Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Quilt made to be a table cloths

This "modern" quilt was  inspired by Thomas Kearns in his book about modern quilting.  His background was white and he had more circles, but then it was bigger too.  This was made to be  a table "throw" or table cloth and is now on my table. I really like the backing fabric.

What does "modern" mean?  Lots of things if you go through the literature about it.  In most cases it means quite a lot of negative space and relatively uncomplicated patchwork pattern. Often it also means plain fabrics, not prints. However the possibilities are enormous. To me the negative space and the general "Unfussyness" is appealling after looking in the quilt magazines I receive, especially those with quilts that win prizes in the big shows, which are usually complex to the point of being rococco -- although usually very lovely and beautifully quilted.  I think I'm on a bit of a modern kick although I have two not-Modern quilts started. My mind keeps going to modern designs I've seen lately.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The ABC quilt

The alphabet panel with Dr. Seuss illustrations for each letter was a purchase at the Quilter's Gathering show in November. I finished it in time to be a Christmas present for "the kids"-- my three great-grandchildren: Finn, 4, Cole, 3 and Stella 2 in ten days. I wasn't sure whether it would be another  "ho-hum, Grand and her quirks". It was brought from a bedroom so I could photograph it last night and then it was spread on the living room floor. Then a 15 minute session of "can you find B" etc. followed. Both Finn and Cole know all the alphabet and the only problem with finding letters was that sometimes Stella was laying on top of it.

And then Rachel pointed out -- as I had not noticed -- that the alphabet her ends with WXZY.  Well, what can I say? I really have no fear that it's going to fatally mess up their way of saying the alphabet when they get to school

I was happy that they had used the quilt the way it was intended. I read in the current New Yorker magazine about the Mayor of Providence, RI who has instituted a plan to encourage lower income families to talk more to their children because studies showed that the children know many fewer words when they get to kindergarten than kids from more affluent families and it seems to be because the parents converse less with their children and that parental interactions are more likely to be utilitarian and often negative, "don't do that.  Stop shouting," etc. Rarely are the childred read to and they spend more time in front of the TV. 

These children have been read to and talked to almost from day one. They will arrive at kindergarten with large vocabularies -- and probably not thinking the alphabet song ends with WXZY. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year.  I'm going to leave this oversized header picture here for a  few days even though there's not much quilting on it and it's not very good. 

The past year was a gone one for quilting-wise but it's ending with sewing machine problems and many, many non-quilting jobs that are taking a lot of time.  If I started to make a list of the quilts in my mind that I'd like to make it would fill more space than the photo.  First on the agenda is this month's Block of the Month for  the Bayberry guild. Happily that meeting is three weeks away.

For a delightful photo, go to the Selvage Quilt blog in the sidebar to the right and look at the fantastic photo of a quilt up in lights in Times Square.  It caught my eye immediately because the face is familiar and the quilt in the background is one that is much like the one I sent to my grandson for Christmas -- much like it because I used the pattern designed by Karen Griska.  If you read this in a few days, scroll down to her January 31 post.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Introductions to Poets/Poetry

At an annual party yesterday hosted by one of our A.L.L. members, I had been asked to bring my "Marginalized Poets" quilt -- which I had taken to the last poetry class of the semester. Most of the poetry class were not invitees to this particular gathering. Many had not seen the quilt. As people became sated with the abundance of food and before desert and coffee a Shakespeare afficianado proclaimed a monologue from the Bard and then I explained the meaning of my quilt and asked a few women to read the poems I had given them a little earlier -- poems by women pictured on the quilt.  They rose to the occasion, reading very well -- and I think all especially enjoyed the poem with which they were not famliar, Lucille Clifton's "These Hips" -- read with appropriate gusto and pride by Marjorie who bears no obvious resemblence to Ms. Clifton but was woman enough to ptoject the pride in the poem.  I took the moderator's perogative and read two of Wislawa Szymborska's short poems -- introducing that wonderful Polish poet to this American audience.

Thus a highly literate audience who are not particularly poetry readers and most of whom are only familiar with Emily Dickenson and our favorite Cape Cod (sometimes) resident, Mary Oliver, had a chance to learn a little more about other women poems.  I was born with a serious didactic impulse, I always want to tell people about the things I've discovered.  Perhaps I was a missionary in a part life. I was most pleased when one guest said to me that he had never heard people reading serious poetry aloud before.  He liked it.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Time to enjoy quilting

This is the last week of my classes, taking and teaching, in the fall semester at The Academy for Lifelong Learning.   have virtually all of December and January in which to balance my time between writing and quilting. The thought makes me very happy. I have twos quilt started and a third ready to be quilted -- well almost, the top is done and the back which is pieced of a few fabrics that more or less compliment the front is done but I haven't sandwiched and pinned in the batting. That project will wait, probably quite a while. 

A kiddy quilt for Christmas will be the first one finished and possibly in the next week ... or not. But soon. Another one recently started, fascinates me.  It will be a throw with nine ten-inch patches and a fairly wide border. When that is essentially done I think I will want to make the design again in quite different colors -- these are dark as in the quilt I saw in a magazine. I am beginning to imagine it in colors that are more interesting. We'll see -- this is long term planning now. 

Of writing project there is no end.  Another couple of rejections for my big books means more queries to send out. And there are a couple of long short stories that are going to grow a bit longer yet and perhaps finally say what I want them to say. There are poems and flash fiction and short short stories to put into some kind of order and to submit. Often I wish I had a secretary. Ah, well ... two months will flash past and it's not as if I'll be a recluse during that time, already the calendar squares are filing up.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Turkey day

One might compare the rather lean and mean looking threesome in the header with those watermelon shaped turkeys in the supermarket or in your oven. 

Like large parts of the US, Cape Cod has a growing population of wild turkeys.  This small group wandered across my lawn last spring just as the final snow was thawing.  Some people I know have had groups as large as 20 in their yards.  We are by no means rural, this lawn is bordered by West Main Street and a very busy artery called Pitcher's Way.  Lots of traffic.  I more often see groups of turkeys near areas that have large amounts of woods nearby. (I am often amazed and pleased that although Cape Cod is densely populated, it still has lots of areas thick with trees.)

I  never saw a wild turkey until I was in my 40s. Since then they have become populous enough that I am not surprised when I see them. I am a bit nervous driving on some roads in areas with houses on large tracts that have plenty of woods for the turkeys roost in. I've just written a humorous short story about someone who hit one on a road.  They are very much on my mind this time of year.
(Also on my mind is what the breeders have done with their domestic cousins with breasts so large (and meaty) they can hardly stand on their much shorter legs.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Work in Progress

Sometimes I see a quilt in a magazine that I just have to make right away.  This isn't one of those but I saw one of those yesterday while I was having a Starbuck's coffee and an orange-cranberry scone at Barnes & Noble. I have a sneaky habit of looking through quilt magazines I know I'm not going to buy  because, perchance, I might see something exciting.  I did. In a Quilt Mania magazine from France which I think costs $14.95 (maybe a dollar or two less but still too much). That quilt will surface on this blog in about three months.  And I'll say no more, there's a lot of sewing involved. But thanks to modern day methods it will look like there was a lot more sewing than will actually have to happen.

This quilt-- the current WIP on my design wall is almost all pieced, it'll take one morning to finish piecing.  I like it a lot, as a matter of fact. The snowball blocks are mixed in equal parts with nine patch blocks (each of which has a white central square).  I think this counts as a "modern" quilt because I'm using a traditional pair of blocks with a great deal of white and very bright "today" colors.

Feeling as I do about the quilt-to-be that's only an embryo in my brain  (and a quick sketch on a piece of paper) this quilt will be  pieced and then put aside while I work on the other.  Fair enough, I think.
But there's just one other thing: I have many small half-square triangles with white and the bright colors that will become a part of the border for this quilt.  I should sew them together and add them to the quilt before I lay it aside.  Ah, me ....  the imagination outruns the time available.

To complicate my sewing life -- which is habitually what I do -- I found a very fun panel with alphabet squares each of which is illustrated with a character from the Dr. Seuss stories.  I have lately been giving Dr. Seuss books to my great-grandchildren -- an underhanded way to wedge in "real" books and not the cartoon-y things they see on a screen -- no, they don't have TV either but they make much use of a computer.  So I want to turn those blocks into a nice puffy quilt that they can all play with as they desire.  It won't take a lot of time and I have plenty of bright fabric around to strip between the squares. So I'd like to get that done before Christmas.  I think I'll have some time the middle of December. Sigh!