Some years ago, at a family women’s weekend, it was suggested that we come up with a metaphor for our lives. Mine was “late summer” at that time, and it remains so.
Partly my metaphor represents the fact that I LOVE this season best, love the colors and textures, the clear blue skies, the dry sunny days, and the crisp cool nights. There is feeling of relief at having passed summer’s heat.
Late summer is still full and beautiful, mature, drying out a bit, past the flurry of reproduction and sending out our “seeds”. It is mellow, more peaceful than spring or summer, a time of abundance, and of slowing down. Change is in the air.
There is a poignancy to late summer and to this time in my life. So much beauty, and such gratitude are tinged with the knowledge that winter is coming, and I am growing old. The cycles of nature are so clear, and I must accept that this applies to me as well. It is a time of reminding myself to be present and thankful for all that I have. It has been a good life, and anything more is a bonus.
Jim and I are contra dancers, and for the past few years, we have provided raffle quilts for the contra dance weekend in Delafield, Wisconsin. It is a very high quality event, and close to us, so we want it to prosper!
This past June, we used the art work of another dancer, Julie San Felipe, to highlight the raffle quilt. Julie’s drawing was printed on fabric, and then surrounded by fabrics in coordinating colors. Jim embroidered the names of the bands and callers on the corner pieces.
We want to continue this tradition of having a custom made quilt to contribute to that dance weekend, and the lovely people who make it possible. We pay extra tribute to Pam Paulson, whose input into the weekend has helped make it the success that it is.
Do you remember Linus from the old Peanuts cartoons? He was Lucy’s little brother, and he carried a blanket with him for many years. It provided not only security, but could be used to swat flies, or swaddle his head when he was a shepherd in the Christmas pageant. He went into withdrawal when the blanket had to be washed and dried!
There is an organization called Project Linus that collects hand made blankets for children in hospitals or shelters. The blankets can be knitted, quilted, crocheted, or just be made of polar fleece fringed at the ends. Over 4 million have been donated so far!!! While that is a lot of children in distress, it also feels so good to think that they get a blankie!
A couple of times a year, I crank out blankets for this fine organization. Sometimes, I get out my fabric scraps and start sewing them into 8″ blocks. My scraps can easily yield 200 blocks, twice a year! Then I make the blocks into blankets for Project Linus.
On our quilting frame, I can actually write a message on some of these blankets. There are a number of them out there that say “Hope You Like Bright Colors”, in the border. My fantasy is to see one someday, or meet a child who got such a blanket.
Here is one of my latest donations to Project Linus, with my “model”, a teddy bear! Also, here is the website, in case you’d like to join the many blanketeers, nation-wide.
I have to confess that I like it that people come to me for some unusual (goofy?) projects.
The process of figuring out HOW to do it is very satisfying.
Recently a good friend, and a person who also enjoys goofy projects, asked me to make something for his niece, who had just gotten her Ph.D in genetic abnormalities. He wanted seven fingered gloves. So we got some stretchy silver fabric, and VOILA!
The university where I worked also contacted me one time. They have a LARGE statue on campus, by Ruth Duckworth, called “Serenity”, and they wanted a graduation gown for it! That was quite a challenge, and ended up being a poncho with zippers up the back in two places. The male and female figures are joined at the hip, so to speak, so couldn’t wear separate gowns.
The mortar boards were made by someone else, but the birds are actually a part of the sculpture!
So, back in July I was bored for a few minutes, and decided to make a wall hanging featured in a magazine. The design is by Renee Petersen, and from the McCall’s Quilting magazine, November/December 2010.
The wall hanging is a challenge because it is all paper pieced. This is a completely counter-intuitive method of making a block, because you have to work backwards. I did it wrong about 25% of the time, ripping out stitches often. The design is printed on a piece of paper, and you layer fabrics, one by one, on to the back of the paper, sewing through fabric and paper at each step.
The good news is that the results are stunning – clean lines and sharper points than you could make other ways. Each block in this case is meant to resemble a Christmas cactus. Since my stash is large and full of batiks, there was no problem choosing colors.
Each block has 18 pieces, and 4 borders. For 16 blocks, that is 352 pieces, plus 17 more for the sashing! And I am not even half way finished. Ah, well. I wanted something that would take some time and effort.
My Most Excellent Partner, Jim, and I came up with a real brainstorm recently, and that was to put our other “runi” enterprises under this one umbrella website. We have had SO MUCH fun with this, planning, organizing, realizing the possibilities for both present and future. Our creative connection is powerful, and it is a total pleasure to work together on projects. So here goes!