Monday, February 27, 2012

I caved


All because of

I'm like a kid in a candy store. Already have 50 titles in my queue, not including other TV series.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happy birthday, George!

Yesterday would have been his 69th birthday.   Never get over you.

Here's a wonderful montage set to George's "Give me love", a song for which 100% of royalties goes to Unicef.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I'm old enough to remember when John F. Kennedy ran for President.   Many were concerned about his Catholicism and the possibility of his "taking orders" from the Pope in Rome.  (I confess that, at the time, I wasn't politically savvy enough to know how much of this "concern" was drummed up by his opponents.)  No matter what the origin, Kennedy's campaign had to overcome this fear and convince many in the electorate that he would perform the duties of the position without interference from the leaders of his religion.

Now we have elected representatives (among others) condemning President Obama for not caving in to the demands of the Catholic Bishops to abandon his support for the no-cost availability of  a full range of preventive health services for women of all (and no) faiths!  We have panels of black-robed, celibate (or so they say) middle-aged (mostly white) men telling Congress what is and is not acceptable to them!  Acceptable: doing what they demand.  Unacceptable: anything else.

It strains belief that "they" are debating contraception in 2012, nearly half a century since the original Supreme Court decision overturning a Connecticut law banning the use of contraceptives, citing an implicit right to marital privacy.  A full 40 years ago -- the year after I graduated from college -- the Court, ruling against a Massachusetts statute, established a similar right for the unmarried.   

As for "religious freedom", a crucial part of separation of church and state is that I have the same ability to exercise mine as others do to exercise theirs.  No one should be able to prevent me from doing so, even if we disagree.  My church has no prohibition against contraception, and my personal belief is that children should be wanted by parents who are willing to take care of them.  Yet, if I were a librarian at a Roman Catholic college, these men would have the ability to decide for me that I would be denied the benefits afforded by law to women in similar positions in non-Catholic institutions -- even if the church wasn't paying for them!    Of course, given my age, all of this is moot for me as an individual, but not for tens of thousands (at least) of younger women currently or potentially employed at a hospital, a college or university, or a charitable organization for whom this is a real issue.

I could rant for many more paragraphs, but will try to be concise.   Don't like abortion?  Don't have one.  Even better -- don't get pregnant.  How do you do that?  Don't be sexually active or, if you are, use reliable contraception.  Best way to lower the number of abortions in the country?  Free contraception.  Don't believe in contraception?  Don't use it.   No one is forcing you to do so.   You are free to have as many children as you want conceive.  No interference from me!

The supreme irony, of course, is that the same people who want to make it more and more difficult to have an abortion are also doing their best to put up barriers to wide availability of contraception.  On top of that, many politicians are also doing their utmost to unravel all the parts of the already hole-ridden "safety net" that might help a poor woman ensure the birth of a healthy child and a barely-sufficient life afterward by cutting Medicaid, Head Start, food stamps, child care and so on.   Color me LIVID!

(Why, yes, I consider myself a feminist.  Why do you ask?)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jelly roll plus

Last fall, Pat blogged about a "technique" called a "jelly roll race".  While it didn't seem like something I'd be much interested in, she brought the two she had made to a group sew-in and they were quite interesting.  Both batiks, the colors seemed to flow nicely across the top. 

Not willing to invest a lot of money in something that felt "experimental", I kept my eyes open for a less expensive alternative and found this mottled rainbow jelly roll -- two strips each of ten colors.  But what really clinched it was this fun fish print that contained all the same colors as the jelly roll, but more vivid, so I bought the only two fat quarters left.

I cut the fish into enough 18" strips to alternate with paired strips and started sewing end to end.

SURPRISE!  Instead of a quilt-proportioned rectangle, I ended up with one that was long and skinny.  Note to self:  using 20 strips (what was in my jelly roll) does not result in the same shape as using 40 (the usual number of strips).  A "duh" moment!

Clearly, something had to be done to rescue the project.  I counted the number of strips across (16) so I frog-stitched (rip-it, rip-it) three seams to result in four sections with four strips in each.

Next, I measured the width of the sections and cut each one into squares so I could arrange them into a more useful shape.  Thanks for the help, Smidgen!

An arrangement of five blocks by five blocks (chosen from the 28 I started with) will result in a top just under 40" square. 

All that is left now is to sew the blocks together.  I will probably not add a border to it, but will eventually quilt it myself for some children's charity.   In conclusion, my findings were that this approach to sewing strips together does make a top quite quickly, even if you don't use them in the original way (but you might need to "unsew").  I did have fun working with the bright cheery colors in the fabrics!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

St. Paul's Quilt Day February 2012

Colors!  Patterns!  Food!  Friends!  Conversation!  Progress! 

Time with Nancy, Pat, and many non-blogging "sewists"!

Leftover William Morris tesselated stars was pin-basted (without feline assistance)!

Borders were added to the Asian Anvils, backing was pressed, and it was delivered to the long-armer!

Another wonderful day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Spent most of the weekend sewing!   As I chronicled on my last post, the A.D.Q.D.** had infected me badly, but I did manage to finish the bright-and-white log cabin top, and even made the binding.  I also pin-basted a smallish top which was made from a "Traditions" charm pack from "Collections for a Cause."  I had had assistance from Sassy.

Saturday morning, I returned to the dozen extra William Morris tesselated stars which I'd put on the design wall (yes, I have one now!!!).  Found another Bill that worked with the colors in the blocks and finished the top with a simple border.

Even made the binding out of some dark brown.   (The photo below is a bit over-exposed.  The colors are darker and richer "in person.")

Then I did some SERIOUS cutting!   First the pieces for Part II of the mystery quilt.  These were "set aside for the next step."  (Colors are truer in the top photo, though a little less yellow than here.)

There are 64 of those tan rectangles, 36 of the small green, and a dozen (total) of the other 2 green rectangles.  I also cut and sewed the pieces per this issue's instructions.  Part II is now done.

Next, I dug out the strips of white and yellow I'd sewn together in a time of earlier distraction, then pressed them open and cut them into 2-patches which I plan to use as leader-enders for a start to the "Land of Happy Endings" yellow, white, and purple quilt.  Sassy offered her assistance.


Finally, I arranged all 35 Asian anvils on the wall.  Sassy helped again.

Got the entire top sewn together, pulled a black-on-black for a thin inside border and and binding, and found several possible Asians for a medium width outside border.  Those will be added at Quilt Day on Saturday.

 A satisfying -- and productive -- weekend!  Wish I had another one right away.

*What I've Been Working On
**Attention Deficit Quilting Disorder

Monday, February 6, 2012


I believe it was Pat who first "discovered" -- or maybe self-diagnosed -- A.D.Q.D.: Attention Deficit Quilting Disorder.   It was probably inevitable that I would, eventually, succumb.

Generally, I strive for a certain amount of "neatness" in my surroundings.  In addition to being more-or-less hard-wired for organization (remember my profession is not just "librarian" but "cataloger"), my mind works better when I'm not in the middle of chaos.   I keep a list (on Excel) of projects, stages that they are in, the next step, etc., which provides me some built-in prioritizing.  For a number of years, I have managed my quilting based on this list.   If there's a deadline because of an Occasion, that quilt gets bumped up, while those with no particular purpose can languish. 

However, contrary to my expectations and quite to my surprise, I believe I have contracted a serious case of A.D.Q.D!   This weekend I set aside some time to sew, but found myself jumping from place to place, finding myself unable to commit! 

I could have put the final top and bottom borders on the white and bright log cabin.

Also needed to pin-baste the small top I made from repro charms, so I can machine-quilt it myself.

A while back I'd stumbled on a pattern called Land of Happy Endings which I thought would be great in yellow and blue-purples, so I started to put scraps aside.

Before Christmas, a friend of D#2 was visiting and I showed her my sewing room.  She was so excited to see William Morris fabrics!   Someone of college age who is fond of Bill!  Who knew such a person existed?  So I figured a good use for the dozen leftover tessalated stars would be a small quilt for her.

Then there was the next installment of the mystery quilt that Pat and I are doing.

A close friend of D#2 has a chronic illness and is finishing high school as "cyber-school".  I want to make her a quilt as a graduation gift and D#2 chose these beautiful Asian Anvil swap blocks for it.

Several of quilters who I know have made striking 36-patch quilts, so a while ago, I paired Asian fabrics with others and set them aside.

On a whim I picked up a jelly roll of pastels and a whimsical fish print that used all the colors, thinking I'd try one of those sew-all the strips together quilts.

And then there's the Amelia line from Moda.  So bright, cheerful, and spring-y!   I plan to make a Schnibbles pattern from two sets of charm squares, plus a little yardage I've acquired. 

And those are just the projects for which I've identified both pattern and fabric!  What to do, what to do???!!!???

Being the slightly OCD person I am (surprise, huh?), I decided to work on the nearly-done before I started anything new.  So I finished the borders on the white and bright log cabin.  It's now ready to be taken to the long-armer at some time in the future.  Even made the binding, labeled it, and set it aside. (I told you I was a "little" OCD!)  Then I cut the rectangles for the next step of the mystery quilt.  And finally -- with a little help -- I pin-basted the repro charms quilt.  

Feline examination of the quilt was expected and presented no problems.  However, I confess I didn't appreciate Sassy's attempt to remove the safety pins after I put them in.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Progress report: month 19 (January 2012)

Sometimes it feels like I'm not getting
anywhere, though not for lack of effort! 
January was one of "those" months
when it seemed like everything was a
moving target.   D#2 was home for the
first few weeks, then, within 48 hours:
I took her back to school, D#1 arrived,
and I drove HER back to DC.   At the
end of that week, I was off to Dallas
and it took the next week to get my
bearings being alone at home again!   
Settling back in and trying to focus.  

49. Read 60 books (including 30 I own and 10 from library) Already finished
      subcategories but read 60th in January!
60. Eat at restaurants with 3 new ethnic cuisines. Ate ostrich steak in Dallas 

7,26,28. Kept up-to-date.
33. Went to gym (most weeks).
48. Watched 6 movies:
      Run, Lola, Run
      Water for elephants
      Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy (theatre)
      Six feet under (TV: season 3)
      Never let me go
      Easy A
49. Read 7 books: (63/60, 38/30, 22/10)
      Tab Hunter, confidential  (Tab Hunter)
      Still life (Louise Perry)
      Fatal grace (Louise Perry)
      My American unhappiness (Dean Bakopoulos) [#60]
      The Cruelest month (Louise Perry)
      Never let me go (Kazuo Ishiguro)
      Fate and Ms Fortune (Saralee Rosenberg)
84. Extra contribution to ELCA Good Gifts
99. Updated blog post with progress (19 out of 19)
101. 3 blog posts: 
      A 2012 mystery [quilt]
      Mid-winter conference in Dallas

Priorities for February (* = repeated from January):
6/9. *Back to basement and books
12. *Small things around house (almost done!)
51. Go to movies alone.
89. Give blood once a year (2012 opportunity)
90. Read the Bible daily during Lent (Ash Wednesday is February 22)
96. *Learn to load music on my MP3 player (started in December) 
Extra quilts: Finish buttons and binding on child's hospice quilt
                   Have ME quilt Rubik's Rings