Happy and Healthy and Safe to All…

Happy Holidays all! If Christmas is your thang, that too. Hope it is all happy and healthy and safe. It’s quiet and weird this year, but relatively safe. We are just doing one shorter gathering outside later today to do all the food and presents, and our other gathering was on Zoom last night.

I missed the prompt for yesterday, so again, I’m pushing two into a day. The State of My Work Table. Um. I don’t have just one work table…in fact, I don’t really have anything I consider a work table? I use the light table for some of the art process, although it’s currently being used for school as well. I sit on the couch for some parts, the drawing and cutting. I sit at a sewing machine that is on a desk used for other things as well. I have a rolling table I use for some other parts of the process…you can see that here with the ironing board and the sewing desk.

Everything is kind of jimmy-rigged together, no fancy work table or setup. I’d say I’m obviously doing it wrong, but it works for me. Sure, I’d love a giant sewing room with a big table in the middle, but that’s not in the cards right now. I have what I have and I make it work. I have to clean up between each project because otherwise there isn’t room to do the next one. That’s probably a good thing. If I had more space (this is an 8×10′ room and the computer is in here too), I’d fill it and have to clean a larger space. It works.

Today’s prompt is Show Us Your Scraps. Um. Again. I don’t separate my fabric by size of piece…color is a much more useful separation for me. So they’re all in bins of different sizes…

And the smaller bits are shoved in there too, as you can see in the bottom right corner…

If I need black and white, odds are I don’t need a huge piece, so this is what I pull from. Most of what I do doesn’t use huge pieces.

Christmas Eve Eve was spent watching bad television with the girlchild while grading science. She managed to decorate some cookies in between drama on the TV…

Simba worked hard…

Oh yeah. Wish I were that dog.

I took pictures of my pitiful tree…I managed 5 ornaments this year and that was it. Oh well.

It was a good thing I took that picture, because when we got back from our hike, all the presents were gone to the ex’s house, where Xmas will happen. Outside. On a deck. In the sun.

The man and I decided to spend Xmas Eve on the 4th hike of the Coast 2 Crest Challenge, San Pasqual Valley to Raptor Ridge.

It claims to be 5 miles. It’s not. It was 4.4 miles.

The first part is very flat and runs next to the road and then wanders off across probably old fields. I don’t think these are native. They were planted in very straight rows. But they’re pretty.

We didn’t see many people on the trail. Or the Not a Trail.

It’s an easy hike even with the short bit of UP to get you out of the valley.

It would be really hot on a summer’s day.

Very little shade. So interestingly, a few years back (wait…searches blog…February 2014, to be specific), I hiked from the other direction, near the mall in Escondido, past Mule Hill, out to this tree. Yes, this tree. I remember it. It was an 11.8-mile hike that day…much longer than today’s.

So it was interesting to link up to that hike 6 1/2 years later.

A view of the valley that looks similar to one I took that day. We took the required selfie (we get a patch when we finish all five)…

It was cloudy and gloomy, but still a little warm. Started to rain when we got back to the car…

It might be prettier in Spring…wildlife!

He kept poking his head out to see if we’d left. We hadn’t.

We came back and I read for a bit, then Zoomed with the man’s family for Christmas Eve, then graded while watching a movie by the fire. The sky was impressive.

Yes, I graded on Christmas Eve. Y’all, I just want it done and out of my hair. I don’t want it hanging over me. And I don’t want to deal with it in January, which often happens.

Sleepy Kitten.

All the cats were pretty chill, because the dogs were with the kids at their dad’s house. Until a moth showed up.

And then there was excitement all around…

Christmas presents for cats are so easy…just find them a bug.

Eventually the man caught the moth and we released it outside, but sure, Luna had her paw on it twice and then fumbled it. So much excitement.

Oh yeah, I drew after I finished grading.

I finished science anyway. Still have 5 large art assignments. Honestly, yes, on Christmas Day, I am going to try to bang through one of those. I NEED THEM DONE. But here’s last night’s drawing for you.

And no, I haven’t been able to work on the current quilt for the last two nights…too much other stuff going on. But later today, the family will meet and social distance and eat and gift. And then tomorrow, the girlchild wings back to Boston and another COVID test and quarantine, while we keep on keeping on here. Yeah, having her home was a bit of a risk, but the family health issues have had her and the rest of us pretty worried and anxious, so hopefully this will help. Hope your holidays are whatever you need them to be. I guess mine need to be quiet yet productive and apparently full of sugar. Could be worse. It’s a beautiful day and I don’t have to Zoom. Oh wait, I’ll be FaceTiming later, won’t I? Ah well.

Maybe Some Eggnog…

Yoinks. I missed another day. Oh well. And it’s two topics I can actually write about! First is What I Listen to/Watch, presumably while working. So I watch things while I’m drawing, tracing, cutting, and ironing. I mostly bingewatch things if I can, and a huge variety of stuff, whatever I can find that’s interesting. I’m currently watching the 5th season of The Expanse and Peaky Blinders. But I just finished Bailey & Scott (or is it Scott & Bailey, can’t remember) and The Wilds…so you can see the range of stuff that pops up. I do prefer sci fi and detective stuff, especially the dark and mostly British stuff, but why limit yourself?

I listen to things when I’m doing the stitch-down and quilting, because I can’t watch and do that at the same time. Sometimes I listen to podcasts (This Podcast Will Kill You, the Quilting Arts podcast, and my daughter’s, Rideshare, when she’s not on hiatus), but in general, I space out on podcasts and stop listening, so I prefer music. Again, ALL the musics. Well, not country and not a lot of hip hop or rap, and very little classical. So everything else. I have a ton of music on iTunes still, and use Pandora for the ease of it all.

The question for today is easy: prewash or not? I’m allergic to every chemical under the sun, and that’s only gotten worse over the years. I often got rashes on my hands before I started washing my fabric…so now it’s the first thing I do when I get home with it: put it in the machine. If I’m smart and I remember, I put Retayne in with all the batiks, especially the dark colors I like for backgrounds, just because I’ve had so many run over the years. So yeah, wash that stuff.

What else? I started ironing the new quilt together on Monday night…

It doesn’t look like much because there’s about a hundred rocks in there. Because I don’t do things simply. I make one rock at a time. Here’s some of them…

I did more last night…

More rocks. And I’m missing two finger bones. If I don’t find them in the next box, I’ll cut two more.

Hey, how are the holiday preparations going for y’all? I think I’m stuck on 5 ornaments on the tree, lights up, a few holiday things around the house. I can’t be bothered. I worked the last two days, put in a chunk of hours in prep, and then yesterday, graded three assignments. I have two more for science, but five for art, plus warmups. I said I wanted them done by Christmas, so I don’t have much time left. It weighs on me otherwise. We are hiking tomorrow, though. We’ll see.

This was from yesterday’s walk with the kids and dogs, although I ditched them halfway through and went the long way home.

It was backwards to what I usually do. But over three miles, so it was something I needed. And then I drew after dinner…

Which might have been why I never made it to the blogpost.

There are only so many hours in the day. Tonight, I’m hoping to finish grading the science assignments and the art warmups, and then ironing of course. Maybe another drawing. Depends on how I feel. I have Pilates on Zoom, which should help. I have a headache and I’m tired. I just realized there are Santa Ana winds coming in…that’s probably the headache. I met outside today, socially distanced, with my school team. Miss being around them. I just never get to vent about work at home, or I vent and no one knows what I’m talking about, or they want to fix it and you can’t fix it.

Anyway. It was a nice break from what has been my reality. Trying to be safe and sane and healthy…there are so many conflicting messages in my brain. See people. Don’t see people. Whatever. Anyway. OK, gonna go grade now. Happy holidays to everyone…may there be lots of what you need and maybe some eggnog with it.

Buy Art…

Someone asked me to post the pieces that got into Quilt National and Visions over the years.

2013 Quilt National: Spread Out on the Pavement

2017 Quilt National: Beyond the Concrete

2021 Quilt National (yes, it appears to be every four years…creepy, huh?): Fire and Water

And Visions 2012: Sediment

I enter both shows every time, if that helps you at all. Lots of rejections over the years. One year, the Visions reject made it into Quilt National; another year, vice versa. It’s all OK.

So today’s topic is Top 5 Gift Ideas. Y’all…go buy art. Small business art. They don’t have to be quilters…they can be printers or ceramicists or painters. Buy small if you have to. Commit to one piece of art a year, if you can. I buy one SAQA auction piece a year. It’s my donation, plus I’ve gotten small art by artists I really enjoy, some I knew of before the auction and some I didn’t. Buy prints if you can’t afford the art, or even cards. Send them to everyone you know. So many small businesses, especially in the arts, are struggling right now. I wish I could do more, but I try to buy some every year. This year, two of my family members are getting original art from people I know. It can be a knitted sweater or an embroidered landscape, or a drawing, a bowl, a mug, jewelry, whatever. Just buy art. This pandemic has been devastating to so many people. I know as an artist that so many depend on classes and conferences and show venues, and so much of that has dried up. Sign up for a class, if you don’t want to buy art. Find ways to put your money, even if it’s a small amount, in the hands of an artist.

I worked with my co-teacher today for four hours, masked, in a room, away from each other, with the door open.

We got January planned, although then I came home and spent like 3 hours making digital versions of stuff so my kids could do the same stuff as the kids in a physical classroom. I’m still ahead, though…further ahead than I’ve been all year. I’ve always been starting to plan on Thursday for the following week, usually finishing Sunday night. I need that to chill out a bit. I need to be a little ahead of the game. Tomorrow, we’re doing it again, trying to get February planned. At least the pieces will be in place. Details to follow. I need to make a bunch of videos.

Last night, I stayed up too late, but I finished trimming all the pieces.

That’s almost 16 hours of cutting in the last week. Tonight, I sorted them…

Took me about an hour and a half.

I can start ironing tonight. I won’t get much done; it’s already late, but I can start.

Last night, I drew…

Tonight, I did not. There’s a lot of stressful stuff going on. I’m not forcing myself to draw if I don’t have the mental space. I know there’s a place for that kind of thing; making myself draw when I’m not in the mood makes my brain be more creative, solve problems, but there’s a need for self-care at the moment. So I’m just going with it. I can draw tomorrow night if I want. There is absolutely no point in beating myself up about what I can and can’t handle at the moment.

Be like a cat.

Sleep well.

OK, well it’s already past 10 and I need to be up sort of early for lesson planning. Hopefully the rest of the day will let me get some grading done and get a walk in. Tonight, I’ll iron a bit and get my ass in bed earlier than last night. And hopefully I’ll sleep.

It Needed a Chandelier…

Day 20: Proudest Achievement…still making art after so many years? Nah, I do that to keep me sane. Oh yeah, they probably mean with quilting…I used to think that once I got into Quilt National and Visions (two big art quilt shows), that would be it. And I’ve done both…I’ve been in Quilt National three times now (the latest to be 2021) and Visions once, and they are prestigious shows and fun to meet all the artists and be part of the group (well, you know me and groups…I do my best, but sometimes I need to introvert for a while). So then what? Because yes, it’s cool and awesome to hit a goal, but are you just gonna stop making? So then it was wanting a solo show, and I’ve managed that twice plus another 2-person show with a sculptor, which I thought was pretty cool. Give up? You’ve done it? Nah. Still making. What should my next goal be? I think I’ve admitted to myself that I’m just going to keep making and entering shows and getting offers for interviews and videos and putting my work in shows, more invitational stuff, which has been happening more, and I fully appreciate those things, because they aren’t things I tried for or asked for…they just happen because people think of my work for those things. So that’s awesome too.

I’m not that good at proud, really. I’m proud of my kids and my students. Proud of myself is more complicated. It’s not in my nature. I do know to say ‘thank you’ when people say nice things about my work, instead of downplaying it or making excuses. I know how hard I have worked over the years and how much of me has gone into my pieces. So thanks to those who acknowledge that and tell me they like my work. Appreciated.

I’m having a rough weekend. I’m tired and family stuff is all around. Stressful. Work is hard too, even with days off…I have too much grading to do and I just want it done. I’ll feel better when more of it is done, let’s put it that way.

Last night’s drawing with fire in fireplace and really difficult movie on the telly (Tenet…the man watched it twice, the second time with closed-captioning on, and even then, I’m not sure he got it all)…

I didn’t have the patience for a second try…straight up. Started with the hair and somehow ended up with a chandelier. It needed a chandelier. I can’t explain why.

I thought I’d have everything cut out in the current quilt last night, but no…I still have some to go…

I’m watching total escapist television (The Wilds on Amazon Prime), so tonight, I’ll draw, watch some episodes, cut some more pieces out, hopefully all of them, and then ideally tomorrow will be better. I have work tomorrow, lesson planning, actually AT school, if I see you, I will spray you down, because I’m in super-paranoid mode at this point. By the way, if you know someone has anxious tendencies, telling them to stop worrying is really useless. It makes us feel worse, actually, like we don’t have a right to be anxious or worried…and we usually do, but maybe not about what we’re voicing our concerns…those are maybe easier to say than what we’re really worried about. You can say “don’t worry about it until it happens,” but you know, I’ve been this way for a long time, and one part of my brain is constantly saying that while another part of my brain is worrying, and sometimes one part wins out over the other, and I have to try to sway it back. I do that when I feel supported and loved, and not when I feel chastised for natural feelings. More helpful? “I’m sorry you feel that way. Is there anything I can do to help?” There probably isn’t, but I feel better when you say it. So there.

Yeah. Rough weekend. Gonna go draw it out.

Trusted the Brain…

There’s a definite weight off the shoulders. There’s still plenty of work to do, but knowing I don’t have to have 17 posts ready for Google Classroom by tomorrow night is a relief. Knowing I don’t have to be on Zoom and watched by parents and brothers and sisters is a relief. I can just sit quietly with myself if I want. Well, when I’m not around all the other people and animals in the house, right? It’s hard to get away from absolutely everybody, and I’m not sure I’d want that. I am alone here right now and it’s dark and I just heard something go over the gate. Or under it. Probably a bunny. But who knows; I’m in here freaking myself out about it. You’d think after living mostly alone for a goodly number of years while the kids were in college I’d be OK with it.

Today’s topic is “on the design wall.” Ah, so many assumptions in that topic…that everyone has or wants a design wall. It’s not how I work at all. I don’t ever pin something up and step back and look at it. Maybe I should, but I don’t have the space or the time, so I mostly always did without…trusted the brain to do the previewing and critiquing before things were all put together. Crazy, really. So yeah, I draw in a sketchbook and sometimes on a big sheet of paper, and then, when I’m ready to iron Wonder Under to fabric, when I’m at the color-choosing stage, that’s the closest I get to a design wall. I hang the drawing up and stare at where each piece is and stare at the fabrics I’ve already picked and stare at the background fabric, and that’s it. My brain does the work.

So there’s the drawing clipped up from when I did that. It will come down when I start ironing together next week, because I use it as the pattern: put the teflon sheet on top of it, so I can get the pieces in the right place.

No design wall. Sorry? Not sorry. It’s just now how I work. I did in the very beginning; I even had this big cubicle wall for a while that I was going to use for that, a leftover from somewhere, but there was never room for it in the house, so it went at some point…probably when we cleaned out the garage a few years back.

Speaking of the most current quilt, I’m almost done trimming all those bits and pieces…I had Calli for a while…

Simba too, but not photographed…and then Kitten…

I cut for almost 3 hours last night, quite happily.

There isn’t much left in the box on the left. Maybe I’ll be done tonight? Sort tomorrow night? We’ll see.

I also started my Winter Break tradition of a drawing a day…while gaming…

I was pretty tired, and I didn’t think very hard about any of it.

Certainly my glass ended up in the drawing…in fact, that’s where I started, with a hand around the glass.

Today’s been pretty quiet…some grading, some Pilates on Zoom with dog assist, plus a 4-mile hike…

Outside is always a good thing.

San Diego is currently full of idiots refusing to stay safe…so we go out here, where most people are sane. We think. It’s certainly not a restaurant full of people.

OK, so finish cutting, do a drawing, watch a movie. It’s supposed to be chilly tonight; maybe a fire in the fireplace, dinner from somewhere, not inside, not around people. Then sleep again, because I haven’t gotten enough of that in a good long time.

Stop Thinking for a While…

Hello vacation! Or break! Or NO ZOOM ZONE. Whatever you wanna call it, this teacher is on it for three weeks. Don’t get too excited. You should see my to-grade list for that time period…it’s massive. I’m hoping to bang through it quickly though. Although it includes 5 large art assignments. WTF was I thinking? Nothing. No, I was thinking that if they didn’t finish before break, they would throw them away, and no one would have them. So there we are. Anyway, wish me luck on that. I’d like to have everything planned for January (except art, because I need to wait for the other teacher to do some stuff) and graded by Christmas Eve. Could be impossible. We’ll see.

I’m stressed, I need sleep, I need to not be on Zoom a million hours a day. I need exercise and books and sewing and drawing and relaxing. We’re halfway through the longest school year I’ve ever experienced, and it will take everything I have in me to get through the next half. Sure, there’s a few 3-day weekends in there and 2 weeks of Spring Break, but mostly it’s a hellaciously long stretch of ugh. Meanwhile, my neighbors aren’t social distancing for shit, because they are young and apparently can’t get sick or die or get their relatives sick or anything. I don’t even know what to think about that. I think about every interaction I have, every time I leave the house, everything I do that is outside of here. And I’m paranoid as shit about it. Maybe it’s being high risk? Or just naturally paranoid? Anyway. They’re fucking nuts.

So the topic for today is “If I could sew with…”. Hmmm. Is this a person? If so, I want to sew with Queen Elizabeth. I know she learned how. And I’d like to talk to her and meet her dogs. And then I want to sew with Sue Spargo, just to see how her mind works; she’s incredibly creative. And then maybe the BadAssCrossStitch woman, Shannon, just because she sounds interesting and is trying to create community with stitching. Honestly, anyone who’s ever stitched the word “fuck” on fabric…I wanna have a big stitchalong with them. And then I’d like to stitch with about a million of the stitchers I follow on Instagram, because some of them have such interesting and different styles from what I do…I wanna watch them and try to do it that way and maybe just talk to them about birds and cats and pine needles. Or whatever.

Now the other way to look at this is “If I could sew with…” metal. Are we talking materials here? I have done a tiny bit of metal stitching, not the metallic thread, because that is always a pain in the ass, but the twisty stuff, damn, what’s it called, purl? AKA French bullion wire (because it looks like a bullion knot, but wire, not thread). I also have some metal mesh I always wanted to use. There isn’t much stopping me from using metal, but time and ideas…I got close when I stitched on window screen to make my COVID mask.

Not quite metal. Maybe just stitching with different things. Experiment more. In my spare time. Some day, I will have spare time that is not eaten up by grading 17 assignments in a week, and I will have more time to spend on experimentation. Or not.

It’s highly possible I should have looked at the list of blog topics before I signed up to do this. Speaking of, it’s the first day of Winter Break! I like to do a drawing a day over Winter Break. Shall I? Can I? Do I have the fortitude? I have the last two years. Hmmm. Gaming tonight…it’s possible to draw and game.

Meanwhile, I’ve been cutting tiny pieces out…I made it through all of the flesh last night…

I did a lot of it in a stitching meeting, totally exhausted.

Made it into the sky. I’m hoping to be done by Sunday so I can start ironing it together. We’ll see how it goes.

You gotta love your job a lot to answer an email like this…although the suggested answers are pretty valid.

I didn’t use one of them. I wanted to.

Remember back in November when we went up to 29 Palms to help construct that labyrinth? Well here’s a drone view of it…

Linda did an awesome job setting this up and building most of it. So cool.

Got some more artsy shit coming up over break too…mostly looking at other people’s art, but as artists, we need that connection to other people’s work.

But for now, find a sketchbook and a pen for drawing while gaming, plus probably need to see if I can grade a few things, and I need to find some supplies for these classes I’m taking in January, ironically need plastic bags, just the words off them, but I don’t have a lot of plastic because I don’t use it unless I really have to, plus some stabilizer I don’t use either. Maybe mom has some? Who knows. It feels a little lighter having no required work for three weeks…hopefully by the end of next week, it will be a lot lighter. Unlike the summer, I know mostly what the next 6 months of school look like…painful but doable. Summer was so stressful because we knew nothing at all. This is just stress that I know about.

OK. Find sketchbook. Stop thinking for a while.

Some Things Never Change

Welp. I finally missed a day. I meant to write last night, but I was so dang exhausted. I know I came in here to do it, but then IDK what happened. Plus I thought I was supposed to write about today’s topic, which I didn’t want to write about. So now I’m doing two in a day. I HAVE FAILED. Nah, it’s OK. Shit happens. Have you seen 2020? Case in point.

So yesterday was actually a good topic, Why do I sew? Well, I started because presumably my mom thought I should learn or she was doing it and I saw it and I wanted to learn. I don’t remember. I was young. So I learned how…so did a lot of my generation, and then the vast majority of them finished Home Ec and never looked at a sewing machine or a needle again.

I never stopped. I sewed stuff for art in college, I sewed stuff for the house in my 20s and 30s and less so in my 40s, and I started quilting at 23. And never stopped. Something about fabric calls to me. I started making art as a printmaker…I probably would have stuck with ceramics too if I’d had more access to equipment and people…but once I started seeing quilting as an art form, better yet, a portable, easy-to-drop-and-then-pick-back-up art form, then that was it. The tactile qualities of fabric, the design and pattern, the hand-dying, the stitching, having it in your hands, the 3D nature of a quilt on the wall. I was hooked.

Now today’s topic is the one I was avoiding, my favorite ‘sewlebrity.’ UGH. So a stitcher who’s famous? I’ve taken many classes from people who are famous in their own right…some were fascinating to learn from, some not so much. Is there someone I always watch or listen to or look for their Insta? Not really. There are LOTS of them: people who talk about their process, who keep making, who find a way to challenge what they’ve been doing. I know the purpose is to give you a name so you can check them out…eh…there’s a bunch in the blog roll on here (which I need to go check and cull this year…it’s been a while). I follow another million or so on Instagram…pictures seems to be the thing now. There are people I admire, not for their sewing prowess, but for their ability to get things done and PIVOT…hate that word: Pokey Bolton, making Craft Napa grow in a pandemic; Luana Rubin for advocating against climate change, for using her company to support art quilters and awesome causes; Carolyn Mazloomi for backing beautiful exhibits that showcase issues for BIPOC and BIPOC quilters. There are more, but it’s early and the tea hasn’t kicked in.

Keep your eyes and ears open. There are people out there using fabric and the quilt world to make some positive things happen.

Meanwhile, I’m slogging through my day job. Yesterday was exhausting, for me, but probably for the kids as well. They want to give up because it’s almost Winter Break, and so do I, but we can’t. I’m grading as fast as I can, so I don’t have a ton to do over break, but there’s no way to avoid some of it. Plus trying to get the kids through the last part of a project…some get the concepts and some are just so far away from them that I don’t know how to help them. Some just want the answers, and I want them to work for them. As always.

I started cutting stuff out for the newest quilt on Tuesday night…

Lots of tiny rocks in that box…it’s been cold, so we have had lots of animals on the couch with us…

Kitten tried to push that box off the couch at some point. And here’s last night’s cut…considerably less time. I had Zoom Pilates and Zoom book club and hit major exhaustion right after.

I did a very slow hour. That’s all flesh I’m cutting now. Kitten looks cranky…

Like she’s about to whack me. Because she is.

I did this…

One quilt is in there four times. She took a long time to make. Anyway. Thursday. Ugh. Long. Too much of you. We will get through. I tried to go to bed early last night and then ended up making plans to travel without seeing or talking to anyone except for the man, just for two nights outta here, because I’m going bonkers. Hiking and walking and just sitting around talking to a rooster. It’ll be fine. For now, I have a staff meeting, I’ve got to teach science and two levels of art today, and hopefully wake up a bit more. Then plan some science, meet with other sewists (better than sewers, y’all), and cut some more stuff out. Collapse in bed. Do it again tomorrow, minus some of it, with added Zooms. It will be nice NOT to Zoom for a few weeks. NOT to get up and walk to a computer and stare at three screens and try to type and get my internet to behave and answer a million questions in the chat and chase kids down for not doing any work and deal with 17 million emails. Really. It will. This year is different, but some things never change. Teachers need breaks. So do kids.

Small Hands…

My earliest memory of sewing? I remember trying to embroider (badly), but I don’t remember how old I was. Somewhere in this house are a few pieces of half-done embroidery or cross stitch from that era…definitely younger than middle school. When I was 7 or 8, I used some of my mom’s curtain material, yellow for god’s sake (not a color I ever wear). You cut four rectangles. Two got lace all around the edges. The other two were sewn together on the sides to make a short fat tube, and then gathered at the top, and then somehow you attached the two rectangles to the top of that to make these wing sleeves.

Hell…this might have been the pattern…

My lord, that is ugly. In fact, I have a stash of clothing patterns, also hidden somewhere in this house, which has some pockets of black void that hide an endless number of bizarre things I will never use again. I sewed a lot of my own clothes for a time, even into high school, thus labeling me forever as a strange beast. Nothing has changed since then, except I sew quilts instead of my clothes, preferring to fritter my time away on art rather than making stuff I can wear that costs a ton of money.

I do remember sitting at the Jack and Jill desks my mom had in her weaving/sewing studio that my dad built her, and listening to Muzak versions of the Beatles and The Mamas and the Papas, while I coaxed my mom’s old 1962 Singer (still in my garage even now) up to about 100 miles per hour of straight lines with the occasional zigzag.

Nothing has changed. Well, mom still has the desks, and I sew at my own desk, so there’s that.

I made curtains, I made a couch cover, I’ve made bedding of sorts, lots of clothing, baby quilts, etc. But mostly art quilts. There are over 90 of them here. Storage is an issue.

Anyway. Last night, I finished ironing all the Wonder Under to fabric; it took just over 19 hours.

And 165 different fabrics…

Now I get to cut them all out.

I walked tonight. Made a new friend.

Presumably he doesn’t get out much. Small hands. Stopped at the ex’s house to check out his lights.

Actually, I really needed to pee. Then I put my headlamp on and did the last half mile to home. Cooked dinner, did some grading, tried to finish my book (it’s good!), and now I will start cutting. I might grade something else first. I’m trying to get ahead (you’re never ahead) so I don’t have to work most of break. Ah ha ha ha ha. It’ll never happen. But I’ll try.

Stash

When I was growing up, there was this cardboard box in the cupboard in the hallway between my room and my brother’s and it was full of fabric scraps. I recognized some from things I had in the closet, mostly pajamas, honestly, but some other bits and pieces from dresses and tops. I had some scraps of fabric in college from classes I’d taken; being told that fiber and fabric were not of artistic merit, I ignored the professors and found classes at art centers in weaving and batik and eventually quilting. In the early days, I bought 1/8 yards, because I couldn’t imagine using up that much fabric ever. Eventually I graduated to half yards, which is mostly what I buy these days, except if I need yardage for bindings or backgrounds, or if all that’s available is fat quarters. When people give up quilting (whether temporarily to move to Morocco or permanently because it no longer gives them joy), they call me and I pick up their stashes. When someone dies and no one in the family sews, I pick up their stashes. When people move across country and can’t take it all with them, I pick up their stashes. Sometimes people see a piece of fabric and it speaks my name to them, and I get it in an envelope in the mail. Someone gave me an apron once because they thought I would like it; another person sent me a scarf.

I do love fabric, the patterns, the colors, and the texture, the flow, the hang, the drape, the shine, the touch, the feel of it.

I do probably have too much of it. Every year, I make a goal to use more of it, to piece backings and backgrounds and bindings and the like. Sometimes I am successful and sometimes it’s a shit year full of a pandemic, and although my shopping has been limited, somehow my stash has grown.

Hey, so this is just what’s in here with me. I took the doors off the closet. Each bin is color-coded. This is mostly cottons, although the crazy quilt fabrics are on the left.

So all that was the yellows, purples, whites, and some of the blues, greens, and blacks. I have a plan for redoing all this and reorganizing it…but I spent all the money to do that on fabric. OK, not really…I don’t actually buy a ton of fabric. Sitting at the computer and looking under the ironing board (like you do…damn…this is a small room and it’s impossible to get a photo without the ironing board in it)…these are most of the browns, all the oranges and reds, and a few more whites and pinks. Oh yeah, and one drawer of blue and one of black.

Well…pink isn’t exactly right. It’s my flesh collection. Yes, I wear Crocs in here…they’re bouncy and cushioned against concrete floors with no padding. I stand a lot.

Most of the fleshy pink bits hide under the sewing table, along with one more brown drawer and three black.

I like me some black and white graphic stuff.

This part is mostly a disaster. There’s some crazy quilt stuff in there, some muslin, some other solids, some quilts in progress, a pile of hand-dyed (by me) a bunch of batting, some pieces big enough for backgrounds or backings in the white drawers, plus grays, greens, and the rest of the blues. And behind all that is a small cat tunnel made of batting scraps. Don’t ask.

The cardboard box is where the cat has been hanging out lately. I can’t take it away from her.

It all needs cleaning and/or organizing. Don’t tell me to purge. I’ve tried it multiple times and it doesn’t bring me joy.

There is also fabric under my bed…mostly crazy quilt fabrics and wools and a few things that I don’t know how to get rid of, like velvets and dresses from my grandmother or mother or great aunt or who knows? Fabriholic. Yes I am. I’m OK with that. It’s not like I don’t use it.

Speaking of using it, I got a goodly chunk of the body parts ironed last night, the stuff that makes up the rest of the body besides the flesh…also a bird. But I still have lungs and hair and a baby to iron. Hopefully tonight. Then I’ll be done…

That’s all. That’s a lot of colors…

Then I get to cut stuff out.

Looking forward to it. I relax with scissors. Actually, I also relax on walks. We dared to take the old lady dog out on a longer walk (it was probably a bit too long), but we saw two white-winged kites…first time ever, I think.

Great photo, I know…distance is not a phone camera’s friend. Same with this…

Spot the blurry coyote. Ah well. Reminds me it was there.

The skies have been gorgeous for weeks…probably a sign the world is ending.

We’ll find out later that COVID has infected the sky. Lovely poinsettia from my school friends. Matches the sky.

They also brought me this calendar for 2021, since I will probably be distance teaching for most of it. Shoot me now.

Yeah well. It’s hard not to give a shit and still care about teaching. I don’t know how to turn off the ‘care about’ part, so I just try to keep as chill as possible about it with the rest of the crazy shit swirling around right now.

But in good news, even with the stupid electoral college, we now no longer have a Trump in office. May his fuckery take him down. But we’re watching, y’all. Put it all back where it was. Bring back the environment and get those immigrant families back together and if one of our asshole doctors removed a uterus without permission, then those families need to be compensated, and surely there are numerous people who belong in jail right now, and probably numerous people who ARE in jai and DON’T belong there, and let’s talk about global warming and taking care of people and finding money for businesses and people who are struggling right now. ALL OF THEM. Not just the Democrats, not just the rich people, not just the white people. Sigh. This last year has been such a fucking mess. And today is the 8th anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting. So let’s do something about guns for once. Really.

Also this…

That’s for sure. OK. I have ironing to do. And I need more tea.

Love Your Fabrics…

Today’s topic is least favorite color. Huh. All colors are useful, even baby mustard-poop yellow-green. I don’t like red and yellow together, but they’re still useful…together and apart. Now WEARING colors, I won’t wear yellow or pink or orange, but I use those all the time in quilts. I don’t wear red…well, I wear dark red and burgundy and claret and other wine colors. But in my quilts? Holy crap, every color goes…they all have a purpose. I’m making pictures.

Now are there colors I don’t use as much? Depends on what the imagery is in the quilt. This current one is chock full of blues and purples in the sky and browns and greens in the earth. The flesh tones are a little brighter than what I normally do…there’s some orange and blue mixed in the pinky flesh tones. Yes, this one is pink. They aren’t all pink. This quilt doesn’t have much yellow in it, because there’s a moon instead of a sun, but it does have some.

Yeah. Color is necessary. All of it. The muddies, the brights, the dulls, the sparklies even at times, where they belong (I used sequins in one quilt and satin in another).

Look. Here’s the fabrics that are in the current quilt so far (I’m not done picking them yet)…

I think they’re all there. More to come tonight…

This was last night, ironing down the fleshy bits, which went on until well after midnight.

What I do for fun on a Saturday night hasn’t changed much…

This is the back side, but you can see that’s some pretty bright flesh.

Anyway, enough with most favorite and least favorite. Love your fabrics. Make them work for you.