Sunday, August 31, 2008

Whatcha been up to, Girl? Where ya been? Well, Life got a little crazy. One of the things I did since last we blogged, was to go to a retreat in California with my guild in Oakland. I was too lazy to take my sewing machine, so I took this quilt, where I finished 3/4 of the binding. I like to blindstitch the binding on by hand, so it does take a minute or two. It took a few hours last night to complete it.

This quilt is called Ramblin' Rose with Guacamole and Extra Salsa on the Side, and it was designed by Marti Michell. The floral fabric with the black background is the Ramblin' Rose fabric, and it was also designed by Marti. It was quilted on a longarm by Melinda Fulkerson, who also taught the class. I didn't love the fabric, but I wanted to learn the kaleidoscope technique, and it was easier to do that with Marti's fabric and directions than trying to start from scratch. Marti is a genius - it is amazing the way everything fit together perfectly. You should try her templates!

There are a few blocks that don't line up as well as I would like, but I'm going with the galloping horse theory on those. The galloping horse theory in quilting is that if the mistake can't be seen from a galloping horse, then don't worry about it. The point being not to obsess over the small stuff. I will rip a seam out in a heartbeat when it's wrong, but I decided to let these go. So what had happened was, I have my Bernina set to sew a scant 1/4 inch seam - the needle is moved one stop over to the right from center. I don't even think about it any more. Halfway through this quilt, I had to take my baby into the shop because she was skipping stiches (funny story that...when I took the machine in, the woman asked if I had changed the needle recently, the implication being that it was skipping because the needle needed to be replaced. I told her I had, and actually it had started skipping right after that. When I got the machine back, the technician said that I hadn't pushed the needle all the way in. Amazing how that works! "It started right after I changed the needle.") I had to use my backup machine while she was in the shop, which wasn't set up to sew a scant 1/4 inch, and which I completely forgot about. So the blocks that are off are the ones that aren't a scant 1/4 inch. Scant being the operative word in that sentence.

This quilt is for my Aunt Dot, my Mom's sister, who taught me to sew. I remember her teaching me like it was yesterday, and she doesn't remember it at all. Some of my favorite and happiest childhood memories center on my Aunt Dot. At one point in our young lives, my Mom and Aunt Dot lived together. She had three kids, Mom had two, and we all lived in a two (maybe three) bedroom house together. I only think three bedrooms because I can't imagine all those people in two bedrooms, but my memory is two bedrooms. Her birthday is Saturday, and I can't believe I actually have completed something on time for the actual event!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

H is for hamsa. The hamsa (Arabic: خمسة, Khamsa‎, literally "five") is a symbol used in amulets, charms and jewelry to protect against the "evil eye." An alternative Islamic name for this charm is the Hand of Fatima or Eye of Fatima, in reference to Fatima Zahra, the daughter of Muhammad. The hamsa is widespread in Arab countries, and is sold in many different forms especially in the marketplaces of Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. I bought a silver one in Morocco.

This is my H postcard for artsnthemail, so once again I'm all caught up...but I'm stuck on "I." I is cream, igloo, idiot (I could do idiot and use a photo of W, the all-time village idiot.) Hmmm...I'll have to sleep on it...then I think I'll take a break from postcards for a while. I haven't done much all year besides postcards.

Just finished this postcard for the AA Veteran's Swap - I finished all the parts a couple of weeks ago, well within the deadline, but then I started all my travels. I put it all together today. The photo is then Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, a West Point graduate, with some of the Tuskegee Airmen in front of a P-51 named By Request. The name comes from the fact that once the Tuskeegee Airmen earned their wings, they were derided by the white Air Corps. But white bomber crews went from making fun of the Tuskegee fighters to requesting them for escort on hazardous runs. The tenacious cover provided by the 332nd "Red Tail" fighters often discouraged enemy fighter pilots from attacking bombers escorted by the fighters. The Tuskegee Airmen won more than 850 medals, including 150 Distinguised Flying Crosses, eight Purple Hearts, and 14 Bronze Stars, among many others. The bravery of the Tuskegee Airmen paved the way to the future, so that others like my husband, Major Alwyn Walton (U.S. Air Force, Ret) could have the opportunity to live their dreams of flying.