This my sewing room in a normal state of mess. The photo is from more or less a year ago. The quilt on the wall has been finished, shown at our guild show and I just took it down from a six-week display in the lobby-gallery at the Academy of Lifelong Learning. On the floor is a quilt (hiding the dhrui rug) that was given to the guild's Quilt Bank, which backed and tied it and gave it to a vet (as they do donated red, white and blue quilts). The bed is always a catch-all, no apologies. Often the pink covered ironing board is stashed in a closet. The picture of Rachel and Finn is well loved failure in portrait quilting -- from this distance that's not so obvious but, trust me, it's very obvious closer up.
I moan "woe is me" because missing at the moment and for probably a few more days, is the sewing machine. It had an undisclosed illness. I could tell it was not the motor but something in the thread-feed system so I took it to the one and only place on Cape Cod that has a regular repairman. That was last Tuesday. As of yesterday I'm told it was on the repairman's table "taken apart" which can only mean he's waiting for a part. I am bereft, as if a good friend who stops to chat for an hour or two a day has gone to Florida to escape the cold. I don't know when it'll come home. Not that there aren't plenty of interests to keep me busy but I like a little sewing time. Ah well, it will return.
This post has nothing to do with the weather except that while I sit here bereft, I see on the lawn the first robin of this season. He seems perky taking little dashes across the brown, but greening, grass that is surrounded by melting snow. I guess the moral to this is not to become fixated on the absences in our life; notice the serendipitous simultaneities and be glad it's another morning with a promising day ahead.
I haven't posted anything for a while but I am working on this flying geese quilt. It's on the design wall, as is obvious. Actually I got it all put together yesterday and it is now on my sewing room floor. I've decided I need another row or two on the bottom and then a six inch royal blue border.
Making the geese has left me with a pile of cut off triangle sets that I will sew into half-squares and turn into another quilt. It's already planned. In fact the flying geese were inspired by Leisure Arts' book Devoted to Scraps (best of Quiltmaker) although the arrangement is all my own doing. But the next quilt in the books uses the half-squares in a Rail Fence pattern which I will do. These are super simple quilts and are satisfyingly quick and easy when I'm suffering increasing bouts of cabin fever here where the snow just doesn't know it's time to stop and let the crocuses start their pilgrimage up to the sun.
This gorgeous star gazer lily is part of a big bouquet I was given ten days ago. There were beautiful white tulips which did not last beyond 5 or 6 days -- they just quiety dropped all their petals on the table. But the bouquet contained several stems of lilies with unopened buds. The first open lilies are gone. This is one of the second flowering. I think I may be lucky enough to enjoy a third flowering. What a pleasure when it is white and cold and wet outside to have such color to look at on my dining table!
They were given to me at the launch party for Reflections, the anthology by and for members of the Academy of Lifelong Learning. With a committee of six, all well versed in grammar, punctuation and good writing, I spent some nine months -- yes, a normal gestation period -- editing and then arranging, adding illustrations to the work of 47 people, poetry, nonfiction and fiction as well as some photography. The work is indeed a "reflection" of the experiences, concerns and thoughts of our population of senior course coordinators and students. It's been a pleasure for me to work on the anthologies for the past four years. The books are handsome and very readable. I'm feeling rather proud.
Back when pasmina scarves were beginning to be in style -- I mean the real thing, not some thin synthetic imitation -- I was in Kathmandu and purchased two, one red, one a soft aqua. I bargained for them and finally paid $40 each. Back home they were selling in posh stores for $200 and up. This was about 12 years ago, imitations are rife, but they are not as warm or as plush. I have enjoyed those scarves greatly, they are matched only by a black alpaca scarf I purchased in Cusco, Peru which is somewhat warmer. I believe it was also $40.
It's cold here on Cape Cod in this brief hiatus between unprecedented blizzards. I have been wearing my warm scarves and enjoying them. Wednesday I wore the aqua scarf to an event at Cape Cod College, hung it on a hanger with my coat and earmufs. I was both the organizer and the speaker at that event, my nervous tension was about as high as it gets and I basked in some very welcome compliments. I was distracted at the end of the event, had to straighten the room, return coffee pot and other items to another building. I put on coat and earmuffs and didn't think about the scarf for three or four hours. Then I realized I didn't have it. That was Wednesday evening. I was very busy with a grathering at my house and then a class (not at the college campus) in the afternoon. The scarf floated in and out of my attention. I had had it for a good number of years, I had enjoyed it, I had other scaves, I was not sentimentally attached to it. But it's a lovely scarf, I would miss it.
Today I was on the campus. The scarf was not in a lost-and-found but I wondered if it could possibly still be on the rack where it had been left. I went to that building -- lo and behold! There it was, hanging just where I left it. Could the students here be exceptionally honest? I think they are. And I think they are also unsophisticated, no one recognized that this was, indeed, a very fine scarf. After well over 25 years living in NYC, I can only think finding my scarf just where I left it, is an exceptional indication of a combination of honesty and lack of greed as well as fashion ignorance. I am happily reunited with my aqua scarf. And I have washed ashore in an exceptional community.
The pile of assorted purple scraps is dwindling as I make square-in-square pieces from it and add them to the growing pattern on my design wall. I've seen art quilts made a similar way, I remember an all green one and a few that are yellows and reds. Some were made by Carol Taylor. I liked what I saw and I've been thinking about doing something of the sort. So that's what I've been doing. They are not all the same size and I'm not sure how I'm going to sew them together. I'm not sure how big the piece will become. For the moment it's a little like doodling.
There are any number of more usual patchwork block quilts I'm thinking of making, some in the "Modern" vein, especially since I seem to have accumulated a lot of white that I could use in modern quilts. But for now this improvazational method is working for me. And I'm wondering: what next?
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.
Yes, this is a quilt. I didn't make a note, but I believe it is by the well-known art quilter Barbara McKie and that the bears are thread painted. It seems very appropriate as winter set in around the county.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!