Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Friday, May 19, 2017


    It's usually pretty safe to say we all have our own style.  I can walk into a fabric store and know immediately whether Friend Marilyn will have a good time in there.  We have colors, styles and time periods we gravitate to. Some of us like Kaffe Fasset and some of us like Civil War reproductions.  And that's why there are so many different fabrics to choose from and why no two quilts, unless made from a kit, will look alike.
    Meet Friend Barb.  Yesterday Friends Marilyn and Jan and I spent our monthly quilty day with Barb and Friend Sally.  They've occasionally come here on our quilty day and Barb invited us to her house yesterday.
   Barb is an artist.  Well, all quilters are, I suppose, but Barb doesn't just use fabric as her medium.  She paints, too.  She has what I call "the eye."  Some people can just see the final product and know how to get there.  My son-in-law has the eye, so does grand-daughter, Elizabeth.

 This quilt is Barb's.  It's a family heirloom and she treasures it.  She had it appraised and the fabrics span the time between the Civil War (mid-l860's) till the 1940's.  That was one long lived scrap bag!  Barb was gifted this quilt and she treasures it.  She also wanted to be able to use it but knew she never could.  So she decided to duplicate it and closely as possible.
 Here it is.  It's absolutely as beautiful as the original, has Barb's spin on it in the piano key border, the fabrics are remarkably similar and she didn't take the original with her when she searched for fabrics.  Remember, she has "the eye."   We were just mesmerized by the fabrics she found and chose and how close they complemented the original.
 Here they are side by side.  Barb's fabrics are new and need time to fade but that's ok.  It's going to get a lot of lap time.
This is the other side of Barb.  To make this storm at sea quilt she made three sample blocks, a sample wall hanging and then drew it out on graph paper and colored it in.  The research made me speechless.  The quilt is incredible.
I don't think I could ever go into a quilt shop and wonder whether Barb would be happy there.  I know she would.  In any of them.  But I could never, ever guess what she's up to next.

Sunday, May 14, 2017


Spring is finally here for sure.  Windows are all open, trees are in flower and leaves are out. There is shade once again in the forest and new projects are filling my head.  The crows are still waiting to be shashed but the idea that's been cooking in my brain is now getting it's turn.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Scribe of Siena

The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer

    Wow.  Well, where do I start?  If you like time travel stories, and I do,  if you like reading about medieval times, and I do, if you are interested in anything about The Plague, and I am, then truly, this book had only to prove itself a bad choice because it didn’t deliver.  But, oh, it does, it does deliver.
     Beatrice Trovato and her brother Ben are both in the medical field.  Beatrice is a neurosurgeon who can immerse herself so deeply in her patients she can read their thoughts, while Ben is a medieval Plague scholar living in Siena, Italy.  When Beatrice finds that she is too tangled in the brain ganglia of her patients, she decides to finally visit her brother.  Before she can arrive, by mere days, Ben dies and leaves his research and home to Beatrice.  While looking through Ben’s research Beatrice finds he was trying to unravel a conspiracy that could explain why Siena was particularly hard hit by and never fully recovered from the Plague.
     In the journal of 14th century artist Gabriele Accorsi, Beatrice finds a portal to medieval Siena and just months before the Plague arrives she lands there. With what little knowledge she gathered before her ‘trip’ and with Accorsi’s journal,  Beatrice finds herself in the middle of the conspiracy Ben was investigating, and while Ben’s research was through ancient documents, hers is first hand. Other than the lack of toilet paper, Beatrice falls in love with medieval life, and with Accorsi.  The Plague fast on their heels, Beatrice finds herself torn between life in medieval Siena or in her own time.  The question for her is, when is her own time?
     I only questioned to myself the time altering decisions Beatrice made. If she had not been there, what would have happened to these people.  Because she was there what was she changing?  As I kept reading these questions were answered. I wasn’t disappointed. 
     This story wasn’t easy, it was dense, complicated, layered, well researched and smart.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Home to Roost

I did it! The crows have come home to roost as I finished all nine blocks before I died! Now for the moment of truth.  Will they all be close enough in size to fit? I think so.  I stacked them and they're good, but it is a worry when I had to cut them so close to size.  Will the fabric I chose for the sashing be enough? I hope so, it's absolutely perfect in pattern and color but this is where I call Friend Marilyn for help with math. If you know this pattern book you will see the changes I made and will then know I am NOT going to do the sawtooth sashing and border suggested in the book.  Nope.  Now I wait for a rainy day or a day I'm home, whichever comes first and put it together. 
 This was a fun project.  The blocks are 20 inches square so the pieces were big, it went relatively quickly considering I started it last fall, then  put it down for the baseball quilts and Christmas season and a few times in between.  It feels good to have it this far!  It will feel even better when the top is completed.

Friday, May 5, 2017

To the Stars Through Difficulties

To the Stars Through Difficulties by Romalyn Tilghman

     Don’t you just love it when someone recommends a book to you, hoping you’ll like it, too?  It’s one of the best things about having reading friends.  Sometimes you discover you’ve both just finished the same book and sometimes you pass along a recommendation or ask for one. I love that. That’s what happened with this book.  The publisher read my blog, saw I was a quilter,  thought I would like this book and sent it to me. 
    To the Stars Through Difficulties is the motto of the State of Kansas.  A translation of Ad Astra Per Astera, it means nothing worth doing is without effort.  And if that doesn’t speak to the pioneer Kansas spirit, nothing does.  Usually the thing worth doing and the effort expended is by the women.  The women have a way of getting their men to do what they think is worthwhile.
    Over one hundred years ago Andrew Carnegie built 59 libraries in small Kansas towns.  The deal was he would build the buildings but the town had to maintain those buildings and stock them with books.  Enter the women.  Through bake sales, donations, craft sales, through any means possible, the women lobbied for libraries in their towns and penny by penny, nickel by nickel stocked the Carnegie libraries with books.
    To the Stars Through Difficulties pays homage to these turn of the century women in the stories of three women today who are working to save the library turned art center in New Hope, and build one in Prairie Hill, a small town nearby that was completely destroyed by a tornado.  Traci is an artist who lied to get a job as artist-in-residence in the art center of New Hope.  Traci, known as Trash in New York, comes by the name because she was found in a dumpster as a newborn.  Traci finds art in recycling and she finds acceptance in New Hope, recycling her life.   Angelina is working on her dissertation for her PhD on the Carnegie Libraries and is hearing the clock ticking on her life.  She can’t seem to get a hold on her life or her dissertation, and finds being back in New Hope, where her grandmother lived, is both inspiring her and holding her back. Gayle is a victim of the tornado that destroyed every building in Prairie Hill except the fa├žade of their Carnegie Library.  Not a single thing is left and the fear, panic attacks and disorientation threatens to consume her until she accepts an invitation to join the No Guilt Quilters in New Hope.
    There is so much background in this book about the Carnegie Libraries, something I knew nothing about.  These women aren’t wimps, they are strong and determined and single minded in their drive to save the art center. Of course their lives all converge, but that’s ok.  Women who work together with a purpose do converge.
    I loved this book.  I loved the information I was learning about the libraries, I loved that it was an ode to libraries and books.  I loved the way the book ‘sounded.’  The author writes like I talk. This isn’t one of those romance stories except in romancing the strength of the community and the determination to have books and art in their lives.
    What could possibly be wrong with that?