Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Happy Hump Day

Paul: What does your week look like, babe?
Me: Very busy.
Paul: How so?
Me: Well, I have dinner plans on Monday, guild meeting on Tuesday, Yoga class on Thursday, massage on Friday and I am going to Baltimore on Saturday to see Mari.
Paul: So nothing on Wednesday?
Me: Nothing yet.
Paul (mischievously): It is hump day.
Me: It can be.

Quiltwise, Colorwash Flimsy is finished.  I will write a complete blogpost when the quilt is finished.  Sharing with all my favorite linky parties, see full list on the sidebar.

Colorwash Flimsy

Do you know that Connecting Threads is having a fabulous sale throughout the week?
And today you get a free rotary cutter when you make a purchase of $65.

Happy Hump Day, y'all.

This blogpost contains affiliate links.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Woods of Whimsy

I have a finish.


But let's start at the beginning.
When I made All Spruced Up, Julie of QuiltDivaJulie left a comment on the post.

Julie's comment - I want to make one of these - debating whether to go with the Christmas approach or make one for the rest of the year (perhaps rainbow colors for RSC next year).

Me - Try small print florals. It will look like a spring garden. I may just have to try that.

Julie's response - I LOVE IT — what a superb idea! I had thought about autumn trees since I have lots of oranges, browns, golds, rusts, and reds … you do spring and I’ll do fall.
The gauntlet was thrown. The challenge accepted.

Initial Fabric Pull

Grey Background

These should work

When I made my very first tree block pair, I had used Amy's method using two 8.5" squares.  That makes two trees - one positive and one negative.  In this case I wanted to make only floral trees on a dark background. A dark tree on a floral background (negative version) would be eerie, like a ghost of a tree in a garden.

I needed a new strategy.
Instead of cutting out fabric, I cut out shapes from freezer paper (FP) - a tree, a left triangle and a right triangle that fit neatly.  I numbered them 1.
I repeated the process, slightly varying the cuts and numbered these 2.

Set 1

Set 2

Now I could use the tree shaped (FP) unit to cut trees from my focus prints and use the side triangle (FP) units from the background fabrics.

This also allowed me to use fabrics that were smaller than 8.5". Scraps!!!! Yay!!!

FP templates - Trees

FP Templates - Backgrounds


I trudged along slowly.

After I made about a dozen trees with the dark/gray background, I put them on the design wall. I stepped away and reviewed. 
The idea seemed terrific inside my brain. Not so much on the design wall.
It was a very dark place. I needed to get away from it.

Using scraps

Low Volume Backgrounds

I switched to a light background and made trees. Much better.

Much better


Fun Background

More trees grew out of the initial success.

Paul: Are you making a day forest or a night forest?
Me: Well it started at night, but now the sun has come up. Things are brighter now.
Paul: I don't like the grey trees.
Me: Yeah, I am not so keen about them either.
Paul: So what will you do with these blocks?
Me: May be I can throw the dark trees in between the light ones. 
Paul (aghast): Randomly?
Me: Not sure. I can use them on the back to make a pieced backing. May be.

And then it came to me. A forest of light with darkness held back at the edges.

Edge of Darkness

I needed 100 trees, 36 with dark background and 64 with light background.

I also wanted to add an element of whimsy to the quilt.
A fallen tree idea was considered and discarded.
A crashed plane in the woods? No, not feeling it.
A house in the woods? Blah.

But if there was a small clearing in the woods and some farm animals - cows, sheep and chickens - wandered there to graze.  That will work.

Touch of Whimsy

I am sure that they will return to the farm at nightfall.
They are not lost, just wandering. 


The flimsy was finished. It has 99 tree blocks and one block of whimsy.

Finished Flimsy

I set it aside to focus on the Colorwash 360 class.
I completed the Colorwash layout on Thursday and decided to return to my trees.

Love these trees

Light shining through

On Friday, I cut the batting, ironed the flimsy making sure that seams were not twisted, pressed the backing and layered the batting on top of the backing, smoothing as I went.  As I reached for the basting spray, I realized that the can was only half full.  I'd need a new can to complete the basting.  I set the sandwich aside and made the binding.

Red Backing, Green Binding

Green Binding Works

On Saturday I bought a new can of basting spray and finished basting.  I cleaned the bobbin area, put on the walking foot, changed the needle to 90/14, and switched threads from 50wt (for piecing) to 40wt (for quilting).

I began quilting. While NPR played in the back, I thought - if I can quilt one column in about 45 minutes, then the whole thing should be done in 3 days. Perfect!!!

Quilting in process

Threads to bury

A beep on the phone made me look at it. And I saw the horrible, devastating, and gut-wrenching news.

Eleven people were killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue. Tree of Life? Tree???

Me: Oh no.
Paul: Sup babe?
Me: A mass shooting at a synagogue called "Tree of Life" in Pittsburgh.
Paul: I just saw.
Me: Here I am making a tree quilt when I see this "Tree of Life" news.
Paul: Coincidence. 
Me: I believe the universe just screamed in my face. Pay attention.
Paul: You always pay attention.
Me: Just for once, I wish the universe would stop talking to me. Because my ears are bleeding from the cacophony.

I cried, we hugged.

Paul: It was going to be loud when so many people died. 
Me: Why can I not be indifferent to this stuff, just like so many others?
Paul: Because you care.
Me: It keeps happening. I cannot stop it, no matter how strongly I feel about it.
Paul: Maybe not alone. But together with others, we can stop it.

At this time, I had to put away the quilt, turn off the machine and cry for the senseless loss of life.

Eventually the quilting was completed.  I set aside the green binding and chose a black binding to express my grief and anger.

Black Binding

Finished Quilt - 71" by 92"

Trees of Life

Quilting Texture


Hope you find your way back

I have also decided to change the quilt's name from "Woods of Whimsy" to "Trees of Life" with the hope that the misguided and wandering souls may find their way home to peace and eternal life.

Darkness is always with us

And Light will destroy the darkness

My favorite tree
And this too

Thank you Rekha

I will share with all my usual linky parties but I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Please let me know I am not alone.

P.S. I am going to a nearby synagogue this evening to participate in the solidarity service. No, I am not Jewish. I don't have to be.  Paul insists on accompanying me.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Once again...

August 5, 2012 - A mass shooting took place at the gurdwara (Sikh temple) in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, where a 40-year-old American white supremacist fatally shot six people and wounded four others.

June 17, 2015 - A 21-year-old white supremacist, murdered nine African Americans during a prayer service at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. It was the deadliest shooting in an American place of worship in modern history.

On August 5, 2017, three men from rural Illinois bombed the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, in an attempt to drive Muslims out of the United States.

On October 27, 2018, a 46-year old white supremacist/nationalist fatally shot eleven people and injured seven at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The shooting was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the United States.

America is not a stranger to hate, racism, divisiveness and anti-Semitic acts.  But something is different now.
Those who harbored these feelings of hate and prejudice are now emboldened. Those who existed on the fringes because of their extreme ideologies are now front and center. They no longer hide in the dark or cover their faces. They boldly express their hate on social media and other sites. The current administration has given license to these extremists to express their hatred in the most dangerous and despicable ways.

Some of you ignored me when I sounded the alarm bells two years ago.  Some of you dismissed my fears. I was advised not to pay attention to the news. Some will still pay no attention to the news because they are fine or because it does not affect them.

Think again. You could be next.
Hate does not have a religion.  Political ambition obeys no laws, except its appetite for power.
Beware of the fear-mongers and the hate-mongers. Beware of those who seek to divide you. They do not care about you. They only use that divisiveness to further their agenda. They will set fire to your house to toast their own marshmallows.

Speak up and speak out. Take sides. Stand up for what is right. (You know what is right. What would Jesus do?)
Our silence only helps the perpetrator, not the victim.

The Pittsburgh shooter targeted the synagogue for its work with HIAS — a Jewish organization that resettles refugees in the United States. The president of HIAS, Mark Hetfield said the following in an interview:
"We welcome refugees not because they're Jewish, but because we're Jewish."

In related news, Muslims United to Help Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Victims. The campaign reached and exceeded its goal in two days. Here is an excerpt from the website:

"While these senseless acts have filled us with sorrow, we reflect on the message of unity, tolerance, and mutual protection found in the Constitution of Medina: a historic social contract between the Medinan Jews and the first Muslim community."

All religions promote peace, tolerance and brotherhood.
Those who foment hate, fear and divisions do not have a religion.

Here is the root of all questions - who are you? What do you stand for?
Today, once again, I resolve to stand for love, kindness, acceptance and equality.

Friday, October 19, 2018


Do you know Hannah?
Here is how I came to know of her.

One Friday, I came home from work and kicked off my shoes. One landed face down - did not care.
Then threw the bag and purse on the couch. While the chicken pilaf was warming in the microwave, I got out of my work clothes, and threw them in the laundry basket, more or less.



Carrying my dinner plate in one hand, the glass of water in the other, and cellphone tucked tightly under my arm, I walked into the living room. I turned on the television and settled comfortably on the couch. Life was good!



Pressed and Trimmed
Then I said to the blue button on the remote - Netflix.  I clicked on the very first suggestion. It looked like a stand-up comedy show by a woman who spoke with an accent.  I am a woman with an accent and I can be funny, especially when I am not trying (according to Paul).

No Blues

Between mouthfuls of spicy chicken and hot rice, I watched and listened and laughed. Once I laughed so loudly that I woke Paul from his nap.

Design Wall
He ambled into the living room, kissed the top of my head and walked away.  By then I had finished my dinner. I continued watching.

But I had stopped laughing. After a few minutes of sadness, I had started sobbing softly. Since Paul was now awake, he heard my sobs. He walked into the living room, sat beside me on the couch and held me as I cried, sobs rocking my body.

Almost there

I felt her angst and her humiliation, while I was completely floored by her talent and delivery.

Pieced Backing
Next morning, I pulled out yellow, green, pink and purple fabrics - anything but blue.
And made a stack and whack quilt.

Yellow, Pink and Green
When the flimsy was finished, I was somewhat disappointed. No, I did not hate it. I just wanted to continue working on it. So I made a pieced backing.


The backing and binding fabrics are very similar.
The quilt finished at 45" by 53".  I have decided to call her Hannah.

Machine Binding

If you wish to better understand what happened to me, look for Hannah Gadsby (Nanette) on Netflix. 

She is amazing and she is powerful. She completely destroyed my happy Friday mood in an hour. 
And I have no regrets. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. 


If you don't already know the brilliant and incisive Hannah Gadsby, I want to grab you and tell you - please watch Hannah Gadsby.  If you can watch just one thing this weekend, make it Hannah.

Purple Pops
There are many comedians - funny, scathing and brilliant.  But Hannah makes you think and feel and hurt, while making you laugh.


That is me with Hannah

If you have thoughts about Hannah - the quilt or Hannah Gadsby - the comedian, I'd love to hear them. Yes, your comments make me happy and also because I am nothing without this community.

Fake grass - real quilt

See you around, Hannah!

I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties, see full list on the sidebar.