Thursday, February 26, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I've been interested in quilts for a long time. I remember as an undergrad in college doodling quilt designs, even though i knew nothing about how to make a quilt, although i did know how to sew...took sewing in home ec in junior high school and loved it although i wasn't thrilled with the projects we did in that class. My sister had fun in home ec, too, so we managed to talk our parents into getting us a nice soft green Singer in a cabinet...we ponied up something like $15 towards the purchase price and it was my father the engineer who helped set up the machine and figure out how to use it.
When i was a first-year grad student, the mother of my then-boyfriend found a sewing machine for me for $20 from an antiques barn in Massachusetts. It was a 1927 Singer Model 66 in a cabinet that had been painted battleship grey with a little flower decoupaged onto the drawer. A full-size, solid metal, old Singer that only did straight stitch (it didn't even do back stitching) but what a lovely stitch it did.
I made a banner for my boyfriend's rock 'n' roll band (kinda like an art quilt with embellishment and everything but not quilted) and clothing...i really wanted to make a quilt but was daunted by how huge and expensive a project it seemed. You'd have to buy ALL this material and it would take SO LONG to complete it.
And then around 1980 i picked up a book on machine quilting by Robbie and Tony Fanning. And they had in there a quilt for a busy person to make...out of bed sheets! I combined and modified two of their project ideas (a duvet cover and the busy person's quilt) into a quilt whose front was one large piece of upholstery fabric and whose back was a blue sheet, purchased, i seem to recall, from the Bradlee's out on the highway. Anyone who's serious about quilting now-a-days realizes i committed two "sins"...upholstery fabric is very heavy and sheets are very tightly woven and hard to needle through. The third sin was that i used a fairly thick batting...didn't i want the quilt to be fluffy? Mostly following directions in the book, i wrapped the sheet around to the front, forming the binding (and actually forming a border, because the upholstery fabric was a little too narrow to top a double bed).
Then i basted the whole thing (i can't remember how i did it...maybe with safety pins? as soon became evident, i didn't baste it closely enough) and carefully rolled it, using my bicycle clips to hold the roll together...and set about machine quilting it. I got one vertical line done. That was o.k. although it felt like i'd been wrestling with an alligator. I started the next vertical line and the quilting bogged down completely...i was getting this huge bow wave of unsecured fabric and batting in front of the presser foot and ripples and puckers behind it! Aaarrgh! I ripped the stitches out, tried it again...broke the needle.
So i decided i'd better tie it instead! I used black acrylic yarn, and followed the print. I tied the ties really well. And voila, a quilt! (I put it on the bed tonight to take a picture and of course Fuzzy had to come in from the other room to try it out...i believe that's the paw wash of approval he's giving there.)
It is very heavy, and quite warm, and i used it continuously for two or three years until i made a down comforter from a kit, and after that, it moved to cover the guest bed.
Now, some 25 plus years later (?!?) it mostly resides in my linen closet, but has held up well to having been used, machine washed, etc. Here's a closeup of the quilt and the book that started it all.
And here's a little video that shows why it's a good idea to tie your ties really tight!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Sylvie keeps on eye on the birds and squirrels from the living room window perch.
Gingy achieves a little bit of that fruitbat look with the sun shining through her ears and then settles elegantly.
Louie does "the meatloaf."
So according to this, i have to pass the award on to eight other bloggers. Cliff and Olivia very sensibly said that "most of our friends already got ... them. So we give them away regardless of whether the recipients have already got one. One can always use another award." And they also said that one could/should give it to eight more bloggers or just enjoy it. I like that...takes some of the stress off!
This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and
relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to
find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement.
Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships
are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award
to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written
text into the body of their award.
On the same day, the adorable Milo and little brother Alfie also gave us this wonderful "Lovely Friends" award. Isn't it appropriate for Valentine's Day?! And here's the text that came with this award (i think Milo and Alfie added the last sentence themselves...they are very clever and sensible kitties):
"LOVE YA” award winner… These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind
bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award - or if most friends have it, you can just enjoy it for yourself!
And then just yesterday, two of our most favorite kitties, Siena a stunningly beautiful Norwegian Forest Cat and her little sister Chilli a feisty multicolored beautiful kitten, gave us this itty-bitty award. Some of the pictures on their site of them cuddling together are just amazing, they are so sweet. It was their mom who helped me figure out how to post all these awards. The award Siena and Chilli gave has no strings attached, but it's so nice, it would be great to pass along to some friends.
Thank you all, that was very nice and i will gladly pass some of these awards forward!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
By Saturday the temperature climbed to the 60s. Lovely! It was the first Saturday of the month, which meant it was my Saturday to volunteer at the Audubon Sanctuary Book Shop. The book shop is in what was probably part of the kitchen of Woodend when it was a mansion (the house and 40 acres were bequeathed to the Audubon Naturalist Society of the MidAtlantic States in 1968.) The grounds are still mostly woods, with a little pond and wetlands area, and nice self-guided walking trails. The neighborhood now has grown up around it, so it really is a little island of nature in the suburbs. It's just a short distance to the Beltway but it's also quite near Rock Creek Park.) It was a relatively quiet day. I did get to help a family find a couple of books about fun things to do in the area in terms of hikes and canoe trips.
As i was getting ready to leave, a staff member came back inside to say a deer was eating at the bird feeder. She wasn't kidding...the deer was standing under the feeder, licking the feed out of it!! It was a tube-type feeder that's supposed to be squirrel proof hanging from a pole...if a squirrel manages to get on the feeder, the tube slides shut and the squirrels can't get at the feed. It might have been squirrel proof, but it wasn't deer proof...it was at exactly the right height for the doe to reach by extending her neck and tipping her head back a little bit, and she licked and licked, getting her tongue into the feeder opening and eating the seed! Then she grazed for a little while on the seed on the ground. Just as i got my cellphone out to try to take a picture, she slowly walked away across the driveway and into the scrubby woods next to the parking lot.
I walked to my car, and realized that the crunching noises i heard were deer walking around in the underbrush. It took a moment to see them...their brown grey winter coats blend in very well with the brown grey woods!...and then i realized i was looking at two partially grown fawns (probably born in the fall) and three does and they were walking around in the woods, nibbling on brambles. Then i saw two more does! The whole group quietly drifted out onto the far end of the parking lot, next to the shed where we store the birdfeed that we sell...i'm sure they were checking to see if anyone might have spilled some bird feed there.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I don't have a design wall so i lay quilts out on my bed...you can see there are certain drawbacks to that!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Then there's my Christmas cactus blooming...this is the younger of my two plants, must be about 20 years old now, i got it because i love this fuchsia color even better than the original red blooms.