Here the old year slips away beneath a gray and drizzling sky. Seasonal, not symbolic. I enjoyed the year; it was quietly satisfying. Another great-grandson joined the family, everyone else is healthy, we are weathering the stagnate political and economic system and are watching and wondering about all the changing happening in the world. What a dynamic time to live in, even for people quietly going about their own lives.
The new year promises more of the same -- but then surprises arise -- another presidential election is coming. There will be changed big and small, on a global level, on a personal level (where small changes are more desirable than large one). I hope we will live with care and concern for everything from those in our homes to those in countries all around the world. We cannot ignore that we seven billion people, if not really connected all to all by six degrees of separation, certainly all connected by the kind of world it is today. We need to care -- care deeply -- for each other and for our earth.
Wishing all a beautiful Christmas eve and wonderful Christmas day.
An announcer on the local classical music station does not say, as most people do, "have a good day. He says, "make it a good day." You don't have to wait for someone or something else to give you a wonderful Christmas day. You can make it wonderful -- I plan to listen to The Messiah at some point during the day. Since Thanksgiving I've heard many [mostly tasteful] versions of the familiar Christmas music [not a Chipmunk around!] but hearing the whole Christmas section of Handel's masterpiece is a joy. I sit with some hand sewing and let the magnificent choruses wash over me. May you find an experience that is similarly satisfying for you which will make it a wonderful day.
New great-grandson, Cole Asher Winslow was born Wednesday night. I don't quite have this quilt finished. It's not a "baby quilt"-y quilt. Cory, his mother chose an owl theme for his "totem" - which is my word, not hers. She chose elephant for Cole's big brother Phneas, aka Finn, shown in the photo with new baby brother. I felt lucky to find a flannel at the Black Friday sale at JoAnne's with an owl motif so that has become this quilt. I'm already feeling inspired to make him a quilt I think of as somewhat more serious that I'll attempt to make about the time the baby moves from bassinet to crib -- probably one without owls, more likely with farmyard animals or forest animals. But for now, I have to do a bit of hand finishing and the label and this quilt will be one of the little boy's first Christmas presents.
My quilt inspired by Charles Rennie MacIntosh, the Scottish architect, designer, is on the back of this publication from the Academy of Lifelong Learning [ALL] at The Cape Cod Community College. As sometimes happens, I actually think the photograph is more graphically pleasing than the actual quilt. Of the potential 450 purchasers of this anthology of writings and art work by members of ALL, the majority will not be aware of how modern quilting has branched out from traditional patterns. The photo and my article in the publication, "Warm and Fuzzy" will inform them and perhaps inspire some interest in local quilt shows. In the article I emphasize both how quilting has expanded in the last 40 or 50 years, that art quilting is an astonishing new development. I emphasize that, nevertheless, traditional quilting and the impulse of quilters to make bed coverings that bring comfort and warmth continues to be strong. I have often felt that I was born with a missionary's zeal for sharing the word about whatever I am enthusiastic about -- quilting is high on that list.
The flying leaves quilt which is in the header here, has led to spreading my reputation as a quilter to a group of people who are not quilters -- firstly to poets because the quilt illustrates the poem that is on it, but as of yesterday to a whole party of people, half of whom I did not know and many of whom know little about quilting. It's a pleasure for me to inform the uninformed that quilts are no longer just your grandmother's Dresden plates and the cheap reproduction quilts found in decorating catalogs.
I showed a number of my small pieces (in the series of which the small ones a couple posts ago were examples) and some larger quilty-quilts. The favorite was the one above, which is also one of my favorites but which I had put away and not looked at for many months. This is my Five Generations of First Daughters quilt, subtitled Mitochondrial DNA. The square old photo shows me as a barely visible newborn in my mother's lap, plus there's her mother and her grandmother. The color picture is my mother, myself and my first daughter. A double helix is embroidered in the print and, of course, the generations are tied together as you can see.
My modest attempts at art quilting opened the door to their awareness that we quilters have more facets and modes of expression than they knew previously. The host of the party would like one of my quilts to hang in a prominent space in the living room. There is no false modesty when I say I'm a quilter of modest gifts, but I am very happy to be a messenger about what is being accomplished by quilters throughout the world.
These paper pieced flying geese in a circle nearly stumped me. I had a very difficult time getting them to fly clockwise. As you see the ones on the purple background are being contrary and flying counterclockwise.
I persevered and finally got the geese on the dark navy to fly clockwise. Some deep psychological reaction to pattern prefers clockwise. I have circumambulated numerous cairns and chortens in Tibet and Mongolia clockwise -- ALWAYS clockwise. To walk counterclockwise is both insulting and bad luck. Think, too, of the arms of a swastika when canted clockwise are a blessing but when canted counterclockwise as did the Nazi's it became, for the rest of the world, a symbol of evil.
Of cousre, geese don't fly in circles, we all know about their familiar, noisy V shape flying pattern accompanied by loud honkings. I'm happy the local geese who fertilized our lawn much of late summer and fall have gone on to warmer climes further south.
Three pieced tops were waiting to be finished -- two of them I remembered and was simply straightening piles of stuff when I saw this one that I had forgotten. An all blue crazy quilt using Benatrex foundation fabric from a kit someone gave me. Somehow I found myself with lots and lots of blue scraps. Another blue slightly less crazy quilt also awaits quilting. I think I'll do it in the next couple of weeks, it's sandwiched and pinned. They're both cot size and will go to a charity when done ... maybe with another of the UFOs that's about the same size and which I really don't like very much.
Love red and have a lot in my living room. Love the graphic oomph of black and white. This quilt is new and hangs, as planned, over my piano giving the living room a big shock of graphics for the gray winter days ahead.
The central square, called Nelson's Victory, and the smaller atilt star in the right lower corner were sent to me in swaps. Four others are Carol Doak [my heroine!] designs for paper piecing and the "buzz saw" design is from another paper piecing book. The quilt isn't Christmas-y exactly but since I don't do Christmas decorating this will serve very well for cheeriness.
This strip quilt was made using drier sheet as the foundation. This quick and easy method is always fun because I can choose exactly which piece comes next but will always be surprised when I put several together and see the patterns formed.
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!