Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Today, life is...

...a little laundry and house-straightening
...doctor's appointment (blood work follow up)
...work - getting the last of the invitations out for our big grand opening event at the end of the month
...leftovers for lunch
...sausage/potatoes/cabbage for dinner
...watching "Finding Your Roots."
...to bed.

Maybe, just maybe, I can work in a little sewing.

Friday, July 25, 2014

My view, my world

Ingredients for a great morning.

This is actually two projects, the We All Sew Churn Dash and some bow tie blocks I'm making.  I was cruising Google Images on my lunch hour the other day, looking at bow tie quilts and came across a wonderful one.  Well, many wonderful ones, but this one really caught my eye.  I decided that the best way to clear off the solid and bright/floral/geometric scraps that had accumulated on my cutting table would be to make them all into bow tie blocks.  Best way, not fastest way. 

I'm still working on the hand-quilting of the Churn Dash restoration.  I use the blue water erasable pen to mark the Baptist Fan arcs, so I'm ultra-careful to spray them down with water, really soak them through and through, as soon as I get one set of arcs finished.  Then I've got some time to wait while it dries so I pick up these other projects.  I guess I could go downstairs and clean house or do laundry, but why, really?

I'm off this Friday and next; these are the last of the summer four-day work weeks.  I could definitely do this year-round.

My coffee cup appears empty, so I guess I will have to go downstairs.  I think I need one of those little Keurigs to keep in the sewing room.

Friday, May 30, 2014

New churn dashes

Blogger is being funny about adding pictures this morning. It took forever to get these two on.  I'm fitting these in as I take little breaks from the hand-quilting of the churn dash restoration.  I've probably said before that I have no problem with having multiple projects going on at the same time.  I do that at work, right?  I don't just work on one event or project at a time, I have many projects going on, all in different stages.  So what's wrong with having a number of quilt projects going on at the same time?  Keeps things fresh, I think!

I feel awful.  I think I accidentally called someone at 4:45 this morning as I was trying to turn off my alarm.  (I use my phone as my alarm clock).  I'm not sure how that happened, but it started dialing a number.  It wasn't a number I recognized, and wasn't someone in my contacts, obviously.  So very sorry if you were disturbed, which most people would be at that hour.  I will text the number later with an apology.

Speaking of texting, there was a woman sitting next to me at a funeral yesterday who was texting the whole time!  At a funeral!  I had to make myself imagine that she was carrying on some very urgent conversation regarding an impending organ transplant or someone's burning house to keep me from giving her "the look."  Of course, now that I've woken someone up at 4:45 a.m., I have no room to talk about cell phone misuse, but there it is.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Bernina - We All Sew Churn Dash

It happens every time I restore a quilt - I fall in love with whatever block is in the quilt and have to make some.

Serendipitously enough, just as I started working on the restoration of the church dash quilt in the previous post, I saw that Bernina and blogger Amy Smart were working together on a sew-along of churn dash blocks.

The directions are great if you've never done a churn dash before.  I'm not following the cutting directions exactly because I'm going scrappy - as I usually do.  I'm using anything fairly bright that I find in my scrap bins plus a lot of solids that I've been pulling together.

There's a Flickr group for anyone sewing along in the sew-along.  Fun to look at.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Before and during

This is my latest restoration project, a not-so-old but loved-to-near-death churn dash.  In fact, when the client brought it to me, I first told her I didn't think there was anything I could do for her quilt.  The sashing was shredded, basically. There was almost no quilting left.  The batting was in balled-up wads.  In most households, this would have been a dog bed years ago.  I'm almost ashamed to say that that's exactly what it would have been in my house.  It had a number of small stains that looked like ketchup but could have been who-knows-what!  I'm going to go with ketchup.

The blocks are an assortment of 70's-ish dress prints.  There's a variety of fiber content, which meant a variety of shrinkage amounts as the quilt was washed, which I guess contributed to the shredded sashing as the blocks pulled away from each other.

I agreed to take the blocks apart to see if there was something I could do with them - a smaller quilt of all the best ones, or something.  I ended up  being able to save all of the blocks except one.  The white background was the same fabric as the backing, so where I needed to replace background pieces I had "reserve stock."  I mended the blocks that needed mending and then I reset them all - a trick because they were all different sizes now, on account of the difference in shrinkage (and because while they were made with much love, they were rather casually measured and sewed together.)  It was a real challenge to my squaring-up abilities.  I still don't know how flat it lie once the quilting is finished, but I don't think that's the client's foremost concern.

So here's the top all put back together (except for the borders).  I'm quilting now.  I could make out faint signs of Baptist Fan hand quilting in the original. I hope it will look like the original quilting, but there was so little of it left, I can't really be sure.  I hope the client likes it!  I should be finished in a month or so. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

When I find myself in times of trouble

When I was about 24-years-old, my brothers and sisters and I spent about 9 months watching our mother die from colon cancer.  On one of her last days, my brother Donald and I sat together quietly in her hospital room one long afternoon while she slept.  Neither of us had said anything for the longest time when I saw Don reach into his pocket and pull out one of his business cards and a pen.  He turned the card over, wrote something on it, and handed it to me.  He had written, "And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me," from the Beatles' song Let it Be.  It comforted him to write it, and it comforted me to read it.

It seems there is always a need for comfort in our lives, at least there always is in mine.  No one has a perfect, stress-free life.  We have lovely stress-free, joy-bringing, bliss-filled moments, but they are all too fleeting to be cherished for anything more than a minute and a memory. 

Yet there is still a light that shines on us.  God used Jeremiah to say it in a different way, one that never fails to bring me comfort. “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). I can’t tell you how many times I have leaned on Jeremiah.  I only know one thing about the future:  God is already there.  And if God is there, I can go there, too.

One of the most comforting things I ever heard came to me as sort of a second-hand story.  I know the person who told me the story had no idea then that it would mean so much to me since she told it to me, about 12 or 13 years ago.  I was working part-time at a different college than the one I work at now.  My boss was a happy, bright young Christian woman.  One day she received word that the husband of a good friend about her age or a little older had died unexpectedly.  Michelle, my boss, was distraught, because while Michelle’s friend was a Christian, she knew the husband was not.  Michelle went to the funeral with a heavy heart and afterwards broke down in front of her friend, the new widow.  She told her friend how upset she was and why.  Her friend took her by the shoulders (maybe figuratively) and firmly said, “Now stop it, Michelle, or you’re going to block the blessing.”  

“Don’t block the blessing” is now something I say to myself whenever something awful happens, or whenever I think something awful is about to happen (which as we all know can be worse than the real awful thing actually happening).  It makes me remember to acknowledge God’s presence in the awfulness, because it is God’s presence that gives me hope – and comfort. 

It is the blessing of God's comforting Presence always and everywhere that keeps us from becoming totally hopeless when external forces try to rob us of peace and comfort; of health and wholeness.  It is the blessing of God's comforting Presence, the Light that shines on us even when it is cloudy, that helps us take that next step and then the next one, and the next, knowing he is with us however rocky the road.

So I thank you, God, for Donald, for Jeremiah, for Michelle and Michelle’s friend, and thank you God for Paul McCartney.  Thank you most of all for your Son, the source of all comfort.  “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NIV)  Amen.