" This is my deconstructivist piece - reinterpreting neatness and detail into something which is purely structure based - anarchy of stitches being let slid into ripped back ladders  gaping holes tearing through and being reformed  loose open weaves of linen married with unstructured stitches, each fold twist and overlap bare and exposed. Constriction and openess alongside each other. There's a rawness about this which I love - a natural rawness. " 
I wrote that almost a year ago as an affirmation of what I wanted to achieve with this piece - a schematic thought of fibre arts that meet notions of architectural theory. Now it lies folded up beside me, and I see through it, within it, and my imagination is once again captured.
An open weave of silver grey strands, falling and disintegrating through dropped stitches, clinging together around openings wide and gaping as increases and decreases create the hollows and transparency of cobweb lace. Fine linen holding it's shape, light and airy, yet with quiet stiffness which will change over time as it is worn. Finally my little cobweb piece is finished, after nearly a year sittting on needles picked up and put down as time permited and my enthusiasm waxed and waned.
Blocking the finished piece has given it a lightness - a small breathe might surely make it fly, catching debris and insects along the way.
mariposa : wilfred : a cows! with horns! : jingle : heather the heffer : shirl : sundance : marigold : doris : mike : claudia : moo : clive : wimbeldon : taratella : audumbla [one of my favourites] : herbert : myrtle : madonna : mooy : alexander : mo : derek : milky white : ermintrude [another good classic cow's name] : sydney : butter : zoot : farmer : belvedere : betsey : goldie : boo : moccu : sat : howie : milka : ferdinand : martha : george : alphonse : flossy : berlingot : harriet : clarabelle : clara : buttercup : herbert : simon : stella mckellar from bella's wine cellar : mocha : six and a half cow : sam : lidija : mergel : moo : bernice the monkey cow : missy moo cow : lembu : betsy : buttercup : blue : clarissa : bertrude : bessie : daisy the butterflies : mooey : mabel : milka
All the names, all lined up, all so wonderful in their choices. I have particularly loved reading what the children would call the cow....especially knowing my two just looked at me slightly puzzled and said:
" but you call it cow, because that's what it is".
There is one name missing though...and that's the cow's real name.
Eli. And there's no problem with jelly bean supplies I hear!
Thankyou to everyone who took part, to your children for helping with names, and for having a little fun.
One last cow sits forlorn on top of my chest of drawers, a little dolls quilt the only thing to keep them company. As promised in my last post I'd like this one to go to a good home where the grass is green and lush and the jelly beans flow freely. What I'd also like to do is to give away the dolls quilt the cow sits on as well, becaue the cow will get cold with all the travel they'll be doing. The quilt is the piece that I contributed to the Meet Me At Mikes book and it's a beautiful combination of linen, Liberty print and Amy Butler fabrics. To be in the running, leave a comment by 10pm Tuesday June 23rd and I'll randomly pick a number out and that person will get the cow. And if you have the inclination, perhaps you might also like to think of a name for this dear little cow!
It started with 1*. Then 3 were on the table. And then 5. And it ended with a 6th sitting on top of a pile of wool. It turns out I can't just make 1 stuffed toy***. I have to make 6. Do I have 6 children to give stuffed cows to? No. I don't. Did that seem to make any difference to making them? No. It didn't. 2 are for friends who have just had babies. 1 is for Pia. And if Pia gets 1 then Max has to have 1 as well. And then I needed 1. Except Max saw my version - the grey wool/hand dyed linen and fur one above, and instantly fell in love with 'Ninja Cow' so now he technically has 2 and I have 0. Which leaves 1 left over**. And that will be given away in a special giveaway next week along with some other goodies.
* And the pattern you all ask....the pattern is from Meet Me At Mikes and is the 'Udderly Lovely Cow' by Fliss Dodd and is a great, simple pattern to put together. I used pieces of fabric from the Moda Wonderland Fabric range, spotted and striped fabrics from stash, linens from Yorktown Road and Linnet and wool felt from stash for the coloured cows. For the Ninja Cow I used wool, hand dyed linen by me, and some fur coat fabric from stash.
**The cow which has not been claimed so far and will be given away is the cow in the front of the last photo, and whose details are in the other two photos above it.
*** It was a wonderful distraction from everything going on at home. It gave me something to focus on other than google searches, and the many conversations going on. I want to thank every person who wrote and commented on my last post. We have a few very hard months ahead of us, wandering into the unknown amid confusion and frustration, and we hope it will be done with as much warmth as we can all give, not just to my brother in law, but to each of us involved. Thankyou for thinking of us, and of him.
Past  The cold of a winter morning engulfed in quiet white fog. Colour sucked out, to be revealed later as it lifts and draws away. But for now, it blankets the land in stillness, in calm grey silhouettes fading out rapidly in the foreground. The fog is a momentary lapse of time - a mindless point of interruption between past present and future.
Present  Three generations of women working in the kitchen making gnocchi for lunch. The elder woman, my husband's mother, combining potatoes and flour to make a dough, Pia sitting on the bench helping her add flour laughing away - the two of them laughing at the frivolity of the other. I talk, and roll the gnocchi pieces across a fork end as they are handed to me, and Pia joins in doing her own deconstructivist abstract interpretation of rolling gnocchi. They are good, like they always are.
Future  Late in the afternoon we sit waiting in a hospital room while my husband's brother lies in a bed, his breathing difficult and painful, and a morphine haze surrounding him. Gentle talk occasionally - short, direct - but gentle, and exhausting as we try and catch up on the speed with which all this has happened, the aggression with which his body has been overtaken. There's a conversation about to be had when two Dr's walk in the room that we all need to happen, and we all know what will be said, but which will change our family forever. We will cry. And hold each other close. And we will return home and tell two parents their son is dying. Not today. Not next week. But soon.
Then we will talk. And talk. And cry.
And laugh. We will do this with dignity.
The first day of winter [according to a seasonal prescribed division of time based calender] and it feels like winter. No longer are trees covered in orange and yellow leaves - they are now stripped branches left entwined and exposed, a bare framework of skeletal remains hovering against grey skies. Strength and filigree playing against each other. And the skies have been grey. Dull grey. Where the sun tries to break through, and kind of does, but then hides again, dipping the temperature.
A time for winter coats to come out and necks to be wrapped in knitwear. Hot baths after a run. Hot chocolate after swimming for the children. And perhaps extra layers in bed. A friend keeps asking me what I will make next....and I'm tempted to say a quilt. But I know I'm being swayed by soft toys at the moment. Something quick and simple, and something to give to new babies being born. An affirmation of life. And of colour, I think I need colour against this backdrop. Contrasts - it's always about contrasts.
And for us it will also be a time to spend with family and to hold a hand, keep it warm, and love.