Saturday, July 31, 2010

Jim's woobie quilt: the first ring

Each ring of "The Single Girl" pattern is composed of 31 different fabrics and they are each a slightly different shape.  Templates are a must.  I made polycarbonate templates when I cut out Anna and Matty's quilt because I knew I would want to make the pattern again.  The large scale fabrics required a little fussy cutting.

When one is using this many different fabrics, a plot is a good idea.

Each row represents a quarter of the ring. Different scales, directional fabrics, and different color combinations make the rings so much richer visually.

The first ring is completed.

I've had to make a slight change in the composition after a brief discussion with Jim.  Apparently, the aspect of his old quilt that most exemplifies its woobie-ness, is the flannel back.  So the brown and cream fabric is out and a soft, golden colored flannel is in as backing fabric.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A new woobie for Jim

When our children were small, one of our favorite family movies was Mr. Mom with Michael Keaton.  We not only took the film to our hearts, but we all adopted the use of the word "woobie."  (If you haven't seen the film, here's a link to the woobie scene.)  Just as Michael Keaton's character had to have an intervention with Kenny in the movie about his woobie, I've had to have one with Jim about his woobie quilt.  To quote Michael Keaton, "It's looking bad."

This quilt goes back to the early 1980's and has been Jim's favorite cover-up when we watch TV.  Age and repeated washing have taken their toll, however, and it needs to be retired.

I got some beautiful fabrics for my birthday from Carolyn, my sister-in-law and I've added some from my stash to those to make Jim a new woobie.

"The Single Girl" pattern really impressed me when I was making Anna and Matty's quilt, so I'm going to do a 9 ring version for the woobie.  Jim loves brown and blue, so those are the main colors with a little yellow, gold, and beige.  The batik fabric will be the background fabric for the rings.  The brown with cream floral design is the back and the dark brown will be the binding.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Safety Pin Studio gets a good cleaning and straightening

After I finish a major project, I like to clean and straighten my studio, but with so little time between large wedding quilt productions, that just wasn't possible until now.  I spent most of the weekend cleaning, straightening Safety Pin Studio and culling books, CDs and magazines.  Now I'll take you on a little 360° tour of the space.

The first bookcase actually has some unused space now.

The top of the barrister's bookcase is now home for the CD player and writing tools.

I know the scrap box and the project boxes aren't very interesting, but, look, you can see floor!!

One of my aims was to make the work table as clear as possible.  There's a new project on the work table, but I'll save that for another post.

The second bookcase was where I really got serious about getting rid of things.  (I took nine bags of books to the bookseller's this morning.)

Once again, you can actually see floor!

Finally, the little oddment cabinet also got it's top cleaned off for calligraphy pens and stamps.  
Now I'm off to do some work in my nice, clean, orderly studio.  Jim stuck his head in at the end of the day yesterday and said, "Now, the question is, can you keep it this way?"  We'll see.....

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Anna and Matt's quilt: Totally finished!

The last few stitches go into the binding and Anna and Matt's quilt is totally finished!  Two days shy of a month after the wedding.  That's not too bad considering this wasn't the only thing I worked on this summer.

The wedding present is ready to be shipped to Boston and I am moving on to quilting the new baby quilt.  Happy Saturday.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Quilting is completed!

The quilting is finished on Anna and Matty's quilt!  I am sewing the bias binding on right now.  Since it's been incredibly hot here in North Carolina, I have been hanging out in the AC and lots got done.  Stay cool and hydrated and I will do the same.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Another round on Dan's Buddhist liturgical vestment

This is a shout-out to Dan, our son who blogs at Rev. Danny Fisher, for a back-link to my post about his stole.  Check it out and you can see one of the fabulous black and white photos that Dan took at the wedding.  Jim subtitled Anna and Matty's wedding, When Worlds Collide, and here's another example of that!  Thanks for sending your readers to me, buddy.

The header of Dan's blog is a detail from my quilt called "Kundun" dedicated to his Holiness, the Great 14th Dalai Lama.  George C. Wolfe was right.  We are all truly "up in each other's stories."  Like a great scrap quilt, it makes things rich, interesting, and varied.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday in the studio

This is Abbott's quilt on the work table in Safety Pin Studio ready to be pin basted.

Pin basted and in the hoop ready for quilting.

Here's Anna and Matty's quilt nearly three quarters done.  It's Denyse Schmidt's "Single Girl" pattern.

It's been a busy day in the studio and I'm going to do a little more work before I quit for the day.  Happy Sunday evening to all.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday Smorgasbord

It's a summer Saturday, so it's a safe assumption that Jim and I have been to the Farmer's Curb Market.  Above is a shot of the bounty we found this morning. The corn has been really good and the German Johnson tomatoes are fantastic.  Naturally, I am a huge fan of the free range brown eggs.

Because a girl needs to feed her heart, too, my dear husband bought me this lovely bunch of zinnias.  The purple ones are especially appealing to me.

The borders are on Abbott's quilt and I cut out the back after dinner last night.

The tag and bias binding are all ready to go.  I'm off to Safety Pin Studio to sandwich and pin baste. Hope you are having a wonderful Saturday.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Second generation baby quilt: A First for Me

This incredibly cute little guy is Abbott and I am making him a baby quilt.  The really amazing thing about this is that one of the first baby quilts I ever made was for his mother, Molly.  This will be my first second generation baby quilt!

This is the wonderful Kaffe Fassett's African Stripe Baby Quilt pattern that I'm doing again.  It's so colorful and scrappy.  The Winnie the Pooh fabric will be the back.  The plaid will be used for binding and the shamrock and blue circle fabric will be the borders.

The pattern calls for nine different stripes.  This is the front all laid out and ready for me to chain piece.  You can read about the construction of this quilt here, here, and here.  Quilted Librarian is back to work in Safety Pin Studio.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dan's Stole: On Creating a Buddhist liturgical vestment

After seeing the wedding pictures, several people have asked me if I made the stole that Dan wore to perform Anna and Matty's wedding ceremony so I thought it merited a post.  When Dan was getting ready to perform his very first wedding, he decided that he would like a stole and I offered to make one.

While a liturgical vestment often associated with the Christian tradition, the stole was probably based on the tallit or Jewish prayer shawl.  In the Japanese Buddhist tradition, patchwork plays a very large role.  Monks are supposed to beg or collect scraps of fabric to piece together to make their robes.  It was from this that I got the idea to use crumb piecing to create the stole. Dan chose the color red.

After the stole was pieced, we determined that it needed some sort of symbology on the peak at the back and on the ends.  Dan chose the dharma wheel for the back and lotuses for the front ends. The red lotus is that of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva who embodies compassion.

Here's a great shot of Dan with my Dad that shows the dharma wheel.  The photo was taken by my brother, Dan Warner.

This is a close-up of the dharma wheel.

Here's one of the lotuses.

This is the ceremony in progress shot through a string of prayer flags and one of my favorite photos of the wedding.

Update July 20, 2010              
I received an email from Lynn, a vestment maker with more information about the history of the stole.  Here's what she has to say:
I am a long time vestment maker and although people of prayer have draped themselves in garments of worship for thousands of years, the stole itself traces its lineage to first century Rome.  The stole or scarf, longer (to knees) was worn as a symbol of 'office' and power. When the Christian church became endorsed by 'the state' under Constantine in the 300sCE, Christian priests (deacons, bishops) began to wear upper class Roman clothing as vestiture, again to denote their rank and role, and also fulfilling the idea of 'draping' the worship leader with a covering during worship and/or celebration. Of course every different path of 'the Holy' brings it's own lore and trappings.... When the Jews wore shawls (imitating Moses, who veiled himself, according to scripture, when he met God on the mountain), setting the precedent that a 'garment' was worn in conjunction w/ worship.  Not sure *really* what the first and second century Christians wore... after all, many of them were still Jews converting non Jews to a new 'sect', most probably.  The Roman's desire for 'order' and ritual is what set the pace for vestments, IMO.  The stole is not the only Roman attire that is still modeled in vestiture in Christian churches to this day, but the stole is the one most universally worn.

A Quick Trip to Boston

Anna flew back to us last Friday so that she and I could drive their car back to Boston.  Our wonderful day together on Saturday included brunch at the Proximity Hotel's Bistro.  Thanks to our server who took this picture.

Sunday Anna and I made the drive.  We switched off periodically and didn't make any long stops with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on CD when our conversations flagged.  It was a great route and we made it in 14 hours.

I spent the day on Monday with Anna at work.

Yesterday morning, Matty and Anna took me to a wonderful place for breakfast--Trident Booksellers and Cafe on Newbury Street.  You know that I would be crazy about any place that combined two of my very favorite things, breakfast and books!  

After that, we made a quick trip to say hello to Alexis, Anna's best lady from the wedding.  

From there, the kids dropped me at Logan and I flew back home to Jim.  Now it's time to get serious about some work in Safety Pin Studio!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

On being a domestic artist: a salute to Jane Brocket

Jim took me to Barnes and Noble after my birthday lunch so that I could use the gift certificate I got from the Girl Scouts.  I was really pleased to find Jane Brocket's book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity as well as a lovely little Jane Austen address book.  As a devoted reader of Jane's blog, Yarnstorm, I had been anxious to read this book.  Not only has she filled it with wonderful colors and textures,  she also shares books, films, and paintings that inspire her as a "domestic artist."

I'm very fond of this phrase because I think it rightly elevates what many of us do around the house.  The word "homemaker" conjures up images of June Cleaver and doesn't get at the really creative work that many women do to feed and clothe their families and make a pleasant living environment.  Jane Brocket also is very adamant about the fact that being a domestic artist doesn't come with a set of rules or standards that one must meet, or the necessity to do it all.  This will make Jim happy because he is very against the various domestic divas on television who set standards so high that no mortal woman could reach them.

In my work as a domestic artist today, I am making cold cucumber soup for dinner.  This is a recipe that I cut out more than 30 years ago from the Columbus Dispatch. It is not credited.

Cold Cucumber Soup

1 tablespoon of oil
3 green onions, chopped
1 large cucumber
1 cup of watercress or parsley
1 medium potato, pared and diced
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Sprinkle of salt
1 cup half and half
Chopped chives, thinly sliced cucumbers of radishes for garnish

  • Heat oil in a two-quart saucepan.
  • Add onion and cook on medium heat until onion is soft and translucent.  Do not brown.
  • Pare cucumber.  Remove seeds if they are large.  Dice cucumber to get about 2 cups.

  • Add cucumber, watercress, diced potato, broth, pepper, and salt to pan.  

  • Cover, bring to a boil, lower heat and let simmer about 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
  • Remove from heat and cool slightly.

  • Puree mixture 1 cup at a time, in a blender or food processor.  If too much is added at one time while blending, the hot mixture may spurt over the top of the blender. (WORD!)

  • Pour mixture into a large container, stir in cream, cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

  • Serve well chilled.  (Quilted Librarian notes: Remember to taste the soup for salt before you serve it.  As the great Julia Child tells us, as things get cold, the lose their savour.  I also chill pottery bowls in the freezer in which the soup is then served.)   

Monday, July 05, 2010

On turning 61 years old

"Like most others who reach the modest age of sixty-one, I have hardly noticed it. Still this morning for the first time in more than twenty yeas I felt a twinge of rheumatism, a gentle reminder on this birthday that I am no longer a "spring chicken." On the whole the years have passed rapidly. Some of them, it is true, have dragged, but mainly they have hurried as if anxious to finish the job as soon as they possibly could. So quickly have they sped that I hardly realize that so many have been checked off, in fact I have scarcely thought about it as they went by."  ~ Clarence Darrow

I'm a big subscriber to the "you are only as old as you feel" school of thought and I've never been vain about my age.  That is probably a result of looking much younger than I was in my first quarter century so I always owned my age.  So 61 isn't a big psychic change from 60.  It's been a lovely day.  Jim and I had breakfast on the screened porch while it was still cool.  I sewed for a time and then he took me out to lunch at Lucky 32.  We had delicious cold cucumber and avocado soup to start.  He had a small steak and I had catfish.  Wonderful food, stellar service, and a stylish environment.  I spoke with my parents and the children on the phone and right now, I'm going to put my feet up and do some reading.  Happy birthday to me.
                                     (Pie art by Dan's friend, Jean in Granville, Ohio.)

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

I love this musical and this song especially.  Happy Independence Day to us in the US.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Friday Mixed Bag

I am so pleased with the new siding.  It makes the porch so much lighter looking.  I've been taking pictures every day whilst the work has continued, so I'll do a before and after post soon.

The battery is dead in my old camera, so I had to switch to the new Nikon.  I'm still not thrilled with the focus, but I'll keep working with it.  Quilting continues on Anna and Matty's quilt.

Dan shot film at the wedding--both color and black and white.  I love this one of Anna and Matty's first dance.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Thursday Miscellany

The weather has finally broken.  Today is cool and lovely, so I decided to have breakfast on the screened porch.  Irish oatmeal with Splenda ©  brown sugar, raisins, and skim milk; half a bagel with crunchy almond butter; and fresh fruit made up the menu.  I have posted about the joys of breakfast before here.

After breakfast, I cleaned the porch floor and then put back the furniture since the siding men have finished the back of the house.  It's really looking good. The light color is so much easier on the eyes.