finding my face.

This Sunday morning, refreshed from that extra hour of sleep yet somehow still exhausted, these words came to me:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;

There’s no pretense with poetry here. I am in awe of most literature and vigorously attempt to devour more than my fair share, yet I must fully admit that I cower dumbfounded in intellectual admiration when interacting with poems, in particular. Some time on a therapist’s couch may clarify why it’s like kryptonite? Fragments stay with me though, popping up into my head and pressing me to return to the text to mull again. [Here‘s the rest of that one above.]

Recently we chatted about the swirling storm of stuff going on everywhere–the world, the pipeline, the election, in RealLife and RealJob. Sure we’re all a little untethered from time to time, but this is a sustained moment of unease and in no realm is there a clear path through. It is so easy to get caught up in the minutia because the smallest of things are all that we can manage.

Even my meditative project is just 22,176 tiny achievable bits that may amount to something eventually. Slowly finding my face in there, I’m still enjoying the process. And yet ceasing to fret over each pixel, lifting my head, and taking a bird’s eye view from time to time would improve the outcome immensely.

finding my face

And I think cranky old Wordsworth would agree. Introspection and selfish self-care have merits but eventually I should pull my head out of my a**, be in nature, and re-center on stuff that truly matters. …ahem… It’s too bad it takes a mistake or two to remind me of this.

Stitchery alone cannot save one from venting stress in inappropriate ways. (And sometimes heartfelt direct apologies in response do not suffice. *sigh*) What to do? It’s difficult to readjust amid the din but it’s wholly worthwhile and necessary to try.

Maybe Thoreau has a suggestion…?


(not so) wordless wednesday: the sappy one

yes, you are.

pips of procrastination

I always say that procrastination will ultimately cause my downfall. So much RealJob work to do that my house is getting some much-needed tidying and more stitches are getting done. We call it productive procrastination around these parts, but really only to make me feel better about putting off important things.

Here’s a little update on the making of stuff… I’m really only finding time for this stitchery of my mug.

bits of me

And then my mother went and started making an Xmas present for me, so it only seemed right to start up a quickie blanket for her. She likes acrylic; that’s what she gets. Does that win me brownie points for being a good kid?

preparing for xmas

Actually, this particular yarn isn’t so squeaky. It’s splitty, but manageable.

Oh, and while traveling recently I crossed the threshold into Platinum Elite status with airline points and discovered there was an unfortunate hole in my pants. GracefulElegance is my middle name, folks. Truly.

patching myself up

But I patched it up with some boro and sashiko. There’ll be some more. Seems like a good idea to turn this into a project? I have some patching and embroidery ideas in mind. All very impractical, as usual. We’ll see.

Speaking of surreal and inelegant…I’m gonna be on the teevee!

gonna be on the teevee!

Fresh Quilting is a new venture of the MQG and others, sponsored by Brother and others, that will be on PBS and online starting in February. Based on the segments I watched being filmed, it promises to be a sweet new show. I’ll keep you updated on this as I am.

The inelegant part? Meh. Wearing make-up for the first time, crying ineffectual tears of rage, you know, the usual. But I think it all worked out. It is very professionally produced and I don’t think I screwed up too goofy-ly.

Have a great week, friends! xo

autumn, slowly please

That telltale chill is now in the air in the morning and I now daily wish for toasty pajama pants made from an electric blanket. [Someone, please get on that?] The heater is now on, though kept at a very low temperature; for now, it’s just to keep the pipes in the house happy. The transition in weather always triggers me to make things in different ways too. This latest embroidery has captivated me. That it allows me to snuggle under a blanket all day rather than toil in the cold sewing spaces could be the reason for the change?

Last week...
(Just a pause after 9732 stitches)

And I’ve already begun thinking about Thanksgiving. My RealLife is very different than before and so there are some choices to make; choices I’m not so happy about. Alas, this is what life is about, right? A big part of my misgivings is about having to compromise on even getting to have a feast with friends. That’s all I’ll say about it; it will be fine. [Nope, I’m not looking to have my problems solved, I’m kind of building up to an analogy with stitchery, believe it or not.]

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reap the harvest and revel in the slow and laborious process of making traditional foods for a crowd. It’s exciting to wake up early and work on my own to execute a solid kitchen plan for a big old lunch. Now I don’t really use recipes, but rather follow time-tested flows learned from my grandmother and father. Sure, I’ll try little modern flourishes, but this is the meal that’s all about tradition and feeding a whole lotta people. Now the time-consuming nature of RealJob keeps me from indulging often in elaborate menus, but I love cooking: the shopping and chopping and the experience of a social moment–both nourishing and happy-making when successful.

It’s about the process. I don’t use a food processor for any of the chopping. I don’t even own one. Back in the 1990s I took a cooking class in night school, keeping my options open in the first year of grad school. It was a very different experience from all the trappings of academia–in both concept and people–and kept me grounded in a time when many can float up past the spire of the ivory tower. For that and the knife skillz, it was an invaluable way to have spent my precious little free time. Something tells me that if you’ve read this far then you might understand how chuffed I get after dicing an onion into tiny uniformly sized bits? And, really, only a desire to make hummus on a regular basis ever drove me to consider getting a food processor. But I ended up just rough chopping the beans and preferring a chunkier version. To be absolutely clear: I don’t judge anyone who uses a food processor; it’s just another means to an end. This is merely a statement about my own enjoyment of not using one.

This is who I am.

It’s no mystery to those who’ve been around her for long that I like things slow and hands-on in my stitchery and artwork too. There are certainly many ways to get similar results, but like with chopping an onion I definitely prefer the experience of fondling and manipulating textiles in my hands as much as possible. Most of the time I have the luxury of not worrying about the final product or a deadline, so I indulge in contemplative shopping for supplies, sometimes puzzling out extensive plans for the making (especially for embroidered works), and spend hours in solitude working and reworking each stitch until I’m satisfied.

Meanwhile on Facebook...
(Let’s just leave this right here. Name erased b/c she didn’t mean anything by it. But, really, isn’t it great that we are all different?)

My world is a hot mess right now, with upheaval at RealJob, transitions in my RealLife, and general anxiety about the upcoming US presidential election. This current stitchery has given me refuge. Every time I encounter a slub or a skinny thread in this natural linen fabric, there’s a ping in my heart. Within the constraints of the physical characteristics of cotton and linen and using the colors available to me, I can control all that happens here. If you borrowed my +4.00 cheater reading glasses you could even see the stitches that I’ve stitched over time and again, changing colors to achieve some effect that likely I’ll be the only person to notice. I get to reassess what “perfection” means to me every time I decide to move along. And when I turn off the teevee/podcasts/audiobooks and just process my thoughts as I pull cotton through linen, the world seems much better than it might have appeared moments before.

I dunno. This is a first stab at explaining my own why. Last week I had a very different experience that will result in another attempt at explaining another aspect of my own why. That one made me cry big tears of rage, so it’ll take me a minute to prepare.

Have a great week!