Something on That Magnitude…

Well, it’s been a rough week. Hopefully next week will feel better. The girlchild is finally in Boston, the sourdough starter and I have been close and complicated, and I have 9 new boxes of fabric. The boxes are new to me, the fabric is new to me, none of it is actually new.

Before you do anything else, watch this video. It’s the 4th of July, a weird one, to be sure, but this is video of Frederick Douglass’ speech about what the 4th means to him, read by his descendants. And it’s hard to hear, because so much hasn’t changed…but they all still have hope. I have hope. Didn’t mean I didn’t cry to hear the words, because honestly, it’s hard to know how to fix it all (burn it all down! and start over…). But watch them. It’s only 6 minutes of your lives. You can give them that.

Yeah. Told you they were awesome. In youth, I see hope.

So. It’s Independence Day. It’s warm, there will be fireworks, but we can’t see them from here, and we can’t gather…so we’re gonna take a drive to my parents’ house and see if we can see them from there. I spent yesterday mostly copyediting…I’m going to do more of that today. I set a goal to be done next Saturday, so I’m sticking to my 4-5 hours a day. Nothing else really needs to get done, although exercise would be nice.

I did finish all the blocks for the Abstract Arcs quilt on Thursday…

They all need to be trimmed and sized…

That’s next week.

I’m not great at piecing accurately. I don’t do it a lot. I did lay them all out and stare at them and move them around until I got this…

I’ll have to stare at it for a while and decide if that’s it. Right now, it looks mostly OK. My real goal was to get the piecing done so I could start the stitch down on the big honking thing that was on my ironing board…

You wanna talk meditative? It’s pushing and pulling this thing under the machine, stitching down every piece. And I did a good job attaching everything in that four hours I took, so it’s been really easy and trouble-free so far (knock on wood, because that’s not always the case).

I am running out of thread, though, and I haven’t considered the background. I don’t really WANT to go to JoAnns for thread (or anything), but it seems we’ve moved past the “only buy stuff online” stage that I was at with the last quilt, and now we are in the “you can go to stores, but be smart about it” stage. There’s probably another 7 hours of stitch down to go…

I am going out more now than I was 3.5 months ago. I don’t necessarily like it, but I try to be careful. I have something right now that needs to go to the post office, another thing where I can go to the post office with it or go to the actual store to return it. They warn that mailing it will take 4-6 weeks to refund. Hmmm. Then I need a TB test for school, which is two trips…one to get poked, one to get the poke seen. Maybe the second part can be a video call? Who knows. They were jerks when I called, so I will find out when I go in. Plus I have dentist next week. And today, I drove to a friend’s house…she’s moving and downsizing her fabric stash. So I benefited…

Oh yeah, that’s exciting. I really do like adopting other peoples’ stashes. I tend to buy the same types of fabrics, and this is a way of infusing my stash with another person’s eyeball. Stuff I never would have bought gets incorporated into my quilts. Now finding room for all this will be a challenge, but the boychild and I were talking about some of the stuff in my office that I never touch that could be boxed up. So now I need some big plastic boxes for the garage, I guess. Summer is all about organization.

It’s also about breadmaking. I started with sourdough starter back in March; then the girlchild came home and took over (I’m pretty sure she tossed my starter and started over). She’s kind of awesome and obsessive about cooking, whereas I am mostly lackadaisical. That’s probably not a great trait for baking bread. Many people have sent me links to easy recipes, but I’m following the one my daughter liked, which is A Beautiful Plate, her artisan sourdough. No, it’s not easy. But I have an expert I can text at any time.

This is useful to me. Plus there’s videos. Here’s my starter after being fed yesterday. Then I incorporated it into the autolyse…

And then I stopped taking pictures. I did a bunch of things to the dough yesterday afternoon and evening, and then it went into the fridge overnight, where it still is…doing its thing. Hopefully later today, that thing will be baking bread that is tasty and has the appropriate number and size of holes in it. We’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, it’s a thing I’m doing. Better than this…

Although that might be a stress reliever of sorts.

Calli needed pool time, so that’s up to me or the boychild now…

She’s old and now gets all the treats. She’s eating a pine cone and just happens to be lying on a plant runner that really should get trimmed the next time I sit out there with her.

She’s a good girl. I keep telling her that. She’s another thing that makes me cry this summer. Ah well. Lots of pets and dips in the pool and maybe even bits of bread, because she really likes bread. A lot.

Luna has picked a box and will be in it. Her feet are the best part.

All the cats have their spots. Kitten has claimed this green fabric drawer.

No one may have fabric from this drawer. Only her.

Here’s the bunny who lives under my front deck and thoroughly irritates the little dog and the cats with its presence.

It’s cute. Watch out for coyotes! We’ve got those, for sure.

OK, so the internet was an asshole while I was trying to write this, so I did some other things, like eat lunch and find the ricecakes the girlchild left here and no one else will eat. I might feel that way about the raisins too, but I’m willing to listen to the boychild on that. I really want to do some creative fabric things right now, but I’m being a responsible adult and will (a) process the video for my Patreon July post, and then (b) do some copyediting. And then we will figure out the whole dinner-on-a-holiday thing and drive to my parents’ house to see if we can observe fireworks. Then back here for sleep and all that. It’s not exciting, but it’s relatively safe, so there’s that. Next week, I will figure out how to buy thread and organize fabric and do all the things I’m supposed to do. Happy 4th for those who celebrate, and if you don’t because you are an American and it doesn’t feel very American, I’m sorry. I love fireworks and staring up into the dark blue sky to see them explode, and I hope you get to enjoy something on that magnitude.

Thread Change, Foot Change…

Well the news is good and my brain is fuzz. Not that the brain is fuzz is anything new, right?

Girlchild got a negative test result, so we all rejoiced and she ate toast and sat outside (this is a thing if you are stuck in your room) and then booked her a new flight to Boston at holy fuck in the morning tomorrow.

These were flight faces. Because American and United Airlines are dumbfucks who just got rid of social distancing. And our original carrier, JetBlue, had no cheap flights left, so it’s Delta…which is social distancing, thank you, Delta. She’ll have to self-quarantine for two weeks when she gets back, but so will half her apartment, so I don’t know what that looks like when there’s no food and someone didn’t clean the bathroom for three months.

So my brain has been fuzz. I wanted to finish piecing these blocks for my quilt guild before I did the stitch down on the big quilt, because once it’s on the machine, it’s a pain to switch back to normal stitching. Thread change, foot change, pain in the butt change. So on Tuesday night, I pieced some things…

I used the same templates but switched where I put the sections in color and the sections in black and white. I also added some brighter yellow (it’s the same fabric…just a different section of it)…

Because the other one didn’t seem bright enough. That got me to 18 blocks.

Then yesterday, I had an online union info meeting for an hour and a half, so I pieced 2 more…

A brighter blue this time…

Ah yeah, I need to square these suckers up. And cut 2 more in the purple…

Ready for my online stitching meeting today. I have 20 blocks…

Only 5 to go. Hopefully done today so I can start stitch down. I think I’ll do two more green blocks with a different green fabric and then IDK what the last one will be. Whatever’s left? We’ll see what it thinks it needs. LISTEN to the quilt.

This is one of those things my brain does at the beginning of summer, when I’m still in recovery from school. Plus copyediting is sucking up some valuable brainspace, so that’s not a bad thing.

This baby girl. Well, she’s 11+. I spent time on the phone with the oncologist yesterday. It’s not good.

But she’s not in pain and not having breathing problems, so we have some time. She gets lots of treats. And she’s a good girl. She wants to be wherever I am most of the day, so that’s cool.

I had to do the drawing on Tuesday evening for my Patreon…

It was fast and furious. Sometimes they are. It would make an interesting small quilt (not quite that small). Those root things are a pain in the butt in fabric. But they look cool.

Anyway…

Summer Nova. Makes me want a hammock.

It’s Thursday. I type that so I will remember. My new best friend (besides Calli) will be my sourdough starter. With the girlchild leaving, I am going to try to be a big girl and make bread. It’s fucking complicated, so I will have to spend more time with dough and starter than with any other human on the planet. It already feels that way…friends are far away, and with some of the stuff coming out about school, even the teacher friends will be far away and not necessarily on the same schedule as me. Go eat by yourself! Teach by yourself! (well, we always did that) Plan? You might be able to do that with someone 6 feet away. Book club and stitching and quilting? Nah. Still far away, on a Zoom call. I will miss my kid, for sure.

Today? I need to copyedit for a while, then finish the 5 blocks while on a social Zoom. Then IDK what. Stitch down? We’ll see. Moody today. Hopefully that will resolve. Maybe if I talk to my quilts more it will…

To Build a Fence…

Hey. So we’re building a fence here. Hence I am exhausted. Why are we building a fence? Because there wasn’t much between the fence standing up and falling down. It was time. This was after the boychild and I removed the first section on the left, waiting for the man in charge (my dad) to show up.

Thing is, dad is almost 80 and has had heart issues, so we’re all masking up while doing this. No need to get anyone sick over a fence, right? Damn bushes have been pushing this thing over. We’re trying to take that back. Did some major chopping. They’ll come back. They always do.

We had hoped to just replace slats, but apparently with lumber mills being shut down due to the pandemic, those are hard to find. So we adjusted…

The lower yard needs work. It was a jungle for years before the boy went out and attacked the lavender star flower bushes. The one on the right is pretending to be a tree. We want the others to be more bush like.

We didn’t mean to start on Fathers’ Day…dad just misread my email. It’s OK…the first day, we put in three posts? Maybe four…

The first one took three hours because…it was the first one.

Today was the second day, and we got all the posts in. I was in charge of making the concrete on the top slope away from the posts. Well that’s definitely four posts in, three to go.

I don’t feel bad for the neighbors…all they do is construction. You can’t see the new playhouse to the right of this picture, or the pool in progress in the ground down there. It’s a lot.

We’re putting metal poles on all but one of these…just for sturdiness. The one without…it would have been a pain to get one close enough, so we didn’t.

Hopefully the rest of them will hold the fence up.

As of this afternoon, all the posts are in, top stringers in, and about half the bottom stringers…we needed concrete to firm up before doing more, and one section of wide slats is in. Tomorrow we finish, hopefully. So we can let the dogs out NOT on a leash. That will be nice. Plus I’m tired. It’s hard work in the sun and all. Kudos to those who do this all the time…if I’m out in the sun/heat for any period of time, I get dizzy. So then I drink more water. Probably bending over for 20 minutes, trying to make a concrete pyramid structure with a pointy thing that has a name that is totally not in my head at the moment (trowel…there it is) did not help.

Anyway…tomorrow, more stringers and lots more rails. Then done! Cleanup will take a while…lots of boards that need to have something done to them…either made into firewood or cut for the dumpster. We’ll see which.

Meanwhile, I ironed a little bit last night…

OK, it was actually two hours, not a little bit. Got her head done and the background stuck in behind her…and started on the skelly in the background…

All this with a large Golden Retriever to step over…

We’re waiting on test results for the old lady…she’s got a face swelling that could be an infection and could also be a lymphoma. She’s doing fine though, no symptoms, so hopefully it’s an easy fix. We’ll take antibiotics for the win!

I had some time before dinner yesterday to piece some more fabrics for the Abstract Arcs quilt…

I also cut out pieces for the next two blocks but didn’t get around to sewing them together yet.

This is the easy part, right?

I’ll probably need to make a few more combinations of these to get enough blocks for the whole piece.

This is in the evening light, so everything is very blue-toned…

The backgrounds are all actually white and black. Here they are with dog for size…

I sat outside and tried to read for a while with the girlchild…really, after working all day, my brain was mush for quite a while.

She’s been reading like crazy these days…

With puppy assist. I’m a little jealous of both those things, but know I’ll get some in a bit.

Dots! I finally caught up…Saturday night was the octopus…

Fun but time consuming…

All those legs…

And then I caught up on the acorn, which was Wednesday’s? I think? Can’t remember.

The acorn…

Someone did one with bullion knots on top, but in the end, I found a thread that worked.

And then Sunday night’s abstract…

They all start to look like flowers or microbes at some point…

This was a quick one…

Tonight’s is not. We’ll see if I finish.

Kitten has found her summer spot…where she will probably lie while I am trying to copyedit later this week.

Ugh. Sweet cat. Bad location.

Here’s Nova, also sweet, but not in front of my computer.

And with Luna…

Last…for those who don’t follow my Instagram. This dragonfly was around and then hung out for a while.

Amazing color…

So. Tomorrow? More fence, hopefully done. Although we need to build a new fence in the front yard. So that’s later. Then cleanup. Tonight? Dinner. Sew a dot. Hopefully either iron or piece some blocks, maybe both. Then a good night’s sleep. Sounds lovely. And happy birthday to my younger brother, who is smart and hires people to build fences. Actually, I’m pretty sure he’s done this with dad as well. It’s a thing.

She Needs a Head…

Does anyone know if sourdough starter is treated as a liquid by TSA? It’s not REALLY liquid…but if lotion is a ‘liquid’ to our airline security team, then starter probably is too. Girlchild is going home in just over a week, and apparently does not trust us to keep this shit alive (probably a realistic thing there…I think I can keep it alive over the summer, but who knows after that?). I’m gonna miss her (the girlchild, not the starter…we are keeping some of that here), not just for the cooking and weird late-night TV watching, but because she’s my kid and Boston is a long way away. Plus there’s a pandemic on, and you just want everyone close to you…at least within driving distance. She will, as always, provide proof of life by liking some (not all) of my Instagram posts, so that will have to do. It’s probably the longest time she’s been home since she went to college…strangely. These are strange times, though, and are bound to get stranger.

It’s officially the second day of summer break. We go back to school in 54 days. It’s horrible that I’m looking at that. I need to know where I stand. 54 days until true crazy starts? I’m thinking.

I ironed a lot yesterday…

All during a social Zoom…I finished her chest and other arm…

And then did the COVID arm behind her, coming to take her away.

Disproportionate numbers of BIPOC are affected by COVID. There are many reasons floating around out there, including some cultural ones, some socioeconomic ones, and some Why the Fuck Can’t We Just Give Everyone Good Healthcare ones. Either way, I wanted to document that in this quilt.

Now she needs a head…maybe tonight? The next few days are a little weird. We started pulling a piece of the backyard fence down this morning in preparation for replacing it. So I’ll be working some hard hours probably in the next few days. Not expecting much artmaking time. We’ll see though.

I also worked on this embroidery during the Zoom…

It’s from one of my own drawings, so it’s somewhere along the lines of insanely detailed. We had the designer for the pattern we’re using on a stitch-along stop by our Zoom and I wanted to actually listen to her, so I stitched while she was there.

I’ve made 6 blocks now for the stitch-along. I had to finally make a post-it for the basic sewing together, just so I wouldn’t have to keep looking it up in the pattern. And because my brain just cannot remember the difference between convex and concave, I labeled all the pieces with that too.

So I made two orange blocks…

I found a few more black and white prints that I thought would be OK for this…

I have a ton of black and white prints, but I’m looking for a shade of white plus a level of black vs white. I’m not sure about these yellow ones. They’re not as vibrant as the others.

But I also like how they fade out into the white. When I get all the blocks made, if they are an issue, I’ll make new ones.

I was supposed to have 5 done by tomorrow, so I’m doing OK. Next week, I need 10 more. Although I think I need 25 for the pattern, and we were told 5 + 10 + 5 and that ain’t 25. So I might need more. I don’t even know what I’m doing with this anyway, so I might need even more.

Speaking of quilts, I made this for that kid before she was born.

She’s 3 now? I think? Sheesh. They do last. This is the lightest, pinkest quilt I’ve ever made. Cats and math were the theme. I was told pink, gray, and white, and I added that wavy strip with extra colors just for some zing. Glad she still likes it.

I was seriously behind on dot-stitching, so I settled down around 10:30 last night to try to catch up…with Luna as witness.

I finished Friday’s first…under the yellow ball.

It was pretty easy.

That’s why I started with it.

Then I gave the lion a tail, because someone else did it and I liked it.

Although now maybe he needs feet and a body. Oh well.

Then I did Thursday’s ant, but I had been warned and given a picture, so I added two more legs and fattened him up more…

He was also pretty easy.

That’s a good ant color.

So now I’m two behind…today is an octopus and Wednesday was an acorn. I’ll get caught up eventually, no worries.

OK, well we have some Fathers’ Day-related social distancing to do, and then some decision about dinner probably. I didn’t get anything done today that I was supposed to artwise, just the fence and some watering…still have a bunch to do. That’s OK. I can piece and iron and stitch later. Or tomorrow. There’s time. Fifty-four days of it. Maybe. Well, you know how that goes. And yes, I’m still tired. I’ll get caught up eventually. I’ve been trying to use the meditation app before I go to bed…still have the issue of waking myself up with the actual GOING to bed. But otherwise I have to listen in bed with headphones on. Haven’t gotten there yet.