melioration temporarily on hold

thursday found us scooting up the road to n.c., and though i have thread, floss, needles, snippets of non-chirpy fabric – even ideas – i forgot THE QUILT.

so i spent yesterday doing maintenance on my blogs, upgrading to the latest version of wordpress software, a tedious, time-consuming task that i’m glad is done. (though i haven’t checked. twould be just my luck to find that the newest version came out last night.) spent some time uploading pictures to my flickr account that i set up ages ago, then abandoned.

there’s this internal brewing, you see: i am on facebook and i twitter and i have 2 blogs (4 really, but on one i’m a occasional guest blogger and the other i write under a pseudonym). i find blogging so much more enjoyable, so much more satisfying than facebook and twitter because blogs feel less surfacey. spending more than 160 characters promotes some depth and breadth, and through blogging i’ve made some friends, built some relationships.

now i harbor no illusions that anybody (other than possibly my mother and husband) gives a rat’s ass about where i am and what i’m doing, and i admit to feeling rather like an exhibitionist every time i update. facebook flat-out overwhelms me for reasons i plan to explore on my other blog. all that said, i have decided (at least for now) to continue with facebook and twitter because they are my check-in buddies. just as some folks get a friend to provide the accountability factor for exercise by agreeing to go to the gym together on a regular basis, updating on facebook/twitter reminds me to be more present, more grounded, more engaged with my life.

we head home tomorrow, and i’ll be able to get my hands in motion on that quilt, thereby giving my brain a (much-needed) rest because somehow i think better when my hands are in motion.


let the melioration begin

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.



time out for another adventure. back 1/5/09ish.


loved raw

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

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

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.


quick check-in

not much stitching going on around here the past few weeks. no time and no inspiration – though i do know from a vague memory or two that inspiration finds me and i find her once i dedicate the time (even the smallest snippet of clock) and move. stitch. start. go.

much, much life going on here – all good (except for the no time to stitch part). just full. really, really, really full.

will be working from colorado over the next 2 weeks, and while i don’t have the first piece of clothing packed (or even planned, for that matter), i already have a bag full of various and assorted cloths and threads (in case there’s no thrift shop within driving distance). i’ll be at my son’s home, and he usually frowns on my going through his closet and cutting up his clothes. (he used to, anyway.)

it’s funny (well, not really, but you know what i mean) how there’s so much more time when i’m away from home – even if i’m working. something’s wrong with that picture. very wrong. must find balance. i know it’s around here some place . . .



am here. came to spend a week in nc decompressing then managed to (a) forget the piece that was just beginning to make sense and (b) get sick. so i just lay around with a compress to my cellulitis-infested ear, watching the clock for time to down my next antibiotic, and wonder why life is so much busier now than when i had 2 wee ones born within 14 months of each other.

how does that happen?

i mean, really. there should be so much room in my life now – room to do yoga, walk, write, stitch, and still tend to family matters. instead it often feels like i’m clawing the clock, trying to slow the hands down enough to give me even 30 minutes to stitch. now that i’m sick, i have the time, but no energy or desire.

maybe, hopefully tomorrow.


maybe it’s a goblin?

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

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. . .