Since 2002 I have been working with people through collaboration, consultation and commission to make improvised quilts from the clothing and materials of everyday life. This practice developed into an active, hands-on, therapeutic process for working through life transitions and bereavement, that I call Passage Quilting. For more information see the Passage Quilting Blog Archive, and Passage Quilting tutorial.
Mend It Better is a very approachable and a comprehensive reference for taking care of your clothes. It is a book about love and empowerment.
My friend Carol came over to the studio the other night. She helped me install an additional track for studio lights, and a second work wall. We made dinner together with fresh veggies from her garden, and then we had a magnificent time putting up sections of her all, wool quilt.
Carol started this quilt 10 years ago! It's made from scraps of wool that she's collected over the years. Some dating as far back as the 60's. Isn't it beautiful! So vibrant!
Lauren Kenney asked me to make a memorial quilt out of her father's clothes as a gift for her mother. Lauren and her husband came to my studio with a few choice items of clothing, a gold coat beloved by her father in spite of her mother's sense of better taste, golf club covers, gloves, and towel, a favorite plaid shirt, old jean shorts and a pair of suspenders.
Walter was a down to earth kind of guy who used a rope as a belt when working out in the yard. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and as a Connecticut state police officer, and was a loyal Red Sox fan. By his clothes, I can see that Walter had a colorful and bold personality!
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Ever since my car was torched at the end of September, I've been car-free in San Francisco. I've decided to stay that way for the immediate future. I'm saving a ton of money on gas, auto repairs, parking meters, stickers and tickets, canceled car insurance, and a canceled monthly gym membership. I get plenty of exercise now.
When cycling in traffic it's important to wear light-reflective clothing. So last week I biked to the fabric store on the way to my studio, and picked up some sew-on reflective tape. With a little top stitching, I transformed a rather boring looking, gray knit jacket into fashionable bike wear.
When I first moved to SF, I built a bike from scavenged bike parts at the Bike Kitchen, a volunteer run, bicycle co-op. Little did I know how much I would come to love and depend on "Frankie" - short for Frankenstein. He's not the most attractive ride but I'm proud that he's my own creation. Of course I couldn't have done it without help from the Bike Kitchen's volunteer mechanics.
So here's my routine. I can bike to my part-time day job in 12 minutes, or walk it in 30. Getting to my Treasure Island studio is more difficult, since it's half way across the Bay Bridge. It's takes 30-40 minutes by bike and bus, or 60+ minutes by bus alone. It's mostly a flat ride, and although there is a lot of traffic, there are designated bike lanes.
There are limits. I have to plan ahead and designate more time for transportation. However, if the weather is bad, I have a load of something to haul, or I'm just too lazy, I'm lucky to have a boyfriend kind enough to chauffeur me around.
Overall being car-free has been carefree. Life is a little slower and I'm a little happier. I would never have tried to live without a car if I wasn't forced into it. Sometimes the bad things that happen in life really do have a silver, or in this case, a reflective lining.
Do you have any silver lining stories to share?
The improvised [ ] quilt pattern is coming along. My favorite blocks are in the right column. My intention is to make a queen sized quilt, but I'm running out of wool. The star fabric, a beige/yellow, vintage Pendleton plaid, shirt is just about used up. So I went to the thrift store yesterday and picked up another plaid shirt and two pairs of wool pants.
The quilt pattern inspiration for this week are [ ] parenthesis. See my interpretive sketch and it's translation into an actual quilt block, made from re-purposed wool clothing.