Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"But Mom, Nature is for Hippies"

We had a lovely afternoon at Patrick's Point State Park over the weekend. It's probably one of the most beautiful places in the world, and it's about 20 minutes from my house. We all sat in the sun and ate lunch and I took a short walk down to the beach.

Lovely plants are in bloom right now, and walking on the path, I could hear the sea lions barking from the rocks below.

We didn't stay long, because, as my 15 year old son Alex observed, "Mom, nature is for hippies." I feel I accomplished something in getting us all in the car for an outing, regardless of how short.

I snapped a picture of one of our picnic blankets. I made these blocks back when I was in high school.

I was fascinated with handwork, but didn't know anyone who quilted. This fabric was given to me by an uncle whose business was next door to a clothing factory. Someone had given him the scraps. I hand pieced these blocks, not knowing at all what I was doing. Since I couldn't figure out how to put them together, I just kept them for many many years. In the early 90s I zigzagged them together, still not quite sure what I was doing, but feeling brave nonetheless.

I layered the quilt with batting and muslin, turned the muslin edges to the front and machine quilted the whole thing without a walking foot. The quilt promptly faded so it became our picnic blanket. It wasn't until 2000 that I started to buy books and real quilting supplies, thus fulfilling my longstanding fascination with quilting. I have two other similarly made quilts--one a scrap quilt, and one a crazy quilt. I'll have to dig those out and document the pre-history of my quilting career.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Thursday Quilter's Walk

Today I walked to work. The morning was foggy but by the time I got there the sun was breaking through. This is the loveliest time of year here. Lots of people were riding bikes and walking, enjoying the day. I miss so much when I'm in my car, but today I took my camera with me and made a mental note of things to photograph on my way back when I wasn't in such a hurry. One was this interesting quilt-like display of shells on brick. It reminded me of Native American textiles that are decorated with shells.

At home I've been fiddling with three quilts. The Japanese Lady quilt now has some blocks to accent the focus fabric. I made one or two according to the pattern directions, and then I decided to wing it. I like the variety of colors and pattern. I'm also auditioning fabrics for the inner borders.

This paper pieced scrap pattern from Quilter's Cache used up a lot (but of course not all) of my small scraps. I'm auditioning borders for this one too and looking for something red to finish it up.

And this is my over the top crazy scrap project. I made the blocks for the center medallion some time ago. I thought the log cabins I recently made might set it off, and then I remembered this stash of green and white half-square triangles. I think this is going to be an experimental piece, something made strictly from the gut from whatever my hand touches first.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Busy Days

Things have been very busy here behind the Redwood Curtain. We've had a lot of important family events, starting last month when my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, which meant a weekend trip to their house, about 6 hours away. It was a pretty quiet affair, since my parents' siblings are all at that stage in life when they don't travel very much, but we had a very nice celebration. As you can see from the photo, my parents married when they were practically still children.

This past week Allie both turned 18

...and graduated from high school

She has lined up a job working for the director of the local high school's art academy, which she participated in for the last two years. She'll be an administrative assistant, keep the website, do public relations (she's the P.R. queen) and if they get a grant they're applying for, she'll be the registrar for the next school year. During this time she'll also figure out what she wants to do next school and job-wise. I'm sure it'll be an exciting year.

And I've taking a few moments here and there to clean out my scrap drawers. I recently found this 4.5 inch log cabin pattern. It's the kind of mindless sewing I love most of all.

I've also decided to make these fabrics into this pattern.

Today is the second sunny day in a row. At Allie's graduation we sat outside in the hard drizzle, but hopefully summer has arrived. As Allison Aller requested, here are shots of my front yard, where the lavender is in bloom and where the lilies are about to explode.

With all this excitement, some things don't change, and some folks remain blissfully serene.

Sweater Genesis

  A few years ago I learned to harvest yarn from old wool sweaters.  I don't do it so much anymore, with the exception of if I find...