Setting the stage

Lately I have been experiencing different things with my vision. A different sort of depth perception. It is very interesting, although a little unnerving while driving.

Cameras don't catch it. Thanks be for filters!


On Sunday I brought the quilt I finished for little Bobby into work. I literally like to set the stage on Sunday mornings for the evening performance. This week, I left the quilt on stage all day, periodically pulling folks over to look at my handiwork. (Not real modest, me.)

I wasn't able to go to the show that night, but apparently all parties concerned were pleased and decided to hang it on the stage!

Upon seeing the above photo, I was immediately able to articulate something I haven't before nailed down, and that is: As a dancer, I am really familiar with a certain form of audience participation. The energy raised while interpreting the story being told by the band, through the the geometry of nerve, muscle, and bone. That sort of involvement is fleeting, even as it is very real.

I have been clearing and preparing the stage at work, both physically and energetically, for a while now, and I am interested in taking that a little further, when appropriate, through a sort of set design, the sort seen above. A kind of enhancement. A little co-creation.

Don't worry, I'm not going to dress the stage at the Fort George Brewery every week! *chuckles nervously and backs away…*


House of the rising sun

I stitched this last night. It surprised me. It is a very intimate, and somewhat damaged, piece. Made from an old bedsheet, white rayon satin from a pair of pants I bought in New Orleans that I have no doubt was in a parade or two, and some ancient ribbon I had laying around. French knots make up the little mattresses, which still need a bit of stuffing. It is not finished.

I think French knots are my jam. Thanks to Jude for jump starting this process. Handwork goes at a much different pace and is well suited to the solitude of the next two weeks (my busy town life excepted.)


while I was walking…

Walking today, knitting a small pink hat, contemplating the intention that goes into creation. How we can check in with the thing we are making while in the process of making it, in order to find out more about its nature. I think about affinities a lot, correspondences, dwelling-places, stories, signatures. I am beginning to trust that the things I make without a specific recipient will find the people for whom they are appropriate. A certain resonance is built into the hat, or quilt, or shawl, during its manufacture. Whether or not I am paying attention, but ever more so if I am.
I look forward to working more on the little pink cap, as I can sense the magic of childhood as it takes shape in my hands. There is a certain romance in it, if you will.

On the same walk, thinking about the signature of things, and of people, I remembered being motivated to take certain actions that were not in my nature, out of a sense of fear. I took Dan Evahama’s recommendation to blend with the land as an injunction. I should grow my own food, I should have a better understanding of systems, even those that do not come intuitively to me. Apocalypse training and all that.
However, there is a different spin on those words “blend with the land,” and that is “come into the fullness of your own nature.” Like in the book I used to read to the kids, The Legend of Indian Paintbrush. The kid in the story had this affinity for making marks, and would spend hours innovating with different media while the other children played ball and practiced tracking and stuff. It was a real challenge for the young painter; one image I recall vividly is of the boy looking longingly at the circle of children, from the outside. In the end he embraced his calling and was gifted with these brushes that sprung out of the ground, full of the colors of dawn. He painted with them, a work like he had never before been able to create, and every year thereafter, the brushes sprouted from the ground and bloomed, as they do to this day. Indian paintbrushes they are called.

It feels great to relax now into the work I am called to do and let the fear fall away.


huck’s quilt

I made a quilt for a friend’s brand new baby:
huck's quilt

You can see here one of people’s favorite squares. I think it stands out primarily because it is different. And really it was an attempt to disguise a mistake!
huck's quilt detail

I am relatively new to patchwork on a larger-than-pillowtop scale. In my ramblings through the wealth of inspiration out there in the world, I have been asking myself: what will my voice look like? I do have an overall signature style, at least according to a dear friend of mine who recently went through my entire flickr photostream on her iphone! How will that sense of style-self translate into a medium that asks of me something I don’t know how to give: precision? The nest box quilt was one answer. My current project is another.

Instagram Photo

I am making a quilt for a friend who is moving to Hawaii. I wanted to make something bright and cheerful that she and her daughter will enjoy, but after a few sketches and a few flying geese, I still didn’t feel like I had the right idea.
Then I ran across this conversation over at daintytime, I decided to allow myself to relax into what I do best: cut shit up and sew it together. This time, I will let my design be spontaneous and guided by a blend of Chaos and Intuition! Next time I will measure again. I think I might make an economy block quilt…

I am linking this through to Amanda Jean’s Friday Finish for this week. It’s nice to have something done to show off!

nest box quilt finished

I finished the nest box quilt last night.


pretty excited about this finish! This quilt cemented the bond between my Juki TL 2010q and I.


See, it looks like it is having fun! I love my new machine. I think it’s spirit animal is a donkey. That is a good thing.

Back to the quilt:
I got inspired to make it after checking out the book Japanese Quilt Inspirations from my library several times.
This quilt was especially fun because every 6″ square was a small study in color combination.


Once the 88 squares were finished (during a house-sitting gig for a friend, on her machine which I named October Storm for the fact that it sounded like howling wind. I could not find any oil for that poor thing anywhere there…) I laid them out while listening to Get The Knack. Layout took one-and-a-half sides, of the album, that is.

The backing fabric was dear to me, and hard to use up for this job, but it really was perfect for the quilt. I tell you, though, I have been to the fabric store three times to purchase this print, it is so versatile and perfect for my emerging quilt design style, although it is hard to tell in this photo how cool it is. Now I think it is gone, that was the last of it.

nest box quilt back

While putting the finishing touches on this quilt, I thought a bit about quilt labeling. You see, this quilt is going to be sold this weekend to a work friend, who is giving to a friend of her’s who is a new mom. It is advised that one label one’s quilts, especially if you are in the business of selling them, for obvious marketing purposes. The more I thought about it, though, the weirder it seemed that I would put my name on an object that hopefully will become an artifact of a person’s childhood. It is their privilege to make it fully their own. So, no label, but I will make a hang tag with business name and website…

So, yeah, this finished project is linked to AmandaJean’s and Sarah’s Friday Finish posts.

some recent quilting

This is Shannon, the elder in this blog collaboration. I haven’t blogged here (or anywhere) in so long, that in the meantime, flickr has totally changed! I am finding the new interface frustrating but I will prevail, and so here is a post. This process has taken enough energy that I am almost as pleased as if I spent hours in the studio. Here goes!

I took out a loan this summer to buy a new machine. I love my 1926 Singer 99 but I could not get it or any of my other machines to properly free motion quilt. After deliberating for months, literally, I made the decision to buy a Juki TL 2010q! (I did cry a tear or two when I boxed up the Singer.)
we are still in the courtship phase but so far I have been pretty much over the moon about my new helpmeet.
I did the right thing and made a sewing machine cover.
sewing machine cover!
This was a block, or a slab, that I made during a practice session, and didn’t seem to correspond with any other ideas, so it went into this piece. I don’t totally love it or anything, but it is serving a necessary function.

detail of some of the not-great free motion quilting I did here:

sewing machine cover detail
so, you see.

Happier with this practice piece, in which I quilted around an existing lotus pattern on a scrap of weathered linen:
free motion lotus

It seems to be all about the repetition, and I have been sitting down to draw on a regular basis (although not as much as I could be.)

One thing I am finding is that I do not yet have a signature style when it comes to piecing. Of course I don’t; I haven’t produced that much work within this discipline! But still, with my free time is so fractured, it would be nice to find my voice, somehow, miraculously and quickly. I didn’t come to this with that expectation, though, so I’m not disappointed!
The closest I have gotten so far to my vision of my quilting style is with the half square triangle psychedelic quilt top.
psychedelic half square triangle top
I am not sure how to quilt it so for now it reamins a top.

My studio is a shambles right now, but I had a sweet moment of organization and display earlier in the summer. a corner:
summer studio

Next post will feature a scrappy trip around the world, modified, and in baby quilt form…
stay tuned!