Zero degrees

I feel a little worn out this morning. Last night I read some of The Road by Cormac McCarthy before going to sleep. Probably a mistake. I had nightmares. It is a great book but it is so so bleak and frightening. I avoided reading it for many years. But after moving to Maine, I found it on a free book table at the Franklin town transfer station (dump). I thought, ok, this is it. But maybe not.

I pulled this cloth out of a bag yesterday to sort through it. It’s from a really old rotten sheet. Or maybe sheets. Someone gave it to me. I said Yes eagerly. It is discolored and has holes and it tears apart so easily. It was already cut into weird strips hanging from the hems. I’m not sure how it got into this state. But I separated it into usable (?) strips, plus hems. Someday I will make a white block for sanity like Jude makes.

Sheet remnants

Included in the mass of white is this lovely piece of eyelet. It’s got a faint tan color. I dyed it last fall with dockseed. I feel overwhelmed when I look at it, like I don’t know what to do with it. Cut it up? Use it as a backdrop? We’ll have to wait and see.


My latest log cabin patch. It has a lot of stitching. And lapped seams so the beautiful raw edges show. The center is the start of a swirl from a piece of batiked fabric I bought years ago.

Cabin patch

Now we are getting into random photo territory. I saw this online yesterday and I found it extraordinary. So I copied the photo so I could find it again here. It’s a swan from the Early Iron Age, 5th-4th century BC. It’s at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

Early Iron Age Swan

The body of the swan, filled with reindeer wool, is made of white felt, while the bill, cere and eye of black felt. The feet made from felt of a reddish-brown colour are stretched over wooden stakes that support the figure in a vertical position. The swan was probably fixed on the wooden top of a chariot or decorated the top of a funeral tent. The representation of birds was rarely used by ancient Altaic people. A swan symbolized life in three spheres of the universe – in air, on earth and in water. There was also a widespread concept of the creation of the universe by a swan, duck or goose, which was characteristic of many cosmogonical conceptions in ancient times.

From the Hermitage Museum website

A friend of mine was going to visit the Nicholas Roerich museum in New York City yesterday. Her plan prompted me to find this little book on my shelves. I’m not sure what the script is, maybe Devanagari? I can’t read the book, but I can look at the photos. It is tiny, 4″ x 4″. Lots of snow on mountains. There is more to this story, but I’m not going to tell it now.

I was stitching on my latest log cabin this morning in the patchy sunlight. I noticed the shadow of the needle. I thought I could take a photo.

4 Responses

  1. Liz A says:

    oh my goodness … this post is downright lyrical … the yellow of the mountain juxtaposed with the triangle in the last image … the “early iron age swan” which I took to be metal work given its label, until I read otherwise … how did it ever survive this long? … the fine fine double rows of lapped seam stitching on your cabin … and the variations in that not-white sheet, which would make the most amazing patches of sanity … and I closed my eyes and imagined a whole block of sanity patches backed with the eyelet and held up to the light in a window … can’t you just?

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks for sharing your vision, Liz! I felt inspired by all the things in this post, but a little bogged down also. One step at a time 🙂 I really wonder how the swan survived also – my understanding is that most textiles deteriorate with age and leave only tiny fragments.

  2. Nancy says:

    Oh that book…
    No, I could not read it before bed, leaving it stuck in my head
    I could not read it here or there
    I could not read it anywhere

    Well, maybe that some creative writing of my own, but way to dismal for my frame of mind right now.

    I had some eyelet like that once, long given away

    • Catherine says:

      I was peeking ahead too much, skipping all the dismal details. I just wanted to know if they survive! So I’m putting the book away and moving on. Trying to take care of my frame of mind.

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