Kinkeeping is a relatively-new-to-me term, encountered sometime in the past year. It’s about the things we do … sending cards and gifts on birthdays, attending weddings, graduations and funerals, making note of the myriad details that are meaningful to our loved ones, following social media, texting and emailing … the list is endless, but in essence it’s all about staying in touch.

And just now it occurred to me that Kindred-Spirit-keeping might also be thing … which is to say, the connections we form in the course of blogging … the give and take of comments and replies … the circle of community created over years of faithful writing and reading.

In this particular community, much of which formed around Jude Hill and her original Spirit Cloth blog, it’s about cloth and stitch interwoven with the stories of our lives and loves. So now, with Feel Free, there is the invitation to come play … to begin again with the letter A.

I’m all in, with Paul Klee’s letters in mind …

Don’t you love how the colors shift? And of course none of them are truly representative of the actual bit of cloth. No matter … this is destined to end up on the table cloth where the colors will be many and varied.

Lest I forget

I’ve been stitching napkins. Mostly because the linen/cotton napkins that I bought ten years ago have gotten unpleasantly stiff and non-absorbent. So I bought some linen thread and two yards of checked linen from Burnley and Trowbridge

in order to have enough to make 8 napkins (with thanks to Mo for the idea to to use red thread, and to Hazel for the cross stitches and to Dana, whose table settings are aspirational) …

They washed up and air-dried beautifully. Which is important as I’m not a fan of dryers and definitely not one for taking the time to iron napkins since we use them at every meal.

And speaking of meals, here are two that I wanted to document for future reference.

Pork Meatballs (4 servings)

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Minced ginger (bottled)
  • Garlic (just a touch)
  • Wasabi (buy at sushi counter)
  • Sesame oil
  • Panko
  • 1 egg

Combine all ingredients. Form into 24 small meatballs and place on parchment paper. Brush with a mixture of hoisin and peanut oil. Bake in an air fryer or hot convection oven for 10 minutes or so.

Serve on stir fried vegetables (mushrooms, cabbage, snow peas, carrots, celery, and scallions sauced with ginger, hoisin, sesame oil, garlic, and mirin) or Asian-style slaw (shredded cabbage, carrots and scallions dressed with peanut oil, rice wine vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, and agave).

Pork meatballs on stir fried veggies with peanuts

Bahn Mi

  • Leftover pork meatballs
  • Bolillo rolls
  • Mayo
  • Chili sauce
  • Shredded carrots
  • Mini-cucumbers cut into matchsticks
  • Lots of cilantro leaves
  • Finely sliced poblano

Heat leftover meatballs just enough to warm them. Split rolls, remove some of the bread in the middle to form a hollow, spread lightly with mayo and toast on griddle until edges are light brown (putting a plate on top to weigh them down works well). Combine chili sauce and mayo to spread on toasted rolls. Top with meatballs, carrots, cukes, poblano and cilantro. Delicious with Heineken 0.0 non-alcoholic beer (a recent and much appreciated find).

Sorry, no picture … we dug in too quickly to get a good shot. Maybe next time 😉

Each day many small things

New note: issues continue with the so-called “gallery” pictures in most, but not all, posts.

I just added a blog to the list of Kindred Spirits in the original version of I’m Going to Texas. The author is Paula Kovarik and she recently wrote about her process of patching a cloth together.

Fascinating … and so not me. I’d never have the patience to lay out all those pieces and then put them all together at the end. But also a wicked bit of synchronicity, as I had just finished writing my thoughts in hopes of finding my way to a new piece of patchplay (transcribed below to save you from having to decipher my handwriting) …

Thinking it through: what do I most like to do?

  • tear cloth into random width strips
  • seam folded edges together with whip stitch
  • embroider small patches to hold memory and meaning
  • “quilt” two layers together with Texas Two-step (aka combination stitch)
  • use up thread nest/scrap bin cuttings (aka piece/peace basket, per Sue McQ)

How it might go

  • tear white linen 20” x 40” (or whatever size I end up choosing)
  • turn edges and secure with tailor’s herringbone stitch
  • begin piecing strips of patches, leaving edges raw
  • periodically lay out the strips on linen, turn edges under to finish, leave raw edges to be covered by subsequent rows (pseudo-Kawandi)
  • “quilt” strips with Texas Two-step
  • embroider “whenever”

More thoughts —

  • gather patches into “end of project” groupings
  • appliqué and/or quilt to add detail, variation
  • moons from Glennis (maybe too fragile?)
  • couching strips of seams (like the stitching chair) as part of deconstructing shirts in the cloth bins (I have a lot of thrift store clothing that needs to be broken down)

So maybe a table cloth a la Jude? But now I’m doing the math and thinking, hmmm … the dining room table is 10 feet long by 3 feet wide … plus another foot or so all around for the overhang. Maybe I should just get back to finishing our bed cloth instead …

Of course, if I had planned ahead I wouldn’t be stitch-wrapping all the raw edges. But after considering Judy Martin’s Not To Know But To Go On, I figured yes, I can do this … however long it takes.

I also did some birthday card crafting a la Paul Klee for soon-to-be 8 year old Jace (and yes, it does look like it says “18”) …

And I decided I want to revive my original blog practice of posting successful food forays, much like this one titled Salad Days from 2009. I can’t hope to rival Deb G’s food photos, but for the record here’s today’s lunch, which I’m calling Waldorf My Way …

Of course, I forgot to include the scallions in the first picture and the mayo in the second picture. Nonetheless, this new version sans apples was an improvement on my memories of the Waldorf Salads of the 1960s that were dressed with straight mayo and included raisins (sorry, not a fan). Making a fresh vinaigrette with just a bit of mayo for creaminess was a good substitution.