Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What's a girl to write?

Usually I have an idea of what to write, but this week, I'm a little distracted. It is a time when not only is the world of Halifax opening up from all the ice (I can see my shrubs again) but my studio work is mostly at the point where new directions can happen. I think I will meander between the photos and thoughts.

I am very happy with this piece. It is a spontaneous exploration of circles and colours, using my new coton a broder threads and some fabric that has been languishing in a box for years. It is very soothing to stitch and I love the bright colours, especially as it has been such a mix of grey and black on the snow.

Thinking about the Out of the Cold Shelter that I volunteered at all winter... Yesterday was my last shift of the season. I was glad because it is a bit hellish to get up at 5:00 am to walk in below 0 or worse for 30 minutes to get to the shelter. I was also sad because I really like the other volunteers and the guests we work with. I laugh a lot when I'm there, I learn a whole lot about different kinds of human hurt and harm, I learn about resilience and survival. I had my worst shift ever this year when two men started a fist fight and I had to intervene and I had my best shift ever when "Fiddler on the Roof" was on the TV and several of us knew the words to the songs and sang along. Next year's shelter is in flux, there might be enough new beds opening across the city to deal with our very hard to house guests and there is a new facility opening up to assist the chronically drunk folks. This means that the group we deal with can get better shelter options elsewhere. We aren't sure who will need the shelter in future and how we will respond to that. I hope to keep volunteering at the shelter but I am glad I am not on the committee that will make these decisions.

Back to photo... Below is a piece that I began for the class I will be taking in London England with Karen Ruane this month. I decided on a simple grid and squares, then added hexagons and then two circles and embroidery. The thing is, I am supposed to be able to stitch on it while I am in the class and I can't think of another thing to add.

In contrast to the first piece, these colours are a lot softer and prettier. It begins to feel noisy if I had too much more.

This one again. I just love this one below. I keep picking it up and adding more. Good for the soul.

Thinking also about....our daughter Phoebe. She will be moving to Ottawa this fall to start her Masters Degree at Carlton. Phoebe is a big part of our life, she works just down the block and often pops in for a cup of tea and a chat. Phoebe is also a great help around the house, doing chores that I don't like to do at all. I pay her but she seems to like using sanding machines and band saws and climbing ladders. Phoebe is particularly good about rescuing me when I get messed up with my sewing clothes. In nearly every pattern, there is a step that confuses the hell out of me and Phoebe shows up and figures it out. Phoebe thinks in 3 dimensions and could build bridges without any difficulty. She also hems my pants. Never mind that I love her to pieces, what am I going to do about my pants?

Another photo...I've been sewing two men's shirts for Steve that have this cuff detail. The first shirt I made, I managed the detail with some accuracy.

The second shirt was better. I decided this detail would make an interesting addition to the girly stitching that happens on the work I do with Karen.

I have some more ideas that include pin tucking, pleating and a folded pleat.

I've joined Facebook.... I have no idea what I am doing. If you have a camera on your phone, you just snap a photo, wave the phone in the air in a certain pattern and the photo shows up on Facebook. I have to use a camera, upload, download, side load and finally get to Facebook. It is a huge pain in the ass. It in on my mind too much... what will I do about Facebook today? I might quit and it's only been a week.

Stitching....Threadwork Primitives (here) offered this free cross stitch and I couldn't resist. I love tuilip motifs but never stitch them. I had to try a blue tulip. Since then, I have stitched another motif on a scrap of cloth and have a little cat I want to try. It looks like a small gathering of cross stitched patches is beginning.

Every April 1st, we gather as a family for breakfast and consider how we feel about living here in Halifax. When the kids were young, we asked them if they wanted to move back to Ontario, if they were happy in their new home, if they had any goals for the upcoming year or anything they were proud from the past year. Now the kids are taller than me and it is far to late to move back to Ontario. This year we talked about the highlights of last year and it was impressive. Lucas has so much to be proud of, he has finished his Masters in Math and Computer Science (it's genius territory we are talking about here), he has recovered from two eye surgeries, he has found a full time well paid job, he is figuring out how to manage in the work world, he has his own apartment and does a wonderful job of living on his own. Some of this you'd think "of course" but let me tell you, losing some of your site in the middle of doing a Masters is no fun and really messes with your head. Lucas has some fun plans for the coming year. We are very proud of all he has accomplished.

Back to me....wandering through my photos, I remembered that I had started this piece, also meant to take to London. I have added some lace to it since this photo was taken, but not added any stitching. My question to Karen will be about how to stitch on such thin fabrics without the knots pulling through or the embroidery hoop distorting the weave of the textile.

 I guess that's about it this week. The snow is evaporating rapidly, the robins are fighting with the blue jays for frozen insects, I refuse to wear my winter coat one more time, and pretty soon there will be fiddle heads for sale at the farmer's market to gorge on.

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