Saturday, April 20, 2019

All Or Most Of My Baltimores

Since I am in the middle of quilting the Wheel of Fortune and have no pictures to show yet, I thought I would post my various Baltimore Album quilts. I have made quite a few over the years but I don't have photos of all of them. So here are some of my Baltimores:


This is not all of my album output--I made at least two more that I never got photos of--and these are in no particular order with the exception of the last photo being the last completed.The quilt that the cat is on is shown twice, once with the cat and once without the cat. The details on that one are even more elaborate than on the last quilt but it is only about 50 inches square. I do enjoy making album quilts.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Poor, Poor Notre Dame

Apparently restoration work on Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral accidentally started a fire which has now consumed the spire and most of the upper interior woodwork as well as a large part of the roof. Given the low melting point of lead one can only hope that the stained glass windows survive without much damage. While the cathedral was begun in the 12th century, numerous restorations have happened over the centuries including that entire spire in about 1844 so there are probably still plans for the work. I hope that someone puts up information about how to support the rebuilding effort. This building isn't simply a place for Roman Catholics to pray but a world treasure that millions of people visit every year. The Notre Dame Foundation website was not working a little while ago so perhaps someone is putting up new information. 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Dinosaurs With Feathers

There was a horrific story about an elderly man in Florida who was killed by his cassowary. No one could call it his pet cassowary since they aren't subject to taming, but the 75 year old man fell down and then was attacked by the bird.

Years ago when I went to Australia to swim in a meet I was fascinated by the variety of wildlife. It isn't just in zoos or wildlife parks either because Sydney has a park near the ocean and Government House that has all sorts of critters both walking and flying around including ibis and fruit bats. I think the park may be more than one park as I know the Royal Botanical garden is there but there is a much less formal space adjacent to that. Some locals told me the ibis were major pests, more or less like big pigeons begging for food and pooping everywhere, but I was mesmerized. Just sitting on a park bench and this three foot tall bird comes up and looks me in the eye as if to ask where I had hidden the food and watching the fruit bats drop out of the trees to fly away when the sun goes down is an unforgettable sight. It would have been unforgettable if they were the Mexican bats I am used to but fruit bats are bigger than my terrier so seeing hundreds of them fly out over the harbor is mesmerizing.

Anyway, I took a tourist trip on a bus out to the Blue Mountains after the meet was over and it stopped at a wildlife sanctuary/petting zoo.  In addition to holding a baby kangaroo and petting a koala, I saw my first real wombat (way bigger than I expected) and my first cassowary. I called my husband and told him I had stood right next to a dinosaur. Even with a chicken wire fence between us I was cautious. Those feet are pretty much what I always thought a meat eating dinosaur's feet would look like and certainly looked like lethal weapons.

It's too bad I was too busy to seek out quilting stores since Australia has such a thriving quilt culture. I did bring home some aboriginal art but other than my tourist bus trip I didn't have time for anything besides the swimming and the business of being on the board of directors of the FGG. I did get to attend a couple of events at Government House and the Sydney Opera and ride a ferry out to Bondi beach and of course I did get to swim in the wonderful Sydney Olympic pool in the same lane that Ian Thorpe starred in.  

Monday, April 8, 2019

New Top All Sewn

Today I finished the Wheel of Fortune top. I have wanted to make this quilt for several years, tried once before with no success at all (didn't even sew any seams), got busy doing other things, and finally came back to the project. I really like the strong nature of the quilt--the bold colors and powerful design. As I wrote before, there are many versions of this quilt. My two real departures from the classic are the wedge shaped border pieces and the corner blocks.

I still have to press it and mark it but I will be layering sometime tomorrow. Then I think I will pack up most of my fabrics to move to the new house. We have been taking inconsequential stuff over for a while to lighten the load for the real move. I don't think we need to worry about someone stealing my old flannel sheets or my boxes of ancient quilting magazines. I suppose it's possible someone might want my boxes and boxes of fabrics but it would take a truck and a pallet at the least if they wanted to get in and out quickly.

This is out in front of our house and the wind was blowing a little so there are some clean rocks on the corners to hold it down.

Trump and Stephen Miller are doing a slow motion version of the Saturday Night Massacre of Nixonian fame. 33 year old Miller has some very hard core ideas about immigration both legal and illegal and he is directing the purge of the entire DHS. Since the initials stand for Department of Homeland Security, one wonders what the blunderkind thinks he is doing by ousting the secretary, the head of the Secret Service, the head of ICE, and the head of the Border Patrol. One also wonders where the replacements will come from. Perhaps some special deal from MBS or Kim Jong Un has been reached. I cannot say I have approved of Trump's immigration or homeland security up to now, but I did understand that the folks who had the jobs had experience with cyber security, the military, the law, etc. Stephen Miller has never been anything at all but a far right party apparatchik, neither liked nor respected his entire life--incapable of organizing a groom's party in a limousine let alone your national security.

Friday, April 5, 2019

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

I have written previously about not entering quilt shows. There are abundant reasons not to enter and very few incentives to enter for me, but I saw a blurb in the newest edition of AQ magazine about a show featuring oak leaf and reel quilts in their ongoing series in Paducah about new quilts from old patterns. There was a website address and information about the ongoing contests so I went there.

Okay. Turns out I could never ever enter a national quilt show because the instructions indicate that the quilt goes to them and doesn't come back to the quilter for two years. That's if you don't win anything or aren't exhibited. It also turns out that the current contest is the same quilt pattern (or any of its other variations) that I am making now. Unless there is some subtle mind control message (joke) in quilting magazines, I didn't choose this pattern because of the contest since I didn't know there was a contest.

I picked the pattern a long time ago and held off making it because I don't usually make pieced quilts and this one had bias pieces and curved pieces and tricky piecing. I finally challenged myself to make it because I couldn't decide on my next applique project after the Album. It has been fun as well as being instructive--not a bad thing at my age.

The other funny coincidence of the new quilts from old patterns contest (which turns out to be an ongoing project of the folks in Paducah but I don't pay attention to that stuff) is that last year's block was Oak Leaf and Reel. I made an Oak Leaf and Reel quilt from very old blocks that I wrote about before (10/22/14). I purchased the blocks from an established dealer and they were very old, approximately 1840-1850. I know there are all sorts of taboos from quilt historians about messing with these old blocks and old fabrics but I think I was both sensitive to the history and careful with the product. That quilt remains one of my favorites.

 If you want to know more about how this was deconstructed and reconstructed, you can go back to the 10/22/14 entry, but in the meantime please enjoy this classic style quilt made from old blocks but faithful to the original. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Pix of New Project

My husband has two more days of his IMRT which is cause for celebration. There are no guarantees of anything in life but we have every expectation that his prognosis will be good. His brother had a more rare, more aggressive type of prostate cancer, plus he lived on the big island in Hawaii where the health care is spotty at best, especially if one is not a rich tourist. Even rich tourists have to go to Oahu to get any kind of advanced treatment. I'm not pointing fingers at rich tourists but rather pointing out that the choices made in life can have unexpected consequences. So learning how to surf and dropping out of college to go to Hawaii didn't lead to fame or fortune for my husband's brother but he chose that life and from all indicators was happy with the choice until it killed him. He loved making ukeleles, surfing, and taking care of his mother and wife and two kids.

My husband's path was different and his prostate cancer is different as well. We know that because if he had the kind his brother had he would already have died. The radiation therapy has advanced to the point where there are very few side effects. We won't know more until July when he gets his psa checked again. If it is back to low, then all signs are positive. Fingers crossed all the way around.

I have been working on the Wheel of Fortune quilt. There are a number of blocks with that name and the one I am using is not as complicated as some, but it still has its moments of problems. Making a quilt like this is great fun for someone such as I who has a fabric stash that stretches over decades and styles. I am trying to use some of the older pieces but I don't have any particular plan. These are still loose, unpressed blocks (except for the seam pressing as they are sewn), and probably won't end up in this order.

 Right now the plan is to make 15 blocks but I might make more and I might make fewer. 15 makes a twin sized quilt and I don't have any twin sized beds or any grandchildren. So it might end up being 24 blocks to finish at a double/queen sized quilt.  

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Cheers For New Zealand

Jacinda Arden, the prime minister of New Zealand, reacted quickly to the horrific massacre at the two mosques in Christchurch. The NZ legislative body voted to ban sales of assault weapons. Cheers for that. Would that other jurisdictions would follow suit.

I will never convince anyone to give up guns but I applaud the people of NZ who supported their legislators in the fight to control their availability.