to give some of it away from the garden, still warm, to some to share with their own families. I want to explore drying food and cold storing it instead of freezing and canning it all. I love giving away my handspun, or using it to make soon- to- be- lost mittens and hats. I love knitting bears for the kids, and stitching elephants, bears, and ...whatever else I've stitched for them. Dolls. I remember stitching a lot of cloth friends for Tony.

So I've come back to pleasure. In a world quickly becoming devoid of the human touch with gift giving and cooking, I'm filling a void, just a little tiny bit, with my passions. So maybe useful pleasure is alright.

This is a bookmark I'm pretty much done with, set aside for Christmas. My quilts, they get done when they do. Nick might tear one up and I'll have to fix it. If they're too far destroyed, I part them out and transmute them into new cloths with more thread, cloth, and daydreaming.

This one here, I'm calling September. Every piece I stitched on here, I did with intent, thinking about the friends who have come and gone this year; my garden and its bounty in this godforsaken humidity (um hi I don't live in the Great White North for nothing here...) and I'm thinking about how each heart is different from another heart, and that one's heart can change from one moment to the next. What makes my heart change; what makes me drift toward or away from something? How can I express that, figuratively or literally? And then, Drift. The ocean, my first sanctuary, 1/4 mile from my front door. (The woods are my second sanctuary, and the place I go to most this time of year, because all the tourists are at the ocean.)

I've wanted to get back to blogging for a while. Like any sort of writing or self expression, the first step is a leap.

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. : )

Thursday, November 12, 2015

How it felt.

A new heartbreak. Something to mend, but part of what holds it together is falling out. I hope the mending will be enough. Maybe it can stay outside but nearby until the heart can take it back in.

 Reminds me of this. From my first ever 'cloth,' the first time I found out it's ok to sew how I'd like and not painfully and frustratingly follow the quilting status quo blindfolded.

 I wish I knew what happened to this old friend. I miss it so much. It was a time holding cloth. 2005 or 2006, I think. I really forgot. Time is relative. It was after Nicky was born, but before my mother died that I started it. Then someone peed on it and it went into a bag to be laundered. I hope it didn't get thrown away. I hope it's lost at my sister's house, to be found later as a great treasure (to me!).
It held memories and events; old quilts and new; births and deaths, woven with each stitch or of the cloth itself.

 I really do miss it. The black fabric with the white on it at the top of the bottom pic, that was some rayon or cotton from India I got at a local quilt shop. I think they were scarf remnants, something like that.
I'll have to try to make another in it's honor. Its. Aw, heck.