Archive | December 2016

Adventures in blue…

I am trying to make friends with blue. It’s not my favorite color.

One thing I have noticed from Jude’s work which has made me appreciate blue, is it has a tendency to make other colors that are not blue better.

I had wanted to continue with my stitching projects and had been gaining momentum, but then this happened…

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Of the two sizes of hands available, mine was the only one that would fit between the toilet and the wall for a fixit issue. An hour and much wrenching using vice grips on a slippery, decomposing poorly designed nylon nut later and my thumb was badly damaged. I felt like crying the whole time, but the toilet was half apart and it had to be done. At least the toilet works now and no longer moans.

Since I couldn’t stitch, I decided to dye. Even with one hand it was pretty successful.

I have not ventured into indigo dyeing and I’m not sure I ever will. But I have rit dye and have had a lot of fun playing with it this year. For these dye efforts I used Royal Blue.

I really like the reds, the ones that look like sunsets in smog, the blue on pink silks. It was a fun adventure.

I also learned that, like indigo vats, rit dye baths will poop out after a while. The last of my efforts did not turn out so well, but I still got plenty to play with.

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Sometimes you don’t know…

I feel like I’ve gotten a second wind.

Or maybe it’s just that I’m finally beginning.

Anyway, I’ve finally gotten started (and finished) on some cloth adventures. One is done, another is nearly there…and I’ve gotten some further vision on already started pieces. I think sometimes things have to sit before they tell you what they want to be and you know which direction to go. Grace talks a lot about this.

Progress feels good.

A couple days ago I began this piece. I was wanting to try people and beasts, so my first start was a people.

No matter what I did with this face, she just always looked severe. Faces…I would like to get really good at them.

While stitching this first “Lady,” I was reminded of a time in grade school where I landed on the idea of making dolls using old pantyhose stuffed with polyfil for the heads. I mildly stitched here and there to created eyes, nose, etc…on the surface of the pantyhose. I showed them to a friend. The next day at school she came back with a bag full of pantyhose heads her high school-aged and very creative sister had done after she’d shared the idea with her. Her sister’s faces were full of ridges and valleys which created big cheeks, protruding noses, deep set eyes…meaning her faces were FULL of character and they looked real, as opposed to my one-dimensional efforts. I felt my faces were quite inadequate after that, but I didn’t give up. I ended up making a doll for my grandmother that looked a lot like her. I wonder what ever happened to it?

A little kantha…is so nice…

I really didn’t know where I was going with this piece. But I found I loved each step. The skirt was something I clipped off an early abandoned effort several months ago when I rediscovered Jude’s work. As it turns out, I was watching a video of hers and recognized it from years ago, probably from my days on stitchinfingers. I was more interested in crazy quilting back then, so I never followed Jude’s work. Since refinding her this year, I have found her take on invisible basting/glue stitch and satin stitch/wrap stitch very helpful. I really love how the pink flower turned out edged in soft green crochet thread. The nose and eyebrows are also based on Jude’s style and suggestions.

I had decided to call this piece “Lady.” Then, last night I changed that to “La Senora” because of her love of color. I had A LOT of fun trying out hairdos for her.

I was amazed at how much her personality seemed to change with each new coif. The second one with orange made her look like Lucille Ball to me. And the blond one is a lot like the lead singer from Twisted Sister. She could be an entertainer with that electric blue do. I just LOVE these roving pieces for hair, don’t you?

Her skirt also got some further embellishment. More pink. And a couple of Jude’s thread beads.

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Sometimes you don’t know where you’re going with a piece. There are no drawings for this lady. But, the piece just flowed and I have had a lot of fun putting her together. Earlier today, I realized WHO and WHAT she is. I am currently working on her hair and final touches. I will share those later…

 

 

 

Only you, beneath the moon and under the sun…

Night and day, you are the one

Only you, beneath the moon, and under the sun

In the roaring traffic boom,

In the silence of my lonely room,

I think of you…night and day

Cole Porter’s “Night and Day.” As sung by Iggy Pop. It seems to be his voice I hear.

These lines and the accompanying melody were stuck in my head when I woke up this morning, after dreaming about an old love. A young Irish man named Joseph, who I met in London when I was 19 and he was 20. It was in 1989, when the Irish were the poor laborers in England, many of them struggling construction workers, as opposed to the Polish and Eastern Europeans of current times. He worked in the hostel where I stayed and made friends. It was my first time abroad.

I haven’t dreamt about Joseph for some time now, so this dream surprised me. I was over There, in London, as I often am in these dreams of him. Suddenly, he is in the same room as me. I am surprised – and not surprised – to see him.

“Why are you here?” I ask him.

“Because I knew you would be,” he answers.

In these dreams there are usually long train rides, the effort of travel, the feeling of distance and things stretched apart, and everything looks dim and old-fashioned. This time, gone is the thrill I used to have upon seeing him in my dreams, gone is the yearning to be with him. I am acutely aware of this, although I still feel how wonderful it is to see him. But, the old ties are gone. I have changed.

He begins to kiss me. In the hallway, against a wall, alone. I don’t feel much, but then the insistence of his kisses reminds me of him, of his gentle nature and quiet intensity. I remember who I was. I begin to melt a bit, in the remembering and the kindness I still feel for him. The kisses are long and lingering.

“Where is your wife?” I ask, aware that he is here alone.

“She’s home having our fourth child.” He shrugs. “I think it’s our fourth.”

In real life they live in Ireland, have three children, and she is very blond. In real life he’s a very attentive father and husband. In this dream, he seems detached, stuck.

I am stunned he is not with her at this moment.

I am even more stunned when she appears. She says hello, then leads me towards the back of the building, which is like an old meeting hall or town hall, and we walk through the dining area and into the back where the kitchen is. She seems to belong there, as if she is used to helping out and knows where things are kept. I look around the room, and it’s like I’ve been transported back into the 1950s. Huge pots and pans from a day’s worth of cooking are piled and stacked upon the floor in front of an old kitchen sink, waiting to be cleaned. The large sink is one of those deep, stand-alone ones that you probably have to poor heated water into to fill.

In the dream, Joseph’s wife is a brunette. Her hair is wound up in those old style coils and pinned up in the back. She is thin and plain. She’s wearing an old cotton print dress, kind of a faded white or cream. I remember I was chewing gum before Joseph started kissing me. I smile now, because chewing gum was a very American thing to do…and maybe another sign of how I didn’t really belong? I look down to see I am also wearing a cotton dress. It lightly billows around my legs and is a dark apricot print. The chewing gum I am missing is there, stuck to the front of my dress. I pull it off, and luckily it comes right away from the cloth. I throw it in the trash, realize I have another piece in my mouth, and throw that away, too.

Why is she here?

“Didn’t you just have a baby?” I ask, still stunned, amazed she is on her feet.

“Yes, but things needed to be done,” she answers. She turns her back to me and is preparing something for us. I can’t see what all she’s doing, but I stand and wait, politely.

I know why she is here, she is protecting what is hers. With her presence, she is reminding her husband of his obligations. Joseph is now to my right, has come into the room. I feel his weariness at being with her. He is heavy with obligation, of being tied to her.

I’m thirsty and she seems to be fixing drinks for us. A few other women are milling about, but we are off to the side.

She turns around and places three glasses on the counter between us. Two are towards me, as if they are especially for me and I am supposed to drink them. One is a coke, the next looks like juice. The glass of water is for her, but that is what I really want, just water.

Joseph is attentive, there behind me. Is he also apprehensive? I can’t tell. She is alert, waiting for me to drink.

“There’s your dinner,” she tells me. As if that is all that is on offer, all that is available, all I will get.

I don’t drink, either because I just don’t want to or because I wake up from the dream, full of thoughts of Joseph and “Night and Day” in my head.

Later, while I’m making tea and oatmeal and thinking about the dream, humming the tune, I realize I have had this same dream before. That’s not unusual for me. But I also remember in the past dreaming I suspected the wife was trying to poison me, trying to get rid of me, and that is why special drinks were laid out before me. I suppose somehow I knew not to drink.

Just now, looking up the song online, I browse through the list of artists who have re-recorded this song over the years. I do not find Iggy Pop and for a moment am confused, until my eyes land on U2. I realize it was Bono who redid the song, his voice I’ve been hearing in my head, and it makes much more sense. Iggy Pop was on another song in this compilation album I am remembering. It was the Irish-born Bono who sang this song, which makes so much sense, not just because of the dream and where he is from, not just because of my many Irish ties, through family and friends, but because at this time in my life I was fairly obsessed with U2.

Before sleep, I have been telling my Spirit what I wanted to dream, namely things of importance for me to look at and, perhaps, get cleared. My dreams of late have been amazingly succinct with this instruction, so obvious as to be unable to ignore. I am left thinking this dream is significant, that there is something here to be cleared which will allow me to move on. I am left feeling there is some agreement between us, something from the past to be looked at and healed.

I can’t deny how I still feel Joseph in my heart, and today I feel weepy because of it. For a time, for years, we were like the song. Only you, beneath the moon, and under the sun… Both of us lonely, dreaming about the other and what might have been.

With the new healing work I have learned I can heal this. This is the most valuable method of healing I have ever discovered, and it has changed my life immensely. Simply working with our own Spirits changes everything. It is the most important thing.

I feel I may have promised something to Joseph. I wonder if, in the past, I promised to be with him and change his life, but instead I changed my mind. Perhaps this memory has reached out of the past for me to look at it, reclaim what was promised and heal what was unfulfilled. In a past beneath the moon, and under the sun…

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Belief me not…

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Admittedly, a weird title to begin a post, but it kind of sums up things for me…my thoughts of late. Beliefs? No, thanks. I’m happier without them. Beliefs seem to make people rigid…much better to flow…….

Anyway, That’s a picture of one of my cats above, with the snowflake I crocheted. It’s another doily pattern, one that happens to look a lot like a snowflake. I really like how it turned out. It’s made from 3- and 4-ply (basically sock weight) yarn I got at the local thrift store for $1 a skein, I think. Maybe half that, I can’t quite remember. I was happy to turn it into something useful.

Here’s the outside view.

On a funny note…see that birdfeeder there in the front? It’s hanging on a shepherd’s hook I stomped firmly into the ground…before we had snow. I asked H to go get the birdfeeder for me so I could put seeds in it. When he walked in, I looked up and there he was, holding the shepherd’s hook in one hand, birdfeeder still swinging from it. I just started laughing.

I haven’t done much stitching of late. I’ve mainly been crocheting. I started a festive doily for my MIL  – same pattern as above, but sized for a table – in green, but that’s on hold as I have to add more length onto the tablecloth I made for her. I took it to her house to see if it was big enough and…not quite. It needs more length.

We placed it over another tablecloth because it sticks to the one underneath and helps stretch it out. “This needs a good stretch.” That’s what the fair judge said this summer on the comment card. She was right. I HAD blocked it, but it needs to hang. Only got a red ribbon for my efforts. Beautiful stitching doesn’t always count. Must be “perfect,” I guess. Hmph.

Anyway, MIL LOVES it, so that’s what really counts! I’m trying to get it done asap so she can enjoy it for the holiday.

I forgot to mention the snowflake is my only décor for the holiday. Last year I got into it and put up lights, but this year, I decided the string of lights I keep on the porch year-round would do and the snowflake would be good well into January.

I really want to get back to stitching…and working on story cloths. I don’t know if I’ll ever find my niche there, but I sure would like to. I was remembering tonight the only art class I ever took, which was in college. I always had other electives to take in high school, but sometimes I would walk dreamily by the art room and stare longingly at the doorway, wishing I could take a class, feeling like I belonged there. I think I was stuck being too “responsible” or something. If I had to do it over again, I’d skip high school altogether…and college. What a colossal waste of time! And money. Instead, I’d travel and learn art and dance…and live. Anyway, this college painting class mistake…I signed up for 102, never having taken 101. How different could it be? I thought. Well, I got in there and everyone was already a painter. I had NEVER painted and I made a mess of it. There was ZERO instruction, we were just all left on our own. I barely made it through. I had a few decent efforts, but largely it was a joke. And not at all what I had expected.

That’s kindof how I am feeling lately with my cloth efforts…disappointed. Some creative things just click with me…others don’t. I’d like to branch out and do something new, but so far it’s just not happening. I’ll keep trying. I have so much fabric and I feel so encouraged sometimes by what I see others doing. And I have started a number of cloths. The only one I’ve finished so far was the one where I reverted back to crazy quilting, with a few newish techniques thrown in. I still love CQ and am thinking of incorporating bits of CQ into some cloth ideas. But I do feel like first I need to at least finish a few cloths that I’ve started.

I did try my hand at some cloth weaving on my new loom. I also have more crochet to share, but that’s for another day.

Here’s a wintry snowflake pic. I call it Snowflake in Snowflakes. Not really, but it was fun seeing it against snow.

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A bit of stitching…

I’m finally getting back into the swing of things, I think. We’ve had so much going on I haven’t had a chance to write.

We bought a new bed at Costco last night. I think I’m going to vote for visiting Costco on a week night in the future. The weekends are just so crowded and chaotic. Got the bed back to the house and installed. A few nights ago we got a new washer, so yesterday was spent catching up on laundry. Exciting stuff.

I’ve managed to get a few things crocheted, along with one cloth that’s nearly finished. I’m having trouble deciding what to do on part of it, but think I’ve landed on an idea. I will head upstairs in a bit to finish it.

Here are the two hats I made following a Drops pattern.

One is floppier than the other, as I used different size yarn.

Ever since I got back from Denver I’ve played catchup. The first day home was spent in the garden, gathering up everything that had been left to grow in the Indian summer because that night it was going to freeze. I still haven’t processed all of it and the sweet potatoes are curing. Check out the size of them! I’ve never seen sweet potatoes so large before.

That’s a quart size jar and then a pint size for comparison.

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I have about 2 1/2 gallons of green tomatoes fermenting in a cool upstairs room. I haven’t even gotten to the rest of them yet. Many have turned red. I hope they’re still good enough to freeze. Maybe I can tackle that today.

I have a couple cat pics to close. Matty KNEW I was trying to get her photo and was turning away on purpose. (I’m thinking of changing her name to “Bratty.”) This was the best one I got. Olive is much easier to photograph.

 

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