Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Quilts and Politics

It's been about a month since I've written here.  It's been a wild and rough month.  But this isn't about me.  Not that what I/we experience in our lives isn't valid, it is, but there are folks who have it much worse right now that need attention and compassion.

 This is prompted by a post I saw on a certain large quilting group I follow on Facebook - Quiltville's Open Studio, which I'll describe in a sec.  Let me preface this post with this. I am not here to debate which side is right, what should be done instead, immigration policy, etc.

By now we are all aware of what's happening to immigrant children coming into the States under the current administration's active enforcement of a piece of policy that isn't explicitly required to be conducted.  We have seen the pictures of the families and children being forced apart.  We have heard the videos where the children are screaming for their parents.  We have seen our representatives visit and denounce these facilities and the practices currently in place.  My opinion on this should by this point be apparent, but just in case there is any misunderstanding, I am angry, outraged, disgusted, and heartbroken by what I am watching happen to these children.  I don't have kids of my own, but I have a heart and a strong sense of empathy - I think about how I would have felt at that age not knowing where my parents were or why I was being separated.  The fear, anger, and sadness would have been bottomless.

Someone, some empathetic, good hearted, and loving quilter posted about how these traumatized kids are just being given those horrible, silver "foil" blankets and what can be done to get quilts to them to give them a little comfort, because regardless of what got them here, they are children and they are hurting.  They need something, anything to soothe them in what may well be the scariest, most lonesome, and horrific event of their childhood.

I am not a person generally at a loss for words when I feel strongly about something.  But a sat there, reading responses, completely gobsmacked.  The amount of hatred, callousness, and total lack of empathy for these children has stunned me.  Out of quilters, those who make works of art out of the utmost in love, come words of nothing but pure hatred.  Out of quilters, who seek to give solace and comfort in their works, come words of avoidance and rejection - refusal to even acknowledge that the evils in our world could touch quilting.  People, who I remember were spouting off about how All Lives Matter, were trying to justify what is happening to these kids and why they deserve it.

Maybe, despite my typically cynical and sarcastic temperament, I have a little more Pollyanna in me than I care to admit.  What just stabs me in the heart, just as much and maybe even more than reading the hate, is how many more hateful voices there were than loving or even reasonable ones.  I joke around about how bad People collectively suck (not individuals, I mean people as a whole, so don't get butthurt please) .  I joke about how I am not a fan of People.  But in truth, I want to believe in the basic goodness and basic human empathy of People.  I really, really, really do.  But then I see quilters who claim to believe all lives matter and claim to be good followers of whatever religion they choose, spewing some of the ugliest and most hate-filled shit.  About scared, crying, CHILDREN.  I fucking cannot abide that.

I hope the post isn't deleted, but I am sure it will be; anything controversial is.  But I also hope that the poster isn't deterred by this hate.  I hope she becomes even more resolute to find a way to get quilts there and get them accepted and distributed.  Who knows, maybe there is some humanity in this and there will be a way.  Maybe not - anymore, compassion cannot be assumed.  I contacted her, and with any luck if she finds anything legitimate, she will get in contact with me. 

The very least we can do in this terrible situation, is - if we are unable to muster the courage to speak up and speak out - to do what we can to show love, empathy, and to do the kind thing.  A quilt is a great place to start.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sunday Stash: Material Girl

So we did round back into Redmond and landed in Material Girl.  That ship was in a house and reminded me VERY much of Cool Cottons in Portland...just had way better parking. 

We were on our way back, so there isn't much to tell about this leg of the trip other than I slept most of the way home, lol.

Left: Gregory's Garden by Jane Sassaman (Free Spirit).  Right: This is a Brandon Mably print with Kaffe Fassett Collective but what print it is is cut off on the selvedge soooo IDK.  

I always try to buy cool bees when I see them, because they're awesome.  

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Sunday Stash: The Quilt Shack

Here's another mini haul from our trip to Central Oregon.  We stopped off in Prineville for some exploring fun.

 Went hiking with this hunk

 Saw a bigass rock.

 Found some flowers.

And a strawberry.

...and we passed a quilt shop - The Quilt Shack - along the way.  Naturally we had to stop.  By we, I mean me. 

Now that was a friendly shop.  The lady behind the counter literally knew EVERYONE who walked in that door.  That was pretty cool.

Left: Military Max by Bella Blvd (Riley Blake).  Right: Fall Frolic by Kaye England for Wilmington Prints

Ooooobviously the Army men are for something (eventually, when I know what it is) for John.  The other, I just liked.  It is brighter than shown.  All in all, a successful trip!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Sunday Stash: The Stitchin Post

Hey so remember how we went on a trip to central Oregon and I was like, hey, more to come?  Whelp, here's Part 1 of 3 of more to come.

Our first stop was the shop in Sisters everyone knows - The Stitchin' Post.  Mom went out this way a few weeks ago and said this place was right up may alley.  And was it.  John said (AND I QUOTE), "This place is so modern it looks like Tula Pink farted in here." And it's true.  They did have a lot of Tula.  And Tula, if you're reading this, I bet this is the first time you have read about your farts in a blog - you have my filterless, and observant boyfriend to thank for this.  De. Nada.

While I wanted to buy half of the store I did show incredible restraint.

 Top: Tula Pink All Stars, Tail Feathers.  Left: Phillip Jacobs, Poppy Garden. Right: Phillip Jacobs, Tulip Extravaganza 

Pictures never do fabric justice.  The Tula Pink one is less pink and more of an intense, bright, orangey-melon color.  That prit came from her Plume line, which has been my all time favorite.  And of course, I do love OBNOXIOUSLY bright things.  Pretty much the only way I willingly choke down a floral.  But these babies are fantastic.  I cannot wait to see what these turn in to, someday, if I have time.  lol.



Thursday, May 3, 2018

Product Review: Phillips Fiber Art Spot On Ruler

So last weekend we did our first in-store demo of a product, and for those that missed it, here's a little peek at what we demoed, and my review of it. 

The Phillips Fiber Art Spot On Ruler


Specs

  • Small, angular, acrylic ruler
  • Designed for hexies and triangles
  • Cost: $11.00
Pros
  • Oh the shapes you can (accurately) make! I did not have to pin my project except at the required intersections where I needed to match points.  It all just FIT
Pardon my mess.  Look at the quilt.  Ooh. Ahh. 
  • Very clear markings and easy to use
  • Comes with a free pattern with the ruler, but there are several different patterns to choose from
  • Patterns are very well done, and great for visual learners.  The graphics are clear, and I used those more than the written words
Cons
  • I don't have the hugest hands in the world, but this is small enough that it was tricky to hold effectively and not have fingers in harm's way. 
  • The ruler is VERY slippy.  You definitely will want some kind of ruler grips on this thing to help with that.  A slip while cutting WILL matter here.  
  • ...Pretty much only super useful for the patterns designed for it.  I don't know that I would use it for anything else. 
Conclusion
★★★☆☆
This was a fun little tool to use and the projects are quick.  At $11 for a ruler, the price point isn't bad at all.  My only gripe is that unless you're using the patterns its designed for, it's not good for much else.  It really is a unitasker.  But if you need a quick gift to whip up, or want to give a gift, these rulers are great.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Abbey Lane Basic Bits Gray Pins

Now HERE'S a quick project that I totally procrastinated on.  These sweet little pincushions from Abbey Lane.  This pattern (Basic Bits Grey Pins) is a very cool one.  You get the pattern (doy), then the measuring tape and flocked "Pins" fusibles - enough for two pincushions - in the one pattern.  They also well the ribbon and fusibles separately, which is nice. 


Why did I procrastinate? Because I mean, these are so simple so why put it off?  TBH, I didn't want to fuss around with the damn walnut shells these babies are filled with.  I GET LAZY OKAY.  But a little funnel, and a little finesse, and these fill up just fine.


I used scraps only (because of course I did).  Bam.  Two pincushions in half an hour or less.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sunday Stash: Wish

Man today's a tough one to get motivated to write.  We spent the day in Sisters/Redmond/Prineville yesterday.  It was the first actual day off I have had since January.  It really frustrates me when people assume that because I don't work in the shop during the week (I have a 40/hr/wk job) that I have more time off than the folks who do.  I have substantially less time off, actually, because all my shop work I have to do after hours.  When things are normal, which they are beginning to normalize again, and I do have a weekend off it doesn't always coincide with when John is free.  So we took full advantage of  the day and headed east.  It was a blast. It is SO pretty out there, and so quiet.  It's a nice little escape from the constant buzz.  More to come on the trip back out east, because yes, I did visit some shops.  And yes...I bought the things. 

I'm trying to write but I am also getting sidetracked by tunes on Youtube.  Found a new band I am liking so far, Lords of the Lost, so I'm a bit engrossed in that.  I love music.  While I have found very few people (in the non-internet world) that share my taste, it fuels my day.  I wish I had more musical talent.  I really have none.  You never want to hear me sing unless you want to rupture your own eardums. 

But anyway, a few weeks ago I noticed Wish had fabric.  I swear to God that site has literally everyone a person could want, and even stuff people shouldn't want (UH THEY HAVE METH PIPES ON THERE JUST SAYING) but I couldn't help but notice...fabric. It was $1 for 50 4"x4" pieces and they had a free shipping promo soooooo yeah I bought that and some other stuff.


I'M GALADRIEL Y'ALL.  I. AM. 

I mean, basically. Ish.  

But the fabric arrived the other day.  50 pieces of scrappy goodness with a little of every color. 



Pretty traditional stuff by and large, except the Louis Vuitton knock offs...and the quality is about what I expected.  It's not even remotely a nice greigh good on these:


Yes...there is gapping in the weave.  It's a little rough.  I would not buy yardage of this to use in a quilt.  But these little scrappies will be just fine. 

Like I said before, it is largely traditional stuff...except this gem which is my ultimate favorite piece in here, I was super stoked when I saw it, and yes, despite the greigh goods I WISH I HAD MORE:

NOICE.

I immediately thought of Key and Peele.  


I am considering using all these pieces together and calling it good.  I'm not sure I want to mix them in with the nicer stuff?  I don't know.  I probably won't get to it for a while!



Thursday, April 26, 2018

Product Review: Bohin Two-Sided Chalk Pencil

Another week, another marking utensil review.  So this one happened in the spur of the moment.  Dad left the other day from work having shortness of breath and discomfort (he is fine now, don't worry), bt it just so happened that I found out on my way to the shop for one of our group meetings.  Cancelling wasn't an option at that point, and Mom and John were already on their way to the ER to meet him, so I hung out for updates.  My plan was to go to the ER after the group left, and of course this was the ONE TIME I didn't have a phone charger with me or my sewing kit.  So I made an embroidery pattern on the fly, and we had one of the Bohin Two-Sided Chalk Pencils out as a tester.  So I used it. 



Specs
  • Wooden, two-sided pencil
  • White and red chalks
  • Cost: $1.25
Pros
  • Awesome visibility for both colors

  • Thick chalk is difficult to break even with significant pressure
  • This stuff stays where you want it. You can rub on it with your finger, and it stays pretty well, little to no smudging. 
Cons
  • It is thicker than a regular pencil, so a standard sharpener doesn't work very well. 
  • Chalk is thick, not ideal for detail work
  • It's a little more work to remove than your standard chalk.  On my test piece, the white came of with cold water and a little dabbing, but the red was more challenging - I had to use a little white vinegar mixed with the water.  

Conclusion
★★★★☆
This might be my new go-to.  I have been working on that embroidery regularly since I made it last Monday, and the lines are still clear and bright.  I wish the red was easier to remove, but for how well it stays I think I can tolerate the minor inconvenience. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Sunny Day Sewing

Saturday was a sloooow day at the shop.  It's April in Oregon, the sun was out, and it was reasonably warm.  People got out to enjoy it while they could...because it's April in Oregon.  It could rain any second and not stop for days still.  So I got the pleasant surprise of a little in-store sew time.  That like, never happens.

So Market stuff is rolling in.  Man, I cannot WAIT for Market!  It's in Portland this year and boy, it is something to see. Which, you'll see some here, but I am getting ahead of myself.  

Anyhoo, distributors are starting to send all their pre-Market stuff, and occasionally there is a freebie in there.  I don't know who sent this freebie, but they gave us Nine-Patch Revolution, 20 Modern Quilt Projects by Jenifer Dick and Angela Waters. Holy shit y'all, THIS BOOK.  Even if modern isn't your thing, you will probably find something you like in here.  Seriously.  I am not easily impressed by most quilt books (I might find two or three quilts I like but the rest are meh) but this one is solid.  there are several I want to make!

But one got me.  I turned the page and said "Wow." out loud.  


It has such a vintage feel but with a modern twist.  I love it, and had to make it.  You KNOW I love the orange, but this will end up as a sample, and man there is no color more divisive than orange!  I have never known anyone to be like, "orange is okay."  It's either vocal love or vocal hate.  I liked the idea of a print in there too, but I just couldn't find a print I like to take the place of orange that wasn't just competing all over the place with the pattern.  So I opted to go green with a white-on-white background:


I am in love.  I cannot wait to see how the rest turns out! 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Finished! Kinda. Spring Wall Hangings

So I am cheating a little.  These babies are done-ski and hanging in my cubicle.  I have been busy fixing my sewing room, and these were sewn and quilted before I got the "bright idea" to reorganize.



So I was rooting through my scrap bin and found the sheep...then the lion.  I have no clue why they were there, being panels and all, but they were.  I was in need of some Spring in my very beige cube, so I grabbed some other scraps and got to work!  Both are quilted now and bound in black.  Yay for small victories!