An Ocean of Violets in Bloom*

September 19, 2017

Last night I had a great idea for how to write this post. And then I forgot it. This is why I should just start writing it whenever those thoughts pop into my mind. I even have the app on my phone…I’ve written entire posts on my phone…so there’s no excuse. Well, I think the excuse was that I was driving. But whatever that thought, ever so important at the time, it’s gone now. Or not really…because I’ll be driving along and it will pop back in…you know it will.

But for now, the mind is blank. At least on that topic. It’s roiling through a series of other topics instead.

I belong to a quilt guild…just one. I’ve belonged to it since I was about 25 or so, maybe earlier. I was the youngest person there for a really long time…then one woman came who was a year or so younger and another woman brought her daughter. I am no longer the youngest woman there. Which is fine.

I only go about once a year at most…because they don’t have a lot of speakers I want to hear. They used to…or I used to go listen to a lot more? No, I think it really was more art-quilt centered for a few years in the way back, so I saw Laura Wasilowski, Hollis Chatelain, Joan Colvin (that link is a video of Joan, who died in 2007), and Ellen Anne Eddy, along with others. I took classes from most of them, when I could fit them in, so they probably had some effect on me long term, some more than others. I still dye fabric the Ellen way. It may be that I reached saturation…I saw enough techniques that I didn’t need to see more? I went to Patt Blair a few years back because I liked her use of color, and last night, I went to see Sue Carlson for her use of fabric and color. I’m pretty sure I have her first book in here somewhere, so this is not a new fascination with what she does.

It was great to listen to her explain her process over the years…fascinating really. I completely understand the obsession with fabric as the palette. I have some pictures, but honestly, they don’t do justice to the work…although when I got there, a slide show was playing that had me in it (that was weird)…apparently Visions was going to talk about their current exhibits. That’s Carlson’s Dixie Dingo Dreaming

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And one of her fish…

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But really it’s about seeing how she uses ALL the fabrics to build her pieces.

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Aboriginal dot dingo…amazing use of fabric.

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Anyway, I enjoyed it. You should go check out the website and read her blog. Her pictures are way better than mine…

I came home to the two boy animals behaving…

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At one point, I had all 5 animals in one room and no one was hissing, growling, yowling, or barking. It was stupendous. A work in progress.

I did cut things out last night…for almost two hours! Can you tell? I can…barely. The top one is stuff that’s cut out…the bottom left is still to be cut, and there’s the trash pile for just in case.

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Oh yeah…and Satchemo…wanting to be in the middle of things.

Sometimes mornings with all of them are a bit much. Calli wouldn’t eat this morning, someone threw up in the hallway, and Satchemo and Midnight were both in my office sounding off at each other. Whoo!

I did work on the elephant at the meeting until they turned the lights out…a little progress.

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I’ve got nothing else going on tonight, so hopefully there will be another 2 or 3 hours of cutting…maybe I’ll be able to see the difference in the piles by then!

*Prince, When Doves Cry

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Stay Wilder Than the Wind*

September 16, 2017

Late writing today…not because I slept all day…ah ah aha ha ha ha. OK. Teacher humor. But yeah, I’ve put in a few hours of grading today already…trying to free up my evening for artmaking…which in this case is really just hours of scissoring. With scissors. Just to be clear.

But I do like the school days when I get to do art as well…so yesterday was the start of a new unit, so I did my cover page…

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I like it better than last year’s…mostly because it’s missing last year’s mistake. So yeah, I got to color on Friday. For my job. That’s awesome.

Which is good, because that was really all the artmaking that happened, being gaming night. I’m training to do runes…but I need a hammer and a ton of money.

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A late-night trip to the grocery store…this never makes me feel safe…

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I finished the block on the left…block 15? I think? While gaming. And started on the elephants. It took me about halfway around the baby elephant to remember how to do coral stitch…the book I use is usually quite good, but for some reason, I couldn’t figure this one out until I looked it up online and then went…OOOoohhh…that makes more sense…

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This morning started with some school work…grading of course…but then a 3-mile hike with the dogs…and a random coyote who was quite vocal and nerve-wracking…and then gave up and went to sleep.

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Tired the damn dogs out at least.

I had been looking at Blocks 15 and 16 and trying to figure out how I was supposed to sew this moon thing on…oh yeah. Sew the damn blocks together. So I did. This is Blocks 4 and 5 sewn to 9 and 10 sewn to 15 and 16. I think. That doesn’t make sense though numberwise. Something like that. I realized after that I should have trimmed them before I sewed.

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That’s some crooked elephant stuff down there. I’ll figure it out…don’t worry. But it’s looking pretty good so far.

Kitten has decided the dog bed is the right size for her…and she’s pushed the blinds to the side for a kitten-sized window out to look at the front yard…mostly at the bunnies.

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She’s still not comfortable coming out here by herself with Satchemo in the house, but both of them were on the bed this morning. Only a little hissing happened. It’s a VERY slow process that involves a lot of petting and treats.

Anyway, I’m grading (and cleaning house a bit) for the next two hours, and then dinner plus artmaking afterwards. That’s the plan anyway. We’ll see how it goes in reality.

*Duran Duran, Come Undone


I Want to Put on My My My My My Boogie Shoes*

September 10, 2017

Well I am ill. Not illin. Just ill. Ill enough that I spent a lot of the day on the couch, trying to grade stuff. And here, at the computer, trying to grade stuff…but not being very successful. I can’t tell if I’m better today or worse…I’m hoping I’ve hit the peak of yuck and it’s all clearing up the phlegm from here on out. But who knows.

It means I’ve gotten almost nothing done. I feel like warmed-over crap…can’t stand for long enough to iron, I guess. I did venture out yesterday and maybe blew my energy for the day. No ironing. I read a lot. I watched some TV, but even that wasn’t anything I felt like doing. I slept for quite a few hours. I know all those things are fine and good for a sick person, but it’s irritating to have to give in to it. Lost time. I hate lost time. Waiting. Standing in line. Sitting through useless meetings. Being sick. Some social events.

I’m not very patient with reality, I guess.

And there’s times when I’m making stuff that I wonder if it makes sense, if it’s what I want it to be, if I’ll make it and it won’t get in, if I’ll make it and it will never get in anywhere. That happens. Those are down moments in the making process…there will be up ones.

I did three night’s worth on Friday, all in the lower left corner…I’m now a day behind again.

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See. Yesterday. Sitting. Not a lot getting done.

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Although being a cat couch is something.

This was also Friday night…I felt pretty good on Friday night. Compared to yesterday.

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OK. So revise the schedule. Finish ironing today? I dunno if I can do that…so let’s say I survive tomorrow and finish tomorrow…and then start cutting out all week…iron together by the weekend? That could happen. It depends a lot on how I feel the rest of today and tomorrow.

Someone asked if I call a sub for my classes if I’m sick. The reality is that we have very few subs in our district and they generally don’t like middle-school science. Plus we’re doing labs and there’s no way in hell I’m leaving these little hellions who will consistently do everything I have NOT told them to do without being called on it constantly with a guest teacher. It’s not even fair to the guest teacher. I’m still training these guys not to touch everything just because it’s there. Not to lose lab materials (there’s a marble loose somewhere in my class and I guilt-tripped my whole 8th period over the cost of that damn thing, and if you’re not a teacher and you’re thinking, it’s Just a MARBLE, you don’t know what we have to do to (a) get funding and (b) train these kids to respect the lab materials…it’s a marble today and a microscope tomorrow.).

Yes. I cannot feed my college kids because y’all lost a marble.

Anyway. It can only get better. Right? I don’t think I’m worse today. Maybe the same. Not very energetic. Not very clear-headed. But alive. And mostly upright. Watching the hurricane hit Irma…sending good thoughts that way. Someone said I should put hurricanes in my quilts…I have, for years. But more now with the climate change stuff in my head all the time.

This song? So not how I feel. But that’s OK. Maybe it will help.

*KC and the Sunshine Band, Boogie Shoes


Pulling Your Puzzles Apart*

September 5, 2017

It’s funny…I thought I would have all this time yesterday to iron, but grading took forever, plus we walked the dogs in the much cooler weather. Yeah. This dog…

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The clouds were low and it was in the 70s…a huge change from 109 on Saturday.

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There’s an endangered bird species or two who live here…it’s nice that someone makes their homes decorative.

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We tried a new way back, one we won’t try again, because it goes past a variety of sewage treatment areas.

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Plus at some point it’s just a paved road. Not my first choice, although this piece of equipment was pretty.

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I graded for a couple of hours after that, then cooked dinner and did something on this. Hmmm. French knots in the bottom left, in a variegated thread this time.

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And because we were trying to finish watching the first episode of Ozark and I can’t just sit and watch TV, I kept sewing parts down for the next month’s worth of Folk Tails.

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I think I made eyeballs too.

Finally to the ironing! I finished ironing down all the pieces of flesh from the day before.

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Which probably took close to an hour. And then I started on all those pieces that weren’t flesh but were in the body…there were a ton of pieces in the heart this time, and many more arteries/veins…so the reds were more extensive than normal.

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I don’t feel like I got much done really…just the eyeballs and one tattoo and the bloody stuff. I still have parts of the face, the lungs, the octopus tentacles coming off her hand, and another tattoo.

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I started the bullet trails through her head, but didn’t get to the bullets. They’re lined up on the bottom. Anyway. I’m almost 6 hours into the ironing and I still haven’t gotten to the 400s…some of them are in the hair too. So I guess that will be tonight. I hope. I suspect 15 hours for the ironing is a good estimate…although I hope it will be less. Maybe by the end of the week? This is a tough week…back-to-school night will kick my ass. We’ll see.

Here’s the pile of pieces that are ironed plus the fabrics before I organized them…

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I’m trying to get to bed at a reasonable hour (ha!), which just means midnight instead of 1 AM. So I’ve been watching the clock and making myself stop.

Here’s what I’ve used so far in fabrics…the flesh run on the left at the back of the box…and a ton of reds.

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I have to remember that I have tutorial today after school, so exhaustion will be high. But I don’t have to cook dinner tonight…so that’s exciting. No really, it is.

*Coldplay, The Scientist


A Stain on My Notebook*

September 3, 2017

It’s muggy here. And still hot…not as hot as yesterday, when the breeze felt like you were standing too close to a fire. It makes it hard to get anything done. And then the wind picked up; you’d think that would be good, but it was hot and I was trying to sort Wonder Under…the wind was strong enough to pick up pieces out of the boxes and whirl them around. This morning, the wind is gone (although there’s still a wind advisory out), and there’s the trickle of occasional light rain. That part is nice. Sitting here with two cats not real keen on each other’s existence, but tolerating it because of catnip treats and I guess my presence. But we’re still sweaty and uncomfortable and trying to stay semi-cool and hydrated. Ugh. This heat sucks my brain out and spits it on the tile.

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I saw 109 degrees later…it’s interesting though, because I don’t doubt the effects of climate change, but it’s been that hot here before…so I can see San Francisco’s temperatures as an indicator of climate issues, but this is semi-normal for us. The humidity isn’t normal though.

That said, heat or no heat, I finished the damn trimming of the Wonder Under…ironically, so now I can iron in the heat. Laughing about that.

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It’s a pretty full box. There are lots of big pieces that take up space.

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I keep putting stuff out for the hummingbirds. They appreciate it in this heat.

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I had both dogs on the couch with me…because it’s hot as hell and it makes sense to lie on a couch OR on mom when it’s hot.

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Calli looks like this when she wants to go out. I suspect this was a request to go in the pool rather than to pee. I understand.

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The next step is to sort all the pieces by 100s so they’ll be easier to deal with at the ironing stage. Satchemo was occupying the light table though.

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It’s interesting though that once you start putting these bins out and gently pushing them toward a cat, they often get offended and just move. I did leave him room, but this is about when the wind picked up.

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It didn’t take long to sort them…about 40 minutes. Because there are only 800 and something pieces instead of 2000. Note to self!

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I did go to the fabric store and stare at a bunch of possibilities with the drawing in my head, trying to make a decision. NOT a dark blue! I ended up with a gray brown…an interesting color that looks brown against most grays and gray against most browns. Lighter than I usually go as well. So my goal is to start ironing down some time today…honestly, probably tonight, because I’ve got a bunch of grading to get through plus some other stuff around here. I do need to clean up in here too…to put all the fabrics away from the last quilt. That will take about an hour. And I might need to move some cats.

I did two nights’ worth last night…the wavy buttonhole stitch in yellow in the bottom left and the leaf shapes in lazy daisies in the bottom right. I’m trying to fill in all the bottom bits, I guess. This is 245 days in…120 days to go. So 2/3s of the way through the year. Interesting.

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I guess I thought it would be more filled in by now.

We were watching Logan, meaning I was stuck in the living room (which is not where the fabric is), so I stitched some wool bits down on the right.

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This is April…the month I should have done before starting May. I have two more blocks to stitch down wooly bits on, and I think I need to cut out more eyeballs. I usually have a bag of them already cut out, but I can’t find it, so I’m guessing I used them all. I found eyeball fabric though, so I’m fine. Stitching the wooly bits down is my least favorite part of these. And I think once I finish stitching these down, I need to cut out the next batch of block pieces. But none of these are crucial.

Ah…a cool breeze smelling of wet dirt. Now that is bliss. I could live with that for a while. And one of my favorite parts of quiltmaking starts today with ironing to fabric. Yah. That’s a good weekend.

*Squeeze, Black Coffee in Bed


Glitter on the Mattress*

September 2, 2017

Do you ever spend all day checking your email obsessively, waiting to hear about that one thing you really wanna know about? Did you get in? Were you rejected? Well, was your work rejected? After 30 years of entering shows, I don’t really worry about rejections. They happen. A lot. And that’s OK. But sometimes I just wanna know. It’s not even the end of the world if it’s a rejection…you just wanna know one way or another.

I have all these mental deadlines for my art, everything neatly spaced out and organized in the calendar in my head, and then things come in and blow that all out. I thought about one art invite for about 12 hours and then decided no. Not for me. The other one though…sigh. I’m a little irritated, although I have yet to see deadlines…it just wasn’t on my calendar and I’m not sure I want to shove it in there. I have this quilt, then one other, and then hopefully a commission. I won’t plan past that right now because I can’t. But it does mean I need to stay on task, on top of the work. Which I can do. I don’t have a lot of mental down time between quilts because there are always about 50 of them in my head and even in process in sketchbooks or already copied. I remember the days when it might take weeks to get the next one going. That is no longer the case. And I’m OK with that. I like the work being there all the time in some form or another.

I currently have this one I’ve been working on…hopefully getting the Wonder Under all cut out today, deciding what the background fabric will be, and starting the ironing onto fabric this week. Then there’s the smaller climate quilt…it’s all cut out of Wonder Under and ready for ironing as well…it’s been sitting around since June or so, and it will keep sitting around for a while. Then I have at least three or four drawings that have been enlarged and numbered and are ready for tracing. And another two or three drawings that are enlarged and partially drawn. Plus quite a few drawings in the sketchbooks I have lying around.

Ironically, I haven’t drawn the next quilt yet…but if that takes me a while to process, like the last one, I can do some part of one of the ones lying around. This is my meditation, my relaxation, my happy happy joy joy.

I have almost 6 hours into cutting out here…

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Probably have 2-3 hours to go…I’m binge watching The Crown now. Finished Hinterland. This quilt brought to you by Brit tv.

Satchemo is still adjusting…and the other two cats have kind of been pushed out of this room, hopefully temporarily.

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I had gaming last night, but I finished this one on the right…

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And started working on this one, but because I’m doing May before April (for no real good reason), I was missing two threads that came in April and were in my other box. But I worked on the leaves and came home and found the other threads.

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I really should do things in order.

See? Now he’s taken over the light table…also Kitten and Midnight’s domain. We’re working on sharing spaces…

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Here’s the 10 completed blocks…

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This is Sue Spargo’s Folk Tails…it’s a pretty fun stitch, with lots of different embroidery going on. Plus animals. This is what I do when my other stuff is not portable and I have to go places and either keep awake or stitch with friends. None of it is quick to finish, but I’m OK with that.

So a long weekend. I have 4 things to grade (ugh. already) and I need to clean up the studio so I can pick fabrics and I want to sit on the deck and draw but it’s still uber hot today and tomorrow it’s supposed to rain so that might have to wait until Monday and there’s errands and cleaning and who knows wtf else. And I miss my kids. Boychild is hiking again and girlchild is idk, but if I ask her, she’ll tell me. Anyway, must eat and get cutting stuff out…try to focus a bit on art stuff today. Maybe school can wait.

*The B-52’s, Love Shack


I Came Back as a Bag of Groceries*

August 30, 2017

Rough morning. Sleep in the heat is always difficult. And there are additional night stressors, like the cat who wanted to clean her butt right by my face because she’s feeling anxious. And when it’s over 100 degrees, furry animals right next to you are delightful (ugh). But I know they’re all needy babes at the moment, so I pet them all.

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And when it’s really hot out, you should move furniture, by the way. And books…piles of books. And then cook things. Over a stove. AND with an oven.

It’s fine. I do OK with sweat as long as I can cool down occasionally. Eventually it will cool down again.

I did two nights’ on here, down in the bottom left. I decided I wanted to get that section filled in, so I did a chain stitch in a light blue and then a wavy buttonhole in the orangey-red color. I like that bit.

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We were watching Sense8 while eating and this guy’s shirt fascinated me. I especially like the blue/red ferny things about a third of the way down. So we had to rewind a couple of times so I could get the idea of them…

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I don’t know what I’ll be doing with that…

While we finished watching, I was sewing more of this down…because when it’s over 100 degrees , that’s the best time to work on a wool quilt. You know.

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And then I sat back and watched more Hinterland, always interesting just because I lived in Aberystwyth for a year. I often yell out (in my head), hey! I know that bit of road! Although the art department was in the wrong place. Maybe they’ve moved it? Or maybe there really is a printmaking studio up there…who knows?

I cut stuff out while I was watching (and thinking) all that.

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Another needy furry beast who wants to be right next to me in the heat…

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I did a couple of hours…that was my goal, so I met it! Whoo! I can’t promise I will on all the other nights though. Gotta fit a gym visit in somewhere. I think I cut out 2 1/2 yards, minus those pieces under the scissors.

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Pile of Wonder Under is NOT moving. Cat is. Hence blur.

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You can tell I’m still not very awake. Probably gonna be this way for some more days…between the heat and the additional cat stressors. It will all get better soon. Just don’t expect deep thoughts or complicated math out of me any time soon.

*They Might Be Giants, Dead