About 15 years ago, I had this idea: I cut circles from fabric and stitched biographical plates (portraits) of my ancestors. Small projects, easy to tuck into my bag and work on wherever I happened to be. And what did I do after stitching them?
I’d planned to stitch them onto a tablecloth . . . but that never happened. I just tucked them into the scrap suitcase were they lingered (forgotten) until I went to grab bits I might use on The Storyteller’s Apron, #1: Sky Rider. Now the plates will become constellations – or maybe galaxies – as I stitch along with Jude Hill and the #sunmoonstars gang.
This is the plate of my maternal granddaddy who was a sheriff in Fayette County, GA who liked to play checkers with his grandchildren and took it upon himself to teach each of us to drink coffee. He’d pull us into his lap, fill a saucer with milk, then add a splash of steaming hot Luzianne coffee – just enough to turn the milk a tan color. We’d blow on it and blow on it and blow on it, sending the steam across the room, sipping from the saucer only when there was no more steam to blow. Me? I took part in the ritual up till the part of sipping the milked-down coffee. That was as far as I could go, and to this day, I’ve never even tried coffee.
I start. Finally.
Why so much circling before starting to stitch along with Jude Hill’s SunMoonStars? I think it has to do with trust. After all these trips around the sun, my brain still don’t trust that my heart and hands or even itself, for that matter, will come up with a story, develop it, tell it. My brain – the same brain with authority issues which means it’s the same brain that doesn’t like to follow directions or use patterns – doesn’t believe in haptic intelligence or creativity.
I bought these 2 curtain panels at a thrift shop, and I spent hours trying to decide how to use them. Do I make one long storytelling cloth? Do I make one panel the back of the quilt? Do I make a long, skinny “book”? I finally decide to match the circles – because we all know that everything goes much more smoothly when the planets, suns, and moons are in alignment.
I long to be the woman who can travel the world with a backpack, has more space in her house than stuff, and just starts. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it. And this cloth, this series? It’s gonna’ be FUN.
I rescued these years ago.
A quarter each,
and she gave me a discount because I used the word “rescue”.
Some see tatters.
Worn slap out.
I see stories of resourcefulness and making do.
A special kind of creativity, if you ask me.
Stories of homemade dresses.
and flower gardens lovingly tended.
Stories of birthday cakes
and piano lessons
and biscuits with butter and syrup.
I’ve said Yes to Jude Hill’s latest stitch-a-long, and I’m thinking about doing something I’ve never done before: turning these blocks into a book for Calder Ray . . . mostly because if I make a book, the fetching back side fabric becomes a page and doesn’t remain hidden. The story is already forming . . . a boy who walks on suns and moons, who eats stars for breakfast, lassoes them in play and lets them give him a bath, even if it’s not Saturday night.
These are things my brain is thinking, you understand, plans my brain is making so it can be comfortable knowing how everything is supposed to go before I even thread the needle. Isn’t it funny that in all the trips I’ve made around the sun on this beautiful rock, my brain is always surprised to find that its best laid plans are subject to change once my hands pick up and get going . . .