Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Quilt Mailed....

Yes, quilt has been mailed! I wonder how such a package would be received by me had it been for my child diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. It's caused me to think about this period we call life.

No one goes through life without hitting bumps, potholes or crevices. Sometimes it makes us stronger - sometimes it makes us bitter. Sometimes we get over it and move on. Sometimes we don't and it becomes a focus that distorts everything we do.

It's all a matter of choice. Pure and simple. You have a choice to get on with it and move on. You have a choice to let a bad episode become your main focus in life. Choice - everything we do involves a decision - and as result, we choose which path to take based on many things. A bad hair day, your thumb caught in a car door. the mechanic calling you with bad news about your car....or just because. I do love that. Why did I make that decision? Why did I choose that? Just because. It's a wonderful phrase - unarguable and has such power. Just because I am me and if later turns out to be a mistake, okay. Let's hope I learn from it. Just because.
Now - back to the quilt. It has been mailed and included was a pocket prayer quilt. Oh would I love to say it was solely my idea (we all like good ideas and claiming fame to a good idea) but alas, it was not.

If you look closely, you'll see a button in the shape of a frog. Someone came up with a beautiful acronym for frog - FULLY RELY ON GOD. How simple. The ties for those who pray for whomever is carrying the quilt - say a prayer and tie one of the ties. Simple - yet the power of prayer yields results like you've never heard or seen.

And I did attach a quilt label to the back of the dinosaur quilt....

I feel as if this was one of my prouder accomplishments. I don't know why or how - but it filled me with such peace when I walked over to the post office, mailed it and watched it be placed (okay, so the post office lady tossed it - but it 'writes' better to use "placed") on the back shelf to be shipped.

We all contribute something to someone every single day. A smile, a kind word, opening the door for someone, giving a pat on the back....and just to do that one little thing can make one's day - or help them make that choice that could positively affect their life forever. I chose the easy route - time & fabric. Now to work on that kind word, that smile or opening the door....

In the meantime, I'm a quilter.


Monday, June 23, 2008

The Making of a Quilt - Step 3 and Done...

Many obstacles always seem to pop up when one is trying to complete a project. Some of those obstacles are outside our control - others, we create ourselves. Sometimes they're not obstacles - they're just LIFE.

LIFE happened when I found out Riley's father was back in the hospital. He had been admitted earlier for pneumonia. I'm not sure why it turned out not to be pneumonia - but he's in a lot of pain for multiple fractures in his back. Years of medication has made his bones very fragile. He had bent over to pick up a flower pot in the garage - and that's all it took for the bones to fracture. For a man of 83, he has great fortitude. He voiced only one concern when told he needed to go back to the hospital - please take care of Mom. No woman could ever ask for more than that. I took a break from quilting, drove to Columbus (a 90 minute drive) and spent the night with our daughter & family. The next morning, we drove on to Wellington (a 90 minute plus drive) to pick up Mom and visit Dad. Daughter, granddaughter, Mom and me. Couldn't ask for a better visiting crew. It was apparent Dad was in pain .... but nevertheless less, he managed several smiles. We stayed about an hour, all the while family drifting in and out. Mom stayed - we left to drive back to Columbus. I spent the night and left in the morning to drive home. Dad is doing better and is managing to complete the required 15 minutes of therapy - despite great pain. Dad has always been on my hero list but he moved to darn near the top these past couple of days.

There's something to be said about driving long distances. It does not make for a productive day - and I probably milked that idea for the remainder of the week. Hence, the quilt did little by itself to be completed.

Long story short - today was to be the day I finally completed the quilt...and I did just that. Several little setbacks - like cutting the binding 1/2 inch too wide - not threading the machine properly (good heavens - how many times have I threaded that machine anyway??!?!?) - and getting involved in watching a movie. That qualifies as obstacles - within my control!

But done it is - and I'm pleased with the result.

What is left now is to make a small pocket prayer quilt for either mom or whomever asked for a quilt for this young man. Another 30 minutes and I'll have that completed.

Soon as the unicorn fabric arrives, I'll start on quilt #2. I have such a blessed life. I have a husband who loves me more than I ever thought possible and writes me a romantic letter that would rival any poem by Emily Dickinson. I have two grown children and two grandchildren. I quilt.


Friday, June 13, 2008

The Making of a Quilt & Other Stuff - Part 2

Two steps forward, five steps back....

I've been having difficulty the mere activity of getting up after sitting for more than 15 minutes. Some days are worse than others. Finally x-rays were taken - and result: arthritis in both hips. Excuse me - but arthritis was NOT on my list of things to accomplish until I'm well into my 90s. Sigh.

Okay - the quilts will take longer, I will knit standing up, I will read in a reclining chair (ah ha - an excuse to go shopping) - and I will learn to get up gracefully to cover the aching bones. And I'll shop for a chiropractor if need be. Not sure what a chiropractor can do but the good ones do work miracles.

I digress. The Making of a Quilt Part 2. Strips are sewn - yahoo. Panels are sewn to the strips - yahoo.

Okay so far. Now the borders - top & bottom.

Top is finished! Okay - not completely finished. Need batting, backing & binding....and then on to tying.
There is something to be said about sewing for short periods of time. Frustrating, yes. But it allows a little pacing - time for reflecting - and time to ponder the age old question..."what the heck was I thinking when I made that???"
Ah - but I like it - I think it will be of value to the young man it will be mailed to. And I've learned a little about myself in the process. There's joy in taking a bunch of fabrics & creating something wonderous.
And now it'll be put aside until after this weekend. Duty calls - a chess tournament starts this evening and the Chess Queen here will be helping out a dear young man who promised Riley he'd direct the tournament while Riley is in Iraq.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What - Another Step Backward??!?!?

Ha - back to square one my patootie. More dinosaur fabric needed. Yes sireee. The quilt pattern consists of THREE panels plus a top border & bottom border. Unbeknownst to my sharp eye, these fierce dinosaurs only know one direction. Three panels must be cut lengthwise. Sigh.

Okay - back for more dinosaur fabric and then to wash, dry & cut.

I should have settled for Barney.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Back to Square One....

More contrast! Must have more contrast!!! This quilt definitely needs more contrast.... Out to the stash, pull out some interesting colors that will compliment (I hope) the print....

Okay - that looks a little better! Need the quilt to be a little larger than the pattern I found in a quilting magazine. Panels need to be longer (44 1/2" vs 39 1/2") - which means more rectangles. Intrigued yet?

- 5 panels of the print - top/bottom/sides & middle strip - 44 1/2" x 6"

- 78 2 1/2" x 6" rectangles

On to the cutting!


Saturday, June 07, 2008

A Quilt in Progress

I did it! I finally commited to make a quilt. Many groups today exist for the sole purpose of helping others. Members of various groups will crochet or knit hats and blankets for preemies - others will make & donate quilts for soldiers' families - to be given out while the family members are waiting for their loved one to be treated at a local hospital. "Charlotte's Garden" is such a group - quilts for adults & youngsters who are ill. I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to take a look at this group's mission:

I joined the group awhile ago. Last night I jumped in and decided it's time to commit.

The story of a quilt begins today. The young man likes dinosaurs and the colors blue & green. At first I thought I'd have to applique dinosaurs - no dinosaur fabric to be found at first. No, Barney does not qualify as a dinosaur. But once again, God provided. Fabric found!!!

Material is in the process of drying now. My method of washing cotton for quilts is to soak the fabric in the bathroom sink with mild detergent, rinse & drip dry in the bathtub on a rack. Living in an apartment that lacks ability to house washer & dryer does have it limitations. There's something comforting about this process of preparing cottons for quilting.
Pattern? Ah - that's yet to be determined. Stay tuned......

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Expecting the Unexpected

Many years a very wise woman shared her traveling story. She dreaded driving, wether it be a short distance or long distance. One day it occurred to her that God could help change her mindset. She would start the trip with a very simple prayer. God please bless this trip and reveal the unexpected. Every trip became a wonderous trip.

I thought little of the story until today. I had several appointments and didn't relish the idea of driving across town - not when I would have much preferred to stay home and sew or knit. While driving across town, I thought of the traveling story and prayed - bless this trip, God - and reveal the unexpected.

In less than five miles, I saw momma goose nudging her five babies away from the road, a young woman standing next to a bus stop with headphones dancing to music only she could hear, and a red Corvette's license plate that read "Bond007". God works quickly!

We all need reminders that He watches over us - and grants our hearts' desires. Expect the unexpected.