Archive for the ‘my life in stitches’ Category

enigma 2: the beginning

Friday, May 1st, 2009

she flew all the way across country
to see her son star in a show.
on the way to the theatre, they stopped for a pre-show dinner
in the famous los angeles eating establishment called
subway.she ordered her usual: a 6” turkey on white.


back to basics

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

call it living like a poet, call it zen, call it what you will, of late i’ve harbored the distinct urge to slow down, to live life outside the ubiquitous to do list.


today i spent 2 delicious hours in a local book store where i feasted on 2 books of poetry by louise gluck, several home interior coffee table books, and 3 random books spied on my way to a chair. i squirmed and fidgeted and wrestled with the angels as i determinedly focused on being there and only there.

though i haven’t made much time for stitching lately, when i have picked up some cloth, it’s been only when (i thought) i had a plan, and once i sat down to stitch, speed was the name of my game. get it done, and get it done fast. when things didn’t immediately turn out to my liking, why i just packed everything up and moved on to something else, something i could check off The List.

today, though, after my morning in training, i came home, cut out a new piece (and i did keep the speed for that, doing it fast before i could think too damn much), and i went back to basics: i basted. i can’t count high enough to tell you how long it’s been since i took the time to baste.


it’ll sure be interesting to see if the basting holds everything in place well enough to allow me to stitch fast . . .


a page from my herstory book

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

okay. so i picked up needle and thread today, thinking i’d just pick up right where i left off and finish a project, pretty as you please. but nnnnoooooooo. turns out today was not a good cloth day.


we’re going back in time, leafing back through the archives of Things I Did In A Past Life to show you a smoked bag i uncovered during the move. yep, back in the day i smocked the kids’ clothes, taught smocking workshops, even smocked christmas tree ornaments.

still have the pleater, too . . . somewhere.



let the melioration begin

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

1552, “to make better,” from L.L. melioratus, pp. of L. meliorare “improve,” from melior “better,” used as comp. of bonus “good,” but probably originally meaning “stronger,” from PIE base *mel- “strong, great, numerous” (cf. Gk. mala “very much, very,” L. multus “much”).

meliorate. (n.d.). Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved January 07, 2009, from website:


when i woke up just before that magic hour of 3 a.m., unable to sleep any longer for worrying and stewing about what this one needs and what that one wants, i knew it was time to mend grandmother’s quilt. the one she made for me. the one that has my name embroidered in small green letters in one corner: J-e-a-n-n-e. Jeanne, period.


the quilt my kids always want to sleep under, regardless of the temperature. the quilt the cats nap best on.


the quilt that’s frayed from much selfish taking and not nearly enough giving; ragged from more use than care. the quilt that’s in obvious need of an infusion of respect and appreciation.



now i don’t know much about mending, and i’m loathe to add chirpy new fabric to the weathered old fabric, so maybe i start by cutting up those old aprons – i mean, really: who’s ever gonna’ tie one around their waist again?

reclamation and restoration is something i’ve been pondering for a while now, and in the dark early hours of this morning, i realized that it’s a project whose time has come.

yes, it’s time.

it’s oh so time.


loved raw

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

fingers haven’t been idle of late – not by any stretch – just not dancing with needle and thread. last night’s eventual quiet was punctuated with familiar strains of adult children quabbling over who sleeps under my grandmother’s quilt. the quilt made especially for me is quite tattered now, and we all (finally) agree that it’s time for me to start mending so this worn cloth can hold space for sweet dreams far, far into future generations.




happy, happy. . .


tent of memories

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

with that awful lace out of the picture and a quarter turn (or more), it became a tent and memories came rushing back as though it was just last night i was sleeping in those sheets and blankets and towels (to cover the dreaded gaps) draped over the living room furniture . . . proving once again that sometimes it’s the taking away, the cutting out that gives us the most. especially when you win the argument with yourself and cut out the part you just never did like to begin with.


at last

Monday, December 8th, 2008

i find myself uncomfortably off balance of late. heavy demands and weeks of living with crashed computer have been punctuated with bits of exciting derringdo, though, and to catch a glimpse of things percolating that don’t involve needle and thread, visit my other blog,

over the next few months i’ll be popping in and out erratically as i move from this house we’ve lived in for 12 years to one a scant 3 miles away. moving is not for sissies, as you know. it’s time-consuming, backbreaking work that allows me opportunities to practice remaining grounded in the moment, patience, and decision-making skills as i sift and sort through all that has accumulated (despite my best efforts) (sporadic though they may be) over the past 12 years.

and right smack in the middle of the holidays. yes, there’ll opportunities galore.

but on the cloth side of things, just this weekend i picked up an old familiar head-scratcher:


still perplexed about what to do, i started snipping, and when i cut that damn lace out, bam. breakthrough. relief: tenacity (even if drawn-out tenacity) wins again.


maybe it’s a goblin?

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

okay. am i working on this piece or is it working on me?


let’s review:
day 1: enjoyed collection of and introduction to materials.

day 2: discontent set in. liked the backside better, so back is now the front.

day 3: hate the lace, but like the way layers peek out from under the pink satin camisole as if they’d been sat upon, squished by the pink. when i started the piece, i fancied the fabrics as representative of various layers of my life. the pink satin = the pretty, fresh, little girl layer where i was absolutely adorable to look at and be around. now here’s little pink layer sitting on the other determined layers. i tend to personify and anthropomorphize, it’s true. (which makes me think of judith’s pathways, actually. and here i’ve been too embarrassed to admit publicly that i make up stories like this with my pieces.)

which brings us to day 4/today: i know i ought to take the advice of my stitching sages and put this piece up, tuck it in a drawer, set it aside for a while, but honestly, there are so many unfinished things, so many loose ends in my life right now that i just can’t do it. i can’t. i want to finish something, dammit. and, bless its heart, this project is what’s going to satisfy that desire. i know i run the risk of hating the piece forever and ever, but (for now anyway), the quest continues.

i tinkered around with it this morning, deciding to pull up the ends of the thread. i mean, they were just hanging there anyway (i didn’t bother with knots or embedding them or anything.) as i “worked”, i listened to susan susanka’s book, the not so big life. i have a strong affinity for place, and one of my favorite thinking candies is how our physical spaces support us. as i pulled those threads,

i got sculpture.


i got cubbies.


i got whatzits.


but i got no ah-ha. no magic. no eureka.

and that damned lace has to go.


still not yet

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

no time to work on it today – at least not with needle and thread. but i did wake up thinking about this piece and puzzled about it most of the day. am now thinking i’ll flip it over and make the back the front. like karin, i usually like the back of pieces better anyway. (in houses, too.) there’s just something more approachable, more comfortable, easier about backs or wrong sides. i like the way the various fabrics play peek-a-boo when this piece is flipped. only thing i don’t like is the lace. blechkdt. i really do not like lace – at all – so i’ll find something to put over the lace. a patch. like mending.

could work. . .


not yet

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

this is just not doing anything for me . . . except possibly contributing to the fall funk. which is, of course, not good. (the funk or the contribution) when i launched this one, i looked forward to something marvelous appearing. this was going to be the most amazing experience, my breadcrumb trail out of the fall funk forest. i would write books about this. people would name their children after me. but this is not intuitive work, this is not (i hope) from any deep well of knowing or enlightenment. this is just plain random. and moving. desperate, uninspired, random motion, that’s all.


i don’t like it any more than my camera likes focusing on the grid of that delicates bag.


the layers are kinda’ cool, but it’s definitely sorely lacking in other ways. ways i hope will soon make themselves known because right now, the back is the best.


and that’s not saying much. not saying much at all.