This darling pin cushion and the two jeweled "pinsies" were made by Karen Griska, the publisher of The Selvage Blog (see sidebar), one of my favorite blogs. She is a wonderful quilter but also makes the pinsies and pin cushions, all in a wonderful varieties and now and then she gives some away to her blog followers. I was lucky enough to win this one. Since I use a lot of red, it couldn't be more perfect. Thank you, Karen.
I have her fan pattern of which she's shown a number of iterations lately. At the moment I'm champing at the bit because I have a pile of UFOs that I MUST work on -- although maybe not finish all of them -- before I can allow myself to try the pattern, one I really, really love because it's perfect for the way I like to quilt -- with scraps and without templates.
This crow quilt, made a couple of Marches ago as part of the year's journal quilt project, depicts what I'm feeling as I wait very impatiently for the real coming of spring. I added the rhododendrons in the header just to remind myself that they do burst out in May. About six weeks from now .. long, long weeks when I will be up early as usually but will hear the crows announcing their daily plans from trees nearby. They are usually the first birds I hear, with their rhythmic caws that I'm sure are location signals to all their friends and neighbors. The grass is still mostly brown but bits of green are showing -- the snow has melted into the earth, all we need is some more sunny days. But, oh, where are the crocuses? Where are the daffodils? I'm impatient as are most of my friends and neighbors after a hard winter (remnant piles of dirty snow remain but they're melting on the margins of parking lots.)
After the crows comes the whining, complaining mewling of the gulls -- some nest on the flat roof of the building I live in. I like to watch them glide and sweep but I don't like their voices. While the crows aren't beautiful singers and merely purposeful fliers, they have an honesty about their town crier voices. Gulls sound like spoiled brats. Soon, soon, I think, the little birds will be back, the ones that sing and flit. And then the Canadian geese will return in their morning squadrons to spend an hour to three on the lawn. Like the crows, they have honest voices, theirs are like traffic police, "out of the way, we're landing!" They don't talk to each other while they're here, communication must be entirely in body language.
I welcome the morning guests, aural and visible. I suppose those imperious, grand old men-like turkeys might march across the yard now and then and certainly the squirrels will be out and about scuttling in their nervous way. Right now the sun is shining although rain is predicted. I'll take whatever the sky gives me but i WANT warmth and flowers.
I usually struggle and rarely am truly successful when I make a quilt block with half-square triangles. The Bayberry Guild's BOM is this block. I chose the colors with some care and I cut and sewed with some care. But it is not exactly square. And I swear the directions for cuting were incorrect so the blocks with the half square triangles were too large and the 12-1/2 block is very nearly 14 inches square. Also it's not qit was sewn and finally ironed -- ta da! do you see it? Of course you do. One block is turned the wrong way. It was laid out correctly beside the sewing machine. Such problems haunt me in such blocks. My mind wanders.
The truth of the matter is I do not do well with such blocks. I do not always get my points correct and I always get one piece headed it the wrong direction. I think it's a lovely design, and I love using up scraps. (Scraps are the year's theme for the guild.) But I've got to take myself in hand and admit I just can't do it. I get wonderful points and even blocks, exactly the right size when I do paper piecing. And usually when I do blocks that do not have triangles. Plenty of them exist and from here on I am going to eschew the frustration and abject embarrassment of making such stupid, entirely avoidable mistakes. Except for me, with my mind that may also be planning a poem or watching the robins in the lawn or who knows what distraction, I cannot concentrate, as needs to happen, on getting ir right. Lesson learned. I hope.
International Quilting Day, as I am reminded by the Selvage Blog (see side bar and click to see some incredible quilts). Here are hints at what I'm working on and hope to finish this month. The top quilt is a selvage quilt that is finished. The one I'll spend most of today on is the one mentioned in the previous post with poets and their work. It's coming along well and I'm eager to get to the sewing room. (The only downside is that when I'm done, I must straighten up the piles of selvages on my sewing room floor!)
The embroidered and embellished medallion is one of what will 42 medallions that will be part of another art quilt that I am nearly done embroidering and embellishing -- I have four more to complete before I put the 5 inch squares together. As can be seen, it's time consuming and no two will be at all alike. This is a one-of-a-kind project that I'll most certainly never attempt again although this has been very enjoyable to work on over nearly two years.
So, I shall celebrate National Quilting Day, indeed, by quilting.
Selvages! I've been collectsing them a long time, and have made a few projects, one a twin size quilt, from a pattern in Karen Griska's book about selvage quilting. (see her blog in the sidebar here, Selvage blog) I save selvages from my quilting and others have given me collections of their selvages. This is a zip bag the size that a queen size comforter was packed in. It's BIG and the selvages are packed rather tightly.
The current project has to do with women poets who are usually marginalized by male academic critics. In fact, they have always been marginalized and few are taught in high school or college courses. Often it only Emily Dickenson is known. So it seems appropriate to include their pictiures, names and a few lines of their work among rows of selvages. I've just begun the project. You see a panel for Maya Angelou. It's unironed and the edges only look neat because I've cropped the photo. Eventually a dozen blocks will be given the proper quilt treatment with borders, batting and backing and a wide border that will give me space to list many more poets and a few of their words.
I'll make a dent in my selvage collection but I'll still have a good collection for whatever project comes next.
A year ago I thought this would be an easy job, the photo had been blown up and I could copy. Not easy at all. I got so discouraged I put it aside for most of a year. In the last couple of weeks I've taken the lower part of the picture apart and redid it. It's not right yet, but it's better and I don't have the patience to keep puttering.
Aside from that lesson there's the usual lesson of misjudging the color contrasts. I should have had a darker background. Well, live and learn. What I think I learned is that I don't have the artistic eye for proportions needed for a realistic portrait. I'm happy with Finn's hair and sort of happy with the gray streak in Rachel's hair. That's about it. Oh, I think I'll go back and give Rachel a small pearl earring. On to other kinds of quilting challenges.
Since I've been reading blogs, of course, I come across cute kid photos. They're all cute, I can see that, but I know the Mama or Gramma or Great-gramma who posted it saw an even cuter kid.
So this is Stella and I'm "Great" and her Mommie, Cori, has a good camera and a perfect model. She even makes the cold, cold snow look cuddly and wonderful.
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!