Sunday, September 30, 2012

W.I.B.W.O. -- O.B.S. version

Time for a catch-up on What I've Been Working On -- Obsessed By Scraps version.  In the past few months, I finished one quilt that was made from block-swap blocks, made another that began as a leader-ender project, made a dozen blocks from scraps and put them together in another quilt, and finally started digging out blocks that were made out of scraps and put away.  I had become obsessed with working with the pieces/parts that were already done.

For several years, I made different units out of scraps.  Either I stored the units (whatever they were) "as is," or I sewed them into blocks and put the blocks aside.  In my zeal to use up things I'd already begun, I've managed to finish 3 more tops.  The first was made of more the the "v-blocks" used for the baby quilt I'm currently hand-quilting.  This will made a nice "snuggle" quilt for a young boy (stereotype, I know, but check out the novelty prints) either through children's hospice or through another organization.  I bought flannel to back it and I will quilt it myself, probably without batting. 

Another habit of several years' duration was to sew scrap triangles into half-square triangles (mostly) of various sizes into 12.5" blocks.  I had accumulated 24 of these before I made myself stop.  For some unknown reason, I drug these out of the drawer and decided to set them into two tops.

Pretty wild, huh?  If nothing else, these two tops illustrate about any possible way that HSTs can be used.  I think I'm going to call these "Too **** Many Triangles", Parts 1 & 2.    Someday I'll put a thin, near-solid border on each one and call them done.  Right now, they're put away for later.  

In a drawer of "sample blocks", I found 9 that fit together fairly well, in size and color scheme:

This whole center piece is just 18" square, so I thought a border of small squares might work, though it first needs a small border to frame the center. (This was my "audition" green, but I ended up with a different shade..)

Needs something other than squares to finish out the corners, maybe, so I'm considering scrappy log cabin blocks.  This will be a "companion" to the boy quilt above, also backed with flannel and quilted with no batting. 

In between, I detoured to make another of my "standard issue" 30's repros baby quilt.  This is for the second grandchild of a friend.  The first grandchild (a girl) was given the usual 9-patch version, so I wanted something a little different for the second grandchild (a boy).  I like to make up the repros into traditional blocks so I did 9" churn dashes.  The colored parts of the border were (yep!) scraps. 

Finished this top yesterday at UDLC's Quilt Day. Another for me to quilt on Lizzie.  Baby's due in late November, so I have a little time. 

I realize that, in some ways, I've begun to feel like I can't have my dessert until I've finished my dinner, that is, I can't start a new project until I've completed the many projects for which I already have some or all of the blocks -- something neither practical nor desirable!  Unfortunately, for me, the attempt to be a good steward of my resources (use up my scraps) can morph into that obsession that says I have to save the "good stuff" for later.  This easily transfers into my life in general and brings fear and stress.  Years ago, I heard a sermon that has always stayed with me.  It addressed whether we give out of a sense of scarcity or out of a sense of our abundance.   One type gives what's left, but only after other needs/desires/whatever have been satisfied, the other gives first, recognizing the many gifts that have been received.   Sometimes -- not often, I hope -- but sometimes, I forget the abundance in my life. 

So I'm walking away from any more (new) scrap projects for now (even thought those crumb blocks are calling me...and I even have the sashing picked out!). Very soon, I will cut into these luscious fabrics to start a quilt for D#2's "new" bedroom. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Post 9/11

I mostly shy away from political stuff, since my friends generally know where I stand.  If anyone else is reading, if they happen to agree with me, I'd be preaching to the choir, and if they don't, nothing I say is going to change anyone's mind.

Given our proximity to New York and Washington DC, the event of 9/11/01 touched many people around here more closely than the general population between the oceans, but less so than those in the three true "Ground Zero" locations.

I share the following two links because they touched me deeply.

Elizabeth Kaeton is an Episcopal priest, whose blog I have read for quite a while.  If I recall correctly, she was serving in New Jersey at that time and spent a good deal of time at the chapel at Ground Zero, helping and comforting the workers during the weeks and months after.   If you search her blog for "9/11" you will find other wise and insightful writings.

The other, linked by a commenter on another blog by a writer probably 150 degrees (minimum) from "Mother" Kaeton.   Recent photos from Libya.  Choked me up and reminded me of those days in early September 2001 when the world seemed to come together in our shared horror.

Interestingly -- or not -- I had more trouble than I expected when I searched for an image of rubble at Ground Zero.  I wanted one with no prominent religious or national symbols (no cross, no flag) and one that was not taken from a place that seemed to me to be a political, conspiracy, or hate site.  Things that make you go hmmm....   The one I used was from the website of the UK newspaper, The Guardian.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


An update on a couple of finishes.

The past few years, members of our monthly hand-sewing group/guild have each taken on the summer goal of finishing a healing/comfort quilt for a given organization.  This year's designated group was "Rebuilding Together Philadelphia."  Previously, I had planned to make a zig-zag pattern which used scrap nine-patches alternating with plain cream-on-cream squares, as shown in a book I own.  So, as a leader/ender project, I had already made a bunch of nine-patches from scrap 2.5" squares -- you name it, it was in there: novelties, florals, batiks, everything.  To move the project along, I decided that this would be my donation quilt -- after all, I already had I had I-forget-how-many dozen blocks ready to use.  I tried out the arrangement on my design wall.  Didn't like it.  At All.  My re-thinking process told me that half-square triangles lent themselves to so many possible arrangements that I was sure to find something I liked.  So I paired the plain squares with the made bunches of HSTs.   On the last St. Paul's Quilt Day, I laid out the top in this barn-raising setting.  Machine quilted this one myself, first on the neutral, echoing the seamlines several times, and then zig-zag across the sliced nine-patches.   As I still have a lot of these nine-patches left, I will eventually make up more HSTs and try another arrangement. 

The entire gallery of Uvulati quilts is found on Nancy's blog.

Last spring I caught granny-square fever (it was going around) and dropped my then-current project in favor of making a dozen blocks out of scraps, each with a single color and a coordinating small print background.   My original plan was to sash with a stripe of some sort to frame the blocks strongly.  I took this project to our spring retreat to audition some stripes from my stash, and even ended up purchasing some additional fabric, based on comments and advice from fellow White-Oakers.  (Yeah, I know, it was a chore to shop...)  

But somehow, whenever I'd put the blocks up, nothing that I tried "felt" right.  One day a few weeks ago, I was reorganizing my stash, happily fondling fabric, when I discovered a yard of white fabric with large brightly colored dots.  Excited, I spread it out and put the granny square blocks on top, and it was clear that I had a winner for the sashing!    More prowling in my "geometrics" drawers provided the check that had been a recent acquisition on my first trip to a new LQS.  They were having an end-of-bolt sale and the bolt with the last piece of this bright summery check just jumped into my arms!  The result is, I think, a much more "airier" quilt than if I'd used a stronger or darker sashing with any of the stripes I was considering.   My talented long-armer quilted "bubbles" (circles of different sizes) on this, which I absolutely love!   "Sherbet and Gum Balls" is a gift for a friend who has had some recent health problems.  Hoping it will both add some cheer to her life and stand in for some warm hugs from me. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Progress report: month 26 (August 2012)

Starting off with SIX completions!  Tada!
16. Have lamps in bathroom replaced.
20. Have electrical work done.
50. Take Ds to movies once a year (met minimum.. not max)
51. Go to movies alone once a year (same as above)
52. Go down the shore once a year (and again...)
63. Visit Mutter Museum.

7,26,28,33,99. Kept up to date.
 9. Gave away another 75 books (Abington Library).
21. Had gas line installed for stove.
23. Pulled carpet up from basement stairs.
30. Downloaded forms to write my will; completed Living Will and had notarized.
48. Saw 10 movies:
      The Dark Knight rises (theatre)
      10 things I hate about you
      Ed Wood
      To Wong Foo, Thanks for everything, Julie Newmar
      Ruby Sparks (theatre)
      We bought a zoo
      I'm not there
      The constant gardener
      Punch drunk love
49. Read 4 books (94/60, 49/30, 41/10)
      Don't let's go to the dogs tonight (Alexandra Fuller)
      The remains of the day (Kazuo Ishiguro)
      Nickel and dimed (Barbara Ehrenreich)
      Cocktail hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness (Alexandra Fuller)
92. Wrote to another of three remaining sponsored children.
93. Continued volunteering at Hiway Theatre; started at Pet Smart's
      cat adoption area.
Extra quilts: finished "Jelly/Fish/Race" for Safe Harbor (running total of 7
      "healing" quilts)

Priorities for September:
6/7/9. Work in basement; declutter books & stuff.
18. Work on deck (weather limitations?)
21. Gas stove.
23. Finish getting old carpet out of basement.
30. Finish writing will; have it witnessed.
71. More work on t-shirt quilt for D#1.
72. Start quilt for D#2's new room.
80. Work on quilt photo albums.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Visitors -- Part 4: Taking leave

D#2 was scheduled to work on Tuesday, when Wonderful Friends were scheduled to leave.  So, of course, we met for breakfast at Fil-a-Bagel! 

We've been connected for so long, it is so comforting when we are able to reaffirm that connection.   In 2011, Wonderful Friends (sans Godson) came to D#1's college graduation and we three went to Ohio for Godson's high school graduation.  This year, they came to Pennsylvania.  Looks like next year, it's our turn to go west.   I've always loved this photo of me flanked by Godson (left of photo) and D#2 (right).

Here's now it looks now:

May God be with all of us 'till we meet again.  And a massive hug to Godson!

Visitors -- Part 3: Down the shore

Monday brought perfect weather to go "down the shore" for the day.  Nothing fancy, no place special, just some time near the water.   D#1 had to go back to DC for work, so D#2 and I joined Wonderful Friends for the ride to Atlantic City -- easy to reach, available parking, boardwalk to stroll,  and no beach fees.

(Photos courtesy of Wonderful Friends since I forgot my camera;)

Godson (center below) managed to connect with a couple of his friends from University of Northern Ohio (UNO) who live in New Jersey and went off with them for a while. 

Like all good things, our day "down the shore" had to come to an end.  And, unfortunately our visit was doing the same.