Monday, January 29, 2007

Sew what...

I have taken to my sewing machine again. I only learned to sew on the machine 7 years ago. Juan taught me after having taught himself several years before when M's room needed curtains. I have my grandmother's Husqvarna bought in the same year as I was born, 1968. She made everything on it including bras and girdles and quite a few outfits I wore as a child. The thing I love about sewing, especially as compared to knitting, is that it is almost instant satisfaction. I started and finished this bag in one evening thanks to this tutorial at Tiny Happy

I was doing a literal happy dance as I am "construction challenged" and this tutorial managed to make me understand how bags go together. That said I still messed up and did lots of stitch ripping. I feel confident though that my next bag will go more quickly and with less cussing.

On Saturday afternoon I saw a gorgeous log cabin pillow on Dioramarama's blog and thought I can do that (albeit not quite as well)! The last time I quilted was 13 years ago when I hand quilted and appliqued building blocks for Micaela.

And I did! I finished most of it in a few hours. It was the perfect vehicle for the thrifted fabric I've amassed (although it made me want more as I'm not entirely happy with the pallette of colors I've got). Again I'm not so happy with the construction. I know quilting is, for the most part, a perfectionist's sport, but ever since I saw the Gee's Bend exhibit I've given up thinking quilt corners have to be razor sharp.

Meanwhile I am weeks, no months, deep into a knitted vest. I think I need to sew more.

M and I are trying to walk for an hour 3 times a week. We follow the Bayou which isn't far from my house. This Great Blue Heron is there pretty much every morning. These are both the same bird I scared it off when I took the first picture and I love how it looks like it is about to test the waters from the stairs. Wish I had a better telephoto.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Redwork Redux

I've been doing a bit of embroidery lately as I am tired of knitting. I started this last night and finished her this morning. We're calling her Miss Meow. I copied her off of a greeting card with a few modifications. I think I will send her on to my niece.

While stitching away I remembered a gorgeous redwork quilt I received for my 10th birthday. the Kliban Cats were very popular then and I asked for a Kliban quilt. My mother and aunt instead made me a redwork quilt with 16 panels, each depicting a cat in a different position. It had my name as well as theirs embroidered into the curves of different cat's tails. That quilt left home with me and my boyfriend and I slept together under that 10 year old girl quilt for 5 years. I have no idea what happened to it after we split up which makes me sad.

While sewing the front and back piece together I had to look up something in my sewing machine book. The machine belonged to my grandmother, who died when I was 13, and I found some notes she made in her lovely slanted cursive script. I felt at that moment very close to all the women in my family.

Finally, I thought it might be nice to look out from the screen for a change. Note crooked glasses...oh and new expression lines!

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

An eye on growth

If I was being literal I guess I could flip this pic so the "eye" was vertical, but I like it the way it is; there, yet somehow hidden in its unusual position. This tree, cut down in my backyard, is kind of like my life. I feel very cut off from my usual mojo and definitely rootless.

This past week I've done some cutting of deadweight in my life, and while it was awkward and somewhat painful it is a good thing. It feels strange to cut activities out of my life when, in many ways, I want to branch out...but I think I may have finally learned, after multiple moves, that it is not quantity but quality that I am looking for.

I am also on fire with an idea that has been lurking at the edges of my consciousness for a long time, but which has finally taken root as a more fully formed plan for action. I think it has great potential to build community, stimulate me intellectually and do some good. And later this week I have an interview for a very part time position, but it is a possibility to work with people who share my passion for food and community.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A flock descends

Spent the whole morning outside cutting down volunteer trees, cutting back Ruella and Turk's Cap and watching a flock of Cedar Waxwings eat the berries off this tree which is in our backyard. It was something of a war zone out there; berries in and then out, all over us.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

....excessive internet usage, writer's block, monkey mind? In reality this is a bit of embroidery I did for a friend of mine and that happens to be the name of his email and knowing him his political philosophy; the resisting having to do with our current political system and state of affairs...But, right after I downloaded the picture I found out that Tilly Olsen has died and I thought it was an appropriate sentiment for her passing at 94 as well. She is one of my all time favorite authors and wrote the feminist classic Silences; a must read for any woman interested in putting pen to paper.

Speaking of writing I am trying to come to the table (it really is a table, not an actual desk) and put something on actual paper. This is where you'll find me....

I'm still not very happy with my current location, but must say that the best thing about this move is having a room of my own. It is open to the rest of the house, but I can decorate it the way I want (as opposed to in the style of the ascetic I live with;) and it has room for all the accoutrement of my crafty leanings.

I have come to the realization that I am not a knitter or a spinner. They are both things I enjoy doing, but I don't identify with them the way so many people seem to, there are too many other things I like to do as well. Maybe that's always been my problem, focus. I'm trying to look at it this year as less of a problem and as more of an opportunity. I would love to get a group of people together to do lots of different things; a stitch and bitch, but not necessarily just stitching: bookbinding, woodworking, collage, sketching, sewing etc. etc. A Church of Craft really, but I'm not sure that is exactly the route I want to take...

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

Like a dream,

Whatever I enjoy

will become a memory;

The past is not revisted.


I don't make new year's resolutions, but I am keeping the sentiments above close to me as I move into 2007.

One of my favorite poems, and poets, particularly apropos for today....and in keeping with Shantideva!

I Am Running into a New Year Lucille Clifton

i am running into a new year
and the old years blow back
like a wind
that i catch in my hair
like strong fingers like
all my old promises and
it will be hard to let go
of what i said to myself
about myself
when i was sixteen and
twenty-six and thirty-six
even thirty-six but
i am running into a new year
and i beg what i love and
i leave to forgive me

from Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980

Wherever you are, whatever you do I hope you can move into this new year; no holding back.

**You need to click on the picture to see it in its original size/definition...