The Second Quilt For Linda, Not What I Intended

I’ve never had this happen before.  I finished designing the second quilt for Linda today, but when I was done I saw that it went in a different direction than I had intended.

I had the colors in mind that I would be using, I had a photo of a needlepoint with those colors in it from Linda.  But in the end, the quilt became what it wanted to.

I see now that there was no way around it really.  The more I pushed it in on direction, the more it pushed back.

What a struggle this quilt has been. I woke up  at 5:30 this morning and couldn’t stop thinking about it.  So I got out of bed and went to my studio.   I think being there that early was helpful.  It allowed me to focus in a way I hadn’t been able to for some reason.

When I finished the quilt and hung it on my studio wall to get a good look, I felt good about it.   It’s a simple design that allows the inconsistencies to shine.

I wasn’t sure if it would would work for Linda’s purposes, but she let me know that she loves the quilt and it will be just right for her daughter who she is giving it to.

The only thing I may do is add a thin border around it.  I’m out of the brown calico, but I think a brown would be just right.

The Second Quilt For Linda

I just didn’t work.  I stood in my studio, looking the quilt  I started last week for Linda, trying to see what came next.

But I couldn’t see anything.  And every thing I tried was wrong.

Sometimes when I’m writing and having a hard time putting into words what I’m trying to say, I’ll edit the piece often cutting out the first few paragraphs.  Or I’ll just delete the whole thing and start over.

It doesn’t mean I didn’t need to write what I did, just that it doesn’t need to be in the piece.  Jon calls it the wind-up before the pitch.

I feel like that’s what happened with this quilt.  So today, I removed the border I made last week and keeping just the center with the thin black line, started again.

The colors I’m working with come from a Needlepoint that Linda gave to her daughter.  Brown birds, light blue, soft reddish pink and yellow flowers in a sea of green.

It didn’t start to come easy till the end of the day.

This is where I left it tonight, but I think I know what comes next too.  Although I may feel different about it in the morning.  But that’s okay, I’m finally on my way.

Making “Ugly Christmas Sweaters” At The Mansion

Jane, Claudia, me, June, Kelly and Rachel.  You can see the rack of sweaters people got to choose from behind us.

It was make an Ugly Christmas Sweater Day at The Mansion.

For the past week Jon and I have been visiting the Thrift Store in the Cambridge Senior Center and buying sweaters.  We also got a bag full of Christmas baubles at the Dollar Store to put on the sweaters preparing for the day.

When we arrived Robin, who works with the Activities Director Paryese, was heating up the glue gun.

The rest of us sat at the big round table and chose ribbons, bows, Christmas balls and bells, stickers, beads, felt reindeer, and even Christmas Ties from a basket.

Some of the people knew exactly what they wanted their sweater to look like  and others needed a bit of help.

Once the sweaters were designed, Robin hot glued the decorations onto the sweaters.  I found a needle and thread which I used to sew the decorations on.

When Paryese put Christmas music on June asked Art to dance with her, but he just blushed, so June and I danced a bit together.

Then June started to sing along with the music.

I’d never heard her sing before.  She has a beautiful voice and said she’s been singing since she was a kid. Her mother played piano and taught her to sing.  She was in choruses through out her life in school and church.

June is a lot of fun.  She always shows up for the classes and laughs easily.

There will be a Christmas party at the mansion in a couple of weeks, where everyone will be wearing their Ugly Christmas Sweater.  I think there is even going to be a contest.  Jon and I will be there and I hope if there is music, that June will sing again.

I didn’t take any pictures today, because I was busy, but also because Jon was there with us along with Zinnia of course.  He took lots of photos, (and all the ones on my blog) you can see them here. 

helping Art decorate his sweater

Blue Bailing Twine Art

My Blue Bailing twine art continues to grow with each bale of hay I use.

This morning as I knotted the blue bailing twine, Zip, in constant motion wove himself between and round my ankles.  Fate stood at the gate watching the sheep and Zinnia foraged for something to eat.

It’s a slow process, but I appreciate that when its very cold out.

I can’t knot with my gloves on, and my hands get cold quickly.  But today it warmed up and tying the two stands of bailing twine was like a morning meditation.

It made me stop moving and slow down for a little while.

Jon took this picture of me last week tying the bailing twine

A Good Day With Good Company In My Studio

Zinnia and Bud sleeping in the crate in my studio

I got some good work done on my second quilt for Linda.  But by the time I was finished for the day it was dark out and I couldn’t get a good photo of it.

Without good lighting the reds popped and the blues turned purple.

I did have some company while I worked.  Both Zinnia and Bud came in when it got a little cold out.  Normally I would have put them in the house, but I was into what I was doing and didn’t want to interrupt the flow.

Fate was already in her bed and Zinnia grabbed the crate.  Bud walked around looking for a place to settle then decided to share with Zinnia.

My studio isn’t big, and the dogs know better than to bother me when I working.  They stay on their beds or by the door and don’t wander onto my work space on the floor.

I don’t need three dogs in my studio, but it was sweet to see Bud and Zinnia share a bed.

Fate in her bed next to the dog crate

Starting The Second Quilt For Linda

I woke up at 5am thinking of the next quilt I’d be making for Linda.  My mind sizzled and hummed as I drifted in and out of sleep.

But still I went to my studio without an idea.

Which is fine.  I knew where to begin.  I’d search my studio selves for the fabric that presented itself to me.  I’ve learned to trust this process.

But it wasn’t as easy as I’d thought it would be.

The whole day I went back and forth between ideas.  My day was broken up things with things  that needed to be done outside my studio.  All of them were good and I wanted to do them. It fractured my day, but since I wasn’t getting anywhere inside my studio, I thought the breaks might be good.

And they were.

While I was away, the ideas came and settled.  First one then another.  But each time I was back in my studio, I couldn’t make the ideas that I saw so clearly in my mind into reality.

Finally as my windows filled with moonless black, I found a way into the quilt.

The green triangle scraps came in a plastic baggie  from Karen.  I paired them with blue and red flowered print that is filled with the colors that Linda asked for.

At first  I thought the  blue print would float in the green.  But when I realized it was the other way around, I knew I had finally begun actually making the quilt.

It’s just the beginning, but it feels really good to be here.

Milkweed Seeds

Two fluffy white seeds clung to each other in the corner of my studio. I picked them up and standing in my doorway, give them flight with my breath.

At this time of year, when everything else seems to be dying, the milkweed is spreading its seed as if it were spring.

These seed pods are so alive, the quiver and shake in the slightest breeze, hanging on till they let go.

Then they float like fluff, like huge flakes of snow, trusting the wind.

The Lost Zip Potholder For Sale

My “Zip Potholder” is for sale.  It’s $35 + $5 shipping you can buy it  in my Etsy Shop.

I found it when I was cleaning up my studio in a pile of fabric.  A lone Zip Potholder.  I made and sold over 30 of these a month or so ago.  This one got lost somehow, but now it’s for sale in  my Etsy Shop.

I hand painted and stitched this potholder on my sewing machine.  I drew the image of Zip looking under the barn door from a photo I took of him when we first got him.

My Zip Potholder is  $30 + $5 shipping  and you can buy it here.

I also have more Zip In the Hen House Magnets for sale.  They are 3″ square and are $7 including shipping.  You can buy them here.

My Zip Magnet For sale

“Pockets” Liberation and Rebellion


I wasn’t thinking about pockets as a symbol of rebellion and liberation when I started making the quilt for Linda.

It’s a Christmas gift for her friends and from what she told me about the couple I knew the quilt should be made with solid colors and plaids.  Looking through my shelves I found the dark blue fabric with the pockets and interesting stitching.

It was around that time I read the article in the The New Yorker by Hua Hsu about Hannah Carson’s book “Pockets: An Intimate History of How We Keep Things Close.

Reading about the history of pockets was enough in itself, but I was also hoping to find something out about those stings with… well… pockets on them, that women used to wear under their long skirts. They had to reach under their skirts to access them.   Was that how pockets originated I wondered.

Turns out it was not.  Men had pockets long before women did.

What I learned is that starting in the 16th century  pockets were something that men had in their clothes and women didn’t.

It was thought that men had to have pockets because they were busy and important and needed to carry things often associated with their work.  But women were discouraged from working outside the home and so didn’t need pockets in their clothing.

Women carried small purses on their wrists called reticules that were just big enough to carry a few coins.  Carson writes, “The more women carried, the more freedom they had to act.”

Because pockets don’t only allow us to carry things, they let us hide things too.  Hsu writes that  in the late 1800s  US Legislators tried to ban back pockets on mens trousers because that is where they carried their guns.  These pockets were known as “pistol pockets.”

I had no idea pockets were so political.

In 1910 the “Suffragette Suit” was designed by women and boasted having “plenty of pockets.”

It’s still true today that most women clothes have less and smaller pockets than mens clothing and often have decorative pockets that don’t work at all.

I have those decorative pockets on the three pairs of skinny pants I bought at the thrift store two years ago.  Every time I wear them I still try to put my hand in my front pocket.

Which was something else I learned about pockets.  A  man putting his hands in his pocket was bad manners.

You know that famous picture of Walt Whitman with his hat jauntily placed on his head and his hand in his pocket, from his first publication of Leaves of Grass?  Whitman was widely criticized for it and loved the attention, even though he was seen as “rough, uncouth and vulgar.”

And later  James Dean did his famous pose with his thumbs hooked in pocket of his jeans.  We know only  “bad boys” did that.

We have progressed somewhat when it comes to clothing.   Some men now wear dresses and skirts and women wear pants without a second thought.

The pockets that inspired this quilt came from the Dickies Scrubs that Hannah gave me.  They were her favorite pants and when they wore out she sent what was left to me. (She has several more pairs that she wears all the time. They are comfortable and have plenty of pockets)

It was as much the pockets as the stitching around and on them that made me want to make a quilt out of them.   I framed each one of them as if they were an abstract drawing.  Then I joined them together with other sold colors and a little bit of plaid.

I will think about pockets differently from now on.  Maybe I’ll even collect “fake” pockets and make something out of them.

At least they’d be useful then.

The back of “Pockets”
Pocket from “Pockets
Pocket from Pockets
Stitching from Pockets


Full Moon Fiber Art