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Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Just a ramble.

Yosemite Falls by Helene Knott. (Are quilt patterns italicized as if they are complete novels, or in quotes as if they are stories?)



Bear with me, I'll circle around to this quilt eventually.

Once I was thinking out loud about something to my sister. At some point there was a pause and my sister, with an awestruck expression on her face, said something like, "Does your mind always work like that? It must be exhausting." I think she meant it as a compliment but mostly the way my mind wanders around makes me feel befuddled most of the time. Anyway, this entry will be one of those meanders through the maze.

First, my congratulations and appreciation to all of you who completed the NaPloBoMo challenge of one post a day for the month (and weren't you all glad it was a short month?) I really enjoyed the insights into your lives and appreciate the time and effort you took to meet that challenge. So far the overwhelming response from the writers I've been reading has been, "Whew, glad that's over!" but I'm going to miss you.

A benefit for me has been that, as I've checked in daily to enjoy the daily posts, I've also tried to comment more and, when I'm in the comments sections, I usually find another comment that reaches out and interests me. Sometimes it's something said or even just the way it is said, and I'm one click and off to meet someone new. I've added several new blogs to my reading list and have enjoyed getting to know you all. Today I wandered to Australia to meet chiasmata . When I was eight I read a book called My Zoo Family and from that moment until high school graduation planned to be a zookeeper, so I identified right away with her love of animals. I had to laugh when she talked about her budgie sitting on her head and nibbling her hair. I had one once who did the same thing so that brought back nice memories for me.

I also felt her frustration as she ranted about one special adolescent in her life. Her concerns reflected mine about many of my students exactly. I recently had this conversation with my 26-year-old son. He commented that, no offense, Mom, he would not raise his kids the way he'd been raised. I had to laugh and assure him that if I could go back thirty years, I would not raise him and his brother the same way, either. As it turns out, we both had reached the same conclusion from our different impressions of the same experience (him growing up). Every parent tries to do better for their child than their parents did for them. I can, in good conscience, say that I did not make the same mistakes with my children that my parents did with me. I made different mistakes, and my children are having to retrain themselves now because of them. Because I wanted them to be happy, and because it gave me joy to watch them explore their talents, I did not do a good job of making them "earn" much of anything. Now, I didn't buy them whatever toys they wanted. I always said, "No," as I recall although their dad was a different story. But they didn't go without for very long when they needed equipment or supplies to explore their passions. As a result, especially the youngest is struggling with the concept that he might be stuck for a while in a job he hates so that he can pay the bills.

But at least he's in the job. What I'm seeing in my classroom is the next generation, so spoiled and lazy that a growing number of them expect to get good grades in school just because they have done us the favor of showing up for class. Perfectly nice, smart kids who have nothing more challenging in their lives than fighting the dress code and figuring out how to hide their ipod in class so they can play solitaire rather than pay attention to the assignment, and whose parents then demand an hour of my time (unpaid) to rant about their child's poor grade in class.

And the next turn in the maze is into our contract negotiations. I'm fortunate that I'm covered under my husband's decent medical insurance but some of our younger teachers with young families are paying out 20% and more of their monthly income to keep their children insured. If this country doesn't socialize its health care (the way we've done everything from fire protection to libraries) we're going to be in deeper trouble very soon. Now that I think of it, I don't like this part of the maze so I'm backing out and heading for a happier place.

My escape into fantasy for the holiday started Thursday when I went to see Disney's Enchanted (I'm still humming "Happy Working Song" - "pluck a hairball from the shower drain") and continues tomorrow with my first trip to Disneyland of the winter. I'm going with friends tomorrow, then am supposed to go with my sister for our annual pilgrimage for Walt Disney's birthday. She's just starting a new job, though, and may not be able to get the day off so I may be alone. That's OK. On the following Wednesday I will take my parents for their winter visit. They love the place any time, but Disneyland in its winter decor is not to be missed. This year they have something new - Wintertime Enchantment - and we're all anxious to experience it.

Today is errands day, though, and I need to close this up and get ready to venture out. I'm starting a California Tribute quilt using mostly McKenna Ryan blocks. However, I'm also using a pattern by Helene Knott (see, I told you I'd get there) as the centerpiece and need to see if I can find the right batik for the mountainside. It's one of those domino quilting experiences. I bought the Yosemite Falls pattern. I've also been collecting McKenna Ryan patterns for years with no idea what to do with them. Somewhere along the line as we've worked on designing the Utah house I decided that I wanted the upstairs decor to reflect our love of the Rocky Mountains (where the house will be), but the downstairs guest areas to reflect our love of the natural beauty and wildlife of California. It was during my McKenna Ryan club meeting at my lns (well, it's in the next town but it's as close as I come) that it dawned on me I could combine a lot of the patterns I already had into a California quilt for downstairs. I want to put the Falls in the center, then surround it with other blocks. The one I was working on - orange poppies, our state flower - would be perfect in said quilt. So, here's how the dominoes fell.

I have the poppies block ready to fuse to the background. Our teacher says for best results to follow McKenna's directions in the pattern. Her directions say to put the sashing or border on before fusing to make sure your poppy stems are right up next to the seam. I don't have fabric for sashing. If I buy sashing fabric, I want it to be for the whole California quilt. Before I commit to the whole California quilt (and buy the sashing fabric) I want to see if I can find the right fabric for those rock slopes in the Falls pattern. Once I commit to the Falls (meaning, I have the rock fabric) I can commit to the sashing and can draw out the design so I know how big a sashing to sew onto the poppy block so I can then fuse the pieces! While I'm thinking of it, I should also get the background, because these are all 'quilt-as-you-go' blocks so if I want to sew them down I need the backing, too.

And this is why I have so many partially collected kits around and very few starts. Kathryn, my book better get here, soon!




1 comment:

Kathryn said...

Your "rambling" makes perfect sense to me. In computer programming we call it stacking. You put an idea on a stack and then another one and then another one. Eventually you pop up the LIFO (last in, first out) idea and then the one under that one and so on. My husband and I converse in stacks. Most people don't because they get lost after the first two thoughts!

Don't expect The Book to change your life immediately. I've had the book for months and I am still working on it. I have a lot of old bad habits that will probably take me a while to change.

I looked though the Pine Needle quilt patterns and they are REALLY lovely. It's interesting. I have a lot of cross stitch and needlepointing patterns, but though I also collect quilting fabric, I never buy quilting patterns. My husband doesn't understand the entire pattern experience. He is an artist and thinks that everything I stitch should be original. He doesn't quite get the fact that DESIGNING is a different skill set than stitching. I think I feel the same way about quilting. Most of my quilt books are from quilt shows or famous designers. Somehow the thought of buying a quilt pattern seems (boring? cheating? unoriginal? pick one). And yet what is the difference between feeling accomplished by picking out original threads and patterns in stitching and picking out fabrics and patterns in quilting? Maybe I never saw any patterns that I felt were as artistic as the cross stitch patterns I like.

I wouldn't worry about your "spoiled but working" son. I come from the direct opposite family. My parents, though well off, made it perfectly clear from the time that we were small that once they paid for our way in college we were completely cut off. We would never get another dime from them even if we were living on the streets. I never asked. My sister has had more than a few hungry days. They would leave all their money to charities after they died. I haven't spoken to my father in decades. (It's not about the money, but that attitude was accompanied by the fact that he really hates children, even his own.) Yes, children (and their parents) think that showing up is enough (they don't even need to pay attention). But the Real World has a way of "correcting" those mistakes, even if harshly. Until, of course, they get the attention of legislators and vote themselves bread and circuses. It's hard seeing people struggle with medical expenses, but worse is the Tragedy of the Commons, where common resources are trampled and devalued by the irresponsible horde.

Hey, if you have an LNS or LQS close enough to drive to, it is Local! The closest quilting shop is in our town, but the only needlework store in Clark County is a half hour away.

Have fun in Disneyland! A friend in Hancock Park bought her daughter and herself season passes and plan to go there Christmas Day.