Wednesday, January 31, 2018

WIP Wednesday - Michael Miller and Quilts for Cure

Remember when I went to QuiltCon and one of the booths was Michael Miller Fabric and they gave out fabric to make blocks for charity quilts?  

Right. So, the way I understand it, Michael Miller collected the blocks and chose Quilts for Cure as the charity to receive the blocks. HollyAnne (of String and Story and QFC) reached out to #machinequiltingbloghop alum Kristin, Vicki, and me for help piecing the quilts in time to be displayed at QuiltCon 2018 in Pasadena.

The blocks are so cute! 

I am in awe of how creative some people are. 

Michael Miller generously added fabric for sashing, backing and binding along with the blocks, Aurifil sent thread, and Hobbs donated the batting. All I needed to do was get it together. 

Daisy critiques my sashing technique and tries to point out my mistake.
Unfortunately I ignored her.
That's what I've been working on. The top is finished and the quilt is basted. I've stitched in the ditch and am working on quilting the individual blocks. But more on that later!

What are you working on?

Monday, January 29, 2018

Off Topic - Snowflakes

Twenty-five years ago this month I became a mother for the first time. It was such a brief moment that most people missed it, but I was forever changed.

That cold January morning, just a few weeks after a positive pregnancy test made us laugh with surprise, I woke up in a pool of blood and knew it was over. The trip to the emergency room only confirmed my worst fears. Our baby was gone before we got a chance to know him.

Another miscarriage eleven months later sent me running for a support group, where I learned words for the snarl of emotions I had tried to tamp down deep inside me for a year. I named my babies, partly to avoid calling them "the first one" and "this last one," but also because they weren't interchangeable. They mattered, they changed me, and they changed my whole world.

The group saved me just by letting me tell my story and say what happened to me. I had to say it out loud enough times to accept that it was real and that I wasn't crazy and that it was okay to be sad and to grieve. I listened to so many other women's stories, always a little stunned at how many different ways there were for the world to come crashing down. I started writing poetry and, somewhere along the way, I grew attached to the imagery of our babies as snowflakes. They are tiny, unique, precious...and too soon gone. I even made a snowflake quilt to represent all six of my children.

That's why it bothers me so much that the word "snowflake" has been adopted and used in such a denigrating way. Somehow, this natural wonder has become an insult to hurl at others when we don't agree with their position or don't understand their feelings. Every time I see it (because you almost never hear it said aloud to a person's face - we are so much braver hiding behind our keyboards) I cringe, especially when it's said by someone I know and like and used to admire.

When did it become a bad thing to recognize people as unique individuals? When did it become selfish not to agree with everything the group believes?

This insult is so often used to describe people about the age of my children. It's become about participation trophies and not being tough enough. Do the people who use this tired refrain ever think about the fact that the kids didn't ask for the trophies? They didn't buy or hand out the trophies. It's my generation who grew fearful as parents and tried to protect our children from every danger. While we may not have gone about it in the healthiest way, you can't question the instinct or the blinding love that motivated this cultural shift.

Are the kids not tough because technology and science have found ways to prevent needless illnesses and deaths? Are they wimps because they rode in booster seats until they were well into elementary school, or did we simply learn how to better protect children in car accidents? Are they less durable than those of us who survived before bike helmets and baby monitors and break-away cords on window shades? Maybe we should ask some of the bereaved parents who fought for increased regulation in hopes that their children didn't die in vain. Maybe we should talk to the inventors and scientists who worked long hours trying to find a way to stop senseless injuries and deaths.

I think the biggest problem in our country today is not that people think they are one of a kind; in fact they are. The biggest problem is we've forgotten that everyone else is, too. Why do we recognize our own distinct traits but try to group everyone else by race or gender or religion or which football team they cheer for?

I hope the next time someone uses my favorite image to hurt someone else I will be brave enough to ask why treating each person as a unique individual is so threatening. I hope we can have a civil conversation and try to find out more about each other's point of view. I pray that, little by little, we can draw closer to one another by hearing each other's stories and recognizing that no two are exactly alike.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

WIP Wednesday - Playing Catch Up

Yes, I know it's Thursday. That's just how my week is going.

I finally feel as though I've recovered from December, and found some time this week to get into my sewing room. I walked in there a few times, moved a few things around, and walked out. I didn't even know where to start. 

Saturday I cleared off my work space, wound some bobbins and threaded my machine. I took some photos and wrote the post about our trip to California.

Sunday I was finally able to cut and sew. I cued up some of the many podcasts waiting in my app (well hello Sandy!) and started in on the last two blocks for the Twilters Bee.

Frances requested these wonky stars in orange and blue. I agreed with these colors only because I adore her. It came out pretty cute, although making something wonky seems harder to me than making it right the traditional way.

Alida is also using stars, but let us pick whichever kind we wanted to make. I chose this Diamond Star from Quilter's Cache. Warning: the cutting instructions leave out the two 3 7/8" squares of each color. 

It felt so good to get back to my machine. Here's hoping that 2018 will find us all creating more and bringing more beauty to the world! What are you working on?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sew Together Stitching Lounge and a Day in Pasadena

Happy New Year! 

December was a whirlwind of activity, as always, with so much going on at work and at home. This year we capped off the holiday celebrating with a few days in Southern California to watch My Middle Child perform at the Rose Bowl with the Redcoats, the University of Georgia's marching band.

We also got in a great visit with my brother and sister-in-law, and my niece and nephews. It was so much fun to hang out with them and enjoy the gorgeous weather when it was bitterly cold at home. We ate so much great food while celebrating "Second Christmas" and New Year's Eve.

I had hoped to meet up with Kristin, but our visit was jam packed and, of course, the holidays are busy for everyone. Kristin did have a quilt shop suggestion for me and my sister-in-law, who is also a quilter. One afternoon while Batman was napping, we snuck away to the Sew Together Stitching Lounge for a little fabric therapy.

This is such a great little shop with the friendliest staff. In addition to some great modern fabrics, they also had a selection of patterns and a few knits for garments. 

Flying will put a damper on shopping for fabric, but I did tuck a few things into my suitcase. 

I couldn't resist this knit by Sarah Watts, a designer with Cotton + Steel, since my littlest nephew is a tiny bit obsessed with octopus and squid. It's called Mystery Food, and it's going to get me over my fear of sewing knits.

I also picked up two prints from the Journey On line from Dear Stella Designs (by Rae Ritchie).

Extra bonus if you are not monogamous in the ways of textiles: there's a yarn and embroidery shop called The Knitting Tree right next door. Go wild.

I thought I was going to get to see an art quilt show as well one day when we were driving around. I spied this banner, and my brother dropped me off at the corner to get the details.

Sadly, they were closed until January 3. But if you're in the area and can get past the fact that they used the phrase "Not Your Grandmother's Quilt Show," it's at the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica through March 18. (I'm looking at you, Frances!)

We had a great visit and are now back to reality. I hope you all had a marvelous holiday season wish you a wonderful 2018!

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