May Stray Play

I couldn't find time to doodle,  unexpected visit from my son , and stuff... so I  mulled over some  ideas about May and green and it  came to nothing much really,  green, spring, growth,  maybe the stray might become green in spring,  green comes in many forms, a full spectrum of greens.  Nope.  No start.  So I decided to do what I call Direct Storming.  Just doodling with cloth.  Then maybe doodle over that.  But as I begin I remind myself that I am no longer just going, because I have a history doing this and maybe just going is  misleading,  there is after all intention.  Softened really by not worrying. So when you say you're going to do something, especially to others, it's a kind of promise, right?  A kind of stress sets in.  To perform.  It's funny, I even remember doing that to myself.   For no reason.   Audio - I get stuck

Doing is easy really,  starting not so much.   It's only cloth,  I say that to myself when I am stuck.  There is no life and death here.  Lighten up.

I love Three almost as much as I love Nine.   It's part of a math I use,  a lot,  and I will be talking a lot about it in Part 2- Puzzle Pieces.  A design logic that has formed over time, that supports the system of building  from scrap.  Although  things seem easier without rules,  methodology emerges from continuous attention to what you do and love.  It all simply  begins to fit together.   I think that is a result  of thought-ful-ness.

So  keeping that in mind,  I went for simple.   Three  basic strips of cloth.  LOng Cloth format,  Pathwork.  Since I use 9" and 3" a lot,  I made these 4" x 10",  a little extra cloth  that might contain other things I have that  might already be  3" and 9".   I'll make three versions of a May Stray.  Because I can't decide.   More choices softens  the idea of  "wrong".  audio- plain cloth base

I had some dyed harem cloth here,  a small scrap that I think was yellow over blue, probably pomegranate over some faded indigo,  looks like it was also in the walnut bath for a while,  so it's a murky greenish  turquoise,   I just roughly drew the stray cat shape with pen and cut it out leaving a bit of extra cloth around it.   But it's a departure in that I don't use thin cloth like this for the figure much.   I like that what's underneath it changes it.   And there's the word CHANGE, already.   And don't mind the noises in the back of this audio,  construction going on next door and  it is the way it is.

audio- a bit of story

It is my intention, to use this stray cat series,  to tell the story of myself, myselves, in the context of my ever changing surroundings.   Thinking forward, a note to self, Season  can be more than just weather and time of year.

I pulled out the little green moon patch  to fill the hole in the print,  I like the less common alignment , instead of just placing it overhead as I most commonly do.  But then,   it seemed to be moving then,    Which had me consider it   as moving through.   I put it in the  place where as I recall, I reserved for that  in my extended ninepatch concept.   Maybe.

Audio-moving through

To sum things up today, a loose thought.


  1. I wanted to share here – more about beginning. I have a painting online course that I follow. He says to be bold. When faced with that empty, and to me, daunting canvas, “be bold; make a bold mark and the rest will follow.”
    I tend to be more tentative which can lead to paralysis, so it helps when I remember to just make a mark – that i do not have to have a plan or an end in mind.” The best made plans of mice and men …” Robbie Burns.
    And maybe that is my spirit animal, a mouse.
    Also my daughter gave me a $ gift for mothers day, so I used it to make a Spoonflower purchase. I feel like all of the talk about cloth and color and that has been happening here and on the fb group helped me to remember I can do this, print my own, so thank you. I will share it when it arrives in a couple of weeks if I like it…
    If you are curious, I used the ‘fill a yard template’ on, which has 48 nine inch squares ( it is actuallly two yards ) in it into which you can put 48 or less of your own pics into and they will print it on fabric and send it to you. Any way this is a different direction I know but it is my direction at this moment. Good wishes to all.
    ps I am not affiliated with spoonflower in any way.

    • jude

      i tried spoonflower but i couldn’t find a fabric quality i liked. that was long ago tho when they first started. I have to admit tho, with all this cloth here, i don’t need to add to it.

  2. Joanne

    I “saddened” cloth yesterday and ironed it today. I used your “recipes” from that catalog of yours. I think it helps to have a common understory (tone) in the cloth. Holds together somehow no matter what fabrics we use. I spoke to my daughter about “tender” cloth and she brought me an old thin shirt found at the dump. Tender. In more ways than one, huh?

    I still have no beast or spirit guide. I think about it hoping one comes to me in a dream. I do love NINE.

    I teach. Gardening classes. For years and years I had notes and information sheets. Now (this Spring) I just show up and say “what do you want to know?” and we go from there. I think it’s all the Time spent here, listening or reading your words. And, the people coming to classes–they LOVE it. I have even started sitting in a chair in the middle of the group rather than stand in front of them. Amazing classes. In the greenhouse and here at my computer with Ragmates. Thank you.

    • jude

      cloth has many tenderness-es. I love it for that. I think Nine can be a spirit guide,
      Teaching has so much opportunity. After this I will entertain some sort of teaching that might be like yours.

  3. Martha

    Lovely to be here mostly as a voyeur. I too have had visitors. Grandkids who need embracing. Big kids too need embracing. So. My stitching and creating time is overlapped and encroached upon. This is life I am lucky.
    Thinking I want to have more cloth printed. It is fun to use my own creations to stitch on. A new direction. It is a privilege to be here – and to be so inspired and to feel like I belong. On Monday I have a technician coming to install electrodes on my head until Thursday- an ambulatory eeg. We’ll see what comes of that. Lots of lines and waves. I may have to draw that! Maybe I will ask for a bit of the paper for a collage. Love to all.

  4. Just some of the many many thoughts this post has conjured up for me out of the abyss. Soulo spoke ! ( “I can help” ). Then the star in the tree, the shadow self on the table and the landscape moving through the images. Then I got hung up on the passage of time and Time Passages by Al Stewart. His voice is so timeless. That sparked so many memories for me of times gone by. Lost times, lost people. It is like being guided through all the forgotten areas of my brain by some kindly soul. Saying, “its OK, let’s look in here? When the synapses start firing all sorts of magic happens. Like many other Ragmates have mentioned it is a privilege to be here. Some guardian Angel tapped me on the shoulder that day and said “join in” and I listened and acted.

  5. Sheri

    I haven’t been working on the patches I’ve been centred on because I’m ill and trying to stay unworried about being single and iller than I would feel certain of recovery. The pain makes it hard to concentrate. I’ve been slowly making a story quilt using my emotional history and at the same time making another for my grand daughter. It was because of your videos and quiet honesty that I had the courage to sew in my own ‘ applique’ ish style. Its calming to listen to your process and supportive of connecting to my own inner process which for me is life affirming so Thankyou for all the time and effort you put into being here authentically .. worts and all .. that is what is so pleasing

  6. Jen Tarchin

    I sit amidst chaos, happily stitching as much as possible. Stitching while my daughter was in surgery two days ago, now at the ER while I wait for a CT result on my own head lol. My car a total loss, hit by an inexperienced young driver. The stitches are mending and healing.
    I love the spiritual thread you show throughout your teaching, a sense of place, earth, time, and who you are in relation to these timeless images.

    • I’m glad you explained my process as doodling with cloth. I pick up pieces and they make suggestions to me of how they can be used by their texture, colour, thickness and pattern. Some embedded patterns are perfect for a beast … or party of a beast…or tree or house or abstract design. They are often suggest the way to work freely without a pattern in mind. Doodling. My mind wandering about to see how the fabric will work and suggest something.

        • Allie

          I loved your post today about the initial phases of creating. The ’empty headedness’ and ’embarrassment’ as you wait for something beautiful to emerge from the gloom. Trying to slow time as you live the question and wait for an answering. You know its there but you also know if you reach for it it will go…and you will lose it. It comes when it comes and all you can do is be. Im beginning to understand about time and how it stretches and coils and moved. Not our clock time, but another type of time that moves in,around and through us. Beannach leat, uile duine.

  7. Judy

    Jude if I don’t learn anything at all although I know I will and have, it’s a privilege to witness your bravery and sincerity in sharing your creative process. I typically need to have seen a finished project which I use as a blueprint before I can get my creative juices flowing. I’ve sort of accepted that that is okay. I’ve decided it’s like using a particular mathematical formula over and over again before becoming flexible with it in novel applications. Does that make sense? I am humbled by your thought process and the way you move through. This is an amazing experience! Thank you!

    • jude

      in a way we all contain what we have seen and especially loved before, as a base to work from. I agree completely with having a personal formula for comfort, a king of place to visit over and over , a home-base perhaps, to gather up our courage and venture forth. So yes, it makes complete sense.

  8. Joelle Baum

    I think you are “keeping it real” as they say. I get so distracted at times that I just seem to fade away from the creative process. I understand the feeling of embarrassment. However, I think you are very brave in showing us how you work. For me, the creative process is often messy, fraught with indecision, and tangled. But it’s there, and doesn’t leave me. A true companion!
    Thank you so much! I feel so lucky to be here.

    • jude

      Is creative practice separate from life? Maybe what distracts you is important somehow. Sewing used to distract me from other things.

  9. kathrynalbrycht1838

    I believe I felt the ground shudder today, . . . or maybe it was just another small earthquake due to the fracking locally. But in any event, Jude began her post today as I (perhaps others too) sometimes find myself when attempting to begin a new piece or continue one bogged down in mud – STUCK. And we actually witnessed her work through it. Yes, I sensed the frustration, but in the end, she put together a beginning to her path, one with many options yes, but a direction none the less. And how about the changes; color, placement, layout? She began with one new item (green, and less blue) and wound up embracing other changes. Was it a new direction or just a slight lean to the starboard as opposed to port? Who knows what causes those novel moments, but we each have our own impetus.

    Jude can’t really teach us how to be creative but she can show us what she does when she gets stuck. Of course this “class” situation isn’t indicative of her normal creative process but we still saw her process. We saw her magic. I can’t replicate it as I know it won’t work for me, but I can recognize that perhaps I get frustrated too easily and exit studio, lights off. Watching Jude gave me a big shot of patience, a calmness to embrace that wall, even use it. Just don’t turn and walk away so easily. You showed me the one thing I hoped to see but couldn’t expect you to create on cue. Thanks . . .

  10. Helen Lawless Lee

    Always good to have surprise visits from a son. Our Boy is in Canada…has been away since December. He is missed.
    So good that you share that you too can have trouble starting. Honesty in teaching…schools could learn something here 💚

    • jude

      it was great to see him… an early mother’s day visit.
      I struggled so in school. Just being there. Teaching has been on my mind ever since

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