Monday, May 30, 2011

Productive weekend

Except for a quick trip to Los Angeles yesterday, I've been holed up here in the house having a blast.

Inspired by a quilt I saw on someone's blog, I picked through my stash of 30s-40s reproduction fabrics and selected colors to start a quilt for Maddy Rose, our new grandbaby. Talk about easy...I cut a selection of 10" blocks and laid them out in a checkerboard fashion on the rug (I don't have room for a design wall). Then I cut and sewed on little blocks of different colors, leaving 1/4"-3/8" raw edges, so once the quilt is finished and washed, all those edges will fray out and look old and well loved. At least...I hope they will. If this project is a big bomb, at least I had fun doing it. I finished the top in only two days and hope to get its back made and have it all put together by the end of the week.

Thursday brought the UPS man, and my new hooking frame. I think I mentioned the other day that I missed my hooking out here in CA on my last trips, so now I'm set up to hook here. I have a linen pattern ready to start this week, and wool and my wonderful Bolivar cutter, which will have to travel back and forth with me because it's too expensive to buy a second one. I found this frame on Etsy, although I think the makers primarily sell from their own website. I'm really pleased because it can adjust to be tall enough for me (I'm 5'10" these days) and the top can tilt so I don't have to hover directly over it, which kills my neck.

Last, but not least...before I left Taos, I saw a blog posting about someone making a "toothbrush" rug. I immediately looked it up and decided I'd love to learn to do that. I ordered the instruction booklet and the tool, but for the life of me, couldn't figure how to do it from the booklet (I learn better by watching someone). to YouTube I went, to search for videos to help. Along the way, I found a couple of good videos about crocheting rugs from rags...much easier for me, since I love to now I've been madly ripping up some of that fabric I've dragged around for too many years and am making a rug with it.

I just wish I was this passionate about exercising. Hopefully I'll get inspired this know... new month, new plan, new diet for summer...ha ha ha...

Hope you've all had a beautiful Memorial Day weekend!

Friday, May 27, 2011

A recipe for perfect day

  • one great friend
  • perfect weather
  • great lunch

Meet your friend, go for a walk along the boardwalk, have lunch at a fun diner. Season with great conversation, laugh a lot, and keep counting your lucky stars you get to have this life. It's a guaranteed success.

PS: If you get lucky, you might meet a local like we did today.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"The woman on the path"

Some of you will already know this is the name of this mat pattern, purchased a couple of years ago from Deanne Fitzpatrick.

I just loved working on this piece; it gave me lots of time to think about the women in my family and in particular, my mom. While we didn't live in the Maritimes, she adored the Pacific ocean and it was her greatest joy to be able to live there the last years of her life. I remember when head scarves were always worn...whether to protect one's "do", keep warm, or cover up those ghastly curlers once common in most of our bathrooms.

Seems the older I get, the more I see one or both of my parents in myself. Today it is my mom, anxious to return to the beach and see the grandchildren. And to pack so I can get back on my own path tomorrow.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Catching up

These last weeks have been hard and wonderful at the same time. I am still having a difficult time letting myself think about our recent losses, yet I've found peace here in these mountains to help gather my thoughts for life, going forward. Whereas last fall I was conflicted about wanting to leave the grand kids and come back to Taos, I believe I have now found myself embracing the balance of both worlds. On Wednesday, I'll return to San Diego for approximately six weeks. So many changes in the kids since I was last grandson starts kindergarten in a few months, and my granddaughter is now laughing and rolling over. I can barely wait to get some hugs, laughs, and kisses.

One of the things I really missed being in California last year was my rug hooking. Because of this, I'm taking a pattern, wool, and portable frame to set up to hook out there as well. Here I hook on a very large quilting frame, which I purposely wanted for larger pieces. There I can do smaller pieces. Along with getting back to my quilting, my trip back there next week holds the promise of starting a new mat. If there's anything I'm great at, it's starting new projects (please do not ask how many get finished).

After finishing the lotus mat, I decided I didn't want to wait until I had some big creative idea for a next I decided to hook a pattern from Rug Hooking Magazine, one they gave as a freebie, a design from the La Rancherita project in Mexico. I haven't been hooking long enough to feel confident in my colors, so it's somewhat of an easy project because it calls for bright colors and in the spirit of the La Rancherita rugs, just about anything goes...purple pigs, pink chickens, you name it. Now, to let myself be free enough to enjoy this fun.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lotus mat

I finished it yesterday. Well, that is, except for finishing the edges, which may or may not get done anytime soon (it may join a couple of others that need to be done and commiserate with them, first). In the end, I really like it. The colors don't seem as washed out, thanks to your support for me outlining in teal. I had fun doing the background, using up oddments of colors. I am content to add it to my short list of mats I've hooked as part of my beginner hooking process. Today or tomorrow, I'll be happily exploring what I'll hook next. That's as much fun as finishing something.

One of the fun things that happened to me when I wrote all of you for advice on the outlining was a comment from Shawn at Island Sweet in Newfoundland. She recently took a great trip to San Francisco, and commented that my colors were "San Francisco colors", based on all the beautiful, old, painted Victorian homes she saw there. Then, while hooking, I realized that the border design on my mat looked like little houses...and that the lotus in the center, a symbol of survival and renewal, could represent San Francisco's amazing history since the great earthquake of 1906. Thanks, Shawn. You helped give my mat new life!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Comfort in the familiar

I've been mostly housebound this last week and it has been absolutely wonderful. Spring in New Mexico is not my favorite season. We've had consistent winds for weeks and weeks (sustaining at around 51 mph a few days ago) and then yesterday, what I didn't want to see but know we need: snow.

One good thing about icky weather is not feeling guilty about hanging out indoors. I've been hooking most every day, and continuing to weed out things I am pretty sure I'll never live long enough to need. I've also been watching "How to Make An American Quilt" (1995), which I captured off the satellite some days ago. It's one of those movies I could never see too many times. I feel like I always learn something new from the stories of those women, as they reflect on their lives through their quilting: stories of love, love and loss, love and forgiveness. I love the cast and the home in which much of it takes place. I rather envy the idea of having the sense of continuity that these women have in the form of their years' long weekly quilting group. I love at the end of the movie, when Sophia says to Finn "I was a diver." In those few words she reached out to let Finn know that she had once been someone else, someone young, vibrant and talented, all before she had let her life be overgrown with pessimism. Cut to one of the last scenes: Sophia, inspired by Finn, taking a dive off the high dive. She had it in her all the time...just like the good witch Glenda told Dorothy. Something for all of us to remember.