Sunday, May 31, 2009


My friend Leslie was liquidating a personal library and I got a windfall.

Most of the books focused on woven rugs and tapestries, but I culled out those that spoke to me.

The images and patterns come from many countries and different cultures, but I found the overlap of concept and design fascinating. Click any image to enlarge.

Color - The Story of Dyes and Pigments. Love the cover on this one!

Inside "The Red Dyes"

Mud Cloth from Mali Africa, all designs are created by hand painting patterns with mud dyes

This book is incredible; I can't wait to sit down and spend more time with it. It gives examples of patchwork and applique' throughout the world, and each culture has its own style, interpretation and design, yet there are wonderful overlaps.

African leather patchwork, early 20th century worn by Liberian chief.
Patchwork and applique' was a symbol of power and prestige.

Quilting, Patchwork and Applique': A World Guide

Egyptian applique' cushion

Egyptian cushion produced for tourist trade

Woven Coverlets of Norway

Norwegian Square-Weave coverlets

The narrative says: "A variation of this technique is found in India, the Middle East, north Africa and eastern Europe and the native populations of Peru, Mexico and the southwestern Native Americans. In many cases the durable and decorative saddle blankets, rugs, bags, wall hangings and coverlets created from this weave show a remarkable similarity, even in geographically diverse areas." - They call it 'cultural borrowing'.

Coiled wool pots from southwest Iran

American Coverlets and Their Weavers

Seamless woven coverlet, 88" x 82", 1845

The coverlets in this book are jaw-droppingly beautiful, all the more so when I think about the planning and skill that went into them.

It's true what they say - there's a world of inspiration out there. These pictures barely scratch the surface. Just had to share!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Hand Spun

My friend Leslie and I had a great visit at her house a few weeks ago. I like to sew, quilt and stitch and she likes to spin, dye and crochet. We both like to read. A visit to her home is always a treat since we never run out of things to talk about. She says it's 'the name thing', we have a connection. :D

I had an idea and told her I wanted to experiment with felting wool; next thing I knewn she pulled out skeins of hand spun wool from her stash and said, "Here, take these." (!)

Natural color

Needless to say I was blown away.

Dyed with madder

"Are you sure?!" "Yes. I like to spin it, but I never do anything with it after that."

So once this potholder is big enough I'm going to felt it. We'll see.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


During the morning commute (7:05 am) I turned on the radio like I almost always do. I clicked through the four presets, the first station had news, the second was Elvis, the third was a current pop tune sung by a male vocalist in that high, strained voice and the fourth, Jethro Tull on his breathy flute. I turned it off and thought about music instead.

How much music do I hear in a day? Amazing. I can't go 24 hours without hearing it somewhere. I remember reading the Laura Ingalls series and its descriptions of how much they enjoyed it when Pa pulled out his fiddle. I remember scenes in Jane Austin movies where the young ladies are encouraged to 'play for us Sophie, please do...' or in Little Women, they join around the piano at Christmas and sing, off key or not, for the joy of the music. But we can push preset buttons, drop in an audio disk, plug in an ipod or watch You Tube. Is there a point where there's too much of a good thing, does the music lose it's magic because it's so available?

In HS I used to go backpacking in the White Mountains with a group from the youth center. After two or three days in the back country we started to miss our music. As we hiked along the trail one of us would burst into spontaneous song and the rest of us would do our best to join in. Pop tunes mostly, which are not that easy to sing by the average joe or joan, but also rounds, ballads and childhood lyrics .

"The bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, to see what he could see."

Music is so powerful, moving, comforting and alive. Can you have too much of it? When I sat down to write this, I remembered a Beach Boys tune from HS, looked it up on You Tube and there it was. Now that's cool. :D

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Having a lovely phone visit with a friend in my favorite spot under the front yard pines. Lila thought it was a good spot too.

Lots of photos to share from the last few weeks; our trip to Oregon for Hollin's graduation, a family reunion, a Bridal shower for Danielle, a work day on their new house. Three weeks until the wedding and time is flyin'!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Have a Wonderful Mother's Day Weekend!


A woman, renewing her driver's license at the
County Clerk 's office, was asked by the woman recorder
to state her occupation.
She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.
"What I mean is, " explained the recorder,
"do you have a job or are you just a ...?"
"Of course I have a job," snapped the woman.
"I'm a Mom."
"We don't list 'Mom' as an occupation,
'housewife' covers it,"
Said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself
in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall.

The Clerk was obviously a career woman,
poised, efficient,and possessed
of a high sounding title like,
'Official Interrogator' or 'Town Registrar.'
"What is your occupation?" she queried.

What made me say it? I do not know.
The words simply popped out.
"I'm a Research Associate in the field of
Child Development and Human Relations."

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and
looked up as though she had not
heard right. I repeated the title slowly
emphasizing the most significant words..
Then I stared with wonder as my
pronouncement was written, in bold,
black ink on the official questionnaire.

"Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest,
"just what you do in your field?'"
Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice,
I heard myself reply,
"I have a continuing program of research,
(what mother doesn't)
In the laboratory and in the field,
(normally I would have said indoors and out).
I'm working for my Masters,
(first the Lord and then the whole family)
and already have four credits (all daughters).
Of course, the job is one of the most
demanding in the humanities,
(any mother care to disagree?)
and I often work 14 hours a day,
(24 is more like it).

But the job is more challenging than most
run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards
are more about satisfaction than just money."

There was an increasing note of respect in the
clerk's voice as she completed the form,
stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by
my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab
assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3.
Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model,
(a 6 month old baby) in the child development program,
testing out a new vocal pattern.

I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy!
And I had gone on the official
records as someone more distinguished
and indispensable to mankind than 'just another Mom.'

What a glorious career!
Especially when there's a title on the door.

Does this make grandmothers
'Senior Research associates in the field
of Child Development and Human Relations'
And great grandmothers
'Executive Senior Research Associates?'

I think so!!!
I also think it makes Aunts
'Associate Research Assistants.'

May your troubles be less,
Your blessing be more,
And nothing but happiness come through your door!