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!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Beautiful Thread Painting

From A Quilters Gathering in Manchester, NH two examples of wonderful thread painting by Jodi Scaltreto of Hillsboro, NH. The fox is called "El Zoro" and the cat is called "Fig". As you see Zoro was awarded a ribbon. I think both were delightful.

This show seemed smaller than in the past and had fewer venders. The attendance was scanty, I thought.  However many very craftsmanly, beautifully made quilts were on view.  Most were "contemporary traditional", the majority of the colors were bright, nearly all were heavily machine quilted -- some very elegantly and far too many too heavily, adding nothing to the over all concept of the quilt. 

There were a few that could be called "modern" quilts in the fairly minimalist vein but the two that come to mind were the same design suggesting to me that both quilters took the same workshop  and copied the workshop leader's design. This is seen frequently in this kind of quilt show. 

Besides the very busy long arm quilting, many designs were fussy, too much happening, too busy.  This is a pervasive problem whenever I look at winners from the big shows -- it's the style-de-jour. I like that the fox and the cat have fairly simple backgrounds and the quilting in the foreground of the cat is simply done on a home machine as is the background, nothing to distract from the focus. 

My quilt Marginalized Poets was the only piece that was a bit bewilderingly "arty". Some people read the explanation and "got it" many did not give it more than a glance. That's to be expected.  The theme was Poetry but there was very little nod toward poetry.  I expected quilts that were inspired by specific poems -- I expected at least a couple of quilts with diverging roads in the woods -- but there were none. The theme did not inspire.  Poetry is exciting only to a handful of people.  I'm glad I know a handful although of the many people I know who write "poetry" few have an interest in reading or hearing poetry read beyond their own exercise of expression.  Nothing wrong with expressing yourself in a form that looks on the page like poetry.  But ... well that's another subject.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Finished, fun to make quilt

This is a pattern from Karen Griska (Selvage Blog -- see sidebar here).  She calls it Ferris Wheel,  I think of it as Whirligig.  The cutting and sewing method couldn't be easier.  I had  a lot of scraps in darkish blue, green, red tones.   One cuts two inch wide strips, not necessary to taper them, that happens mostly by eye as they are sewn into squares. And then making four-square blocks in a somewhat random way provides the great variety.  At some points the randomness of it felt wrong. And at some points it felt delightfully free.  But catching a glimpse of it on the design wall as it was being sewn (when I walked past the sewing room doorway) always gave a sense of what fun it is to put together prints and colors that aren't fussily  planned.  Finally I think the two inch red border/binding made a disproporationate amount of difference in tying it together.

I'm more and more a scrap quitler and I love the serendipity of combinations and I love the analogy of disparate patterns and colors with the variety of  people I meet every day. Mine is not a homogenized, carefully planned world.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Jackie Kunkel at Bayberry Guild

Jackie Kunkel was the speaker who did a gorgeous trunk show at the Bayberry Guild's meeting yesterday She makes quilts -- apparently at the speed of light -- has a shop and is a busy speaker and teacher.  She's very much at ease talking about her quilts and her career. She showed probably 25 or 30 quilts, mostly full size, and several bed runners which is a fairly new thing in the quilt world -- strip quilts about a yard wide to lie at the bottom of the bed. They are bright and what I'd call contemporary -- a great many have been published either chosen by quilt magazines for covers or features or because she makes quilts for various fabric companies -- which, enviably, means she is given sets of fabrics before they are on the market -- fabrics that have been designed and printed to work together.  None of the angst many of us feel about what color will go with what color -- and frequent (for me at least) bad choices. That also means she has gorgeous fabrics for the backs of her quilts.

I will call these quilts "contemporary" because they are new, bright colors -- she has a personal preference for the whole pink family.  A couple quiltsa could be called "modern" because have designs that seem to float on a white background --with that fresh simplicity that the "modern" quilts have. She also makes and teaches the various star patterned designs of Judy Niemeyer.

Jackie also designs fabric and has her first book coming out next September. She makes patterns and  kits which are sold through her shop in Connecticut and online. She's a lady really in the peak years of her career and seems to being loving it.Here's a link to her website, shop and blog.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Chicago World's Fair 1933: Century of Progress

The huge world's fair in Chicago, 1933, called  appropriately "Century of Progress", featured among much else, the enormous Sears quilt competition. Sears, the country's biggest mass merchandiser at the time, with it's stores all over the country and catalogs reaching even the most rural areas, offered $7500 in prizes for quilts. The grand prize was $1000 and the rest was for runners-up. Of course 1933, the depth of the Depression, meant those prizes were enough to make any quilter's heart beat faster. Directions said simply, "Quilt designed and made by you." And suggested quilts that echoed the fair's theme were wanted -- the one in the picture is a good example.

Some 24,000 women made quilts! They only had four months from the announcement until quilts were submitted to local stores for local judging. Winners there were sent for regional judging. Finally 33 were sent to the nationally known judges and all 33 were displayed at the fair. The judges happened to prefer traditional designs and did not award prizes to the "theme" quilts.  The winner was Margaret Caden, from Kentucky, a woman who had a shop that sold antiques including quilts (some she sold were not antiques but made by women she employed.) The winning quilt was presented at the end of the fair to Eleanor Roosevelt and now is in the White House collection of presidential gifts.  I have not been able to find a photo of it.

Not until sometime in the '50s did some of Margaret Caden's former employees speak up and tell the world that they, not Margaret, had sewn the quilt. At the time of the competition they were afraid of losing their jobs which would have been financial disaster for them.  Also one of the makers of theme quilts was so outraged that none were chosen she did speak up - in fact so loudly that when the Fair's  presenters decided to open it for several months the next summer (in order to increase their total income) they did display some of the theme quilts.

By the beginning of the '30s the pundits of the magazine world which had, for the past 20 years, featured quilt designs and information, had announced as the style critics are apt to do, that the quilt mania had had its day. (Especially crazy quilts.) They announced quilts were passe and emphasized the clean, new idea of art deco in home decor. The 24,000 quilts contradicted that assumption.  However, something far bigger than magazine editor's tastes was afoot:  first came WWII, and after that the burst of affluence of the '50s when, indeed, quilt making seemed (in the urban areas at least) truly passe. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Underground Railroad Quilt Code

This  Bear Paw quilt pattern (which happened to be the first quilt pattern I ever made, circa 1974)  was one of the patterns said to be used as a signal in homes that participated in the Underground Railroad for escaping slaves before the Civil War. That quilts were used as signals is a pervasive story.  The Underground Railroad definitely existed -- safe houses where the escaping slaves could find food and shelter as they headed or Canada or other safe places facilitated the freedom of a great many slaves.

But the story of the "quilt code" did not exist until approximately 1986. Ah historian from Howard University happened to meet a dealer in antique quilts named Ozella McDaniels in South CArolina, a descendent of slaves, She told him that she had heard from her grandparents how quilts were used as signals to the run-aways. They would be hung on the clothes line or draped over a split rail fence and their patterns meant either safety or danger. The historian wrote a book about the story.  As time went on Ozella told her niece other bits of "information" that went into the story.  This was a very appealing story which soon made it's way into children's books and even on the Ophra Winfrey show. 

And soon somewhat less gullible historians began to collate the stories are they had proliferated and  punched holes in the whole concept.  For instance the bear paw quilt was said to indicate that the run-aways shoud go over the Appalachain mountains, watching for bear paw prints and follow them because bears always knew where there were nuritious berries and fresh water.  The first problem is that no underground railroad trail ran over the mountains and no one in their right mind would get very close to a bear.  Other stories told of various ways a log cabin quilt could indicate safety or danger, depending upon whether the central squares  of a log cabin designed quilt were red or black and whether the lighter side of the various log cabin squares was "Up" or "down".  However the quilts are geometrically equal so equal numbers of dark and light squares are up or down.  And so it went.  In fact, the whole idea of quilt code was ironically disparaged by subsequent quilt historians. 

That's too bad because I had managed to implant a false memory in my own  recollections, thinking that way back in highschool history when I learned of the underground railroad I believed I had also learned about the quilt code.  But I did not; it did not even exist at that time.

Just one of the fascinating things I have learned about quilt history as I've been researching in order to tell my class about it.  To teach is to learn ... true, true, true.

Sunday, October 05, 2014


A beautiful afternoon after a week of rain.  So Rachel and I headed to Falmouth near the end of Cape Cod to see an art quilt show at Highfield Hall -- a beautiful mansion now used as an exhibition and performance center.  Alas! the doors closed at 2:00 (we thought we had until 4:00) So what to do?  We had noticed, driving into the Highfield, that many trees had been wrapped in knitted somethings, in all sorts of colors and designs, including birds on branches and flowers.  Fat trees and thin trees. Delightful!
We couldn't go in but we could wander the gardens which are full of delights like a bird tree in the middle of the formal garden, a structure like a skeleton of a house with pieces of glass, some with words like Family and Love, flowers, woodland paths.  Nice.

The picture at left is a tree with a knitted sleeve -- it is in Iceland, but the idea is the same. I supposed trees in Reykjavik need sweaters more than our trees do -- the ones we saw were brighter colors; but the idea is the same.

Then we decided to explore the main street of Falmouth. Clothing and tourist-oriented trinket shops. We saw creativity of all kinds from dress designs and wonderful textiles to jewelry, essential oils, ceramics of wonderful design and profusion -- not tacky, cheap tourist junk but  creative craftsmanly designs.  We are not so much shoppers as admirers.  I saw some totally wonderful fuzzy animals that I might have to return and purchase for the great-grandchildren for Christmas. Our own town, Hyannis, has a main street  somewhat on a par with these shops. So do other towns on the Cape.  But we don't often go into any of them so an hour of browsing and admiring, comparing taste an disagreement about what is navy blue, what is purple, what is royal blue, what is deep teal, was a pleasure.

Ah and then we noticed the boulangerie  (bakery, in English which at least I can spell) and knew we really need real croissants and coffee before we started home.  Truly flaky, French croissants are a rarity in any town.  These were authentic and lovely.

It was not a wasted afternoon. We did not see what we went to see, but we saw much else. The sun was bright, a cool breeze was giving the day a bit of an autumnal edge.  It was beautiful.   We'll go back and see the art quilt show -- it's on the whole month of October.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Origens of the Baltimore Album Quilt

Much in the history of American quilts is unknown and possibly mythological. Some things are quoted from letters when the writer may have had very partial knowledge of the subject. In Roderick Kirokofe's The American Quilt he quotes a researcher, Dena Katzenberg, who wrote about the origin of the Baltimore Album quilt design. According to this story a wealthy Baltimore woman was partially disabled because of a violent allergic reaction an exotic nut she ate. She was unable to use her hands for fine sewin.  But she was a very artistic and creative woman and designed the quilt of 20 squares of appliqued floral and wreath patterns to be surrounded by a wide border of appliqued leaves and flowers. Then she enlisted the service of 20 young black women, taught then to do very fine sewing and they constructed the first such quilt -- this was 1846 and it was not stated whether the women were free or slaves. She designed a few more of these quilts which caused a great stir in the community so that she began designing individual blocks for others to use with their own (usually simpler) block designs. 

According to the book the craze for Baltimore Album quilts was only about 6 years.  Not true. They are still being made in considerable numbers -- I saw at least thirty at the World Quilt Show in August. Of course the designs have evolved and changed and I suspect it is rare to find two exactly alike. This kind of applique is extremely time consuming. The book says someone calculated that for the original quilt it would have take an individual seamstress a year of 40 hour days of sewing to complete it. 

The quilts I have seen are usually beautiful, always interesting in terms of the various block designs and awesome in terms of the labor that is obviously involved. It's a form of needle work that I can admire and know that I will never attempt. It is said that the best way to learn about a subject is to teach it -- that's certainly true in my attempt to put together a coherent history of quilting in America.  The interconnections of social life, the surges in American life as the industrial revolution happened,  effects of the Civil War and the settling of the rest of the country have so far given me a picture of the dynamics of this country I never grasped when I was a student.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bright and simple

The speakers yesterday at the Bayberry Quilters' Guild were sisters, Barbara Persing and Mary Hoover who have a business together, make their quilts together but live 300 miles apart and so send their work back and forth via UPS. The orange quilt was one of their first. They sewed together strips of orange, of yellow and of purple, and then cut the pieces of fabric they had constructed into triangles which were arranged to make blocks of color --the arrangement looks somewhat random but has a sense of balance.  Simple! They use mostly batiks which accounts for the subtlties of color.  This quilt immediately reminded me of the Kaffee Fassett quilts I saw last month at the International Quilt show. 

They moved from simple blocks/triangles to using the blocks (made by the same method) a background for floral designs.  And then they experimented with blocks of more varied colors which were cut on a slant to give movement and direction to the background and their floral designs became more complex and exciting.  When they add flowers (or leaves, etc.) they use a simple method of either freehand cutting or freezer paper floral temples, glue the edges and do not turn them in applique but quilt up and down over the flower to five petal definition and to repeatedly go over the edges.  Barbara does some (or most) of this free motion on a regular sewing machine, but Mary has a long arm quilter and does the majority of the quilting.  They have published a book full of simple directions and bright designs called StrataVariations.

They have a wonderful eye for color and they have a very sensible, collatorative approach to their work. As speakers they were comfortable, had worked who would talk about what but were informal and  poised. The talk was delightful. They showed a spectacular new quilt that they are going to show at the big Houston annual show and which cannot be pictured yet.  It was a most delightful way to begin the season and the only thing that took the edge off disappointment that my daughter from California who was to arrived early had cancelled her trip due to some hand surgery.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Myth or Not

We all believe that the American quilt began when frugal, early settlers in America sewed together odds and ends of badly worn clothing into bed covers.  I have been reading a lot and read that this is not the beginning of the patchwork quilt.  To back track, I think we all know that whole cloth quilts were made in Europe before and contemporaneous with pre-Revoutionary America.  By whole cloth quilt I mean a  piece of cloth large enough to cover a bed was put together with a filling and a backing and then quilted, usually in a beautiful and rather elaborate design forming diamonds, often feather designs and so on. (Actually most looms only made about 36 inch wide fabric so a bed quilt would have to be two widths sewn together but that would still make a "whole" cloth quilt).

I have read two things lately: the first patchwork quilts found by collectors were from the Netherlands and Belgium. They were constructed of triangles -- perhaps a little similar to the one in the picture.  And the idea of sewing together triangles, or patches of fabric was imported into the colonies.  This is possible but it's also possible that any very early patchwork quilts made in America would have been used to death and simply don't survive.  I have been reading that the earliest American settlers had no time at all for any kind of special needlework -- beyond making needed clothing. There was no textile industry in America for essentially the first 100 years. Textiles were brought here by the traders (East India Company --whether British or Dutch. India was the source of the majority of cotton fabrics for the European market. The fine cottons, dyed, and/or stamped with designs or hand painted as were many of the gorgeous palampores that were wanted when there was sufficient income to afford them. These were sometimes treated as whole clothe quilts, filled and quilted. And many complex Indian designs were carefully cut up and appliqued to plain whole cloths in the technique we call broider perse to make them go farther.

I am going to talk about all these things and more later today in my History of the American Quilt class and I have many photos in books to show of early quilts.  I was not surprised to read that Alexis deToqueville remarked that the very hard, never ending work of survival of families in the new country rested largely on the women's shoulders. They worked from dawn to dark just to feed and care of their families.  Only when enough people had immigrated (and immigration was rapid and enormous) to form cities along the East Coast, did there begin to be enough people and prosperity  to afford women  a little rest from incessant toil. Once they had a little time and access to textiles, they cared about having attractive clothing and turned their artistic talent to making quilts from what they could afford. When I try to imagine living in this country in the 1600s with absolutely no resources except what could be grown or hunted, my mind totally boggles.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bed rugg (also rug)

I started teaching a course called History of the American Quilt today at the Academy of Lifelong Learning.  I'm sorry my class is as small as it is but 10-12 people is very do-able.  Today was difficult for me because I wanted to give some background before getting into all the kinds of quilts that have been made.  One thing I discovered in my research was "bed ruggs" (that was the spelling in the 1600-1700 period.  The background is a linsey-woolsey fabric (part linen, part wool) with a somewhat loose weave that made it possible to either embroider or hook (as in latch hooking a rug) a design on the top.  The yarn of the design was usually wool and it often covered almost all the top. 

This example is from the Metropolitan Museum in NYC and was dated 1795, which is fairly late.  And it is somewhat more refined and even delicate in its design than many of the examples in a book I have.  I read that Governor Winthrope of Massachusetts, back in the late 1600s sent word with his son on a trip to England to bring back 245 yards of bed ruggs.  The colonists essentially had NO texile business of their own at first and depended on shipments, mostly courtesy of the East Indian Company, for something to sleep under.  I didn't look into what they slept on, but I suspect it was bags of straw.

I was describing how heavy these  ruggs must have been to work on and to sleep under and someone said, "they must have felt like that X-ray shield the dentist lays on your chest when he X-rays your teeth.  I suspect she was exactly right.

 I am not really a historian and there is very much I don't know about the settlement of the East Coast, but I am learning about textiles and dyes and so on.  It seems indigo plants were growing in American and so was flax for linen. I believe it was some time before very many sheep were imported and a woolen industry could have grown up. I was somewhat surprised to discover that cotton grew more or less around the world and that the Carib natives Columbus met were wearing cotton garments.  It's an interesting area for me to explore although I'm eager to move on to more modern times. 

Monday, September 01, 2014

Another UFO finished

 Sometime last fall I was given a selection of batik fabrics in the red-rose-purple-blue spectrum. I loved the colors and immediately wanted to make a quilt.  I made the square-in-square blocks but then I began another project -- I think the blue strip one that was in the previous post.  And  then another and another project came along.  So it goes. Finally I put this one together in the double sided way I really enjoy -- it gave me a change to use a wider selection of batiks from my sizable stash. Now it's done -- the top picture is the top, the next is a detail and the  bottom

 picture is the back with solid squares.  Just this week I realized the purple-blue Kaufman fabric  (not a batik) that's in the border was just the right colors. For the border on the back I used a darker batik I've had a very long time.

Pheww!~  So it's done.  Quilting projects always take longer than I expect.  I love the colors still,  The next one is on my design wall and I can't wait to get on with it.  Meanwhile two, or really, three other quilts are parking in the short term parking area in my brain.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

UFO no more

This blue scrap quilt was started as a possibility for the Bayberry Guild show early this year.  I realized I wasn't going to be able to add the border and backing and quilt it and have the other pieces done in time so I didn't show it. A good thing -- quilts always take longer than I think they're going to. The ones in the show were finished just in time and this has been taking odd moments for three weeks now.  But it's done.   It's layered on drier sheets which I find to be an excellent foundation for scrap stripping. Until a few days ago it wasn't going to have the yellow border but now I'm glad I added it. The back is a mixture of medium blues in rectangles and strips of orange.  It didn't photograph well but I like it.  In this case I couldn't make my photo program crop the picture so you get some of my work corner here in the living room with my three-fold fan proving to be a good place to drape the quilt.  I can't resist collecting blue scraps.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mancuso World Quilt Show

The flowers above are "Coreopsis" subtly done by what method, I'm not sure, by Bernardine Hine of Australia.

These stripes, a wonderful play of subtle color that art quilters have been doing for a long time, are done by Kurshid Bamboat of the UK. It's called Versi 1.  There were a couple of Kaffee Fasset quilts in a special show of his work, that used color this subtly and beautifully.

The quilt above was called "Backgammon" but I can't seem to find the maker's listing in the program. I like the playfulness of the colors and the simple design.

This quilt is called "Let's Do the Dresden Twist" by Teri L. Cherne and it was "Best of the US" in the international section.  It's a very old pattern handled in the "Modern"  way with lots of white and lots of machine quilting. The scalloped  or "egg and dart" outer edge is a fanciful extra old fashioned bit.

 Of course there were many other very interesting quilts. A huge kimono shaped quilt from Japan done all in squares of red print was eye catching at the doorway to the hall.

We had a wonderful chat with Teresa Shippy who had a special exhibit of her old cars quilts-- 27 quilts about 15x25 (I'm guessing) We had never run into an artist who was cheerfully hanging out near her special exhibit and talking to viewers.  We learned a good bit about exhibiting and considerations by an artist who works in a series.

This was the first time Rachel had seen a Susan Shie quilt with all the diary writing and canvas full of figures and movement.  One has to admire her continuous inventiveness. I've been watching her work for at least 15 years. The same is true of Kaffee Fassett's work. It always looks glorious in his books and, in fact, it just as glorious on the wall -- and there must have been 20 -- a delight of color.  This year's Hoffmann challenge submissions, including the clothing and dolls as well as the wall quilts was all on display.  The fabric had a  lot of turquoise so there were many peacocks.  The American floor had a big display of applique quilts proving beyond any doubt that the Baltimore album idea is alive and well but getting a bit boring in large concentrations.

It's a glorious show, we were able to leave here a 7 AM and got home at 7 PM with a stop on the way home at the Ikea store south of Boston. I had never been to and Ikea store and Rachel says I didn't get the "whole Ikea experience" because she knew exactly where to find the items she wanted. But I was very, very impressed, especially at the plate of lox we had for dinner for only 4.99.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Not Only Poets are Marginalized

On a blog (I think) I saw a picture of this quilt. Then I discovered it was made by a quilt artist who lives in the area and was on view at the Cotuit Center for the Arts, which is only about ten miles away.  The Center is largely for drama but has other events -- quite a lot really as such centers must in order to make ends meet and pull in varied audiences. The lobby of their main theatre is large enough for various events and always has an art show.  Right now that large space is given over to photograhy by two men. It's interesting photography and deserves to be shown. There is a mezzanine area up some stairs. Art is shown up there also.  Right now they have a show by Melissa Averinos a quilter and Elizabeth Gurrier a textile artist who creates figures, mostly bas relief sort in white muslin.  Besides a handful of "Modern" quilts by Melissa there are a few others.

This exhibition area is not one that will be seen by the performance crowds except when they do caberet-type events (they were setting up for one) with tables upstairs.  As my women poets quilt indicates, I am sensitive about women who are marginalized and I consider this an example of women's work which is, certainly in the case of this portrait of Melissa's, definitely art and not craft.  The currator seemed to think Elizabeth Gurrier, whose credits include an art degree, is the "serious" artist and the quilters are not.  Elizabeth's work was well done, but I've seen the same sort of work -- in fact, seen it many, many years ago. 

However, Melissa's portrait quilt using the style that is being called "Modern Quilting" is entirely new, the work of a highly creative artist.  (Her notes say it began one sleepless night as she went into her studio and spontaneously began to work with fabrics ... the method of an artist, not a  "craftsperson".  Her other work fits in the current "Modern" genre and is well done and interesting; but I think, with this piece she has leapt into a new area of creativity for her.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Surprise! Surprise!

I was truly surprised late yesterday when I returned to the Bayberry Quilt show to discover not one, but two, Viewers' Choice ribbons on my art quilts.  (They are in different size categories.) Truly I had hoped for one on the embroidered and embellished circles. But I felt the poets amid selvages was not "pretty" enough to be a favorite.  I'm delighted it was.

Honestly, in both cases, the ribbons are for the "idea" more than the quilting.  I am a hobby quilter and, occasionally attempt an art quilt, but I have never, and never will, attempt a heirloom quality quilt. This is a "hobby" -- a word that doesn't do justice to the passion I feel about quilting in general. I love what can be done with textile, with color and pattern and design.  But it's not part of my self-definition, it's almost always pure pleasure.  A sensual delight in the fabrics themselves.  If I can make a statement, as the poets quilt does, that makes the writer in me very happy.  I wonder if anyone who saw this quilt will read at least a little poetry because of it.  I think, not likely.

PS: The poet surrounded by bright orange is Wislawa Szymborska, a favorite of mine, too little known in America. She was a Polish and won the Nobel prize in 1996 (I think); her poetry has wry humor, political consciousness and warmth. I try to introduce her to as many poetry reading people as I can.  She died in 2013.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Inspiration at the Guild Show

I love scrap quilts. That is the theme of the Bayberry Quilt show this year. Yesterday I saw quite  few that I quickly thought, "I'd like to make one like that." Or "I wish I could do that, but I'd never have the patience." (e.g. to make a whole quilt of 2" squares. But sometimes when I'm looking through a magazine or at a show I see a quilt and immediately think I WANT to make one like that. This is the one at the show that got that reaction. Totally scrappy! A balance of light and dark/bright. The four-pointed star stands out amid the pastels.  Close up it's obvious it's make a three-pieced squares (5 inches). Easy-peasy. And the fun of just reaching into the scrap pile and cutting the pieces. In fact, I WILL make a quilt like this ... sometime, not too soon as I have a few WIPs to finish.  (Works In Progress) What a wonderful "quilty" feeling this will have on a bed! I love it.  (And as I think that, I think, so will the one that's on my design wall right now. The imagination goes racing on.)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bayberry Quilt Show

At the Bayberry Guild's opening day of the annual show I took only a few photos, I'll have another opportunity on Saturday.  And I have another to add here tomorrow.  For today here's just one of several small challenge quilts that were just wonderful.  The challenge was to use a certain blue Moda fabric and 25 aditional fabrics, within a quilt that would be no more than 100 inchs total perimeter.  I was especially charmed by this cat sitting on a very puffy pillow.  It seems to me the members of this guild react with special creativity and enthusiasm to the challenge for the past few years.  

The red, white and blue quilt here is on a frame with backing and batting, held in place with the large clips that can be seen. It was being used by the ladies who run the charity committee to demonstrate what they do: they encourage donation of tops (and are especially looking for patriotic ones to give to vets.  I made this top late winter and donated it.  The commitee also receives donations of fabic and for the quilt show they bundle fat quarters (six per bundle) and sell them at $3 per bundle.  Compare this, as the value ads say, to most of the vendor's fat quarters which were between $2 and $2 per fat quarter.  Can't beat it.  Did I buy some?  Of course.  Grace and Lou, the co-chairs of the Charity Committee were saying loudly to everyone that although much is donated, they are selling these items to purchase batting for the quilts. They spent about $1,000 last year on batting. They have a number of people who help them quilt or tie the tops they receive.

They also sell quilt magazines and books. I bought a fairly old book about American quilts that may be the very one I donated to the free table at a guild meeting. I realized I was sorry I didn't have it as I'm doing research for the history of quilting course I'll be giving this fall. It may be re-donated later in the year. I didn't have time, or energy, to look through the many magazines. (I need quit magazines like I need an extra elbow -- but the same is true of FQs.)

I was gratified to see people spending time in front of my quilt about Women Poets who are marginalized -- I think they were trying to figure out what the quilt was about. I'm not sure they were reacting to the message since I cynically and honestly believe that very, very few people have any feelings about poetry at all, let alone whether men or women are marginalized -- poets are practically nonexistent in the lives of most people.  Sad, but I'm afraid it's true.

Monday, July 28, 2014

My Marathon of Quilt Journalling

It was ten  and a half years ago I had a brain storm.  It promised to be a good year, so as I was thinking about new year's resolutions I decided to do something differnt:  not a written diary as I'd been keeping since I was 12, but a visual diary of the year.  One little postcard sized mini quilt per day, each representing something about that day, realistically or, more often, abstactly.  Thus, I now have nearly 360 of these little quilts (I didn't quite manage EVERY day).  I collected cardboard mats to frame them -- obviously mats in many colors.

Saturday I had my first opportunity to talk about this project. I talked about "visual journaling" since this could be applied to collage or other visual art formats. I showed several of these little ideas to a group of 12 or 15 women gathered at the Dennis, Ma. Chat House.

Here's what these pictures represent (I wrote brief statements on the back of each).  Left to right, top to bottom:  Fireworks, obviously at 4th of July (embroidery on a black batik), a bison which represents my discovery of bison burgers because I was doing the Atkins diet and really don't like beef very much.  The little bird and many others were at a feeder in the backyard of the house in the Catskills I visited many weekends that year; the big red sun in a golden sky was a burst of joy at seeing sun against after a week of gloomy gray days.

 The swallows on a pretty print represented a feeling of joyousness at midsummer; the big peony-like flower radiating bugle beads was also a happy one (it was a very happy summer!), just saying "life is beautiful". The cloudy mauve-ish one with embroidered raindrops (lazy daisy stitches) was a rainy day, but a not a gloomy one. (I have 6 or 8 rain mini-quilts each different); The two gulls flying amid clouds were a couple of gulls I actually saw walking down 7th Avenue on my way to work that morning.

The one in the coral frame was depicting a sunset that was various shades of pink and coral across a blue sky; beside that is a whirligig quilt square that is atilt on the block with a note on it saying "all the pieces are in place but something's not quite right."  (I guess it was one of "those" days).  The one with blue sky, and darkness and a pewter button sun was more abstract about a day that was changeable. And the one with the rabbit and spring greenery, was about spring, a time of new growth and promise.

This was the first time I've shown these  pieces.  Maybe I'll fine another venue later this year,  If color weren't very expensive I'd consider self-publishing the whole series.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pilgrim Roy Quilt Exhibit at Museum of Fine Art, Boston

Rachel and I went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston today to see the show of Jamie Wyeth's paintings.  I thought the Pilgrim Roy quilt exhibit which has been there since early spring had left but not so. It was a beautifully displayed, and lighted, collection of late 19th, early 20th century quilts in traditional designs, most in wonderful colors. A few were the much loved traditional Amish quilts with very strong colors in very simple designs.  Several were wonderful log cabin quilts, like the one here--it is a pattern that lends itself to endless variation both in design choices and in color choices.  This ond shows very careful attention to detail and color choice.   All the quilts showed painstaking craftsmanship. Most were pieces although there were a few lovey appliqued quilts. 

Rachel and I are both modern art quilt lovers but it is impossible not to enjoy the designs and colors and pure elan of these quilts. Anyone who loves design and color would love looking at quilts like these so well lighted and displayed.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Two mini art quilts

These two quilts are both approximately 8x10.  I'm sorry the shiny stars don't show up well.  They are for two swaps; one requested "crazy cats" and the other "ditzy dogs".  I adhered to the crazy cat idea but not the latter.  The little cat quilt is made from my precious stash of discontinued Laurel Birch fabrics.  She was an artist and quilt fabric designer who mostly did animals. Unfortunately, she died a few years ago.  The cat quilt is called "catatonic cats paralyzed by their fearful astral dreams."  I love the "scaridy cat" fabric. The calm cats actually do look catatonic to me.

The dog quilt is a second attempt at this theme.  I did a larger one, about 18x28 a few years ago for my daughter, Leslie, who I believe has it hanging in her apartment.  I attempt to illustrate a few lines from a poem by Mark Strand which I really love. In fact I love the poem so much I may yet make a third one for myself.

And I stood in the moonlight valley                
  Watching the great starfields
   Flash and glower in the wished for
    Reaches of heaven
   That’s when I, the dog they call Spot,
    Began to sing.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

More is More

For nearly a year I have been, off and on, embroidering circle designs on white fabric with a layer of bating and muslin backing and quilting in circles around the finished design.  I was inspired by a quilt Rachel and I saw two years ago in Mancusco International Quilt Exhibit in Manchester, Vermont. I beleive that quilt had 70 some embroidered circles.  It was simple and very fascinating to look at each unique design. I began creating a similar one and Rachel was enthused enough to do five of the circle designs although she is a painter and not a sewer.

The work was slow so I put it aside frequently and made other, more conventional quilts.  Now I've a total of 42 circles  which I put together into a quilt to show at next month's Bayberry Quilt Show.  I like them together without extras -- the inspirational quilt had white designs at the corners of the blocks, either embroidered or crocheted. They did not distract from the embroidery design. But I have a collection of felt and bright plastic flower shaped buttons and decided to see what happened when I put them in the corners between blocks -- not one, but two layers, one top of the other.

I laid it out on the sewing room floor and took photos to help me decide what I thought. I asked Rachel to come over and tell me what she thought. We decided more is more -- more interesting, more exciting although possibly more distracting from the seriously creative circular designs.  So today's job is to sew them on and then the quilt will be finished -- after nearly two years.  It seems amazingly small to have taken so long.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Now the Hydrangias ...

Flowers, flowers, everywhere in all the colors you love.  The roses, bright pink (like these), red, pale pink are still blooming beautifully. Now the hydrangias have begun to open -- blue like these, white, purple, pink.  We have bright yellow day lilies and orange tiger lilies.  There are big clumps of white daisies.  The kousa dogwoods are just starting to flower, and the shorter, smaller flowers: geraniums, begonias, impatiens, on and on, are all blooming. 

Twice this week I drove 10 miles on lovely old winding two-lane Rte. 6A past the wonderful variety of houses, large, small, old, recent almost all with flowers in the yard. What a visual delight!  These are every bit as enticing on Cape Cod as the wonderful beaches.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Changes are Obvious

Quilters Newsletter Magazine began publishing in 1969 (I believe). I discovered it, about five years later; it was a grayed b&w format, the paper was more tabloid than magazine.  But it was the only one around, as far as I knew. Over the years it has grown and prospered along with the quilting industry in American which is now estimated at about $3.5 billion a year.  This month's issue says that quilters (on average) spend $2442 per year on supplies. That is not a cheap hobby.  Quilters who are more than hobbyists spend much more than that. 

Today I had a urge to stop at Tumbleweed Quilts which is the quilt store nearest me (not counting JoAnne's which is more of a hobbyist store with much besides quilting).  I didn't need anything but I know I can always go into Tumbleweed, see some of the newest designs, resist temptation, check out their rock bottom selection of often hurt fabrics that they sell for 99 cents a yard (very few today),  look through the nice array of books, and come home with one of their scrap bags, end cuttings, mostly which are ideal for scrap quilting. I spent (after my senior discount) a little over $24.  I won't be doing that 100 times this year.

Back to QNW, as can be seen from the cover of a recent issue they show spectacular quilts. They also are aware of recent trends. They show art quilts, "modern" quilts, and prize winning quilts from various shows. They have a how-to section which has gotten smaller lately as they've added more subtantive editoral. The latter is what I especially appreciate. A very good article on how people who sell their quilts can figure fair prices bemoans two big factors: many people charge too little , essentially nothing for their labor, and everyone is at a disadvantage thanks to the cheap quilts that pour into downmarket outlets (Wal-Mart, etc) from Asia where they are made of inferior materials by people who are paid pitifully little. 

I am paying attention, too, to bits of historical and factual writing in the magazines and a few others, because I am doing serious research this summer as I plan to teach a course at the Academy for Lifelong Learning called "History of American Quilts."  Emphasis on history -- how quilting paralleled the economic ups and downs of America, how women used their quilts to make political statements, and how the ever increasing technology from the cotton gin and the sewing machine in the mid-1800s to today's computer design programs, have changed quilting.  It's a big subject and I'm feeling staggered by possibly having bitten off more than I can handle gracefully.  For that reason I appreciate, all the more, the increasingly solid information in Quilters Newsletter Magazine.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Camillas, I think

My daughter told me when we visited Heritage Plantation, a botanical garden in Sandwich, here on Cape Cod, that the flowers in the header and this one above are camillas.  I am not aware of having seen camillas before.  I take her word for it but if someone knows them by another name, please tell me.  I was enchanted by their milky whiteness and the centers with touches of deep purple.  I think I read somewhere that they come in other colors too.  I can't imagine them being more beautiful than they are when white.

My only association is with the Dumas novel, title in English, "The lady of the camillas" which became the opera La Traviata, my favorite of favorite operas, where the heroine is called Violetta.  In any case, being a "fallen" woman, one kept by a wealthy man and living a life of flirtatious freedom, she is certainly not "pure"in the sense it was  used in the last 1800s. But times have changed. I just read an article in today's Times that says over 50% of couples chose to live together without being married. Poor Verdi would be up a creek today if he were looking for a credible plot without all that "honor" that so ruined the lives of most of his heroines. His music might not be so wonderful without all that angst.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

MIdpoint, 2014

Everyone talks about time flying  faster and faster as we get older.  It's a cliche because it's true.  I just realized its the midpoint of 2014 for the simple reason that my calendar tells me so.  I use a calendar from the Metropolitan Museum of Art  with a different photograph of one of it's fine pieces of art each day -- well, actually six days a week, as Saturday and Sunday are a combined page.  Actually, since I'm trying to be entirely honest and clear, these are not pages but individual sort of cards with a photograph on each side.  I've just finished side A, as it were, and a card said, "time to turn your calendar pages over."  The masterpiece for tomorrow is a Rembrandt self-portait-- much like the one here which is in broken pixels because it was tiny and I enlarged it.  But you know what his self-portraits look like.

It's nice to have a changing art exhibit on the table when I'm having quiet meals.  I've been using the calendars four or five years.  They repeat themselves to an extent but the Met has so many non-painting artifacts that they'll never entirely run out of things to show on a page. 

So another year is half over.  Now that I'm in my mid-70s I am very aware that I never thought at all about reaching this age. Both my mother and her mother were about the age I am now when they died. To me they were OLD, very, very old.  I say to myself, they were much, much older than I am at the same age.  That is not  purely self-deception.  Mary Katherine Bateson wrote an excellent essay about the way modern medicine and lifestyle in our counrty has given many of us twenty "bonus years."  I believe that is true ... clearly not for everyone, of course.  But I feel I may well have another twenty years, so the marking of another half year gone does not fill me with dread.  But it is worth paying attention to.  I think it's healthy to keep tabs on were we seem to be in the process of one's life. The picture of Rembrandt probably shows a man in his later 50s. I will study it and think of all he had accomplished when he painted this self-portrait and I will look again, as I did a few minutes ago at the group of his self-portraits.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Under the Bed

It's a great idea to look under the bed once in a while and go through the bags of quilts stashed there.  I found this quilt yesterday -- along with others that, at least, I remembered.  This one is recognizable by the fabrics I know I had, especially the batiks on the side that is squares  But I have no memory of making the strip-pieced squares or the quilt as a whole. I know I did. I love making reversible quilts. This is a small one, just for laps or maybe for somewhat sophisticated youngsters.  I suppose I'll return it to where it was and try to remember that I have it in case a time arises when I meet someone who might like to have it.  There are other bags of quilts under another bed and on the top shelves of three closets and there may be other surprises.  It's a nice surprise and maybe others will be too. Oh, and one bag under the bed is UFOs -- unfinished objects/quilts -- I didn't open it.  I've got enough quilting to do to keep me quite busy all summer so I'm not in the mood for finishing these tops that, for one reason or another, I didn't manage to layer and quilt.  From talking to other quilters and reading magazines, I know that this is not a unique situation.  No red face here. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Summer Solstice means Roses

The last couple weeks of June Cape Cod is full of roses.  From deepest red to white, they are everywhere.  Some are even so old fashioned they have true rose scent - like these beside a fence that I walk past from the parking lot to the beach where I walk in the morning.  I always literally stop and smell the roses.  What a way to begin a day.

The wild roses on the dunes behind the beach, white, pink, red, are already past their prime.  They are simple rose with four lovely petals and they too have a wonderful scent. I have a spot where I sit close a bit patch of pink and white roses and stare at the ocean - I can see that larger boats anchored just outside Martha Vineyard's harbor. Most mornings, out near the horizon, I see one of the ferries crossing to the Vineyard. And usually I see a fishing boat.  It's peaceful, a wonderful way to start a day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Something new for me

On my design wall, a work in progress, bolder and odder than I have ever made. I'm influenced by Karen Griaska (see sidebar) who has a pattern for making this very easy block.  This is  by no means a final arrangment.  And this is about half (maybe less than half) the blocks for the final quilt.  I'm staying in the red, blue and green colors, mostly, and using up a lot of my smaller pieces of fabric.  The thing looks better here than it feels close up.  It kind of scares me. As can be seen these 8-1/2 inch blocks ae not sewn together and when they are the whole thing will be smaller, of course.  I love the ease of sewing the blocks.  I measure the pieces according to Karen's directions and mark sewing lines tapering so I get that fan effect. but I cut straight edged pieces and there's a fair amount of waste but that's okay, these are pieces I want to use up.  I love that I can do a square or two a day and after a while I'll have enough. I've done that kind of sewing before. And I have two or three quilts-to-be gestating via swaps from Swap-bot where I get one or two blocks of a certain type of pattern a month, add some of my own, and in a few months have enough for a quilt. The cheery quilt in the previous post was accumulated that way. This works with my generally busy life and desire to sew a little most days but not immerse myself in a big project.

Karen's reputation was made by her book about using selvages and I have made several quilts using selvages -- all thanks to her. I will probably make more ... I've got a bag of selvages in my closet and keep adding more as I cut them off fabrics I'm working with.  I read Karen's blog every day where she regularly discovers all kinds of wonderful quilts on both Etsy and Pinterest (neither of which sites I frequent. The quilt world is so various and so exciting these days one cannot keep up but her blog helps me see things I wouldn't see otherwise.  And both her quilts and some she prints inspire me.  By the end of the summer I'll have enough blocks to put this quilt together and then we'll see if I have nerve enough to display it on my bed.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Finished: A Modern Quilt

I find "modern" quilts refreshing -- the white backgrounds, the bright colors, the simple shapes.  After all the pieced quilts with elaborate appliqued borders and fussy quilting, I love he simplicity of the quilts that are being called "Modern".  I didn't know I was making one, in fact.  This pattern of
"'picture frames" (for want of whatever it's name might be) was a Swap-bot challenge. I think four or five of the sets of four in this quilt were not made by me. At first I thought it was too fussy to make, but then I realized it was really fairly quick and easy so I made enough for bed quilt.  It's been pieced and partly quilted for a few months. Now with summer on the cusp I wanted something bright and light on the bed so I finished it.  And I like it.  Maybe there'll be another modern quilt in my future.

Often even the "modern" quilters do a lot of quilting -- or send their quilts to long arm quilters. I am too frugal to spend that kind of money and too lazy to do the complex machine quilting that requires a skill I don't have and an amount of sewing space I don't have, including more "deep throat" on my sewing machine.  So I quilted it simply and I'm satisfied. It adds a summer feel to my small bedroom.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

If Michaelangelo's David lived near Domino's ...

The museum at the Heritage Plantation where Rachel and I spent an hour and a half Tuesday afternoon has a display of "Wicked plants".
All the usual suspects were there and many more -- like eggplant and mangoes both of which have some toxins that most of us aren't susceptible to.  It was multimedia and geared toward grade school kids but we enjoyed it. The one docent on duty was very happy to have visitors to talk to.  She said this mini statue of David is the most photographed.  I can see why. Imagine this guy in jeans with the belt quite low and a tee shirt stretched over tha paunch.  He would even cover his beautiful curls with a worn-backwards baseball cap.  If David looked like this, imgine the weight on Goliath.

As you see, the caption is "high fructose corn syrup" -- I think most of that fat came from pizza and Big Macs and lots of fries with catsup but he also drank huge amounts of soda. 

I just read that the country with the most obesity is England -- I find that hard to believe when I walk around the mall.  The same article said that China also now has an obesity problem.  Every country with a fast food mentality has the problem (China doesn't seem to have the fast food strips that nearly all our cities have, but they have always had the street venders frying all kind of things.  It doesn't take much money to spend the day snacking.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Beach Roses in Full Bloom

The beach roses (rosa rugosa, I believe) all popped open over the weekend. Most are a soft pink, many are a bright pink, some are really red and some are white. They are all intermingled in large patches -- very briary, one cannot wade through them.  I don't know if different colors grow on the same plant or if there are different plants.  It doesn't matter to me, they are beautiful.  I like to stand near a big patch and do my tai chi.  Mostly the breeze is blowing off the water. But when I sit a while I am surrounded by a faint rose scent -- not a very heavy scent, delicate and lovely.

As the pictures show, these are simple roses without lots of petals and the petals fall after only a few days, but many more buds are on the plants and they keep opening.  They will be a beautiful show of color for a few weeks. Then there will be big bright red rose hips for some time. 

Meanwhile the nesting birds are getting territorial.  Their nesting area is marked off limits to tourists but the birds haven't been informed and fly in wide circles, sometimes dipping toward walkers, shrieking that we are to stay away.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Pillows for Boutique

Pillows made for my quilt guild's show boutique.  The four all in a line are quilted and pieced. The big one below is not quilted, it is a panel with the same design on both sides, designed to be a 21-24 inch pillow, the selvage label says "Liberty" but I think this is a bit of a scam, making one think it is Liberty of London when I think it is some other fabric manufacturer.

The four pillows are 12x12 and have solid backs.  I put zippers in all of them so the pillow form can be taken out if one desires. I ran into a problem which is that my newish sewing machine didn't come with a zipper foot and I have not needed one for a long time having stopped making clothes quite a while ago. I have an ancient (isn't one definition of antique 50 years old or more?) Riccar that is now 51 years old. It's mechanism for lifting the foot is broken and it has other problems. It has sewn probably hundreds of zippers and maybe a million miles of seams for me and I couldn't bear to throw it away. And, yes, I resurrected it and struggled with the foot lift and put in the zippers.  I'm very, very glad that for once I was not sensible; I kept it out of some kind of sentimental attachment.

I also struggled with the IPhoto program to crop the picture of the four quilts and couldn't do it.