Thursday, July 26, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Of course, I am keen to improve my quilting skills, and will take any class I can get to. However I felt from the very beginning that my quilts were completed when I put the binding on and snuggled on down under them. They have all been admired as they are. I was particularly pleased that I have had nothing but positive comment on the improvsational quilt top I 'threw togther', which conformed to no accepted patterns or formulas ( 'genres' in the writing lexicon) at all. Few shows here are juried and the quilting community offers a supportive, sharing,excited - just- to -be -with -fabric atmosphere in which I feel enabled to produce what I feel beautiful without fear of censorship.
Even with a Masters Degree in Creative Writing, I could never really get a feel for whether my fiction'worked' or not and what that meant anyway. My quilts work if I can hold them up and go 'Look what I made!' and the three layers stay together.
So, the blog may have gone that way, but I am still interested in writing and writers. Which is why I was fascinated by an extract from a book I was reading while I was travelling this week called Communion of the Spirits by Roland Freeman. It was an interview with Alice Walker who, in part, said this about the time when she was writing The Colour Purple.
"... I knew that in order for me to have the kind of meditative depth to the book that I needed, I had to do work with my hands and I asked my mother to suggest a pattern that would be easy and she said that there was nothing easier than the Nine-Patch. You know, you just get some fabric and cut up the pieces into nine blocks and you sew them together and that's it. So I followed her advice and ... in the evenings I worked on the quilt. And as I worked on it the novel formed.
.....This kind of redish or fuscia...black, green and maroon stripes - these are colours that just struck me as colors I needed to give me strength to go on in the work I was doing, so that it felt cheerful and strong and interesting working with those colors. I couldn't have written the Colour Purple working on a brown quilt."
The interviewer told her that Maya Angelou had mentioned that when she was having difficulty writing a book her mother told her,'Take this quilt and go and sit on it and you won't have those problems, it will be all right'. He told Alice that in his family there was a lot of folklore about powers and quilts and asked her what she thought of that. She replied:
" Well... other than to say that I feel just really good and protected and blessed, especially when I am under quilts made by my mother. But my feeling of power... comes from the making. The making of myself. ... The powers partly about grounding yourself in somthing that's humble, something that is- that you can actually see take form through your own effort, and its like seeing that you can change things and create through your own effort and in a way that you can see. This makes you realise that you constantly do that in an unseen way.That is also the way that the world is created.....
.......I feel really connected through the work that I do. Its such a great experience to do this while writing a book, because you know on days when you cannot move in the narrative you can work on your quilt! There are days when the characters don't want to come anyway. They are off doing something else in another world. You have your quilt and you can keep going, and so one faith leads the other - the faith you can continue making this pattern in the quilt restores the faith that you may start moving, that you can continue in the uneseen -which is to draw these characters out of nothing and make them real for someone."
I read that and just had to go and get a copy of the Colour Purple to re-read! There is a picture of Alice with her quilts in the book and I will read imagining her making that quilt. I also cannot remember the significance of the title The Colour Purple but whatever it turns out to be in the text it will now have an added shade ( sorry!) of meaning for me - and now I hope you too.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
1. My underwear has to match. I don't just mean colour. It has to be from the same lace.
2. I would like to be Jewish. (in theory at least). I love that it is such a thinking religion. Today I found a blog post that just summed up for me why I love Jewish people and thought so much. It is here at the post for 14th and is basically 36 people (last time I looked) seriously debating the religious and moral consequences of a 7/11 slurpee promotion. How wonderful to have such a structure to live live by... and what a challenge I suspect it would be.
3. I am very bad at wearing socks and shoes in the house, or even at work for that matter. they tend to get kicked off. At home if it is cold I favour the slippers you get at the souk in Marrakech because they don't make my feet all hot and constrained.
4. I have been known to hang around at stage doors waiting for a glimpse of Maureen Lipman. I think she is just wonderful.
5. I should never be left in a room with a bag of Thorntons Butter Tablet. ( A kind of fudge type concoction made of both sugar and condensed milk and not a lot else). I will eat the whole lot until I am sick. It is addictive and I cannot resist it. I come close to the same recation with yoghurt rasins and yoghurt pineapples. Once I had a bag in the car I knew that I shouldn't eat it so I tossed it on to the backseat out of reach. Then spent the whole journey home trying to judge my speed to hit red lights so I could twist round and grope for it.
6. I carry a photo of my maternal grandfather in my purse. He was a career officer in the army at World War Two and lost his leg in Italy when he stood on a land mine. He returned with no money and worked his way up to being Director of Social Services for Cumbria. He died when I was twelve.
7. I don't know how many days there are in every month (I know February but those 30 and 31 day months ... I have no idea.) I know that there is a little rhyme to help you remember but I never learned it and although I always mean to, I never have.
8. I hate to blow up balloons. I am afraid that they will burst in my face.
And as for books, to answer the question on my comments, I bought five all from the AQS series - the books of the winners of the annual competition to use a traditional block in an invovative design. I got a compliation of Ohio Star, Double Wedding Ring and Log cabin, then the single books of Seven Sisters, Bears Paw, Dresden Plate and Rose of Sharon. Five for £47.50 including postage. Not bad.
Friday, July 13, 2007
When I was a kid (I'd guess about 10) my Aunty Andrea said that she had always wanted to give a kid a big box of presents for Christmas and my sister and I were the lucky recipients. Jen's box included a toy box made out of a dustbin covered with fur with a big teddy bear head on the lid. (This was the era of Dusty Bin If you recall that TV programme?) That bear is in my parents house, a bit lop headed and manky of fur, but so loved no-one will throw it out.
He is kept company by a blue and white pot bellied bear called Smug LLoyd ( after a physics teacher at our school also pot bellied and also called Smug Lloyd - at least behind his back). I saw Smug Lloyd ( the bear) in the window of the Sailors Home charity shop in Hull when I was a first year University student. It is a very large bear. I bought it for 50p, rode it home pillion on my bike and, because it was it was filthy, gave it a bath. Of course it soaked up all the water and had to sit on a washing up bowl 'potty' in the corner of my student room 'weeing' water for a fortnight before I could gift it to Jen who loved it becuase it was a bear and because it was the colours of Everton Football Club. Mum loves it because it proves that her 'girls' love each other. (Yes, go ahead and stick your fingers down your throat, if that is your instinct).
But I digress. Since I was older, I got more sophisticated gifts. The ones which lasted were both from a Norfolk Pottery - a cylindrical container I use to keep tubes of handcream and hair straightener in and a brown glazed money box in the shape of a half timbered house. Recently I have taken to putting loose change in the money box to lighten my purse..... you can see where this is going now can't you?!
I raided the piggy bank last night and piled up piles of up copper and silver. I filled money bags worth £45. Yeah!! Totally free, gratis, practically found-in-the-gutter, quilting books! And there is cash left in there for later sprees! Off I go to Amazon....
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
The gift quilt was inspired by a design in a book called 'Feathered Stars: New Quilts from Old favorites' [sic] ( sorry - couldn't resist that dig!) which is a book of winners from the AQS competition. I bought the book very cheap at a closing down discount book store in Lancaster.
I have been thinking about buying the whole series as this is a yearly competition and I have still horded some money I was gifted for Christmas which I like to eke out year round so I get 'free' books!. So I look on AQS to see what they have and convert $ to £ then I have to work out if it is worth joining to get a members discount. But I can't find postage on ther site.
So I check on Amazon.com. They have a wider collection of the older books. So I compare the new price with the marketplace price and convert $ to £.
But why am I buying from the US? Yes sometimes you get a wider choice (and more have the search inside facility on Amazon) but many can be traced here. I look on Amazon.co.uk. Then abebooks.co.uk. Then abebooks.com
I now have far too many prices so I have to make a little chart and work out the cheapest source for each book available.
That done the total comes to £197. Even I know that is bad. I seek counsel from my husband. He says.' That's a lot of quilting money.' That confuses me further because I am spending the money on quilting things so what does that have to do with the price of fish?
Some of the books are very expensive because they are out of print. If I knock out those four, I can get seven for £69 which is £1 less than I have horded and in fact less than cover price. And if my mother-in-law is true to form there will be more book money coming soon. But then, do I need seven at once? I know that I ought to ask that question but in our house we refuse to look at books as something you need. It is a fundamental human right to own books. But it is my birthday on 3rd August which I know will bring books so perhaps I shouldn't get them now especially as I have unread quilting books stashed up.....
I seek further counsel. He says. ' When I want a big spend like that I buy them over a few months so it doesn't feel so bad. But then those ones on marketplace might not be available. And now is the time to buy from the US because of the exchange rate.' Helpful guy my husband.
I decide to sleep on it and consult my comments tomorrow.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I am not sure if you can pick them out but there are some freemotion daisies hidden in this fabric And finally, I could not resist coming home from York today and finishing the 'sister' quilt top, which is going to be tied in due course as it is going to lie anything but flat! Oh, and has loads of shiny polyester in it for good measure. Dennis said he 'liked it, sort of'. Which turned out to mean he was not sure about the blue bars. Looking at the photo now he nmight have a point, but they are in and staying in!
And finallya photoof the two of them together for my records.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Friday, July 06, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
It is either an impulse but or it is an example of my skills in quick and conentrated research because the time span from the' You know, I really think I ought to think about replacing my car' stage to 'Where do I sign' spanned Tuesday evening to about 6.30 tonight! But a bit of ringing around, internet and local paper research has left me convinced that I got a very good deal and I love the car so that's what matters. Plus I don't have to waste evenings that could be spent quilting on schlepping around car dealers
It is a 6 months old, I previous owner, metallic silver Nissan Primera 1.8 SX hatchback ( for anyone who cares) and its main attraction was its comfort and large boot - essential for carting around suitcases, craft boxes and large quilting model sewing machine! The built in sat nav, 6 CD changer and little camera in the boot that projects film on to a screen on the dash when you reverse so you can see what you are about to hit were just happy extras! My vague plans to move down to a smaller car were very serious ones until I sat in this one tonight!
However, I have decided that my tidying up mode that applies to the quilting studio has to, in the future, extend to my car. I am taking the new one home tomorrow and so tonight have emptied my current Vectra. This bag ( together with a sports bag full of several gym outfits) now contains the contents of the car. The sack is what my quilt was returned in from Malvern and has been in the boot ever since. For anusement value I list below the contents of my car and challenge anyone to be worse! In the order in which things are now comng back out of the bag, I have:
1 eyebrow brush
1 packet soft mints
I copy Insolvency Law Corporate and Personal
1 empty crisp packet
4 water bottles
3 pens and 2 pencils
1 icecream wrapper
1 milage log
2007 cataloge of quilt books
A vistors guide to Stoke on Trent ( Venue for Trentham Quilt show!)
1 Cumbria parkng disc and ditto from Harrogate
numerous pay and display stickers
4 postal photgraph printing order forms
1 road map
1 lemon and ginger tea bag
1 AA route finder print out
1 pair sunglasses
1 bottle eye make up remover
1 empty packet of yogurt coated pinapple pieces (and two such pieces under the drivers seat)
1 other pair sunglasses
1 hotel bathroom bottle moisturiser
1 free 2007 diary from Just Sew in penrith
1 copy Julian Grave's healthfood shop magazine
1 Ikea store guide (ARRGH!!!)
1 pad airmail paper
1 file of notes from Law Society Children Law Conference
1 sheet of of template plastic
1 packet lemsip
1 bottle deicer
1 take away pizza box ( not from having pizza - picked up in Bath as possible material for City and Guilds activities!)
1 1021 page copy of the Civil Procedure Rules
1 box of saftey pins
1 plastic folder containing quilt show entry forms
1 leaflet about Maccelsfield Silk museums
1 bottle screen wash
1 sheet bubble wrap
1 plastic thing ( looks like it has fallen off something - no idea what it is)
1 hair scrunchie
1 plastic thing that goes on the thread stand on my sewing machine
See why I need a big car?
Monday, July 02, 2007
After some inquiries, we are unaware of RJR Fabrics having seconds. We would be very curious to see a swatch of the fabric if you would not mind sending a piece of this to our post office box. There is a chance that the fabric has English Garden printed on the selvage, but that some of this was also in a smaller collection called Patagonia. We realize at this point you probably do not need the exact match, but the swatch of fabric would allow us to make an exact match. If we cannot match it exactly, then perhaps it was not a genuine as the sales man lead on!
I will copy RJR Fabrics on this email as well, in case they are aware of "seconds" ?
Thank you for your inquiry,
Fair enough!! I replied saying I'd send the swatch then went to their site, where the fabric is listed under collection title, and looked under Patagonia. Lo and behold... what looks like the right fabric!! Of course I had no reason to look under that category because it was labelled English Garden by the manufacturers.
I went back on the site of the quilt shop I bought from and yeah - they have it there too under Patagonia not English Garden!! I have e-mailed them to ask if they knew about it being labelled English Garden.
So, it looks like my suspicions of seconds in terms of print runs might be wrong but I think there is a definate question about the quality of selvedge labelling.
Grrrr. My quilt is not what it should be and I don't have time to start again with the UK fabric not least because I have chopped up the half done blocks! (Mind you, I suspect the recipients might like it better the redesigned way!) and it has cost me a lot in international postage and fabric I didn't want to get to this stage. The US shop is copying the fabric manufacturers in on correspondence so I'll let you know what the answer to the mystery turns out to be, because I am determined to find it! (Perhaps I need to get out more?!)
Sunday, July 01, 2007
..... I did clean up afterwards though!