Saturday, March 16, 2019

still sewing, 'cause there's no sowing yet!

FIRST- Please know that I have not been ignoring your comments! I have not been able to leave comments on other blogs, either. I am in the midst of a technologic snafu that I cannot figure out. I plan to head down to our library on Wednesday afternoon, where there is a tech guru available for free help. I may bake her some goodies if she has the answers to my problems!
Recently, a small gallery space was created in the lobby at the gym where I work hard. There are three of us who work out together in the morning who are also quilters. We were invited to hang some of our work for the first installation in the space. Above, you can spot some of my quilted wallhangings..."Up on Braintree Hill", "Orion" and "Meadow's Ebb".
 "Be the Light" hangs close to the front door of our gym space.
This stunning bed quilt was stitched by my friend Lee. She calls it "I Miss Belmian's", and we all miss that sweet little five and dime store that closed on Main Street down in town. It sold fabric, underwear, embroidery floss, kitchen goods, cleaning supplies, cards, office supplies (and maple creemees from a window in the summertime).
This little quilt was sewn by my friend Susan, who works down in Woodstock at Billings Farm . Susan is part of the book club I enjoy, and dang, she knows how to cook for our potluck suppers.
This is Susan's too, above. I confess my heart skips a beat when I come in from the cold and stomp the snow off my boots and catch sight of these quilts hanging together, evidence of deepening friendships I have here in Vermont.
This week I sewed up the next block for our VTMQG block of the month. It's called "Half-Timbered".  I see those pesky puckers where the paper piecing had to be "unched" just a bit to get things to line up...and I plan to tame them when it comes to quilting time! 

I saw somewhere that today is National Quilting Day, for what it's worth. Just like "International Women's Day" I think one single day a year is entirely inadequate to handle the energy of both women AND quilting. But, hey, no one asked me. :-)

Friday, March 15, 2019

handmade joy exchange 2019

When Anne put out the call for her most recent Handmade Joy Exchange, I raised my hand and said, "I'm in!" Anne sent me the name and address of a woman in India. I checked out Prerna's Instagram account and then I waited for the muse. I must confess, held by the grip of our steady winter here in Vermont, it took a while to become inspired. As I was looking through my fabric stash for another project, my eye was caught by some fabric I have had for years. 
Prerna has a lovely way with a paintbrush, and she produces gorgeous paintings of birds native to India. When I spotted this bird fabric and then looked out the window at the grey and bleak landscape, I was stuck by the contrast!
Imagine a bunting stitched of birds from North America, slung across a window in verdant India?  Bingo. My project was underway. I do hope it has brought a bit of joy to Prerna!
And look at what arrived in my mailbox! This beautiful watercolor painting came from Chris Mechery, who also lives in India. Chris included a monogrammed keyring and a sweet tulip card.  I must tell you, friends, that this bolt of color was most welcomed here in snowy Vermont! You can find more of Chris's inspiring art here. 

This morning when I learned of the grim terrorist attack in New Zealand, I felt overwhelmed with frustration, anger, bitterness and grief. It followed me to the gym, where I worked some of it out. And then I turned my attention, instead, to the amazing youth around the world, striking to bring attention to global climate change, all under the leadership of Greta Thunberg who calls herself " a 16 year old climate activist with Asperger's".

And now this...Anne's account of her Handmade Joy Exchange. 

Yes please.

I will find hope and joy wherever I can these days.

Thank you Anne, for getting us organized once again.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

sanctuary in books

Have you been finding sanctuary in books like I have?

I've loved wandering through this especially deep and dark winter with Ted Kooser. His words have so often been a reflection of what's going on here at our bit of earth...both outdoors and in my heart. Reading his collection of winter poetry has become an annual tradition for me.

I was listening to Weekend Edition on NPR a while back. I was washing dishes and had to take a deep breath in and out when the tears started to come. A school principal makes sure all her students get a bedtime story by reading Listen here. 

And how about the little boy who grew up in a library in New York City? Literally! Listen to the StoryCorps magic here.

When my funky bookclub meets each month we share a potluck supper, crafted around the book. We have had some wonderful meals together and our conversations ramble from the book we've read, to current events, to family challenges and celebrations. Sometimes we'll even screen a book based movie.

And Mary Oliver's words have become even more precious in the last few months.

How about you, friends...are you finding some comfort in words these days?


Sunday, March 10, 2019

first things first

I've resurfaced!

Let's revisit the Accountability Challenge I set out in early February. How did I do? To be honest I had mixed results. I did finish "Maureen's cardigan", and it has really long arms...enough to cover my wrists and more! Such an exquisite treat that could only happen because this sweater is handmade. Commercially made sweaters don't even come close to this sleeve length.
I bought the bamboo buttons online from Katrinkles. You can find lots of really fun stuff made by Katy here. She's got needle gauges, stitch markers, buttons, custom tags and all sorts of other goodies for fiber artists.
I also got the next Block of the Month put together for the "Summer Sampler" by Fresh Lemon Quilts. It's called "Versailles".

I got two Tula Tuesday blocks sewn. You can see them here. I had hoped to get four sewn. Oh well. My enthusiasm for this project is running out anyway. I think I'll sew one more, giving me a total of 36. I'll be working on ideas on how to set them into a quilt top. Lap size, I think. It will be my "bit of earth" quilt. I'm thinking about making a little book, so that when you open the book the quilt block will be on the left hand page and the inspiration on the right hand page.
One project I did finish, which wasn't on my accountability list was embroidering another block for the Social Justice Sewing Academy. I stitched over a piece designed and glued down by a young person I will never meet. I have sewn a few squares for this amazing organization before, but this time I was asked to embroider a quote from Obama. I had just listened to an On Being podcast with Teju Cole who spoke at length about hope. (The episode is called "Sitting Together in the Dark", and you can find it here. ) I could not resist. I appliqu├ęd the four letters over Obama's head and thought of all the kids who are pulled into learning about agency, oppression and finding their own voices through this intersection of fabric and empowerment. Whew!

I also got my homemade Valentine's cards into the mail...a smaller batch than usual, but it felt good to take some snail mail down to the postoffice in town on a freezing, snowy day. xo

I got my Handmade Joy Exchange gift into the mail (to India!) and will post about that when Anne gets her post organized. I struggled a good bit with what to make this year, but in the end I think it worked out just right.

Last but not least, (if you are still reading!), I did finish my quilt top, with lots of math help from Batman. I pulled fabrics from my stash and measured the pieces for the back and the piecing for that  will happen this week, if all goes well. Once that's back from the quilter, I'll do a "reveal".


How about you Beverly and Vicki? If you got your projects finished up and would be willing to send pictures along I would be delighted to post them here. No pressure, just an invitation.

I will be here more often, I've got a nice list of things to share with you. Thanks for putting up with the ebb and flow here lately. This winter has really called on us to be gentle with ourselves, because it  has NOT been gentle out in the snow and cold and wind of this Vermont winter 2019!

Hope you are well, friends. xo

Thursday, March 7, 2019

still here

Sunshine on the deck,
snow coming across the valley.


And so very cold.

I'm still here, just behind on posting.
I've got a long list of things to share,
will be back tomorrow or Saturday.


Monday, February 25, 2019

nearly a cardigan

quick check in...
because our accountability challenge is nearing the end...

this sweater is blocking down in my sewing studio
and the buttons are on order!

how about you?
any progress to share?


Thursday, February 21, 2019

blue, indigo, grey, silver and lavender

It is a Ted Kooser*  kind of day up here on the ridge.
I know that there are those who cannot imagine living 
in a place like this,
with it's deep cold and grey days and blustery winds...
but, oh,
this place brings tears to my eyes more times than I care to tell.

Is it blue or indigo or grey or silver or lavender?
Does it matter?
It's just here,
being gorgeous and uncomplicated and breathtaking.

*Poet Ted Kooser, see Winter Morning Walks: one hundred postcards to Jim Harrison