Thursday, August 25, 2011

W.I.B.W.O. -- "Tube" quilting

A few weeks ago, my friend Pat brought a little flimsy to the Quilt Day at Another Area Church.  She explained that it was made by sewing strips together, and cutting the strip set to make quarter blocks.  She had found instructions on a video and sent me this link.

I was feeling the need for a break from my "to do" project list and wanted to just play with a new process.  So I pulled out a few 2.5" strips (width-of-fabric) and sewed them together as instructed in the video:  sew two strips to each other, press open, then sew the pairs on both sides, right sides together.

(DO watch the video for complete instructions -- I'm just describing the steps in general, as I thought this quick and easy method useful if you needed a simple, smallish quilt relatively quickly.)


You use a ruler with a 90 degree mark to cut the strip set.

One strip set makes 8 quarter blocks -- enough pieces for two full blocks:

Pieces can be arranged different ways:

Since two blocks weren't really enough for anything, I pulled four more strips and made another pair of two:

   Then I mixed the two sets together to make four blocks, each with two quarters from each set.  I didn't measure, but I think each block is around 12" square.


Sewed all four blocks together

Added two small borders and VOILA!  One small quilt top done! 

I found it necessary to handle the quarters carefully as all the outside edges were bias and I was afraid to stretch them out.   This was fun to make and would be a good use for a jelly roll.   Adding some sashing and/or a bigger border would make it a little larger for a baby quilt.

Think I will try this again.  I have some Kaffe Fassett fabric cuts and a jelly roll that would make 8 or 9 different vivid colored blocks.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vacation "downtheshore"

Recipe for one three-day vacation:

Take one mother,  
and two daughters.
 Add ocean, sand, sun.

Mix in 10 (or so) books.
Blend with a couple of movies on DVD.

Stir in Italian food on the Boardwalk, Chinese take-out, and vegetarian and seafood at an outdoor cafe.

Garnish with one movie at the theatre.

Makes: three women relaxed and refreshed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Seeing through a glass darkly

The meaning of I Corinthians 13:12 refers to "seeing" the Kingdom of God only dimly in this life.  But it has a new meaning for me.  Last week, I had surgery to remove the cataract from my right eye.  When this is done, the old lens is removed and a new, completely clear, lens is implanted.  The new lens has the correct focal point so corrective lenses (glasses) are no longer needed for most purposes.   I now own a scrap of paper with the "model number" and "serial number" of my new lens -- makes me feel a little bit bionic!  

While I wait for the passage of two weeks prior to similar surgery on my left eye, I feel like I'm looking through "drunk goggles" most of the time.  I must still wear my bifocal glasses for my left eye, though since I had an extra pair of glasses, I had the right lens removed from them prior to the surgery.   My distance vision with my "new" right eye and corrected left is a little shaky and "off", but (barely) bearable.  Oddly enough, the midrange/computer viewing vision is the best, which is fortunate since my job is almost entirely based on working at a computer.  Luckily, working on the sewing machine falls into that midrange area, as does hand sewing (though I can't even find the eye of a needle with the needle-threader, much less the thread!)

But reading... READING... what a pain -- almost literally!   I see double when I try to focus on the page.  Mind you,  I have both the two-lens and the one-lens eye-glasses.  I went out and bought the "readers" the O.D. recommended as a stop-gap.  I even have a pair of "computer" glasses which I used to use sometimes for mid-range.  None of them offers much assistance in helping me read, so I end up reading with one eye (the "new" one) closed.  Head-ache inducing -- and just before a trip downtheshore where I had hoped to get in some quality time with a couple of books!

At the end of the day, I am exhausted.  Sounds odd, doesn't it?  Think about it.  Just for a moment, imagine that, to walk, you had to think about each part of the process: shift weight to left leg, raise right leg, put right foot down ahead, lift left leg while shifting weight to right leg, put left foot down in front of right foot and shift weight to it.  Wouldn't that take a great deal of effort and be quite stressful in the process?   Wouldn't take long to get really tired, would it?   That's sort of what it's like to have to concentrate on seeing.   I can drive, but I have to work at it like I haven't had to since I was a newbie behind the wheel.   Therefore, I'm very grateful that D#2 now has her license as I can let her take over as my chauffeur. 

So, you ask, what does all this have to do with the title of the post?   It's a lead-in, I answer.  Patience, dear readers, patience, please. 

The only "symptom" I had from having cataracts was related to light(s).  Some time ago, I found I needed more light to read or sew but that was easily accomplished -- I turned on another light or upped the wattage of the lightbulb.  There was no "workaround", though for driving at night, when the light from oncoming cars was glaring and scattered, making me uncomfortable about driving long distances in the dark.  I'd heard that cataracts could also affect the way colors are seen, but pooh-poohed that idea as I was seeing a full range of colors quite well, thank you!   After all, as a quilter, I deal with color all the time and had no problem at all perceiving the wonderful brights, pure whites, and ebony blacks that are my quilt-making materials. 

I was wrong.  A few days post-surgery, when my "new" eye was beginning to focus (or rather my brain was beginning to process what I was seeing with it), I noticed that, if I closed the left eye, it was like taking a picture with flash, as opposed to without.   Not a huge difference, but perceptible nevertheless. 

Left eye -- "old" lens:

Right eye -- "new" lens: 

The photos exaggerate the difference, but it was shocking to me how dingy the whites look with my "old" eye and how the tint of bright colors just gets turned up a notch when viewed with the "new" one!

One week from today, I will undergo surgery on my left eye.  Praying that all goes as well then as it seems it did the first time.  When I am healed, not only will I no longer need to wear glasses from when I first wake up in the morning until I retire for the night, but I will have a "brighter" outlook on life.  Visually, at least.  

Monday, August 1, 2011

Progress report: month 13 (July 2011)


34. Check out nearby fitness centers. Join... (July 17)
38. Stop at doctor's office for cardiogram. (July 25)
78. Make quilt top from scraps. (Finished "Rubik's Rings" top July 4)
81. Make quilt for Godson for graduation (Finished top in May; mailed July 18)

   6. Got back to working in basement.
   9. Returned to dealing with books.
      (Several boxes packed up; some already gone)
33. Started to exercise (Fitness center in goal #34).
48. Watched 10 movies (107/125):
      Take the lead
      Failure to launch
      Paris is burning
      Gone, baby, gone
      Dan in real life
      Gaslight (1944)
      Last chance Harvey
49. Read 1 book (35/60, 25/30, 7/10):
     The Book thief (Markus Zusak) -- EXCELLENT!
54. Go to NY or Phila for play/musical:
      "Miss Saigon" at Walnut Street Theatre
      (Top-notch production; music/show less so)
74. Make quilt for sponsored child (Currently at long-arm quilter)
84. Extra contributions to Philabundance and Unicef.
99. Updated blog post with progress (13 out of 13)
101. Blog posts:
      Calling for opinions (July 8)
      None of the above (July 22)
      W.I.B.W.O. -- Godson's quilt (July 28) 

August priorities:
(These are starting to look pretty familiar)
  6. More work in basement.
  9. More book sorting.
12. Small things around house.
17. Plant last 4 shrubs (Need a break in the nasty, hot, and humid weather!).
18. Wash and stain deck.
77. Finish "Almost Amish" swap block quilt for wedding gift.