To Understand

17 Feb

I didn’t know what to call this post. Simply didn’t know. And in fact, I thought I had a draft somewhere–a post I had started on Friday the 13th, a day after Mercury stopped being in retrograde, or however that is expressed. A draft of observations about that–about Mercury in retrograde. About how really funny it was this time around. How fillings fell out of my teeth–just fell right out. And my new “gifted” Bernette just gave up the ghost. And the error SS light lit up on the dash of my old Subaru, along with the ABS light. Most of the time I ignore dashboard lights but ABS got my attention because I carry precious cargo a few days a week so I called my mechanic friend and he said not to worry. SS stands for speed sensor so naturally the ABS light would come on and he’d take a look but no rush. And then the next day I read that Mercury was out of retrograde and even though it was Friday the 13th I have to admit to a certain sense of relief. And I never found the draft I had started. So here….

The sewing machine. Still waiting to hear what the problem was but I had already realized that it was too finicky for my style of sewing. I need a workhorse that doesn’t care if the bobbin thread is cotton and the needle thread polyester. And I need a machine that doesn’t care if the needle is less than perfectly sharp. Or doesn’t mind if lots of lint builds up before I clean it. It know myself. Maybe I’m a slob, but some details I just don’t attend to as often as reccommened.

It’s hard to fly in the face of the advice from experts and to the person–everyone I spoke to–everyone in the know–advised against a Singer. But I have history with Singers. Just like with Subarus. So I got one anyway–on Ebay–a heavy-duty Singer. And so far-25 baskets later–I’m still loving it. We’ll see.

And the fellow who installed our kitchen, a wood wizard really, built me a nice poplar shelf and a light rack for my little wall space at Woolworth Walk. It’s lit now. Bright. The baskets add something that helps it pop a bit. And they’re really reasonably priced, I think–ranging from $10 to $15 with a few a bit higher.display

So baskets are still multiplying here: these, from the new machine–and they’re better really. Broad bottoms. More versatile.DSC02308


greenpurple - Copy

orange1 - Copy

But I’m only good on the machine for a few days and then I have to unplug. Step away. Slow it all down–so this–a hybrid– free-motion with hand stitching on black walnut/tin can cloth:DSC02327

and this–the sampler of dye scraps–unified now with kantha. I worked it in sections. Nine sections. Then for some reason wondered how many stitches would eventually be here. ~400 per section. Nine sections. The 3600 stitch sampler.DSC02329

Finally I labelled this post to understand. Because of a eureka moment. I got it this morning. The derivation of the word understand. One word comprised of two. Under Stand. But thinking it would be more empathic to say standunder— Stand Under. To stand under some thing or some one–to support– and from that perspective of being underneath, to know. It makes more sense to me. That compassion can emerge from standing under another. Experiencing their truth.

21 Responses to “To Understand”

  1. Anonymous February 17, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

    Loved this post!


    • Anonymous February 17, 2015 at 5:14 pm #

      my posts come out anonymous but it’s from Susie!


      • Patricia February 18, 2015 at 6:16 am #

        you’ve been on my mind a LOT. glad you’re here.


  2. grace February 17, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

    and do you feel that all the “retrograde” somehow laid the groundwork for the RELEASE
    from it? And if so, do you have a sense that this coud somehow be LEARNED?, that there is Both? and that it’s just movement to and fro? This being in connection to the comment you made on windthread for me?
    This post is
    in so many ways. Beyond Fine.
    as the baskets are,
    as the display is
    as the two Cloths ARE
    as YOU ARE
    and i sent you an email asking for dibs on the last basket pictured if it is still available


    • Patricia February 18, 2015 at 6:31 am #

      just sent you a LONG reply and it poofed away somewhere. i love your question here and in my first reply i answered it one way to begin with and ended up answering it differently all together. i won’t try to repeat all that. but your question–could this release somehow be learned? for me it’s more about being “remembered.” that sometimes in the throes of it all, to remember again that whatever is happening–be it unpleasant, hard, easy, magnificent–it is just one important part of it all and when i withhold categorizing it as good/bad, preferable/not—then there’s room for that little teeny gap to develop–and that gap is the place that’s a constant, regardless of circumstances. and so yes, maybe the “learned” part of it all can be remembering to go THERE, to the changeless gap. and maybe not to just go there, but to stay there. love you Grace. and love the question.


  3. grace February 17, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

    to quote you…” beautyfull and hard show up simultaneously and i wonder if it could be
    otherwise? then my own questions arise like wondering if hard and beauty full are actually the same? ”

    retrograde when there is kind of a different kind of


  4. Dana February 17, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

    Something about “Mercury in retrograde” reminds me of the gravitational slingshot effect NASA uses for space travel. Your high velocity since the thirteenth reminds me of that too. Energy compressed by random misadventure leaps suddenly into an outpouring of beautiful things. All right.


    • Patricia February 18, 2015 at 6:33 am #

      Dana–i love this image–and can imagine this–feel this–feeling it like a round stone hurtling into space–free of the bonds of gravity. love it.


  5. deemallon February 18, 2015 at 11:38 am #

    I had a failed implant removed during same period! (though I attribute that to a Saturn return, as well)…. Your bowls look wonderful, apart and together. I’m happy you found a machine you like! From what I’ve heard, MOST years Singer produced wonderful, workhorse machines but they occasionally missed. My Bernina’s are very old and very definitely workhorses… I am like you, not wanting to have to fuss about matching top and bobbin thread, although I’m a bit of a stickler about brushing out lint…. I’m glad for my own sake that you are both hand and machine sewing… It will be interesting to hear how you work with the two together and apart and the spaces inbetween.


    • Patricia March 24, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

      hi Dee. well, this is more than a month after your comment and i apologize for that–and to your last–machine vs hand stitching–i’m finding i’m able to use the machine for only so long and then i’m drawn away. and now, after the natural dye class–i’m REALLY pulled away, although i’m thinking about making rope baskets and dyeing them so we’ll see.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Mo Crow February 19, 2015 at 11:57 am #

    that last cloth is a major piece Patricia I am not a fan of Kantha stitching but in this context it is perfect especially in relation to the intricate stitches in the centre of the piece beautiful work


    • Patricia March 24, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

      how did i miss this? will you accept the apology of a rapidly becoming absent-minded maker of things? and many thanks for your comment. coming from you this means so much.


  7. Liz February 20, 2015 at 9:43 am #

    Step away from the machine … yes! As efficient and effective as machines are at what they do, Kantha is the perfect antidote to their speed … a soothing rhythm to slow down into … a cloth that could only be found by hand … beautifully wrought.


    • Liz February 20, 2015 at 7:50 pm #

      P.S. I used to hate lint cleaning (which is to say I didn’t do it), until I discovered that it’s actually fun if you use the aerosol cans of compressed air designed for cleaning computer keyboards


      • Patricia March 24, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

        well, here i am a month later and can report that although removing the plate is a pain, i am loving getting rid of all the dust devils. getting after them with a vengeance. reminds me of peeling skin from a sun burn in a certain way.


  8. Nancy February 22, 2015 at 1:31 am #

    There is so much here, I hardly know where to begin! The baskets, each one so gorgeous. I’m partial to the creamy w/ just a few spots of color (middle of the first basket pic). I’m so glad you’ve been able to expand your display to include them. The cloths are wonderful…counting stitches, eh? That is a lot of stitches!! I like the idea of “the sampler of dye scraps”. They came together beautifully. I was struck by the center of the cloth (last pic) and how my first impression was of an empty frame. The lightness of the color stood out to me…but, how it felt so open and drew one in to ‘possibilities’. I have a very old New Home machine that I have been thrashing on since 1980! It was $75.00, used and about 30 years old when I bought it…ob lay-away no less, because I was a 21 year old mommy to be!!! It has served me well, if I want to sew a straight stitch or a wide zig-zag!!! Haha It doesn’t have any fancy tricks, that’s for sure.


    • Patricia March 24, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

      hi Nancy. well, i actually didn’t count all the stitches–but counted one square than multiplied by 9. so not quite as anal as it appeared at first. and yes, old machines are like old cars–so hard to replace.


  9. user107055 March 18, 2015 at 9:31 am #

    Hello..i have missed you even more than i normally would.i think..i have had a fairly major surgery…and one of the things i have so loved has been looking at your baskets..grace says that you are willing to sell them..and i am so wanting to buy some..if this is possible can you left me know..thank you so much..hope you are in a good place..please know you are missed gentle day to you cynthia


    • Patricia March 18, 2015 at 10:52 am #

      oh Cynthia. i read this and feel that you are on the mend? so sorry to hear especially knowing that the weather alone in your neck of the woods has been enough to deal with. yes, i’ve been w/out words for a while. temporary or not i don’t know. but yes, the baskets are for sale. it’s hard to capture their size but i can easily provide dimensions for you.
      and here’s my email:

      sending you warmth and sunshine and healing blessings–and of course, much love


  10. late start studio March 24, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

    My Elna of 40 years dies and I bought a new machine . . . even after almost 3 years I have, sadly, yet to fall in love with my new Brother. But the real joy to me in this first visit here (via Small Journeys) is your hand stitching! So beautiful


    • Patricia March 24, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

      thanks for commenting here! years ago i had an old manual Nikon camera. someone walked off with it. my photography “career” never recovered. some “things” just really have soul. glad you liked the cloth!


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