Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Quilted android protector


I made up this quilted envelope-style case for my smart phone, to add a little extra protection in my purse. It's envelope-style so it's easy to get it in and out. I used a piece of fabric from a give-away scrap table. Look at all the foreign postage stamps on it, and they are images of real stamps - dinosaurs from my generation.



We're off to Kandersteg, Switzerland to ski with friends!


(P.S. This photo was taken in the Method Valley, in Washington state, where we skied a year ago.)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Foundation Firm

Foundation Firm

My daughter, Molly, has a birthday today. One week ago, Nash, her husband, had his birthday. They live in the Bay area. I made them this wall-hanging and called it Foundation Firm. The bluish-greenish background is a beautiful piece of hand-dyed cotton made by a local Minnesota fabric dyer. The colors suggest the sky at sunrise behind a lovely cool forest. The center scrap depicts an old-world neighborhood, perhaps in Italy, set upon a hill. The whitish rectangular fabric underneath the neighborhood has a black, indecipherable, antique-looking script that appears to be written with a fountain pen. I think of it as bedrock. Underneath that, running above the bottom border, I placed a hand-dyed pink/lilac fabric with hints of warm orange and gold, which I imagine to be a subterranean river.

Foundation Firm is a double-entendre: a firm foundation is necessary for a marriage (good old-fashioned communication, with the text of the antique script known just to the two.) A firm foundation is also necessary for a house (solid bedrock.) The word bedrock is made up of "rock" and "bed."  Underneath the bedrock, the flowing river sustains and restores and, over time, water smoothes rough edges.

When pondering on a name, I thought of the old hymn, How Firm a Foundation. The piecing was pure stream-of-consciousness, the pieces slightly irregular in shape and placed slightly askew, like a dream. I machine-quilted the layers with a walking foot using metallic and variegated threads. I am very happy with how it turned out.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, and may 2014 bring you many good things. As I write I realize there will be sadness and difficult times too. Like in a quilt, where we use the "ugly" and "muddy" and "maverick" scraps of fabric along with the pretty ones to enhance the play of color and movement, so too in life.

I made this little piece before the snow started falling. I picked a grape vine leaf and traced it on a piece of goldish-green batik fabric. I drew some veins on the fabric leaf with a ballpoint pen and machine-stitched some of the veins with metallic gold thread. The deep purple fabric behind the fabric leaf is a monochromatic print with cranes in flight, the lines of the cranes echoing the shape of the grape leaf. The stripes are Kaffe Fassett and the solids are his shot cottons. I hand stitched with perle cotton to finish the square. It was serendipity that the stripe in the bias binding matched up perfectly at both ends. I was going to mail this piece to the quilt museum in San Jose for a food-theme exhibit, but once I finished it I couldn't part with it. Grape leaves are special in my heritage. I learned how to pick and stuff grape leaves from my Armenian grandfather.

This is my mother, only child of my Armenian grandfather and my Norwegian grandmother. She is very resilient and grows more beautiful with each year. We'll celebrate her 90th birthday on Saturday. The photo was taken at a Christmas tea in December.

My mother has had ovarian cancer for over 6 years.  She is currently undergoing chemotherapy every three weeks. This photo was taken around Thanksgiving at one of her treatments:

She has stayed very engaged with the world. My sister and I were her guests at the recent St. Paul AAUW's Christmas tea:

For a good part of 2013, I had a foot problem following bunion surgery and my mobility was limited. I whined. At the same time, my 89 year old mother was taking group tap-dance lessons.

This is a postcard I whipped up. There are three eggs (clustered knots of silver metallic thread) in the bird nest below the cluster of purple grapes. Eggs are a good symbol for the new year.

Wishing you a blessed 2014!