Sunday, January 28, 2007

Tempting Fibers

Knitters and quilters love fibers. Art Quilters are exploring the world of fibers by incorporating yarns, felted wool, and hand-dyed fabric in their new creations.

Today, Robert (he was a prodigious spinner in his day) and I were invited to attend a meeting of the Spindles and Flyers Guild in El Cerrito, CA. Three dear friends from Sonoma County were there. Our host was Kay Elsbree. Lydia Van Gelder, my first spinning teacher from 1972, is a member of the guild. Kay and I met in Lydia’s class at Santa Rosa Junior College. Dorothy Beebee was the featured speaker. Dorothy is an expert on dyeing yarns and fabric with mushrooms.

Dorothy presented beautiful skeins of yarn, knitted hats, and silk fabric – all dyed with mushrooms. The colors were rich and startling, not just the earthy hues you might expect. Dorothy gives comprehensive talks at guilds and holds mushroom dyeing workshops all over the world. Miriam C. Rice of Mendocino accidentally discovered that mushrooms give incredible colors in the early 1970s. Dorothy illustrated Miriam’s first book and has worked with her ever since.

Lydia is an amazing woman, still going strong and wearing wild socks at 96.

Our five lives have been woven together over many years and every so often serendipity brings us together again. Today was one of those special days.

Where is Kay’s picture? Darned if I know.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Vegetables and Fruit

Another circle. Maybe polka dots next. I’m thinking about a photo circle. I’ll see if I can find the right snapshots.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

How to Buy a Thermometer

Lydia Van Gelder was my wool-spinning and natural dyeing teacher in the early 1970s. We celebrated her 90th birthday with her in 2001. I learned so much from Lydia – how to spin and weave and dye yarn and even how to buy a thermometer.

In Lydia’s class on natural dyeing we had to buy supplies -- big enamel dyepots, wooden stirring rods, and a candy thermometer to check the temperature in our pots. She told us to examine all the thermometers on the store shelves and pull out the ones that read the same temperature. Lydia said to buy one of these, not one that was reading higher or lower.

Robert went to the hardware store yesterday to buy a new outdoor thermometer for our back porch. Our old one broke when it was hit by a flying chair a few days ago during a wind storm. He did just as Lydia said and examined all the thermometers on display. The store clerk was very impressed with Robert’s technique and said he had never heard of anyone checking that way.

Thanks Lydia.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Not Bad for Plaid

Thanks to Tanya Brown’s comment yesterday I feel safe posting another circle. Woven plaid fabric is a bit hard to work with. This circle looks a bit bumpy because I pulled out the backing paper and glued the fabric edges together. It is much easier than ironing.

Tanya invented her own Backgroundulator 2000. She takes us step by step through her creative process. Be sure to click on the link in her post “what I made." This could be a very handy device for those of us who want to photograph small things for our blogs or web pages.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Square Moth Holes and Getting Dizzy

The uninitiated might think the square missing pieces in this yardage were chopped out by very large, meticulous moths. Quilters would know that I’ve been fussy cutting. I needed some flowers and this big print by Joan Kessler had some small ones. Several other half yard cuts were similarly mutilated to grab flowers.

When I unfold this fabric in a few years I will probably be disappointed and frustrated to find the holes.
My friend Jackie e-mailed after reading my last blog post. She said, “I'm getting dizzy looking at the circles.” She also guessed that DH stood for “designated hitter.” I hope I will be allowed one more circle and then maybe I’ll stop for a while. The circle is composed of 24 fussy cut pieces.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Circling Around

I am around to it again. My car has a new radiator, power steering belt, starter, and who knows what. That pit stop distracted me from my circle making for a day.

Here is the latest circle in black and white overlapped with the rainbow one. I’ve many more to make and probably have to go fabric shopping. DH said, “You don’t have the right material on all those shelves?” I told him I had plenty of fabric in the stash cupboard, but not exactly the “right” ones for this project.
My car is all tuned up and eager to make a quick trip to Queen B’s Quilt Shop in Antioch.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Well Darn It

It was 15 degrees F this morning at 6:00 a.m. We left all the faucets in the house running last night and a hose running to the drainage ditch outside. We thought this would protect us from freezing pipes and it did. However, the pressure switch on the well froze. The well shut down.

My dear husband, Robert, is the president of our small mutual water company that serves 40 residences. He went out to check the pressure switch. He put it on manual to allow the pumps to fill the tanks. He knew everyone in the neighborhood would need their morning coffee water.

But you can’t leave the switch on manual for too long because the tanks would fill to bursting. DH had to keep going out to the well every thirty minutes or so and turn it off and on. He was our “automatic” pressure switch for the morning. When the sun finally shone on the device it went back to working as designed.

Our cleaning ladies arrived and kicked us out of the house. (They didn’t really kick us out, but our house is too small for three of them and two of us.) We toured the island in the car with the heater turned up high. It was too cold to sit around outside.

The well guy from JJ’s Well came mid morning and insulated the exposed pipe going from the pressure tanks to the pressure switch. We just don’t expect such cold weather in California. I hope the insulation works tonight, and so does DH.

This is my excuse for not getting my other circles finished. I’ll start on them in a little while.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Going in Circles

At least I am going. I must be the world's slowest seamstress. Now that one ring is complete, I can get busy on several more. The pressure of putting something on the blog is good for me.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

It Has Been a While

The machine called and I finally answered. I’ve been in the sewing doldrums for a long time. Today I started again with a little sample to whet my appetite. I’ll feel guilty if I don’t put up more pictures in the next few days.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Let's Get Sewing

I heard a funny noise coming from my sewing room (aka quilt studio). I thought perhaps I had left one of the cats in there when I closed the door last night. When I looked in I saw my faithful 1950’s Singer 301 working away all by itself.

The machine is trying to tell me something – “Let’s get sewing!”


Monday, January 08, 2007

My Make Believe Friends

Anita Solomon
Betsy Brazy
Dorothy Anguish

Judi Fibush
Kris Driessen
Linda Breshears

Marcia Hohn
Shelly Rodgers

Sue Traudt
Susan Druding
Teresa Suek

In the mid 1990s quilters were learning how to gather together on the internet. My first communication was on AOL’s quilting site. There were lots of postings and chats. One quilter reported that her husband told her, “Sure, go online and talk with your make believe friends.” That statement stuck with me all these years.

Pictured above, in alphabetical order by first name, are some of my real online friends. Over the years I have met quite a few of them face to face, but some of them are only cyber friends. They are not make believe. If you click on their pictures you will be taken to their websites or blogs.

Anita is one of the exceptions in the bunch. We met in person at a CT Publisher’s conference and then continued our friendship online. I knew her before she was a famous author and TV star! She has always been so sweet to me.

Betsy and I met on AOL where she worked very hard to persuade the powers that be to open an actual forum. We met in person at the grand opening of Thimble Creek in Walnut Creek, CA. She was wearing a red baseball cap which didn’t surprise me. She was just as I expected her to be.

Dorothy and I have never been in the same place at the same time. Over the years she participated with me in block swaps. She did a wonderful Canadian-American face for the “We the People” quilt. Perhaps it is because we have exchanged fabric and blocks that these connections feel personal.

Judi – where did I meet Judi? I know it was online. After many exchanges we met in real life when she volunteered to hand quilt the “We the People” quilt. I can’t thank her enough for that. She is also very interested in vintage quilts and we’ve “seen” each other on the Quilt Heritage list.

Kris is a multi-talented lady. She is the list mom for the Quilt Heritage list. She also has a traveling business, the Quilt Bus. plus a brick and mortar store in New York called Quilt Bug. She and I have had a merchant wholesale relationship, but we are friends. Someday she may drive her Quilt Bus to California and we will meet in person.

Linda and I first met on AOL’s quilting forum. We met up at the East Bay Heritage Voices in Cloth show and hit it off. Linda and I traveled to Palm Springs together to demonstrate QuiltPro at a quilt show. We got very well acquainted and still liked each other.

Marcia and I met on the Quilt Patterns Designers list. She has a fantastic site with hundreds of free patterns. Over the years we have written back and forth and shared lots of experiences. It will be fun to meet face to face one day.

Shelly (Pirate) participates regularly on the quilting forum. That is where we met. She lives nearby in Walnut Creek and we’ve traveled together to several events. She had a gathering at her house and people came from all over to attend. Teresa even flew in from Guam. Shelly is full of fun. She tested a pattern for me and it worked well after she gave me some good advice.

Sophie and I bumped into each other on several online forums and lists. I just missed meeting her when she took a quick trip to California several years ago. We’ve exchanged bras (a swap block) so we’ve been quite intimate. She is an avid swapper.

Sue was a pioneer on the web. She established the first quilting website, World Wide Quilting Page, more than 12 years ago. She is list mom for Featherweight Fanatics. We’ve never met in person but I feel as if I know her quite well.

Susan is the other exception in the bunch. I met her in 1972 when my husband and I had a fiber arts small press. Susan had a fiber store in Berkeley, CA called Straw into Gold. She sold our books there. Then, she ran the quilting forum on for years and years. We’ve met on several occasions and still talk regularly by e-mail. She now has a Delphi quilting forum. She has a wholesale yarn business and travels around the world finding yarn.

Teresa spends half of her year in Guam and the other half in Minnesota. What contrasting environments! We’ve exchanged blocks and she is really meticulous. We finally met when she showed up at Shelly’s gathering. She was just as nice as I expected.


Monday, January 01, 2007

Old Long Since

Auld lang syne

"auld lang syne" literally means "old long since" - but a more idiomatic English translation would be something like "long ago", "days of long ago", "in olden days", or even "once upon a time"..

New Year’s Day is the time to think about days of long ago. The picture shows my parents and me in 1941. We lived in Syracuse, New York. I believe photo was used for a Christmas card that year.

I still have the chair my mother was sitting in. It has a new slipcover in blue. The slipcover in the old picture was yellow with green vines in a cris-cross pattern. The rug in the left front corner of the old picture now sits on the floor in front of the wing chair in my house. my chair nowI sit in the chair every day while I do The Relaxation Response. I think about my parents every day when I settle into the cushions. My father used to sit in the same chair while he did his daily prayers. .

My son, Davis, has the chair my father was sitting in. He has had it reupholstered in a burgundy color.

The little piecrust table at my father’s left is still with us. It resides behind our bed and holds quilts.

It is the first day of the year 2007.

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