Saturday, June 27, 2020

Another Finish

Good Morning!  Hopefully, I won't become a cranky blogger by the end of this post!?!  The new "format" for creating a post is making me a bit crazy.  When will young computer nerds get that old folks who are trying to be part of the "modern" culture just have so much brain energy in a given day and once we learn how to use something, changing it all around makes it exhausting for us to adapt!!
Venting done . . . . I think?

So this week, I've finished the second of three big bed quilts for my triplet grands!
I've chosen similar color schemes for the girls' quilts assuming that for at least a while they will share a bedroom.  This one began as teaching demos for my Set-In Piecing Simplified workshops using Marti Michell's Kite and Crown template sets to piece these "rose star" blocks.
It began as a fat quarter stack for a collection (name forgotten) which I rounded out with fabrics from my stash.
I started quilting it mid-May working in sections so it would be easier to manipulate under the machine as I wanted to quilt each block individually.  This picture was taken after the two main sections were done and I was preparing to join them together.
The backing and batting are wider than these sections, extending out far enough on each side to add the borders.  This post (CLICK HERE) gives close-ups of some of the quilting.

The following three pictures show how the block quilting evolved.  I stitched "in the ditch" through all the stars which outlined the six main points and the large central hexagons before adding the flower in the center hexagon.
As I looked at the blocks, I decided I wanted more quilting and so did a double line - first in the ditch and then 1/4" outside to lift up the overall shape of the rose motif.
Finally, I added a line 1/4" inside the central hexagon -- this is the finished rose!
After joining the two sections together and quilting that center area of the quilt, I was ready to add the long side borders.  They are stitched through all the layers and then flipped out over the batting and backing.  Because I use a flat cotton batting, I don't have as much shrinkage in the center of the quilt so adding the borders this way works out fine.  It would not work so well with thick or puffy batting because of the shrinkage during the quilting process.
(Read THIS POST to see more details on the process of joining quilted sections.)
Once the two borders were laid in place, I measured the distance between the edges all the way down the length of the quilt adjusting as needed to be sure the two borders were parallel to each other.
This is a trick I learned from Mary Ellen Hopkins that is very effective.
In spite of the fact that I assembled this quilt during the quilting process it is square!!
Yesterday, I arrived at that triumphant part of making a quilt -- the binding!
It's strips of assorted yellows to match the inner border.
More stash busting!!
This quick picture was taken last evening before the rain arrived!
The backing features a big hunk of the print I colored for Kings Road back in the 1990's and is the only fabric that the two girls' quilts have in common.

I'm continuing to educate myself this week about white privilege and racism.  I started working through Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad -- it's an eye-opener and that gal can ask some tough questions!!  She might send me back to my desk to contemplate deeper answers to her questions but I'm grateful for the viewpoint she is providing.  

While "procrastinating" answering one of the questions the other day, I started wandering around and found my way to Ms. Saad's Good Ancestor podcasts -- check it out HERE.
This series of podcasts done over the past couple years are conversations with a variety of trend setters discussing "being a good ancestor".  While listening to a couple and I realize, I've never had a conversation with anyone of color about anything other than "how to quilt" (picture - me doing all the talking).  So my current "action" is to listen to more of these podcasts to expand my view and understanding so the next time I have an opportunity to have a conversation, it will be a conversation between equals with me listening as well as talking!

I'm getting the hang of the new blogger tools (argh) so let's finish up with some grand kids pics!!
This is the loud one with his auntie.
This is the silly one with her dad.

And this is the serious one with her grandma -- she'll hate this one at her graduation party!?!
I'll close for this week by encouraging you to stay busy 
-- walking, gardening, stitching, reading, listening, cooking, what ever lifts you up -- 
and resist the urge to go back out into the world too soon.
  I want all of us to stay healthy so we can use up our stash!!


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Facing the Music

When I was growing up, occasionally I was told I needed "to face the music".
I had acted out, hurt someone or their feelings, disobeyed in some way and there were consequences.
It was never enjoyable but once it was over, it was over and hopefully I remembered the lessons my parents felt I needed to learn.
Now here I am in my mid-70's "facing the music" but it's my choice this time.
Of course, you know what I'm talking about -- racism in America.

The temptation for me is "well, I'm 73, what can I do about any of this"?
But that doesn't really fly -- I'm still alive and I can do something!
Like many, I have no idea of what to do in face of the current need to change my attitudes.
What to read? 
Who to listen to? 
Who to talk with?
A good first step for me is focusing on understanding with the expectation that it will trigger action in the future.
I have created this peaceful space for myself but when I want to go someplace, I just go!
So the story of Christian Cooper birding in Central Park and becoming embroiled in a controversy really upset me.  In reading interviews in the New York Times, I was stunned to learn black birders and naturalists who enjoy spending time in nature as I do don't feel safe or welcome in public open spaces.
I do think about where I go when heading out for a birding morning or a long walk but it has to do with staying in an area where I can get help easily if needed now that I'm getting older.
I'm not planning to fall or have a stroke but it could happen and I don't want to be 2 miles down a long narrow ravine anymore.
But to worry about people hassling me about why I'm there and what am I doing with those binoculars - that would be devastating for me.

So I've started listening to what black birders and naturalists are saying and sharing on Instagram. My favorite discovery so far is a young family @blackkidsdohike because I love the positive way they are teaching their three boys to explore the outdoors!

Some where I stumbled across the recommendation to read a book, White Fragility by Robin Diangelo.  Perhaps you've made the same discovery?  I'm just about finished and feel it's been an eye opening read.  If you are puzzled about racism, I've found Diangelo's views helpful in understanding it's existence.  Reading this book has been a non-threatening activity -- I can feel embarrassed about my position without having to defend myself and therefore focus on undestanding this viewpoint.  Diangelo's career as a diversity facilitator gives her credibility with me -- she understands how we white folks react to this word.   As I learned from several long periods of grief counseling to combat depression, 
understanding is an important key to moving forward.
It might be hard to find it in a library right now, but it's available as a Kindle book for those of you who use a reading device.

James Baldwin 37 Allan Warren (cropped).jpg
For those of us who were young adults during the 1960's, part of our history includes the Civil Rights movement in the USA.  Last week, I borrowed (via Hoopla) and watched I Am Not Your Negro, a film based on the writings of James Baldwin, an author and friend of key players in the movement.  Oh my!  I see now that the way I remember that decade is a narrow view from "up here in the North" and there was so much more to it. I came away from watching that thinking "why didn't we finish the job" that was started over fifty years ago -- the goals haven't changed and while some things have improved, so much more is needed!

I know most of you are quilters, but knitters as a group seem to be ahead of us in the area of diversity.  For several years, they've been expanding recognition of diverse designers and indie dyers representing a broader spectrum of lifestyles and traditions.
One of my favorite knitting resources is highly regarded for their daily "letters" and connecting folks.  Within less than a week of the first demonstrations, Ann and Kay changed their business name from Mason-Dixon Knitting to Modern Daily Knitting -- no hesitation, just did it! 
Last week in one of their daily letters, they connected their readers to an interview panel organized and hosted by Oprah Winfrey -- Where Do We Go From Here.
More eye opening!
Planning to listen to it again!

Finally, while I'm not the "demonstrator" kind of gal, I am taking on the (intimidating) task of sharing these resources with my children in the hopes that they will do a better job of raising people that are not afflicted by racism and all the pernicious aspects of that viewpoint. 
Every resource I've shared here today, I've shared with my adult children and I pray that they are exploring them as well.  I said to them, "if I had understood this better when I was a young mom, I would have taught you differently".
 That's the best I can do and I hope it works!

What we are experiencing today in my opinion is the result of not listening.
If we don't listen to what folks are trying to tell us, we can hardly expect them to listen to anything we say?

I hope there is a next step for me -- I just don't know what it is at this point.

Thanks for reading!