Last week my dad had a serious health scare, but he is doing well now. My mom is faced with the fairly difficult job of trying to get him to take it easy for awhile. This is the first day it has felt okay to think about anything else except all of this. I guess I am just noting all this here for sake of my personal timeline. Last week was like a time warp.
The boys and I are making a few small trips here and there over the next few days. I will be back to posting here in about a week.
I am still working on the redbud leaves and I think something is about to happen with these patchwork stars.
I tidied the studio this week in moments between computer work and everything else. It was time - it just wasn't much fun to be in there it was getting so crazy. I feel like I can think more clearly now. A tidy is also always a nice reminder that I don't need any more fabric probably ever. Lots of to do/to sew things resurfaced. I am so happy to have found my favorite tiny embroidery scissors and altoid tin full of straight pins - both of which had been missing since spring.
The fall light is completely different which can feel pretty tough on a cold rainy day - lots of dark corners. It seems like it changed kind of fast. I think there will be lots of shuffling around of the lamps all over the house.
This week, I finished one thing started long ago. I started piecing this compass rose almost 3 years ago, when our Beandog passed away. It doesn't sound right at all that it was that long ago. I finished the piecing not long after I started it. The stitching has been done for awhile too and the little quilt has been keeping me company in the studio all this time. So I finally made it into the big cushion cover I had always intended it to be - just in time for Beandog's favorite time of year. She always had a sassy little burst of puppy energy in the fall when the heat of the summer was over.
My parents are the "Fletcher" in my name (as well as my boys') and the foundation on which my sense of family has been built. They are encouraging and supportive and so when I started taking ceramics classes a year (or two?) ago, my dad surprised me by making a custom clay tool. It stamps my initials into the soft clay on the bottom of my work. He is a woodworker but can really make anything he puts his mind to - he's pretty amazing. The stamp works beautifully. He modeled it after my own configuration of hand writing/carving of my initials, but these letter forms are pleasingly clean and simple - beautifully influenced by the materials used.
Dad's stamp also works well on other materials and so I can stamp lightly onto fabric and then stitch over it.
I am working through a stack of pieces - many started quite awhile ago. Some of them have become overwhelmed with my original intention of what I hoped for them to be or mean. When that happens I eventually put them aside and now there's a stack of them - looking all lonely. In the midst of normal family chaos of day to day life it is the meditative stitch that I so often need. So they won't all turn out to be what I originally intended because I am going to lighten their load of intention just a bit. In the end I think cloth just begs to be lived with and useful - part of a family.
If only just a sense of all that can be stitched into what I make then it will be enough. All the comforts, the calm and sometimes chaotic - past and present of home. It's all in there.
I started appliquéing this luna moth one month ago. A smooth and lightly painted moth against a contrasting dark and textured fabric - not painted dark, because the fabric can become too hard to hand stitch with too much paint. Appliqué seemed a likely choice although I typically avoid it because I rarely like my results. I tend to overwork the edge and get too fussy with it trying to get that outline that I like. This time I went with my favorite backstitch line following a drawn and then needle turned edge. It worked very well except for the resulting small halo of light fabric left outside the stitched line. I can actually imagine this being something to work with and utilize later - that halo - but for this I wanted the moth really seated in the dark fabric. This edge outside the line is noticeable above on the right side of the moth.
I decided to use a permanent pitt pen fine point marker to darken that little folded edge. I could only turn the edge so far on those tail wings and the pen brought it back to the fine detail in those thinnest areas. I think I could probably darken that edge outside my drawn line before I start stitching to appliqué but it may be harder to see what I am doing as I needle turn and stitch if the edge is already darkened? May try that next and see how it goes.
Lots more stitching planned on this cloth and I feel like this appliqué method has opened up a lot of possibilities. I do plan to wash the whole cloth when the stitching is done and imagining those inked edges may need refining after the wash and crinkle.
and it looks like I had avoided appliqué so much it wasn't yet even a category on this blog - so now it is - starting with luna.