Friday, November 06, 2015

And he's off ... again

It's been a fall of travel for Coty. Three weeks in India back in October, and today he heads to China! We got in a last ride before his trip yesterday afternoon. It's been so rainy this week, it was nice to see a bit of blue sky and feel the sun on our backs before it clouded up again.

We ride out on the country roads and pass corn, soybean, canola, and cotton fields. This time of year the cotton is in full fruit. Think of it this way: earlier in the summer the cotton flowered and over the last couple of months that flower has developed into the "fruit", just the way an apple flower that blooms in the spring develops into and apple in the fall. Now, I don't know if it is botanically correct to call the white, fluffly bolls a fruit, but I'm going to go with it this morning!

Here my non-southern friends who may have never seen this, is a field of cotton ...

and here are some cotton bolls ...

and here are two sweaty riders wearing no cotton because it isn't good cycling fabric, one with a squinty left eye and the other with misty glasses standing in front of a cotton field along a country road with, of course, a pick-up truck about to drive by ...
We had a good and happy ride. I had a personal best time on one of the hills I really dislike, so I like it a tiny bit better now. Coty won't be doing any cycling for a couple of weeks so when I pack up to go to Virginia, where we will reunite just before Thanksgiving, guess what I'll be taking with me. Yep ... bikes.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Listen while you work

When I sew, when I walk, when I drive ... I listen to podcasts. Here are a few of the craft, maker, sewing, quilting, ones I like:

The Crafty Planner - Sandi Hazlewood, the host, is, as she says in the intro, "a city planner who loves all things crafty." Her podcast leans toward fabric and quilt designers, but includes other types of creatives. Sandi most often asks about creative process and these discussions are often quite interesting.

While She Naps - Abby Glassenburg interviews people in the sewing/quilting/craft business. I like the recommendations section of each podcast where she invites her guest to share two or three recommendations. These range from useful tools to time management apps, to books, and lots more. Abby also focuses quite a bit on the business side of creative work.

Smart, Creative Women - Monica Lee, the host, is a little gushy for my taste, but she has some interesting guests. Lots here on branding, styling, and trends as well as encouraging creative pursuits.

I also listen to LOTS of recorded books using the Freading app on my phone. And then there's Pandora. My most listened to stations lately - Gillian Welch, The Wailin' Jennys, Jill Phillips, The Oh Hello's (thanks for that one, Joel) and when I don't want words, Arvo Part.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Where do the saris come from?

For the last three years I've made quilts for the Sari Bari auctions. The saris are sent to the US quilters and we sew them into quilts that are auctioned for the benefit of Sari Bari. Those quilts are some of my most favorite of the ones I've made in these last few years.

In October, this article was posted on the Sari Bari blog. I loved reading about the process of buying, sorting, and using the saris in the Kantha quilts that the women make.

I have a stash of saris from three years of quilt auctions. I'm feeling the draw to pull them out and work with those fabrics again ...

This year's quilt ... in process back in March/April

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Helloooo November Ramble ...

What? November? Whirlwind of a year, but that's what they all say, right? Coty has an explanation for why time seems to speed up up as you age. As you get older each year that passes is a smaller percentage of the years you've lived so relative to your life, each year is proportionately less. That's why they seem to speed by faster and faster.

For example, when you turn six, as my grandaughter Clara did in September, you have lived six years and each of those years is 1/6th of your life. When you turn 60, as my sweet husband will do next March, each year is 1/60th of your life. Even I, who had math nightmares in college, know that 1/60th of a pie is a whole lot less than 1/6th of a pie -  or year, as the case may be. That 1/60th of your life was tiny, it sped by, Christmas seemed to come so much sooner than it did when you were 6, when that 1/6th of your life dragged by at a snail's pace. You all have probably already thought of this years ago, but numbers don't come naturally to me so when he told me this some time ago it was quite a revelation.

Anyway ... it is a rainy, rainy morning here. Pouring. It's supposed to do this all day and I couldn't be happier. I will stay inside and finish the decluttering of my sewing studio, put everything that is currently piled up in the dining room away on the shelves in the fabric section of the garage, finish prepping and send off the latest installment of "Gramma's Craft Club" to Clara, and practice straight line quilting with the walking foot on my old, old Singer.


It's Tuesday now. Election day. I voted for Town Council. That was the only race on today's ballot in my town. Turnout is always so low for these non-presidential year elections. I heard someone talking on the radio the other day about how the local elections are the ones that really affect our day to day lives in our communities. Who gets elected today will determine how much more needless retail development is allowed in my town, how many more housing developments get built, whether or not a bike path is built or parks maintained, whether or not this community is welcoming to a diversity of people or only interested in attracting high-end development.


I started watching Paula Reid's Craftsy class on machine quilting yesterday while I prepped the quilt sandwich. It's pretty good so far. I am convinced that Paula's two table method for prepping the quilt and pin basting is far better than crawling around on the floor like I've been doing.


Sometimes you find exactly what you're looking for! That happened last Friday. I went to a local antique mall in search of something to use for displaying all the scarves that the women of Make Welcome have sewn this fall. Our sister business, Journey Home, had two craft show/sales coming up and we needed something to hang all those scarves on. I looked at old apple orchard ladders, beat up step ladders and other hanging options and was just about to give up. I decided to walk down one. more. aisle. And there it was. The perfect rack.

Dusted it off and filled it with scarves for the Front Porch Sunday Market.
We'll use it again on Thursday evening at the Silent Images, Women in Focus event 
on the Artisan Marketplace.
 These wool/tweed/linen patchwork scarves, lined with corduroy, are my current favorites. They're made from a mix of old wool skirts, donated wool yardage, design sample fabrics, and purchased corduroy. I'm hitting up thrift stores now for more wool and linen items that we can cut up and use. 

What do you think?

And that rack? When it's not doing duty at shows and sales, it'll have a spot right in the corner of my studio for hanging fabric. Win/win! 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"The Quilts of Gees Bend"

I mentioned this documentary the other day. Finally got to sit down and watch it. Please, oh please, make a cup of coffee or tea and sit down for thirty minutes and watch it. Makes me want a quilt frame on my porch and a group of women who will sit and sing and sew with me!

"All the week, dey be quilting ... house to house, quilting. Dey sit around and quilt and sing, pray, and read de Bible. Dey quilt de quilt, and dey pray de prayer, and de sing de song."  (This reminds me so much of the Gullah that my Daddy learned, the language of the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina. Also makes me think of the Pidjin language we learned a bit of when we lived in Cameroon).

"On and on, we learn how to do things ... and whatever we had, we so thanksful."

"If I had somebody to cook, I wouldn't get up ... I just sit there and quilt. I just love all of it."

"We lived the hard life ... we lived the starvation life. But do you know, it was hard but it look like people was happier den dan dey is now ... people got more now, but look like dey ain't nobody happy."

That the way us live ... through wisdom and understanding."

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Guest posting at Sew Mama Sew!

I mentioned the other day that I was working on a guest post for another website. The post is up now at Sew Mama Sew. I am so grateful for the opportunity they gave me to tell the story of Make Welcome and encourage others to reach out and share their heart and skills.

Read it here ...

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Three for tonight

1. I got home today and the good old cat has talked to me practically non-stop. He has also gone in and out and in and out and in and out, happy to walk around his territory and roll on the driveway, happy to lie in the sun on the deck. He has followed me from room to room. Just now, he is lying on the throw rug near my chair. When I get up, he will jump up and go ahead of me, anticipating where I will go next. He will voice his opinion about where he wants me to sit down in loud meows. When I do sit down, he will find a spot near me and lie down. He wants to be close. He is the doggiest cat I've ever seen!

2. On a completely different subject, I continued my search today for the right sewing machine. I am going to learn to machine quilt in my 59th year and it's time for an upgrade! A few weeks ago, I looked at a really wonderful used Bernina 710. Today I looked at a Brother VQ3000 (out of my price range but fun to look at) and a Juki 2010Q. The Juki is an interesting machine. It only sews straight stitches, but my can it fly - up to 1500 stitches per minute. Whew! It is also very sturdy - really almost an industrial quality machine. It comes with a heavy duty walking foot and can sew through just about anything. I still want to look at Viking and Janome machines and read some more reviews. Anybody out there have a recommendation? I don't care about embroidery features but I do want a wider throat for ease in quilting larger quilts.

3. Finally, I'm looking forward to watching this video about the Gee's Bend quilters. Thanks to Kristin Nicholas for posting the link.