What Can Be Done With A Piece Of Blue Fabric

Recently I went to the Houston Quilt Show and the quilts I saw there were spectacular.  Of course I was drawn to the blue and white ones because that’s just how I roll. And I began to think of what could be done if you had just one piece of blue fabric. Maybe not dozens, but just one. Not a shopful , just one.

Well some people are really good at answering that question. I started to see some of the quilts in a new light. Here are some of the pretties I saw in one day.

Is this one wonderful or what?  It is a garden with bugs and all.  Here is a closeup of the ants.Too cute, right?

I adore this one!  All the different baskets and the handles at all different angles. This one reminds me of whirligigs. Maybe I’m showing my age and some of you don’t know what whirligigs are, but they look just like this quilt.  Tee Hee!

How fantastic is this?!  It’s like looking through many little stained glass windows. Or maybe a dozen or more blue snowflakes. Anyway this one is truly great! I really like the assymetrical look of this quilt. I don’t usually think that way, but I love it when others do.All the blue here is in the background. Another thing I seldom think of, but love it when others do it.What a great illusion this creates from a distance. And all those tiny pieces! My goodness!I can’t even imagine how this quilt was made! I’m so impressed! The Flying Geese are beyond spectacular!Another quilt where most of the blue is in the background. Love that starburst!Here is my favorite blue and white. Can’t go wrong with the standard color combination. The piecing that went into this beauty is beyond my imagination. It looks 3-D. A very modern looking design but the blue and white coloring draws me in.There are no words for this one! It looks like it is moving! Hard to accomplih with pieces of fabric. But very well done by this quilter.

And this was not all the ones that were there, just the ones that I saw. What a lovely day! My blue and white love was well met by the wonderful quilters at Houston.  And I wish to thank each one for filling my heart as well as my eyes full of beauty and craftsmanship.

If this much can be done with blue, can you imagine what can be done with  all the colors of the rainbow?

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Retreat Revisited

Ah quilt retreat! There is nothing like it. Four days of sewing, chatting, sharing, laughing, eating and maybe some sleeping. There is lots of humming of machines, questions like “Does this border go with this fabric?”, answers of “I prefer the blue!”, whirring of rotary cutters and even some quiet times of hand sewing. One person can be absorbed in reading directions, two people can be sharing a new technique, three people can be giving an opinion on placement of blocks for a quilt and any number of people an be taking a class on a brilliant idea or some new sewing notion.

A retreat is many things and can be anything to one person. Maybe it’s a chance to finish that project . . . . finally. Maybe it’s a chance to start a new project . . . . finally. And maybe it’s just time, time to sew and sew and sew on anything and everything you have. It’s the freedom to do whatever you want.

Ah quilt retreat! Looking forward to it is a joy. Experiencing it is true heaven. Even the memories of it are a blessing. Here are a few of mine.

This is just one block for a quilt done in appliqué. Can you imagine how spectacular that quilt will be?

This quilt looks like it was woven. And it is made out of flannel. What a coy hug it will give on cold nights.

A beautiful Christmas tree already for the holiday.

A beautiful quilt done in squares. Very modern looking.

Is this too cute? I love the baby penguin!

A wonderful red, white and blue star quilt. Love those stars!

This quilt is big, beautiful and not even done yet. There will be more poinsettias when completed. How perfect will that be?

A quilt of foxes is being worked on here. How adorable!

A little Christmas village just got finished here in this cute quilt.

Several of us took lessons on making stars the Inklingo way. Here are our results.

This spectacular one is made from a zillion little pieces of fabric applied to the background. Isn’t it wonderful?

 

I love the brightness of this quilt. Must be all those primary colors.

This is going to be a great quilt when it is done. Don’t you agree?

Another very interesting quilt. The blocks are going in all directions. Love the clocks!

This quilt is very soft looking. I bet it is very comforting too.

Here is a special quilt of several blocks of the Lady of Guadalupe. It was made for a special friend. Lucky lady!

This is not exactly a quilt but still a real cutie. It is a wool mat for a platter. It is all done by hand with much embellishment.

A complicated quilt that is very lovely to behold. Can’t wait till this one is done.

This one looks very hard but actually it is the fabric that is printed to look like 36 square blocks. Interesting, right?

This is all I can show you of the marvelous retreat I went to. The best parts are the  intangibles. They are the relationships we all have and the history of many retreats and gatherings over the years. They are the hours spent in each others’ company through good times and bad. They are the words spoken between us over coffee, tea and wine, sharing meals, ideas and feelings.

All these things we carry in our hearts until the next time we meet. Be it tomorrow or next year. Nothing is lost or forgotten. Retreat is forever!

 

A Quilt Show – Behind The Scenes

Many of us have been to a quilt show. And many of us have seen the quilts all nicely hung and organized in place. We have marveled at the beauty of the show, shopped at all the vendors and learned much at the demonstrations.

But how does all this quilt show thing happen? Do elves come in the night and perform magic? Does a wizard open a trunk and a quilt show pops out? Do we order one from Amazon and two days later it shows up neatly wrapped in a box? Not exactly.

First of all it takes at least a year of planning – sometimes more. That means monthly (or more often) meetings of a committee. Lots of emailing back and forth. Phone calls, messages, printouts, samples, first, second and final drafts, votes, opinions, disagreements and agreements – all go into making a quilt show.

Finally the week of the show comes and all involved are ready and on alert. Three days before the show even starts, all the quilts that are going to be in the show are delivered to the site. In four hours, as many as 350 or more quilts can be accepted, inspected, labeled and processed. All this is done alphabetically at check-in stations.

Two days before the quilt show the poles and drapes are up in place and the hanging of the quilts begins. The quilts are hung by sleeves on the back of each quilt over a rod. Each is numbered and labeled according to the category which it qualifies. All 350 or more quilts are hung and made to look as beautiful as possible in one day.

The next day begins the judging. Three different judges with their assigned scribes spend the entire day inspecting, analyzing and recording their assessment of each quilt.The written critique is returned with the quilt  to the owner at the end of the show.

Then the winning ribbons are hung on the most outstanding quilts, honoring the makers. The most wonderful of all, the “Best of Show” is moved to a special place of honor.

During all this time, tables have been set up, signs have been placed, registration packets have been stuffed, vendors have set up their booths, banners have been hung, PA systems tested, concession stands filled, floors laid, lights hung, tickets counted and people have scurried from one job to another. All is now ready for tomorrow.

Tomorrow the quilt show opens. The doors will be unlocked. Quilt lovers and makers will stream in. There is nothing more to be done.

Nothing more but keep the show running smoothly!

 

Three Days With Mac . . . Or How To Occupy An Eleven Year Old

This week Mac’s parents have gone to Florida for a little R&R. Gramps and I will have Mac for three days and the other grandparents will  have him for three days. Share and share alike we say.

He came with the usual bag of clothes, a stuffed animal and the dreaded electronic gizmos. Although when he is at our house, he likes to use my phone because it has the “good games”.

Immediately upon entering the house, Mac asks for my phone and retreats to his bedroom. (Really the guest bedroom but we call it “his bedroom” while he is here)

This means there is no talking, no interaction, no relationship going on between us and him. This is totally unacceptable to Gramps and me. So we have put a limit on electronics usage in our home and especially no devices at mealtimes.

Instead we do other things. Mac loves to ride his bike, so we do that often when he is here. Good for him and good for us.

He and Gramps have explored the uncharted areas around our house and gone bird watching many times. They always have a tale to tell when they get back from their biking trips.

Gramps and I walk around the neighborhood every evening and Mac either walks with us or rides the bike around. Walking in our little neighborhood means greeting other neighbors, walkers, dogs and children playing in the street. So Mac joins in the conversations and pettings. It takes a while to get around the block but it’s a wonderful journey.

Of course, we play board games too. Our current favorite is Monopoly. Mac always wants to be the banker. I always use the thimble as my playing piece and Gramps always wins. I don’t know how he does it.

One evening we watched “How To Train Your Dragon” in 3D. The best part was looking at each other in those glasses and laughing out loud. We had popcorn and everything. Lots of fun!

The next day we took Mac out in the boat. What a grand day that was! Perfect weather. Perfect water. Perfect company. We did some fishing – caught nothing but shrubs. We let Mac take the wheel with Gramps a couple times, which thrilled him to no end.

We all got wet and wind blown. We laughed. We talked a lot. And Gramps showed Mac the sonar depth finder. (It’s a guy thing)

The last morning, before our handoff to the other grandparents, was designated as “lazy day”, so Mac played electronic games to his hearts’s content. He laid on his bed giggling to himself.

He told me later, “I love my down time”.

Our three days with Mac were packed with fun, conversation, interaction, learning and love. I can’t wait until the next time. I’m already making plans.

What I Learned While Getting Sick. . . . And Sicker

Have you missed me, my Sweeties? I certainly have missed you the last two months!

Nine weeks ago, I went into the hospital for a simple surgery to cure a diagnosis of early colon cancer. It was supposed to be a quick, laparoscopic, no-frills surgery.

The surgery went fine, except I developed a blockage afterwards and required a second surgery four days later.

That would have been fine too, but some intestinal contents leaked out and I became septic. Now sepsis is a big deal and a very serious condition.

I know because it affected my heart rate, which went to 220 bpm. All this required conversion with medications and a move to Coronary ICU.

In the meantime, I also developed an abscess in my abdomen, necessitating the placement of a drain for about two weeks.

The two antibiotics I was receiving IV required the placement of a PICC line in my right arm.  I was a mess!!!

By this time, I had been in the hospital for almost a month. I then was sent to Rehab for three weeks of IV antibiotics and Physical Therapy.

So what can be learned from an experience such as this? Many things, I realized. Some at the time. Some much later.

Fighting the inevitable is non-productive and exhausting. Sometimes you just have to face the issue and go with it.

Never discount the power of prayer. Allow others to pray for you and those caring for you.

Strength comes from simply surviving.

Maintaining a sense of gratitude helps. Saying “thank you” to everyone who does you a kindness keeps you in the right attitude.

Allow others to give. It is a blessing to receive from others and this is the time to let them do it.

True friends and family will step up to the challenge. I was never alone and never had to face any of my problems by myself. What a gift!!

There is always a silver lining. I had to look long and hard for this one – but I lost 20 pounds! Now that’s good news!

Perseverance pays off.  Keeping a positive attitude helped me believe that everything would turn out alright.

Things temporarily lost are twice as enjoyable when regained. Every yard more I can walk and every bit more sewing I can do is a joy to me and is worth every ounce of effort.

Don’t mourn what is lost. Praise what is gained. I am cancer free! I am alive! I will be healthy again! I can ask for nothing more!!!!!!!