Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Funk Over

Well, friends, I wish I'd have written about my funk earlier.  Because no sooner had I done so than it began to lift!  And now I'm no longer At Odds. 

The so-so book actually provided excellent discussion at the book club and I never did finish it.  And the book for next month sounds really good.  I lost a pound and a quarter in spite of having neglected The Program for quite some time. 

It's still dark in the morning, too dark to go out and walk, but Himself helped me to clear off the stuff that had accumulated on the treadmill and the past two mornings I've climbed right out of bed and walked for twenty minutes.  At a brisk pace.  I've entertained some ideas about projects for White Oak, and have gone so far as to pin a couple of Itsy Bitsy's rows together.  I decided I could watch the Giants.

I took two tops to a new machine quilter the other night.  One is the brown and aqua stars quilt and the other is my version of the Mocha Trails pattern.  The first one is going to go with me to Tom and Anastasia's; they need a gift for some special friends.  The second one -- well -- I've just never liked it very much.  I loved the pattern when I bought it.  And I enjoyed making it.  But I used mostly fabric that someone gave me in exchange for something else and it just isn't to my taste.  It's been sitting around in flimsy stage for too long.  So I'm getting it quilted and going to bind it and then I'm giving it to a committee at church who is planning a mission trip to Central America.  They'll auction or raffle it for a fund raiser.

It was funny.  Once I posted about being At Odds, I noticed that several other bloggers were in the same condition.  Knowing that helped -- made me feel less singled out, if you know what I mean.  The other thing that helped a lot was being picked as a winner in Kim's recent giveaway.  She'd offered a pattern and a little kit; I got to choose which little kit and the pattern is for all three!  Would you look at what she sent, though!  There are two more patterns, a bunch of instructions, a hilarious little notebook and all those other goodies.  If that wasn't enough to turn Odds into Evens, I don't know what would!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

At Odds

Been feeling a bit At Odds lately.  Kind of like I'm waiting for something but am not sure what it is or if I'll even recognize it when it comes! 

The book I'm reading for the book discussion is blah; I'm forcing myself to get through it.  Itsy Bitsy is still on the design wall; I'm at that unpleasant stage of sewing on point rows with lattices together.  I've been struggling with my weight loss program.  I don't know what I'm going to take to White Oak. 

It's dark in the morning when I get up.  And the past couple of days have been unseasonably warm, not the least bit end-of-Octoberish.  The Phillies aren't in the World Series.  Work has been alternating bursts of too much and too little.  Can't seem to get caught up with the laundry.  The phone has begun to ring with recorded messages from political candidates.  Things aren't going smoothly on the church committee.

Grumble grumble grumble.  Grouse grouse grouse.  In a week and a half the time will change and it won't be dark in the morning.  In two and a half weeks I'll be at White Oak, happily working on whatever I decide to take. 

Next month's book has gotta be more rewarding than the present one.  I could make the acquaintance of a new vegetable or two.  I could take Itsy Bitsy off the wall and dig out a different UFO.  I suppose I could cheer on the Giants.  I could take the phone off the hook. 

None of these is a Real Problem.  And it will all work out.  But meanwhile, I'm a bit at odds.

This isn't a COW post, the picture above notwithstanding.  That photo came up when I entered "at odds" into Google Images.  I kind of liked it, though I must say those two do not look at odds.  Not one bit.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Clean Cup, Move Down

To my way of thinking, the current Tea Party movement makes the Mad Hatter's event look sane.  I haven't been able to organize my thoughts enough to write about it, though I've wanted to.  This morning I read an op-ed in The Washington Post that seems to say it all.  I thought it warranted wide readership; hence, I am reposting it below in its entirety. 

When Tea Party wants to go back, where is it to?

By Harold Meyerson

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

As battle cries go, the Tea Party's "Take our country back" is a pretty good one. It's short and punchy, and it addresses a very widespread sense that the nation that Americans once lived in has changed, and not for the better.

When the Tea Partyers get around to identifying how America has changed and to whose benefit, however, they get it almost all wrong. In the worldview of the American right -- and the polling shows conclusively that that's who the Tea Party is -- the nation, misled by President Obama, has gone down the path to socialism. In fact, far from venturing down that road, we've been stuck on the road to hyper-capitalism for three decades now. The Tea Partyers are right to be wary of income redistribution, but if they had even the slightest openness to empiricism, they'd see that the redistribution of the past 30 years has all been upward -- radically upward. From 1950 through 1980, the share of all income in America going to the bottom 90 percent of Americans -- effectively, all but the rich -- increased from 64 percent to 65 percent, according to an analysis of tax data by economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez. Because the nation's economy was growing handsomely, that means that the average income of Americans in the bottom 90 percent was growing, too -- from $17,719 in 1950 to $30,941 in 1980 -- a 75 percent increase in income in constant 2008 dollars.

Since 1980, it's been a very different story. The economy has continued to grow handsomely, but for the bottom 90 percent of Americans, it's been a time of stagnation and loss. Since 1980, the share of all income in America going to the bottom 90 percent has declined from 65 percent to 52 percent. In actual dollars, the average income of Americans in the bottom 90 percent flat-lined -- going from the $30,941 of 1980 to $31,244 in 2008.

In short, the economic life and prospects for Americans since the Reagan Revolution have grown dim, while the lives of the rich -- the super-rich in particular -- have never been brighter. The share of income accruing to America's wealthiest 1 percent rose from 9 percent in 1974 to a tidy 23.5 percent in 2007.

Looking at these numbers, it would be reasonable to infer that when the Tea Partyers say that they want to take the country back, they mean back to the period between 1950 and 1980, when the vast majority of Americans encountered more opportunity and security in their economic lives than they had before or since. Reasonable, but wrong. As the right sees it, America's woes are traceable to the New Deal order that Franklin Roosevelt, working in the shadow of the even more sinister Woodrow Wilson, imposed on an unsuspecting people.

In fact, the New Deal order produced the only three decades in American history -- the '50s, '60s and '70s -- when economic security and opportunity were widely shared. It was the only period in the American chronicle when unions were big and powerful enough to ensure that corporate revenue actually trickled down to workers. It marked the only time in American history when, courtesy originally of the GI Bill, the number of Americans going to college surged. It was the only time when taxes on the rich were really significantly higher than taxes on the rest of us. It was the only time that the minimum wage kept pace (almost) with the cost of living. And it was the only time when most Americans felt confident enough about their economic prospects, and those of their nation, to support the taxes that built the postwar American infrastructure.

Since the ascent of Ronald Reagan, though, America's claim to being a land of opportunity has become a sick joke. Unions have dwindled; colleges have become unaffordable; manufacturing has gone abroad; taxes on the rich have plummeted; our infrastructure has decayed.

But the country the right wants to return to isn't the America that the Greatest Generation built. Judging by the statements of many of the Republican and Tea Party-backed candidates on next Tuesday's ballots, it's the America that antedates the New Deal -- a land without Social Security, unions or the minimum wage. It's the land that the Greatest Generation gladly left behind whey they voted for and built the New Deal order. All of us should want our country back, but that country should be the more prosperous and economically egalitarian nation that flourished at the time when America was not only the world's greatest power, but also a beacon to the world.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Second Hand Clothes

Blogless Kathy, a nurse who quilts in California, sent me a link to this terrific pattern, "Second Hand Clothes," by Bonnie Blue Quilts.  One of the things I love about Kathy is she has about the same amount of will power I have when it comes to joining another swap or starting another tantalizing project.  "Maybe we could swap some browns and reds," she suggested. 

I quickly became righteous and upstanding and reminded her that I wasn't starting anything new unless it was from fabric I already had.

Then I thought about it some more.  I have a lot of CW repro scraps.  FQs even.  I have muslin.  I looked at the pattern and loved it.

I caved.
Look!  Here's another version  that is even more beautiferous and look who's starring in it:  Brown!  I can't resist.  This quilt would make a perfect Leader-Ender project.

The women on my little swap list will be receiving an announcement later today about the swap I'm organizing to exchange the browns, the reds, and the other colors needed to make this quilt.  We'll be swapping 2-1/2" strips and also 6-1/2" squares.

And the more variety, of course, the more interesting the finished quilt will be.

If anyone who is not already a member of my 37NL swap list wants to play along, we'd love to have you participate.  Leave me a comment to that effect, and be sure to give me a way to get back to you.  I'll add you to the list and send you the guidelines for the swap.  Just to be clear:  We'll be using CW repro fabrics.  Don't go cutting up your shirts!

Friday, October 22, 2010

What Can Brown Do For You?

Well, for starters, Brown can play very nicely with aqua. This top was made from a block exchange we did a year or two ago.  The specs were:  brown and aqua stars on cream, 12" finished.  I was dazzled by what came in!  I fondled these blocks for quite a while before putting them together.  Because there was so very much going on already, I decided on a very simple setting.  Last Saturday I added the border and the quilt is going to a new machine quilter this coming Wednesday.

We have a policy in our house that any of the kids who need a quilt for a wedding, baby, or other occasion gift are free to look at the tops I've got finished that are undesignated, and then if they see one they like, I get it quilted and bind it, and then they pay me whatever they would have spent for the gift.  It works out very well for all of us.

Tom and Anastasia claimed this top the last time they were home.  It will be a Christmas gift for their closest friends.  I believe I will bind it in the same brown batik as the border.

Brown is a terrific neutral, unifying a batch of other colors.

Last Saturday I got the rows assembled for this Sister's Choice quilt that started out as a leader-ender project.  This was the top where I found the perfect border fabric right in my own stash. 

I like this little quilt.  It looks comforting to me.  You know, the sort of thing you'd crawl under when you had a headache.  Or the blues. 

I know that most Sister's Choice blocks are made with the center nine patch being high contrast.  I deliberately chose low contrast for the centers, wanting them to look sort of blurry.  I believe I succeeded in most of them. 

It's funny how some of the leader-ender projects get kind of egocentric and demand to be made "real" projects, and others are more humble, and patiently wait their turn.

This quilt was one of the latter kind. 

Brown cries out for pink!  These guys are my current leader-ender project.  They'll finish at six inches.  They will be made into a baby quilt for dear friends of Andrew and Amy who are expecting a daughter in the spring.

Brown.  Can't get enough of it!


This morning Thelma was musing about her next project.  She was in the mood for brown.  Brown is so versatile.  Or perhaps even fickle.  One season we'll see her with pink, and then a couple of years later, with aqua.  Presently she seems to be hanging out with red

I'm a bit intrigued by how a particular color combination will kind of take over the quilting universe for a bit -- the nearly-over red and aqua craze has been in vogue for a couple of years now and is one I've easily resisted. 

As you can see, I caved on brown and pink -- Neapolitan is still one of my favorite flimsies and in a few years I'll get it machine quilted for Caroline's bed.  I did my time with brown and aqua and, in fact, the flimsy I made is going to the machine quilter's on Wednesday.  And I couldn't resist brown and red, either.  Oh, brown!  Who will you be hanging with next?

Thelma's post got me thinking that I'm in the mood for brown again, too.  (I must be -- I just noticed that I'm wearing brown pants fercryinoutloud.)

The other day someone from the White Oak crowd asked me what I was bringing (yes, we're going in just three weeks).  I didn't know.  I'm so focused on finishing up WISPs.  And, of course, there's the vow not to buy new fabric for new projects until they are well under control.  So I was thinking about taking some WISP or another. 

But this morning Thelma spoke of brown.  And I thought about the collection of brown FQs and cream FQs I built up with one specific project in mind.  And I thought about brown with pink, aqua, and now red, and decided that before she takes up with orchid (you heard it here first), I'm going to begin that project.  Yes, it is the long-anticipated SITP.  Here's a picture of one I've always admired, from my friend Amy's blog.  At White Oak.  In three weeks.

I just love it when everything comes together like that.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Choosing Fabric

A couple of months ago, I posted my thoughts about quilts made from one line of fabric here.  I've continued to think about the evolution of quilt fabric selection.  My understanding is that initially quilts were made from cut-up clothing that was no longer usable and from fabric left over from home-sewn clothing.

In time, we began buying fabric for the express purpose of making quilts.  I used to enjoy wandering around the fabric store, choosing first my main fabric, and then pulling colors from that fabric and picking the accompanying fabrics.  The shops used to have all of the blues together, the greens, the browns, the yellows.  According to color, not according to fabric family.

That isn't so anymore.  When I go into Old Country Store, for example (and I sure wish I were going there soon) I find all of the Moda in one part of the store, with the bolts arranged according to fabric line.

Bill's Baskets, above, was made from one line of William Morris fabric.  Each fabric exactly goes with all of the others.  And while I do love this quilt -- do not get me wrong -- there is something sterile about it because it is all from the same line, or family, of fabric.  My Going Rouge quilt is another example.

Look, here's Twelve Oaks again.  There are a bazillion different fabrics in this quilt.  From all kinds of designers and lines of fabric.

And somehow it looks richer, more alive, to me than Bill's Baskets.  Because of that diversity.

When we go out to Lancaster County, I always insist on stopping at The Log Cabin Quilt Shop.  Sometimes I'll pick up a FQ pack to bring home.  And it won't be all matchy-matchy either, because the proprietor of the shop isn't afraid to cut the fabric herself, and to draw from this designer and that, this line and oh my that one, and combine into absolutely wonderful groups. 

I want to get back to picking out the fabrics that go together in the quilt.  When I am released from my self-imposed moratorium on purchase of fabric for new projects, I want to go and pick out a main fabric and then wander around to select the go-withs.  To audition the various choices.  Ah!  Here it is:  To do the deciding myself, not have it pre-done for me.

I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Twelve Oaks is Finished

With thanks to the Phillies for getting into the post season, I've finished binding Twelve Oaks and will sleep under it tonight!  Branky did a marvelous job of machine quilting this project.  And at this point, I believe I like Twelve Oaks better than I did Melanie Wilkes.

Branky presently has The Farmer's Whatever and I'm hoping to have her back early in November.

Next week I have an appointment with a new local quilter; some friends have used this person been pleased.  They tell me her quilting is different, that it is done by computer, and I'm eager to see what this is like.  If I like what she does the first time, I'll likely use her services for some of my quilts. 

I have Itsy Bitsy still up on the wall downstairs and haven't made any progress all week.  You know how much I like setting quilts on point with lattice.  All in good time.

Meanwhile, tonight I'll sleep under Twelve Oakes. 

And perhaps dream of Rhett!

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Stash Isn't My Problem!"

What a terrific weekend I had!  Friday evening, after a super-easy supper purchased from Whole Foods (I'd had a rough day with the 'puter at work and splurged), we watched "Room With a View" from Netflix and just loved it.  While we watched, I began work on a super-secret Christmas ornament.

Saturday I spent much of the day sewing with friends.  It was a superproductive day for me -- I had several UFOs with just a little bit needed and I managed to get the borders on a couple of projects, the setting corners on one, the rows sewn together for another, and borders determined for another.  For my Sister's Choice scrappy CW quilt, I'd brought along what I thought was going to be the right border and it was totally not the right border.  A red/brown CW print was recommended by my colleagues and I blithely said, "Well, I don't have much of a stash so that will have to wait for a shopping excursion to Sauder's."  This led to a discussion of stash and I steadfastly maintained that "Stash isn't my problem; UFOs are my problem."

When I got home, while digging in the cupboard for something else I found a red and brown CW flatfold I'd picked up at Sauder's a year or so ago and it is exactly right for Sister's Choice!  (I still don't think I have much of a stash, though.)  Sat with the Phillies on Saturday night; while they struggled with score issues, I struggled with cutting a bazillion pieces for the first block of Primitive Garden which I'd bought a few years back and rediscovered last month.  This project is fast on its way to be renamed "Seemed Like A Good Idea at the Time."

Sunday afternoon's task was making the binding for Twelve Oaks (out of the failed Sister's Choice border fabric, no less) and machining it on and getting one side hand stitched while the Phillies won!  Such a nice weekend!

Started the week off by choosing a winner for that "something purty" pattern and it is:

Susan who said,
"Looks like a great pattern to use up my scraps to make a quilt to donate to my guild's comfort quilt charity."

So, Susan, honey, get me your mailing address and I'll send it off to you tomorrow and you can get started makin' something purty.

Friday, October 15, 2010

*COW Alert

So.  We've had politicians, movie stars, and assorted famous-for-being-famous people doing outrageous things. And then apologizing.  The strategy seems to be (1) do the hurtful thing, (2) apologize to remove the guilt and blame, (3) while people never forget the hurtful thing.  It's brilliant.  And now meaningless apology has trickled down to college students:

People seem to believe they can do anything they want to and then apologize for it and all will be well.

It's everywhere.  It's disgusting and I'm sick of it.  Sick of it, I tell you.

And don't get me started on meek little wives standing by their apologizing husbands' sides.  Sheesh.

*Cranky Old Woman

Something Purty

The receptionist phoned and mentioned a name that was new to both of us.  Not a student, not a parent, not an employee here at the school.  This person had received a piece of mail and the receptionist had opened it, looking for a clue. Since it turned out to be a little quilt pattern, she phoned me!

In with the pattern was a receipt for an Ebay transaction.  After checking the area directory for the intended recipient without success, I phoned the vendor.  She was a pretty confused lady, and seemed to think she could find the order and get the right pattern to the right lady.  But, meanwhile, she was appreciative of the phone call and told me to just go ahead and keep the pattern "and make something purty, honey."

Well, honey, I just can't start another something purty.  I just can't.  But if you can, leave me a comment, and on Monday I'll draw a number and one of you will receive this cute little pattern for a Crazy Eights quilt.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

School House Blocks

Don't you just love this painting of a School Quilt?  I downloaded it from the internet and have a fantasy of one day making one.  From hand-dyed fabrics, I think.  Because spending my days in a school is such a joy.

At the school where I work, each year we have a Quaker-values based theme for the year.  This year's theme is "Telling Our Stories."  The idea is to learn more about each member of the community.

Yesterday three members of Sandy's second grade class came to interview me, to help me to tell my story.  They asked, "What do you like best about your job?" 

I told them there were two things.  The first was being around terrific kids all of the time.  The second one would be more difficult for them to understand:  In a school, there are annual celebrations to look forward to:  The Hallowe'en Parade out front on the circle with all of the lower school kids dressed in costumes they have made (I'm particularly partial to the owls), the Winterfest celebration where we recognize all of the cultural and religious holidays at the end of December, Chinese New Year where the huge paper dragon snakes its way through the halls to the beat of a drum, Moving Up Day where lower school kids move to middle school and Moving On Day where the middle schoolers become upper schoolers, and, of course, Baccalaureate and Commencement, honors assemblies, Martin Luther King Day of Service, and all of the lesser festivals.  Watching as yet another wonderful play is produced, another group of kids become chamber singers, another class of pre-K students release butterflies.  Annual milestones.  Each to be anticipated and enjoyed.  A constant reminder that Life Goes On.  That is the rhythm of working in a school.

The lobby outside my office is full of pumpkins and apples for sale.  There's some straw there, adding to the ambiance, and nobody minds if it gets tracked around a bit.  This morning I went nextdoor to the school library where the book fair is going on, along with a bake sale to benefit an upper school activity.  I bought two books and two cookies.  This afternoon I attended an annual assembly, a special concert which each year memorializes an alumna who died too young.  Tomorrow there is a tea party to honor a librarian who unexpectedly needed to retire earlier than planned.

And I get paid for this.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Has Anyone Made This Quilt?

I bought this project as a BOM a few years ago and am finally getting it finished.  I'm actually hand buttonholing the very last block and it occurs to me that it is in the realm of possibility that this project could be finished by this Christmas.  Except for one little snag.

Here's my problem:  The last installment of the BOM that I received is missing the last page of the instructions for assembly of the top.  While it looks pretty straightforward, I'm concerned about that one little star block that is going to require partial seams.

I phoned the shop that I thought I had bought the BOM from and apparently I was mistaken.  They said they had never carried it.  They suggested I email Barbara Brackman, the designer, and I thought that was a good idea.  But Barbara never answered my email.

So, friends, if anyone out there has made this BOM and still has the instructions and would be willing to share that last page with me, I'd be so appreciative.

Our Happy Weekend

Some of us enjoyed the beach.

Migrating monarchs were everywhere.

Some of us wore hats.

All of us had fun.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cape May Weekend

My humble appreciation to all who wrote to check on me, pointing out that ever since the post where I took a spill (quite literally!) in the cafeteria, I'd not blogged or Facebooked.  People were concerned that my tumble had turned out to be more than I'd thought.

I was so busy getting ready to go away that I didn't think to post before we went.  I would have said that I was a bit stiff and tender but actually quite fine.

A dear friend has a big house at Cape May and the family decided to rent it for the long weekend.  I had a vacation day on Friday and so did Sherry, Andrew and Amy.  Tom and Anastasia worked in the morning and Chris worked all day.  But eventually all of us plus the next generation arrived at Kathy's wonderful house where we had a wonderful weekend.

Joe and I drove down on Thursday evening, got moved in very quickly and sped off to Louisa's, our favorite restaurant, for a most memorable meal.  Friday morning we wandered over to the Mad Batter for breakfast and then to the Acme to stock up on provisions.  Sherry and her kids arrived just before lunch and A&A just after.  The house was just perfect for us and will continue to be perfect as the children grow.  One room is a dormitory -- it sleeps seven in bunk beds and singles. I can just picture it full of little ones at some point.  There are four more bedrooms that each sleep two and most can easily accommodate a portacrib. There are numerous common spaces and plenty of chairs on the front porch.  The house is beautiful, spacious, and on the beach block.  We shopped, cooked, walked the beach, went out for ice cream, fed seagulls, played Settlers, watched Phillies (yay!), played with babies and toddlers, and had a truly wonderful, wonderful time. 

I took my prepped Festival of Trees blocks along and when I wasn't reading to Sam or Caroline or holding one of the babies, I was busy stitching, and actually accomplished quite a bit.  It is conceivable that this quilt could be done for this Christmas.  Not likely, but possible.  We learned that good friends of A&A are expecting a baby daughter in February, and I suggested brown and pink CW repros to Amy and she concurred that this was a good choice.  Being mindful of not buying fabric to start new projects, but that said new projects are fair game if they come from fabric already owned, this fills the bill neatly.  There's a quilt day at a nearby church this Saturday, and I just might get going on this baby quilt that soon.

So I'm home, tired but happy, with a mountain of laundry to do, and a smile that just doesn't go away.  We walked past the "Life Is Good" shop and I could just hear Ms. G whispering in my ear and pointing, "Look at that!  See what I  mean?"

Life is rich and full and abundant.  And good, of course.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Injured Party

I don't know when or how it started.  But started and it has continued for years.  When I watch the Olympics and an iceskater falls, I reflexively holler out, "Splat!"  Same thing during my short-lived stint as a watcher of bullriding.  "Splat!" if the cowboy didn't last the full eight seconds.  In public settings, I try to control the reflex.  With partial success.

Today wasn't a good day.  I've got an interpersonal conflict going on in a group that is important to me, and I'm in a position of having had to make a decision that was going to evoke hard feelings from one part of the group or the other.  And there are a couple of pressing deadlines at work.  And there was a glitch in the school email system, so an important communication wasn't received.  Grumble, grumble.

Frankly, I was glad when it was time to go down and get some lunch before a session someone had scheduled where we would all share tips we'd figured out around a new software program we're working with.  I got my salad and a modest portion of pasta and was heading, with my tray, to get a beverage.  And suddenly I was on the floor.  On my bum.  With pain in my toe, my knee, and my hip.  All on the right side.  I sat for a bit to settle myself and then a great big assistant teacher (the guy who played Jesus in "Spelling Bee" last year, fittingly) gently helped  me to my feet.  I hurt.  A coworker walked with me to a place where I could sit and rest; a friend went to get me a fresh lunch.  It might have been worse:  I could have hit my head.  I could have fractured my hip.  Heck, my dress might have flown up!  "Grace personified!" I thought -- that's what my late mother would have exclaimed.  Advil was dispensed.  A form was filled out.  I was assured that I'll feel worse tomorrow.  And then we held our meeting.

I sure hope someone hollered "Splat!"  I deserved it.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Insert Clever Title Here

I'd found twenty-four blocks all tucked in with the 30s repro fabrics, one shy of a baby quilt top.  There were a few other blocks of this size, but not in the right colors to be harmonious.  So I made one more and put them together in rows.  There was plenty of the green and yellow floral; I'd bought that specifically to go with these blocks. 

So now I have a little baby quilt flimsy put away with my other flimsies until I need a gift for a little one. 

Meanwhile, I've been working on assembling the itsy bitsy 30s, the 4.5" blocks, setting them on point with lattice.  I can only do a row or two at a time; the steps for the process tax my brain.  And my disposition.  It is all looking stinkin' cute, but don't expect a photo for a week or so.  It goes slowly.

And in my brain is the makings of another quilt, a hybrid of something I saw at Wanda's using fabrics I bought from Nicole's recent stash sale.  As soon as Stinkin' Cute comes off the wall, you know what I'll be doing!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Accuquilt Decision Made!

I've made up my mind.  And the thanks goes to you, my readers.  Your comments and insights helped me to look more closely at who I am as a quilter:
  • I'm not primarily interested in quilts that have lots of the same size pieces in the same colors.
  • I'm not looking to speed up my quilt making!
  • I have been piecing more intricate tops lately, piecing that requires actual thinking!
  • I actually like rotary cutting and my wrists are one part of my body that seem to be holding up well.
  • Like Kathy Noblog, rotary cutting provides me one more opportunity to fondle the fabric!
  • I don't have a good place to store a large new piece of equipment (remembering the quesadilla maker).
  • I could buy nearly a lifetime supply of blades for the cost of the Accuquilt.
  • I've been trying to quilt with intentionality.
I could continue.  But we both know the outcome now, don't we?  I'm not going to ask Santa for an Accuquilt.  I'm going to ask for some new blades!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Movie

Remember when Saturday Night used to be Date Night?  I almost do!  And last night we had a date.  A real date, wherein we drove downtown to go to a movie!  On the way, we vaguely remembered that fifteen or twenty years ago we had done this before. 

I'd seen a trailer (which reminds me:  When did "previews" turn into "trailers"?) for the movie and quickly read the reviews.  They were kind of iffy and since I knew I wanted to see the movie, we decided to go downtown rather than wait to see if it lasts long enough to come out to the 'burbs.

I read the book right around the time I began this blog and wrote a review of it -- caution: spoilers! -- here and even then I imagined it would someday be a movie.  I found the movie to be very true to the book and we were both glad that we had gone to see it.  The two questions that the book raised for me continue to resonate:  How do we use others to feel good about ourselves?  And how do we use other people in general?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Revisiting My Thirties

When Joe was getting ready to move his office into our lower level (and things on that front are just fine, thank you), I realized that it really was time to prune and purge the sewing studio.  I was, for me, ruthless.  A massive trove of scraps.  Fabric that fell into the "what was I thinking" category.  Orphan blocks.  Partially completed projects that I didn't like enough to ever finish.  Turbo, ever obliging, came over and took every bit of it.  I took an inventory of what remained and vowed that I would finish [an unspecified number] WISPs before I would buy any fabric for new projects.  If I had to buy fabric to finish something, that was okay.  And, of course, I could start something new, if I had to, from fabric I already own.  Now prolly y'all realize by now that discipline isn't one of my top gifts.  But I've done really well.  For an entire month! 

A group project called for me to make some pinwheel blocks out of Thirties on WOW.  I knew I had a box with some 30s FQs in it and when I pulled it down, I was right.  There were a few FQs.  And a vast amount of scraps.  There were also 24 6" blocks that when I put them up on the wall, they were one block short of a top (no wise remarks about the writer here, please).  So after I made my pinwheels, I made that 25th block and set them into rows.  There was a generous sized piece of green floral thirties which will be the border.  Later today.  You can see the borderless project casually draped over the black chest in the foreground.

The real find, however, was a bazillion 4.5" blocks.  Several years ago, Sistah Jan and I determined to make identical twin blocks at a rate of so many per month and exchange.  If I were better at math and more interested, I'd count up the blocks and figure out how long this went on.  Up on the wall they went and lo!  They are three 4.5" blocks short of the center of a top!  And they are -- as someone would say -- stinkin' cute!  So cute I just can't stand it. I've cut what I need for one of the three vacancies and have picked out the blocks for the others.  I know exactly how I want to finish this; it will require a trip to the LQS to purchase some additional WOW and I'll put my blinders on when I enter the store.  I promise. 

I've been incredulous when I've read on some people's blogs that they found things they didn't remember they had.  "Impossible!" I scoffed.  Eating my words (well, that word anyway). 

Oh, and BTW, there were some 12" 30s/WOWs in there, too.  Didn't remember them at all!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Go! Baby

Well, friends, in case we've not had our fill of seeing the ubiquitous AccuQuilt-Go! all over bloggerville, today my friend Pat sent me the announcement she'd been watching for and anticipating -- the development of another, less expensive but considerably limited model, the Go! Baby.

After seeing so many of my fellow bloggers somehow magically being awarded Go!s of their very own and another one to give away, I was beginning to feel like a character from "Left Behind" (not that I've ever seen it; I'm just imagining).  Could it be that I am the last surviving person to be using a rotary cutter and trimming my dog ears?  (Sorry, Blackberry -- not a good image.)

The reviews on the Go! -- among bloggers who have received them for free, anyway -- are glowing.  Well, what else would one expect?  I've not heard any negative comments whatsoever about these gadgets, but I don't think I've read anything written by anyone who went out and purchased one.  So I'm feeling somewhat ambiguous. 

Dear organized Pat did her homework, and has located places that sell Go! for considerably less than the manufacturer's price of $349, and I'd begun to think a little more favorably about going and trying one out.  The thing is, I wouldn't really use most of the dies that they have -- the ones for appliques.  Kind of like the embroidery option on a sewing machine -- yes, it's wonderful, but I know I would never use it.  But Go! does come with the dies I'd be most likely to use for piecing 12" blocks.  Oh, the efficiency of cutting lots of the same units.  Oh, the kindness to the carpal tunnels!  But, oh, the price!  Oh, but the possibility of making a tumbler quilt!  Would it actually get used or end up being something else to find a place for a la that darned quesadilla maker.

Can you see that I'm in a muddle about Go!?

And now, to complicate things further, is the announcement of Go! Baby, just in time for Santa and at a price I think he would find attractive, even though all dies would have to be purchased separately. 

It's not clear to me whether one can cut just 2.5" HSTs or whether the die simultaneously has to cut the other two sizes.  And I'm concerned about wasted fabric (remember, I'm the one who was incensed that The Farmer's Wife template CD printed out one template to a page for a total of over 100 pieces of paper), though I know my buddy Turbo would urge me not to worry there but just let her handle that problem.  And then there's the question of whether it cuts enough of a unit at one time to really be more efficient than my rotary.  Beg Santa to bite the bullet and go for the Go! vs. show some restraint and request Go! Baby?  Or just go out and by some new blades and forget the whole thing?  So many questions.  Such a muddle.

Is there anyone out there who actually bought (i.e., did not receive it free from the manufacturer or via a blog give-away) a Go! and would provide an unbiased (yes, pun intended) review?

I'm all ears.  And I bet Pat is, too.

Not to even mention Blackberry, who really is mostly ears.