Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Banned Books Week!

Sept. 25-Oct. 2 is the American Library Association's annual Banned Books Week, so I thought I'd check and see how many I have read. After all, I live across the street from Katherine Paterson, one of the most famous authors in the world whose books are often challenged in school libraries. She is a champion of human rights, the winner of the Hans Christian Andersen medal (akin to the Nobel Prize for children's literature), and very nice person. Years ago, when we needed overnight coverage at the battered women's shelter, she took a few turns. My favorite book by her is The Great Gilly Hopkins since I hear her voice in Gilly. I also loved Lyddie, the story of a Vermont girl who goes to work in the textile mills of Lowell, Mass. The Day of the Pelican, her latest book, was the "Vermont Reads" selection last year and deals with Muslim Eastern European refugees who end up in Barre right before 9/11.

The most often banned or challenged items of 2000-2009 include some books I've read, but many of them are children's titles. The Harry Potter series tops the list, but I, of course, loved HP and look forward to reading it again, maybe this winter. When Cindy re-read it, she said she noticed Rowling dropped a lot of clues that foreshadowed the last book. Looking over the list, I see To Kill a Mockingbird, another book I want to re-read soon since 2011 will be the 50th anniversary of its publication. It has been chosen the "Vermont Reads" book for next year. It's interesting to see some of my favorite children's books on the list, though, and I will try to get a few of the ones I haven't read to see what all the hullaballoo is about.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall is definitely here

We took a ride out to Wells River, an hour east and over Orange Heights, earlier in the week. The leaves are definitely turning and we saw some pretty individual trees. We are predicting that the foliage will be at peak when my mother arrives on the 2nd, so I hope the weather is sunny and dry that week.

The reason we went to Wells River was to visit Mary, the long arm quilter, and pick up my Asian Jane. She is a busy and talented lady who created the Machine Quilters' Expo. It started "small" in Manchester, NH, where it outgrew its space and is now held in Providence. Now she's working on a west coast MQX. Her two pugs, one of which is the mother of Mark Lipinski's cover-dog, and big black mutt, Bob Marley, greeted us. She did a simple design on the blocks and then curves on the triangles. Now comes the binding which I sewed on by machine yesterday and will begin sewing down soon. Can't wait to see how it looks on the bed.

I have been making a list of all the quilts I have made and see that the closet is overflowing with them. It is time to give a few more away, but I'm not sure to whom they should go. Everyone says they make quilts for their families, but all of my family members have plenty of my quilts. I am thinking of approaching the new owner of a home decorating shop to see if she would sell one or two a year on consignment. The blue and green quilt I just finished was given to a friend who works at Barre City Elementary School for a needy child, and I have a couple more to finish that I'll give her. But even new outlets will have to be discovered. One can only sleep under so many quilts!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Coupla quilts

Here are two recently finished quilts. Actually, they were done a couple of weeks ago but it has been too gloomy on the days that I thought about taking pictures to do any photography outside. I try to "catch the wave" when Paul is doing banjo photography for advertising items on e-bay.

Baskets for Christine includes blocks made monthly since last fall as part of the "Basket Case Quilt" group on Yahoo. I made one block a month and sometimes the bonus, and they often featured dimensional aspects. I quilted many of the blocks as I went along which presented quite a challenge when I put the whole thing together since the blocks varied in size so much. I did enjoy trying out a few free motion quilting motifs in the process. I will be giving this quilt to Christine, the president of the Friends of the Library. Since I put together the "signed by the author" raffle baskets we sponsor, I hope she will think of me when she uses it.

The next quilt is a blue and green scrappy quilt from a pattern Paula, the chair of the Heart of Vermont guild, showed me. It was an attempt to use up some of my scraps but, funny thing, I still have plenty after putting this together. It was quick and easy. Would look good in Halloween colors as well as red, white, and blue. Hmmmm...

Right now I'm making a large purple and pink quilt using scraps along with 4 yds. of a light lavendar background. The center medallion is appliqued, and then there is a scrappy pieced border. Now I'm appliqueing wide borders which should take several weeks to finish. The final border will be pieced uneven nine patches. All of the applique designs came from the latest book by the "Piece o Cake" ladies.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Busy time

Local politics, new beginnings, and meetings are keeping us running these days. As I write this, Paul is at the post office mailing a banjo to England. Our collection of boxes is diminished slightly since he has been working hard to sell banjos, ukuleles and parts this summer. I can actually find the tool box in the garage now. When he gets back, I'll jump in the car to go to the copy shop to enlarge a pattern I need to applique a border on the new pink and purple quilt. I was struggling with the shapes when I noticed, in tiny print, that each should be enlarged 200%. That should help!

Saturday, I went to a town Democratic committee meeting, then home to make lunch for the folks working on the cob shed roof. I'd been told there'd be vegans, so I included some tabouli, pitas, and hummus along with the chard quiche, zucchini bread, and Oreos. When I came to pick up the dishes after my quilt guild meeting, one of the guys asked if I had made Middle Eastern food to commemorate 9/11. It hadn't even occurred to me, but we had the left overs for dinner later, too. With all the brouhaha about building mosques and burning the Quran, maybe that was just the thing to do. The shed roofing proceeds very slowly, BTW, due to the rain and gloom we typically have in the fall. One of the workers had a hammock that he slept in at the site Fri. and Sat. nights, but it was gone Sun. when it started drizzling.

My Saturday quilt guild met for its first meeting of the school year, and we planned a few meetings ahead. I'm looking forward to the January meeting when we'll each bring an ugly and a lovely fat quarter to exchange and make small quilts with. We can only add two other fabrics for a real challenge.

Yesterday, we went to a family brunch at Pat and Jay's to celebrate Jay's 76th birthday and, later in the day, to a reception at Maplecroft to kick off Tess' re-election campaign for Vermont House. The rest of this week will be taken up by meetings for Paul, a pot luck supper for the library Friends, and a dinner at the Old Labor Hall needing set up/take down/cleaning over the weekend. In between, I'll get my threads in and will be thankful to have opportunities to just sit.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

No photos, still busy

I have purple and pink fabrics along with many colored strips of batik strewn around the sewing room. I am in the middle of two projects. One started with an appliqued center from the most recent Piece 'o' Cake book. That 25 x 26" piece is now on the design wall, and I plan to add a few borders before I make some wide appliqued borders. I plan to put the words "Live, Love, Laugh, and Be Happy" in them along with a robin on a vine or branch. I wasn't sure what possessed me to put those on until this morning I noticed that Paul has been practicing When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob-Bob-Bobbing Along on the ukulele. I guess I was receiving a subliminal message!

The other quilt is a scrap-user that started with scraps from "Rainbow Sylvia" and all the 2" strips I cut for the sashing and cornerstones. I'm just making squares using light and dark batiks in 2" pieces, and I have almost enough made for a quilt. I have about a dozen all cut up and ready to sew. This has been a nice project for the hot weather we've had since I haven't been thinking much, just sewing and listening to George Eliot's Middlemarch on my iPod. I have read it several times before but thought it might be a good one to re-read.

When I don't feel like sewing, I've been reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It is a really great look at life for white and blacks in Jackson, MS, in 1962. Told from the points of view of two maids and a young white woman, the inequality of their lives and the young white woman's growing awareness is very well drawn. I watched Haley Barbour the other night tell about how he grew up in integrated schools, particularly college, and since he is older than me, I know that wasn't the case. My friend Laura says that Barbour plans to run for president so I will keep my ears open.