February 16, 2013

The State of Michigan

I will never again be going back to Michigan to visit my parents. When the plane took off from Metro Airport a few Sundays ago, I looked out the window and became all the Julies that sat in that seat over the decades...leaving to head towards or to escape from, leaving in tears, rage, jitters, leaving with fiancees and husbands, crying babies and sullen teenagers.

I saw all those girls, like some kind of movie from the 50s where an actual spiral on the screen lets you know you are spiraling back in time. They are all still in me and they are creating this new cloth...The State of Michigan.

Not sure if the rest of the world knows that Michigan is shaped like a mitten.  I've stitched in the beginnings of a pine tree using some lovely hand-dyed varigated floss that I buy instead of getting peanut M & Ms but stopped making the needles till I get a more foresty green. The four-patch is from a bunch of 19th century blocks I found in Leadville Colorado and the word is from a pillow that Billy Dog is remodeling.

I'm trying Jude's "Coma Effect" to see if I can build up all the girls in the plane that day.


  1. love what you are doing here and i relate to your story even though mine is a bit different. i had some of the same thoughts after my mom died and i knew i would not be going back to Florida again. i did not know that Michigan is shaped like a mitten. i love your stars in the background.

  2. a glorious bit of folk art forming. thanks for the mitten story detail.

  3. the layers of who you are spun with the memories that get embroidered with time ...

  4. Sometimes the memories don't feel like individual strands, more like a solid block that is just ME NOW.

  5. People didn't know Michigan was shaped like a mitten? Actually, its two mittens, one for the Lower Peninsula with your right hand palm up and the other for the Upper Peninsula, with your left hand palm up and at 90 degrees to your right finger tips. (art to come).

    Well, if I have done nothing else in my life but make it possible for people to win on Jeopardy with "Michigan for 500," I have done good.

  6. well...i think it's more than Jeopardy. i think it might provide some
    sense of resolution for all the You s.
    and cause you to work your skills of cloth making.
    in the end...you will have a place where all those remembrances can
    live and as i said on the forum, maybe a Family cloth...which might
    elicit some exchanges that otherwise couldn't happen?????
    time will tell.

  7. you are so right, even as I stitch each layer beneath the thumb, I am remembering. And accepting it all as part of the cloth.

  8. This is a great story of layers. Reminded me of one of my favorite pieces of writing. "Eleven" by Sandra Cisneros. She too speaks of how we are made up of all of our prior selves. Here she is reading it:


    And I too learned some mitten geography today! Thanks for sharing :)

  9. I knew about the mitten! but I lived in Michigan for 3 years.
    those moments when you get to know "this is the last time" are worth holding on to. this is a wonderful grasp of this piece of your story. & love the starred edge.