December 9, 2013

A Week of Two Cloths

Several years ago, I borrowed a pattern called African Huts and created a baby quilt for the shop that showcased a funny fabric of Kaffe's called "Pencils." I called it "Pencilville" and was so excited when it made its way into Quilt Magazine.
Not sure where the hypen came from...or the young boy, who I am sure would really be turning those crayons into aliens and mobilizing them into an attack on the wall. (Ok, blatant stereotype but,hey,I had only girl children and their little boy pals always seemed to be animating inanimate objects with superpowers and launching them against various my face.)

This week, I made a new Pencilville because so many of the original fabrics have been discontinued. My design wall blossomed with brightness and simplicity as Pencilville, Too came to life.
But handling those confetti pinks and daffodil yellows really strained my heart. Its enough to say that the Big Black Dog of maternal doom and gloom is once again trying to climb into my lap. I am having to make adjustments to what it means to be the mother of my forever wayward Thing Two. My struggles feel anything but simple or bright.

They feel like this:
This is my Sad Cloth, which I started several years ago when my discovery of Spirit Cloth coincided with Thing Two thudding into the darkness.
 The quote is an excerpt from a poem called "Kindness" by Naomi Shahib Nye:
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

I am not in the red heat that dominates this cloth, but more in its shades of umber.
I am going to work on Sad Cloth for awhile. I used to feel frantic in the face of sadness. But cloth (and some extra years, I presume) steadies me, makes me able to just sit with the Black Dog until he goes back into his house. This week, then, is about two cloths. One for babies, who need something to clutch when the world of Becoming becomes just too much...and another for moms.

Who feel the same.


  1. oh Julie you made me cry with this post !

    1. yikes, I always grapple with how much self disclosure, but then decided I didn't care. Not to cry, we all have our sorrows, if we can curl up with them like big ole dogs, they don't do as much damage. That's what I am thinking....

    2. don't worry 'bout the tears Julie, Old Man Crow & I both had tears running down our cheeks watching the cartoon movie "Shrek"! we're old softies or perhaps SLOPies (Silly Looking Older People)

  2. Beautiful post, good that you can put it out there and try to deal it through cloth. Its all too easy to curl up and let the Black Dog take over.

    1. Thank you,'re right, I have enough real dogs taking over and no room for the imaginary ones. And I am so so honored that you stopped by, your work is breathtaking (check her out folks)

  3. i love that you have these two Ways right next to/with one another. i see the two month
    old girl child of my son and i see the World. i look. i look at both. how to be?
    this is an immediate response. i want to go back and look and think.
    you are a Good Woman, Julie

    1. That means a lot to me, Grace. Good..maybe what makes it so is being able to exist with both sides, maybe not always comfortable but certainly whole. Whole Cloth.

    2. there are a lot of things out there to try to help make sense of some kind. some
      times i just can listen to them. i just need to remain kind of Empty. but there
      was one that Patricia Following Thread had on her blog...
      it's a Christa Tippet interview with Thich Nhat Hanh on her program On Being
      if you were to go to OnBeing, and click shows at the top, it's September 26th.
      a lot of it remains floating in my consciousness. i need to go listen again.

    3. Thank you so. I also found the transcript of this interview in case anyone else wants to peek

  4. dear Julie, I am not sure I understand everything you mention here (I am half blind, half deaf when it comes to what people actually mean when they speak in metaphors) what I do feel is that you are and have been sad, sorrowful and writing about that here is, well it's just very brave and vulnerable and I thank you for sharing it...
    as you well know I have been sad myself lately with Tungsten's death and what I noticed in self was the pain and sorrow were at times so overwhelming I literally stood gasping for air, and also I just had to let it be; a bit later I could and can manage the feelings and I am sure they find an expression in everything I make, I am a slightly different person because of it all