Monday, July 29, 2013

I'm a Winner!

Speaking of Julie, which I did a couple of days ago, she recently finished a great-looking string quilt and decided to give away her left-over strings. Guess who won! Yes! Me! This nice squarish box arrived with two bags of goodies -- one sort of summery colors and one sort of spring or autumn colors. I've not made a string project before. Now I have no excuse!

Thank you, Julie . . .

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Miss Peacock

My bloggin' buddy Julie is having a Major Life Event and as part of that is collecting star blocks in peacock shades on cream.

I went digging in the batik bin and found what I thought I wanted and was about ready to make my block. Then for some other, non-related reason, I went into a box of cool color scraps and found some genuine, authentic peacock fabric! There wasn't much. Hardly any, really. And I can't remember how I acquired it. But it is precisely what I needed for Miss Peacock's star! Now put down that candlestick, Julie, and get out of the secret passage to the conservatory! You have quilting to do!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Star Struck

Here's my quilt that caused a bit of angst in this post. I did write to Sarah Fielke and received a lovely reply! She apologized for the error that had caused me grief. She went on to tell me that she didn't set the price for the book -- I hadn't known that the publishers did that.

Sarah directed me to the errata page on her website. Since I had written glowingly about Hand Quilted With Love on two occasions, and even encouraged purchase of the book, I think that directing readers to that errata page is the right thing to do. Sarah hadn't known about the error that I encountered and that very day she went to add the problem to the list posted. Thinking of the frustration that I had experienced with one piece of information being incorrect, I cannot begin to imagine how discouraged she must feel to have such a list of problems. She mentions having the feeling that she stares at proof pages so long that they don't make sense any more. I know what that is like!

Anyway, this is the quilt that I made for my friend's upcoming grandson. You'll prolly see it again, since I plan to hand quilt it (with love, no less!) and I'll post a pic when it is complete, likely sometime in September or October.

I was glad that I had contacted Sarah about the problem. I got the frustration out of my system. I helped other people who might want to make a baby quilt from the Made In Cherry pattern. And I got to "meet" a lady who seems just as nice as her lovely book!

I'm thinking of this quilt as "Star Struck." And I love it. Problem and all.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Forty-Six Years Ago

It was a drizzly Friday night. We were married in a simple candlelight ceremony and returned to my mother's home for cake, punch, and ice cream. Here I am with my two nieces who I love very much. One of them scanned this photo into a digital format. I wish I had one of me and Joe in that format.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Summer Reading 2013

I waited five months for The Burgess Boys. It had been recommended to me back in later February and I placed a reserve at the local library. There were, I think, 228 people ahead of me! Elizabeth Strout is the author of Olive Kitteridge, which the book club read -- and loved -- several years back. I believe this to be her first novel since.

Yes, it was worth the wait. The story is intriguing, but what was captivating was the relationships between the brothers Burgess and their sister Susan. The men are both attorneys, and are not particularly close with each other or with their sister. But when Susan's teen-age son gets into trouble, she turns to them and they respond. In doing so, they both experience tremendous personal growth.

This story unfolds beautifully. I recommend it without reservation.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Many Questions, Not Many Answers

I spent a tremendous amount of time over the past weekend reflecting on a cluster of issues, among them giving, responsibility, friendship, outreach, expectations, limitations, and caring. All of this heavy thinking began well before Sunday morning, and it was not lost on me that the Gospel I would hear on Sunday would be that of The Good Samaritan. My own personal theology does not include God as a micromanager, setting up situations and things to "teach me a lesson," but I do believe God gives us the grace to make connections and to learn and grow from making those connections.

This thinking has come about stemming from some situations of real or perceived need -- people experiencing crisis in health, relationship, bereavement, some very recent and some from a while back.

Ordinarily, I don't think a whole lot when responding to these situations. I just go with my gut: preparing a meal, providing transportation, listening and processing, including a lonely person in a gathering at home, trying to make a birthday special, finding a spontaneous small gift, visiting the hospital. Different situations call for different responses. I think that God awakens my awareness of a need and what I might do to fill that need, so the question of exactly who my neighbor might be is fortunately not among those I have been pondering for the past several days. I'm still asking the questions, though, and know I will be doing so for some time to come. They are not questions with quick and easy answers.  As often is the case, I'm using my blog as a journal to keep track of the questions as I wrestle with them. Here are some of them:

  • If someone asks me to give and I don't perceive a real need, should I say simply say "not this time," explain my reasons for not seeing the need, or suck it up and give anyway?
  • Sometimes my gift is listening; if the recipient had hoped I would do a couple of loads of laundry, she may be disappointed and think I have let her down. What then?
  • If I am a person in distress, is it right for me to have expectations of others that they will give to me? Or should I be surprised when they do? 
  • What if someone tells me that I have let him down, that I have not given enough to him in his difficult situation? Do I give more, even if I do not feel moved to do so?
  • Are some kinds of giving more appropriate than others?
  • If I organize some sort of a group effort to provide some kind of care, am I making others feel as though they are obliged to help? 
  • What about situations that go on and on and on? Will the recipient feel abandoned when I move on to a more acute need?
  • And, finally, am I overthinking all of this?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Moo to You, Sarah!

It's that time again, friends.

Time for a bit of a moo from a Cranky Old Woman.

What's it about this time?

A pattern designer who obviously didn't test her pattern! Mooo!

So, the quilt in the book was beautiful. It was perfect, even. Perhaps that is why I wanted to make it! The quilt in the book is a double-bed size. Near the end of the directions were the specs for a 40-inch baby quilt. Exactly what I had in mind. The quilt has a 100-piece center square with massive flying geese on all four sides, with the wings also pieced. So far, so good. Really liking how it is going. Then I'm ready to cut the square for the center part of the geese and the author prescribes a 19-1/2 inch square, cut diagonally twice. Plus four squares, each 10-1/2 inches, for the corners.

No, friends, it did not occur to me that the measurement might be wrong. Not until I had cut the square and the diagonals. Not until I started to apply the wings and they were way too big. And the illustration in the book shows that center to be oversized "to allow for individual differences in piecing." I struggled, I snarled, I just may have annoyed my colleagues. Then I did the math, for crying out loud. With the center square finishing at 20 inches there was no way that cutting that square for the geese should be 19-1/2 inches.

Fortunately, I had purchased additional fabric, so I cut a square at 21-1/2 inches and proceeded. The top is finished and it is pretty. It is as terrific as I had expected it to be. But I wasted a nice chunk of fabric.

Ma'am, you are selling this book for close to $30 in American money. That is not cheap, and neither is the fabric I bought. For this price I would expect you to have had your alternate size directions tested to be sure they are accurate.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lady of the Lake

My friend Sharon shared this photo on Facebook recently and I can't get it out of my mind. It's the Lady of the Lake block,one I have always admired but never made.

I love the scrappiness of the prints in this quilt. I would love to do something like this. I also could see making a quilt of this block done in a more controlled palette.

This past weekend I purchased some dark blue and aqua fabrics to make a baby quilt for a dear friend's daughter. I liked the fabrics so much that I bought enough to make two baby quilts from them. I had thought I would use the same pattern for both. Now I am thinking that this block done in those fabrics would make a lovely quilt for a baby boy.

It looks complicated, but it really isn't. Here's the breakdown:

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Blue Streak

Sometimes the names for quilts just don't stick. This had been Little Boy Blue since the baby it is for is known to be a boy.

But once it was all together and quilted (by hand, using two strands of a variegated floss), I knew it was Blue Streak, and not Little Boy Blue.

Baby is due within a couple of weeks, and I'm going to send it off in the mail to mama this week so that she has time to wash it before he arrives.

I learned this week that another friend's daughter is expecting a boy. I already know what his quilt will be! I discovered inspiration for it in Sarah Fielke's book which is just such a nice book. Take a look . . . .

Friday, July 05, 2013

The Great American Fourth of July

As I've written in previous years, our little town Near Philadelphia does Independence Day big-time. We don't ever call it that, though. It's Fourth of July. The decorated bicycle and stroller competition starts the day, followed by foot races and free hot dogs. In the afternoon the pool has special events, though we've not attended those in a good many years. The parade (this year was the 110th annual!) begins at 4 p.m. and people begin to stake out turf on the parade route on the evening of July 3. Our group put up a tarp this year and had a lot of real estate. The fireworks begin precisely at 9:15 (or 9:21 or 9:23, depending on the weather).

In between the parade and the fireworks, Joe and I host a planned pot-luck picnic and this year over thirty people ranging between six months and ninety-one (or ninety-two, depending on memory and math ability) were in attendance. They consumed brats, franks, and chicken along with beans, amazing serious salads, chips and dips, beans, and wonderful veggies. All of this is washed down with beer, old-fashioned sodas with interesting flavors (I'm partial to the cherry but sometimes deflect to the cream), and gallons of iced tea. Oh, and did I mention the beans? This year's offering had been cooked for hours and hours and were reflective of the effort involved; they were the hit sensation of the evening. Until we got to the desserts, featuring a genuine Spanish flan made by the 91-or-92-year-old.

All of this was glorious. But the best part was this:

All six of our grandchildren together and smiling for one brief shining moment! Left to right: Caroline, Aberdeen, Nate, Eli, Sam and Miles!
Life is Beyond Good (sorry, Ms. G)!

Monday, July 01, 2013

Rainbow Wedding

On Saturday we went to a wedding. It was a double first for us -- our first Quaker wedding and our first lesbian wedding. It was a lovely way to spend a lovely afternoon.

One of the brides is a teacher at the school where I used to work and this was the first time I'd seen her since I left there. She looked radiant. As did her beloved.

I know that the reason she invited us to the wedding was because she wanted another quilt and she knew I'd make one for her. ;-) Not a problem. I went directly to a new favorite pattern, "Mazed," and to my pile of batiks and to my local machine quilter and, viola!

We were delighted and honored to attend, to bear witness to a piece of history Near Philadelphia.

Oh, and I wore something special. I couldn't count on Mother Nature to deliver a rainbow, and I knew there had to be one.

Blessings on you, dear Ana and Carol!