back to basics.

It’s the final day of classes so it feels a lot like a new dawn is on the way. There are a few more weeks of meetings and exams to go, but we know we’ll survive. The best meetings are canceled meetings, of course, but I think I’ve managed my calendar so that only the most important ones remain. It’ll still be a whirlwind, but one that might not seem to waste time.

Last weekend I started yet another denim quilt. This one is for a commission. I have some severe opinions about the commission and I’ll reserve comment for a while. But for now it’s bringing joy.

Originally my concept was an upcycled orgy of denim and cords and khaki and paper and cork. My aggressive machine piecing veered small and it suddenly didn’t work within the maximum measurements of the commission specs. Sometimes small pieces need a lot of room to show off what they’re doing.


So I switched gears with some fresh denim yardage and some delicate embroidered fabrics. And I wanted to try to find an organic feel in the seams, so I decided to hand sew some large-for-me chunks. The texture of the embroidery brings back the feel of the detail of “smalls” for me without confusing a viewer.

working by hand

I’ve finally finished the last long seam on the top and am eager to begin hand quilting. It will be a struggle to keep that simple and not let another layer of texture overwhelm. Might need to do a practice swatch beforehand…

Have a lovely weekend, friends!



Well, the year is coming to an end…within the next four weeks, that is. But it’ll be palpable soon and the long warm break will be here. Whew. This one was a doozy. Again. Another doozy. Gonna have to stop calling them “doozies” if they become the norm.

More and more I have some thoughts about whether these are survivable or if it might be best to put down the chalk midstream and just walk away. More of a fantasy and a symptom than anything. However there’s just something “off.”


Another thing that’s very much off is my ability to stay up late. So productivity is down to the bare minimum. Airplanes and airports are my only places to sew now.

Well, I did go on a retreat with the Philly MQG a week or so ago and got to commune with the Juki for the first time in a long long long time. There was something comforting in finding the rhythm again. And yet, it felt unnatural. Working slowly by hand might become my main mode. This possibility, of course, doesn’t help with the dip in productivity.

The fabric strips above are from my long neglected stash of my own handdyed indigos. There’s some sign of fading and shelf wear, but otherwise they are glorious tone-on-tone stuff. Looking forward to chopping up that whole stash into tiny pieces and reconstruct them into something someday. Even the cutting is an inspiring step of the process. So there’s some hope that the next steps may actually happen sometime.

We’ll see.

Have a great week, friends!


the one who started it all…

So…I hope you had a great holiday weekend. It was finally a bit warmer here with wonderful sun, though there might be some more snow tonight. I’m keeping my eye on the approach of summer. It’ll be here soon. It will.

Dyed some eggs because had some food dye and eggs. Almost never have both. Hooray for getting to play with food!

Happy Holidays!

But the big achievement of the weekend was binding a big quilt.


You see, a vintage quilt top came in the mail a couple of months ago from my nonagenarian godmother. This godmother is the one who taught me to cross-stitch when I was 10. Here’s a photo of her amid her life-long quest to cover her local church in her own hand-stitched needlepoint designs. So maybe I also learned a bit of her instinct for the over-the-top?

My godmother and her stitchery

She also was present for my rather dramatic entrance into the world and helped keep me alive that first week. So I may or may not owe her a few times over.

Hence I was honored when my godmother asked to help her get a quilt top finished into a use-able quilt. With an assist from a speedy longarmer, this quilt is on its way back to her in record time.

Godmother's grandmother's quilt

The top was made by her grandmother at the start of the 20th century; maybe in the 30’s. A lovely machine-pieced patchwork that my godmother had just tucked in a corner of her house for the past many decades. It was smelly and has just a small quarter-sized stain and a little bit of fading in one border. And now it’s snuggle-ready!

Have a great week, friends!


still greying.

Thanks for reaching out after that last post–the one that held a heavy bag of negative stuff. After some more time away–just a couple of days with kind and mutually nurturing people, my faith in humanity is restored and my heart is full. Re-entry into RealJob after Spring Break is always bumpy, but there’s a good buffer of happy in the hopper and there’s too much to try to do in this life.

Still trying to figure out how best to cope with the bad in the least hurtful way by noting some lessons learned. Here are my first two: (1) some people assume the racist thing they witnessed you experiencing is the only racist thing that’s ever happened to you–ever. (2) I am not responsible for their comfort. [I wasn’t prepared for the myopia of (1) and it’s been quite freeing to come to the conclusion of (2).]

As I said, I found a safe space; I gave of myself; and was loved in return. So it’s lately felt okay to move forward, albeit quietly and with eyes wide open.

Greying/graying is ongoing over here. And some colorful things will be ready to debut soon. How about some more snow? A new label maker? A new project? And an old one?

still greying

still greying

still greying

Next time I hope to have a finished non-grey/gray quilt to show. And I hope next time is really soon.