The Tangle

The way it really happens

How So much goes unsaid

I already realized, as I watched again, at the end...I realized I forgot to say that I rarely knot  or secure the last stitch of an invisible baste... but I remember thinking that...see?

So many thoughts. All tangled up.  This was just a practice run, to demonstrate how much might be said. How long that might take.

This post is just about how it might go here from now on.   It is very important that you know what my idea for this series is.  It is simply to get a lot of what has gone unsaid...Said.  Is that Loose enough?  To represent ( perhaps re-present) the real process which includes the often unsaid.  And to reinforce the  fact that, for me,  it is actually thinking, problem solving that provides the path to story.  Not a plan. 

This is what I ended up with here,  I was sewing on the road. But not saying.

How we might connect the dots........


I guess the point I am trying to make here is that it is not a straight line.  The shortest distance between here and there might be, but the real journey ( story) is not.   And for me the only way to  to know the truth is to be there.  And even then, it is a matter of perspective,  what you get from it.

To the left here, today's loose  page.   A loose doodle.  A reminder  to record the scribble as a personal symbol which I just did.  I've used it a lot, never talked or thought about it enough.  Making note of that.  Let me ramble a bit.



So today's message... Accept the tangle,  Love it,  Use it,  Let it hold you.

in general...


Let me say a few things more.  I plan to just go here.  Like I do in Real Life.  The story is built from the awareness in going.   I will be able to cover all subjects relating to techniques use in my cloth work.  And then maybe even paper.  Going always puts them in context.  And allows them to evolve.  I appreciate all your questions and will try to address them all as we go.  I don't think it matters what you might work on  as a result of this series.  The private Facebook group was set up for those of you who use Facebook and would like to share with each other since there was no real forum related to this series.  Same for Instagram( not private)  (#ragmates 2019).  I guess this is a bit different than my previous workshops in that I just want to ramble on and leave no stone unturned, and have time for that,  and not be so concerned with what you might get from it as long as it is something.  I simply hope the information is useful to you.  I plan to  talk a bit about materials tomorrow.  And then, beginning in May,   I will begin working.  On something.  Your guess is a good as mine.   Because of the tangle,  we may make a few  twists and turns.

NOTE! Please subscribe to my blog for email updates about new class posts or just stop in here  on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  After today,  I will not be using the Newsletter to post links to class,  I will use it only to announce information regarding any new Free Enough class sign up information going forward.  I hope this works for everyone.  Too many places, so little time...


  1. These wonderful sessions with my ragmates are so wonderful. I just finished one book in a series, “Circle of Stones,” by Judith Duerk. It is about recapturing the wonderful feminine that we lose through life, working so hard in a particular profession with competitiveness, tending to the needs of everyone else in the family and often our friends too, and never giving ourselves enough time with other women in a safe and peaceful environment, and that is what I love here. I feel it is like recapturing that which is our feminine aspect of the self. It is so peaceful and unrushed, as though nothing is more important in this world but just coming together to share soft and kind thoughts in the best of ways. Thank you so much one and all, and especially Jude. You have been a solid rock of comfort in earlier times as well when we did not communicate as now. i would just read your wonderful pieces and see the work, and once again, the world would all begin to make sense. We all need that special My Time in our everyday lives.

  2. So glad I gave myself the gift of being here. The myth of creativity. Love that. I am definitely a tangle person. I have learned to love it. I have embarked on a new quilt that I have admired for a long time. But I am doing it differently. Kind of like mixing up the genres but don’t want to offend anyone. The quilt is called quilted diamonds if you want to look up the original design (not mine) but I am simplifying and also adding stitching and maybe objects. Maybe just using the shapes as starting points. I don’t know. I’ll see when I get there. It may happen or not as the tangle occurs. Staying open.

  3. your conversation helped me, thank you i have felt something was wrong with me that I cannot “plan” or “organize” I have taken so many classes on how to…. I have tried different techniques and have hated them all…. I just don’t work that way,
    so it was wonderful to hear you talk about being in a tangle, even the word tangle is inspiring

  4. kathrynalbrycht1838

    First, I must apologize for my very long post a couple of weeks back, hit a real nerve, something I’ve been battling as long as I can remember. After my “purge”, I felt like ‘the new girl’ who was finally invited to the party, only then because of her newfound clumsiness or sudden loss of vision, falls in lovely, decorated pool (though not a pool party), within view of the entire gathering. And upon escape from the pool, she then realizes that her lovely new frock is totally transparent when wet.
    . . . “But other than that dear, how was the party?”

    Idiosyncratic: what I was ‘labelled’ after taking a personality test for a special govt position. Not left, not right but 50/50% both sides of the brain. “OOOoooooh, you are going to have a tough time finding a job that fulfills you “. 50% analytical,
    50% creative. How hard could that be? Some days I find myself leaning more to one side or the other. It’s hard to keep going on any set plan no matter how many details I write down, trying to record every thought regarding a certain piece. The next day, I often wonder why I thought something was a good idea. So now when I start something, I try to keep it more loosey-goosey the next day and the next. I finally reached the point in life when wisdom or age or both told me to stop fighting myself. Doesn’t always come naturally, must often remind self. But there is no winning. I still get stuck but I am certainly a lot less frustrated than trying to continue an idea or design I really don’t like anymore. And that is okay. My work, my ideas, my rules (or lack thereof). Wasted a lot of time doing otherwise. “And no, Aunt _____, the back of my piece isn’t as lovely as the front. That’s why it is ‘the back’ “.

  5. Jen Tarchin

    Before this class began I anticipated it with relish. While waiting, I was ill for a couple of weeks. During this time it occurred to me that my creative pace was unnaturally sped up. To be true to my natural rhythm I need to slow it down, slow enough to match my personal internal pace. The two being out of sync created creative tension. So I appreciate your contemplation, and you staying true to the way your own creative pace is set as you proceed. A true relief.

    • jude

      i think the fast pace is just aggravated by the “thing”, and maybe that becomes a competition, even with ourselves. I can say that so much has changed since I began looking at making things differently. The making being more important that the thing. and then thinking as making, thought as the creative act. The slower I get, the more I get done, from my perspective anyway.

  6. Mart Gooch

    Working in the present…this was so important to me as I am happiest when I am merely letting it be… seeing what it becomes with no real plan!
    Stitching around the “circle” or whatever it might be was SO helpful..didn’t know that after following and loving your posts for years!

  7. grace

    when you talk about materials, i know you will talk about fabric and that might provide insight to things seeming
    static or alive. It was a HUGE flash of understanding when i realized what you were saying about commercial NEW
    fabric. Like from the quilting store. OR even from deconstructed used clothing….the magic was…USED. loosened.
    how worn cloth just wants to become whatever we imagine. Everything changed for me when you made
    that clear.

  8. Mary

    I think you have hit upon another inescapable truth. Life is a tangle. Accepting that reality and being in the tangle is noble. However, it can also lead to knots, that like snares, make it impossible to move forward. I feel the need to praise the wonderfully exhilarating task of untangling. Have you ever held that knotted tangle of thread in your fingers and ever so
    gently (while breathing calmly) teased the knots loose and freed the threads of the gremlin’s snare. Ahhh.. so satisfying.
    That is the thought that moved through me, not in a straight line but a meandering maze of a tangle.

  9. stichr

    For years I have sung “i did it my way”, to anything I have done. My kids would whine, ‘don’t sing’, so I would sing louder, and tell them, “a singing mom is a happy mom”. [they had a point, i have a lousy voice, but still]

  10. Joan

    I have mentioned to a couple people that my own personal goal with taking this class is to try and learn to do things in a more free or loose way. I have tried in the past and always become anxious or overwhelmed and gone back to my more structured makes. I love those makes but I really want to be able to free my thoughts up and let them out in cloth also. I think for me a big part of that is learning techniques to help me do that and I thank you so much for sharing your techniques freely. I am loving the invisible baste, totally new to me. I am playing with a thought and the overwhelmed feeling of not knowing what to do hit me yesterday but today I am making progress and walking away when that anxiousness returns. I love the idea of you just sharing as you work.

    • jude

      walking away works, i just keep working in my mind, you can try a million things that way, then when it feels right you can pick it up again with the whole bunch of experience to rest on. thinking is doing too. the glue stitch, that baste, makes it just as simple as collage except the glue is removable. i think it is quite freeing in itself.

  11. this is where I’m at right now too Jude it is all the right thing at he right time in the right place no expectations, am enjoying the journey for what it is and not stitching anything yet… just absorbing…totally grateful you are so creative, focused ( without being too focused!) and so impressed with you working out all the techy stuff!? and holding it / us all together. we are also your patchwork pieces :0)

    I am on instagram ( if you want to add me on your people list x

  12. Cheryl Fillion

    I realized this past week that the flat, too-composed look I was getting with my stitching was because I was falling back into my old project-management ways which flourished from starting with a plan and knowing each step from beginning to end. As soon as I became aware of the issue, it fell away while I worked to add real story to the cloth and symbols I had started with. And then this lesson today. Your video, audio and written words, reinforced by your drawing, were exactly the thoughts I needed. You are such a beautiful teacher!

    • jude

      there is no one way. i think it is important to try something many times, many ways, it’s the only way to reinforce open-ended-ness. a plan can be a start, but for me it encourages too much repetition, like what you said. . and too much attachment to result. of course if i wanted or needed to be in the”thing” business it might be helpful

  13. Michelle Weatherson

    Your thought catching doodle and words around the ‘tangle’ really resonated with me. I’ve spent the better part of 30 years in a very left brained, goal-oriented career. Lots of planning–and always an end game or outcome in mind. I’ve done quite well in that world. The linear path of a well laid plan comes easily for me. When I began picking up fabric, needle, and thread five or so years ago after a long hiatus from creativity, I encountered the tangle you describe. I kept thinking there was something wrong with me. That feeling of being adrift was uncomfortable at first. It still is…but I’m learning to embrace it. Who knows–maybe the tangle is the real me and over the years I just adapted to all the structure really, really well…

    • jude

      I fell in line as well, to a certain degree. Oddly though, it wasn’t until much later as things rolled along that I realized as I moved from designer to management, that i longed to return to the tangle. When we need to do stuff to make a living, choices are much more limited and risk is higher.

  14. grace

    o…..eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, the long soft breathy kind that forgets to continue but then remembers
    and continues
    This is just a Stellar, Magnificant Post….you have given words to true things, to elusive things….
    it’s just so Fine, the feeling i am having upon reading and hearing ….. Just Big Love to you

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