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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

WIP Wednesday

It is a good day to make quilts, since it is cold and snowy outside. I just read that I-25 was closed at the Larkspur exit, north of Colorado Springs, due to a major multi-vehicle accident. I'm glad I don't have to drive that section of the road today. I will drive downtown, about 7 blocks, to Curves to exercise this afternoon. I'd rather stay in and be lazy, but...

I've gotten all but one row of ninepatches on the child's Solar System quilt I am making for the 40 Quilt Service Project. I would be done with the stipes and ready to put on the borders, except that, when I got ready to assemble the next panel of ninepatches, I discovered that I had ended up with 5 of one kind of block and only 1 of the other. I need 3 of each, so have to make 2 more of that type of ninepatch. Luckily, I overcut on the strips, so I have extra to put together to make those 2. In f act I have enough stips cut to make a lot of ninepatches for another quilt. Math was never my strong point.

I also got the torn section of my design wall/door replaced and have posted before and after photos. Eventually, I will do both doors entirely with the flannel stretched over the foam core. Oh how I could use a whole design wall so I could lay out all of the blocks for a quilt tops in one spot, besides the floor. I can't leave them on the floor for long while I cogitate about how they should be arranged, due to the need to walk around our small house, as well as the fact that the cats immediately lie down in the middle of any fabric they can find.
For proof, you can see here that Ditto approves of the Solar System quilt. All I have to do is turn my back and they are there. Oh well, it looks like that quilt was designed for the cat. I hope the child who gets it is not allergic to cats. Maybe the child would like a cat? But we all know that Granny Fran couldn't give away one of her babies.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Granny Fran Joins the 21st Century

This is my first post on high speed internet, thanks to Bresnan Cable. I almost hugged the installer when he arrived to drill a hole in my wall. It wastes so much time sitting here waiting to upload and download photos and other graphics when on a dial up connection. I couldn't watch videos on websites or blogs, well, I could watch them, but they jerked and froze and didn't make sense. I couldn't watch the online quilt shows!!! I kept hinting to Joe that I really would like high speed and he kept telling me that we could get along ok without all that huge amount of extra expense.

Then I read that Alex Anderson and Ricky Timms were starting a new online quilting program, together. Alex and Ricky!!! Together!!! Although Ricky is a fairly close neighbor to me in one of my favorite small towns in Colorado, La Veta, at the foot of the Spanish Peaks, I have never met the man, but I love him and his quilts and his music and his videos. And Alex has been one of my quilting gurus on HGTV's "Simply Quilts." It broke my heart when HGTV dropped her show. Let's face it, there are a lot of shows on there that I don't like vociferously, and most of my old favorites are gone. Where are the gardens in House and Garden TV? Where are Alex and that neat crafts lady, I can't think of her name (a senior moment). Now, if I can figure out how to find them, I can watch and learn from them from the comfort of my own computer chair.

Soon I will only have to move from computer chair to sewing machine chair and back. Sorry, Debra, I didn't mean it, I will continue to do my steps each day!

To test the speed of uploading on high speed, I will now upload some photos from my walk yesterday (see, Debra) and a teaser of my March 12 x 12.

Oh my gosh, it works! it works! it works. Onward and upward to new and better quiltmaking by internet.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Postscript to Hagar's Block

Dear Friends, I guess I opened a can of worms. I did not intend my Hagar block to be construed as an attack on Islam. I made a beautiful block for her and through my study came to a very sympathetic understanding of what this poor woman went through, due to being a slave.

I, as a Christian, do not monitor blogs, and leave 5 page rebuttals to the beliefs of those of the Islam faith. Therefore, I do not appreciate whoever it was that felt the need to set me straight in my beliefs by leaving an anonymous 5 page rebuttal of my beliefs in the comment section. I have deleted the comment, feeling it was inappropriate. However, I kept a copy of the rebuttal and will study it, but since I am already aware of the difference in belief, on this point, between the Jewish/Christian and Islam Holy books I doubt that this rebuttal will change my beliefs.

This does not strike me as the best way to open a dialogue between people of the two, or actually three, faiths. The only people of Islam (or any other faith) that I have a problem with are the ones who feel that it is their duty to kill me and my people for being infidels. If you have no desire to kill me, or see me killed, I have no problem with being your friend. I have absolutely no desire to attack, kill, or see killed, those who have differing beliefs, and I regret those times when "Christians" felt such a need. I am making an attempt to understand what it means for me to love my enemies, even when they are attacking and endangering me and my people. I don't believe that means I have to bow down and expose my throat to the blade that is threatening me. I see a difference between turning the other cheek and exposing the throat to the blade.

I apologize that this unpleasantness had to impinge upon our celebration of the textile arts, but we can't always turn our backs and ignore what is going on in the world. I felt that I needed to express myself to the person who chose to attack my beliefs anonymously.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Starting the Old Testament Women Blocks

Here are the first three blocks for the women of the Old Testament. I started with the new group, WOTB2, to study and make the blocks I missed when I started WOTB4 late.

The Garden of Eden block is for Eve, who is to blame for all our troubles (we have to blame someone), "The Devil made me do it". The story of Eve is pretty well known by most of us, she was made, by God, from Adam's rib, to be a helpmate to him. She was tempted by the serpent and ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and then gave it to Adam who also partook. They were driven from the Garden to earn their food by the sweat of their brows and women would bear children with pain. Her story can be found at Genesis 1:26-31; Genesis 2 - 4

This pieced block looked to me like a formal garden plan of intersecting paths dividing 4 diamond in a square beds. Light gray green was chosen for the path; green for lush foliage; rose and orange for flowers; the red center square for sin; and gold for the light of God. This is Eden after sin entered. The red also represents the promised salvation to come.

Week 2 we studied Sarah, the wife of Abraham, and her block is the Sarah's Choice. Sarah followed Abraham to the unknown land of Canaan, that God promised to them and their offspring, who would become a great nation who would belong to God as no other people had. I wanted a joyful look for Sarah's block and chose the light salmon red fabric first because it looked like desert colors. I then chose the red to represent Sarah's love, courage, and strong will. The yellow gold represents her happy laughter on hearing she would bear a child in her old age. The gold lines symbolize God's plan for the salvation of mankind through her child, Issac, and the family nation that would rise from his seed. This block was traditionally pieced.

Sarah's story is located at Genesis 12:1-20; 16:1-8; 17:1-22; 18:1-15; 21:1-13; Galatians 4:22-31

Week 3 was the study of Hagar, the Egyptian slave of Sarah, she was given to Abraham to have a child for Sarah, when Sarah gave up hope of having a child of her own. She gave birth to Ishmael and "let pride overtake her when she became Abraham's wife. A lonely women with few resources, she suffered harsh punishment for her mistake. She obeyed God's word as soon as she heard it and was given a promise that her son would become the father of a great nation."
Read her story in Genesis 16; 21: 8-21; Galatians 4:22-31

For Hagar's Wandering Foot block I chose the blue green to symbolize that her life and that of her son was saved through the intervention of God. The red represents her love for her son Ishmael. The light blue green of the background is for the water in the well provided to them in the desert. The gold as always shows forth the light of God in their lives. This block was fused and machine appliqued with gold thread.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Celebration of Walking

It was such a gorgeous warm and sunny day today, so I clipped on my pedometer, strapped Ursula Oxygen around my waist like a fanny pack, picked up my walking stick and started down the street. I've just recently started tracking my daily steps, with the encouragement of my buddies at Quilter's Lounge. I'm afraid I had given in to the fear of being a semi-invalid and hadn't done much walking for some time. I used to love to walk, and even hike and backpack in the mountains, but with severe arthritis, being on oxygen due to impaired lungs from Sarcoid, in addition to excess weight put on as a result of being on Insulin for Diabetes, I had gradually become quite sedentary. When I put on my pedometer a few weeks ago I was lucky to get in 1000 steps a day around the house. Given the amount of snow, cold and ice we've had this winter, I've been mostly stuck in the house because of fear of falling. The fall I had on Tuesday was my fourth bad fall in the past year.

In an attempt to build up my endurance I've tried to increase my walking 1000 steps each week, doing my walking mainly at the Canon City WalMart. So it felt so good to be able to walk outside a couple of times this week. Tuesday, before the fall on my back doorstep, I was able to walk 4 blocks north, a block west, 2 blocks east, and 2 more blocks south back to home. I had forgotten how good it felt to walk in the fresh air. The sounds, the smells, and the little details of a few green shoots pushing up out of the ground in places, mica sparkling in the crushed rocks, dogs barking at me through the fences, llamas begging for carrots, or speaking to and waving at my neighbors was a delight. Wednesday, due to a headache and muscle aches and pains from the fall, I rested and didn't measure my steps. The fall was a fluke and no way related to the walk I took earlier. I really resented that such a thing would happen when I was feeling so good about accomplishing so much that day.

Today I walked again and made it another block north (to the edge of town) before turning. I've felt great today, except for a bit of soreness in my right hand, a huge, ugly purple bruise on my right hip that hurts to touch, and an extremely sore spot on my head when I forget and brush my hair there or open my mouth wide. When I got home from my walk today, I pulled up a chair on the patio to sit a while because it was just to nice outside to go in. I heard a couple of keee's over my head and looked up to see two Red-tailed Hawks circling above. I felt that was a special reward for taking the walk, in addition to the good tingly feeling the walk gave me. I am amazed at how much my crooked natural walking stick helps my stability while walking. I don't think I could keep my balance without it and it doesn't interfere with the rhythm of walking.

My goal for this week was 3000 steps a day; on Tuesday I did 3237 steps and today it was 3735 steps. The best part is that I am actually getting some aerobic steps walking outdoors. I have to admit that by the time I got home today, my right leg joint at the hip was feeling stressed. Starting from practically nothing I am taking it slow in building up to the 10,000 steps that are recommended. It's ridiculous to get to the point where this is all I can accomplish, but that's what I've done to myself with negative thoughts and self pity.

The part that bothers me the most is that up until 1992 I was used to walking all over this town without even thinking about it. This is when I was diagnosed with Diabetes and my health decline started. At that time I also walked every day on the River Walk along the Arkansas between Florence and Canon City. Walking there was sheer joy, with all the critters and birds to enjoy as well as the interesting people I met on my walks. Now I am hoping that I will get to the point that I can walk the River Walk again.

Unfortunately, my lungs will no longer allow me to hike in the mountains because even with oxygen, my lungs can't function well enough in the high altitude. Of course, the altitude here is a mile high (5,280) and where I used to hike it was at was 8,000 up to 10,000. (My Pulmonologist tells me that if I were at sea level I probably wouldn't have to be on oxygen. I'm a Native Coloradoan I don't want to live at sea level, just visit.) But instead of giving in to my limitations any longer, I am going to at least push the envelope and see what I can still do. Thank you, Debra and the rest of you Loungers, who aren't lounging. I didn't realize that accomplishing my lifetime dream of making quilts would lead to improvement of my health. "Just goes to show, you never can tell."

The weatherman is predicting another bad blizzard for this weekend, so it will be back to WalMarts for a while; but, Spring is coming.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

WlP Wednesday

I picked up a blue fabric to use as the border on the Solar System Strippy Ninepatch that I am making for the Quilt Studio 40 Quilts Service Project. I had an idea in my mind of the blue that would look right and was so lucky to find the perfect fabric. Should be ready to send the top to the longarm quilter in a week. There is enough of the cute solar system striped fabric to use it as the backing also. I hope this quilt will help some kid through a rough time. (Those ninepatches don't really have curved seams, the quilt is not laying flat.) I got so carried away with cutting strips for the ninepatches that I'm going to have enough for another quilt.

Now that the WOTB4 is over and I finished my New Testament women's blocks, I have joined the new WOTB2 group and am starting at the beginning of the Old Testament to study and make blocks for the women I missed by joining WOTB4 late. I'm working on blocks for Sarah and Hagar.

I put together some materials to start doing the Take A Stitch Tuesdays Challenge that Sharon B is leading, but when I sat down to do some embroidery stitching, I realized that my arthritic hands simply cannot deal with the small needle used with embroidery floss. I've decided to try doing the stitching with wool yarn and a larger needle. I manage to do some needlepoint with the large tapestry needles and I have done a little wool on linen crewel, many years ago, so should be able to manage some stitching. Maybe I'll have to do wool crazy quilt blocks instead of silk. That's all right, I love vintage wool crazy quilts. But I love the silkies also. Maybe I should get a sewing machine that can do lots and lots of embroidery stitches and do my embellishment that way?

My other WIP projects are peripheral to my fabric arts; I bought another basic book shelf kit to add to the shelves that are in my bedroom/studio, because I've been collecting more quilting and embellishing books than fit what is there already. Now all I have to do is put the kit together, remove books from shelves, restack bookcases, and then put books back in the rearranged shelves. I long for the results, but dread going through the process. Part of removing the books will be getting rid of lots of dust, I'm afraid. I'll wear a dust mask because I don't want that dust in my impaired lungs.

The other project is reworking my design wall/doors. I just have diaper flannel tacked to the closet doors and ChoCho tried to climb on one and it is now torn and sagging, so I bought a piece of foam core and will stretch the flannel over the foam core and attach that to the door. Hopefully, this will keep him from pulling it down again. It's bad enough for cats to sleep on the quilts in the making, but climbing on the design wall?! It's a good thing I love my cats so much because at times they try my patience.

The weather has been so warm and lovely the last few days and I have been feeling quite a bit better and more ambitious, which is why all these WIPS are in progress. Just as I was basking in the joy of feeling well, I leaned over this evening to put some dry bread slices in the cat pan by the back door, for the raccoons, and couldn't stop leaning. I fell, bashing my temple on a vintage graniteware pan hanging on the post by my back door, skinning up my fingers and shredding several fingernails. (There are also several broken flower pots that I will clean up later.) Joe was watching TV in the living room and didn't hear the crash, so I called him on my cell phone (which is always in my pocket for this very reason) and came out and helped me up.

I reclined for a while with a sack of frozen peas on the huge lump on my head. When the headache let up a little I managed to fix some comforting potato soup for our supper, with help from Joe, and conferred by phone with my former RN DIL. Once the initial shock wore off, I was amazed that I was able to function at a slow level, so I'm posting my WIP Wednesday and then going to take a headache pill and go burrow under the covers. I fear that when I wake up I will hurt in places I hardly knew I had. But I will get that bookcase put up, God willing.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Final New Testament WOTB Block

My internet connection and I have been quite slow this week. Blogger refused to post my new 365 Photos or WIP Wednesday photos Tuesday evening and I didn't feel like struggling with it anymore so closed my computer and went to bed. I'm still dragging but Joe came home from talking to the Bresnan Cable people and we are evidently going to get a high speed connection. Hooray! It got to where I felt like it took me so much time to upload and download stuff that I couldn't get anything else done. Hopefully I can now be more productive and less frustrated.

I managed to finish the Priscilla Block. Priscilla was a tent maker who, with her husband Aquila, was a friend and colleague of Paul on his missionary journeys.

I can't say that I have mastered set in seams but this is the best I've done so far. For Priscilla I chose the red to represent her courage in helping save Paul's life; the green is because she was a practical business woman; the brown symbolizes that she was an earthy, centered woman helping her husband make tents from goat hair and leather; and the gold always represents God's presence in her life. Luckily, after I chose those colors I looked in my box and there was the perfect fabric with red, green and brown all mottled together. The light gray with the gold flecks represents the goat hair mixed with the symbol for God and makes a good foil for the darker fabric. Even if a person's trade is making tents, it can be done as unto the Lord.

The story of Priscilla is found in Acts 18 and 19.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

A "funny" thing happened to me on my way to buy peanut butter. I tried earlier this week to buy some low fat Peter Pan Peanut Butter at my local WalMart and they were out. When Joe went shopping he tried to find some for me, but they still hadn't stocked it. When I looked yesterday the peanut butter shelves were almost empty. What was going on? I then went to another grocery store in town and found their peanut butter shelves also almost empty, but they had a sign up saying that Peter Pan Peanut Butter had been recalled due to a Salmonella outbreak.

When I got home, I found the news story online which gave the stock number for the suspected batches of peanut butter. I checked my jars of regular crunchy, for Joe, and low fat creamy, for me; both were nearly empty and sure enough, both were in the suspected batch.

Now I often have a little of this peanut butter on whole wheat crackers for with salad, a couple of times a week for lunch. (A small amount of nuts are an important ingredient in my healthy eating plan) In mid October I had a spell where I became violently ill at Bible Study and Joe had to rescue me and take me to the emergency room at the local hospital. There was a lot of GI flu going around, so they didn't do any testing, just gave me medication to settle my stomach and sent me home to sleep. I've been struggling with inexplicable GI problems since, to the extent that I became quite weak and shaky. In January I was sent to take multiple tests, etc. and was found to have extremely high potassium levels, which were a concern, but no reason could be found for the GI problems.

Last Friday, I once again had a severe bout of GI "flu" which has fluctuated all week. Now I wonder if the "flu" I had in October was really Salmonella which has kept my GI tract messed up since. Needless to say, I bought another brand of low fat peanut butter and WalMart told Joe to bring back the recalled jars for a complete refund. I hope my tummy will now settle down and let me feel human again.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Six Weird Things Meme

Thanks so much to Deb of Cold Feet Quilter for tagging me on this. Why do you suppose she

thought there might be something weird about me?

People who get tagged need to write a blog entry of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says you have tagged them in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

1. When I was a little girl, I had weird white (unpigmented) spots on my knees and ankle bones. In spite of all the skinnings I gave those parts they survived until adulthood. I remember lying in a graceful position on the birthing table at a hospital when the doctor asked me if he could ask a personal question. Here I am with absolutely no secrets from this guy, what horribly embarrassing thing is he going to ask me? Well, I was relieved when he only asked if those spots were scars and I was able to explain that it was something I was born with. Some time between then and now they have disappeared.

2. I grew up on several tenant farms that had no running water. We did get electricity while I was fairly young, but didn’t get indoor plumbing until I was a junior in high school. Then it was served by water in a cistern and we had to use it sparingly. We had to keep the privy for my maternal grandfather who couldn’t understand what this world was coming to; people eating outside and going to the bathroom indoors!!! This was in the early 1950s when all the small farmers in SE Colorado started to put in plumbing.

3. Like Rian, I have a phone phobia; it has always been hard for me to pick up a phone and call someone. I think I was always concerned that I would catch them at an inconvenient moment. But I love e-mail!! I didn’t know it but I was a nerd waiting for a computer with an internet connection, even if it is still dial up.

4. I met Joe at a country western dance class in Denver, my husband and his wife had died in the past couple of years and we found we had a lot in common. Most of the other dance students were much younger than we were. One night while dancing at a county and western bar, where we were all taken at the end of class, while doing some wild twirls, I missed Joe’s hand and ended up under someone’s table. And I never did drink very much so that was not the reason.

5. I love my garden and the little creatures (well, most, the grasshopper plague I could do without) that visit it, so I talk to the creatures as well as the trees and plants. So far none of them have answered me in English.

6. I am my stepson’s mother-in-law! My middle daughter, Kat, and Joe’s oldest son, Greg, met, after we were married and they were already living on their own, fell in love and married. So, though Joe and I have no children together, we are blessed to have three grandchildren together. We laugh a lot in the family about “I’m My Own Grandpa”.

Are there still 6 people out there who haven’t been tagged with this? You are tagged!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Postscript to Dancing Rabbit Moon

I meant to include a photo of the actual Arkansas River bluffs that the brown hexagons symbolize. I had originally thought about using a photo of the bluffs in the quilt, but it didn't fit the picture in my minds eye. Then when I got the photos of the cattle feeding in the snowy field, I knew it was the perfect one. Those bluffs sneaked their way in, anyway.

We are so fortunate to be surrounded by such gorgeous scenery. I gives me lots of inspiration for my quilts.

February 12 x 12 Dancing Rabbit Moon

Sometimes when the full moon rises over our prairies it appears huge and brilliant. I love to sit at the top of a hill and just watch it. I’ve often told Joe that I don’t see a Man in the Moon. I see a Dancing Rabbit, and not just any rabbit, it is a rabbit from a Mimbres bowl. For a couple of years I’ve known that I would make a quilt of my Dancing Rabbit Moon.

I began researching Mimbres bowls, specifically bowls with rabbits on them. In my research I was amazed to find that to the ancient Mimbres culture, the rabbit was a symbol for the moon. Did they also see the dancing rabbit in the moon?

When thinking about what to do for the February 12 x 12 Challenge piece, I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to try my rabbit moon. I wanted to continue my theme of the use of hexagons since I really like quilts that use traditional patterns in non-traditional ways. I first thought that I would sew a base fabric of hexagons and fuse the moon/bowl and a landscape photo over them.

This piece then morphed several times until it created itself. I ended up using a dark blue mottled fabric, the same fabric that was the background for January’s Snow Flakes, and began arranging various photos and hexagons until it ended up looking right. I then fused the hexagons, the photo of a Mimbres rabbit bowl printed on cotton, and another photo, printed on cotton, of cattle feeding in a snowy field in evening light, to the base fabric. I wasn’t sure why I had to place the brown hexagons at the bottom until I realized that they symbolized the rocky bluffs just across the river as well as grounding the piece.

This front and a backing of the same dark blue mottled fabric with a light weight cotton batting were assembled envelope style. I used no stiffener, this time, other than the stiffness of the photo printed cotton fabric and fusing material, because I wanted to see the puffy effect of the quilting around the hexagons. I read in “Quilting Arts” that EQ makes a highly recommended photo fabric that is less stiff than others, I plan to try it.

I then machine quilted around the hexagons with matching thread. For the moon and halo, as well as the edge of the hills, I used a metallic silver thread.

I learned, in making this piece, that it is essential to get a clear plastic foot for the walking foot, so I can see exactly where the needle is; stitching blind is frustrating and neck tension making. It also reinforced my goal of learning to do free motion quilting and thread painting this year, in order to create certain effects I’d like to use to embellish my quilts. I’m concerned that my machine is just not as responsive as I need to do the work I want to. I’m using a basic mechanical Bernette 75, distributed by Bernina. I crave a computerized stitch regulator. Maybe I’ll win the lottery, except that is hard to do if you don’t buy a ticket.

I’m already mulling an idea for the March quilt; and I’ve decided that since this Challenge is to help us build up a portfolio of a body of work, I am going to create a fabric portfolio to keep these pieces in.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

WIP Wednesday and the Weather

Welcome to southeastern Colorado. After over a month of snow and frigid cold, we've had four days of warm Chinook winds here in Florence, it got up to 72 degrees today. There is still snow on the north side of the house but even a little of the mud has started to dry out.

We took Mom and Dad to dinner in La Junta on Sunday to celebrate their 69th wedding anniversary. From Florence to Pueblo the prairie was bare except for little drifts on the northeast side of the plants; we saw a herd of pronghorn antelopes who were enjoying being able to eat without having to dig through snow. As we drove beyond Pueblo there was more and more snow remaining on the prairie and fields. In Fowler there were glaciers with double tire track canyons in the streets and huge stacks of snow and ice along the highway where it had been snowplowed. East of Fowler there was still at least a foot of snow on the fields, even though there hasn't been more snow there for over a week. Here are photos of the snow piles at the sides of the parking lot at the restaurant where we ate. It was much colder in Fowler and La Junta than here due to the longtime snow cover. We saw several buildings that had collapsed due to the weight of the snow.

There are still many of the side roads that are not passable and over 100,000 cattle have perished on the ranches due to lack of food and water and pneumonia from breathing snow and stress. It is calving season and the cows are having a hard time giving birth and many calves cannot be saved. In addition to all of the hay drops from planes and helicopters, today it was reported that Coors Brewery is donating huge amounts of cattle feed, that is a by product of the making of beer. Michael Martin Murphy, a country singer who lives in Colorado, is giving a benefit concert at the State Fair Grounds in Pueblo for the ranchers who have lost so much.

The cold, snow and mud have been a good reason to stay inside and sew. I'm still working on the strippy ninepatch for the 40 Quilts Project. I have over half of the ninepatches done, and
the strips to make the rest are cut. I have two more of the stripe elements to put together of the three required. I wish I could work as fast as some of the other quilters but my speedy days are long gone.

Here is a teaser of my February 12 x 12 quilt. I didn't want to ruin the surprise of what it is so I took a photo of some of the scraps that remained on my cutting table. You have to wait until the 12th for the reveal.

When I went to the Creative Cloth Closet in Canon City today to pick up some Steam n Seam 2 I was able to take a photo of the Eleanor Burns "Egg Money Quilt" that is on display there. It is a wonderful Depression Era looking quilt that made me think of some of the quilts that Granny made, only a more modern take. She told Denise that she was sorry she couldn't come with it, but that she doesn't travel well in cartons any more.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Purple Cross Block for Lydia

For week 51 of the Women of the Bible study group I have completed the Purple Cross block for Lydia. Lydia was Paul's first European convert to Christianity. She was a dealer in purple dye and the first European church met in her home. The purple dye came from sea mollusks in the Mediterranean Sea and it took so many to make a tiny bit of dye, that only the rich and royalty were able to wear purple clothing. [I've been interested in natural dyes since taking a course in Navajo spinning, dying, and weaving at Henderson Museum, CU Boulder a little over 30 years ago so was excited to study about Lydia. Unfortunately, there were no sea mollusks in Boulder, so we used plants, lichens and cochineal bugs to dye our homespun wools.]

The choice of purple fabric was pretty much a given. I also added a little green to symbolize the life of the new European church with gold to indicate the presence of God. The block was done with fused, machine applique and stitched with gold thread.

The story of Lydia is found in Acts 16:6-40.

It is not clear to me, from the way her story is written whether she was selling the actual dye or purple dyed cloth. Some people think she was a weaver, who was selling her purple dyed cloth. This makes sense to me, because according to the book "Women's Work: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Years" (which I highly recommend) by Elizabeth Wayland Barber, weaving and trading and selling cloth was the first industry and was done by women because they could do at home while caring for the children. There were many extremely successful fabric businesses run by women in this part of the world during the time of the New Testament and earlier.

Her information was gathered through the discovery of spinning and weaving tools and writing on tablets in archaeological digs because very little actual fabric has survived.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Urban Red Fox

I am so jealous; my daughter, Michal Ann, sent me these photos of a fox in her backyard. She says she thinks the fox is dreaming of eating Roo Kitty. The amazing thing is that Mike lives in Wheatridge, which is a western suburb of Denver. She is just a few blocks from a city park with natural landscape and a lake so occasionally she has a fox come for a visit. I've never had a fox in my yard, what am I doing wrong? I'm sure it's just as well, but I do love to see the foxes.

It is snowing again; we've had major snows now for 7 weeks in a row, usually at the end of the week. This one came in sooner than I expected and had the "fun" of driving home from shopping in it this afternoon. There wasn't much on the side streets yet but it was very slippery.

I didn't manage to check in on WIP Wednesday, but I'm still working on the Strippy Ninepatch for the 40 Quilts Service Project; I'm nearly done with a new WOTB block, just have to do the machine applique stitching. I've also started doing a few mock ups for my February 12 x 12 quilt. The first photo I tried just wasn't pleasing me but as I was driving to Canon City I spotted a herd of black cattle grazing on a snowy pasture in front of some hills, so I turned the car around, found a place to park and got some photos which I think are just what I needed. Even the "just before the snowstorm" light was right for the evening scheme that I have in mind.

Blogger wouldn't post my photos last night, so here I am again. It was forecast to stay under 10 degrees F. today, but it is sunny with a temp of 39 degrees. I prefer this type of forecasting error so much better than the unexpected blizzards.