The Golden Machine

GOLDEN IRIS – DISCERNMENT – (Iris pseudacorus)


I like the line on the card about “…mastering the impulses that impair good judgement.”

“Water only those things that sustain and help you to thrive.”

I am chipping away at appliquéing two doilies that a friend made me as a housewarming gift. It is hurting my arm so I have to prop it up more carefully on pillows to provide support for my elbow. It is getting a bit discouraging, but they look so beautiful I have to persevere. Such fine crocheting, and I don’t crochet so I am loving these beauties.


Yesterday I was looking (again) at Janome sewing/quilting machines and considering if I could afford the Memory Craft 8900 with money from my deceased father. It’s a whopping price but the mere thought of doing automatic buttonholes and machine quilting on something other than a 25 year-old machine is appealing. The old machine can’t handle machine quilting well any more and I’ve got at least 11 tops to quilt, and several others planned. Quilting is indeed one of the things that help me thrive.

Perhaps Golden Iris is telling me to master my impulse? The meaning of the botanic name is “false acorus” which makes me think of impulses as false, not what they seem.

Well, I went into the Janome dealer last year and was frightened off by prices, but I might venture in with some questions about other models. I was making notes yesterday, watering the golden idea.



Fragments of Creation and Mastery

Daily Draw December 19th, 2012



Just what I needed today! I have been working this week on knitting a sweater for a doll from sock yarn scraps, and making a doll quilt, also from fabric scraps.

I have finished the sweater body and just need to pick up the stitches for the sleeves. I am taking a break for a bit while I have a think on it. The pink is not going to work so the sleeves will be knit from the green colour and then I’m going to do a bit of duplicate stitch in the variegated green and blue on them to tie in all the colours.

However, this is my first time knitting a sweater from the top down which is a new technique for me and leaves me to pick up stitches for the sleeves and knit them on double-pointed needles; only 42 stitches, which is not a lot. I worry about leaving holes in my underarm so have to pick up extra stitches and then decrease them, and do it the same on both sleeves. a new technique to learn, which is good, but it can make me procrastinate and I am determined not to.


The little quilt is done in a pattern called Disappearing 9-Patch and all you do is sew a 9-patch block (which you can see in the bottom left), and then cut it into quarters through the centre and reassemble it. Because I made mine from random scraps it is a bit jumbled, so I’m considering what approach to take next.


I love the colours, lots of greens with purple and lilacs to suggest the saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) that is the floral emblem of the Nunavut Territory and a favourite flower of my Inuit dolly. If I feel up to it I am going to appliqué some saxifrage of my own design in a border too. This is a bit of a jumble but it IS a scrap quilt after all.

I get to a point in projects where I can’t just breeze on, I have to think more carefully about colour placement and design and how to finish and tie things together. I feel a bit…not exactly stuck, but stalled, and having to fiddle a bit which can be irritating when I want to charge ahead. Too many decisions leave me dithering and indecisive, which is a feeling I dislike.

So this card is telling me I can master it. I also think this card is about stretching your abilities, not playing it safe, continuing to learn and solve problems with skill. Life is too easy if you never try anything new or more difficult. This guy is decisive and tackles his design problems as he goes. Planning only takes you so far, then you are in the middle of creating and have to work through it all.



Hands At Work, Arrows With Feathers

Daily Draw January 7th, 2012

I got word from that a playing card deck I ordered back in October is shipping. It was only $6 and has photographs of crazy quilting, one of my favourite artistic expressions and one I often use to embellish handmade jewellery and tarot bags.

Somewhere out in the world there are several people who own tarot bags I embellished this way. I have one myself that I made in 2002 as an insert to go on the bag that came with the Victoria Regina Tarot. I like the old-timey feel of my handwork with different plaids, white cotton lace, and a Scottie dog button to symbolize Victorian Balmoral and needlework.

This will certainly be a cheery pick-me-up next week. I still have tons of silk and silk ribbon and thread, as well as raw silk that I can hand dye, so at some point I must create more crazy quilting. It is so relaxing and fun. Juxtapose to your toes.


My eyes keep going to the wheel of arrows stitched on the blanket or tapestry hanging behind the figures. Stitching, revolving, a symmetric pattern, and cozy too.

It’s nice when you have someone to teach you things, particularly if they are dying arts. I know there are people out there, including young people, who are still learning and interested in embroidery, quilting, and textiles but we do seem to be a lost cause. I am self-taught from books but it would have been nice to have a mentor.

After years of fighting to be seen as artists, quilters have zoned out on photographic, machined perfection and the emulation of painted art instead of the handwork I enjoy. It’s great for some but I like hand stitching blocks together; I like the geometry of a block, and doing hand embroidery and hand appliqué. In coming around the circle there is now a subtle denigration of those who don’t make “art quilts.” This is one reason I am discouraged in life. However, there are cycles to such things, much like on this card.

Here’s to feathered arrows, and feathered stars, and to the feather stitch in hand-dyed silk!




Continuing the Journey to Enlightenment

I have had the Inner Child Cards sitting here waiting for me to make and glue them a tuckbox out of the box they came in. I think they’ve been sitting here for 8 or 10 months. I must get that done.

They are huge cards.


This is The Magician in other decks. Bookshelves: hmmm, I just took down over 1,000 books that I had catalogued online and I deleted all my posts in a group. We were reading a book as a group and when I do things like that I am careful to make notes and look up interesting tangents and words and discuss things.

As part of my study, some mythology came up, for which I mentioned relevant card decks or art, and I got the urge to make a quilt using the book as impetus. Apparently some people in the group found this to be something to ridicule, particularly the quilting, like it made me some sort of fluffy bimbo.

I found it quite odd that spending 200-300 hours making fibre art would be something to deride and snicker about, but that’s the kind of immaturity I’ve observed in groups of people–one starts with the snickering and then they all start. Still, it’s a bit shocking when you’re pouring huge amounts of effort and commitment into a group to have this sort of attitude pop out.

I left the group as it brought me crashing down in mood. I’ll bounce back, but it was just such a shock after seven weeks of commitment to the project and my personal artistic explorations engendered by it. It negated all the happy exploration and sharing for me.

Sometimes online groups can have a soaring and creative vibe when you get the right mix of people and the right subject, something that inspires everyone. This group was like that for five weeks while we prepared to read the book, and I thought people would contribute their reflections on passages and such when we started reading. Instead it turned into a jokefest of poking fun and off-topic ephemera. When they started poking fun at my personal interests and relevant posts tying them into the book, it became too much.

Rats. You think you’ve found some like-minded people and are sharing and reading together, and then some idiot sticks a pin in the balloon.

There’s a whiff in that genie of letting things out of the bottle. For instance, I could have kept quiet about my quilt and other artsy projects, I could have bypassed comments about card decks and not posted at all about what I thought about reading the book. There wouldn’t have been anything to target then, but then I wouldn’t have got much out of the study would I? Nope.

So for me, the genie in the bottle comes out to say that the window is open to worlds around me, and there are lots of books to read and places to explore in my mind. I can go anywhere. The bird awaits and we shall fly out that window and discover great things.

Unfortunately, I’ll be alone on my journey through Ulysses, but so what? Each day I’ll do my 10 or 20 pages of the book and make my notes in my handmade journal and look things up. I’ll turn on some jazz radio and cut my quilt blocks out and sew them in a sunny room, and at the end of two months, I’ll still have the delight of the journey, the light of learning, the satisfaction of making something to celebrate the passage.

The light never goes out because it comes from me, and I’ve got a candle on the windowsill for further light on gloomy days.