use vs beauty, or, the limits of what remains

excavation, part 2: removing the top pieced layer from the backing and pulling away the batting...

i've only done this corner so far, to see, and here's what's left of the pieced top...

it's so beautiful, but so very delicate.
i'm not sure that re-backing it will enhance it or make it last.
and what are these fabrics, anyway?
they look and feel gauzy, organza-ish.
no wonder she whose stitches i've removed encased it inside the other quilt.
what to do, what to do..


excavation part 1

i've been stumped all this time about what to do with my elder cloth. i didn't want to rush it, and figured the answer would come in time. i bought some scrim to stabilize the open areas, but then realized it still wouldn't work with doggy paws. then recently i saw the discussions on bee creative where deb was having a similar issue, and cindy suggested weaving into the cloth, which worked great. then cindy suggested needle weaving, which would be so time-consuming, but brilliant.

still, i couldn't get going with it. the size of my starter cloth was intimidating. i did some stitching, trying to tack things down, but it didn't feel good, and i couldn't visualize it. so i did what i should have done ages ago and put the cloth on the wall.

looking at the whole of it, with the huge seam down the middle, it looks to have been joined not for any design purpose, but just to keep the cloth together and to act as batting in the smaller quilt.

looking at that seam, i just couldn't resist...

and i see that this inner quilt is separately quilted and backed, and only lightly tacked to the current back.

so i am now bent on deconstruction. after i fully remove this backing (and use it somewhere else in this cloth), i think i'm also going to take the entire ragged pieced top layer off and re-back it without the batting (like cindy suggested early on!) and maybe rework some of the pieces with weaving of some kind. we'll see..


VM: the last frontier

i spun this pretty mohair yarn for a sweet friend who is a doll artist. she has bought a few skeins from me to use for the crowning glory (hair) for her amazing creations.

since i knew this wouldn't be used for knitting or a next-to-skin project, i indulged myself a bit and didn't bother so much with what spinners call "VM" or "vegetable matter." this is the little bits of grass and hay that you find in most raw fleeces, even after they have been thoroughly scoured. this is because these little bits cling to the wool, and have to be picked out if you are preparing a fleece by hand - which takes for*ever*. (at the mills, they use chemicals to dissolve the vm). i much prefer to process my own just the way i want, and avoid icky chemicals, and so i usually do my best to pick out all the bits before and after washing, and then the remaining bits fall out while i'm spinning. but this is one reason i've been reluctant to offer batts in my etsy shop - i can't get the wool as vm-free as a fiber mill.

but sometimes i think, what exactly is the Big Deal with VM? especially when i'm also drying flowers, dyeing with leaves and making beads out of rose petals? why does the addition a different sort of natural material mean that wool is considered a lesser-grade?

while i don't want bits of bark poking me from inside a sweater, i really don't mind a little bit of grass left over from where the bunny was eating, or a tiny bit of twig from where the sheep was cavorting. especially in art yarn. if yarn isn't going to be next to a baby's head or your love's neck, is VM really a problem? knitters, what am i missing?


this is laika

sorry for the bloggy silence, we've been a bit sleep-deprived..
we're here though, chewing, piddling and napping when we can.
and a few stitches and turns of the wheel.
these puppy days are so precious.


blackish rose

i have been enjoying frankenstitching, and the beginnings and prospect of 250-some episodes of murder, she wrote on netflix, but recording the bead process is taking bloggy precedence.

we've had to modify the original recipe, which called for grinding and drying the petals for two weeks. the consistency was supposed to be a paste, but instead it was a fine powder. maybe caused by something fishy that they do to commercially-grown roses so we switched to another recipe that calls for simmering the ground petals for an hour. they plumped right up and after a few days of this, mum has deemed them the right consistency for rolling.

this is the rose water strained off after simmering. the aroma is heady, dazzling! and the wolf moon was full last night, too.

i loved the line at the bottom of this blog entry by ms uncertainty principles, where i found myself thanks to jude, "NOSTALGIA IS INTOXICATION."


gather ye

mum and i are fascinated with old-time recipes for making rose beads. this is our first, experimental batch. the rose petals are to be ground every day and left to sit in cast iron for two weeks. then they should be a paste to roll into beads. roses seem to be in my future, since while thrifting we also found a book on antique roses of the south, rose-gardening gloves and pruning shears. i planted one bush last year and will add one or two more every year until i am old and surrounded.

the flue has delayed my homegoing and new year to-dos.. although i did stich a bone yesterday. trying to just relax and enjoy blogland, sleep, and dreams of rose bushes, hips and beads.


new year's dye

inspired by jude's experiments, we tried lots of do-dads to see what would dye, with just a bit of tea. only the skate key made dark marks. the elephant left a light golden silhouette.