Quilts: new forms

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I’m working with a book on quilting called Hexagons, Diamonds, Triangles and More, by Kelly Ashton. It’s about using templates and jelly roll strips (and other strips of cloth in different sizes) to produce quilts and quilt blocks on the 60-degree angle — mostly triangles and hexagons, but also some other patterns. Some of the resulting piecework should really be assembled by hand rather than machine. The bits of cloth are too small to be easily machined together; hand stitching may be required. 

Um. No.
There are limits to what I am willing to do for a commercial quilt. This may be one of those things. In essence, though, the process is the same as it is for English paper piecing: cut out a group of pieces of fabric using a template. Do this by cutting up a plastic milk carton into a number of durable template parts, and then using a ruler and rotary cutter to slice through dozens of pieces of fabric at once. Then you will have enough pieces to work with, to build up larger structures. I chose to start by working with the flat triangle shape. This gets cut out of a strip of cloth about 1.75″ wide; I chose to use two gray fabrics and a black fabric. For this next quilt I want to have the geometry provide the visual interest, and let the color palette take a back seat to the design. That’s the intention, in any case. As you can see, I made up a number of templates all at once. This quilt is going to be triangle-heavy, but with a range of triangular shapes and structures that also rely on hexagons (because a hexagon is six triangles). These three shapes are symmetrical, which means they can be stacked in useful ways. I can either assemble them into strips as shown in the first photograph. Or I can assemble them into pyramids. Emergent properties of course become obvious once you lay out a number of pieces for sewing. Triangles oriented in a particular way become six-pointed stars. It’s worth noting that the template must have a seam allowance. Here I’ve got a 1/4″ seam allowance on the template piece, and so the layout has this weird hole in the middle when the pieces are aligned but not yet sewn together. 
But that hole disappears eventually. I am not yet skilled at sewingvthe central gap together. but a straight-line technique does not appear to work correctly. The work needs a little more finesse than that.

What’s really elegant here is that the templates in the book are intended to work together. So the finished triangles now woven/sewn into this hexagon are the same size as the triangle templates. Which means that if I finish the pieces I’ve cut into three full stars, I can then put those stars almost like appliqué structure into a quilt that is otherwise constructed of triangles. 

F. Buckminster Fuller devised a three-point grid rather than the Cartesian grid of squares that we use in modern mathematics.  It’s funny to discover that Midwesterner’s grid system underlying the designs of four-hundred-year-old quilt patterns. One wonders what he was sleeping under, growing up, and what dreams those blankets may have inspired. 

Chapbook: Poems for The Behenian Stars

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I’ve published a chapbook.  It’s a digital PDF that you can download (and choose to print, if you so desire, for your Book of Shadows, your poetry binder, your vademecum, your 3-ring circus of astrological or mythological lore.

The Poems for the Behenian Stars is available immediately through my Etsy store for $10.00. It’s a collection of eighteen poems — for magic, for praise, for learning the stars, for learning to read and recite poetry, for supporting me.  The poems will take you on a journey through some of the astrological lore, imagery and powers of the Behenian Stars, while waking you up to their power in the world.

Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 7.50.22 PM.pngAnd what are the Behenian Stars, I hear you ask?  Well, they’re a list. They’re most of the brightest stars in the Northern Celestial Hemisphere (I’ve added three to the traditional list of fifteen), and they range from Caput Algol, the snake-haired head of fierce Medusa in the constellation of Perseus, whose baleful eye allegedly wreaks havoc at first but then brings protection… to Sirius in Canis Major, the dog-head of Orion’s hound, who grants us peace-making and mediation skills.

Whether you’re a magician, an astrologer, an astronomer with a penchant for poetry, a poet with a penchant for astronomy, or just a lover of the other poetry on this website — here’s a collection for you.  None of the poems in this chapbook has appeared on this website before, and likely won’t ever.  They’re a secret testimony, a hidden hymnal, and a way to begin your study of the stars!

I hope you enjoy them.

The Headless One

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Last year, lots of people in the magical community got hugely excited about Gordon White’s book The Chaos Protocols and the hugely relevant and powerful Star.Ships (which I reviewed here).  Gordon is of course the author of the moderately-successful chaos magic blog, Rune Soup. So did I, but due to events in my life it was impossible for me to write about my experiences with the Headless Rite.

And I kind of made what feels like a relevant discovery. More

Poem: for Capella

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there is a fixed election of Capella tonight (it’s actually begun on the east coast of the US, and won’t last too much longer). Capella is one of the Behenian Stars.  Here’s my poem, a sonnet, in honor of Capella:

Hail to thee, nurse of great Jove,
Rewarded with heaven for your sweet teat:
You fed the Olympian in his grove
On Mount Ida, providing milk so sweet
Which nursed the Thunderer to his great height.
In return he gave you an honored place,
In Auriga’s lap, as a brilliant light,
From whence you shine your benevolent grace.
With honors illumine our current acts,
With inquiry fill our curious hearts!
Give us strong grips on both figures and facts,
And help us master the liberal arts!
Lead, shining light, and send your splendor down,
To grant inquiry, honors and renown!

I’ll try to remember to comment on this a little in the morning, but I wanted to get the poem out there before the election passes completely.

Poem: Star Election of Cetus

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I’m not a student of Christopher Warnock’s astrological magic course, but I am on his mailing list, and I do like the act of creating poetry and hymns around the astrological windows he and his students find.

Today there is such an opening for Menkar, the alpha star in the constellation of Cetus, associated with finding lost things, good luck, and happiness.  Cetus is not one of the Behenian stars listed by H.C. Agrippa in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy, but it’s still a pretty interesting star.

Menkar, bright star of heaven’s graceful whale,
adorning Cetus with fluorescent jaw!
Send out your fortunate rays without fail,
To bring joyous days under heaven’s law!
Deep Ocean knows the crested serpent’s route,
Mimicking heaven’s own dutiful stars;
Now in your breaching, send the lucky spout
Raining down on us to drive away cares!
Give us fresh eyes to find that which was lost,
Tumble knuckle bones to favor our deeds;
Steady our keel though we be tempest-tossed!
Opportune times come to him the whale leads:
Cetus and Menkar enliven my art;
Prosper this work with good luck from the start!

Poem: for Alcyone

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I have this small notebook my mother made with 24 pages, so I’m going to try to write poems for 24 stars to go in it (since the book’s cover has astronomical/astrological themes).  This one is for Alcyone, one of the Pleiades, and the star that lends her name to the Halcyon Days, the rest period after the Saturnalia that classical Romans observed. One symbol of the Halcyon Days, at least according to Shakespeare, was or is the Kingfisher, a small blue bird with awhile throat band.

Good night, Alcyone, now at mid-heaven
At the hour when I would seek my bed:
Among sisters, you’re brightest of seven;
Too often we lump you with them, instead
Of remarking your own youthful beauty.
Friend to sailors, kingfisher’s falconer:
Poseidon your lover gave you daughters,
Oft named by an ancient astronomer
Moonlighting as poet. Send their laughters
Down to  us — Let their benefic voices
guide us in these times to better choices.