Red

I would like to send a big “Thank you!” to Mariss, for reminding me about the #areyoubookenough challenge. Mariss’ post about her first book, Shelter from the Storm, got me interested in maybe trying this challenge once again. Then, when I saw her Instagram post about her “red” book in progress, I just knew I wanted to make a book. I have spent the day, reading poems and reliving special memories, during the process of making this book.

The challenge theme of “red”, made me think of two special poems. One is the poem, A Lady red-amid the Hill, by Emily Dickinson. The image of red tulips came to mind, and I found the perfect scrap for the hills. Crumb scraps and beads were used to dot the hills with tulips. The other poem is The Red Wheelbarrow, by William Carlos William. This short poem is one of my favorites. As part of my instruction in both fourth and fifth grade classrooms, I included the study of an excellent novel, Love that Dog, by Sharon Creech. This novel is the perfect way to teach students about self-expression and poetry. The novel is written in a diary format and the first line is quite the conversation starter for students:



“I don’t want to
Because boys
Don’t write poetry.

Girls do.”

The Red Wheelbarrow is one of the poems in the novel. I so enjoyed the class discussion of this poem, which resulted in inspiring and creative poems written by my students. And yes, the boys in my room ended up enjoying writing poetry. 😉

Red, of course, made me think of the cardinal. This bird was one of mom’s favorite birds. She embroidered a cardinal that I had framed for her to give to her great-granddaughter. It hangs in my granddaughter’s room.

Red also made me think of my childhood. There was a red wagon with origins unknown, that my cousins (who lived next door) and I used for playing, hauling, and transportation. My sons also had red wagons. I have a very special memory of decorating the wagons for a 4th of July parade in our neighborhood.

Another childhood memory inspired by this color, is that of a popsicle. My cousins and neighbors would drop everything as soon as we heard the cheerful melody of the Ice Cream Truck. We would line up on the street curb, with the coins my Tia Chicha would give us. The big decision was which flavor to choose…cherry red, banana, or root beer. Most times, the problem was solved by each of us ordering one of each and then breaking them in half to share.

Roses come to mind when thinking of red things. My Tia Chicha had a large rose bush by her porch. Mom also had beautiful rose bushes in her yards. My dad used to give mom red roses on their anniversary, and he would sign the card, Love, Chester. His name was Pepe, so this was a personal joke between them.

Red also reminded me of summer fun. My cousins and neighborhood friends and I would play outside all day. There was nothing more fun than to end the day with a cold slice of sandía. My dad would spread newspapers out on the backyard table and cut up huge, delicious watermelons. Dad was an expert when it came to picking sweet, just-right, watermelons. Of course, there were seed spitting contests to add to the fun.

You can’t think of red without including a red heart. The heart reminds me of a favorite Beatle tune, All You Need is Love.

Originally, I was thinking of hand-stitching the fabric book. Instead, I took the opportunity to finally use the extra stitches on my sewing machine to make fancy borders. The cardinal is machine thread-sketched. Fabric scraps were used to make the wagon, and other things. Beads and buttons were added as embellishments.

I have enjoyed this walk down memory lane with the color, red. Thank you, Mariss!

Walking with Lines

Drawing is simply a line going for a walk.
Paul Klee

As a child, I was always doodling and going along for “walks with lines”. My father used brown grocery sacks to make book covers for our school books. These made perfect canvases for my doodling. Instead of listening in class, I was “walking” with lines all over my books and notebooks. Doodling is still one of my favorite pastimes. Lines, in all formats, continue to grab my attention. I am always looking at the lines that form and shape my environment.

I like to dabble in zen art and thread sketching with my sewing machine. Right now, I have a renewed interest in the many different forms of hand-stitching. Making lines with yarn can take so many shapes and forms. Sashiko stitching and kantha stitching are two forms of stitching that I have researched and attempted to learn. I learned about kantha stitching from viewing the beautiful pieces stitched by  Mariss Stevens of Fabrications. She has a very interesting post on kantha stitching and cultural appropriation.
Before Covid, I had signed up for a class in creative stitching by Sue Spargo. The class in this folk art style stitching was cancelled. I had purchased her book, Creative Stitching, a few years ago, and I have been trying to self-teach.

For now, I am relying on the embroidery I learned from my aunt and my mother. I have a few basic stitches down, and I am viewing tutorials on the different types stitches. My friend, Francine, from Las Colchas, introduced me to a great book by Natalie Chanin. The Geometry of Hand-Sewing offers great instructions and manipulated grids for different stitches, ranging from basic to enhanced stitches.
I prefer to doodle or sketch my own patterns or designs, although I have used a couple of free patterns to transfer. I have also transferred a photo onto to linen to embroider. Any suggestions for other embroidery resources would be appreciated.

Fall has always been a special season for me, so I have been sketching simple autumn scenes. I used a couple of my sketches as patterns to embroider. I drew onto the linen with a Micron 03 pen. These small projects are giving me the opportunity to practice and try out new stitches. I wanted to embroider on burlap, but I did not have enough to fit on a hoop. I used some different types of linen on the projects in the video below. Next, I want to try embroidering on tulle; but I need to clean up what the back of my stitching looks like before I give tulle a try.  In the video, I also included a fabric Halloween book that I made for my youngest grandson. The fabric panel is from Studio E Fabrics. These small embroidery projects have been a fun way to take an autumn walk with lines.
Stay safe.