Ruminations and Fabrications

stories from a cloth-filled life

Triplet quilts update - HELP!
I have the quilting all finished. I have two of them labeled. I am racking my brain to find and settle on the third title, so I can sew it and send it! I have a whole mess of pictures and such, behind the cut. The one with fish is called "still waters run deep". The one with butterflies is called "The sky's the limit". Can you think of a name for the Earth one, with the bunnies? Short is good, and I'm hoping for something that says something about a person's character, or advice for life - and references earth or dirt or plants or gardens or little creatures somehow. Ideas?

Lots o' picsCollapse )

The art of giving
In the last few months, something big happened in my life. I gave $500 to a total stranger.  I forget exactly how I heard about her amazing  project, but I believed in her cause and in her talent, and I wanted to support her.  So I did. It was little at first, just the $25 I thought I could spare. But then I became increasingly invested in seeing her succeed, both in doing good work in Haiti and in making a reproduction of a stunning gown. So I gave more. And more. And more. More ideas, more feedback, more money.

I gave more than I thought I could, but not more than I could. I did not go without, or skip on bills, I just realized I had more to give. This is amazing to me. All my life, I've been aware of scarcity, of budgeting and where the lines are between staying afloat and sinking fast. I have a few places I give to regularly, but it's not much, never as much as I want. This changed that. Part of that is strictly due to being in a better place financially than we've been before, but there's a good part that's psychological, too. Suddenly, the things I want to do seem much more achievable, because if I can manage to give $500 over a few months time, what could I do in a year? In two years? Starting right now, I could give a dollar a day to my two favorite causes. If I saved up for three years, who knows what I could do.

This womanpeacockdress  inspired me to give more because she had a crazy creative scheme and a desire to make a little bit of the world a little bit more compassionate, and another little bit of the world more beautiful, and to do it with the help of as many people as it took to make those things happen. Love, harmony, and beauty. That's what it's all about. Now, I have to take a little while and think about what crazy creative scheme I want to undertake. Thanks, Cathy.

Outsourcing our brains
Last Monday I had the pleasure of wandering around a huge old graveyard with my youngest sister-in-law. We saw lots of really neat stuff, but that's not the point of this post. The point of this post is that a sense of direction is something you can develop, like an eye for color or a sensitive pallet for flavors.

We were in the Lowell graveyard, which is one of the first to be laid out as a park, with winding avenues and intentional topography, instead of the just rows of stones. The whole point of this type of graveyard design is to make you disoriented, outside of normal flow of time and space, and able to more easily contemplate life, love, death, and other weighty matters. As was intended, we wandered from eye-catching stone to eye-catching stone, and soon we were deep in the twisting paths. Laura said she had recently learned to read a map using the map of this graveyard, and she still wasn't very secure in her sense of direction.

Right about this time, it was time to head home. Laura knew we were on the wrong side of the park, but not how to get back. She was utterly lost. "Well, what direction is the other side of the park?" "Over...there. I think." "Ok, then as long as I keep the sun in front of us and on my left shoulder, we're headed in the right direction." It was as though I'd spoken words of secret mastery. "Is that how you know where you're going all the time?" Yes, pretty much. If I know where the sun (or moon, or north star) is, I know where I'm facing, and therefore what direction I'm going.

Which leads to my second point, the outsourcing of knowledge we used to hold. Now, I know that Socrates was all distraught about the idea of books and writing and how it was ruining the minds of today because no one had to remember anything any more, so it's not a new idea, or even a new concern. And there are times I've been very grateful for a GPS device when I was in an unfamiliar place with a time deadline. But I also know folks who have come to rely so heavily on their GPS - in their car, on their phone, on their ipad - that they can't give directions on how to get to a place they regularly go, because they just listen to the little voice saying "In 500 feet, turn right onto Storrow Drive." Seems kind of sad to me.

Pink-eye, I has it
I never realized how often I touch my face and eyes until the doctor said "Don't touch your face or eyes, wash your hands whenever you can, and get plenty of rest. You should be better by the week-end." Argh! Dumb viruses and their fancy-pantsy ooooo, I'm a virus! I get to just run my course in your immune system! La-la-la-de-da!

Also, my throat hurts. And did I mention it was 90 degrees F today, and will be the next three days? And I'm not supposed to go anywhere or be around people, 'cause of being infectious as Typhoid Mary. So no shopping in nice air-conditioned shops, no errands to the nice air-conditioned library, and absolutely no swimming at public beaches. *sigh* At least on the up-side I' ought to be feeling better by the weekend. Which is 3 more days away. And it's only that I "ought" to be feeling better. *sigh*

Time-line meme
15 years ago (1996), I:
- was pregnant with my oldest child.

10 years ago (2001), I:
- had a 4 year old and a one year old.
- was still sorting through some emotional baggage.
- was facing serious financial hardship.

5 years ago (2006), I:
- had a 6 month old.
- knew my father-in-law was dying.

3 years ago (2008), I:
- had recently celebrated our first year in our own home.
- was still reeling from loosing 6 members of my family in a short time.

1 year ago (2010), I:
- was looking forward to Eat-Dance-Pray!!
- knew I was not going to make my deadline for entering the county fair.

Yesterday (6/26/11), I:
- finished a quilt I started years ago.
- went to a lavender festival.
- went to a choir practice for the first time in 14 years.

Today (6/27/11), I:
- did puzzles with the boys.
- worked on Eppy's quilt.
- helped the boys wash and dry their clothes.

Tomorrow (6/28/11), I will:
- photocopy the MW book.
- keep working on Eppy's quilt.
- likely take the boys swimming
- maybe get a beach pass?

In a week, I:
- will hang out with my cousins!
- will watch the yearly fireworks display with my father and sister and all our kids.

In a month, I:
- will be in Royalston for EDP!!!
- will hopefully have decided about school for the boys for next year.

In a year, I will:
-  be gearing up to work/volunteer at Seb and Elliot's school.
- have a fuller garden.
- have two more books out.

In 5 years, I will:
- have a new roof and new siding.
- be working for the museums for decent pay.
- will have Seb home after his first year at college, probably.

A quick little quilt story
This is my young friend Gwen, holding the quilt we made Wednesday. Gwen is opticalbinary 's amazing daughter, so some of you already know all about her.

The quilt is a regular 4-patch, a pattern used for the past 200+ years to introduce girls to needle-arts. She chose all the fabrics herself.

When I met Gwen, two years ago, she was almost non-communicative, if not non-verbal. The first time she was at my house I felt as though I were hosting a mysterious and unpredictable fairy - she looked like a human child of about 4 (she was older, but she's *tiny*!), but her sing-song words and behaviors put her in a different world. Then her flitting gaze landed on the stack of 4" squares I have in the art supplies. "Meg makes QUILTS!" she announced, clearly reciting information she had been told, and connecting it to these scraps. She pulled out some pieces and started laying them on the floor. "Can you find two that match?" I asked. She could. "Can you find two more that match?" Yes, easily. "Now, watch how they can make a square of four." "4! 4,4,4,4!" Numbers made her happy. "Shall we sew them together?" "YES!" An enthusiastic fairy, when she wishes.

So that's what we did. She chose sets of four and I sewed them together. I didn't try to push conversation with her, but I told her what I was doing and why, how the machine worked, how the fabric was held together by the thread, and how each piece needed to line up so it would make a strong seam. She barely spoke, but watched the joined pieces come off the back of the machine with serious intensity.

Over the next two years, as her ability to connect with other humans increased, she played with the toys and with my sons more than the scraps, but if I had a quilt on the table, she would always say gleefully "Meg, you are making a QUILT!" She'd occasionally ask to make more 4s, but only a few times. Most of them were made that first day. And there they sat, in the stack on top of the other pieces.

Last Wednesday, she came over for a few hours. i knew it would be the last time I'd see just her, due to her family's big move (YAY! It's going to be great!), and I knew we had this one chance to finish the quilt. She made a bee-line for the art supplies. "Meg, these are the fours we made!" "Yes, they are." "Yes, I want to work on them!" "Alright. let's see how many there are. Let's lay them out in a square or a rectangle."  We counted out 13 blocks of 4-inch squares, plus one that was out of 3-inch squares. I could see her anxiety levels begin go up as it was clear there was one that was off-size, and it threw off the symmetry of the rest. "And this little one is the pillow," I said, scooping up the little one and the one next to it. "A pillow! The little one gets to be the pillow!" That made her happy.

I made the pillow first, centering the smaller block over the larger and sewing all around the edge quickly, then turning it inside out, tucking the large edges inside. "Now it needs stuffing, and then you can choose a decorative stitch to close it up" I went and got some old cotton batting and cut a piece for her to pull apart into fluff. "There, you stuff that while I sew the blocks together." She was nervous when I picked up the first two blocks - "I don't want it to be a box of six!" "It won't be", I explained, and showed her how the blocks went together just like the squares did. She nodded and went back to stuffing the pillow.

The work went very fast, and then she chose a fancy decorative stitch to close the pillow. We talked about what special stuffed animal or doll she might have that could use the quilt and pillow we were making, and she decided her pikachu would be the right size. So different, to have real conversations with her now! We chose a piece of blue and white striped flannel to back the quilt (no batting, I was going for light and fast), then pillowcased the two layers together, turned it right side out, and sewed - with a fancy stitch - all around the outside edge. She worked the foot pedal (alongside me), and I worked the fabric. She kept saying "I never made a bed set before." We talked about the blocks, how some were all solid, some had a print, and some were all printed. Then it was finished.

She took it over to the couch and tried it out, her head on the tiny pillow, the little quilt just covering her legs. She barely set it down for the rest of the visit. If I could name the quilt, I'd call it Building Blocks of Friendship, and I hope someone will write that along with "Made by Gwen [last name], age #, and Meguey Baker, age 40 - 2011." on the back in Sharpie. I'm going to miss her.

Thank you, weather gods.
I have four quilts I'm working on that have deadlines of a month from today. Until yesterday, I couldn't stand working on them because it was over 80 degrees. Yesterday was rainy all day, and today was a cloudy 60. Pictures should be forthcoming, once I get a bit more done.

Summer Scrap Challenge
My local quilt guild issued a scrap challenge in April. We each brought a brown paper lunch sack full of our scraps, and swapped them. We have until the annual picnic in July to finish a quilt using the scraps we received. Here's what I got:

And here's what I'm making:

Simple, fun, and almost done!

Lifted from wren08 

I am a

What Flower
Are You?


It's fairly accurate, and the flower is my second favorite. I wonder what would have to change for my result to be iris?

Green Star quilt
This is a project for a client. Her mother ("Bev") sewed the blocks and mostly set the rows together, and now Bev is too old to finish the work. It's based on an antique quilt Bev admired in 1985. I was able to match the creamy white from my stash of vintage white. Everything modern was far too blue. The stars are a lovely dark green, but the seem to read nearly black on the screen.


Log in

No account? Create an account