Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It caught my fancy ....

I was browsing through quilting-related websites, and this quilt caught my eye.  Hmmmm.  Strips.   And even more strips.

There was a reference to a blog and a webaddress.  Self-described as "Inspiration for the Extreme Scrap Quilter".  The name for the website should have been a clue.  SelvageQuilts.  Selvage.  The lengthwise edges of fabric which Wikipedia tells us are
... a result of how the fabric is created. In woven fabric, selvages are the edges that run parallel to the warp (the longitudinal threads that run the entire length of the fabric), and are created by the weft thread looping back at the end of each row...

Selvage is where the manufacturer puts identifying information -- their company name, the designer's name, the design or pattern name.  It is often white, distinct from the patterned or colored fabric, with black or colored lettering.  To most quilters (also dressmakers and tailors) selvage is waste, to be cut off and thrown away.

Scrap quilters save trimmings from previous projects -- or from small purchases at thrift stores or rummage sales -- and incorporate them into new projects which might follow a color scheme but do not depend on specially purchased new fabrics for their design.  Like Joseph's Coat of Many Colors, design elements in a scrap quilter's project often follow a theme -- common block design with each block made from different fabrics,  a specific color or range of tones (reds-and-blues, or lots of different blues), a specific block shape (lots of little 2" squares, for example).  

Along come the Extreme Scrap Quilters, those who use fabric scraps even the scrap quilters throw away.  Like the selvage pieces.  Rather than cutting as close as possible to the selvage without cutting into it, they deliberately leave some of the design fabric in the cut.  They piece those selvage scraps together into wonderful, stripey designs.  The whole concept is brilliant, both simple and lovely. 

As I was writing, I got to thinking.  What else do we routinely treat as garbage, that if properly put to use could become a treasure?  I think about people.  People who were verging on hopeless as children, who grow up into caring adults who touch lives where ever they go.  People branded as "stupid" who just need to find one thing about which they became passionate.  People who find new ways to practice their passion when the "normal" ways become impossible.   People who don't look like we do, or speak our language, or eat the same foods we do.  People whose values may be a little different than ours. The ferrals of the world. 

As Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow, I challenge you to look around your world.  Identify one person, animal, object, building or ??? which, if just used in a different way, could become a treasure.  What might that new use be?  Give thanks that you can recognize that hidden treasure, and do something to help it come to light.   Keep praying....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

One down ....

Here's what's been keeping my hands busy recently, keeping them off the computer keyboard.  It's now done, and it's sister project is underway.  Was going to do five, but dawdled around for too long and will do will to finish two.  This is made from commercially cut strips rolled into what the quilt shops are now calling a jellyroll, with borders added.  The backing matches the binding.  It's machine pieced, but hand quilted.

Just thought you'd like to see what's been keeping me busy!

Give thanks for those with whom to share the products of favorite projects.  Don't forget to pray!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Katie!

Granddaughter Katie celebrates her 16th birthday today. She is much like her mother -- very bright, focused, ambitious. She is still learning to cope with that newly-discovered heart issue. It's hard to be 16 and facing problems far more common in her grandparents' generation. Your continued prayers are very much appreciated.

Small as the State of Hawaii is, that winter storm we were promised has so far hit almost everywhere but at our house. Oh, there's been afternoon overcast, and it feels like dusk is arriving earlier and earlier in the afternoon, but hey! It's mid-November. Hana at the eastern tip of Maui was getting 1" of rain an hour yesterday afternoon. In Hilo, waves were said to be washing over city streets. The weather map showed Kaua'i under a big red-and-yellow blob indicating heavy rain. Photographs on this morning's news showed slightly more than a sugar-dusting of snow at the astronomical observatory at the summit of Mauna Kea. I went looking for snow pictures, and found these. The extra bonus was the star pictures. Go exploring!

One quilt done, one more to go. Yes, that's down from five, but the rest will come along in time. And two is good. Photos to follow.

The holiday season is approaching. What will you do that makes a difference to someone beyond your immediate family? What one thing will you do to get beyond the commercialism of Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzah?

Give thanks for birthdays. Give thanks that Katie is celebrating another birthday. Keep praying!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More Random Thoughts

To look at the weather outside, you'd never guess that an old-fashioned, mountain-type Winter Stom Watch is in place for the entire state of Hawaii. That means blizzard conditions at the summits of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii. No, they do NOT expect snow levels to drop below about 13,000 feet.

While my brother, who lives on the opposite end of the island both geographically and weather-wise, wakes to early morning rains, it has been dry here. At 7:00 a.m. everything was absolutely still. As soon as the wind kicked up, I did a load of wash to ensure things like clean underwear for the rest of the week. This "solar dryer" stuff may save on electricity, but it means that all your laundry is dependent on Mother Nature and her whims.

Why the long absence of posts? Not enough hands. They have been occupied in a hand-quilting a Christmas gift. The quilting is now done, with binding to be added later today. Then on to another. As a matter of expediency, the second one will be machine quilted! It is impossible to quilt or knit or even crochet while writing....

Last weekend was the annual Fall Festival at my church. I volunteered to help for a portion of a morning with the set-up. As it turns out, it is really a Christmas festival. The ladies who operate the thrift shop save the best of the best, as well as everything that has anything to do with Christmas, all year and then lay them out in the gym for a day of concentrated selling. That gym was built just over 50 years ago while I was in high school. It has aged very gracefully.

Set-up involves a team of custodians setting up the old, heavy folding tables -- with a square of carpet set under each leg to protect the floor; covering the tables first with white and then red or green cloths; then adding merchandise carried up from its storage space below the stage. The photo above shows the space early in the sale day. Try clicking on the image. A larger version should pop up. You can recognize the workers: the uniform of the day was red above, white below. Somewhere in that crowd my mother was browsing. She came home with a few things, and enjoyed herself immensely.

After years of twice-yearly rummage sales at our church in Palo Alto, where we even moved out the day school and took over every available space in the 5-acre complex, this seemed a low-key effort. Nevertheless, the camaraderie that develops among the volunteers is the same. I had several friends in Palo Alto that I saw only during rummage sale week. One was the mother of a well-behaved toddler daughter who actually wore freshly polished leather high-top shoes every day. When her second child, a boy, was about a year old, Ginny said to me, "Sons like ours are punishment for mothers like us who start out with well-behaved daughters and criticize mothers of rowdy boys!" I will never forget her! I don't know which of my co-workers from that set-up day will become friends, but I do know that there were many more friendly greetings in church after the sale.

Give thanks for a specific opportunity taken (be sure to name which one!) to reach out into your own community. Like the Girl Scout song, "Make new friends, but keep the old ..." Pray for friends, far and near. ....