Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Out of the Basement to all of You: Happy New Year!

I'm thinking about reorganizing this mess as a New Year's Resolution, but am still at the thinking stage. I actually did do some straightening and sweeping this morning, but still this would qualify as a "before" picture in anyone's book. If there is ever a different "after" look, you'll be the first to know. Actually, although there's lots of stuff, the space is functional, and I do know where everything is.

As for other goals: I don't think I have any clear ones. The ones that do come to mind are rather negative. For example, except for the Hoffman (maybe), I don't intend to enter any challenges unless they let me do something I'd want to do anyway. At my age, time becomes more precious, and I don't want to use it on something that seems pointless to me. I think I challenge myself, and challenges from outside only cause pressure I don't need.

After I finish my current project, I will have satisfied my need to do a complicated traditional pieced project, so maybe I'll go back to something less traditional. Or not. I guess I'm resolving not to resolve, just do what feels right at any given moment. I do think it's necessary to keep working, keep creating, but I just don't want to be too goal oriented.

Of course, like everyone else, I do have a few UFO's, and lots of fabric to use!

I wish everyone reading a happy, healthy, creative new year. Thank you for all the inspiration, support, and enjoyment reading your posts and comments has provided me.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Fiber Gift

My sister Marjorie sent me these wonderful mittens for Christmas. They're felted from old sweaters with vintage button ornaments on the cuff. What I particularly like about these is they way they go together without matching: a truly patchwork look. They're made by baabaaZuzu of Leland, Michigan.

In other news, I have finally finished the red and white stars and am choosing fabrics for the sashing, setting squares, etc. It's so large that it's overflowing my design wall, which makes for a challenge.

As a change if pace, I'm thinking of taking time out to make the Project Linus quilt from the January Quiltmaker magazine. Their projects are always cute, simple, and a way to help a cause. As a bonus, although I haven't liked this magazine recently, I thought there were several pretty and interesting quilts in this issue.

And finally, I'm glad Christmas is over, and I wish everyone reading a wonderful new year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Website

QuiltQua is a new quilting website that plans to include a great variety of quilting information. It will include advertising and paid listings, but also includes a free show-and-tell page and a very extensive list of quilt- or fabric-focused blogs, information on shows, guilds, museums, and more. Let's wish them well.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Uncle Sib

Jen Clair of Bayou Quilts is one of several people posting a challenge: Find your fourth roll of photos, find the fourth photo on the roll, post it and write about it. I was curious to see what my fourth was, and when I found it, I had to post.

This is my Uncle Eusibius, known as Sib; it was taken at my mother's 90th birthday brunch in 2004. Sib was a dear, sweet man, but one of those people who seemed to exist to cause hilarity among people who knew him, mostly for his great quantity of misinformation, delivered in a very loud voice. (He was quite hard of hearing in his last years.) One example: at a family reunion one of Sib's many, many grand-, or great-grand-nephews approached and introduced himself: "I'm Davey, Clarence's son." Sib responded (shouted), "No, you ain't! You're John Duncan's boy!" Quite a surprise to Davey, and a lovingly repeated story for everyone else in the family.

Sib had a truly wonderful collection of arrowheads and other Native American artifacts that he loved to take to local schools to share with the students. The arrowheads were interesting, but there were other lesser-known treasures in the collection. For example, there were the roundish stones, easily fitting in the human hand, that Sib insisted were "throwing rocks". Throwing rocks are quite common. More rare were the infamous "sex rocks." Sib: "They had pornography too, you know!" I was never fortunate enough to be shown a "sex rock", so I can't give any details, but the story lives in family folklore. I don't think the school kids ever saw the "sex rocks", either.

In this picture, Sib is proudly showing a privately printed local history brochure whose author used him as a source. "It's true! It's in this book!" If that doesn't make you question the reliability of history, nothing will.

Dear Sib. I miss you.

Anyone else want to post a picture and reminisce?

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's Actually Very Pretty

In the middle of the night I had an idea for the Hoffman Challenge. Although I had done some thinking about it, this fabric had left me totally empty of ideas. But in the way that these things work, a variation of a previously rejected idea struck unexpectedly. So maybe after Christmas, if I ever finish stitching stars, I will do some preliminary work on a Hoffman entry for 2009.

In the meantime, I decorated my Christmas tree. It's odd, I always complain about how much work the tree is, but when it comes down to it, it's actually the only Christmas decoration I really like. I love to sit in the evening and look at the lights, and the ornaments all have a memory associated with them: gifts from friends, the children's projects, travel souvenirs. That's the way a tree should be, I think. All the other Christmas decoration stuff is just--stuff.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Sweet Tip

Last week I had to bake lots of brownies for a Christmas cookie sale. I found a large size recipe, baked them in a baker's half sheet pan (double the size of a 9 x 13 pan), and used my rotary ruler and a big pizza cutter to cut them. Perfect, even, bars! I've never been able to do that before, so I'm passing on the idea to anyone else who can use it in the Christmas baking frenzy.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


I have decided on a layout for my red and white star piece. I imagine the plain yellow space filled with a red, vine-like applique and circular shapes in red and white prints. At least that's the current plan. The plain area might need to be wider for bigger visual rest, and I'm also not sure about the red area around the center. I might also go for a pieced, ribbon type border instead of the applique. It's been incredibly difficult to come to this decision, considering how simple it really is. The biggest hurdle seemed to be deciding on a size, meaning how many of those stars do I really want to make! This plan is a smallish queen, bigger than originally intended, but potentially more practical. It has also committed me to hiring a long arm quilter too, I guess.

I have three more of the split Lemoyne stars to do, and twenty (yes twenty!) of the smaller plain ones. They are going faster now, and I have improved; in fact I'm proud of these last two. Pretty nice points if I do say so myself.

And while I'm boasting: My quilt, Ghost Orchids was accepted into this year's Road to California! (Detail shot here.) This was a pleasant surprise. I was expecting a "thanks-but-no-thanks blah, blah, blah" letter.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Quilting in Tough Times

This comic strip says it well, I think. (Sorry, you have to click to enlarge.) How many of us have bought fabric, tools, etc., we don't need? And how many quilting shops are suffering as we don't buy more? In the short run, there are bargains: E-Quilter had 55 % off sale for over a week on a large selection of fabric, one of my LQS's had an equally unsual sale, but in the long run smaller, struggling shops may close, and will the fabric manufacturers themselves cut back? Will we no longer have the huge selection of fabric we've become accustomed too? And how about shows? Reportedly, Mancuso will not hold the November show in Chicago next year because of low attendance and low vendor sales, especially this year. Will other shows fold too? Sobering thoughts.