Category Archives: stitching

Entwined threads

No posts recently from me because I have been feeling very tired and not 100% well. A virus? Or related to a long term condition I have had for many years I’m not sure, but some blood tests soon will hopefully give some clues.

I find it hard not to feel miserable when I feel ill, and the wider news – local, national and international is not encouraging either.  Physical and mental are so closely connected for me, entwined even. This morning I was reading Deborah Alma’s “The Emergency Poet” ( a great poetry anthology for “down” moments) and happened upon this little extract from William Blake.

“Man was made for joy and woe;

And when this we rightly know,

Through the world we safely go.

Joy and woe are woven fine,

A clothing for the soul divine,

Under every grief and pine

Runs a joy with silken twine.”       From Auguries of Innocence

Weaving, cloth, thread and fabric are metaphors I can understand and relate to strongly, as the name I chose for my blog indicates. And then I found myself reading from Beverly Gordon “Textiles the Whole Story”, (a wonderful book about the meaning and significance of textiles in our lives). She describes so many rich metaphors about threads, but what stood out for me today was her description of how entwining and weaving provides beauty, strength and durability to the cords and cloths which hold us.

So perhaps I can gain courage today that the paradox of joy and woe entwined is ultimately a source of strength. And, just like the surprising toughness of natural silk, we can be reassured of joy, even when it’s hidden, running along the twisted threads of our lives.

Just as I was thinking this the postman delivered some Kaffe Fassett fabric remnants I’d bought from EBay. Not silk, but the colours are certainly joyous! Enjoy…

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Enough for now…

Sometimes in a process I need to know when to stop.

So this is an update on my trunk restoration, and I think I have done enough for now. The quilt panels are complete and I have glued them to the trunk lid. The fitting is not precise, but it is good enough.

I have painted the body of the trunk in a dull brown. I was trying to emulate the colour of old leather, but in a matt finish. After two coats it was still slightly streaky and I was intending to do a third. But as it dried it took on an almost wood grain effect so I decided to leave it like that.

At some point I need to make some handles to fit the metal fixings on each side, but that can wait. With the addition of two glass worktop protectors which fit exactly (well almost) I think it now serves its purpose – a repository for all my notebooks and sketches, and a reasonable coffee table!

Process moving again…

Nearly three years ago I started a process to restore an old trunk which had been in our attic for years.
https://weaversjournal.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/restoration-process/
Battered and dirty it was not good for much, so I set about painting it and re-lining it. I also managed to recreate a drop in drawer for the inside and finished the interior.

And then everything stopped, and it has been sitting in my conservatory, half painted ever since. This week I had tea with a friend who I hadn’t seen for months. She asked me how my trunk was going. Trunk? I realised it had been forgotten…

But I had been accumulating materials for possible solutions to the outside refurbishment. So spurred on by my friend’s enquiry I started work again. I had been collecting fabrics with a theme of writing and creativity for a while. After some long consideration I decided that collaged and quilted panels using some of my fabric stash would work best to cover the lid, as the trunk will hopefully be a repository for some of my written and textile creations. Selecting appropriate words was quite challenging, given the bitty nature of the fabric. And making the panels the right size and shape was tricky, but I am now creating the last piece.
Some days of torrential rain, followed by an unseasonable head cold has meant I have been largely confined to the house for a few days. I was feeling irritable and frustrated at myself as well as the weather. But frustration was eased by the activity – my head and sinuses may still be blocked, but I feel the process of trunk restoration is moving again…
Still a way to go, I’m determined it won’t be another three years before it’s finished!

Generalising July

Listening to “meet the author” on the Today programme radio four this morning, I was amused at the comment. “you can’t just write about real life, it would be too boring”. It’s true of course, the novels we read are shaped and edited, time is speeded and slowed, the focus is narrowed and widened, but repetitive routines of life are missed out to focus on action and plot.

Today in my real life the rain has fallen nearly all day, and the tomatoes I picked in the rain were muddy and wet. Not much action there.

An online course on reading novels I have been dipping into was suggesting how sometimes these routines and rhythms of life can still be described even in the best plot time line. A moment when the essence of a season, or regular event, can be captured. The description is not of a particular summer, but all summers, not just one family breakfast time, but all…

Generalising and condensing recurring moments into one description can provide the underlying rhythm of story.

So rather than try and invent some action I looked back on my July posts and photos since I started writing this online journal, to find the general themes

July skies, grey, heavy rain,

widening to cloudless blue,

July roads, stone walled in Yorkshire dales,

high mountain views in British Columbia.

July books for holiday reading,

pen meets paper healing through writing,

July fruits, red, ripe for jamming,

stirring creativity, stitching textiles.

 

 

 

 

 

Seeing red

The last few weeks in the garden have been literally fruit full. We had a lovely crop of dark red morello cherries, not really dessert eating cherries but I made them into a rich flavoured sweet sauce. I wish it had set a bit more, but it tastes great on ice cream, or even on toast.

 

Then it was on to the plums, juicy and sweet, and good to eat straight from the tree. I dried a lot, and froze plenty too, so they will last us for weeks to come.

img_1625Today it was redcurrants, no “pick one eat one” rewards here, they are sour and seedy. But they look so beautiful hanging like red jewels in strings from the branches. And they have a translucence and a glow in the redness.

 

And then I have had another full dose of red on the eyes from another source. At last my Kaffe Fassett quilt is finished. Started in April at a workshop with the great man himself, it has been quite a task. Square by square it has gone together, then layered and quilted. Now I am just completing the binding.IMG_1626Certainly a feast of red!

Colour play day

Last week I had a treat. A chance to meet a hero of mine, and a day to work under his artistic guidance. My sister booked us on a workshop with colour guru and textile artist Kaffe Fassett, whose work has inspired me for many years.

Arriving at the venue, Lady Sew and Sew in Henley, we were greeted by rows and rows of fabric, an overwhelming rainbow of colour. Kaffe and Brandon, his partner,  set us to work, but encouraged us to play, to experiment and see what happened when colours met each other. We were following Kaffe’s “Seed Packet” design from his book Bold Blooms, and it was exciting to see what grew in front of us.

After a day of cutting and placing, everyone’s designs were as individual as their creators. Kaffe commented and made suggestions, and signed books before we packed up our mess and left, exhausted but on a high!

All that has to be done now is to finish it! I have been making progress, but there’s a long way to go yet. Watch this space…

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Empty chair – small stone 24

A rather weird drawing experience this morning. On impulse I got out of the chair I was sitting in, and looked at it, and  decided to sketch it. This is where I have spent many, many hours writing my journal and my blog. This is the chair I have sat on while reading, researching and writing for my Masters in Creative Writing. And this month I have done most of my sketches sitting here. 

An old second hand tub chair draped in a huge Indian shawl throw, given to me by a friend, I have it padded out with two mismatched cushions. One cushion is a patchwork of some of my favourite blue Kaffe Fassett fabrics, which I cut and peiced together with great care. Most days I don’t look at the cushion at all, I just sit on it and squash it out of shape, completely disregarding the time and effort I spent in making it. 

But today I have looked with new eyes at the chair and the cushions which have been supporting me throughout those hours. I noticed the soft folds and subtle shapes of the throw and thought of the friend who gave it to me. I remembered the precision with which I cut the patchwork shapes for the back cushion, and recollected that the seat cushion was a sale bargain from Laura Ashley over thirty years ago. The chair itself was an eBay buy, with a previous life. This incongruous hotchpotch of things from the past, so often unacknowledged and unappreciated, is the trusty place which holds me secure as I sit and contemplate the day. It is far from empty…