Land of the Some-of-You-Can-Be-Free

August 13, 2017

Well, America, I’m not very impressed with some of you today. White America especially, some of you are really pissing me off. The thing is, I suspect those who piss me off are probably not reading this blog…because I think that type of person wouldn’t put up with my art either, or my rants. They’re long gone, hiding away in some back-alley private Facebook page, calling me a skanky ho. Well, as long as they spell it right, I’m not bothered by what they call me. I am bothered by their ignorance, their lack of logic (and trust me, I’m not the most logical at times), and their general dumbassery. Their desire to get back whatever they think they’ve lost, to hurt others in the process. As if they have the right to do so. Their hatred. Their need to tear down and break things.

But I’m not sure how to talk to those people. I don’t know how to change the mind of a 20-year-old white male who can’t see his own privilege. I can’t even figure out how to talk to the white folks on my campus who were offended by my students’ anti-bullying and anti-Trump door sign last year. How can you work in my school and espouse the beliefs that you do? I’m like the governor of Virginia…just leave. We don’t want you.

But that doesn’t solve the problem of racism and gender/racial gaps and inequity and what our police would have done if faced with a similar situation except with a less white-washed crowd. It doesn’t solve the problem of how to solve this damn problem! I can’t talk to these people and make any sense of what they say. They feel disenfranchised? Because they’re not better than someone? I’m not sure I care. Except I care that they’re making it worse for the rest of us…no, not just us whitefolks, but everyone else who fills my country. Who make it strong and beautiful and artistic and challenging and entertaining and tasty and sometimes ugly and smelly and warty. I want it to feel safe, not threatened by nuclear war because of stupidity, not mired in fascist Alt-Right idiocy because…shit I don’t even KNOW why. I really don’t.

All I can do is go to school and meet my new mostly refugee and immigrant students, my mostly NOT American-born white students, and teach them how to stand strong and have faith in humanity (some of it anyway) and hopefully some science too. And that not all the white American-born people hate them. Because I don’t. I try not to hate anyone, although a certain orange-faced dickhead certainly gets no kind feelings from me. Or his minions. The ones backpedaling right now as people find them on Twitter or Facebook and out them for their beliefs. Cowards. But even them…I don’t want them hurt. I want them to grow up and change and be more human to ALL humans. I don’t want to kill them or run them over or hang them. OK. Some days I want to put them all on a very hot and dry island somewhere very far away. It’s true. But normally, I don’t want anyone hurt.

It hurts to be an American right now. It shouldn’t. Land of the free, home of the brave. We stole this country, this land, from the First Americans…the least we can do is keep all those who live here safe and give them as much support as we can. Try to make up for previous dumbassery. Try to make it right, best we can. Try to make it better in the future. Starting now.

I finished a quilt yesterday. Post-election, I have focused on women’s rights for a while and now on climate change, although that’s about to change again. There are so many issues that need support. It’s overwhelming sometimes to keep it all in my head. All the quilt needed yesterday was eyeballs…I’d decided not to cut out tiny fucking pieces this time…instead, I would make tiny French knots…this is why I have a thread stash. This is a Finca thread, but a 12…I was looking for a Valdani or Perle 12, but couldn’t find one in the right color, but this is finer than a normal 12.

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This bird originally had two eyeballs, but I decided one was better.

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The sheep and the cows all got to see…

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Tiny little beasts…

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And the fish as well, although I like the whites behind the black on the blue fishies. I also added some ink…

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I took her to the photographer today. Done early!

Then I started sewing the birds together in columns and rows…

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A few beaks got squished in seams…same with some feet. Something to remember as I make more of these. Or not. Here it is all sewn together, after a year of not sewing them together.

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And then the border fabric went on.

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I did cut the fabric for the stems and the 96 colored balls…they are much smaller than I thought they’d be. And I don’t know when I’ll get to them. Sometime, I hope. I have other things to do…processing the American hate of the last few days, moving on to the next art quilt, starting school, sending the boychild back to college. Trying to make sense of the crazy.

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Yeah, Kitten, I know. It doesn’t make sense to me either. I thought we were trying to move past all that into a better existence. I guess you can’t just ignore those people who are so angry at the existence of other. I don’t know how to fix them, though, Kitten. I really don’t.


Please Don’t Bother Trying to Find Her*

August 12, 2017

Most summers I manage to make some monster of a quilt, something with 2200 pieces that measures the size of a refrigerator or something. Not so this summer. Too much cleaning and other work. I did finish one though. Well. First I have to embroider a bunch of eyeballs that I decided NOT to cut out of tiny pieces of fabric for once. I know, right? I totally forgot about the eyeballs last night. I came home from school exhausted, ordered pizza and sewed binding for about 3 hours straight. Because that was easier than thinking about anything. The quilt goes to the photographer tomorrow, and now I need to do eyeballs this morning. No problem. That’s easy. But I was already in bed and about to turn the lights out when I remembered the eyeballs thing. So I put a reminder on the calendar…so yes, my phone keeps popping up with a reminder that says Embroider Eyeballs.

It’s all good. Artistically arranged puppy good.

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He was helping me. That background…think it came from one of the donated piles of fabric. It got well used. There’s about 5″ of it left, which I could realistically use in a quilt somewhere.

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I’m trying to be a responsible fabric user…haven’t bought a backing fabric in a year or so. I just reduce and reuse.

She’s long and skinny, that’s for sure. About 68″ long (so taller than I am).

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I’ll post official photos next week. I don’t have total hours yet either…since the eyeballs still need embroidery.

One of the things that’s interesting about this quilt is in the time analysis. It’s probably the same size as the Bathtub quilts, except it’s long and skinny. But it had almost twice as many pieces than the most complicated one of the Bathtubs. It took much longer to trace pieces and iron them, but the same amount of time to quilt. The amount of detail is greater, but the length of the stitching line is about the same? This analysis helps me figure out how to estimate future quilts, both time and price. And to try to control some of my detail tendencies…but it does explain why size doesn’t matter.

Which reminds me, The Goddess of Never-Ending Chaos is currently in Birmingham, England, at their Festival of Quilts.

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She no longer belongs to me…but I have another meditation-pose piece in my head at the moment. I should draw that. Is there time for that in my crazy schedule?

More stuff in the feather stitches…straight stitches and some French knots, filling in space. That’s the official title of this thing, by the way…Filling in Space.

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Then my brain froze. I was exhausted by the conference yesterday…really more a matter of too much interaction (900 teachers is a lot of interaction) than actual physical exhaustion, like what teaching does to you. I had to get up way too early and I didn’t sleep well the night before. I seem to be alternating between stressy interrupted sleep and conking out the next night. Fun stuff.

Anyway, I think I was talking about this Sue Spargo BOM Bird Crazy (oh wait, that’s not the real name…that’s what I call it…it’s called Bird Dance) last summer, about all I needed to do was to trim the blocks and sew them together and then put borders on, and I was debating that, because it seemed easier to sew the 96 circles in the border on before sewing the borders on the rest, but they do need to BE in a certain place, and that’s a pain in the butt without having them sewn on. SO. I didn’t do anything. They’ve been sitting in this box on the couch since then. Like a year (I just looked it up. I finished the last bird on July 29 last year…the BOM from 2013.). You have to be impressed by that, right? You don’t even know how many soccer games these bird blocks saw…so with my braindead brain, I went and trimmed all those fuckers down to the same size (well, except for the two that are not quite big enough). Which I was going to do last August. And didn’t. And then once you’ve done that, you’ve got to sew them together because you just cut off all the knots that are keeping the embroidery in place.

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So I laid them out. The cat was NOT helping.

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Luckily I could just follow her picture, because if I’d had to make decisions about what went where, we’d be sitting here in 2020 trying to figure that shit out. And I started sewing them together…until I got distracted by moving the bed and fixing the shower faucet and then stressed out about how I never ever ever get my house clean and organized. EVER. I’m going to finish sewing them together today and put the borders on though, because this is something that can be completed and checked off a list and that’s a good thing right now. I really should be panicking more about school at this point, but I can’t even.

It’ll be a year at least before I get 96 balls sewn on and embellished. No worries about a quick finish on this. And the other BOM of hers that I finished? Still pinbasted from last year. Oh yeah.

So I went to bed way too late last night because I was cleaning at 1 AM, you know, like you do. Because if someone can answer the question of What the Fuck Do I Do with All the School Shirts I Have That I Don’t Like to Wear? Well I’ve got a reward of some type for you. Like a bunch of school shirts I’m thinking. I even got rid of like 5 of them already.

Then the dog started barking early this morning (up way way way too late last night) at the construction next door (will it NEVER END???) and boychild made good smells throughout the house (clearing out the freezer I believe)…

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Both kids can cook. And it’s not because of me. Impressive. He leaves Monday. It’s gonna be a rough week. And I have to try to start drawing the next quilt, because it has to be done in 80 days. Well, before that, so it can be photographed. No problem. (ha ha ha) But first the damn embroidered eyeballs.

*The Zombies, She’s Not There


They Tell Me to Breathe Easy for a While*

February 12, 2017

I didn’t post yesterday because I didn’t do anything Friday but teach and veg out really. Not really, but close enough. It happens. I’m a fan of giving oneself a break when one needs it, best one can. Sometimes the best thing you can do is go to bed early with a cup of tea and read a book. Not that I did that, but sometimes I do.

I have too many things I need to do this weekend. Yesterday I started with the quilting…wanting to be done with the background this weekend. And then I couldn’t stop. I was going to grade stuff first, but I just couldn’t make myself do it. So I didn’t. There’s three days. Surely I can force myself to grade at some point (ugh).

So I fixed the bits I hadn’t stitched down…and then started quilting the background.

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Trying to remember to not do it really small and tight…it’s not necessary on this quilt and it would take forever. It wasn’t always easy though…I broke two needles (probably going too fast) and a lot of thread. Sigh. It’s frustrating sometimes. I think I did about 3 1/2 hours or so…and got more than halfway around. So that’s a good sign for today.

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Because my goal for today is to finish…so after dental cleaning tomorrow, I can go to fabric store and buy yardage for binding. Seriously. It’s almost done. That snuck up on me.

I have the parental dog at the moment, on top of the other two. It’s OK…she entertains the little one.

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When she’s not lying on my floor.

I kept getting distracted while quilting. I need breaks every 45 minutes or so (yeah, I know, it’s supposed to be every 20 minutes, but whatever…I get on a roll)…so I was trying to find the stuff for this quilt. I had all the blocks and the stuff for the borders, but I couldn’t find the instructions until I stood motionless in my living room for about 10 minutes with my eyes closed, visualizing what I had done with it (taken it to stitch meeting to confer with other stitching people about how best to do the borders: attach before or after). Now it’s where it should be.

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Not that I have time to do anything about it. At least it’s organized. That helps.

I also tried organizing all the BOMs I have collected. Probably should stop collecting and finish them instead. Easier said than done.

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Anyway, eventually, each time, I would come back to quilting.

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With or without Kitten’s help.

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Well, hello. Get off the quilt.

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Mommy, you called me. Did not.

So then last night and this morning, I was trying to make sense of all the shows coming up, deadlines all over my head, images all over my brain…nasty nightmare last night that’s still in my head, but not relevant to ANY of this, dammit.

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Straight up, honestly, hard to focus. So I pulled up a calendar this morning on my phone and talked my way through it. “If I do this first, the drawing doesn’t exist, so I need that done by say Wednesday, and if I make that a 6-week quilt, which is one that’s a reasonable size and number of pieces, instead of the crazy-ass thing I’m currently doing, then I could finish it by this date, and that only leaves me this many weeks to finish that one, and that’s not gonna work, and then there’s this other show, and I would have nothing for it, and that’s my local group and I’m a juror/curator/someone in charge, so I want to have something for that, so that’s not gonna work. But what if I do this one and draw that one and then I’d have two of those for that, but no, that still doesn’t solve the problem of having a piece for that show.” Dammit. There’s so many political quilts in my head at the moment that I can’t focus at all. But that’s one thing I need to get through in my head right now. What to do next, with no fucking down time, which is fine, because down time is focused on bad shit and I don’t need that. I need to DO, to MAKE, to SOLVE.

You should go read what I wrote for Through Our Hands though. They approached me and asked me to write about censorship if I wanted, or just about my work. I kinda did both. And that’s where this next drawing was going…

I had had an idea back in November or October? for the local show and I didn’t write it down, but just held on to some piece of it in my head, so last night, while watching Raiders of the Lost Ark for the 17th time (still good, but not the female character…she sucks), I tried to draw it.

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So I’m not saying I can’t do this quilt…on a redraw…but this isn’t where I want the piece for this show to go. So I stopped. Right before the big money moment, yes. This is still a thing, it’s just way far fucking out from where I need to be right now. Ugh. So I quit.

And then had that conversation this morning. And then driving home, the entire drawing for the local show popped into my head, PING, repopulating itself as I drove. Seriously, my brain erased bits and then added more and then adjusted and drew more. I wish I could just download that. Well, I can. It’s called drawing. I’m afraid I’m going to lose it. The boychild gave me these artsy notebooks for Xmas. I used to have a small sketchbook for jotting shit like this down, and then got out of the habit. I’m back into it. It sits by the side of my bed or in the living room (I carry it around) and all these ideas get scrawled into it…words and sketches. So I put it in there…and it’s censorship. That’s where I needed to go. Sometimes my brain scares me with its ability to create shit out of almost nothing. Just random ideas and nothing else, and then there’s a picture, all the lines drawing as I watch, often while I’m driving, and it’s just there. Boom.

I know it’s years of practice. But it’s still cool.

The immigration one is in the notebook too…it’s fully drawn in my head too, but I don’t have a place in the schedule for it yet…maybe summer? We’ll see. Because there’s a fine line between making for one’s own self and making to get into shows. I’m always trying to find that balance. There are some this Spring that I’m just having to say no to…I can’t do everything. Shows and drawings.

Anyway. I need to draw today. I think I can do it in about 2-3 hours. Aack! Plus three hours of quilting and then grocery shopping and I thought walking dogs, although maybe that’s tomorrow at this point. Plus grading. Sheesh.

This is the book I’m supposed to be reading for school. Apparently Midnight was offended by it.

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Whoops. Seriously. It was the cat. Not me. I actually don’t mind Hattie…I just mind how my district is implementing it…by completely ignoring what he says about how it should be implemented. So they keep calling it Visible Learning, but they’re not actually doing it. They’re micromanaging. Oh well. Trying to keep my frustration low on that. Read the damn book, yell while I’m reading it. Trying to assume best intentions. It’s not worth more energy.

I didn’t stitch Friday, so I did two yesterday…the lazy daisy green leaves around Prosper, and then the blue flowers on them until I ran out of thread.

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Still trying to fill in. That’s 42 days. Still want to put a hand and a tree in. So gonna figure that out. Maybe not today.

Today…draw…quilt…shop…cook…clean (seriously. the floors.). But first? Man I’ve got a headache. Splitting. Weather? Probably. Gonna take meds and do the grocery list. Then get my focus on. Art brain demands it.

*Sara Bareilles, Love Song


Bring Your Alibis*

July 31, 2016

So yeah. The sewing machine experiment lasted for about 18 minutes. It jammed up the first time 12 minutes in and then repeatedly after that. Weird things going on with it. I’m taking it in tomorrow, but not after making sure it’s warmed up and jamming happily so the guy can see it in action. I don’t mean ‘jamming happily’ like making good music on a Sunday afternoon. I mean like vibrating needle shaft that won’t move or sew and makes me swearz-a-lot. Yeah.

So the thing is, I don’t really believe in fate or messages from the gods, but sometimes I think you have to look at what’s working and what’s not and choose to walk away from some things. I’ve done my due diligence with this machine and it’s not going to work until I can get it to fuck up for the machine guy and hopefully that will be soon, but there’s no point in the last two Friday nights, where I’ve been grinding my teeth and growling and wanting to throw it in the pool. I mean, yeah, it’s frustrating. But it’s not like I don’t have some leeway on this deadline AND shitloads of other stuff to work on.

So get on with it, Kathryn. I have to admit that Friday night was mostly a wash. But Saturday afternoon, after the machine pissed me off, I took about 15 deep breaths and walked out of the office, determinedly heading for the big drawing on the light table. Because I kept staring at the original drawing and trying to let my head process it…and I’d even penciled in a head and a boat (like you do) the other night, but couldn’t get past that. NOW was the time.

You wonder why so many cats end up in my drawings. (It’s because they’re always WATCHING me. )

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Same with teacups. Except I don’t really feel like they’re watching me. Just that they’re always there. Really I should be drawing more scissors and mechanical pencils.

So I did pencil in some of the stuff at the bottom, like the boat and the general leg placement (there were issues…as you’d think there would be with three people standing stacked up behind each other. Oh hey. That’s a good title. Stacked up. Hmn. Document that shit.). I love that some titles come to me as I’m drawing, and some I have to pull out right before I have to enter it in a show, because I can’t think of anything.

So I added all this stuff at the bottom, referencing my first Earth Mother quilt from a million years ago.

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Puppy is such a cute dork.

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Then I had figured out in my head about 4 or 5 days ago about what was going on the sides…a layered landscape from water to mountains…

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So I added that on each side…

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Here’s the little guy, fishing.

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This quilt actually has two males in it! I know. You’re shocked.

Plus yeah. A cat.

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So it’s not done, though.

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I did start the head, and it’s got references to Tlingit art. I was born in Alaska, and I swear the graphic arts and totem poles from there are so stuck in my head…I think I must have filed it away in baby brain, and parts of it have been leaking out over the years. People talk about not appropriating other cultures’ art, but sometimes it just sneaks in. The Native stuff has been in there for so many years. The idea of filling the figure with symbols…you have to wonder how much influence early exposure has on one’s brain. I do.

Anyway, so I’m hoping to finish drawing this today and then number it. Although technically, I think there are two smaller ones I need to work on as well. So I may try drawing those this afternoon as well. While I’m on a roll. With a Sharpie.

So this is the booklet I got from the class…

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We worked in groups to try to plan a standard yard. Interesting ideas to use rainwater and take irrigation down to nothing or almost nothing. Certainly things to think about.

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Then my evening turned into puppy walk…man, this dog either needs to learn how to poop appropriately for one who has fluffy butt fur, or he needs to get used to my bathing him.

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Bad design.

Then this morning, I pinbasted the wool quilt that has been laying around forever. It won’t get quilted any time soon, but when I feel like it, it’s ready.

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Last night, I remembered I hadn’t sewn any of the eyeball buttons on the next wool quilt, so I did all 30. I flicked one across the room at one point and had to go searching for it. No, I would not have bought more. I would have picked a random button that didn’t match.

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Now they all need trimming. Guess piecing is on the back burner for a while. It’s OK. Julie and I are trying to figure out an easier way to do the borders, but honestly, I guess I did the borders on Earth & Twig above all as one and didn’t die. So I could probably do these that way too. By the time I get enough room in my schedule to put the borders on, it’ll be winter. Winter Is Coming. Yeah right. We have to live through Southern California summer first (doesn’t come until September/October).

Then since I had marshmallows and Rice Krispies, I did this. Sometimes you just have to.

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The kids are on their way back here, mostly to be cranky and entertain the puppy, I think. I’m in need of a nap, personally, but will try to hold it off with caffeine. I want to go finish the head part of the drawing and start some new stuff. Might as well use my non-quilting time wisely. This week is kind of a bitch. Same with next week. And then I’m back in school. Summer is so short some years.

That’s it. From now on, my blogpost titles are always lyrics from whatever I’m listening to as I write…well, until I get sick of that. Or forget I thought of it.

*Hotel California, Eagles


Just Get My Head Into It…

July 29, 2016

Morning is never really my strong point. I’m one of those late-night people. I don’t really get much done in the morning. And currently I’m sitting here in my office and I can clearly hear people at my door, plus Simba is going ballistic (Calli is in Arrowhead), but they haven’t figured out that my doorbell doesn’t work (oh hallelujah…I live in the boonies for a reason) and apparently they don’t want to knock. I’m OK with ignoring them because I heard them at the neighbors and it’s selling something, whether product or religion, and I don’t need either.

Yeah, my attack dog is a Pomeranian-chihuahua.

Last night, I had to text pictures of him to the girlchild, who missed cuddling with him. Huh.

So yesterday was kinda wishy washy. I copyedited for a while. Need to finish that up this morning and send it back. It’s the last chapter, so I hope there’s another book coming, but who knows…no guarantees. Then I was supposed to go to my stitching meeting, but I still don’t really have anything portable. The quilt is huge, so transporting it to quilt on it somewhere else is not realistic. So I took the last of the birds…

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I didn’t actually finish stitching it until later last night, but it’s done! A miracle! Well, until you realize that now I have to trim them all down, stitch them together, add the borders, and then do 96…NINETY SIX little balls with fancy stitching in the borders. Well. That’s gonna take a while. There’s no shortcut for that.

The birds are Sue Spargo’s 2013 block of the month project, and I’ve been working on them…well, since 2013. Mostly at soccer games, honestly, and then stitching meetings after that, because they’re nice and portable. I’m thinking the whole quilt is not gonna be so portable, and probably uncomfortable to stitch on in summer, being totally made of wool. But I’ll try to get to the point where I can stitch balls on.

I call it Bird Crazy, but it’s actually called Bird Dance

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See all the balls? Yeah. So I’ve finished 30 birds…in about 3 years. I’m rocking it. Seriously, though, people always want to know why I’m working on other people’s patterns, and the reality is that mine are often not portable, or not something I can work on at a soccer game (I’ve spent a huge part of the last 10 years at soccer games…really until the last 12 months). And I like the embroidery on wool. It’s relaxing. And enjoyable. So it’s my hobby. I’ve always enjoyed embroidery…I just don’t usually have time to do any of it on my own quilts, because the deadlines are so tight, or because I’m so mentally done with the piece by the time I get to the end.

I do have one top I started quilting where the plan is to add a lot of embroidery…and I did a memorial quilt for our last dog (who yes, died in 2012? I think?)…by DID I mean that it’s a bunch of wool pieces and a background, but I haven’t gotten any further than that yet. Things I’m making for me don’t get priority on the sewing list.

So after stitching meeting, I came home and played with puppy for a while, but I know I have a bunch of deadlines to deal with, and many of them require drawings, so I thought I would do that thing I always WANT to do, which is sit out on the deck and draw…so I did.

It was after 5 PM, but still not cool…but the sun is on the other side, so that makes it bearable. And I played some music and drank some milk (of course)…and did this.

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Now straight up, I like the body but hate the head and the bird. So they’re gone. But I think I can work with the rest of it. I’m probably gonna enlarge it and cut the head and bird off. There will be a head and a bird. Just not those two. Sometimes when I haven’t been drawing for a while it takes me a bit of fudging to get what I want. So that’s a start.

I love that prosthesis, by the way.

Then I had told Simba, who got left behind from the Arrowhead trip (not enough puppy supervision), that I would take him on a walk, because he got stuck inside while I was gone. I waited until it was cooler, much cooler…in fact, we were racing the dark back (I’m OK with that, except for the coyotes and the snakes).

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We saw a horse…twice…and Simba was sure he could kill it. I think. The horse was more intrigued than scared, luckily. Like…what the hell is that tiny growling thing? Exactly.

I was trying to tire him out, and it worked for a bit. Midnight is very tolerant of him, but she’s also bigger than him…and he truly doesn’t know what to do with her…except sometimes clean and/or nibble her ears. Which she doesn’t seem to mind.

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Hiking made me tired, but eventually I managed to come back into the sewing room. I recently finished the last little bit of embroidery on the 2012 Spargo quilt, Earth and Twig, after letting it languish for a good long time (like probably 2 or 3 years…see, I do that too). Yesterday, I finally found the backing and other pieces, then pieced the backing (hanging in the background)…then ironed the front and cut some batting. It’s ready to be sandwiched, hopefully sometime today.

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I’ve never quilted wool before, and honestly, it will be on the back burner for a while, but it will be ready. So that makes it closer to done.

Today I might have an art opening, if I feel like dragging myself to it. I have a few other things I need to do before I can start quilting, but that’s the goal…to quilt a lot. Don’t think about lesson planning and school supplies and deadlines and crap like that. Just get my head into the art and do it.


Close to Done But Not Really

July 22, 2016

Well. It’s official. I thought about school. I ordered the folders my kids use for science notebooks during the year. I keep thinking I’ll be able to get away from paper, but we notice that kids still need to put pencil on paper in order to learn. Technology is incredibly useful, but it’s not the only thing they need. Just the process of copying something by hand from one place to another is much more of a learning process than cutting and pasting…a practice we fight all year round.

But now I can ignore school for another week…seriously, that’s it. Fuck. OK. It’s all right. No worries. I can do this.

I really wanted to be done with ironing yesterday, and surely, if it hadn’t been near on 100 degrees, maybe I could have pulled that off, but I needed a long session in front of the fan to cool off. Yes, there’s a fan in the studio, but it has to be lower than the ironing board, so it doesn’t blow pieces everywhere (I did briefly consider a ceiling fan in here, until I thought about pieces flying about in a tornado-like motion), and for some reason, that’s not good enough. Plus with the light on (I always say I’m going to replace the light, but it’s money and it still works and the bit of Grandma that’s still in me is saving tin foil and rubberbands, and won’t replace a light fixture until the old one dies), it’s really warm in here. Ugh.

That said, I ironed for almost 6 1/2 hours yesterday. This thing is a time-sucking beast. I’m at almost 29 hours…only one other quilt took longer than this to iron together, and this one is gonna beat it. It’s the tiny, fussy details I think. Or I’m just slow this summer. Who knows.

So I ironed a bunch of flowers and a bat and a snake’s tail.

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An elbow with some leaves (which I had to pull up to insert a vein later…

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Meanwhile, there was no possibility of typing with a cat tail on the keyboard…

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The cat is hot. Because it’s hot here. And I can’t even imagine having fur in this heat.

So I had the whole thing on there as I was ironing the arm, but it was just getting too big and hard to manage, so I pulled all of that off the teflon sheets and rolled it up. But you can get an idea of how big it’s gonna be. (Huge. It’s huge.)

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And this goes on the end of that arm.

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Finally to the head. The face.

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I haven’t lost a lot of pieces this time around, but this big one was missing, so I traced a new one on Wonder Under and pulled the fabric for it, unfolded it…and found the untrimmed piece shoved in there. What the heck? Crazy.

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So I got half the hair (and a giant fireball of a sun) done…it was almost 1 AM at that point and I was tired.

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So even though there were maybe only 50 pieces left, I quit. Because they weren’t 50 easy pieces. And I couldn’t stand up any more. So today, I’ll finish ironing together and then iron it onto the background…and then start stitching down! This is exciting…although probably 4 days later than I wanted to be. Oh well…it is what it is.

I did go to my stitching meeting yesterday, which is probably another reason I didn’t finish ironing…because it’s not portable at this stage…at all. So I worked on the second-to-last bird…and finished it.

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Only one to go. Then I can piece them all together and put the borders on and then spend the next year sewing things on the borders (I’m laughing about that). So yeah. Close to done, but not really. Much like many things here in my house. The thing is, I find that if I set smaller goals as part of a larger project, I’m less likely to flail and panic.

Anyway, I’m hoping to be sandwiching the new quilt on Sunday…which means I probably need to look at the batting stash. This sucker is gonna be huge. Plus I want to sandwich the other wool quilt I finished at the same time, so I only have to be kneeling on the tile for one day. Although at the moment, the tile might be the coolest place in the house. Ugh. Heat. If you come here and find me lying on the tile with the dogs, just spray me with water. I’ll pop back up.

And I really need to draw the next one. And do the nightstand. And do the baby owl! Ack.


This Is Not My Beautiful World…

July 8, 2016

I am so disheartened by the country I live in at the moment. Although having lived elsewhere, I know that it probably doesn’t matter where you live…there will be things that humans do that I will just be entirely incapable of understanding. I hear anger toward other…but as a teacher, I have often had students who are other (insert group name here), and I know from experience and years of teaching biology that we are all the same, just a tiny tweak of DNA. It just makes me want to weep to think of one of my kids, my students (because they ARE our kids for some short period of time, and we always continue to think of them and wonder if they are OK), being hurt or killed because of this crazy stupidity we call Protection, Right to Bear Arms, Vengeance. Whatever. It’s anger. It’s fear. And it’s not necessary. We are no longer in a predator/prey relationship, trying to survive against nature. Now we apparently have to survive against ourselves, because other humans are out to kill us, harm us. Stop trying to find a scapegoat. If you have anger toward another group or people or gender or whatever, then it is you.

And I know that most who read my blog are not. And I don’t know how to get this idea across to the angermongers. I can’t even imagine if one of them is President. How that will roll. Art is supposed to help with this, but I know none of them will all of a sudden look at a piece of art and arrive at a revelation.

This world we live in. I just don’t get it. Why people think it’s OK to act that way. I just don’t get it.

I have to work this morning. I’m trying to find the right mindset. I object to having to push all this…sadness…away into a corner of my brain so I can continue to copyedit. But I have to…to survive. At least to pay the bills. And continue to ponder how to get across to the increasingly crazy killers that they need to stop. That it would be a better world if they did. David Byrne’s song…Once in a Lifetime (OK, it’s Talking Heads…not just David)…this is not my beautiful house…this is not the world I want to live in. Not my beautiful world. I hate not being able to visualize a solution…besides get rid of the damn guns. I wish we could just do that. A start. See where that takes us. Because this is just crazy.

Back to my regular blogpost…but know all that is still in my head…running circles around any attempts I make to live a normal life.

I had my monthly stitching meeting last night, and Julie brought a thread (OK, she brought bags of thread) that she thought might work for the flower stitching…

Because here’s what 13 of them look like on the left (OK, I didn’t really count, damn you)…half of them are that magenta color, and half are purple. Half have the silk velvet center and half have a cotton center that is a similar color. And I think there are two different colors in the body of the flower. But I had no more of the pink thread. As it was, I had to pick a near color for the flower and the center…so in the whole quilt? I don’t think anyone will notice…

And if they do, it was on purpose…to let the evil spirits out…right? Fact is I finished stitching everything and there was an empty space that bugged me. So I filled it.

Now I can back it and quilt it and bind it (well, except I have no working sewing machine, unless I go pull the old one out). And no time to quilt it. Minor issue. It’s still done. Ish.

Then I was working on the other birds, the last three, at the meeting…

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I had already finished all the background stitches in the beige/gray color, so I added feet and stitched around the eyeballs. I just found all the eye buttons when I was cleaning off the couch the other day. Who knows how long they’ve been there. Years. So all the decorative bird embroidery is left.

Meanwhile, I am still…STILL…cutting stuff out. I’m almost done, if by almost, I mean less than 10 hours. Because I did 3 hours last night, and there’s still a chunk left to do (14 hours in so far). Here’s the trash pile…a huge amount of fleshy bits.

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See…this is what’s left. Of course, you can’t see how big any of the pieces are that need cutting when they’re upside down…I do know that top two are all crane feathers, so not huge, but not tiny.

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This is everything that’s cut out…the box fills…slowly.

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Side by side…the to-be-cut on the left, the already-cut-out on the right…you can see progress.

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So yeah. I have to work. And run some errands. Stuff that guarantees my paycheck. And let the part of my brain that is always trying to solve problems wander around up there and attempt to find peace. For all of us. Wish I could see that.