November 17, 2015
look at me!
i have a f.o. to share!
(project details here)
this shit was completed ages ago;
i made it for the singular sonya phillip.
though i intended to gift it at rhinbeck 2014,
circumstances conspired against me.
but i got it to her!
and she like it!
and she kindly sent a very flattering pic of it!
and i feel like exclaiming about it all over the place!
and this is really all just a way to avoid writing my dissertation!
October 20, 2015
how to talk about rhinebeck.
how to talk about rhinebeck
when you haven’t talked
this was, perhaps,
the most restrained i’ve been
at a fiber festival, mostly just
replenishing those things i always do.
i’m definitely not as deft as i once was;
i dropped a lot of stitches,
my gauge is inconsistent,
and i had to take breaks for achey hands,
but boy did it feel great to knit again.
gotta love that shift in brain waves
brought on by a repetitive action.
so since i was using this paintbox,
i gave myself permission to replace it.
(i couldn’t get a good shot on its own, but you see it in the first pic.
the colorway is steampunk in the kashmir base)
my mom’s been kinda awesome this year in the face of pretty intense stress. so when i saw these two towels that match the one i got her last time, i knew what i was buying from karen this go ’round.
(she doesn’t have a website, apparently,
but if you want more info you can email her here)
then i got my stock of handmade soap from simpler thyme.
a couple lavender, a tea tree, and sandalwood will last me a while.
i also stopped by gene matras’ booth,
stocking up on some of his notecards to sustain my semi-secret paper addiction. (*sigh* another artsy macro shot showing only the ass of the sleepy pig notecard. i guess i’m out of practice with photography as well.
at least you get an idea of the level of detail in his work)
someday, i’m going to get one of his originals.
and i better do it quick; he’s no spring chicken.
this next item i didn’t even have to purchase.
on the anniversary of the annual chili pepper challenge andrea and i inaugurated five years ago at which we (and now most of our housemates) sample the hottest sauce at the wild coyote booth,
old man chili himself gave us each
a free bottle of hot sauce.
he gave me a bottle of buried alive, the sauce that gets its flavor and heat via not one not two but all three varietals of the ghost chili.
this shit does not. fuck. around.
the favorite thing i got a rhinebeck:
a selection of pieces gifted by sonya philip from her microscopy series. this gave me a lot of feels. a lot. i’ve admired sonya’s work since before i even knew who she was. and for her to just give me this work that she made… it meant a lot. i’ll treasure them and give them a place of honor in my tiny house.
well kids, that’s it for the loot.i’m still meditating on how to tackle my rhinebeck post proper.
it was…an incredible retreat from reality, so restorative.
it stirred up a lot of things in me, happy parts of me
that haven’t been a part of my life in a while now.
i’m feeling really lucky to have gone
and want to write it up right.
see you tomorrow?
June 1, 2015
have i been going.
the details of which
are relegated to my actual journal.
but shit, man, let me tell you;
this week, i’ve been blabbing
to anyone who’d listen.
asking, “how are you?”
is going to get a real response.
now is not the time to expect pleasantries from me.
i’ve been trying to pull back
from the specifics of what’s been bothering me
to think about what it says about who i am.
(i try to be reflective whenever possible)
and these are the things i know to be true:
i have worked really hard over the past four years to imbricate myself within a network of friends who love and respect me. i would argue that i rarely call upon that network in times of need, emotional especially, but i’ve had to the past couple of weeks and all i can say is my investment has paid off. my work (such as it is) and friendships are on. fucking. point. this year and i’m being consciously grateful for that.
i have also come to realize that in focusing on strengthening certain parts of my personality, work ethic, and friendships, i have created a false sense of security, a kind of bubble if you’ll pardon the lame metaphor. i operate under a delusion that i am in far greater control of my life, or perhaps more accurately myself, than i actually am because i’ve limited its general scope. this means that, when faced with new things, especially things that are unexpectedly difficult and generally foreign to how i live ma vie quotidienne, i am basically a child. the adult, rational part of my brain, overdeveloped through years of academic discipline, is simply inadequate for certain challenges. i’m not sure what to do about that quite yet, but i imagine recognizing a weakness in my character (by which i mean things with which i am unpracticed) is a good first step.
all of this is beginning to sound like an epic subtweet of sorts, a kind of return to the “i know who my real friends are” or “you know what you did” moments of livejournal circa 2004. this is not my goal. my goal is to point out two things:
1. i have come to realize that asking for help is a good thing because i have people in my life who’ll do it without question. i am going to allow myself to be “weak” now and then. (though i’m to make a habit of it)
2. i love the upjohn company for their creation of xanax because god knows i’d never make it through this life without the help of a little western medicine now and then.
setting all this cryptic emotional bullshit aside, (which is suddenly feeling so self indulgent that i should have just written it in my actual journal after all) how about ending on a high note, eh?
i think it’s been roughly 1.5 years
since i’ve knit
a single stitch.
simply an estimate
as i’m far to lazy to confirm)
i’m hoping i can re-access
that meditative quality that
drew me to knitting to begin with
because the alternative is bourbon
and mixing pills and booze, well,
that’s a road one should avoid.
*pray for my gauge
May 5, 2015
part of my writing process
is to use poetry as inspiration,
as a break from writing,
today’s poem has likely been posted here before.
but i’m holding on to it today fiercely,
forcing myself toward a revision
When Butches Cry
by Bonni Barringer
When butches cry
they weep, they wail
They gnash their teeth
Strong woman’s pain
It’s just the same
Except it’s mostly done
January 9, 2015
this. is. amazing!
August 17, 2014
if you live in the metro detroit area,
and didn’t make it to one of the detroit city distillery
bottle releases & tastings this weekend,
then you missed out on the event
of the summer.
i’d been stalking DCD for a while
when fate sat me across from owner,
(apparent) front man, and detroit’s newest
most eligible bachelor,
at de la tierra,
a pop-up art show and dinner.
it was one of those moments of kismet when,
if you’re trying at all to be part of
what can only be called
detroit’s exploding food/booze/art scene,
you inevitably run into someone who’s doing something fabulous.
and so, a month or so later,
when i got the advance email
about DCD’s bloodline whiskey release,
i bought my ticket without a second thought.
no amount of coaxing could get my friends to come with,
so i flew solo to eastern market
rolling up to 2462 riopelle
a little more than
blasting amr diab
and circling twice for a parking spot.
i’ll spare you the details of the night in favor of the highlights:
the energy was palpable – just the right mix of smiles and buzz, allowing the chet baker and billie holiday to bleed into the evening without being oppressive.
the service was impeccable – i was seated at the bar and the bartenders were friendly and, frankly, rather attractive. (evan, in particular, was kinnered several times by this shameless shutter fly)
the company was fated – a fellow solo diner was seated next to me and turned out to be none other than the detroit foodie. it was the perfect pairing; i love to dissect the food and drinks at these shindigs, and it was great to be seated by someone who could (and would) happily keep up.
the morai were clearly looking out.
the food was on point – especially considering it was prepared (semi-legally?) in an alleyway in eastern market. it was three courses of food i typically would never have ordered, the unexpectedness of my enjoyment only multiplying its effect. chefs jesse knot and brad greenhill seriously delivered. (that brisket, bitch!)
the drinks were flawless, dahling – sugar house who? DCD has all the ambience and none of the pretension, the antique bar lending a subtle authenticity other “speakeasies” only wish they could buy. more importantly, the drinks were perfectly balanced* and will knock you down without you realizing it (though that blackthorn is not fucking around!) the stars were the detroit sidecar and the strawberry punch. seriously. who would ever have thought that whiskey and strawberry would go together? i just want to lay in a hammock with a growler of that shit, slowly pickling.
my life is such that these little outings of mine carry great importance to me. so it was lovely to not be disappointed and to leave happier than when i arrived (so much so i returned on saturday for the two faced blended bourbon bottle release & tasting). between the two nights, i dropped a dollar and left with ten bottles, two gifted to those who kept me company in my solitude (thanks TDF and haven!)
if this opening is any indication,
DCD is set to become
a detroit icon.
check it out, stat.
as you know,
i’m not blogging regularly these days and
am equally out of practice at editing down
the number of pics i take to weave into a post.
you’ll just have to settle for a disjointed photoessay.
*my only critique would be that they need bigger ice. my drinks got a tad too watery too fast. though i had a total of five in about three hours, so part of it was my inability to keep up.
June 4, 2014
the other day,
i got a package.
and you know how much
i love an unexpected package.
there is absolutely nothing better than an unforeseen gift;
may it be a sign of many many things to come!
so thanks, anna.
i miss you, bitch!
tomorrow, how about a fo, eh?
it’s been a while, after all.
January 22, 2014
December 31, 2013
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
November 13, 2013
if you’re a crafter
with any internet presence,
you’ll remember an ‘incident’ in 2012
when one of my favorite bloggers, completely cauchy,
got some heat for a guest post she wrote on whipup (now, sadly, defunct)
that included an image of a quilt
with a provocative word on it.
some people went a little crazy after seeing it,
but i applauded it (and reblogged it)
because for me,
it was a work of art
and a genius work at that.
i emailed cauchy
with an idea
after a lot of emails
and more than a year of work and thought,
the quilt is now complete.
(to be clear, i only gave the word; she did everything else)
because some may consider it nsfw,
you’ll have to scroll down to have a look.
if you have a delicate constitution
or an aversion to potential controversy
now is the time to exit.
after the image is a mini interview with cauchy about the project.
after reading it, head on over to her blog where she interviews me.
on the quilt is a word that’s especially powerful to me,
and my take on it and the issues surrounding it
are likely different from a lot of yours.
so there is but one disclaimer:
you are entitled to your opinion on the piece, but this blog is my house.
if you start acting a fool in the comments
they will be deleted.
it seems like your crafting, whether it’s a deeply thought-out expression of a philosophical idea (as with the fuck quilt or the n-word quilt) or making a knitted stuffed bunny, everything is ultimately an expression of you. your life, your tastes, your thoughts, what makes you happy. what was it like to have the seed of an idea given to you from someone else? and how did you put yourself into this work (if at all)?
I’ve tried things like testing patterns (in knitting and quilting) and even a fully-dictated commission or two and found that there’s something far too confining to me in those situations. It always feels like dungeon crafting at the behest of a whip-cracker. However, you just provided the kernel of an idea by just putting one word before me. To begin, I had to check you out, observing your blog and other social media interactions to learn more about the requester. Once you seemed fairly reputable, I felt like I had to give it a try by living with the idea long enough for it to begin to feel like my own. Honestly, I don’t think it’s reached that status completely, but we’ll discuss that more later.
How did I put myself into the work? Well, the use of such a word expressed in quilt form is the beginning, of course. Not too many folks are doing that at all. But, definitely the picnic theme came from within; it’s a darkly comedic approach rather than resorting to the more obvious forms that might come to mind. That is, I played with dusty pinks and purples in a flouncy font, for example. But that seemed one-dimensional and too easy–too easy for me and too easy for a viewer. The final form is the result of a year of rumination and conveys more of my own internalization of the seed of the idea–it came to me at breakfast one Saturday, I sketched and started impulsively sewing within a few minutes.
i requested that you make this quilt after the inclusion of your n-word quilt on your whip-up post almost two years ago. i had a very visceral response to that whole internet encounter, but even more so to the quilt itself. obviously, faggot doesn’t have the same personal effect for you as the n-word but what does it make you feel? what is your reaction to it?
As a Southerner, I hear these words in my mind in the most countrified accent. Those double g’s in both words are lingered over. In the n-word, the “errrrrrr” drawls on and hangs in the air, while the ending of our f-word, the “ot!,” comes out as a hard and violent pop like a firecracker. Both words bring an element of fear since my first experiences of them were in threatening situations. And I tend to assume that one who uses our f-word would also use the n-word, actually, and vice versa. And these words tend not to be followed up with coffee and cupcakes.
The first time I heard our f-word it was hurled at a neighbor kid who was always bullied in middle school. I had no idea what the word meant nor why it was used. But the force behind the yelling and the teasing that surrounded the incident only incited fear in me. Ever the nerd, I looked it up in the dictionary right when I got home from school. It was puzzling… why is he a bundle of sticks? It took quite a while to get a full explanation out of my parents.
in our exchanges during this process you mentioned some reticence to making this quilt because (correct me if i’m wrong) the word faggot wasn’t “yours” to quilt. can you talk a little bit about that? and what ultimately made you agree to make this quilt?
Yes, indeed. I started this body of work as an exploration of my identity as viewed by others. The concept is simple. With the quilts or comforters one chooses to buy from department stores, one expresses some portion of one’s self-image. Albeit there is a limited selection (one is confined to the choices made available by current industrial-scale designers), one chooses a style and builds a decor accordingly. What do those choices project about one? And, in turn, how can one project oneself into a quilt?
The words that first came to mind for me were: oreo, bitch, princess, and the n-word. While the n-word quilt ultimately was an angry cathartic project, the others were light-hearted and playful explorations. And eventually I’d go on to give c*nt a try and that is probably the best of the series so far. These are words that are personal and for which I have clear personal experiences that give me license to use and illustrate them. Initially and throughout my one-year deliberations on our f-word, it just seemed to me that I wasn’t allowed to use the f-word. I’d even been accused of racism on that Whip-Up post, by commenters who just assumed I wasn’t black and therefore was not allowed to go anywhere near usage of the n-word. So I had to pause to think. One must quilt responsibly, right?
I gotta say that 2012 was the perfect year to be in this perpetual tailspin: the nation was finally moving forward on marriage equality. Amid daily immersion in this civil rights movement, I was making sure to steep myself in history and, at the same time, just happened to revisit Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, first by finally viewing the beautiful mini-series with Jeremy Irons and, second, by nipping into the novel again to recall contexts. Volumes have been written analyzing the characters, their relationships, and the religious themes of the novel so I’ll refrain here. For me this reading in 2012 brought on visceral feelings of social contrasts of all sorts and I reveled in the joy of the early moments of Charles and Sebastian’s relationship. All of this led to finally acknowledging the anger and frustration I feel about the entrenched resistance to this equality movement.
It slowly dawned on me that our f-word is part of my world and my AmericanExperience. My reticence was right because I want to avoid offending (to a certain extent) but I have a right to use this f-word responsibly for the same reasons that I defend others’ rights to use it. [First Amendment for all, my friend.]
Now, even though I claimed ownership of the vocabulary, I remain wary in ways I cannot articulate.
i know you put a lot of time and thought into this project; it’s been almost two years in the planning/making. can you talk a little bit about the process? both technical as well as what the making made you think or feel?
My “process” for quilt design differs with each project. While most are improvisational and/or impulsive, this one started out as a long deliberation that built up to an impulsive move. I started sketching whenever ideas came to me, a practice I rarely indulge in. On my cutting table, there’s a pile of old receipts, boarding passes and envelopes that explore this one concept. Each idea has some potential, but never compelled me to start stitching; see purple-pink example above.
But then one day I woke up ready, I did a mock up on my computer over coffee, and it just felt right. The only certainty I could articulate was that the instinctual simplicity of the design was what was missing in previous versions. Technically, this is traditional Quaker sampler design executed with simple and efficient sewing.
While sewing, I thought quite a bit about the bullied neighbor kid and another dear friend of the family with whom I’ve lost contact. There was so much about them that I now realize I was too young and too oblivious to understand at the time–ten year-olds shouldn’t have to know everything, of course. All I knew was they were nice folks who, in my presence, incurred wrath expressed through this word.
do you have any idea what your next “word” quilt might be?
Well, since I tend to embark on these projects impulsively, I cannot be sure. There are ideas always on my mind, but none have risen up to need to been made yet. That’s not such a satisfying answer? Let’s just say that one of these designs involves the word “fingerpainting” in an unexpected way.
thank you, cauchy, so much.
this collaboration has meant more to me than you can know.
i’ll cherish the quilt forever.
and don’t forget to read the companion post on completely cauchy!