Friday, September 30, 2011

Mayfly Madness

I will be attending a baby shower on the Sunday following Thanksgiving. The mom-to-be does not know the gender of the little one, so a neutral sort of a quilt is needed.

I had bought some of the Mayfly Mischief fabrics when I was in Asheville back in July, knowing they would be for a baby quilt at some point, but not knowing it would be this one -- I didn't even know at that time that Kendra was expecting!

Earlier this week I came up with a design and tonight I began working on it. The little squares finish at 2", the stars are 6" finished, and there will be five stars irregularly scattered throughout the quilt.  I'm loving it.  Click to see the hilarious prints . . . .

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Academia Disrupted

Many, many years ago, before I became a quilter, before I went to seminary, before I had children, way back when, I was engaged in a vocation that I believe is now obsolete.  We lived in a small town that was the home to a big university, and I typed papers for students.  I prepared all kinds of manuscripts from basic 10-page research papers all the way to Ph.D. dissertations in fields as diverse as education, music history, and physics.  Obviously I read every word, and over the years, I received a vast and diverse education.

The book pictured to the left (the 3rd and 4th editions, back then) was affectionately called "Turabian," and along with copies of the MLA and APA style guides, was my bible.  I enjoyed my work.  I liked meeting with the students, learning what they had to share, and making sure that everything in the paper was precisely "according to Turabian."  Once I even received a personal letter from Kate after I'd written her to question the punctuation in one of the examples in the book. 

I always asked my customers if setting up the footnotes and bibliography were a part of what they would be graded on (for example, in the "Introduction to Educational Research" class, formatting of these pieces was part of the learning process), and if not, and they found the process intolerable, I would offer to set them up for twenty-five cents per entry.  I loved my job.  Especially with the Ph.D. candidates, I loved being a part of their contribution to the Body of Knowledge.

This morning I was reading a quilter's blog and noticed a comment from "custom term papers" who wrote, "Cool!  Thanks for the post."  I believed it to be a canned comment from a nonquilter who was looking to draw traffic to his/her own site, and it seems I was right.  And look what it is!  A "hire it done" place for the writing of research papers, theses, and even dissertations.  And "personal statements."  Academic fakery rather than academic integrity -- even to the stock photos and trumped up quotes -- that I found utterly appalling.

Thank God Kate isn't alive to witness this travesty of scholarship.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Inspired by Mr. Mussorgsky

"Pictures at an Exhibition" is nearly finished!  All it needs is borders, and I bought the fabric this afternoon.  Tonight I finished putting the rows together, a tedious but rewarding process, getting the verticals all aligned.  Pin upon pin upon pin was the approach.

Oh, I cannot tell you how smitten I am with this quilt!  And, as so many have pointed out, it is so not me!  About as far away from William Morris, I think, as one can get.

I have an appointment with my gourmet machine quilter and will put it in the mail to her at the beginning of the week.  

As often is the case, you can click on the photo once or even twice to make it large enough to view the pictures.  Do not, however, expect to find Baba-Yaga or the great gate of Kiev, but instead some other little treasures.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apropos of Nothing

With candy corn, did you ever notice that the white part tastes different from better than the yellow and the orange?

I don't know why.  But it's true.

Oh, and on the lattice/cornerstones question, y'all were about evenly divided between the plain lattice and the lattice with white cornerstones.

I went with the plain lattice.  It is harder to do, of course, but I'm liking it.  I'm about half finished with this phase.  Tomorrow -- oh, woe is me! -- I have to go to the LQS to pick up additional grey fabric for the border!

Okay.  Go grab a piece of candy corn and bite the white off.  You know you want to.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Need a Consultation -- STAT!

Here's a sneak preview of Pictures at an Exhibition.  I'm delighted with its progress so far.  I love the lattice fabric.

Here's the question:  Do I use the white cornerstones with the lattice or keep it all the grey print?  I think I know which I prefer, but would like a couple of other expert opinions before I put the rows together.  Keep in mind that both versions show the horizontal lattice before being stitched; it will finish at 1/2" less than shown, matching the lattice between the blocks.  Which way do you think I should go?  As always, clicking on the picture will enlarge it for better visibility.

Oktoberfest Quilt

A month or so ago, my friend Linda asked me if I would make a baby quilt for the silent auction at our church's upcoming Oktoberfest.  Of course I would, only I wouldn't have time to hand quilt it, so I would need to tie it.  I put it together with scraps left from a wedding quilt I'd made earlier in the year, thinking it would be gender-neutral for a baby.  I was planning to tie with white floss but Joe talked me into the teal.  It's nice, but I would have liked it better with the white.

I'm continuing to work on "Pictures at an Exhibition," and will share a little preview soon.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy Cow

What is this cow so happy about?  Simple:  Hoss, the tech guy at school, got the laptop to work!  Crisis averted!  He spoke some sort of mumbo-jumbo, removed and reinserted the battery, waved his hands, and *viola!

On the quilting front, the binding is machined onto the baby quilt for the Oktoberfest and the hand-stitching of same commences tonight. 

And Pictures At An Exhibition is coming along gloriously!  I haven't been this excited about a quilt since my basket period a little more than a year ago.  I've written to my custom quilter for a quilting date -- the local panto lady is amazing, but Pictures is going to get the full treatment!

I hope this weekend to have a photo to share.

Once again, Life is Good!

*Yes, I know it is voila.  But my son plays the viola.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crumby Pictures

Do you remember these crumb blocks that caught my fancy a week or so ago?

Well, they are still very much in the foreground for me.  Now there are twenty-five of them and I've begun working on putting them together.

I'm so excited about this project and at the same time frustrated that I can't keep moving on it.  I'm having a busy week with a lot of evening commitments and in the time available for sewing, I have a baby quilt that I promised to make for a church function in a little more than a week -- the top is finished and I need to get it sandwiched and tied.  And then bound.  And once that is finished, I can return to "Pictures."

VERY Cranky Old Woman

And cranky is putting it mildly.  The truth involves language I don't normally use.  My fourteen-month-old Dell Inspiron laptop appears to be suffering from backlight demise or some other godawful malady.  Very much like what had killed off my beloved Toshiba.

When the Toshiba got all dark around the screen, I went and bought the Dell, only to learn later on that she might well have been repaired at a moderate cost to me.  I wish I had done that because despite its purpleness, I've never been all that fond of the Dell. 

I don't have the money to buy a new computer at present, so I suppose I'm going to have to take the Dell up to the Geek Squad and see what they can do and for how much.  And I have too much going on to even attempt that until the weekend, it seems. 

Moo.  Again I say, Moo.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Joe had bought a short series of Chamber Orchestra tickets and last evening was the first concert.  Since we seldom go downtown alone together, we decided to go to dinner before the concert, and were delighted to discover that it is "Restaurant Week" in Philadelphia, a week when many restaurants offer a prix fixe menu as a way of enticing new patrons to give them a try.  Joe was interested in Italian food and I was interested in something close to the Kimmel Center and we found both in a delightful new [to us] place, Girasole.

It's a small place, although in the nice weather they have tables outside as well as inside.  The decor is nothing to blog about, except that on one of the walls was a large mural of sunflowers.  Girasole, I've learned is the Italian word for sunflowers.  For the first course, we each had a different carapaccio, and they were delicious.  My second course was a pasta dish and Joe's was salmon; we both had a unique toasted-almond infused ice cream for dessert.  The food was very good, and the portions were perfect.

I was really pleased with the service.  The wait staff were very pleasant.  They were not snooty, nor did they call us "guys."  They were knowledgable and considerate without hovering.  There weren't many people in the restaurant (we had an early dining time since our concert began at 7:30) and when the men next to us were served a salt-crusted fish preparation, we watched with fascination as the waiter carved and served it.  Timing was flawless, the pinot noir was smooth, and a lovely time was had by all, including the men with the fish who were friendly almost to the point of offering us a taste!

Would we go back?  We surely will.  They have a prix fixe pre-theater menu even when it is not Restaurant Week and they're one block from the orchestra hall.  No affiliation, yadda yadda; just  looking to share a good spot with good friends.  You might want to give Girasole a try if you're hungry in Philly.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"Remember Me" is a Flimsy

I'd found the fabric for the border of the "Remember Me" quilt from the Prairie Women's Journey series of kits and got it sewn on.  So now this quilt is a flimsy waiting for a destination.

We have an old cane-seat nursing rocker that we've been thinking of bringing down into the living room and retiring the loveseat that is presently there.  If we do that, this little quilt would look pretty across the back.

I think it should be hand-quilted, and I am not likely to get to even starting that before truly cold weather sets in.

It feels good to have it finished to filmsy status, however.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Helen, Judy and I spent the weekend at White Oak.  There was no one else there, and it felt absolutely luxurious.  Two of my favorite people, one of my favorite places, and one of my favorite activities -- how could it have been other than grand!

Helen had been after me to teach her how to make a big tote bag, so after a delicious dinner on Friday, that was the first order of business.  Judy and Helen are both teachers and, of course, I am not, so I was a little intimidated.  But they are good learners and shortly before breakfast on Saturday, we had these three dear bags to show for our efforts!  No, we didn't sew through the night -- I retired relatively early and they worked on other things for a while.

Judy and I had promised a basket to the guild for their show that is coming up in a few weeks and we decided on a Hallowe'en theme for our basket.  I bought a soft sculpture pumpkin, some skeletal stickers, a bag of good lookin' candy corn; Judy made a nifty table runner and I made a trick-or-treat bag.

The other two trick-or-treat bags are for Sam and Caroline.

I finally got all the rows together on the Prairie Women's Journey First Project and was ready to put the border on, when I discovered I would not have enough fabric for the border.  Either I picked up the wrong fabric or I was not sent enough, or I used the wrong fabric for something else; whatever.  Upon returning home, I rediscovered the correct fabric and have begun making those borders.  There should be a finished photo soon . . . .

Fortunately, I had brought along the little kit for the second project in the series and enjoyed getting it cut and stitched together.  It finishes at 26 x 30 inches and I supposed it is meant to hang on the wall.  Not sure if I will do that or not.  In any event, it is finished, and attractive, and soon I will move onto the third project.

Helen was working on a variety of things, including a pair of grinchy pillowcases for one of her sons.

In Honna's and Marsha's absence, Helen provided some music for us to listen to, and we sewed along to Ol' Blue Eyes and Simon and Garfunkel and had a very pleasant time.

Carol's cuisine was as terrific as ever, and on Saturday night we tried something new, getting veggie  pizza from a little place in Quarryville; some of us pronouncing it the very best pizza we'd ever had.
Judy liked bag-making enough to plunge into a second one after her first was finished.  We won't go into detail about what happened, but all's well that ends well, and her red and blue bag certainly did end well.

I caught up on sleep, read my book for a while each night, and took a long walk one morning.

And sewed.

Meanwhile, Joe and Blackberry went off on their own adventure for the weekend, backpacking together in the mountains above Bloomsburg, sleeping in a tent, hiking, and cooking over a fire.  They are due home in a few hours and I'm eager to hear all about it.

Here's Blackberry modeling his backpack.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quilts for Lives Cut Short

The Uvulati, our monthly hand-sewing group, met last night at Bonnie's house and held the ingathering for our summer's labors, wherein each member committed to making one (or more) baby's or child's quilt for the local hospice.  Not everyone was present, and one member forgot to bring her quilt.  Nonetheless, it was a fine harvest.

Bonnie and Judy with Zebra and Lizards.

Two of these quilts were from a block swap we did from "ugly Australian fabric"; no one seemed to have the courage to try to put the finished blocks into one quilt.  Honna brilliantly make them into baby quilts.

Bonnie and Marsha with two sweet quilts.

Helen hiding behind her offerings; the one is still being bound.

Emily with her bright rail fence  and Helen with two more of Honna's "ugly fabric" quilts.

Emily helps me share the two I made.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today's sewing time was to be devoted to getting "Remember Me," the first project in the Prairie Women Journey Two series, completed.  The blocks are all in horizontal rows.  The lattices and cornerstones are all pieced in their rows.  Today was designated for sewing the horizontal rows of blocks and lattices together and perhaps even getting the border on.

Some months ago, Bonnie Hunter came to Near Philadelphia and taught a crumbs workshop for about 30 of us.  I had a wonderful time that day and really surprised myself at how much I enjoyed these wonky techniques that we learned.  I didn't know if I'd ever use them again, but I certainly did have a good day and felt proud of my completed project.

This morning, with no warning whatsoever, I went downstairs and was seized with a powerful, uncontrollable urge to make crumb blocks.  There was no putting it off.  I made three and set them aside and started putting rows together.  Broke for lunch, ran an errand or two and went back down, thinking I'd get the rest of the rows together and think about the border tomorrow, Scarlett.  Not to be.  The crumbs rose up and demanded attention.

I've had a ball.

Let Us Not Forget

In church this morning, we remembered September 11, 2001.  All over the television, the radio, and the blogs, people are remembering the tragedies of that day.  It is the custom in our to have announcements at the very end of the service.  In addition to news about Sunday School, the upcoming men's group retreat, and the plugs for fair trade coffee being sold in the narthex, it is a time for sharing of celebrations:  birthdays, anniversaries, other important family news. Today I had something to share.

Do you see that happy, happy man with the sleepy baby right there to the left?  That's Tom, our older son, born on this date in 1974.  A good friend from church, Paul, shares this birthday, albeit in a different year.

Even as we remember our horrible losses of ten years ago, let us not forget that God is the giver of life, and give thanks for the birthdays of Tom, Paul, Jason, Brenda Filer, Woody's Mom, and all of the others for whom this day has been significant for all of their lives.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Well, y'know, she doesn't write about her quilts, her theology, or her Springer Spaniel, so I really don't know how I connected with her.  Perhaps it was through a portkey.  Who knows?

She writes on other important topics and does it brilliantly.  This post may be her finest piece ever.  Don't take my word for it, friends.  Go read it for yourselves.

She bills herself as "snortworthy," and that's no joke.  After the requisite months in my bullpen of "favorites," today she moves to my links in the category of "Thinkers and Theologians."  She's gotta be at least one of those.

Thursday, September 08, 2011


It's been a summer like no other that I can remember, Near Philadelphia.  We've had weeks of top-of-the-chart temperatures, a hurricane, an earthquake or two, and unprecedented rainfall leading to dangerous flooding in some parts of the area (so far, not my particular location). The other day during a period of relative calm, Joe thought it would be good to clean the downspouts.  Which led to his cleaning the window wells.  In one of them he encountered a very, very small frog* (who, it must be told, was not overjoyed to make Joe's acquaintance).  We've had bunnies, skunks, deer, turtles, possums, racoons, and even a turtle or so.  But never before a genuine frog.

I'm convinced this guy is the start of the next plague.

*The frog pictured is not the actual one Joe met.  They both declined to pose for a photo.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Tying Up Loose Ends

One of my goals for summer had been to make the things that some people requested in exchange for the cow blocks (another one arrived in the mail this week -- will post a pic in another day or so).  Today, being the last day of summer, was finally when I at least started these odds and ends.  Brenda asked for a "B" and it is finished and will go in the mail to her tomorrow.  Liz's scraps for her pineapple blocks have been cut and sitting waiting waiting waiting to go in the mail and tomorrow is the day for them, too.

Gari's cow mug rug is bonded and ready to hand stitch as are Nancy's dancing ladies.  Going to work on those two in front of the Phillies this week and hope to have them mailed by this time next week.  I'm annoyed at myself for letting them hang around so long.

I also have a PIF to do for Anya.  Our PIF has turned out to be a crafty exchange and I had one idea in mind for her, but the gift she made for me (picture to follow) arrived and is so lovely that I've changed my plan.  Bought some Kaffe fabric for Anya's project on Friday and getting it made is on the schedule for sometime in the next two weeks.

As for Muddy and Murky, the winner of those blocks is blogless [so far] Judi who writes:

Blogger Judi said...

I'd love to take your blocks and turn them into a Hospice quilt for Bonnie!
So, Judi, darling, send me your address one more time (you'd think I'd know it by now) and the M&Ms will go in the mail next Monday along with the aforementioned reciprocities.
Here's an update on the Prairie Women Journey Two Project One progress.  Slowly and steadily it is coming together.  I like this intricate lattice-and-cornerstone arrangement (click to enlarge).
No picture, but something else I did this weekend was to put satin binding on a frayed, ancient blanket.  I've recently made the acquaintance of a young woman -- early 20s, I think -- who grew up in a home of absolutely horrific abuse, robbed of her childhood, her self respect, and her potential by two horrible parents, one of whom is now beyond bars for what he did to her.  She has a security blanket, a hand-me-down from a mutual friend, and it is falling apart.  When I was asked what could be done to salvage it, I knew the only possible thing was to buy it a little more time by covering the frayed edges.  Took most of last evening to get it done, but it felt good to bring a little kindness into this kid's life.
I'm not the only one tying up loose ends.  Our dining room chairs have cane seats and for years, when one would wear out, we'd send it home with Joe's dad for a couple of months, and it would return recaned and beautiful.  Pop's been gone for a number of years, and last summer Joe took a caning class while we were at Chautauqua.  He made a small stool for his project.  This summer, he practiced the skill by making a second stool, and this weekend he began work on the chair seat that has been crying out for attention.
So it's been a pleasant and productive weekend, Near Philadelphia, and I hope the same is true wherever you happen to be!