Thursday, August 30, 2012

More on Tradition...

In case you're wondering how I'm doing on my Traditional quilt... In all honestly, I enjoyed the class very much. Linda Ballard is a fun and excellent teacher... full of humorous stories and lots of tips and tricks that one can only learn in a class. She provided an amazingly concise booklet of instructions as part of the class, and was hugely generous with her one-on-one time with each of us in the class. I'm very grateful for the experience of working with her.

On the other hand, as I'm now at home in the coziness of my studio and working on the nuts and bolds of constructing this quilt, I'm about to lose my mind. The name of the quilt is "Canine Stars" and, for the past week, I've been paper-piecing "dog teeth," and, let me tell you, it's been tedious to the max. On the other hand, since I'm in a rather fragile space in my life right now, the tedium caused by doing the same task over and over is sort of a good thing. Meaning... I don't have to think too hard about what I'm doing, and if my mind wanders away from the task at hand, which it tends to do a lot in recent weeks, that's okay.

The required number of dog teeth pieces for this quilt is 32. Today I finished #31, and deliberately stopped, in order to give myself the joy of knowing I only having one more to do. I can dive back into things tomorrow knowing I have ONE more act of paper piecing to do, and then I'm DONE. It's a good feeling.

Here are some of the 31 rows of teeth, including one of the layouts...

Tomorrow, I'll trim them all down to their required 6.5" x 2.5" size, and then on Saturday, at the quilt guild meeting, I'll rip the paper off during the business meeting, instead of dozing off as I usually do. Then I can come home and sew the teeth to their center pieces, and make the 16 required Dog Teeth panels.

THEN, I can start working on the stars. In all, I'm going to need 24 stars. Each star requires 4 Flying Geese. At 5 stars per block times 4 blocks plus 4 extra stars for the corners, that means I'm going to need to make 96 Flying Geese.


This, my friends, is why I don't do "Traditional". How in the name of all that's holy, do people remain sane while making quilts like this on a regular basis??? However... it's a moot point, because I'm NEVER going to do this again!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I love lists. They simplify things. When things are assigned a number and listed in an orderly manner, one after the other, life doesn't seem so complicated. I couldn't survive without grocery lists - if I don't write down what I need, I will never, ever remember what I need when I get to the grocery store. Back in the day, when I used to practice the piano several hours a day, I'd waste my entire practice time if I didn't follow my list...

1) Scales and Arpeggios - 10 minutes
2) Bach: G minor fugue - 15 minutes
3) Beethoven: Sonata #15 - 30 minutes
4) Brahms: Intermezzo - 15 minutes
... and yada, yada.

I especially like lists that, if carefully followed, will yield a desired result... suggestions that guide you towards Life Goals, or busting clutter, or growing the perfect pot of tomatoes. All so very tidy: do this, achieve that. While I could never deal with someone else's grocery list or practice schedule, with goal-oriented lists I much prefer to find lists someone else has written. I'm basically a very lazy person, and any time someone else can do the work, and all I have to do is "DO," I'm much happier. 

Today, while visiting art quilter friend, Sandy Donabed's blog, I discovered this list. I find I can resonate with every item and, therefore, have decided to print a copy and hang in my studio, put it in a note file on my iPhone, keep a copy on the music desk of my piano, put a copy in my car, and stash a copy in the bag in which I schlepp things to classes. Thanks, Sandy... I think this list is stupendous!
(Sorry, I can't figure out how to make this image larger... click on it to make it a readable size... it's worth it!)

Actually, this is my favorite Liszt of all...   ;-)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

One Day at a Time...

One  month ago I wouldn't have believed this could be possible, but here you are. It hasn't been easy, but I've had the support of wonderful friends... both old timers and new, and I couldn't have done it without them. Thanks, guys!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tradition... Feh!!

I'm taking a class tomorrow with my quilt guild, and I've spent the last two afternoons being reminded of why I don't do traditional quilts. I've had to cut out a gazillion ditzy squares and rectangles and half-square triangles... all of this to provide fodder for the dubious joy of constructing the same block multiple times. My usual rebellious attitude kicked in early on in the process, but rebellious options were pretty minimal for this quilt. I took the only rebel route open to me and decided to mess with the color. This is supposed to be a two-color quilt... red or green or blue or pink or peuce or whatever, on a white background. All nice and pastel-y and civilized. In other words, boring. Instead, mine will be a five-color job... red, blue, green, yellow and purple on a black background.

So why am I taking this class if I find it so frightfully "not me?" Last year, the guild members (myself included) voted to have Linda Ballard, a professional teacher of some note, do a class with us. We were sent to her website to check out her many classes, and vote for the class of our choice. Of course, my choice was for one of her more artsy quilts, but, of course, I was out-numbered and a very traditional quilt was selected. Since I'd voted in favor of having Linda do a class in the first place, it would have been tacky of me to pull an attitude and refuse to take the class just because my choice didn't "win." So there you are.

Here are my ditzy squares, rectangles and half-square triangles...

By tomorrow evening some of this will have been re-ordered into the beginnings a somewhat untraditional traditional quilt. Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I've been spending a lot of time in recent days trying to regroup and get used to my new life. It's been difficult, but, at the same time, it's been easy. My decision to embrace sobriety is firm because I'm afraid of the consequences if I don't, but that decision presents a serious challenge to me in the somewhat fragile state in which I currently dwell. Help is coming at me in the form of support from my wonderful friends, both long-time and new, and I'm grateful to them beyond measure. I've been doing a lot of mental homework... reading, journaling, thinking, and meditating. One of my new favorite places to do all of these things is sitting in my car on the Benicia pier, staring at the river and enjoying enormous ships, tiny kayaks, jet skis, and sailboats going by, watching and listening to the Amtrack trains on the other side of the river, and seeing the antics of the many birds who visit the pier. A large flock of geese landed just offshore of me today, and had the time of their lives disrupting the seagulls who had been lazily floating around like so many corks, most likely thoroughly enjoying the pre-goose calm and serenity. This guy appeared to be totally miffed... when he first landed on this post next to my car, he squawked and screeched for minutes on end before calming down and accepting his new condition. Rather like me, I thought... I'm still squawking and screaming, but realizing I can't change what IS, and doing my best to accept the newness of my condition.

Hey, little feathered buddy... I can relate!