Thursday, February 28, 2013

instant joy! A guild flea market.

My favorite thing about quilt guilds -- yes, I'll admit it -- much as I enjoy the camraderie, the speakers -- is the free table and the members' flea market.  I am a fabric addict and I am a bargain addict and both go into high gear at a guild meeting that includes a flea market. 

This happened yesterday at the Bayberry guild.  Members who either need to clean their closets more than I do, or who have a lesser addiction and more good sense, e.g., know when enough is enough and when to get rid of the overage, set up tables and bring in bundles, packs, baggies, and sizable cuts of fabric, plus patterns, notions, books, and a miscellany of objects -- all of which they price ridiculously low so that they won't have to tote them back home.  At a crucial point, they generally get worried about what hasn't sold and mark the rock-bottom low prices half off.  And idiots like me find it absolutely irresistable. 

What fun it was to come home yesterday aware that I had spent slightly less than $20 and had a large tote bag full of new fabric.  I sorted it like King Midas must have sorted his gold coins.  And today I carefully stashed it by color with it's color mates.  What fun!  I'm actually glad it happens only once a year.  Although the free table is there every other meeting.  That's a different pleasure for I feel free to contribute my own odds and ends that either I'm sick and tired of or know I will never use -- often they were sent to me in a swap. 

Inspired by last week's SAQA show in Lowell and yesterday's treasures, I've started on two new quilts today.  They won't make much of a dent in the stash -- although one will be backed with something I bought yesterday for an incredibly low price -- and they will require a lot of sewing. But I have a righteous feeling that I am doing something with my fabrics.  I don't have them JUST to have them.  I will make quilts.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dressses with trains

Surely you all saw the many lovely dresses -- Amy Adam's dress in particular -- at the Academy Awards with trains.  This was perhaps the most regal looking accumulation of gorgeous gowns in years and years -- possibly ever.  Most of us never wear a dress with a train.  Some lucky few had bridal gowns with trains  but that's it unless we're actresses and play princesses and even then ... Cinderella didn't have a train on her gown.  Simply gorgeous to look at for those of us who think about how clothing is made.

Does it mean anything?  Some people read meaning into fashions.  I don't know.  I'd suggest maybe there's a romanticism in the air, beautiful young women at the biggest party of the year playing princess.  We saw some of the usual sexy  dresses too, the sparkles, the figure emphasizing fit, the high slits on the side, deep, deep necklines -- that was the expected but there were fewer than usual. 
Certainly sexy is never going to go away, but gowns that are beautiful and make their wearers even more beautiful than they naturally are is a great pleasure.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Day Trip to New England Quilt Museum

A partly sunny day with sometimes dramatic white banks of clouds in the sky, very chilly wind outside but warm in the car -- a very good day for a trip to Lowell, Mass. to the New England Quilt Museum  for a show of about 35  quilts made by Studio Art Quilt Association members, including the poster quilt, as seen above, by Laura Wasilwalski.  For Rachel who works at a charter school here, this week is winter vacation.  She is always sure to make her vacations special times.  Already this week she took grandson, Finn, to the aquarium in Boston, she and her husband went out to eat yesterday and have a trip planned for Saturday.

Today she and I drove up, just north of Boston to see this very good art quilt show.  After taking plenty of time to really look at each quilt, she said, "Which were your favorites?"  I thought and named three, she totally agreed with two and about the third we were only slightly in disagreement.  The variety was wonderful, in concept, technique, color , intent.  A wonderfully balanced show with representational quilts and purely design quilts, fascinating workmanship.  These quilts are featured in the SAQA publication, Masterworks, Vol. II edited by Martha Seilman who curated this show also.

The museum is in a repurposed bank building, seen above.  Not a large space but there was plenty to look at and think about.  On the way home we found a strip mall that was almost all restaurants, fast food, chain and independent.  We chose an Indian restaurant because we rarely have a chance to have Indian food.  There was a buffet with a good choice of dishes, some hot enough to really feel the spice-- which we both enjoy, and some milder.  A very good choice, we agreed. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Unfinished top

This is only the top and I may give it away to a charity that will quilt it.  The square is this month's BOM for the Bayberry Quilters Guild. I so enjoyed making this fairly quick 12 inch block, using up at least some of my scraps, that I made 20 blocks, as you see.  Today I did the stripping, it's not appropriate size for a twin bed.  Very traditional, very scrappy, very easy, quick and fun.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I need some tech support

It's often computers I need help with and this picture that was sent to me recently captured my feelings exactly.

But today it's my sewing machine.  I've been having trouble with the tension, with the thread breaking and  generally being stopped every five minutes with some little problem.  Finally I decided to stop making my self irritable  I put the machine, which is only about 3 years old, aside and pulled out the one it replaced -- a Riccar (which I only in the last few years learned is basically a Bernina made in Japan, circa 1960) which I've had literally for 50 years. It has sewn maybe millions of miles of seams -- well, certainly many hundreds of thousands. It was beginning to limp, the presser foot lift is sometimes a problem, it rattles and makes a lot of noise and probably would stop if I got it a general tune up. The feed dogs seemed to be stuck.  Well, I solved the  last problem this morning. I found a lot of lint under the feed dogs  and removed it and they are working just fine.

So, the new machine goes to a service place one day this week and the work I have to do today and tomorrow and the rest of the week will be done on the old machine and possibly I will take it in for a tune up the day I pick up the newer one.  The older machine was made to last. It has only a couple of plastic parts, it weighs at least fifty pounds. It does nothing fancy -- simply zigzags other than straight sewing.  But it's the kind of machine I really like.  Made to last and it has lasted. 

No computer today is made to last; they're all made to be superceded by the next model.  And, indeed, my  MacBook which I've been quite happy with,  is about two versions behind and I'm beginning to long for a new one, slightly bigger.  I don't want more bells and whistles, I just want to know I have the memory and that nothing is going to go badly wrong all of a sudden in the middle or something important.  I have many younger members of my family who are far more competent  than I on computers.  But the truth is no one in the family is more competent on sewing machines than I -- when I arrive at a problem I can't solve, as today, I go to the white pages -- yes, they still exist -- and look for help. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sharing a Valentine

Once upon a time, I said to myself, I will not be one of those bloggers who posts baby pictures.  Little did I know I'd not only have a great-grand daugther but that her mother would be a fledgling photographer who somehow would come up with a rose baby hat and an amazing little boa of roses as well. 

Little Stella isn't quite ready for her photo, Mr. DeMille; she thought she'd just sleep through the whole thing.

Wasn't that a nice valentine's message to receive from my granddaughter?

Monday, February 11, 2013

While the power was out

 No power, no lights, no heat, no sewing machine.  What to do?  A little reading as long as the light was sufficient but when there's white-out conditions beyond the window not a lot of light gets in.

Candle light is soft and nice but my old eyes don't like to read by it.  However, I can emborider and it just so happens I have a very long term embroidery project so I got busy.  I did four  squares -- one is really so awful it's not going to make it into the final quilt and not
 onto film either.  All will be circles, every one will be different.  Each will be made to "pop" by being quilted onto the square with batting and backing like any proper quilt.  Eventually I'll have maybe 36, maybe 45... My backing fabric won't go beyond that.

As you can see, the candle light and my eyes weren't doing well with the circles of embroidery and I may go back and correct the big bobbles.  I did two more  that I haven't begun to quilt yet.  I'm trying for a good variety of color and designs.  So, as I learned long ago, keeping one's hands busy is a very good thing.