fiber art, political activism, Rebel stitching, Tiny Pricks Project

Thanksgiving Week and Tiny Pricks


Here we are on Thanksgiving week, ready to celebrate the only holiday I participate in other than Festivus. And the big news is that Sandy and I will be spending it at Lake Waccamaw at my cousin’s house, my heart space, the house that I mourned for the past year because nobody who saw the flood damage from Hurricane Florence thought that my cousin’s wife would spend the money and make the huge effort to save it. But she did! It won’t be the same – all new furniture and appliances since the antiques were ruined. I’ll know more when I get there.

And my sister and brother-in-law finally moved out of the rental house and back to their house on the shore down the road.

For the past month, I mainly concentrated on the Tiny Pricks Project, but I have done some other fun art things. My most recent Tiny Pricks project is a large tea towel so it is taking a while. I should get it done tonight, hopefully! Scuppernong Books has already started pinning up our handkerchiefs, doilies, and crafty items spotlighting the unmatched wise words of our very, very brilliant Dear Leader, and we will add a few more before we send them all to Diana Weymar and the big Tiny Pricks Project. This has been very good for me: good for my stress level, my sense of humor, and connection with other people. I made new friends, which is not easy for me. You can see the Greensboro chapter’s projects on Instagram. I have finished three and three of the four are related to hurricane quotes.

I couldn’t resist doing one of his nonsense “word salads” and this is a bit hard to read, so I’ve typed it below the photo.

I’m going to maybe and I’m looking at it very seriously. We’re doing some other things that you probably noticed like some of the very important things that we’re doing now. But we’re looking at it very seriously because you can’t do that.

Wow, that’s a very serious amount of nothing said at all!

Speaking of nothing, don’t forget to do any shopping early this week so you can celebrate “Buy Nothing Day” on Friday. So there IS a third holiday that I participate in.

I think that I’ll put the other stuff in another post.

fiber art, Greensboro North Carolina, political activism, Rebel stitching, Tiny Pricks Project

Tiny Pricks Project Greensboro

A while back several news articles began circulating on Facebook that got a lot of attention from me and my fiber artist friends. They were about Diana Weymar, an artist who created The Tiny Pricks Project, who says this about how it began on her website:

On Jan. 8th, 2018 I stitched ‘I am a very stable genius’ into a piece of my grandmother’s abandoned needlework from the 1960s. When I posted it on Instagram, the response was immediate and overwhelmingly positive. Assuming he would become more presidential over time, with only the occasional ridiculous tweet, I decided to stitch one Trump quote a week. However, it quickly became a daily practice, as I tried to keep up with the outpouring of “unpresidential” text. Friends asked if I would host workshops so that they could join the project. Tiny Pricks Project has since become the largest textile Trump protest EVER with over 1100 Tiny Pricks and hundreds of participants globally. The series will go strong until Trump is out of office. The goal is to create 2020 Tiny Pricks by 2020!

One of my friends tagged a half dozen of us to see if we wanted to participate, and thus the Greensboro chapter of the Tiny Pricks Project began. We meet on Monday and Wednesday nights in a couple of different places to stitch the outrageous and surreal words of the man currently occupying the Oval Office on tea towels, doilies, and handkerchiefs that we pick up in various thrift/antique stores. One of us doesn’t stitch but has drawn and written designs for stitchers to pick up and work on. We started out at a local brewery but as fall progressed the lighting became too dim, so we now meet at our favorite local bookstore, Scuppernong Books, in downtown Greensboro on Mondays, and just moved our Wednesday night meeting to Leveneleven Brewing, a small brewpub across from the Greensboro Coliseum on Coliseum Boulevard.

We plan to do this for at least the next six weeks, after which we will have a small show of our work at Scuppernong before sending them to Diana Weymar for her project. You don’t have to come to the meetings to participate.

Last night we agreed that this project has been so therapeutic and fun that we will likely continue meeting as a group after the show.

Here are a few of the finished pieces. The top one is mine. If you are interested, please follow the Tiny Pricks Project Greensboro Instagram page.

Back Forty, fiber art, Mixed media art

August. Yuk.

I really dislike the month of August. The heat, the humidity, the sudden ratcheting up of my “real” job. Too much to do at home and too hot to do most of it. Lately, like today, I have been outrunning the severe thunderstorms home from work. So far I have made it ahead of the rain.

We have been getting some very intense storms lately, like this one with quarter-inch sized hail. Excuse my camera work. One day I’ll learn not to move it around. By the way, the car did not have any new dents that I could see, and my garden is okay even though this went on for 15 minutes!

Yesterday we had high wind and I eyed the maple tree covered with wild grapevines with some trepidation. I noticed that the top of it snapped off a few weeks ago and it must be lying on top of the vines up there somewhere. It is becoming obvious that I will have to pay somebody to do something about the vines. The good news is that one of the new tenants next door loves to do yard work and has already taken a slingblade to the pokeweed forest between our houses. He has offered to help me on my side of the yard for $12 an hour. I told him that was too low and I’d pay $15.

Boy, you can tell that I’m a Bernie girl, huh?

I had already arranged for Armando, the guy who takes care of my absentee next door neighbor’s yard on the other side of our house, to help me with the yard. He mowed on Tuesday afternoon and will come back to help with pruning, etc. next week. This is such a relief! But it will be helpful for Cory, who lives on the other side of those vines, to hit it from his and my side of the jungle, since a lot of them are rooted on both sides of the property line.

Honestly, between the wild grapevine and the fucking wisteria, I don’t know which is worse. We’ve got both, and I let it get away from us when my neck was hurt. Now I have vertigo when I look up. Sandy’s no use on this issue. It’s time to spend the money on help.

Did I mention I hate wisteria? Boy, do I hate wisteria. I don’t even want to hear about people who like wisteria, or plant wisteria, or think that it is pretty. After 32 years of fighting wisteria, I consider it barely below poison ivy on my list of despised plants. Wild grapevine is third on the list.

The Roma tomatoes are almost done, but we are still harvesting lots of cherry tomatoes, figs, and a few big tomatoes. I have a new crop of raspberries. Not many, but this is encouraging that the one plant has produced twice. I sliced some more lemon cucumbers for the dehydrator and ran it a few hours longer this time. The slices with the seeds were crispy but the slices from the edges without the seeds still have the texture of soft paper.

I mailed my tapestry for the Tapestry Weavers South exhibition going up at the Yadkin Valley Fiber Center in Elkin, NC. I’m sending “Dingle Cliff Walk,” which does not have perfect selvedges, but I love it and it’s time to put it out there. I thought it would be good for the theme, which is “Point of View.” This is it on the loom just before I finished it, and shows why its upper selvedges drew in. I was trying to make use of that leftover warp. I won’t make this mistake again, but at the time I started it, I didn’t think it would turn out to be one of my favorite weavings.

Still sewing my little puzzle pieces. I’m working on an idea that takes inspiration from feathers. Maybe attaching feathers?

My spirits took a dive this week. I’m trying very hard to keep away from the hole. Part of it is insomnia, and the news. I’ll have to take a news break. It makes me feel like a terrible citizen, but I don’t do anybody or myself or anything else any good from the bottom of the hole.

Back Forty, butterbeans, fiber art, Greensboro North Carolina, More gardening, Rebel stitching

Here we go again

(Note: I forgot to click Publish when I wrote this on Monday night.)

The week before fall semester classes begin is always a huge adjustment. It feels like going from 0 to 60 suddenly. Gone are the quiet days with few people on the hallway. Now I get to meet about 30 new people and do some public speaking. I’ve come to think of this as my “Sanity Box,” a little box of magic that I can take out during a lunch or other break and just hem squares or stitch them together. No major thought is going into this. Just doing.

A lot of veggies and figs have to be dealt with also. I am much better this year than I have been most Augusts. I attribute this to adding fish oil and vitamin D to my daily supplements. My therapist had suggested the fish oil, and I was vitamin D deficient for a long time. I feel better physically and mentally, although I still tire very quickly. The muggy heat doesn’t help. Yesterday evening I picked tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, eggplants, and figs, then cooked for a couple of hours. I still have a lot of cucumbers and figs to do something with. I don’t want to get out the canning equipment – it just seems like too much for too little, and I am not a huge pickle or jelly fan – but I don’t want them to go to waste. This weekend I put some cucumber slices in with my tomatoes and peppers in the electric dehydrator. They came out wispy and delicate, like soft thin leaves. I might experiment with this more. Sandy and I are planning a repeat of making fig newtons this weekend. Last year he made some good ones, but he baked them on the wrong kind of pan. The filling was great, though.

The butterbeans are overwhelming at the UNCG garden. Very tall and thickly planted. There was a lot of Japanese beetle damage at first but I outplanted them, I think. Hardly any beans, though. I think that the intense heat wave in July stopped them from flowering. I hope they will produce soon so I can get some bean in the freezer before a heavy frost happens. I pulled up most of the eggplants and the lemon cucumber vines. I was tired of them and the eggplants were buried by the bermuda grass and peppermint that I lost control of very early on. Once the Roma tomatoes and one zephyr squash plant are done, which should be before the end of the month, I am abandoning that plot. However, I do think that the grass and mint may have helped hold in moisture during the dry spell when I was traveling.

Sandy and I walked downtown on First Friday, heard music with friends on Saturday, and went to the Greensboro Science Center and out to dinner with a dear out-of-town friend on Sunday. So we had a busy social time. This poodle at Gate City Yarns agrees that Sandy is great and tried to lick him clean.

Lord, I just want to sleep and play in the studio. Daydreaming about going to Ireland. All the books I want to read. Weaving with cloth strips keeps nagging at me to come back to it. There are not enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. How do people get bored at home?

art, art retreats, bloggy stuff, fiber art, Rebel stitching, Slow cloth, Upcycling, weaving

Latest news from moi

Suddenly I feel like Miss Piggy today. Couldn’t tell you why.

A lot of things have happened since I last posted. I stopped paying to have my blog ad-free and the ads are pretty disgusting, so I may break down and upgrade to a paid account. I hate to do it, because between that and paying for my photos to be hosted on Flickr, that adds up to over $100 per year. I can’t really let the Flickr account go because I have linked most of my photos to that account. That would be an enormous amount of work to correct that. Plus, I really am attached to my domain name. I’ve had it since 2005. The thought of letting it go has become more intolerable to me.

I am going to convert this over to more of an artist website, and my postings to Facebook and Instagram should appear on the sidebar. But that will take a while. Maybe over the winter break. I’ll have made a decision about whether the cost is worth it by October.

^^^Pablocito, studio assistant, and the reason why there is aluminum foil everywhere. (He doesn’t like it.)

I took a week’s vacation at home in late July because it was slow at work and I have a lot of vacation time built up. It was marvelous. Really, I almost preferred it to traveling.

The first thing on my agenda was to warp up this “new” Beka rigid heddle loom for a sakiori workshop later that week. It was not anywhere near as simple as I thought it would be, and by the time I rewarped it and got the tension right, it took three days and some help from a friend! However, now I know some things I should and shouldn’t do with this type of loom. For one thing, I doubt that I will put three yards of warp on it again.

This patchwork from Jude Hill’s online class (see below) really scratches an itch for me. I love that it is portable. The only problem is my hands can’t take as much hand sewing as I would like to do. My sewing machines (plural) are a constant pain in my ass to keep running and maintained, but I did abuse them pretty badly when I was doing the denim and t-shirt quilt projects. It still amazes me that you can buy a new cheap machine for as much as it is to repair one.

Anyway, bitching aside, I LOVE making these little “puzzle pieces” and putting them together in different ways. It reminds me of my favorite toy growing up, which I think was sold by Tupperware. It was like Legos, but with tiny little pegged pieces in different shapes that could be pushed into a plastic grid. I constantly played with it sitting on the den floor, and I still have a box with the pieces somewhere. It drove my father nuts because he was always stepping on them.

Later that week when I felt like dealing with warping a loom again I caught up on the Rebecca Mezoff/Sarah Swett “Fringeless” online class that I began LAST SUMMER, and by the end of the week, I had this Mirrix loom warped and ready to go. The warping method produces a four selvedge tapestry that is ready when it comes off the loom, no sewing in ends or hemming edges required. To be honest, it was pretty easy once I got the hang of it.

Then on Saturday, I went to the sakiori class that was taught by Dawn Hummer of Saori Song Weaving in Chapel Hill, and sponsored by the Triangle Weavers Guild in a great space that they rent on an ongoing basis in an old school near Durham. I didn’t really learn that much, and I don’t need any encouragement to cut loose and play, but it is always good to hear how and why other artists do what they do. I got to see Saori looms and how they work, and that was really cool. It was fun and that was the whole point. I decided to make some pieces to use as book covers. Here is the first one. There is room on the warp for many more.

In other news, I’ve had to learn how to live without air conditioning for a few days. I hope it won’t be much longer. It is good for me to be reminded not to take this for granted. Work is revving back up with the fall semester classes beginning in only two weeks. The Tapestry Weavers South retreat is in nearby Elkin, NC on Labor Day weekend, so I have that to look forward to. After that, I doubt I will be able to afford any other art retreats or workshops because I am going to have to dip into my savings to pay for the Ireland trip before January, and to be responsible I will pay my savings back. It will be totally worth it to go back to Ireland, where I belong.

art, cloth weaving, fiber art, New Mexico, tapestry, weaving

Saturday: Chimayo

On Saturday morning we headed back to Chimayo. I wanted to visit Centinela Traditional Arts, the home gallery and studio of the tapestry artists Lisa and Irvin Trujillo. I had seen Irvin’s work at the Denver Art Museum and while we were there, Lisa was weaving on a floor loom and her daughter spoke to a Road Scholars group about the history of tapestry and blanket weaving in the area. The heavenly scent of freshly washed and dyed wool wafted through the building. I miss that. I bought a couple of small purses.

We had lunch at Rancho de Chimayo again, mainly because Sandy had left his credit card there, but also because we really liked it the first time! Those sopaipillas with honey, mmmm.

Then we went to the famous Sanctuario de Chimayo down the road. This church is known for being built on ground that has healing powers. The chapel has a small pit that pilgrims take dirt from and rub it on their afflicted areas and pray. There is a room with a rack of crutches that people left behind just outside the room with the pit. I’m not a Christian, but I figured since I was there it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. So I followed the lead of the person in front of me and rubbed the dirt on my hands, but I had to decide what to pray for. I decided that while I have several physical problems, if I could heal my depression, I could deal with the other stuff. So I asked the Holy Spirit to heal my spirit. So far it seems to have worked!

We stopped by Ortega’s Weaving shop on the way back to Truchas but it was nice but a bit too commercial for me. There were plenty of galleries open on the High Road on Saturday, so we headed back to Truchas.

art, fiber art, New Mexico

Santa Fe, Day One

On Tuesday morning, we decided to tour a few of the bazillion art galleries in Santa Fe. Turns out that many places are closed on Monday and Tuesday, in case you are making plans, but there were plenty enough open. We headed over to Canyon Road and wandered in and out of several galleries there, and of course Sandy and I had to pose with statues. One of the galleries represented Donald Roller Wilson, who I fell in love with in the late 80s but had forgotten about. I was so surprised to see his work and the gallery owner was gracious enough to let me take a photo. Seriously, click on the link and open whatever it tells you to do. You won’t regret it if you love fun and weirdness and bizarre storytelling.

Then we drove up Old Santa Fe Trail to Museum Hill, where we spent an hour or so in the Museum of International Folk Art. That was a really overwhelming museum exhibition – so many fascinating and small objects on display. Photography was forbidden in the exhibition hall and that was a good thing, really. It took away my tendency to look at everything through a camera lens. Below is a puppet theater box from the hallway.

We ate salads and fish tacos at Boxcar in the Santa Fe Railyard District, then walked into the gallery Fritz, which to my surprise was listed on the Northern New Mexico Fiber Art Crawl and was having a terrific fiber art exhibit, “Photographic Evidence in Textiles” featuring the work of Gary Goldberg and Karen Hampton. There were large felted pieces and fabric works that were pieced and stitched and woven.

There was a lighted piece in a smaller gallery where the work was interactive. We all took some great selfies in there.

That night we met Cherie’s friends for dinner at the Plaza Cafe downtown on the Plaza. Cherie recommended that we try Indian tacos while we were there, preferably from a roadside stand in the reservations but we didn’t see any on that day. The Plaza Cafe had them and they were delicious. The description from the menu: “Fry bread topped with your choice of calabacitas, chicken, camitas, or came asada, beans, cheese, chile, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, and sour cream.” I had been curious about them after reading about them in the novel “There, There” by Tommy Orange.

Next post: Meow Wolf!

fiber art

Tunisian crochet

When I am not weaving the twill gamp curtain panels, and by the way, I’ve started the second one, I have taken up crocheting. This is a slippery slope for me. I have always loved to crochet but every time I begin doing it I get obsessed with it and I don’t quit soon enough. The house can be absolutely quiet and I will lose hours while crocheting. This is probably the closest I ever get to meditation.

I mentioned that I am taking a class at Gate City Yarns. I have also mined Ravelry and Interweave Press website and the Interwebz in general in search of free patterns, not only in Tunisian crochet but any crochet. When I quit smoking 24 years ago (and I think that yesterday was my anniversary for that!) I crocheted many snowflakes and Christmas ornaments. Even though I am not a lacy kind of gal, I hooked up a lot of doilies and delicate filet crochet thingies. A lady came to my house and bought most of my ornaments right off my tree. After that, my tendinitis cranked up, and I got rid of my crochet thread and itty bitty hooks, and vowed to never do it again. That wasn’t the first time I made that vow.

WELL. BUT…this is TUNISIAN crochet! It might be different! And I have SO MUCH YARN.

So, I decided to do this weather scarf. I got out a bunch of colors of Tahki Cotton Classic that I bought years ago from Earth Guild, and similar cotton yarns I have on cones. I assigned colors to a range of temperatures like this:

Then I looked up the high temperatures for each day on Weather Underground and made a chart with the corresponding colors. Then I started stitching one row for every day. Yesterday I caught up to the current day and it is not enough! So I also have a regular crochet project in which I am making dishcloths and produce bags with the long yarn waste from my current weaving project.

My buddy the Fabulous Zha K gave me a bunch of interesting boxes and tins on her way outta North Carolina and this wooden wine gift box turned out to be the perfect container to keep my current crochet projects together.

I hope that this will work out and I can be wise about it. I am weaving standing up and when I need a break from that I sit down and crochet. In the meantime, nothing else is getting done, unfortunately. These seeds aren’t going to plant themselves.

Back Forty, fiber art

How it is with me

Better. Much better.

I am able to make myself do the things that have to be done. And do the things that my soul craves as well.

During the last weekend in January, Sandy and I got out and cleaned up the back yard and took the remaining tatters of the cloth roof off the gazebo, AKA the outdoor studio. The idea is to move it more toward the middle of the yard and away from the trees, and from there it will be mostly up to Sandy what he wants to do with it. I am not moving it or the many pavers that I put down when I set it up long ago. It nearly handicapped me then. But it was a great place to paint and make paper and read and journal until the trees behind starting dropping branches on it and the vines began ripping through the screened walls. A big limb came down on our back house a few weeks ago and so Sandy is cutting away at it and burning it. He is such a firebug.

Saturday somebody told him that he looks like Captain Kangaroo.

Between that weekend and this weekend we moved the greenhouse closer to the house where I think that it might get a little more morning sun. This will be a warm week and I will start some seeds.

Last weekend Sandy took me to a country restaurant called Hillbilly Hide-a-way that we have been curious about for a long time. They bring you out some of everything that is on the menu that night and then you can order more of whatever you want, all you can eat. I guess if you are a huge eater it is a great deal. People wrote all over the walls for years so we added our names. It is a very popular place. I doubt we will go back though.

On Thursday, we went to see Gaelic Storm at the Blind Tiger here in Greensboro. I saw them in 2016 and they put on a great show. I’m kind of surprised I didn’t write a post about it then because I took photos then. They have a new fiddler this year but here is a photo from last year when they ended the show up on the bar.

Then on Saturday, I took a Tunisian crochet class at Gate City Yarns, and afterward we ate at Pier Oyster Bar and Grille, both in downtown Greensboro. This was our second time at Pier, and man, is it good. I had ahi poke tacos and the shells were crispy fried wontons. This is the first time I have found poke with the same flavorings that I found in Oregon in 2017. YUM.

I really like Tunisian crochet. We have two more classes, and here is the start of the sampler…will post the final product later. I like the look of it and it is much easier on my right hand.

As for Amanda and Gate City Yarns, I think that I have already proclaimed my love for Amanda here. I took the spinning wheel that belonged to Ida Eisemann to her. I had bought it in an antique store in Saratoga, Florida around 2002, I think. She was so beautiful that I could not leave it in the store. However, I felt strongly that she needs to go to a spinner so Amanda is going to look into getting her restored (she needs a flywheel) and either buy or sell her for me. She was lonely at my house. I believe this is an object with a soul.

Yes, I am still weaving! I am making a mess of the hemstitching on the first curtain panel now.