Frame of Mind

I couldn't get started.  So did this.  And...

AUDIO- Big Bang


Catching Thoughts through a filter...

So then I took the clothEYE WOMAN,   outside...  Connecting Cloth to Season,  is a kind of ceremony celebrating alignment.  (I asked myself  " If I were to really share how it happens,  am I risking something? Will I sound ridiculous?")

Direct link to  the (unlisted) video on YouTube.  You might find  more about my basic stitches, including the split backstitch,  on the Stitch page of the Methods Index.  The index is still being built from old (and new) materials as I gather them.

So Eye Woman, part of what I just renamed,   the  I, woman series,  is based on a a form first diagrammed as an extended nine patch (I need to gather my notes about that and add them to the glossary) ... you might  click here to see the drawing which I did over a photo when I began Eye Woman.

More simply, it is this.  I just drew this one.  And, now, today, I associate  this with  doodle # 4.  to the right.    I have used this doodle loosely many times.  I think it is carved in my brain.  It's about the thing that stands,  let's say in this case, self,   you,  me... and the thing that (also extends  as a pathway) might move through.  It was derived from a traditional woven tapestry pattern.  And  it is about  the strength of  a woven  cloth.  Weave is an ordered tangle.


And somehow, today,  that all brought me to this. This is one of the small doodles floating around in a bowl I labeled tiny.  But it's  really big in terms of symbolic meaning.  It is about so many things.  Right now it can be a small beginning.  So I, we, can go.  I pulled out a few more loose doodles,  pasted them to a board.  How different they become now.  Connected like loose patches.  Yet still free to roam in my mind. So. Shall we start here Because if we start here,  we can go anywhere and there is bound to be a story.

In General

In general, then,  I wanted to mention that there is a general review of Tools/Materials in SpiritCloth 101  if you've not been there.  I will be talking about clarifications to my approach to needles, thread, scissors etc, like I did with cloth because I simply have more experiences to share,  but the basic premises have remained the same.

I will also begin creating some PDFs  to support my doodles and note taking, and the option to print pages  where it seems appropriate.   Let me say though, in the spirit of saving paper,  everything will stay here so consider the non-paper approach as an option.

I will also be adding a Q&A section to the home page so I might answer any of the questions  from this post, in a more  direct and accessible format.

And thank you, for being here, and allowing me this opportunity to gather my thoughts  in the safety of this circle of hearts and hands.


  1. I frankly am continuing to be amazed at how much and how well you pull it all together here. I still have trouble with only one strand, although I’d like to try it more. It is a bit hard on my eyes and I try to be gentle with them these days. I sure like your ‘green frame of mind’ and the greening of not-so-green. Plus, #3 – Tall gave me a smile and #8, man breaks my heart. xo

  2. grace

    the split back stitch with ONE SINGLE STRAND….one of my most loved of all the glorious revelations
    about clothmaking you have taught….how amazing it was and continues to be, to separate the 6 strands
    of embroidery floss, and then….the split. i was never really liked embroidery…which to me feels exactly as
    you say here, an embellishment, on the surface. where the single strand “integrating into the cloth” , the
    feeling of that…how it truly does become part of the cloth its self and so, weaves the story. I think you
    must be the only person in the world that teaches that. I’d never heard of it before or since. It changed

    • jude

      it’s cuz i was a weaver for so long and when i was a weaver i learned the nature of woven cloth and sometimes when designing weaves, it became like sewing. and i was a stitcher before i was a weaver and so, sew…our world is small, maybe someone out there …

      • grace

        and as we go, you teach us, over and over, in different ways, the nature of woven cloth…which i think is
        all cloth? muslin is woven…i can pull strands and see this? All cloth. the nature of CLOTH. and as
        this is absorbed into Understanding, we too, each in our own way, Weave Into. Story and Thread.
        Big Love,

  3. Mart

    I love when you said “it’s so not green”
    But then it is & you continue with green thread….this happens often, for me. Just “seeing” the colors and how they do work. Also…it’s not “embroidery”was eye opening for me…I don’t think I understood that really.. in all the years I’ve followed you. I’m seeing and learning so much

    • jude

      i say stuff over and over but i realize sometimes it is only to myself.
      sometimes i imagine i am cloth, that helps a lot

  4. Lou

    Jude, I find this this post to be really helpful in thinking about subject and form for a piece. To see your cloth self portrait, and the sketch ideas. Weve all got a story, im going to doodle and see what falls out. In some ways its forming symbols and simplifying in order to find the thing that represents how I think and feel right now. But at the same time needing to have a fluidity so i dont end up tied to my paper musings… im thinking… thats what this post has done, given me a direction to think on. Thanks Jude, I am so glad to be here

  5. Thank you for sharing the mystery of beginnings. I appreciate that it isn’t that easy to explain. I like your description that something explodes out of chaos. Also that you spend time looking. I need to spend more time looking. And I especially love the idea of ceremony and seasonal alignment.

    • jude

      Yes, but I don’t know if that is where my focus is here, I think it is more on the connection part. and letting self become part of a larger whole.

  6. Karen

    Thank you talking about your work, and no, you don’t sound ridiculous. Initially I thought the piece you put in the middle of your green scraps was just shapes, abstract art….but then I asked myself why the squiggly lines near the top? Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, it was your hair, and then I saw you in the piece. Duh, I was thick. … and then the picture of your sketch confirmed it along with your words. So talking about your thought process is so appreciated.
    I absolutely love your doodle Number 8.
    When you are hand stitching, do you ever work from the top only. Or do you only stick and stab and bring your hand under the work with each stitch?

    • jude

      as I build up layers, my needle often slides between the layers, so no, not always through from one side to another, but through just the same.

  7. Hmmm growing older is a story that needs to be told. By me? Inner critic. I named mine Sheila – an Irish name meaning girl- and made a huge painting of her. My mother was a ‘real artist’ and also a perp so I did not want to wander her path so I did not ‘art’ until I was in my forties. Then i capitulated as it were. Now I am just here. Thinking of spring. O joy. Thinking of making a cloth doll of spring. Maybe a mermaid. When I was a girl of five or six I traveled from Guam to japan on a navy transport? ship. I spent my time looking at the sea hoping to see a mermaid. Dreaming of the world under the sea. Sorry to go on sew long. So long. Thanks for sharing your journey and also do all of the comments and answers. Xo

    • jude

      story is good, a mermaid could stray far… i wonder what you mean by a “real” artist. I wonder about that a lot.

  8. Mary

    In the big basket-tangle of thread people,I must be one of those loose threads that never really got connected to any whole. Following your detangling now (finally), I feel like my worn and scraggly fiber is being drawn into a bigger fabric piece.
    Thank you for being willing to repeat your lessons, adding new perspectives and insights makes the tangle more of a spiral,
    and allows us loose threads to frolic with the tangle.

  9. I really like what you said about embroidery and weave. Something about the embroidery sitting on top of the cloth and the fineness of the split single stitch almost becoming part of the cloth’s weave. (I’m paraphrasing because I listened a couple hours ago and have been thinking about it since.) It just really struck a chord with me…

    • jude

      I will gladly tell it, for it might otherwise just disappear. So thank you, maybe you might carry a bit of it forward.

  10. Peggy McG

    my self critic is getting the most of me this morning.. my struggle is and will always be finding my own voice, taking that thread of thoughts learned from others and twisting myself into it, into something that doesnt say I copied it and just changed the choice of colors so now I can call it mine… so what I AM listening closely to is your design process and rethinking process. I am hearing ” Let what today’s self is experiencing add to your character, add to your design” .

    • jude

      yes, evolve, change, let the form become. the most useful forms remain as a base for tomorrow. also, realize there is no real “mine”. don’t think about ownership, think about building. evolution takes time, and mostly, don’t worry. let it be.

  11. debgorr

    Laughing…I just put a post up on the blog titled “pulling a green thread” and here you are! I’ve been thinking a lot about confidence, what creates it and where we lose it. About the capacity to imagine something and how crucial that is.

    • jude

      how critical confidence is in catching the thing imagined. why we let things go when they seem to have no value. how awful and wasteful. but how we might not be able to see it that way.

      • debgorr

        No, we might not because of all the life stuff that gets in the way… I encounter this a lot in the work I do, when I knit in public…this lack of confidence. It’s a soap box I can climb up on… how we need to make space for, especially for children, people to try. 🙂

  12. Janet shepherd

    Thank you for sharing your thought processes. It is illuminating to me as I am a refugee from art critiques that seemed so poisonous even when what you produced was good. I guess good is relative. But the sense of freedom that you share has been so helpful to me, and after many years of not creating at all, I feel that that maybe, now, I can begin again. My thanks are truly heartfelt, and I am grateful.

    • Marije

      I feel A change within myself. Difficult to tell my feelings in a different language, I am Dutch. What moves through me is that I desire for more inner peace. I am 46, kids are 8 and almost 10. I feel more space again for my self after a few very intensive years. Desire for “go with the flow”, believing in abundance. Believe in my strenghts. Letting go of fears. In my felt and patchwork I try to work intuïtieve. Just do, from my heart. If you have a plan, and it is difference than your intentions, it is still ok. Letting go of controle. Trust that it will be ok. And I try to incorperate this way of thinking, doing, in real life.
      I learned from you Jude: to look at details. You can talk about a thread as the biggest treasure, miracle you see… Kaizen: small steps, one at the time brings you forward. Stitch by stitch…

just share what moves through you...