I think I might be addicted to the smell of steaming cotton. A part of me worries that it's actually finishes and dyes I'm inhaling and I do consider from time to time that perhaps I should only sew with organic cotton. Mostly, I push those thoughts aside. There is something about the smell of steaming cotton and the feel of flannel between my fingers that is soothing and comforting and inspiring all at once. It's Stitch Therapy and for me, it's very effective.
I spent all last week, most of this week, and much of the week before last with my heart in my throat. Every time I came up for air it seemed, someone I loved was in crisis. They were not small crises and not a one of them was within my control. I couldn't fix a thing. Instead, my role was to absorb. Fear, grief, panic, loneliness, more fear--I listened and I absorbed. Perhaps that's not my role. Perhaps I'm supposed to listen and deflect. I don't know. I just know that right now, I'm wired to absorb. And a person can only absorb so much before she is uncomfortably bloated with the pain of other people.
Enter cotton. I can't explain it, but the creative process brings me back to a place of peace. Maybe it's the control. I can subdue the fabric. I can cut and stitch and press it into something beautiful. Or maybe it's just the peaceful relaxation that comes with inhaling the steam of fabric dyes and finishes:-). Whatever it is, keep me pointed in the direction of my sunny sewing studio, please.
I have nearly finished this top for Karoline. It could easily have been ready to wear last weekend but I deliberately didn't hem the sleeves or add the elastic to gather the shoulders. I want it to be her birthday shirt and her birthday isn't until tomorrow. If I'd finished it early, she'd have worn it early. See? There's an upside to procrastination!
I've got two books going, each very different from the other. I'm reading Living into Community in the quiet of the mornings. It's a meaty, thought-provoking book that cannot be absorbed whilst surrounded by the cacophony of life in this home:-). A quiet book that challenges me to push beyond my reluctance to enter into groups. Any groups. I'm wary of groups and yet I'm starved for community. This is a conundrum I must resolve. The author, Christine Pohl, suggests that healthy communities are sustained by four things: gratitude, promise-keeping, truthfulness, and hospitality. I'm not far into the book, but I find myself looking again and again at that list and checking it against the relatinships in my life--the ones that remain strong and enduring and the ones that have failed. Yes, those four pillars are there in the strong ones and at least one of them is consipicuously absent in the ones that have failed. Something to think upon.
The other book is a cookbook. I bought The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen years ago and then I sent it off to a friend whom I thought would get more use out of it than I would. Tonia mentioned she was reading it the other day and was kind enough to look through her copy and see if it were worth my buying again or if there were just too many wheat recipes to make it worth my while. She encouraged me to get it and I'm glad she did. Mediterranean cuisine--particularly authentic Italian food--is my touchstone. When I call to mind "home" in the sense of my family and certainly in the sense of comfort food, it tastes of tomato and basil and garlic.The essence of family has always been time in the kitchen and lots of time at the table. My cousin Ellie compellingly captures it here. This cookbook is a nice guide to embracing the best of the Mediterranean diet--the vegetables and the legumes. It's so good that I don't think anyone would miss the meat and I can easily work around the gluten. Oh, and cheese. See? I've already forgotten cheese;-). It's that good.
I welcome you to needle and thREAD. What have you been sewing lately? Or are you embroidering? Pulling a needle with thread through lovely fabric to make life more beautiful somehow? Would you share with us just a single photo and a brief description of what you're up to? Would you talk sewing and books with us? I'd love that so much. Tell me about it in the contents or leave a link to your blog. I'll be happy to come by and visit!
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