Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

Have you ever wondered where the extra 6 hours gathered each year are stored until we stitch them together to create a whole new day? It doesn't sound like an easy task, at the beginning...
Something to contemplate while you work out solutions to surmounting those speed humps your work lays down in front of you.
For me, a major hump to hurdle is the actual quilting of my pieced tops. I haven't the experience or practice, nor a computerized machine to regulate my fledgling stitches and irksomely quirky tension. Like anything else, I must just sit and sew and let it come.
Perhaps I'll use simple repeated joined spirals, a sort of fiber version of a meditation labyrinth.

How will you spend your  gift of these 24 hours? Perhaps with a leap of your own?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

a recommendation

I recently received a comment on my blog from a woman in France who had read what I wrote  on Simone's blog. Three women working and writing and struggling with our lives in the US, UK and France, joined by this most amazing network! I visited her blog, and emailed her. She wrote back as did I. At that time I added a link to her blog on my list of Women Whose Blogs I Admire sidebar.
This afternoon, feeling quite low out here in the not-quite-spring driftless region, I was drawn to visit her again and now I am encouraged.
Serendipitously, she is having a give away. I promised I would put a link to her on my blog and here it is.
Woven into my self-tapestry are these shimmering threads from France.
Merci, Stephanie.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Been thinking quite a bit about words lately.  26 letters to our alphabet. Not a lot really. Purposefully arranging them creates meaning.

Does knowing the meaning of words necessarily guarantee understanding?
Recently watching Ken Burns Louis and Clark, I was reminded once more that we "know" about the people and incidents of the past by their letters and journals. But there is that element of wondering. In Skylark, the sequel to Sarah Plain and Tall, Sarah tells Caleb it's what's between the lines that let her see into Jacob's meaning in his letters. By then she knew Jacob pretty well and felt comfortable with reading between his lines. But still....
I haven't been very successful in keeping a printed journal in my lifetime. With the exception of the few weeks of the summer of 1984, I've destroyed every written journal I've ever kept. When I've reread them later I found it impossible to get back into the skin I was in when they were written and felt if they were to be read some time after I died, I would be misunderstood.

This format of journal keeping, the blog, has been a new venture in journaling. I find it helpful to add photos as clarification, but still...
We can never really know whether or not our words are being received as they are intended.  What we leave out often impacts the context as much as what we include.
In a time when "communication" is accomplished at lightning speed, I worry that the opportunity for  misunderstandings multiplies. I spend considerable time composing responses to my blogging friends' posts. Recently, however, I was clearly misunderstood in a comment I left. I spent a good part of a day feeling bad about that and found it hard to want to respond to anyone for a while.
When isolated as often as I am, it is the typed word that is my connection. To myself, to you. I struggle with those 26 letters.
What began as a means for keeping Jerome involved in my life here at the farm, by blog, has grown into something more. I am not the same today as I was at the time of my first post. That's the point really.
This morning I'm pondering the idea that it is through the experience of revisiting that girl/woman that I am able to see the real journey she's been on and I regret destroying the earlier records I have of her struggles.
I am truly thankful for blogspot for allowing me to look back as I make my way forward.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February 14th...

My wish for each of you:

may you be nourished through love today.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

whisper of love

I've been curing my lavender soap from the class at the high school on a shelf near the bathroom sink. This morning I gave it a quarter turn and found this little hidden heart.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Armchair traveling and handwork

Been to Iran with Rick Steves, back in time to Lewis and Clark with Ken Burns and the Revolution with PBS. Making progress on Summer

 and taking a little diversion with the 2011 Prairie Schooler Santa.

Simpler counting and no half stitches give me more brain for watching the video screen! And easier to find my place again each time Dovey demands my lap.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Went looking for color and found...

About this time of year I feel the pangs of hunger for color. Starving, really.
A few years back my symptoms were so evident Jerome had to take action. He discovered the delights of a tiny powerhouse of color, the Oak Park Conservatory., and quickly drove us there for a visit. Not having a conservatory handy out here in the driftless region, I did the next best thing and bought an African violet from my local florist, and on my monthly trip to the big cities last Friday, two primroses from Home Depot, and a lovely little Phalaenopsis orchid from Walmart!
The tag on this orchid read Just Add Ice Orchids. The instructions actually read, "Water with 3 ice cubes once a week." There's even one of those QR codes on the label to watch a video! Jeesh, everyone's getting into that act. Sometimes I feel so left out not having a phone to read them with! Like some secret society I'm not a part of...
 But before I even arrived in Onalaska, I stopped at a tiny quilt shop in LaCrosse called River Road Quilts (situated inside Nelson Flag and Display) and found these beautiful pieces from the Moda collection, Morris and Co. designed by Barbara Brackman based on prints by William Morris.

Then Saturday's post brought my order from Connecting Threads, 4 lovely spools of thread and several pieces of Quilters' Candy nearly solids. They proved to be a warmup for the real feast which I had the next day in Madison.

If you notice on the sidebar of this blog, one of the links I have to women whose work I admire is to Jennifer Chiaverini. Sunday she presented a trunk show at Mill House Quilts in Waunekee, a "suburb" of Madison and one of the nicest quilt shops you could ever find. Jennifer lives in Madison and has a long standing relationship with Mill House. Her novel series, Elm Creek Quilts, is one I love to read and reread. Jennifer is not only a talented author, but a beautiful quilter. Her trunk show included all of the quilts in her latest how to book, Traditions from Elm Creek Quilts, which Jerome gave me for Christmas. I had her autograph it for me! Each of the quilts in that book was constructed using the fabrics from her collections for Red Rooster Fabrics.
Here she is standing in front of Caroline's Quilt made with the fabrics in the Caroline collection.This is the newest quilt she has designed.

(I took this photo very quietly while she was looking down so as not to distract her.)
The event was lovely, 50 ladies enjoying pastries, cheese and crackers, coffee, lemonade and door prizes, none of which I won, but we all were given 2 fat quarters from Red Rooster and a pattern for this lovely Caroline's quilt.

 Of course, before the presentation, I had arrived in plenty of time to do some shopping.

Keeping in mind things I already had at home, I chose a few lovelies that would work on many levels.
I had printed a map from Mill House to another lovely quilt shop in Madison called Stitchers Crossing, which I planned to visit before making my 2 hour drive back before dark. They were having a Souper Bowl Sunday event, bring a soup can for the hungry and shop their sale.
You can see I had no trouble finding some beauties to bring home.
Yesterday I snipped swatches from all my new fabrics for my 3 X 5 notecards then washed, dried, and in some cases ironed the pieces, folding them in groups, adding them to my stash, and leaving some out as a feast for these color hungry eyes.
Such riches. Just thinking about all the possibilities they represent gives me shivers of delight. Perhaps they'll find their way into gifts that travel many miles from this midwest farmhouse....

Friday, February 3, 2012