Sunday, August 20, 2017


IN WHICH I BEGIN A NEW PROJECT


This is the beginning of Over and Down Under by Bonnie Sullivan.  It is a simple pattern but the hard part is making sure the 2.5 inch squares of fabric arrange themselves in the right places necessary to create the basket weave look. There are 40 different fabrics.  I ended up putting each of the different fabrics into their own numbered baggies. Soon the patterning made sense and I could dispense with the baggies.  Here is the pattern so you can see what the aim is:


The size on the pattern is 56 inches square which is to small to cuddle under properly-a person's feet would always be sticking out the bottom-how can that be warm and cozy.  So I am thinking of simple ideas on how to enlarge the quilt without losing the really charming essence of it.

Suki (my Juki sewing machine) has been a joy to work with. As I have mentioned before, my piecing skills are non-existent and I would never even attempted this intensively pieced quilt without the fabulous compensating foot that came with Suki and which makes perfect seams:



I am still working on the Hygge Scheepjes CAL 2017.  I have finished the body of the shawl (except for the spacers between the different motif rows) and have crocheted around the body of the shawl 2 times.  After I do the decorative spacer, crochet around the body a couple more times, and do some pretty decorative stitching at the two ends-Viola, fini!!




Maybe you remember on my 1st year blogiversary, I listed upcoming projects.  I have not even looked at any of these since that time.  When I lost my sweet Annie. I turned everything to face the wall as if all my projects were sitting Shiva.  Shiva apparently only lasts for a week or so, but mine are going on 4 months.  They have pretty much left me alone-they have not called to me or nagged me to get on with it.

However, I have ordered some background fabric for the Village quilt. I ordered ombre fabric with a lovely texture from Daiwabo in blue (for sky and water), green (grasses and hillsides), tan (rock walls), and gray (for rock pathways and plaza).  I ordered more than I need so I can play with paints to add some dimensions.

Not a good photo but you can see the ombre



Yesterday I ordered fabric for Yoko Saito's Enchanted Garden pattern from Quiltmania.  Her quilt is in blues, greys and some light tans.  Mine will be different-maybe i can show you my ideas next week.  Here is her pattern.  You can see it is very applique intensive (my favorite).





Found object of the week-from my walk on the wild side


AND NOW 
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN
I saw the neatest quilt the other day.  Its name was "Dangerous Roads".  I wondered if it were an original design so i googled "dangerous roads" to see.  I did not see the quilt (which is an original design) but I did see some of the most amazing roads.

Here is the quilt that began my voyage:


This quilt is by Julie Stocker of Pink Doxies.  I am not big on pieced quilts but this one just captured me. She has a way with color and design and you should check out her site!
http://www.pinkdoxies.com

Anyway....here are some of the insane dangerous roads she let me to:
Atlantic Road in Norway
Dangerous Road in Romania

Tongtian Highway in China

Guoliang Tunnel Road in China


Friendship Highway in Pakistan  AKA The Karakoram Highway

These are just of few of the Dangerous Highways.  If you really want to scare yourself, google this for more!

That's all for this week (that's plenty!).  Happy stitching and see you next week.  Have a good eclipse!!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!








Sunday, August 13, 2017

IN WHICH I THANK YOU FOR THE THOUGHTFUL AND HEALING CONDOLENCES AND
 SHOW YOU MORE OF MY THERAPY HYGGE SHAWL


These are the two sides of the shawl.  You can see my passion for orderliness:  each side repeats the other with the pattern of 2 elements, then 4 elements, then three and then 6.  On each side the motifs are similar in that they are a like motif using related colors but the designs on each are different.  The first is two birds of differing blues and differing pink/rose flowers and green stems.  The second is 2 different sets of upright flower motifs in similar colors.  The third is similar starbursts using the same colors, and the 4th is different vine and leaves with 6 buds each.

The little sections set off by the yellow yarn are reserved for decorative stitching which will separate the rows.  I have not decided what that will be composed of either by color or pattern.

Here is the shawl laid out and seen from both ends.  You can see what the final section will include the rainbow bauble stitching that appears in the first photo.  The bauble stitching is very charming but you can also see my lack of crocheting skills in the wonky edges.  Oh well!



So I am nearing the end of this project-just do the bauble stitching, figure out the section dividers, and crochet a few times around the shawl when completed.  


I think this photo is interesting.  It is a close up of the cross stitching surface decoration on top of the dark gray stone washed Scheepjes yarn.  I ordered the kit from England but found I needed more shades of the colors and some colors of the kit did not appeal to me like the sharp red and the bright yellow.  So I ordered a second batch of the Scheepjes Catona yarn mostly in differing shades of individual colors (Catona yarns form the decorative shipping).  The Wool Warehouse in England is such a lovely place to order from and, even with overseas expedited shipping, was cheaper than shopping for this pretty yarn in the US.

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I have received so many thoughtful, kind, and sympathetic condolences from my blogging friends.  Your encouraging words meant so much to me and I can never really thank you enough!  One thing I have discovered during this grieving time is how many other mothers have lost children to untimely ends.  Losing a child must be one of the worst things that can happen to a parent but we have all suffered similar grief at losing someone dear.  We all understand the pain and hurt of it.  It strips away differences and makes us all the same.  Thank you again.  Your words have meant so much to me.

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I have been collecting found items on my walks in the woods.  I am not classifying or categorizing them as I have with birds.  With birds, I can tell you which family one belongs to by looking at the beak or instance.  Not so with my found items from my walks.  I will follow the bard's advice when Romeo says:


What's in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other word would smell as sweet;


So no names or categories-the found item will stand on its own:





And this beautiful butterfly does!

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Last but not least, we must not forget our moment of Zen:

This outstanding photograph taken of a man gathering flowers from lily pods in Vietnam.  Attribution is below the photo.

Well, looks like I am back blogging again and it feels okay!  So happy stitching to you until we meet again!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

IN WHICH I TURN 70 AND REALIZE 
I AM A BIONIC WOMAN!

It's true! I had my 70th !!!!! birthday ( must be some mistake-somebody counted wrong) and realize I am part technology and part human.  I have several bionic parts: eye lens implants, new teeth, 2 titanium knees, and  2 tiny implements to enhance my hearing.  I am proud of my status as part human, part android-makes me feel very modern.


Hygge shawl I have been working on while relegated to my recliner
based on Scheepjes Cal 2017



**************************

I have not posted in over three months: we have had the most terrible time that a family can have.  My younger daughter Ann died May 9 in Aberdeen, Scotland where she was a PhD student.  Ann died of complications of juvenile type 1 diabetes.  She was 33 and beloved of her family.

In case you don't know, there are two types of diabetes-type I and type II.  Type II is the one most everyone is familiar with-the usual adult onset diabetes which can be somewhat controlled by proper diet, weight, and exercise.  Type I, or juvenile diabetes, strikes children or young people and is an auto immune disease.  Generally, the child becomes ill with a serious virus (as Ann did) and the immune system attacks the pancreas, which is the source of insulin in the body, and destroys it.  The child will the spend the rest of their lives testing the level of their blood sugars 6-8 times a day and injecting insulin several times a day. The body needs insulin in its system to survive and the person with type I diabetes can only receive insulin with injections. There are no vacations from this.

Ann was 8 when she became diabetic.  I always worried about her as she was so petite-she weighed 40 pounds as an 8 year old and seem thin and delicate. Well, she was not delicate and with her scientific and mathematical mind managed her diabetes very well.  She was diagnosed 25 years ago and, at that time, the endocrinologists all prescribed a regime of "tight control" which meant keeping your blood sugar levels comparable to a non diabetic. This involved frequent testing and lots of insulin.  Their method for teaching "tight control" included vivid descriptions of blindness, loss of limbs, kidney disease etc if blood sugars levels where not kept within certain limits.

The scenarios of possible devastating outcomes which would strike a type I diabetic always caused Ann much anxiety.  Consequently, she was always very much "in control" to the point where she sometimes took too much insulin-which happens to all type I diabetics.  Too much insulin causes a person to loss consciousness, and, if not revived with some sugar, to die.

This moment is the saddest of my life.  I will never be whole again but after 3 months, I am no longer lost and adrift at sea.  Some wind has begun blowing in my sails and my hand is once again on the rudder.  To further the devastation of Ann's death, I became infected with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever a few days before.  I was quickly put on doxycycline which killed the bacteria but was forced to spend 4 weeks in my recliner with extreme fatigue.

To have some occupation, I decided to join the Scheepjes cal (crochet along) 2017.  I have a blogger friend in France who is making this shawl which I long admired.  I am not much of a crocheter but I loved the surface decoration of this garment.



All I wanted was a simple project where I just simply followed the directions, make a copy,  and not think about how it could changed for better or worse.  That did not last long-I noticed right away that the bright red criss cross sectioning between the design areas was not sympatico. 

Life always asserts itself in the midst of saddness.  Life in this case being the strong dislike of the color red used in this project.  I began to rethink the entire design.  I spent hours on pinterest (my favorite) looking for ideas especially the pinterest page of Jose Koster who has many images of what others have made using the Hygge as a begin point and lots of ideas.

 https://www.pinterest.com/joko66/hygge-cal/

The image at the top of this post is my version of  the center block.  Next week I will show you some more.

I have been taking walks with my husband 3 times a week-we have the loveliest place to walk.  It is an abandoned highway going to Truman Lake and is filled with flowers, trees, and fauna.  Here is the walkway:



That's all for now.  I am glad to be recovering somewhat and back to the work/play I live for.
I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social,Whoop Whoop, and Off the Wall Friday, and Finish or Not!




Ann's Obituary

With great sadness I announce the death of Ann Marbourg  May 9, 2017 of complications following her 25 year battle with Type 1 diabetes. Ann died in Aberdeen, Scotland where she was studying for a Ph.D. specializing in developing programs to assist people in underdeveloped and disadvantaged parts of the world.

Ann was a lifelong student. At five, she knew the names of all of the dinosaurs then known, their taxonomy and ecology. At seven, she studied Greek mythology and knew the stories and actions of the gods. At ten, she was carrying around a book of Shakespeare's plays and laughing at all of Puck’s adventures. In the pre electronic age, she was always up and to the encyclopedia to check on a fact to get it right. Later in the smartphone era she prided herself on finding and checking facts quicker on the draw than any gunslinger.

At 16, Ann was enrolled in a large Midwestern University for her two final years of high school making straight A's. Her course work included physics, chemistry, biology and English, but she excelled in mathematics completing all three of the foundation courses in the infinitesimal calculus followed by courses in differential equations. It was quite a jolt to see a petite young girl with flowing red hair writing out long equations of 2 and 3 lines across the page like a person doing a quick shopping list.

In Ann’s senior high school year she took the SAT test and achieved a near perfect score missing only one question. She had not studied, nor received tutoring, nor did any special preparation for the SAT. She simply showed up, took a pencil, and went through the questions.

Other activities in high school included being the student director of several plays, a docent at the Wornall House civil war museum, a student assistant at a local museum where she computerized their data, and participation in several archaeological digs, among others.

Ann was a recipient of a National Merit Scholarship. Due to her many activities and achievements, Ann was invited to attend many universities throughout the U.S. including the University of Chicago, the California Institute of Technology, Cornell, and Rice University as well as others. She received a full scholarship to Caltech being one of very few women admitted there at that time. She later transferred to Cornell in New York finding the rigid science at Caltech too constricting.

Ann had a wonderful sense of humor laughing heartily at various comedic groups including the Capitol Steps, Prairie Home Companion, and Shakespeare comedies. But most of all Ann was wonderfully kind, retiring, never one to aggrandize herself. Her favorite novel was Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky because she loved the angelic Sonja who waited 20 years for R to be released from prison. She loved simple quiet, modest figures, but always championed women as equal in every way to the males of the world.

Ann loved to go to new places. She was an exchange student to France for her high school sophomore semester and became fluent in that language. Later, at 22 she traveled further to China to teach English there, learn Chinese, and to see for herself the nature and substance of that country. But Ann loved cold and snowy climes most. She lived and worked in Alaska as a researcher for several years. She was teaching herself Norwegian in the hopes of residing in Scandinavia. Her last address was in rainy cool Aberdeen Scotland which she found to be particularly enjoyable and compatible.

She is survived by her sister Mary, who has been residing in Northern India for several years, and by her mother and father who live in Missouri, U.S.A. We will always miss her.




Sunday, May 7, 2017

IN WHICH I GO AWOL FOR A WEEK AND IGNORE MY RESPONSIBILITIES 
(WHAT FUN!)

 I guess just laying out accomplishments for the past year and thinking about the upcoming year totally flummoxed me and I escaped into netflix bingeing and irregular hours.  It did not help that my husband was away from home this week-as I told you before, we live in each others pockets so when he is gone, I am half a person searching for my other half.  

I am beginning to regain some equilibrium and played with my lovely new Derwent Inktense pencils.  WOW are these nice.  Here is the quick and easy project I have been working on.  I first double stitch quilted the design
and then painted in the colors.  I used 8 colors and I used aloe vera as a fixative-not that I know anything about this but just what I have read from other designers who use Derwent Inktense.  

I think this is very pretty and I love the colors.  Here is the quilted version before painting:
In a way, it is hard to be presented with a tabla rasa-a blank canvas- with no limitations or hints as to how to proceed.  Limitations really help a designer. 

This design is from Edith Choiniere.  She has a free design each month.  Her webpage is:

https://edithchoiniere.wixsite.com/collection-inedith/pff-patterns-free-forever

She has interesting designs and is generous with her ideas and teachings.



YEARLY 
VISITATION


Once a year for a couple weeks in the spring, we are visited by Red breasted Grosbecks.  One is at the birdfeeder as I write.  They are colored as if painted by an artist with an eye to perfect composition.  My photos do not do this justice to this bird's beauty.





AND NOW...
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN!
(I love purple)

Ah spring!  and what is more appropriate to the season than flowers especially beautiful, many colored tulips and tulip fields from Holland:



The obligatory windmill!




 The fields are unbelievable themselves in their color and beauty let alone a single tulip!  They look like abstract art!  If you follow Aunt Reen's blog
 http://auntreensplace.blogspot.com/ 
 you know she is in Holland right now exploring quilt shops and everything else she can find in Holland.  Maybe she is seeing some of these beautiful fields.

That's all for this week.  Happy quilting until we meet again!


I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag, BOMS,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,Whoop Whoop, and Off the Wall Friday, and Finish or Not!



Sunday, April 30, 2017

IN WHICH WE CELEBRATE OUR ONE YEAR BLOGIVERSARY AND INCLUDE A RETROSPECTIVE AND A LOOK FORWARD!

An anniversary is a good time to look backwards to review how things have gone and to look forward expectantly to the future.

My first posts were about my terror of free motion quilting and how likely my use of it would ruin my beautiful appliqued quilts!  A healthy concern! My first posts also listed what I was then working on and my projects for the foreseeable future.  These included:

1.  Quilt Mountmellick.  Did that-completed-rather proud of the job after finishing!  I have done a lot of FMQ practice this year thru classes from Craftsy, thru Lori Kennedy, thru the Sit Down Free Motion Quilters blog and just on my own learning motifs,  quilting images and patterns, and just generally practicing.  My confidence level has really risen.

2. Quilt Caswell.  Didn't happen-put in next year's stack.  This is perhaps my favorite quilt I ever made so I did not want to rush into it. 
3.  Finish what at that time was a Stonefields quilt from a pattern by Susan Smith but morphed into the funnest quilt I have ever made--Chuck, Susan, and Me which incorporates blocks from Chuck Nohara, Susan Smith, and ones designed by me. I ended up making 144 blocks altogether.  the quilting process has begun.




4.  Make Sweet Surrender:  Been there, done that!  Got the gold medal!  Pattern and fabric:
Finished quilt:

5.  And last, Village quilt-not much progress on this quilt during the past year except for mental, invisible, but none the less, meaningful work.  This is a Yoko Saito pattern thru my favorite magazine, Quiltmania and my version in soft taupes.

OK-END OF RETROSPECTION.  LET'S LOOK AHEAD!

1.  My first emphasis for this year will be to continue "perfecting" free motion quilting.  I am looking at a class by Judi Marsden on Iquilt.  She quilted a stunning version of Sweet Surrender so learning some techniques from her would be invaluable.  I also purchased two study books:

Margaret Gunn is, of course, a reknown quilter and her advice, pointers, and lessons will teach much.  I want to practice, practice, practice!

2.  Quilt these two babies.  Judi Marsden's version will be my model for SS and I have a couple of ideas for my Caswell.


3.  Finish quilting Chuck, Susan, and Me.  This is doable-I am having fun with it.

4.  Before the cold weather sets in again in the fall (we always keep the temps in the house a bit low so we don't hog the world's resources), put together and quilt Over and under.  Think about how to make it bigger than 60x60 so it is a good snuggle.


5.  Keep playing with fabric paints.  I recently purchased some Derwent Inktense pencils and WOW are these great!  I have a pattern to quilt in different colors (I think) and then paint.  This is a simple pattern with lots of room for different colors and ample spacing.

6.  Pull together the infamous Village quilt.  A photo of this project is above.  I want to dye some fabric in soft taupy colors of water, sky, grasses, rock walls, and stone walkways.  I want to do some embroidery on this quilt such as lots of flowers, some fish, definition of rock etc.  Lots of work to be done but I am feeling enthusiastic.

7.  Quiltmania does it to me every year!  They always manage to suck me into their world.  This year it is Yoko Saito's quilt Imaginary Garden.   Lovely!

This photo does not do it justice.  The quilt is a lovely combination of applique and embroidery.  I would do it in a palette full of soft colors and in a smaller size than the bed size quilt she has made.

OMG!  I'm exhausted!  
See you next week!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag, BOMS,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,Whoop Whoop, and Off the Wall Friday, and Finish or Not!