Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Power of Lists!

I did it! Well almost but in some cases better. Numbers 1 & 2 on my list have been achieved and what is more not only did I cut out the second block but I also sewed it up and cut another one out and started that one. So I now only have 3 blocks left to cut out- and they are the complicated ones. I've dyed the backing piece so when I've finished the half done one I'll start assembling the blocks for quilting. There is going to be sashing so I am going to allow plenty of the wadding round the block and then trim it away when I attach the sashings. I do like this quilt as you go method as it is so much easier to do fancy quilting than when struggling with a 6ft roll of quilt. I am not a traditionalist but having to make a traditional sampler quilt once a year is very good for me as it under pins the fundamentals and makes me think. I have to admit that I am of the, quote from Martha Green, 'roadside Carnie' school of quilting and like to do things fast and bright. My friend Martha does some wonderful stuff and I have to admit that I was first drawn to her work when I first saw it in Omaha at the Crazy Patchwork Convention in 2000 because it was so bright and colourful. I have since taught at several venues since then where Martha has been teaching also and her work never fails to amaze me with its inventiveness and sheer joy of execution that is so evident in it. I am lucky enough to own a couple of things that Martha has made for me.

I am used to teaching dyeing workshops here in England in basements and old tenement buildings where the surroundings are basic but there is lots of space, deep sinks, occasionally hot water but always a kettle and/or urn, big tables and it doesn't matter a hoot if things get spilled. And we have a lot of fun. However when I arrived in Omaha in 2000 to find that I was to give dyeing workshops in a four star hotel with new carpets on the floor and not a tap or sink in sight I was flabberghasted. In fact I don't think that quite explains how I felt. The hotel rose to the occasion and laid down plastic tarps and brought in a bowser of water and gave us 'old' tables! Their old though wasn't my old so we used as much newspaper as we could- everywhere. This would have been on the verge of OK if it wasn't that my classes had been scheduled for a different room each day of the week! So each morning we upped sticks and moved everything down the hotel corridors much to the bemusement of the other guests. I co-opted a helpful bell boy who did most of the heavy stuff and helped to keep my sanity. The students were wonderful. They made light of all difficulties and we had a ball even though they constantly made fun of my British accent! We dispersed among the hotel to rinse out in the bathrooms and to plug hair dryers into any available socket to dry sample pieces. This last was too much for the hotel's electrics and we shorted the place! And this isn't even telling you about the fire in the middle of a tornado on the top floor because we were doing microwave dyeing and a student forgot to put any water in and cooked her silk to death. My poor steamer still bears the scars. Ever since then I tape messages all over the microwaves as telling students isn't enough! Oh that was a wonderful week even if I gained a reputation for causing havoc! Not my fault m'lud! And what an introduction to America!

This is one of the pieces that Martha made for me. It is a door hanger and on one side it says Keep Out by Order of the Queen and on the other side there is a wonderful picture of Queen Victoria in all her glory surrounded by superb crazy patchwork pieces and embellishments. This is so necessary to hang on my workroom door! I have spawned a family of thieves! Borrowing to them means keeping! I wouldn't mind if they asked! I have to admit it is much better since both children left home but even Martin isn't above a quick rummage!
And now I have a grandchildren I can see it will be even more necessary! My grand-daughter Fenella was having her afternoon nap when they were visiting at Easter and I went to see if she was awake only to find that she had been into my 'art' draw and found some wax crayons with which she'd decorated a goodly part of her books. A moment longer and the walls would have been next. When asked what she thought she was doing her answer was, 'Panda did it!' Panda is her favourite and never to be without soft cuddly toy which I bought her at a car boot sale! So what can you do when a just 2 year old has an immediate answer like that! She is a rascal! And any day now she will have a baby brother or sister!
Thank you to those who made kind comments about my fabrics. This is always good to hear and I'm glad I stuck them up on the website even though the photography wasn't perfect! I saw the discussion on the QA list about buying fabric on line and how the colours were n't what one expected; well all I can say is that my colours are better in the real! But I did hang my head in shame that they weren't better pictures!
The time is now an hour slow!

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