The road ends, but the journey continues...

Pandemic Potpourri V

Mariss' Kantha
October’s Kantha Piece by Mariss Stevens

First and foremost, I just had to show off this piece by my friend, Mariss. I’ve long admired her fiber art – and her curiosity about trying new techniques. After attending a course given at the South African National Quilt Festival in 2019 on Kantha stitching (pre-COVID – remember when?), she decided to experiment with the stitch form by making monthly samplers. As she says, “What has caught my imagination is how the simple running stitch can be used to produce such varied patterns and effects.”

Coincidentally, she began her samplers in January 2020 and they have since become a form of meditative creation for her as this year of the Pandemic has persisted & progressed. (click here and here for photos of each month’s sampler thus far)

Changing gears: How about a little help with my poem WIP? Below are two versions of Making Bread. If you feel so inclined, please read through both and then in the comments below let me know which word you prefer. I waffle between the two of them. Oh and, anybody notice the relationship between the Kantha piece above and something else on this blog post? If so, let me know about your discoveries in the comments.

Making Bread – poem WIP version #1:

                  Making Bread - poem WIP
                         (LBL - MMXX)

Making bread
I become a Builder.

                   Hands kneading.
                   Yeasty gases expanding.

Making bread.
I watch as it shapes a story.

Making Bread – poem WIP version #2:

                  Making Bread - poem WIP
                         (LBL - MMXX)

Making bread
I become a Builder.

                   Hands kneading.
                   Yeasty gases ballooning.

Making bread.
I watch as it shapes a story.

And last, but not least, just because this is how I’m feeling right now…


  1. Lavinia Ross

    I’m a bit late here, but like “expanding”, myself.

    Rhiannon Giddens has a lovely soulful voice. Thank you for adding that video clip in your post.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Never too late – especially since your vote is reflected in sentiment if not numerically!
      As for Rhiannon – she does touch deep.

  2. zippyquilts

    I like “ballooning” because of its happy connection with kids’ balloons. Expanding reminds me of my waistline! And Roman numerals, of course. Mariss had a whole blog about them ๐Ÿ™‚ I admire her Kantha stitching, too.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Mariss is an outstanding (he)artist, to be sure!
      Expanding does have it’s weight-gaining implications, but then ballooning has more gaseous ones…kind of a lesser of two evils?!
      So far: e – 12 and b – 8.

  3. candidkay

    Version 2 for sure! Ballooning gives me a visual in a way expanding doesn’t. Thanks for sharing creativity of all types with us:).

    • laura bruno lilly

      Rack up one more for the ole ‘ballooning’
      Thanks for stopping by – hope your Thanksgiving has been uber special!
      So far: 12 – e and 7 – b.

  4. deborahbrasket

    Happy Thnksgiving, Laura! I can’t decide between your two options, but I do love thinking of you with your hands in all the warm, yeasty dough kneading. Something so earthy and heartwarming in bread-making it makes me smile.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Pass the smiles along with a helping of hope and cheerfulness – Happy Thanksgiving, friend!

  5. Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet

    Hi Laura, I enjoyed this post. I used to bake a lot of bread. If it’s not too late to vote, I vote for “expand.” My associations with that word are positive: to have more choices, to increase knowledge and broaden the mind. “Balloon” conjures up balloon payments at the ends of loans and artificially inflated real estate values (bubbles) that lead to crashes and recessions. Thanks for the diversion. <3 All the best!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Not too late at all! Like your reasoning, too.
      So far: 12 – e and 6 – b.

  6. tierneycreates

    Version #2 appeals to me – I like the idea of the ballooning of the bread! Yes that Mariss is pretty darn talented!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Okeee Dokeee, Tierney, count another for #2.
      So far: 11 – e and 6 – b.

  7. Ally Bean

    I like WIP #2. “Ballooning” seems joyful to me, like a party. While “expanding” reminds me of my waistline which is getting larger with each passing day. Probably from eating bread. ?

    • laura bruno lilly

      I get it about that ole ‘waistline during COVID’ issues – ugh! (see my reply to L.Marie’s comment). Thanks for voting, Ms. Bean.
      So far: 11 – e and 5 – b.

  8. Jennie

    Your bread poem made me smile! Lovely stitching. Happy Thanksgiving, Laura!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Ah, now to bake up a batch…Enjoy your holidays-vacation days, Jennie!

      • Jennie

        Thank you, Laura. Happy Thanksgiving. ?

  9. Andy

    I prefer expanding.

    Also, in the Mancunian vernacular of the recent past, if someone was โ€˜ballooningโ€™ it means they are losing their temper, โ€˜kicking offโ€™. Slang which I donโ€™t think the kids use today. Iโ€™m not sure, I canโ€™t understand the kids today ?

    • laura bruno lilly

      Part of my hesitancy with ‘ballooning’ was/is precisely some of the negative implications with vernacular meanings. I wasn’t aware of the Manc end of things but well let’s just say the American ‘end’ of things is a bit dicey! (See Joseph Finnerty’s thoughts)
      So far: 11 – e and 4 – b.

  10. Marie A Bailey

    I like expanding better, for many of the reasons others have already shared. But you are the poet. When you read it out loud, which word sounds better to you? Thank you for this diversion. Fiber arts and poetry are wonderful distractions ๐Ÿ™‚

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yep, that ‘reading it out loud’ is a good idea, Marie.
      So far:10 – e and 4 – b

  11. rl2b2017

    Hi Laura! I think I like expanding better. My reasoning is that ballooning implies a rapid increase in size, which I don’t think is the case. Whenever I’ve made bread and left it to rise (which isn’t often!!), it slowly expanded. BUT, it’s YOUR poem so go with what reflects your message. There is no right/wrong. {{Hugs}} and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your peeps. ~smile~ Roseanne

    • laura bruno lilly

      Excellent reasoning! I’ve been leaning towards expanding since I first put it out there…and it’s been fun to have input such as yours come into play in these comments…
      So far: 9 – e and 4 – b
      Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday – especially the extra time you’ll have to do what you love most: quilt. Well, maybe second best to loving your cuties!

  12. cedar51

    I can’t make up my mind on the The Bread Builder – I suspect I would rather you just some of the words … to just be “yeasty…” in that line up the … give a idea that “yeast will do what it wants”

    Looked at the sampler links and looks at a bit about kantha stitching – along with the comments…interesting how our world everywhere is evolving…

    • laura bruno lilly

      Ha – yes indeed, ‘yeast will do what it wants’! Thanks for your suggestions, Catherine.
      What intrigues me about Kantha stitching for my own experimental use is the fact that it can be large stitches rather than the impossibly tiny quilting stitches required back in the day when I learned basic quilting techniques!

  13. Janis @

    Love the Roman numeral theme going on here, even in your title. Iโ€™m going to expand the count for expanding.

    • laura bruno lilly

      You are a sharp foxy lady, Janis! That Roman Numeral Theme is definitely part of the ‘answer’, I’ll expound more after others chime in!
      So far: 8 – e and 4 – b

  14. Laura

    Your choice of song is also one of my favorites; it seems to be touching a lot of hearts!
    Mariss is very creative…I had not seen her work before; thank you for sharing.

    I prefer ballooning; it brings to mind color and lightness (as in weightless). It also brings to mind the anticipation of an explosion. Ha, ha! I have had dough rise well beyond the capacity of the container that I put it in, though not so much as Lucille Ball’s experience. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh, Laura, I just knew you’d like Mariss’s work!
      You’re right about the lightness/weightless aspect to the word ‘ballooning’ it also gives a visual of the action involved with the yeast rising…That’s part of why I waffle back and forth on the two words, cuz the other word ‘reads’ better within the poem…so here we are several comments into this tally and I’m still undecided…
      So far: 7 – e and 4 – b

  15. Jane's Heartsong

    Huh, did I forget to press the “Post Comment” button? Saw Ms Giddens on a CBC mini documentary series called “Enslaved”. Powerful series. I like both versions of the poem and the concept of being a builder. The stitching is simple and strong, so precise!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks for the input, Jane!
      So far: 7 – e and 3 – b

      FYI: I got both comments and just combined them in this one.

  16. Jane's Heartsong

    I like both. I love “Wayfaring Stranger” and Rhiannon Giddens. She was featured on one of the episodes of “Enslaved” on CBC Docs. Powerful series. Nice stitching, subtle yet strong.

  17. aFrankAngle

    For what its worth, I like version 1 because expanding has a much better poetic feel than ballooning. Enjoyed the fabric art – and cheers to your intro. The song as an eerie tone to it – therefore perfect for the times.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Hey there mellow ocean-wave walk guy! Thanks for stopping by!
      So far: 6 – e and 2 – b

      • aFrankAngle

        Madly waving back! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Joseph Finnerty

    Yeasty gasses passing.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Huge gaffaw way out here in the swamp to you in the desert, my dear ole Joe!
      (now, now, as in laughter nothing else!)

      • marissthequilter

        A chuckle from me too

  19. marissthequilter

    Well thank you Laura for your generous comments about my work. It has brought about a metaphorical expansion in my chest.
    I like your deceptively simple poem. It has a spiritual undertone and hence ‘expanding’ is more apt IMHO

    • laura bruno lilly

      Chest expansion well-deserved (our word usage is getting stranger by the moment!)!
      And as for the undertone…isn’t that what poetry is all about?
      So Far: 5 – e and 2 – b.

      • marissthequilter

        That’s a big question and if I try to answer it my word usage is going to get even stranger ?
        I am also overwhelmed by the comments on my work. ?

        • laura bruno lilly

          It is indeed a revelation when those outside our ‘normal’ circle of acquaintances (and in this case many are not quilters) regard our precious (he)artwork as spectacular!
          (Pat on the back of your expanded chest!)

  20. petespringerauthor

    I’m not much of a poet, but I prefer yeasty gases expanding rather than ballooning. Happy Thanksgiving, Laura.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Happy Thanksgiving to you, too Pete.
      So far: 4 – e and 2 – b.

  21. Chela's Colchas y Mas

    Thank you for your comment about blogging being a space for managing/escaping reality. We need to take time to find joy in the moment, anywhere we can. Sharing art and positive thoughts can help us navigate this sad reality in which we find ourselves.
    I learn so much from Mariss. She is an inspiration to keep trying and learning new things. I, too, admire her work.
    Version #2 is my choice. “Ballooning” makes me smile. It reminded me of the time in Home Ec class where my first attempt in making bread went nowhere, fast. There was no ballooning.
    Your choice of folksongs got right to my heart. It is one of my favorites, and it truly expresses my present state of mind.
    Your blog is just what I needed to change this day from being another umpteenth Saturday to one that makes me feel good.

    • laura bruno lilly

      “There was no ballooning” says it all! HA!
      Thanks for letting me know about the effect this simple blog post made on this day for you.
      So far: 3 – e and 2 – b.

  22. Savoring Sixty and Beyond

    I like your attitude! A diversion is truly needed these days. I like version #1 of your poem and really enjoyed the video/song. Your friend is so talented (I loved her September stitching) and how nice and calming her monthly efforts must be for her. I have not stitched in years, but may decide to pick up a kit to try again. I notice the V in your post title is the stitch she is using in her piece?

    • laura bruno lilly

      I picked up a mini-macrame kit the beginning of you-know-what and haven’t opened it up yet…maybe now’s the time. So go get thee a stitching kit and have it handy for whenever!
      I’ll be formally mentioning the Kantha/post connection(s) later.
      So far: 3 – e and 1 – b.

  23. L. Marie

    How cool that Mariss used in one of her pieces some fabric you sent her, Laura. Her pieces are amazing! Thank you for featuring her. Glad you sent that link to her blog.

    I dunno. I go back and forth between ballooning and expanding (in real life too with all of the sitting around thanks to COVID). I like the softness of BALLOONING. But EXPANDING flows nicely with the S in GASES.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Your thoughts mirror my own – along with the ‘real life scenario’ you aptly mentioned! In that case scrap the ‘mirror’ and substitute with ‘reflect’.
      So far: 2 – e and 1 – b (I added your vote as one each)

  24. piecefulwendy

    I also enjoy seeing what Mariss is creating. Her stitching is so lovely, and I do see the connection in your post. I think I prefer the word “expanding” – it seems to fit better with the rest of the words. That is one of my favorite songs by her – she is one talented artist.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Hi Wendy! So far: 1 – e and 0 – b. Thanks for stopping by.

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