Another Four Days Gone!

For some reason I kept this little drink mixing pitcher whose glass is turned upside down to create a lid and save space.  I never used it but didn’t want to leave it behind. It seemed perfect for one person. And it is especially good for mixing my Australian Turbo that is equal parts gin and coffee, then tonic and lime with ice. I am convinced that the Turbos taste a bit better served this way. Company (Marla and Patrick) arrive tomorrow evening for several days and I will get another opinion.

Speaking of Australia, I knew the basket makers of Tasmania were gathering this past weekend, so I pulled out the Gathering Book to work along with them. When they are not making baskets, preparing the materials for baskets, teaching anything to anybody, they are stitching. So I stitched.

First dig out the bits and pieces and pin them together in some abstract but pleasing manner. Use some paper pieces if there are some waiting to go into something.

I like this kind of stitching…just holding things together. It is soothing. I am not very good at it but I like it. It is not a worry that the stitches are not evenly spaced. Nor does it matter if the pieces are lined up well. What matters is getting the eyes to adjust to the tedious part of threading the needle and plowing ahead. I no longer bother to knot one end because my finger and thumb no longer make that quick movement that rolls the end up in a ball near where it needs to be making a messy knot in the end.

But it does put me in touch with my mother and her mother before her. By the time I was paying that much attention to their sewing, they were pretty much past the stage of neatness. It was just about the doing. Mostly they were trying to make something – some embroidery on an apron. a bit of smocking on a dress, stitching on quilts. Everything had to be of some use. They would be confused by scraps of mixed fibers being hung together by threads that resulted in something useless. In a way I am glad not having to explain the shear pleasure in the motions of hand sewing to either one of them.

Sewing like this is like taking a walk. Your mind is free to go anywhere. Problems are solved. Attitudes are changed.

I like figuring out where they will go on the page.  I like knowing where the scraps came from. On the left patch is a piece of mulberry paper left from the recently stitched animals wearing clothes. Then some of my contact printing from leaves. A scrap of purple linen from a vest I made. A piece of the cloth that famous textile designer of Japanese dyeing techniques, John Marshall, traded me for a pin I had made. And finally the little square of paper made in Claudia Lee’s class where I took gauze-like fabric and dipped it into fine pulp and made resists with wax and dyed with walnuts.

On the right is a scrap of a small woodblock print I made on more plant dyed linen sewn to another strip of mulberry paper with more linen from my sewing. The delicate green and cream cloth is from curtains I made the wife of an old friend in  Brasstown. They lived in a trailer across the road from his shop and she said she would like curtains on the bedroom window. So I made them for her as a surprise. The dark patterned scraps are from a table runner that a friend, now deceased, gave me because he spent so much time sharing meals and wonderful conversations at our table.

Good memories in both scraps. I am quite sure that my mother and grandmother did not have such an abundance of good times returning with the stitching that they did.

All stitched and stuck down, I do a drawing that relates to baskets or basket materials while switching my thoughts to the friends weaving baskets and stitching away down in Tasmania. A very nice couple of days.

And the gym trips through the meadow continue. Just this morning….

Til later

PS Tomorrow before company arrives I am having lunch with three other women. This will be the second time in two weeks that I have been asked to join others for lunch. It is such a novel experience for me. My new neighborhood and town are quite kind.