Saturday, April 30, 2011

Soley's Quilt

Soley's quilt is finally finished, just as she is turning two. As they say, the shoemakers children go barefoot. I had been dreaming of this quilt ever since I was pregnant with her. I knew it had to be bright and have some kind of sun motif because of her name. Here is what I came up with. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011


            I have searched everywhere. She is nowhere to be found. I started by following a pattern, a grid, asking neighbors, friends, trying to retrace her steps. Then I began following my spirit. She was, is, my first love, my heart, I can feel her in my gut, my heart, my naval. I try to see without seeing, blurring my vision, not seeing with my eyes.  I should be able to pick up the scent of her, not a scent, but something allusive and ethereal like scent, like an aura, showing me the path that she took. I vibrate. No, it’s not vibration, it’s anxiety, fear, that creates this shaking. It is constant, under my skin, deep, in the muscle, imperceptible to the eye, but there, it get’s deeper as the longer this goes on. I wonder if it will go in further, into my core, my heart if I don’t find her, if she is dead. What will it feel like? Like a black hole that spreading outward or gripping pain? Or more like nothing, numbness? Never mind. She is an old woman, who wandered away from home. It is simple. Someone has to have seen her. I will find her.

The call to leave has been getting stronger. For months? Years? Yes, years I think. It started so softly. It’s so easy to dismiss these types of things. Even I who has tried to get rid of all excess chatter dismissed it. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

first quilt guild meeting

I finally went to my first quilting guild meeting. I’ve been trying to go for three years now at least. I could never quite make it. I was always tired from being a new teacher and mommy, and quite frankly I was intimidated. I finally went, unsure of what I would meet. Would everyone be amazing quilters and I would be hopelessly out of my league? Would they be snotty, it is after all the Proper Bostonian Quilters group. It was absolutely amazing. I was one of the only women under sixty, I was one of the only Black women there and it was absolutely wonderful. It was lovely being in women’s space. Our differences didn’t matter (for now). We had a common language of quilting. The women were warm and chatty. They acted as if they had been waiting for me (they raved about my quilts!). This must be how people feel at comic book conventions, when they leave their isolated existence as alienated nerds and finally join the fellowship of fellow costumed geeks.

A messy mess

I was looking forward to sewing some quilts that use up my left over batik strips. However all of the strips have tangled into a confusing ungodly messy mess. What is a girl to do?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Best Idea I've every had

Just when I thought I was doomed, the idea occurred to me to hang the strips on a clothes dryer. Attagirl. (please note that they are organized in proper rainbow ROYGBIV order). Ta Da! no more mess.....until the baby finds it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

I chose her

I chose her. Not because she was special or because she had soulful, intelligent eyes, but because of all the children in the orphanage she was the one with the lightest skin and the curliest hair. No five-year-old should have the power to make this type of decision. She has made me pay for it ever sense.

At seventeen she regularly sneaks out the house. She smokes cigarettes and she goes out with men. Grown men who have been to jail. She gets letters from them on plain stationary. I sneak them to her in efforts of winning her affection. The only thing that has stayed with her from Haiti is her sense of style, her gaudiness, her penchant for weaves, tight skirts, big purses, blue eye shadow. Mom has grown ten years older in the last five years. Her face looks perpetually drawn, her brow furrowed. Dad doesn’t say much about it, he’s always been pretty stoic, but his bouts of silliness are far and few between, his attitude is always, “She’s our child, we have to do whatever needs to be done to support her.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the biggest fan of the parental units. They foisted their misplaced liberalism on us. They wouldn’t let us eat refined sugar and didn’t let us watch t.v. and we looked like freaks in front of other kids because we didn't get any of their cultural references. Vegetarian, self righteous (they always donated to n.p.r.) and left leaning, they refused to mourn when Obama was assassinated because they claimed that he didn’t do enough for Blacks.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chinese Coins Quilt with Amy Butler Fabric

Hmm, well the goal here was a cool, mod Chinese coins quilt. The olive one is meant for Teri's new daugher Ava. I was called to do something a little more reserved for her than my usual garish, batik number. The orange is an attempt at doing some kind of orange-pink clash/blend. They are made with Amy Butler fabrics, I love them so, but they never seem to quite work out for me. Not quite satisfied but can't figure out why...

Monday, March 28, 2011


I decided to jump in head first and begin making dolls. I had wanted to make them for a while but I was pretty intimidated by trying to follow a pattern, so I just sketched out an outline on a sweater I had felted, cut, sewed, and stuffed her. She is lop sided but Soley likes her, that is the important part. When I was feeling self congratulatory and thought my job was done, Soley pointed out that she didn't have any clothes, so I had to make her a dress. Then she pointed out that she didn't have a belly button, so I had to sew her on one. She has also pointed out that she doesn't have any ears, but that is above my current ability level.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ugly Doll

I also thought that these ugly dolls were cute so I tried my hand at it, also with no pattern. Though appropriately ugly, I think a little more symmetry would have done him good. Soley insisted on a belly button.


We went to go visit my friend Tene' in Brooklyn, her son Kamau, has a sever case of dinosaur fever, (though only two and a half he knows the names of nine dinosaurs). Kamau has a stuffed T-Rex that Tene' bought from Urban Outfitters for some astronomical price. The crafter in me always boasts, I could make that, but this time I finally did. Since dinosaur fever is extremely contagious, I made Soley a stuffed Apatosaurus (which only fools still call Brontosaurus) out of felted wool. I hope to make another one to send to Kamau, (but his will have four legs). Please appreciate the fact that this is hand stitched because machine was in the shop getting fixed

Thursday, March 3, 2011

House Top Quilt "inspired" from Gee's Bend Quilt

This quilt was "inspired" from a quilt from the Gee's Bend collection. The inspired is in quotations because it is a copy. My husband complains that I never make a quilt for the house so I asked him to choose one from the Gee's Bend book for me to me to use as inspiration. He chose this one, and I was pleased that he chose such a simple pattern (they call it a house top pattern). The quilt in the book, though simple, is beautiful, and I was dissapointed by mine, which is plain in comparison. The Gee's Bend quilt is made out of corduroy at a time when it was plentiful to the ladies and it has some very interesting half circle quilting on it. Mine is not quilted yet, however, so maybe that will add some depth to it. The lesson: don't copy a quilt, each one is unique in and of it's self and reflects the maker and the context.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Strip Around the World or House Top Quilt

I made this quilt for my friend Vanessa's daughter Nia. It is based off of the Strip Around the World pattern by Carol Morrissey.

Snails Trails Quilt for Lauren

This baby quilt was meant for my niece Lauren, who is big girl now, and thus will need a bigger quilt. (Perhaps I can add another row to each side). It is based on the "snails trails" pattern and uses batiks.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bento Box

I would love to do commissioned quilting (well I thought I did), but it turns out that I can't handle doing what other people want me to do. This is my first and only commissioned piece kinda. Nia, my doula for Soley, asked for a quilt, and we even went to the fabric store to pick out the fabrics (this was two years ago). She asked for a quilt that wasn't too busy and didn't have a lot of reds in it. However, I could not listen to her because I was sure that what she wanted would not work and I knew better: that the fabrics she chose would make a perfect bento box. So I went ahead and made it and it is much too busy and I'm sure too red for her. I have began another one that I think is closer to what she wants but I'm stalled on it and lost motivation because I'm a brat and it's not what I wanted to make. (perhaps I'm not ready to take commissions, it seems to involve a certain zen- non-attachment and I'm not there yet)

Pink and Orange Batik quilts for Ayanna's twins