Thursday, January 21, 2016

- Details, details

I'm here to say for the record that what Cindy Monte does at Handstories, creating gossamer swaths of stars, is very, very hard to do (well). That being said, when I awoke this morning to green grasses glittering in the early morning sun, I had to try ...

Patch #21

It doesn't quite capture the magic of the scene outside my window, much as Christmas tree lights don't capture the magic of stars seen through evergreen branches. Nonetheless, having stitched it will help me remember this morning's magic and appreciate Cindy's creations all the more.

Likewise, I tried to capture the sense of an overnight wash of raindrops in the gauge. Though there was too little to measure, the rainfall was worthy of recording with a fringe of blue linen and tiny pricks of pale blue basting along the edges of the sunlit yellow patch  ...


Other details I've stitched are too subtle to see unless pointed out, like these two weather patches joined with orange thread, a recollection of driving into Austin at daybreak last week ...


I've also stitched some seams in gray, a nod to partially cloudy days. They are beneath notice unless one knows where to look. A stitcher's conceit ... and therein lies the explanation for the fun I'm having. [Later: I just recalled that software game developers who hide images in their work call the images "Easter eggs"]

By the way, today's green patch was the outcome of a thrift store binge yesterday ...


The three table cloths on the top left are finely woven cotton/linen blends ... all 55" x 55" square and there were four more I left behind (2 beige, 2 a rather bilious yellow). They undoubtedly came from the same home, from someone who loved to set tables, someone like Dana at Raven and Sparrow. At least, that's what I choose to believe ... it makes for a good story.The teal placemats on the lower left seem to be the same cotton/linen blend, but I confess to being a bit unsure, even after doing a burn test, as they could conceivably be rayon or a rayon blend.

The shirts, on the other hand, are 100% cotton (the one on the left) and 100% linen (the two on the right). The green shirt is a men's medium, so lots of cloth to be had. The two ladies' blouses are another story: my favorite colors ... for stitching or wearing? I can't decide. Don's Solomonic recommendation is to put them in the closet to see if I actually wear them before putting them on the cutting block. Works for me.

And to finish the thought thread that I started last night, here's the Kantha stitch that I ripped out of Land of Flood and Drought ...

Double-strand DMC

And here's what I stitched in its place ...

Single-strand DMC

Visibly the difference is subtle (there's that word again), but to the hand it made all the difference in the world. 

22 comments:

handstories said...

Dear Liz, "glittering" is just the word I thought upon coming here & seeing your patch! It does capture the magic of morning dew (& serendipitously, today I needed to define "dew" to a bunch of 4th graders!). & your restitched kantha looks softer, what a difference a thin thread can make.

Liz Ackert said...

Oh, I'm so glad you came by Cindy. Serendipity is under-rated ... when I was a practicing librarian, I loved that well-placed books could lead readers and researchers to unanticipated finds. The current trend toward warehousing university libraries and retrieving books by automatons saddens me.

But now I'm fortunate that my days are taken with finding the best way for thread and cloth to join together ... happy times. Stitching smaller and finer seems to be my way ... and why not? There's no hurry.

Dana said...

Your "Easter eggs" may not be obvious to the casual eye, but what treasure! They lock your vision and your memories into the cloth, which will hold them for as long as it lasts. Your new blue kantha is a satisfying rain.

Saskia van Herwaarden said...

your documenting of the ongoing process is captivating and priceless; and yes the changes are subtle, as are many of the details, I know only too well how much it DOES matter......maybe not in the grand scheme of things, but in the actual making and attempt at 'honesty' in the process it matters in a way only other creators recognize and pay hommage to.

Birgit Olann said...

The colours and the details that appear out of interaction between cloth and thread, I like it a lot! It is so amazing and considerable, how thoughts will lead the hand with the needle if we admit.

Roxanne said...

There are so many levels of metaphor in this work. I hope you have recorded the connections and thoughts in a place that will not disappear over time, so the story and provenance of this piece remain in tact. And I hope this posts!

Liz Ackert said...

Thank you for a thought-provoking comment: "lock your vision and memories into the cloth, which will hold them for as long as it lasts."

And the blue kantha is indeed metaphorical rain ... I'm so pleased it reads that way

Liz Ackert said...

I am glad that you and other Kindred Spirits take the time to look and comment here. To be understood is so very much appreciated and encourages further explorations.

Liz Ackert said...

There is no question that the Kindred Spirit blogs (yours included) "lead the hand" ... thank you for expressing this so elegantly!

Liz Ackert said...

Yea! It posted!! Hopefully you are past the blog gremlins that were blocking you before.

And your comment about finding a place that will not disappear is thought-provoking. As a lover of books, I trust their durability far more than the ether. So now I'm wondering if anyone out there has had a good experience with printing a blog in book form.

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

that single strand....SO important for me...i always use just a single.

Liz Ackert said...

I was trying to impose more texture on the linen patches ... which I got with the two strands, but it just didn't feel right. That stalled me for about a week while I contemplated my navel since I really didn't want to rip out those stitches. In the end, I'm glad I did. Lesson learned.

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

to impose texture, simply repeat over, next to, on, adding layers of the
single strand...it still somehow is very different than multiple strand
stitches, i think.

deemallon said...

subtle is good, subtle matters, we can all see and take note of subtle. It's funny, though, I'm not sure I think of a partially grey sky as subtle... it is such a large part of my field of vision. The color, maybe, but not it, itself. Anyway, your expression is lovely. I know what you mean about hesitating to rip out and then being glad you did... always a hard call, and one helped by stepping back for a bit, as you did.

Liz Ackert said...

Take time, in other words. Well, I now realize there is no short-cut to good texture.

Liz Ackert said...

Too true ... gray skies aren't subtle at all, but when it comes time to record the day's weather, I'm much more apt to remember the sun than the clouds.

Simone de Klerk said...

The magic of your stars did strike me in the post after this one and also with the close up here. Love the tablecloths you found. Sometimes I makes changes in my work that no one would ever recognize but makes the very big difference for me!

Simone de Klerk said...

PS: not the post but picture of the stars next to the other blocks.

Liz Ackert said...

Ahhh ... that was some boro-style mending on my favorite jeans. You can read (and see) more here: http://imgoingtotexas.blogspot.com/2014/11/bell-bottom-blues-boro-style-saves-day.html

Liz Ackert said...

Those mending "stars" sometimes strike me as dragonflies. Please see my reply below for a link to the post about how they came about.

Saskia van Herwaarden said...

contemplating one's navel is the way to go sometimes......LOL

Liz Ackert said...

Read a great article yesterday about the creative benefits of procrastination (another word for navel gazing) ... I meant to post a link, but didn't quite get around to it (wink)