Friday, February 26, 2016


Hello everyone,

I must preface this post with the statement that I am not usually drawn to making political statements.  However, I am just home from my first evening of "stitching activism."  We gathered at the Handcraft Studio School in Emeryville to create squares filled with tally marks which represent the women whose life choices will be seriously affected by a case which is being heard now in our great state of Texas. I love Texas.  There are so many songs and tunes from and about Texas (part of me is a musician.) Many many women live in Texas. Each of our stitches was a stitch in support of a particular woman's right to choose her own life path. My total for two and a half hours was 510.

Everyone's piece was different!  (I'm really sorry I didn't take more pictures.) It was inspiring to sit in a room of men and women stitching in solidarity for our sisters at risk. The conversations were profoundly moving. We have all bumped up against these issues in one way or another and sharing our experiences perhaps for the first time, was an experience to treasure. The stitch-ins are happening in many places. You can learn more here.

In other news, I've been experimenting to enhance the process of more spontaneous embroidery. I have a hard time drawing on the cloth sometimes while an idea is developing but I was inspired on Instagram by ladyjanelongstitches ' work to try using a product called Sulky fabric stabilizer. You can draw on it, then baste it onto the background piece and stitch directly onto it. Then, when you're ready, you put it under the faucet and the drawing completely washes away!  This is my first (unfinished) experiment:

It represents the big activity on my block which is a neighbor house being raised to
create more space.  There are 4 of these houses.  They (including mine) were built in 1926 for small families who lived in this small working class town.  The house was recently bought by a larger family who wants more space for each person.  In my extensive time on this block (since 1975) I have known that house to be lived in harmoniously by a family that at one point included 5 people of 4 generations.  I could not do that myself, but Margaret, who lived there, could, plus she was a good neighbor.  She distributed cookies to us all on holidays.  She was retired and watched over us.  I loved that.  Anyway, change is coming, and our new neighbors, whom I don't know yet, are building a bigger house, which profoundly affects the amount of sunshine which will shine in the yard of the neighbor to the north.  So. Here we are. 

Somewhat abruptly, and lastly, because it is late, here is Gilly after getting her annual shots, resting (briefly).  

Love and peace to all~~s. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hello Shadow

It's Groundhog Day! (Tuesday, February 2, 2016)  This year, to celebrate, I stitched a groundhog,  and mounted it in a frame with no glass. It's home-dyed fabric which I scrunched up a bit, inspired by one of Grace's recent pieces. 

I also had the idea of making a stuffed groundhog, sort of like the Christmas donkey (earlier post). With that in mind I made this fellow out of air-drying "clay" (it's not really clay but was easy to work.  The smell was rather poor though):
The plan is to drape the cloth around him (her?) and then stitch it up, sort of like molding a dress on a dress form. I'm not at all sure this will work, and I do want to find out, but ran out of time for now. 

Liz wanted to see some detail from grandson's quilt.  Here are 2 of the squares, hand-pieced and quilted:

This last photo is of the back, to show the family hand prints that were the quilting pattern. I quilted it once from the back and once from the front because it was a little too thick to make the stitches on the front look ok on the back. I learned so much on this project. What will be next? (Maybe some smaller pieces.)

Well, just to bring things full circle, here is Gilly with her groundhog--

There is another plan for tomorrow, which is to do some stitching in public.  That is, to go to a cafe to work on a stitching project.  It's so different from working at home, and I like to see the people on their computers looking a bit curious about hand-work.

Well, happy Groundhog Day to you and if you have encounters with your shadow, I hope they will bear good fruit. 
~~xoxo, s.