Voices in thread…

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I’ve spent most of the day reading blogs listed on Jude Hill’s blog. I love seeing these women’s voices in cloth…and thread. I hear and see myself in their words.

Because I spent most of the day reading, I didn’t get many real things done. There are some fabric pieces stewing in mulberry dye. Some squares in a purloined basket awaiting stitching. And some black walnut stained fabric action happening outside. But those aren’t the real things…i.e. chores/work…I ought to have been doing.

I’ve been experimenting with some of Jude’s favorite methods, rather than going back to my old embroidery habits. The little woven fabric piece above is an example of her influence, but in miniature. I stitched it last night, just playing. When I was nearly done, I realized I had stitched what, to me, looked like the prairie…and a storm.

I don’t like working in blues, but there it is.

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Olive liked seeing what I was doing and insisted on getting in the middle of it. Experimenting. Squishing still-juicy walnut hulls onto old manpant fabric. This spring I used some old manpants as zucchini planters. H. didn’t think it was funny when I showed him, but he told the story on his radio show anyway and people thought it was hilarious. It was the question of the day: What did Mrs. NC do with H’s pants? The board lit up with calls. The winner got a free pizza.

Unfortunately, the squash didn’t turn out all that well. It wasn’t the pant’s fault. The squash didn’t do well anywhere I planted it. Crazy enough, though, I still have a healthy zucchini plant growing out back. It spits out a mature squash now and then. Soon, the frost will get it.

Reading these other women is intimidating. On the one hand, I don’t feel like I have anything to contribute. On the other hand, I remind myself I am accomplished in many ways…and perhaps soon I will post some old work so I can prove (to myself) I can do things, too. It’s always intimidating learning new things. It’s so easy to sink back into the familiar, but I won’t let myself do it. So far, one of the most enjoyable things is just pushing needle and thread through fabric, watching stitches form. Learning to appreciate the end result. Which is really about learning to appreciate myself.

I had the front door and window opened while I read this morning. First I heard the birds, and then the traffic, and then the neighbors. I listened to phases of the day while I read, wishing for a quiet life in the country somewhere in the back of my head. Thinking about the lack of friends these days, years, how odd that has seemed to me for so long, but now it’s been long enough I’m getting used to it as a way of life. Over the past few weeks I’ve told myself “I need to make new friends…I need to make new friends…” I no longer relate to the old ones. And acquaintances here are appreciated, but too conservative and religious for my taste or any real attempts at connection. I am surprised to see I have become accustomed to my own isolation after hating it for so long.

One of the blog posts from Windthread said “friends here are just as real” or something like that. The thought made me cry. I also really miss goats and seeing hers, remembering mine, made my heart lurch.

And then barking…and some writing…and a bit of sketching, which looks like a child’s drawing and today made me laugh…maybe the first step in accepting my artistic limitations. I suddenly found I didn’t care if my drawings look immature. It’s natural that they should since I never practiced, never learned. I rarely ever drew as a kid, I mainly colored inside the lines. So, this one made me laugh and I found myself liking my efforts more. A first step.

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I have 9 minutes before I have to do something real. Blegh.

I can’t wait to see how the walnut stain turns out.

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I’m going to work on this woven square next.

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