FO! estonian lace

i brought the almost-finished estonian lace shawl to mum's with me, and finished blocking and weaving in the ends here. it looks nice over her black. i told pop that now he must take her to the opera, but the symphony would be good too.

i'm so glad to see it finished and hugging her, for when i am not here to.


the other night, drinking wine and listening to amy winehouse. already such a great memory.


not stitching, but looking and thinking

this yard sale pincushion is as heavy as a brick, and a bit larger than one. such pretty, spidery old stitches.

every time i go yard saling with mum, i end up with such treasures.

i'm stuck on my elder cloth for now. no progress really. it's my fear of starting, and cutting. this has to do i think with inertia, or a fear of change. strange because i crave change in terms of traveling and moving (jobs, ha!) and other activities. but with objects and places, beautiful ones, i want them to remain the same, even if they could be 'improved.' jude has so much wisdom on starting and continuing.

i really try not to buy so many vintage linens any more. but some of them are too beautiful and at 25 cents, a compulsion. sometimes i think i could use them in a larger cloth, but i haven't figured that out yet. i was thinking of going in more of a boro direction for a bit, and to me, they don't fit with that. i could just play with them, but i still feel like they are too precious, even though (or especially because) they are already stained, ripped, mended.

so i guess the big issue i'm having with my cloth is my fabric stash. i'm not really prepared for this project. i need loosely woven, plain cloth, but so much of my stash is thick and fancy fabrics i've collected for crazy quilts (i love crazy quilts absolutely, but i don't want to work in that style for this project). i also want soft, natural colours to complement the cloth i'm starting with. i don't really have any though, and i don't want to buy. i've found some cotton and linen shirts while thrifting, but i can't seem to make myself cut up a perfectly good shirt. i have some muslin, but i need to dye it.

so i'm on the very slow, slow cloth plan. starting with muslin and bundling and natural dyes. elderberry dye, and dye in the colours of elderberry. i might even try to weave some of these blocks not just with fabric, but with yarn too. yarn i spin and dye from wool or cotton that i process myself. this may be so ambitious that i get overwhelmed or never finish, but right now it sounds like just the thing. and i will savor every little step. it's just gonna take a while.


it's always a bit spooky staying up late alone at mum's. the house is so quiet but there are many sets of eyes.


i haven't been spinning every day of the tour, but still pedaling along..

i'm finishing up the last leg of the tour here at mum's.


another beginning

i'm starting my elder cloth with another cloth...

this is the vintage lap quilt that i was thinking about. i'm glad that now that i've unearthed it, i love it as much as i thought i would for this project. it reminds me of elderberry's colours, and those two white patches are the light in her eyes. and then it's a bit like the blankie i was knitting for her, and reminds me of a saddle blanket, except that the blocks are irregular. there isn't a lot of quilting but there are little holes and tears and staining.

i'm not sure yet if i want to take it apart and make it larger, or just mainly mend and embellish it in its current size. the size is really nice, and not too cumbersome. i guess i will need to take it apart in any event, and decide whether to keep the batting or not, although i'll hate to remove those hand stitches.

*thanks deanna7trees for the tips on needlefelting!


here's the blanket pattern that i started knitting for ms. elderberry. it's from a cute book called Pet Projects.

it looks like i had finished four blocks and almost a fifth. i love the ideas posted in the comments about felting part of what i had knitted, but i don't think it's possible because the yarn is (horrors!) acrylic. still, i like the bucking bronco block, and some of the others, so i want to figure out a way to incorporate it if possible. i've never noticed knitting stitched directly on top of fabric, can it look good?

i've also been thinking about this one old quilt that i have tucked away. something about it keeps popping in my head for this project... it's lovely as old quilts are, but it's not really *special* and it needs some repairs. plus, it's not that big, maybe four feet by six or something like that. i wonder about using this as a base for my magic elder cloth. perhaps even take it apart or extend it.

one reason that i haven't done more in the way of learning to quilt is that i have a nice collection going of old beauties, and mum is always finding a tattered lovely at an estate sale for an irresistible bargain (she is magic that way). but the idea of taking one that needs help and and transforming it into something very personal and meaningful is appealing.. but i have to look and think on it... i am usually so loathe to cut into something i already love. off to scour the armoire and other stashes...


i went to take pics of today's tdf yarn, and i can't find my camera!! freaky-freak... anyhoo here are some afternoon hipstamatics..

this will look so much better with my other camera... could not capture the great 80s colours..

a drawer full o'lettuce.

my light green hydrangea, planted last year, and coming into full bloom. it is so big and full and right outside my window.

i've wanted dahlias for *so* *long* and now they are growing bigger by the day.

the dye garden is doing pretty well, actually. cleaning the rabbit cages yesterday seems to have turbo-charged it. i'm such a novice gardener, so the smallest growth thrills me.


an elder cloth

the magic diaries just started, a long-term journey with jude hill in cloth-making. i had no clear inspiration until now for a large cloth. but now i think i'd love to make an elderberry cloth.

i am thinking about whether to make it a representational piece. that would be difficult to do on such a large scale. maybe a small image of her on a large cloth. i wanted to move toward a more abstract way of expressing, but i am still not sure why or what that even means. there's a sense that representational work is somehow lesser, but surely that's nothing i need to concern myself with. i might have wanted to move toward abstract to allow things to be put together in different ways. not to be tied to an overarching image, but more free and poetry. but i want to make sure i don't dis/member elderberry in the process.

i've been reading some of my friend harlan's work on affect, which is something like a feeling or emotion but more bodily. less voluntary too. he also writes about the responsible way to respond to someone, especially when they die. like how to be haunted by them, intimately and vulnerably. these are things i want to explore. somehow even though i'm making it about her, it will end up being about me. i'm thinking that's probably not good, but still unavoidable. what she means to me has a lot to do with her, but maybe more to do with my feelings of guilt, loss, nostalgia. so i'm thinking it would end up being more about elders in general. but doesn't the mule deserve a cloth?

jude says to hold the idea close, get to know it. i love this.

maybe all the other stuff that would go into the cloth is the context for the mule. grace was writing about context. i mean, just to stitch her colours and shapes and eyes and tail would be no more the whole of her than something more layered with histories. and we do co-constitute each other, after all, we're not separate.

i never finished that knitted saddle blanket for her. the intarsia wasn't going well, and i didn't love the yarn. and i told myself she wouldn't have cared about it anyway. so it's in the knitting basket, in pieces. i wonder if there's a way to use the knitted pieces somehow in this cloth. or some of the yarn. or the design of it. hmmm, there's an idea! the design was what i loved. it looks like the pattern isn't on ravelry. i'll have to take a pic from the book and post it. it would work well as an inspiration to be translated into a quilted cloth because it is the type of thing that could be worked in small pieces. and it would be so nice to finish her blanket after all.


we miss you girl

our magnificent mule, elderberry, passed on this morning.
we think she was around 50.
i was told by an unreliable source that she worked the grand canyon for years.
i've known her since 2003, when this pic was taken.
she only started enjoying being petted a few weeks ago. before that, she tolerated it, but always walked away if she could. so the last few weeks were a special time.
i'm so grateful that she was with us in her retirement.
so strange tonight without her whinny-bray echoing in the wind.
i really love thinking of her as young again, running free.


simple spinning, that's what i'm longing for these days. it feels so restful right now to let the fibers slide through my fingers rather than wrestle with a bulky add-ins, or even a plan. a good thought for life too, maybe, something like letting it come and be what it wants to be?

i've not been well, lately, not at all.
i am hopeful though. test results this week.
and on drs. orders, have changed my diet so completely - only eating whole foods and no soy, gluten, dairy or corn. it's long overdue really that i start taking care of myself this way.
if i could just relax and focus on feeling better instead of all my worries x1000.
forgive me if i'm not all that attentive ... i want to catch up with friends and on lots of things. if you're reading this, it's likely that i love and miss you.