Friday, February 26, 2016

New Land, New Stories

It seems high time to start writing here again, to speak into the abyss of the internet, to whomever stumbles upon this (to you). I miss writing about teaching and writing and sewing and making in a much more casual way than I do in other places, to think about how stories are made, to talk about my favorite books or findings or snippets of the world. So, I'm going to post here every week for the next three months, to see what comes of it.


This is where I live now, in the very-north of Michigan, alongside Lake Superior. It is beautiful.

And very cold.

This is the lake when it was nearly-frozen, a few weeks ago, sloshing with dog-sized icebergs along the shore. These are my two friends in matching hats. I have the same hat, too. It seemed right, at the time, to get the same hat. It's a really, really warm hat (that's fake fur). 

In Northern Michigan, one of the things they do to have fun (once a year) is watch dogsled races. I've been waiting for this since last winter, when I accepted this job. 

This is the UP-200, a qualifying race for the Iditarod. They truck in snow and line Main Street with a thick layer so that the dogs can race through town in the midst of a crowd. A LOT of people turned out for it, lining the streets from Babycakes, at one end of town, to the bottom of the hill by the lake, at the other. 

I thought it was pretty fantastic that there were several women mushers. They all took off at around 8pm, when it was -23 with the windchill (yes, NEGATIVE 23). The mayor hitched a ride on the back of one of the sleds through town, and jumped off before they headed for the woods. Over the next few days, each team ran more than 200 miles and camped out in those temps, somewhere in the woods.

I do this more moderate version of enjoying the woods with "my pack."

I'm trying to gather enough cocker spaniels for a dogsled team. 

So....making....I've been working on this needle-punch project from a pattern. I've never used a pattern, for anything except clothes, so this all feels pretty foreign. But, I hurt my wrist and am trying to stay off of hand-sewing and embroidery (which have been addictions, the last few years) for the time being. With needle-punch, you just thread the needle and push it through the cloth. Pretty simple. I feel like I'm cheating. Shouldn't there be more skill to this? I'm basically just a machine, pushing the puncher. But, the texture on the other side is like a high-pile rug once the loops build up. And, texture is everything.

I got this in Ripon, when I went to visit the college there and talk about sewing and writing. Which was marvelous. I'll start there the next time. Easing back into this. See you then!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy 2014!

It's snowing, and beautiful outside. I'm lucky to be cozy inside.

When I was up in Boston this week, I stopped in to say hi to Noah and Virginia, owners of Gather Here.  I love that shop. It really is, as they describe it, my "third space." I wish I could move in on these cold days, and knit, and sew, and cuddle up with tea.

They were nice enough to let us shoot photos at Gather Here for the book, so the images are beautiful. I'm so grateful for their space and their generosity.

The book has a starred review from the Library Journal, which is a thrill....It's becoming so real, counting down to the pub date Jan 28...

Library Journal
★ 12/01/2013
In this collection, writer and crafter May profiles some of the big names in modern quilting and some quilters who are lesser known but whose work is quietly helping to redefine the possibilities of quilting. The book is divided into seven sections, each focusing on a particular aspect of modern quilting, such as improv, color, scale, or a theme (e.g., "the personal is political," "coming full circle"). The bounty of creativity is inspiring, and the variety of quilts featured will open readers' eyes to all of the aspects of this popular movement. There are some fantastic patterns and tutorials throughout, but what sets this work apart is its emphasis on quilt makers rather than on quilt making. VERDICT May does a marvelous job of capturing a moment in the modern quilting movement, as well as the viewpoints and opinions of the creators who have made modern quilting into an enduring form of expression. This volume belongs in all quilting collections.