Sunday, October 31, 2010

Restoring Dazy's Quilt


First, a gratuitous bit of autumn colour. I think this tree is called Liquid Amber - it has maple-shaped leaves and these delightful spiny seed pods.

And with nary a segue, on to the quilt! I did all the stitching by hand, although machine would have been far quicker, as I wanted to preserve the integrity of the quilt. I found an old cotton sheet that was quite close to the pink I needed. I didn't mind so much that it wasn't a perfect match as I knew there would be a noticeable difference between my stitching and the original anyway. I wasn't aiming for an invisible patch job, but for a repair that could be seen to be done with care and, hopefully, skill.

First, I made a template of the teardrop shape, cut fourteen of them from the pink sheet, and basted them in place on top of the damaged border.

Then, I applied a thin, finely woven cotton to the back, cut around the edge from the front, and pinned and basted that in place.

I somehow lost the picture of the next step, which involved whipstitching the two layers together around the edge of the original quilt. It was a bit like making a pocket for each scallop to fit into.

Next, I quilted over the original quilting lines. This was hard because the old fabric had shifted a lot, so I did the best I could, but my stitches aren't remotely as fine and even as the original.

I tried to mend some small holes on the white part of the border as I went. Here I did some darning on an isolated worn spot.

This section had multiple shreds, so I have basted a patch in place that will be stitched down.

I was going to leave the edge of the strip as a straight line, but now I think my final step will be to trim and whipstitch the backing fabric to follow the zigzag border. More work, but I think it will blend in better.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Found Objects


The waves are always bringing in interesting things. We found this painted hand the other day.

Gracie of course thought it was a toy, and gave it the teeth test.

Must have been tasty!

I find the pebbles on the beach endlessly fascinating in their diversity, but these are more colourful than most. I like that the painted image seems to be that of a jigsaw puzzle.

On the path heading back from the beach, I almost stepped on this little guy. The tiny tree frog was no bigger than my little fingernail.

And, in a preview of the almost finished Wind Horse piece that I have been working on, this patinated, flattened, unidentifiable ring of copper caught my eye on the shore and made its way to the border of a quilt.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Soft Swan of the Fog


Oddly enough, we don't get much fog here, in spite of what would seem to be ideal conditions. The last couple of days have been unusual, making our walk along the shore seem otherworldly.


Colours seem richer in the soft light.

The still water at slack tide creates abstract reflections.


A gnarl of tree roots looks like bones.

Marine Island takes on a ghostly presence.

A dry-docked toy boat waits to float again.

Kelp strewn rock rise up like castles.


Loons glide by in silence.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Men and Their Pants


I get a lot of guys bringing me their pants to fix. This particular lovely pair belongs to John, who is renowned for wearing patches upon the patches.

They are usually very apologetic for some reason, especially if it's the crotch that needs mending.

I had one guy bring me a pair of khakis that needed the pocket repaired - a $5 fix after he had lost a $100 set of car keys through the tear.

I suspect men get more attached to favourite pieces of clothing than women do. And I'm sure they would much rather come to me to have their pants mended than have to go shopping for a new pair.

Even this very utilitarian machine mending is beautiful, I think.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wave Action


Today my eye was drawn to evidence of the motion of water.

Wave action has sculpted this rock over time.


A tremendous knot of bull kelp washed up. A good twenty feet long. It makes me think of a giant's embroidery thread.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Orange Cat Orange Dog


I think Gracie and Angus have come to an understanding.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Slow Progress


The recent beautiful weather has kept me out in the garden, cleaning it up for winter. But I have been working slowly away at the small quilted piece, incorporating a shoreline scene into the square of arashi shibori that reminded me of sea and sky.

The scene is one I encountered on my post-storm beach walk of a couple of weeks ago. I think this is the first time I have brought the landscape I love and draw inner peace from into my textile work. Maybe all those garden and nature photos I post aren't so far removed from the creative work after all!

I used lots of different colours of thread and small running stitches, as well as french and bullion knots. I used a treasured length of Japanese yarn made from old fishing nets as the seaweed, which adds depth and makes the scene come alive.

I have also added the rear end of the horse. (Take that sentence out of context!) Once I get the next round of border on, I will embroider a long swirling tail. That's as far as I have planned, still trying to work spontaneously.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Do Not Toy With the Hearts of Men


"The Heart of Stone"

Look,
this was
the heart of a siren.

Helplessly hard
she came to the shores
to comb her hair and
play a game of cards.

Swearing and spitting
among the seaweed.
She was the image herself
of those hellish barmaids
that in stories murdered
the weary traveler.

She killed her lovers
and danced in the waves.

And so,
time passed in the wicked life of the siren
until her fierce lover, the sailor
pursued her with harpoon and guitar
through all the seafoam,
farther than the most distant archipelagoes,
and when she reclined in his arms,
the sailor gave her his beveled point,
a final kiss,
and a justified death.

Then from the ship
the dead commanders descended,
beheaded by that treacherous siren,
and with cutlass,
sword,
fork and knife,
pulled that heart of stone out of her chest,
and,
near the sea,
it was allowed to anchor,
in order that it could teach the little sirens
to learn to behave properly
with the enamoured sailors.

-Pablo Neruda

Neruda was talking about the ocean, I think, but nevertheless I have always taken this poem under advisement. That sense of it being a personal warning for me not to be careless in my love life came back to me last night.

It was a very disconcerting experience. A few days ago, at the Free Store, I picked up a copy of a book by a writer I had known back in Toronto, thirty years ago. Last night, I opened it up, read a few paragraphs, then randomly skipped a few pages ahead and read...about me. Actually me. Not just someone I identified with. This guy and I had had one-and-a half dates back in 1979, and I "spurned his advances". Not very gracefully it would seem from his re-telling of events.

Apparently he kept a diary. Can you imagine coming across an old boyfriend's diary, and reading about his desire for you? (Given how everything turned out, it was a good thing I never slept with him.) Certainly makes me think twice about the personal stuff I have put in this blog. Even though names may be changed to protect the innocent (or guilty).

Anyway, I hope I have learned a few things over the intervening years. But a reminder to treat other people with kindness, honesty and integrity never hurts.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Sheepy Shawly


The 100% Lasqueti grown and made shawl is off the loom at last.

I liked how the forest path looked so much I lay down and took a picture.

Charline's knitting hands. She is an incredible spinner, too, and spun quite a bit of the warp and weft.

We had originally planned to auction the shawl off as a fundraiser but Josie made the most lovely suggestion of keeping the shawl in the community as a "Healing Shawl" - to be passed around to whoever might be sick, in hospital or otherwise in need of comfort. So many hands had a part in the making of this garment that it has taken on a life beyond its intended purpose. It represents the caring, patience and love of our community, so it seems most apt to give it this almost sacramental role.