Monday, April 30, 2007

Baby Clothes to College Quilt

This quilt top (below), even more now that it's sewn together, reminds me of quilts my grandmother used to make for us. This quilt, by the way, is for a niece who's going off to Harvard next year. Funnily enough, when she was born, i was finishing my Masters at Harvard. Since a number of friends and family had their first babies that year, when i was back in Berkeley looking for work that summer, I sewed a bunch of baby clothes. Mia was one of my first victims. Her mom said "No pink!" so i made her a chic looking black romper with white Japanese calligraphy all over it and red buttons. Since then, my auntly activities have waned, i must admit, but hearing that she was going off to college inspired me to get cracking once again. I suppose the next thing will be a wedding quilt.
Nancy held it up for a photo.

Woman vs. Quilt
You wouldn't believe how hard a time we had getting a decent shot of this quilt top! Here you can see Nancy wrestling with it. The bush in the background turned out to be thorny too. The shop we wanted to go to was closed, so the hunt for border fabric will have to wait for another day. We did, however, have a nice lunch in a garden with Nancy's husband.
Quilting Lore

Noodling around on the internet today, i ran across some quilting lore, some of which i'd heard before. Thought i'd post it just for fun. Anyone heard any other interesting lore?
  • At a quilting bee, "shake up a cat" in the newly-completed quilt, then stand in a circle around the quilt. The woman toward which the cat heads will be the first to marry. (trying to imagine this poor cat's reaction!)

  • At a quilting bee, wrap an engaged girl in the quilt and roll her under the bed. (No reason is given for this custom!)

  • A bride may not sell whatever dress she's married in, but she can wear it, give it to a younger sister, or cut it up to be used in quilts.
  • the color red should bring love and prosperity to the owner of the quilt.
  • If you make a bedspread, or a quilt, be sure to finish it or marriage will never come to you.
  • If you wash a quilt in snow, it will ease the souls of the dead women who made it.
  • If a hair of yours gets worked into a quilt, it will bind you forever with the recipient of the quilt. (there was also talk of working various charms into the binding or between batting and backing).
  • it's bad luck to quilt on Sunday (I refuse to believe this, since if i did, i wouldn't get much quilting done at all!)

Finally Finished!

Sewed all the blocks together yesterday. Decided to make it 6x9. I brought it to Bremen with me today, to show to my quilting buddy Nancy and so she can help me hunt for a good border fabric. Will post pics later.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Another Sewing Marathon

Finally finished enough blocks for a twin, with a few to spare. I'm making this 6x8 10" blocks. Not sure if this is big enough. Maybe 7x8 would be better? But I like playing with border possibilities, so maybe with the borders, 6x8 will be big enough. I do hope Mia likes it.

I spent most of this morning trimming and ironing the blocks and "trimming the whiskers" as my grandmother used to say about trimming threads.

I still have lots of duplicate nine-patches left to start another Sister's Choice later on. My sister says she will send me some as well. Maybe my next Sister's Choice will even be for meee! Below are a few of the blocks i especially liked.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Day Off to Sew

The semester has begun, so it's been a bit crazy, but Tuesday I had off and since i'd finished all my marking over the weekend, i decided to sew the whole day. I finished about 2o Sister's Choice blocks (the nine-patches were already done and the other pieces were mostly cut out. I'd spent an afternoon matching potential point colors with nine-patches. I'm trying to use a lot of dark colors in the points, to sort of anchor the quilt, but if a block is all light/medium colors, i'll use medium points because I don't like it when the points look as if they're separate from the nine-patch. I think the stars should feel organic.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Spring Organizing

Since i haven't been sewing so much lately, i thought i'd post pics of my newly organized stash. This is just some of it. A few boxes are organized according to projects. Others are just by color or type, e.g. Asian. The large white boxes atop the armoire are full of larger pieces, like for backings. The clear plastic boxes have lids and are stored in a big shelving unit next to the armoire. I plan to install a simple white window shade, like a roman blind, over these shelves to hide the boxes and protect the fabrics from the sun.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thursdays, i do this volunteer gig teaching English to little kids--mainly 4-yr-olds--at the library in my nabe. Believe it or not, there was a slight discipline problem developing, almost solely due to one really great but seriously hyperactive kid. So I instituted a gold star reward system last week and boy did they remind me this week (fortunately, i'd remembered to bring the stars). They're so cute when we read a storybook. Something about stories gets them really excited. They all crowd up as close as possible to the book.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

These pictures are cheating because I took them in Oxford last Spring. Must remember to bring my camera with me tomorrow.
Back in the Saddle

Spring is going full blast here. Trees exploding with blossoms. When you open the windows in the morning, you even smell the blossoms. Today in the teacher's room, a couple of normally dour colleagues--engineers--were marvelling at how much more one notices, as one gets older, the birds singing and the softness and sweetness of the air at this time of year. I notice that i notice these things more since living in a place with a relatively long, grey winter. Another German friend feels that there's no place like Northern Europe in the Spring and i'm beginning to think he may be right, partly just because of the contrast to Winter. But then i've never lived in a place like Montana or Canada.

This was the first long day back at work and i realize that my knee is probably a couple of months away from being back to normal. A former student who didn't know about the operation saw me limping around and asked, "Oh, have we got an owy, owy?"

These Germans are so into Easter! I've known Germans who were still getting Easter baskets from their parents at 50. I must take some pics, e.g. of the giant golden Lindt Bunnyrabbit atop our local supermarket, surrounded by giant hand-made, painted wooden eggs.

I've just had a v relaxing 5 days off from everything. Finally got my flat almost in decent order. The fabrics are all neatly arrayed according to color/project/size. Not exactly photo-worthy, but a great feeling having "a place for everything and everything in its place," as my grandmother used to advise.

The last couple of days, in addition to organizing/cleaning, i got back to work on Imelda's lilypad blocks. Just the lilypads are done, so i can do the appliqué on the train to and from my job in Bremen. I might try making some of the lilies 3-D. I've decided to set them in a sort of random organic pattern over a mosaic of different dark greens. Not sure how that will all work out or whether i'll have enough greens, but am optimistic.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Patient Progress

Hi, just thought i'd say, the knee is better, but still hurts at night if I walk around even close to a normal amount during the day. I decided to use my nordic walking sticks, to avoid limping and so that i can walk around more. I really miss being able to just stroll around as much as i want, but it probably won't be long before everything's back to normal.

The hospital experience was actually kind of fun. I had a really nice roomate who was also there exactly two days, so we talked "about God and the World" as the Germans say. This clinic is connected with a hotel and uses one of their wings, so we got to stay in a luxury hotel room and the food was fabulous. The first day, i was sick from the anaesthetic, so i guess it wasn't so great, but i don't remember anything except how pleasant the whole experience was, probably bcs of the painkillers.

When i was coming out of the anaesthetic, I was a bit confused and dreamy, like someone in a fever. I confided in the nurse that i was afraid the doctor might not do a proper job on my knee because I'm American and anti-Americanism appears to be so rampant in Germany. She reassured me and kept asking me if I was in pain. Funnily, what hurt most was my shoulder, from an old slipped disc problem which had crept back up on me. But my knee also hurt a lot. I asked when I was going to have the operation and she said it had already happened, lifting the sheet to show me the bandage! I thought i was still waiting to be operated on.

They had to keep me in the recovery room longer than usual because my blood pressure was too low. The nurse said, "You can tell us stories from your childhood." I guess they're used to these rambling, loquacious patients in the recovery room. Wonder what else i said that i don't remember.

On the quilting front, i'm still getting organized. Have sorted out most of my stash, but now i want my whole flat/workspace to be totally neat and organized, since i've got this block of time over Easter Weekend and then life will probably be pretty crazy with both my jobs and teaching writing this term.

I'm looking forward to getting back to work on 2-3 quilting projects. Do other people usually work on several things at once or is that an ADD (ADS) thing?