All That I Know Is I’m Breathing…*

Another maliversary approaches. I feel my brain retracting even…pulling away from whatever hurts it, trying to protect itself, curling up in a ball like a roly poly. I keep throwing things at it to fix it…a hike…damn knee really hurt in the last mile, so I sent a message to the doctor…basically along the lines of NO. I’m not willing to stop hiking. Because being outside is a good thing. I can breathe out there. I don’t have to be in a room with myself and all that evil depression poison gas just rolling around the room. I can breathe outside. I can look for miles and see the sun set and the bugs fly and the branches reach out and grab me and I trip over a rock. And that is REAL. And I can almost find Kathy in there. Because it’s hard for me to find her. I’ve been looking for a year, and maybe that’s what makes me cry. Because she’s lost and I can’t get her on a regular basis. I put my hand out and she tries to grab it and it just slips out and I lose her again. Over and over again. Every week or so, she’s gone again. Sometimes I find her in my sketchbook. I find her when I’m writing these days. Seriously. The same brain that draws also writes a book.

I wrote almost 2000 words tonight in less than 45 minutes. What the fuck IS that? I don’t even know where it comes from. I can’t manage it. I just sit and it vomits itself out of my head into Google Docs. At this rate, I might have a whole book ready for editing by Christmas. A book. Was I planning on writing a book? When did that happen? I’m writing a sci fi book. Weird shit.

So Tuesday before the hike, I trimmed four quilts and cut out the bindings and sleeves. Then I came home after the hike and managed to trim and cut out bindings and sleeves for the other six quilts.

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Yowza. Now that’s a binding (it’s actually in the quilt…in his feather tips). HEY. I like my fabric.

That’s actually quite crazy, because I didn’t start until after 10 PM. I was talking on the hike about having to reset my clock for school soon. I really can’t be doing these late nights. But I am having a hard time with that sleep thing. It’s 1:30 AM now and I am wide awake (I’m editing now and it’s after 2 AM). I know I need to be up at a reasonable hour tomorrow (it’s not tomorrow any more…it’s today), but I can’t get a handle on that part of my brain. It’s in major rebellion mode. It yells, “Fuck you!” on a regular basis. OK. Whatever. I had to be up early this morning, so I took a nap at some point, around 5 PM. Maybe 30 minutes. Then I got up and did stuff.

So I trimmed and picked bindings until after midnight.

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This one, this fabric, wasn’t in the quilt again. The darker blacks weren’t dark enough when it came to bindings. They were fussy or too linear. So I picked that weird cellular one again. It worked well…

This one, I tried the orange, but it was too much, so I went for the blue.

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That’s the bird from the Mammogram quilt.

Then this one. I wanted the darkest purple, which is actually the background fabric for the Mammogram quilt, but I couldn’t find my stash of it. I looked everywhere…for over half an hour. Finally I gave up and found a variegated batik that I think will work. The patterned one is for the sleeve. It wasn’t quite right for the binding.

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Purple is really fussy. It goes wrong really quickly. Is it some sort of irony that purple is one of my favorite colors? Nope. That’s like the core of me…I’m purple at the core.

This one obviously needed black…but which one?

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I have tons of this black fabric…it is in most of the eyeballs in my quilts for some reason…the hint of not-black, not-white. I have over a yard of it and the average quilt uses a square inch of this fabric. I will be 70 years old and still be using this fabric.

I hope I’m still making art at 70. Please let me still be making art then.

This one also wanted that purple that I couldn’t find, so I finally settled for the other purple…which honestly, was probably the better choice.

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You’ll know when I actually get it on there.

For quilts this small, I do a super-skinny binding, maybe 1/4″. Of course, to get an approximate 1/4″ binding, I cut 1 7/8″. Fold in half, because it’s easier to sew a binding like that anyway, and sew a scant 1/4″. A really SCANT 1/4″.

I did a lot of moving furniture and books and honestly a knick-knack culling this morning after my fillings. I think there’s a Home Depot or maybe even a Lowe’s trip in my future. With boychild. Because I think he will be in charge of something. Shelves and TV installation. I think we will put it on the wall on an arm thing rather than use a big honking piece of furniture. But that is MORE decision-making. Have I told you about my troubles with the decisionmaking thing? Yup. It’s an issue.

Then I started sewing bindings on right around when the plumber showed up. I had multiple problems and he handled all of them cheaply and efficiently. He’s my new best friend. Well, at least when it comes to plumbing. He’s cheap and quick and honest. Can’t beat that. Plus he can’t do math, so he trusts MINE. Is he NUTS? OK, there’s an app for that. (plumber math)

I got the first three done while he was here…

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It’s not like they’re huge, but I have to sew the bindings and the sleeves by machine and then pin everything down for hand-stitching…on average, these were taking about 15 minutes at this stage.

I got numbers 4 and 5 done before I needed to cook dinner…and then I did 6 after I did dinner, exercise bike, AND meditation. Gotta be impressed…

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I hate sewing bindings on. I do like how the orange looks on number 5.

The bigger ones were taking 20-22 minutes at this stage. Here’s 7 and 8…

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Yup. There’s two more. But it was after midnight at that point, and I wanted to write this blog. So I sat at the computer and got distracted by the damn storywriting. So I didn’t start this post until after 1 AM. Kinda crazy if you ask me. But I only wrote for about 45 minutes…and I wrote a LOT. Where is my brain? I really don’t know. It’s writing a book.

Part of this stage was pinning them all down.

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These are almost done. I have life drawing in the morning. Remember how I was going to go every week during summer? Yeah. I know. I’ve made it once. Tomorrow will be twice. I’ll try again a few times before school starts. So these are for my stitching meeting in the afternoon. I honestly don’t know how long it will take to hand-stitch one. That’s why I’ve been so crazy-anal about keeping track of the time for each quilt. I want to make sure I’m charging a reasonable price and NOT screwing myself over. What that means is that the smallest ones are at about 2 hours total work without the handsewing…and the larger ones are over 5 hours.

My plan is to finish all 10. Then photograph them and put them on this site with prices and sizes. Then the people who have expressed an interest will have a chance to purchase based on where they are in line. Then whatever’s left…I’ll put them up here and on Etsy if I have to. If there’s one that sells and someone else wants one like it (because reproducing the exact fabrics might be difficult), then I would do those as a commission, which is basically that you know the price ahead of time and you agree to pay it, because I’m not making any more of these unless there’s a guaranteed purchaser. No offense, but these don’t rock my boat.

Then again, not much DOES rock my boat. But I need to start quilting the other two. My goal is to get Mammogram AND Menopause (not its real name) quilted by August 2 (major soccer tournament that weekend). I might be a little crazy. I think I can do it though. I need to do the bindings for two more of these small ones, so maybe an hour tomorrow. Then I can start quilting Mammogram, which I expect to take about 7 hours or so. Then another 20 hours or so for Menopause. Then I can get the bindings started and contact my photographer, while I start tracing the gender equality quilt (yes, that means I need to finish the damn drawing. Yes. I know that.).

I had a name for one of the quilts that will come after gender equality, but I’ve lost it. Dammit.  It’s in the lyrics of something I was listening to tonight. (doesn’t help)

But I wrote 2000 words of the book. I’m not possessed when I write. I’m not here, certainly. I just fucking write. It’s all there in my head. Spilling out. How do I explain that to anyone? I just don’t know.

I can’t tell you how often I feel like I am an alien species.

The title of the blogpost came from Ingrid Michaelson’s Keep Breathing

I’m trying. I can do the breathing thing. Meditation helps, I guess. But it’s kind of amazing how little my brain is involved with drawing and writing. It’s not conscious. It just IS.

One thought on “All That I Know Is I’m Breathing…*

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