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 😉

Etched in stone

Back in 2018, Don and I ventured out to the La Cieneguilla petroglyph site outside Santa Fe. It was (and likely still is), easy to miss. A scrabbled parking lot with a BLM sign (Bureau of Land Management) and a questionable path up to a jumble of rocks.

It wasn’t at all clear that we were in the right place, until it was. The markings on the rocks were at once both easy and hard to see. The figures chipped into rock varnish untold years ago … themselves overlaid by more rock varnish. There was no signage or explanatory text that I recall. It was silent under the intense sun and blue sky.

This cloth is a memento of that experience …

Stitched in good faith, the intended meanings of the motifs I found online were sometimes puzzling, others seemingly clear as day …

After the brief trial posted here, I pieced together the rest of the pillow top with Malka’s hand-dyed cloth and Deb’s hand-dyed thread during the harrowing week after the Uvalde shooting …

The simple repetition of Kantha stitches in the green border and mock herringbone along the raw edges of the rocky patches accompanied the endless news pouring out of the television.

In my mind, I revisited the two years from 1999-2001 that I spent as a high school librarian following the Columbine massacre. Two years feeling like I had a target painted on my chest.

Then the eight years following 9/11, spent in an elementary school library where we held annual intruder drills.

And finally the three years spent in a vast university library contemplating how to apply the active shooter drills to my corner of the endless maze of shelving, each of the seven floors the size of a football field. Not to mention the colleague who so disturbed me that I actually went to my boss, who sent me to the administration, who said there was nothing they could do for my foreboding sense that he could be a shooter.

Stitched the memory of unrealized fear into the cloth. Surely this is a form of trauma … one inflicted on every teacher, student and staff member every single time a drill is called. A trauma that underlies the lives of millions, hidden but no less real …

As the immediacy of Uvalde began to wane, I returned to the online petroglyph images and sketched them onto the cloth rock patches with water eraseable ink. Then chose to use the thread Deb calls “the devil’s whiskers” … a silk/cotton blend with a mind of its own that turns out to work much better as a single strand than it does doubled …

And so it went, in Jude’s split backstitch and thread beads, not letting myself undo any stitches, imagining how an errant mark on stone could not have been undone, wondering if some of the more inscrutable marks might have been figures in the making that were abandoned for want of an “eraser” …

adjusting to the ever-shifting lengths of thread, until all the motifs were wrought and the ink washed away …

It will be a while until I make a pillow back … it is enough as it is for now.

Connecting threads

I recently found my way to Karen at Stitching Life via the sidebar on Jude’s Spirit Cloth. Karen’s current post, in which she replicates a bit of nineteenth-century pattern on 40-count silk, lit up the long-neglected synapses that connect the current me to the once-upon-a-time me. So I sent her a link to this image …

Then I actually read my post, which included this image …

and the words “I’m starting to wonder where my bit of even-weave cloth will end up.”

I suspect Mo is nodding her head as she surely knows where this is going. The tiny bit of linen ended up being 1.5″ to a side and I know that because I gave it away …

sent it to Mo in Australia along with a bit of rust dyed cloth, where she incorporated both into the Key Book


And the story might have ended there, except that Mo dreamed up I Dream of a World Where Love is the Answer, to which I responded. And somehow, in the course of that magical time, Mo gifted the Key Book to me

The pennant with Old Man Crow’s lyrics to I Dream of a World Where Love is the Answer, travelled to Australia, where it lives with Mo and Rod to this day …

The mended shell eventually returned home to Texas (where it subsequently became a part of a published book, which is a story for another day) …

and now sits on the same shelf as the Key Book

Last, but not least, here is one of Mo’s exquisite drawings from The Illustrated Lyrics of Old Man Crow, which arrived September 12, 2016. How do I know that? It’s all on the blog