Friday, July 29, 2016

DNC 2016

This is what I did during the week of the convention. I had the donkeys from the swap, I had the piece that Tricia machine embroidered, I had the Spoonflower Hillary fabric for the 2016 and, of course, the paper-pieced logo. Liz made the block with the Liberty Bell in the background; she had traced the design with permanent pen. Because Philadelphia was important to me in this historic event, I spent one convention night hand embroidering over Liz's design. Another evening was devoted to hand-buttonholing the 2016. Today, despite an annoying back spasm, I was able to get it all together. I'm hoping that over the weekend I can sandwich and machine quilt; I'd love to be binding this on Tuesday night when our hand-quilting group meets.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Celebratory Quilt Blocks!

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the history being made -- once again! -- in Philadelphia this week.  It's no secret that I'm of the Democratic persuasion, but friends from the other side of the aisle have acknowledged that this broken glass ceiling is mighty impressive. 

In that post I proposed a quick-and-easy swap of appliqu├ęd donkeys to kind of reflect the excitement of the 57 decorated donkeys that have been placed throughout the City of Brotherly (and Sisterly) Love.

Now I've got my donkeys and a couple of other blocks on the wall and have begun putting them together. Then I noticed that Hillary's logo just happened to be a quilt block (how ingenious of her!) and decided to include one in my project. My first rotary-cut attempt was unsuccessful and I realized that the way to accuracy was -- gasp -- paper piecing! So here's my finished block. Please don't ask for a template! I made one and used it and it's gone.

But my clever and generous friend Liza caught wind of what I was up to and since she's a fellow cat-washer, she quickly and easily figured out how to rotary cut the pieces needed for the logo. And she's asked people to share her instructions and make those blocks! I'm thinking they'd make rather nifty mug rugs and -- when things settle down just a bit -- I'm going to make a few to bestow as Gifts For No Occasion. 

Now, I don't know what your mug rug situation is. But chances are, I think, reasonably good that you could use one right about now. Y'know, in celebration of that broken glass ceiling (and now thinking that my other friend Ruth will probably grab the good old Broken Dishes block and refashion it into Broken Ceiling -- right, Ruth?), here's a picture of Liza's creation and her very, very  difficult instructions. 

Hillary Logo Block

OK, Here ya go for rotary cutting:

Blue -- Cut 2 squares 3 1/2 x 3 1/2, Cut one square 3 7/8 x 3 7/8 and bisect corner to corner. 

Red --  Cut 2 squares 3 1/2 x 3 1/2, cut 1 triangle 5 1/8 from base to tip and 10 1/4 long. Cut at 45 degrees from end to tip both ways. 

White -- Cut 2 squares 3 1/2 x 3 1/2. Cut two odd ball pieces 2" wide x 5 3/8 long and lop off a 45 degree angle at one end. 

OR, if you wish to make the arrow in two pieces, cut the red rectangle 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" Feel free to distribute the pattern.

And I'll be sharing that Broken Ceiling block as soon as Ruth come through with it!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

COW Here: Mooing About Pinterest

I didn't jump on the Pinterest bandwagon as quickly as many people did, but when I finally did, it turned out to be a near record-setting broad jump. The statistics at the top of the page show that I have 83 boards and no fewer than 4.5k pins!

It's a great place to store recipes until I get a chance to try them, to dream about future quilts, hang on to words of wisdom, and all kinds of other things. Over time, I organized and reorganized, breaking down "recipes" into several subdivisions and more recently "desserts" into smaller categories. My Pinterest base is, perhaps, the most tidy and organized piece of my life. A couple of months ago I learned how to move the boards around and now mine are filed with sewing and quilting boards first, cooking boards second, followed by all the others. I tell you, it's a  marvel.

So, what's the Moo? It's "Picked For You." I totally understand that there have to be paid advertisement pins show up. I get that. This thing has to be funded somehow. I see the paid ads and nod acknowledgment. Unwelcome they are, but not the issue. "Picked for You" populates my home page with all kinds of stuff that somebot things I want to see. I have a crowd of other people's boards that I follow; I'm genuinely interested in what they're saving and sometimes I save those things to. People I've chosen to follow and boards I've chosen to follow.

Lately I've noticed that my feed is providing more and more "Picked for You" pins. It's like for every ten pins there will be three paid ads, three that I'm truly following and four that the bot wants me to see. I wish I understood why Pinterest insists on this feature. More than that, I wish I could turn it off. I've complained to Pinterest, but to no avail. Cannot be turned off. Cannot be decreased. But oh how aggravating to get these picked-for-me pins of shrimp scampi and crab souffles. Can Pinterest be trying to kill me? If it knows me so well, why is it pretending I don't have a serious shellfish allergy?


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fewer Than Fifty

Not the very best photograph, this was taken during Show and Tell at last night's Guild Meeting. I wanted to make all of the Tula Pink blocks in greys, whites, and blacks, and I did. Most of them are in this quilt.

Since there are so many greys, I decided to name this quilt Fewer than Fifty [Shades of Grey].

I hope to get a better photo soon.

Monday, July 18, 2016

We've Got to Try

A couple of days ago, someone posted this on Facebook:

There is a military coup going on in Turkey. I've spent some time in Istanbul and it is a nice city. To think that things like that can happen in pretty damned civilized countries is disturbing. The fact that there are so many Americans losing their damn minds lately makes me wonder how close to tipping this boat is.
Anyway, back to your Pokemon and Trump rallies.

His frustration was palpable.

His observation came to my attention because my niece had commented on it, writing:

. . . all of us who believe in human decency and would like to live in a peaceful world can't just sit back in horror watching the news and then keep going on doing what we're doing. We don't have to stop what we do (play games, work at our jobs), but we should all take some sort of step to bring more peace to the world. Examples include doing a good deed for someone who is different from you (whether it be a different ethnicity, religion, cultural background), telling a local policeman you value the work they do, writing to your political representatives and making suggestions for how they can support the change you'd like to see in the world, etc.

Around the same time, a link in my mailbox led me to a blog post that talked about the first world phenomenon of obsessive self-care. The author, one Laurie Penny, writes:

The slow collapse of the social contract is the backdrop for a modern mania for clean eating, healthy living, personal productivity, and “radical self-love”—the insistence that, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, we can achieve a meaningful existence by maintaining a positive outlook, following our bliss, and doing a few hamstring stretches as the planet burns. The more frightening the economic outlook and the more floodwaters rise, the more the public conversation is turning toward individual fulfillment as if in a desperate attempt to make us feel like we still have some control over our lives.

This juxtaposition occurred precisely at the time that I was so despondent by what I hear on the news and what I read on Facebook that I was seriously considering a time-out of indeterminate length from both.

I'm not playing Pokemon Go, but I can understand using it as an escape from the current unpleasant reality. I'm not drinking kale smoothies, but can understand the idea that taking care of the self is one thing we can actually choose to do. These are not really very different from considering a news-and-FB black-out. And all of these things bring temporary relief so we don't have to feel like May Boatwright from The Secret Life of Bees who needed a kind of wailing wall where she could go to process the suffering she saw around her. 

Temporary escape is fine, but as my niece says, it isn't enough. I can't pray for peace without having a willingness to commit -- in whatever small ways I can -- to helping to achieve it. I can't wish for the world to be different unless I am ready to be different myself. 

Yesterday, our pastor, wrestling with the dreaded Mary-Martha text, made an impassioned plea that we listen -- really listen -- to each other. Sometimes that is all it takes to make a difference. And if we want to do more but lack ideas, we can go here for inspiration.

One random act of kindness daily. I'm committing to try. How about you?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

History Being Made In Philadelphia

Not this coming week, but the next, history will once again be made in Philadelphia when Hillary Clinton officially becomes the Presidential nominee of a major political party.

A couple of weeks ago I posted about the decorated donkeys that are all over Center City and suggested a donkey swap in celebration. A generous half-dozen of us made seven-inch blocks featuring donkeys and they were swapped out this past week.

I'm hoping that while the Republicans are doing their thing in Cleveland I can get my banner together. In addition to the donkeys, Kathy has arranged for a friend to provide machine embroidered Hillary blocks and I'm thinking I will just have to have a Philadelphia Pavement block. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Adventures in Friendship

In another week or so, we'll celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary. During the first thirteen years we were married, we moved thirteen times. Then we returned to Near Philadelphia where we bought a house that was home for twenty years before we sold it and moved to our current home sixteen years ago. We accomplished all but one of those moves ourselves (the one the Navy paid for went less well than all of the others combined), renting U-Haul trucks whose backs and sides at the time always read "Adventures in Moving."

We took a little trip this weekend back to one of the Ohio towns where we lived a couple of times during the 1970s. As we drove across the familiar I-80, I remarked to Himself that it seemed funny that of all of the people we'd met during those early years, very few were still part of our lives. We decided that during the Navy years we resisted getting too deeply involved because we knew we'd be moving and certainly the same was true for the Chicago spell. It was during the two stays in Ohio that we made some deep, real connections with people, connections that last even until now.

I met Guenveur just two or three months after we arrived in Kent when she and I were group mates in the training class for the crisis intervention center where we both became volunteers. She was the only real grown-up in the class, the rest of us being somewhere in our twenties, and she became not just a friend but a mentor and voice of wisdom for me. She's the person who, upon meeting Joe for the first time told me, "Hang onto him. He's going to age well." Of course, she was right. A survivor of not one but two broken/replaced hips, she still lives in the same house in Kent with two of her adult children nearby and still, after all these years, responds to "How're you doing?" with her standard, "Fair to middlin; can't complain." I saw her on Friday for lunch, and we had the best time (and most yummy meal).

I met Roberta around the same time that I met Guenveur; we both attended a meeting of the Welcome Wagon club for people new to Kent and although I think we never attended another general meeting, we agreed that the brand new Welcome Wagon Book Club was to our liking, and joined that together. Within very short order we introduced our husbands and had some mighty fine Saturday evenings together. Lloyd was the rector of the little Episcopal church in town, and one of his favorite tricks after an evening of exhilarating conversation was to say, "Well, I just tried out tomorrow's sermon on you. How'd you like it?" Apparently we liked it, because Lloyd ended up baptizing all of our children and causing us to give up our status as proud heathens in favor of Episcopalianism.

We spent two nights at Roberta's this weekend. Lloyd is living with a degenerative illness and resides a couple of minutes away at a care center. We took dinner into the care center so we could all have a meal together, and still enjoyed both serious conversation and gales of laughter.

None of these dear people is up to visiting Philadelphia, so we try to go about once a year to see them. And we are always glad.

We passed a fair number of U-Haul vans and trucks on I-80 and were sorry to note that they no longer say "Adventures in Moving." I thought that was a shame.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Two Baby Quilts

As you may have noticed, I have been on a finishing and photographing mission lately.

Someone admired a basket quilt that I made for the autistic school fund-raiser. That same someone is expecting her second child at the end of this summer. And since it's been my habit to make quilts for my coworkers, I decided to make this one for Sunnie's new baby.  Presenting: "It's A Girl!"

This little quilt is for a baby I won't know. Over the summer, our hand sewing group is making at least one quilt apiece for The Baby Bureau or for the VA Hospital. I wanted to get some more experience with machine quilting and I had these seven blue CW orphans hanging around, so what happened next was logical! I had fun playing with the machine quilting but don't think I would like to do it on a very large quilt!

Monday, July 04, 2016

Dresden Kaffes

It's been ages since this quilt became a flimsy, and it sat around and sat around waiting for life to start. I decided a few weeks ago not to pay to have it machine quilted and began, instead, to tie it. It's now tied and bound and documented. You may be able to see all the Kaffe prints up close if you click on the photo. And, yes, the centers are supposed to be wonky!

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Gato Limpio: The Very Cleanest Cat

I wrote the story of this quilt when it was a finished flimsy. And now, thanks to my gourmet quilter, Kat, it's a finished quilt. I think if you click on the photo it will enlarge and you will be able to see her glorious work. Including the small, clean cat in the lower left corner.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Word Salad

Back in December, a pair of Aussies named Linden and Crystal started up Project 48 and invited the world of quilters to play along. Their plan was that over the course of one year, quilters of all levels would learn how to make 48 different blocks at a rate of one per week. I joined and once it began in January, each Thursday I would get antsy waiting to see what block we'd be confronted with for the coming week. Some were very easy, some were wonky, some were more challenging.

I decided to use a group of text prints I'd collected and with the exception of some black solid or semi-solid, that's all that you can find in my quilt. I stopped after twenty blocks, having achieved my goal of having enough for a flimsy, using these wordy prints. Along the way, the quilt got the name "Word Salad," and once I had the twenty blocks assembled, I paper-pieced (yes, I did!) the title and added it. The borders went on today.

I've had a wonderful time with this. One block per week was easily doable, and it was loads of fun seeing what these designers would come up with.

I don't plan to start another project through Project 48, but I'll continue to stop in on Thursday evenings to see what the peeps are doing. And I still have left-over text prints, so who knows what will happen!