It’s been hard not having any photos to share. I’ve kind of dropped out, but my heart remains with my blog. For me, posting is a visual record that cannot compare with, say, a journal. There’s just something about a colored image that speaks more potently than the written word. I do hope to get back up and running soon with the many images I’ve been snapping.
Meanwhile, things are shaping up at Cloudwalk. The apple trees are covered with blossoms and the hosta are making their grand appearances. The Can-Do Guy is building a huge deck and he constructed four ginormous raised beds for my vegetable garden. The soil that he imported is so rich with organic material that I have to chase Harley to prevent him from taking little tastes! Harley is thinner, more tired and cranky, but holding his own. He has become quite spoiled and why not? Doesn’t everyone prepare chicken livers, steamed vegetables and roasted chicken for their ailing dogs? He is my heart, my baby dog. I will feed him whatever he desires, including the daily tiny pat of real butter that I slip to him when Tula isn’t looking. No butter for pugs.
My guild has started our second charity quilt for 2016. We will be using the Plaid Weave block by Karen Griska. It was my second choice – I preferred this quilt (below), but was not committed to the gathering of fabrics. Plaid Weave is a great stash buster and I think that it will be a wonderful group project with members selecting fabric from their own stash.
What are your weekend plans? I’m going to sew and spend some time with me old mudder!
Been missing you all and having a wicked hard time trying to retrieve and load new images. This past month has seen me hard at work in the sewing studio with lots of projects in various stages. The most noteworthy occurrence has been my renewed relationship with Valentine … the Juki wondergirl. My friend Elaine (who is a wizard of all things technical AND fiber-y) came over, sat me down and together we discovered the joys of this machine. I. AM. IN. LOVE. While I will always return to the safety of my Bernina, I must admit that the Juki is a dream machine. You Juki-ites know what I’m sayin’.
This is a photo of my son with his boxer Stewie. (Stewart when he is naughty) He is a lovely boy and we are all so fond of him. This family of mine has always been lucky when it comes to our furry friends. Characters all – full of silly and willful and smart and not so smart – jolly and regal and above all, devoted.
I have been alone with my companions Harley and Tula for a little over a month, and it has been such a supremely wonderful time. The Can-Do-Guy was building a house in the Bahamas and our little threesome quickly readjusted and settled into a pleasant routine. What I noticed though, was how the dogs would go on alert each night at the hour of Scott’s appearance. They would listen, sniff around the door jam and often pierce the night with hilarious barking and howling at – what? He never came! I was reminded daily of what devotion looks and sounds like when I came through the door after work. Truly, if you are seeking unconditional love – get a dog. (But only if you have room in your heart and your life for all of the wonderful).
And speaking of dogs – Harley is slowing down a bit, but still eating and wagging and rolling in the grass. These are the small miracles that I live for daily. He has shown great enthusiasm for the Can-Do-Guy’s return – running to him, following him at a faster clip than I’d thought possible, and vocally welcoming him every chance he gets. Also, and I hate to admit this, but the truth is – he caught and killed a rabbit last week. I hated it, but I won’t hold it against him. He is a Retriever. He was doing what Retrievers do. He laid the poor thing down and shuffled off. We had a small service and a burial.
Do you remember this piece from a few years ago? I’ve spent the last week hand quilting it and I am crazy about the feel of the wool batting (which is partnered with a glorious AGF voile backing) and the general weight and softness of the layers. I know that it is destined to become my go-to blankie. And yes, adults can have blankies. In fact, I think that they SHOULD and I don’t use that word very often. Get a blankie and take a nap.
I have not been able to load any new images onto this computer. What can it mean? iPhoto keeps closing down and asking if I want to send a report to apple. Hell, yeah. What’s happening apple? Apple does not respond. Tomorrow I will venture into the apple store which should be about as much fun as going to verizon. Or the dentist. Or the local german sausage factory. Someone once said that for those who love politics and sausage, it is recommended to never watch either being made. Amen. I know, I’m getting off track.
I knit this dear little sweater from Miss Babs supewash. The buttons are courtesy of my BFF’s closed yarn shop. It is tiny and will probably fit the baby for about five minutes. But those will be five styling minutes!The Spider Web block to the right is a very important one. It is, in fact, the most important one that I’ve made because it COMPLETES my quilt. Two years in the making and finally, I have what the English like to call a ‘flimsy’. Mine is not so flimsy as it is weighed down with about 15 tons of paper. I peeled paper for five hours last night and didn’t even put a dent in the job. I may have to lay off paper piecing for a bit. At LEAST until the cracks in my fingers heal! Did I mention how much I love this quilt?
I am short on content today, so I’ll conclude with my latest find – hidden down an obscure aisle in JoAnn’s, someone discarded this bolt and I happened upon it and for reasons unknown, fell head over heels. It’s that way with fabric for me. If it doesn’t speak my language I’ll walk on by. I want to make aprons, little girl sleeveless dresses, jammies, a lined raincoat … I’m going back tomorrow to see if the bolt is still there.
For those who have so kindly inquired about my dear darling dog, thank you. Harley is having good days, mostly. He is slowing down, but I am happy to say that his spirit and his appetite have not. This afternoon he did an elaborate roll in the grass, snout first, headed down the knoll. Watching him kick all of his legs in the spring air made my heart sing.
When the Can-Do Guy leaves to build a house in the caribbean, things slow down and take on a new momentum. We sleep a little later, our chores get done with less effort, we cook and eat when the spirit moves us. We spend a lot of time outdoors rolling in the grass and chasing blackbirds. Some of us start new quilts and work deep into the night.
We bake artisan bread and make potato leek soup and amble off to our quilt guild meeting where we laugh and talk fiber that no one else would, or could, possibly understand who does not enter our circle. How I love and admire the women in my modern quilt guild! The creativity and continuing energy and enthusiasm for quilting revives me from my winter ho-hums and encourages me to plod forward. There are so many quilts to make!
I try not to think about the quilt tops that are waiting for their moment in the sun. They are carefully tucked away and will be lifted up and quilted by and by – each in its own time.
My dear daughter packed up and moved south this weekend – again. My hope is that she will be comforted with her palm trees and ocean views and that her life will begin to make sense – that happiness will come.
The old adage is true – a mother is only as happy as her least contented child.
There’s nothing like a snow day – a legitimate reason to stay home in one’s jammies and drink cup after cup of tea and play with the dogs and sew. I’ve had a marvelous day and yes, I’m still in my jammies.
This is what the process looks like when I audition fabric for a new project – it starts out all orderly and civilized.
It quickly goes from civilized to chaotic.
A return from chaos to order again! And people wonder why I prefer the sewing studio to the real world! Here I solve the problems that I create. Here, in my little corner of the world, I concentrate on beauty and function and the gifts that keep on giving. Tell me, why do you quilt?
Productive weekend, fiber wise. No housework disrupted the flow! Well, maybe a bit, but nothing more. We had balmy weather and I kept the dogs outdoors as much as possible. We went exploring – finding vole tunnels and the like. Lots of mud will not diminish my canines’ joy in the springlike temperatures.
One more row and this little piece will be complete. I’ve had a blast putting it together and am almost sorry that I’m in the end zone. Working without sketches or diagrams is liberating. It’s the way that I’ve always created, but I do envy those who can map out a piece from soup to nuts before cutting into a single piece of fabric! (time and materials are not wasted!)
I’ve also started a new piece based on all of the commotion around the American Patchwork and Quilting series It All Adds Up. I am piecing a ‘Grand Total’ much in the spirit of the Pat Bravo quilt shown in the April 2016 issue. My background is composed of neutrals, of which I have plenty! I’m still auditioning fabric for the main portion of the design. This quilt appealed to me the very moment I laid eyes on it! It features what I love most about piecework – the puzzling aspect of achieving the right layout from hundreds of 3″ squares. I’ve really tried to stay away from ‘cookie cutter’ quilt patterns, but this one held me tightly in its grip – it was non negotiable!
I am really hoping to get my etsy shop back up and running in the next week. Wish me luck.
I have been trying to stick to a Sunday evening posting schedule. We had an enormously FRIGID weekend with trips from the plumber for frozen pipes and the like. The blog was forgotten. Needless to say, canines were not overly enthusiastic about long walks in minus five degrees! So, we stayed indoors and ate cookies and baked cakes and sewed. And did laundry – great hulking amounts of laundry – goosedown comforters, sheets, quilts and the like – all because Miss Tula has lost her mind and is peeing randomly on beds, couches, etc. I don’t know if she has a urinary issue or perhaps a MENTAL issue! What I know is that this cannot continue. If there is anyone out there who has some PUG insight, I would be eternally grateful for shared information. She uses her pee pads, but seems unnaturally drawn to the sofa or the bed where she squats with abandon.
Meanwhile, I wore warm socks and worked on a quilt and went to see the Matriarch this past weekend. We approach the five year mark of the passing of my father. It does not seem possible that he has been gone for that amount of time. It is too cold to go to the cemetery to visit. So I speak to him in the early dawn, while walking dogs. I tell myself that he can hear me. I tell him that he left too soon and that I’m still pissed about it. There is no answer.
Working on a piece for a friend – just snippets because it is not ready for a debut.
A Liberty of London teacup. Precious.
A small child with a mirror, combing his/her hair? WHAT hair!!!
We must have Alice – what nursery is complete without the Looking Glass?
A little kite face – one of my all-time favorites.
We must have books and an aloe plant. This sweet quilt is nearly finished. It’s been a great joy to create! Stay tuned for the big finish later this week.
We had a challenging week, dog wise. Harley broke out in a hot spot – nothing unusual for a golden retriever, but when I couldn’t get it under control myself, I had to take him to the vet hospital. It had spread from a dime sized lesion into one that covered 3/4 of the left side of his face.
Dr. Wonderful shaved and cleaned the area and gave him an injection of antibiotics and steroids. But we weren’t going home with a clean bill of health. At Christmas I had noticed gum ball sized swellings on either side of his throat and I knew that trouble was brewing. Because he has lumps and fatty tumors all over his body, I tried to convince myself to hold off. When the hotspot appeared I knew that there would be no more holding off; that it was time to investigate further. So – many samples were taken from various node sites and sent off to be examined. I haven’t heard back yet, but my vet spoke to me about his concern, which is lymphoma. So if you are the kind of person that includes pets in your prayer life, please say one for my Baby Dog. Thank you.He is my heart. We’ve only had about nine years together and selfishly, I’d like more.
This weekend my guild hosted a Sew In at the library in Garrison. Fun! Of course food is an important element in a day of sewing. I can testify that the chocolate cake Kristin brought was amazing. SO amazing! It was good to see everyone. This is a group of quilters who really enjoy each other and the sharing of fiber ideas. I’m so glad that I found them and that I was able to convince my friend Elaine to come along. Sewing and quilting is Elaine’s wheelhouse. In a short afternoon the group recognized her talents and invited her to join our crew! She said yes! Here’s Shelly sewing for the first time since her shoulder injury earlier this year. Go girl! We missed her at Retreat, but she’s back!Suzy, I don’t know where you get your energy from, but I wish that you’d find a way to bottle it! This is the woman who ensures that our spaces are reserved, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg! She’s a dynamo.
Back at the house, there was knitting.Mitts and the start of a hat in Cascade Chunky Alpaca. Dreamy warm – perfect for walking the dogs. Or even wearing to bed when the house is too cold! Our old house has the propensity for hanging onto the chilly temperatures.This is a mistake. This is a mistake in a section of my Spider Web quilt. I have been working on this piece for well over a year and a half, and this is the first time that I’ve made a big ole glaring mistake! Just posting it here to show that perfection is overrated. I am going to finish this quilt before spring arrives (I hope).Although the Spider Web may appear randomly pieced, it is not. I have put a lot of thought and consideration into each join. I’m so ready to be done!!!! I still love this pattern very much and I know that I will enjoy using it and passing it down, but for now – I’m ready to complete it! I know that you’ve all been there, yes?I adore teapots and I collect them. See – now you know what to get for me if you feel so inclined! My friend Lally gave me this sweet cherry pot and another friend sent the most wonderful cozy for it …This is Ayumi Takahashi’s work (Pink Penquin) and one of my most prized fiber possessions! She is really a genius when it comes to fussy cutting. She has taken some much deserved time off to raise her young family lately. We MISS YOU Ayumi, and cannot wait to see you again.
I guess that’s it for this week. The Christmas decorations are finally down which signals that the new year has begun. There is a part of me that feels sad – that I’ve somehow missed an important part of the passing holiday and cannot get it back. Time seems to accelerate these days – how do I explain? I need to find ways in which to savor each moment.