• Ruminations on a sleepless night

    For those of you who have asked me how I get so much done, I often operate on only about 5 1/2 hours of sleep a night. On some nights it’s even less (though I will confess to occasional catnaps on such days). Last night was one of those sleep deprived nights. Perhaps it was stress and anxiety – Tax time is here and I’m not quite ready for the accountant, I also have to create my first ever You Tube video later today as a self introduction for a new teaching event that I am teaching for that will take place in Portland in March of 2019 – the Art and Soul Retreat. I’ve been wanting to try video production for awhile so I guess this is as good a time as any to roll up my sleeves and take the plunge (wish me luck!) but I don’t like being in front of a camera. Perhaps the cat leaping on my chest at 3 am was responsible for waking me up or even my husband screaming in his sleep from a bad dream… whatever the blame I’m awake now.

    The anxiety is also partly based on economic concerns – we just lost two quilt shops here in quick succession – A Common Thread and The Pine Needle are gone. In both cases the owners say it was just time to retire but I can’t help but think these tough economic times are also partly responsible. The news proclaims that the economy is booming and that might indeed be the case if you are a luxury car dealer, or a diamond merchant, or a or a travel agent… but the little folks are still really hurting, particularly quilt shops. I’m sorry to be blunt but Melania Trump and her ilk do not quilt. Among my students the most common professions are school teachers, nurses, secretaries/office workers and some working in the high tech industry. Many of them are retired and watching their pocketbooks as food, rent, gasoline, insurance, heating, water and health care costs skyrocket; this leaves very little to indulge in hobbies like quilting. It’s not like the old days when you had to make quilts to keep warm, quilting is now a choice not a necessity.

    And so, the quilt shops struggle. Many people blame Amazon for stealing sales from small businesses and to an extent, that might be true though many small businesses are on board at Amazon as third party sellers so that purchase you make may actually be supporting a small business person somewhere. Your local quilt shops need you however. They need you and you need them if you want to be able to go in and peruse and touch the latest fabrics and get help with planning and picking materials and tools for your projects. Let’s face it – Amazon is not going help you lay out and compare fabrics, nor help you calculate how much yardage you need to buy for a border, or demonstrate how to use a particular tool, or even recommend one brand of fusible web over another. Amazon is also not going to give you a referral to a good local long-arm quilter to finish your quilt; for all these – you need a quilt shop.

    When is the last time you visited your local quilt shop and not to just say hello but actually buy something? Your local quilt shop needs you and not just to buy something at 10% above cost when they have an occasional sale, they need the routine retail sales to pay their rent, buy their product and keep their staff gainfully employed. Show them you love them – go buy something. Otherwise, they may not be there for you when you finally need them and believe me, looking at fabric swatches online is NOT the best way to buy fabric or judge thread color. Plus –  the last time I checked Amazon’s ‘help’ page, calculating yardage was not one of the help topics and I’ve heard ‘from the horse’s mouth’ (fabric manufacturers) that the quality of the fabric sold to Walmart is not the same greige goods that the quilt shops buy.  Besides, you are going to have to go in person to really see my new Northcott fabric line – Maplewood – to be released this May.

    Go visit your local quilt shop and tell them I sent you.

    Printed wholecloth panel from my fabric line – Maplewood by Northcott Fabrics

  • Farewell My Sweet Prince

    Many friends know of my cat Koshka – our refugee from Afghanistan but those of you who know me personally, know of my other cat Bosco who has quietly lived with us for nearly 20 years. Sadly Boisco passed away yesterday afternoon, dying in his sleep as peacefully and quietly as he lived. As if by a miracle, the clouds parted and provided him a last ray of the sunshine he loved so much, to bathe in as he laid on our bed and his spirit left in that ray as it faded as if the Sun God Ra was taking him with Him into the west. I am heart broken – Bosco was like a child to me from the first night when I saw his fuzzy little face and cradled him in my arms to the last morning when I cradled him in my arms again to say farewell as I left for a class. My husband stayed with him the whole day so he did not die alone. Even Koshka senses he is gone and wanders from room to room mourning him though they were not friends. I and my husband will miss our quiet sweet little prince

    Bosco: 1999 – March 1, 2018

    Farewell Sweet Prince,

    You died as you lived – with quiet dignity,

    I wept as I cradled you in my arms for the last time and the skies wept with me before they paused to grant you one last ray of the sunshine you loved so much, to bask in before the Sun God faded taking your soul with him on his journey to the west.

    I weep once more and the skies join me in my grief, our tears mingling as we bid you safe travels to whatever sweet heaven awaits you.

    You were prince among cats and you will be missed.

    Bosco – 1999-2018
    Gone from our arms but not from our hearts

  • Let it Snow…

    This is a double en tender here. it is of course a reference to the recent snowy weather we’ve had but  also refers the sprinkling application process in which you add the fabric confetti by the pinch  to the quilt surface.

    I taught my confetti class at Montavilla Sewing Center in Gresham yesterday, braving the roads that were slowly recovering from our winter weather. I had three students, a fourth who really wanted to attend begged off at the last minute, she had farther to travel than the rest of us and felt it was going to be more challenging than she wanted to tackle.

    For the class, I had a handout with two patterns, one was little more than a branch that could be fused and then embellished with confetti foliage, the second option was a simple landscape scene with a tree on the shore of a lake. To my delight, each student came with an idea already in her head or even partially composed. I try to gear my classes to cut across all skill levels from an enthusiastic beginner to an accomplished adventurous stitcher but it always gives me a thrill to see the quilter partially or fully fledged follow their own inspiration.

    Here are the projects that came out of yesterday’s class