Christmas 2018

We’ve had a very low-key holiday season here this year, but I did put out all the Santas and little trees, plus the Christmas sampler temari. Seasons’ greetings from the new tansu in the front entryway and the nonfiction bookshelf in the living room.

Happy winter holidays to all!


One of the things Mark and I did on our impromptu trip to San Francisco in October was go to a consultation for him to get a new tattoo. It was something he’d been talking about doing for years, but hadn’t found any artists nearby that made him want to do anything about it, so since we’d found ourselves in SF anyway with no definite plans for our time, I suggested we see if there was anyone there with a style he liked.

Which is how we ended up going for a consultation appointment with Michael at Black & Blue Tattoo. He didn’t have time to get started on it that day, since he hadn’t had time to work on a sketch or anything and what Mark wanted was fairly specific (and big), so Mark scheduled a time to come back in November to get the linework done, and then in December to do the color.

During all this, of course, Mark asked if I wanted to get one as well, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was over the aversion to doing anything permanent. In looking through the portfolios of the other artists at the shop, I found Sid‘s amazing fine-line work and realized he was someone who could actually turn temari designs into clear tattoos. I emailed him about it after we got home, including a bunch of reference photos and diagrams, and he was both enthusiastic and able to schedule me for the same day Mark was flying back to SF for his linework.

I waited until now to post about it so I would have a picture of Mark’s completed colors, too, but here’s what we ended up with:

Just look at how clear that swirl temari ended up! And the shading on the kiku and asa no ha ones!

Amusing notes from my tattoo experience:

The first thing Sid said to me (after the usual greeting stuff) was, “You have such good skin for tattoos!” I always knew being this pale had to be good for something.

Sid, who is from Brazil, had been talking to me during the tattoo about how he still doesn’t think his English is very perfect, but when the artist at the station next to his came over to check the progress on my design and said, “Sid, man, I don’t know how you do it!”, he immediately replied, “Well, you see, we use needles and ink…” Sarcasm is definitely a sign of fluency, so I don’t think he has anything to worry about.

Also from the guy at the next station, upon learning this was my first tattoo: “Wow, you decided to go big for your first one!” Which I guess is a matter of perspective? They couldn’t have been any smaller and still showed the right amount of detail, and compared to what Mark was getting, this felt pretty restrained. The inside of my left forearm is also an interestingly obvious-but-not placement, since I’m right-handed. The person who most often sees my tattoo is me.

Anyway, we’re both pleased with the results, and it was definitely worth having to fly back to CA to get them.

Around Town

I realized it’d been a while since I posted any local photos, and it turns out to have been a good time for murals lately.


Butterfly in downtown Raleigh.


Refreshed mural at Ninth Street Dance in Durham.


Temari: Monet Swirls

The other ball I finished while teaching at the folk school last week was another swirl ball, since I always end up teaching swirl. Once students see an example of it, they can’t resist. This time, just for a bit of a change, I did the hexagons in purple (what a shock, I know) and the squares in a coordinating variegated blue/pink/purple thread that reminded me of hydrangeas and Monet’s water lilies series.


Bonus pictures: Some of the inspiration I was thinking of when picking colors.

Temari: Field of Flowers

While teaching at the folk school last week, I finally, finally, finally finished the 122-faces ball I’ve been working on (sporadically) for the past two years.


This ball has been the bane of my stitching bag for what feels like forever, so I’m greatly relieved to have it done. My first multi to break 100 faces, and my first finished one above a 42, as I think I have a 92 languishing half-finished somewhere around here. People who do high multis exclusively have my extremely exhausted respect. (Of course, I know if I did more of them, the division process wouldn’t seem so arduous anymore, and that’s really what my next goal should be, but I think I’ll drop back down to marking a nice, normal 32 again for my next new project.)

Autumn at the Folk School

Last week was our annual week of teaching temari at the John C. Campbell Folk School. We’ve been having a fairly mild autumn this year, so the trees hadn’t quite turned, but here’s a little taste of autumn at the folk school.

(Those two dogs hang out on the deck outside the dining hall most of the day. They get a ride home from one of the staff after dinner.)

Golden Gate Bridge


The Golden Gate Bridge from Battery Spencer. Marin Headlands, Golden Gate National Recreation Area. October 7, 2018.