Tuesday, March 30, 2010


This printed velvet fabric is from a blouse that Anna B.’s mother made for her in 1969 when she was growing up in Sweden. She wore it, she says, when she was a hippie and has kept it since. The pile of the velvet has worn off under the arms and on the side where her shoulder bag used to rub against the fabric. Now Anna lives in England. Having a clear-out, she offered the blouse on a free-cycle website. That’s how I got it, together with some other lovely old bits of fabric and ribbons – a fabric sales representative once lived in the house she and her husband bought, and there are many textile treasures his widow had kept and left behind.

I used the velvet from the blouse to line a box that celebrates what was once The Shock of the New.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stories and embroideries

E-mail from my friend N., 23.3.2010
“This was the quote I took from the Arshile Gorky exhibition at the Tate Modern. From 1944

‘My mother told me many stories while I pressed my face into her long apron with my eyes closed. She had a long white apron like the one in the portrait and another embroidered one. Her stories and the embroidery on her apron got confused in my mind... All my life her stories and her embroidery keep unravelling pictures in my memory.’

They fled from Armenian Turkey to Russia during the pogroms of 1915 & his mother died there of starvation when he was still young.”

On the Tate Modern website, there is a short film of Gorky’s wife Agnes "Mougouch" Magruder talking about their life together. In his studio, she recalls, there was a daybed covered with a very prickly fabric, so prickly that she had to put something over it before she sat down because it pricked her legs that much. Among all my fabrics, I don’t have anything prickly enough to pair with this memory.



“…the Lorenz manifold is giving you information about what is happening anywhere in state space […]. What’s fascinating about this – because we are not supposed to be able to predict when we go left or right in the Lorenz system – is that there must be something very complicated about this surface that makes it impossible to say whether we are on the left or the right side of it. It turns out that’s because the Lorenz manifold rolls up in a very intricate way. You can imagine this a bit as if you were folding and rolling up a sheet of fabric over and over again, and then picking a point somewhere inside. Now you have to decide: is this point on the left or the right side of the sheet? It’s very hard to tell.”

Hinke Osinga

Margaret Wertheim, A difficult pancake: an interview with Hinke Osinga and Bernd Krauskopf, in Cabinet magazine, issue 36, Winter 2009 – 2010, p. 31, 32
For more about the Lorenz manifold and instructions how to crochet it, see

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ric Rac

Zig zag braid for trimming, also known as rick rack, wave braid, corrugated or snake braid

Knitted love

Advertisement from Vogue knitting magazine 1960

“Make something for someone you’re concerned about […] Hold that person close in your thoughts as you knit, concentrating on good things happening in and through that person’s life. Make a sacred garment in which to clothe your friend in love and positive uplifting thoughts. […] Trust that your intentions will manifest themselves through the act of your knitting.”

Murphy, Bernadette (2002), Zen And The Art Of Knitting: Exploring the Links Between Knitting, Spirituality, and Creativity, Adams Media Corporation, Avon, Massachusetts/USA, p.109

Sunday, March 14, 2010


“The best way to find out the taste of umami is to buy a tub of monosodium glutamate, stick a finger in it and put it in your mouth. It reminds me of chewing on a wet flannel in the bath as a kid. That sensation of wanting to chew it even more: that’s the umami mouth feel.”

Heston Blumenthal, in The Times, 4.3.2010, The Table, p.3

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Dreaming under the sheets

“All I remember is the sense I had every night. I’d bury my head under my sheets, close my eyes and pray that when I opened them again I’d be back home with Mum in England. The sheets would feel rough against my skin, but if I willed hard enough I could make them feel soft like the winceyette ones Mum had and then it was like sleep would transport me home.”

Abimbola Babatunde, in Alice Douglas, My big brother, Bim, The Guardian, 6.3.2010, Family, p.2

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Cloth in-between

“A Dyer’s Thoughts On Looking
At Plain Cottons, Linen And Hessians
Wedged In Between Imported Goods

Down by the docks, waiting in the goods yard
For dyestuff, I’m aware of the presence
Of tangerines, palm stenciled dates, crates of Indian tea,
African coffee, mass-market blue and white plates,
Stacked like Whitstable oysters, the air singed by spices.
I’m also aware, and these days increasingly so,
By what lies sandwiched between them.
Rough cuts of natural hemp and linen sacking
That knowingly – like antiquity Gods – know
Instinctively the ways of these goods.
Crumpled squares that soothe the rough,
Leave well alone, keep well apart for great distances.
Am I insane lingering on the humble cloth or does pure
Thought grasp at the chance of natural affinity?”

Jane Weir (2008), Walking the Block, Templar Poetry, Matlock/Derbyshire, p.30

Rubber glove and the universe

“507.00 Parity
507.01 The rubber glove, with its red exterior and green interior, when stripped inside-outingly from the left hand as red, now fits the right hand as green. First the left hand was conceptual and the right hand was nonconceptual – then the process of stripping off inside-outingly created the right hand. And then vice versa as the next strip-off occurs. Strip it off the right hand and there it is left again.
507.02 That is the way our Universe is. There are the visibles and the invisibles of the inside-outing nonsimultaneity. What we call thinkable is always outside out. What we call space is just exactly as real, but it is inside out. There is no such thing as right and left.”

R. Buckminster Fuller (1982), Synergetics: explorations in the geometry of thinking, Macmillan, New York, p. 232, 233