Monday, October 5, 2015

A Spiritual Gift

“If you are a craftsman…only look at your tools, your needle, your thimble…your scales, your measures, and you will find this saying written on them… ‘My dear, use me toward your neighbor, as you would want him to act towards you with that which is his.”              Martin Luther

When our family first joined Rejoice Lutheran Church, new members were encouraged to assess their spiritual gifts and apply them in service to the congregation. As a quilt maker, it wasn’t surprising that liturgical art was my forte. For several years, I put my sewing skills to work making banners for worship.

That was long ago, and my days of “making” are over. Nevertheless, I've felt a persistent calling to contribute one more banner to Rejoice. And why not? Just because I can’t make things, doesn’t mean I can’t make things happen!

My friend, Wanda Hanson, is a remarkable quilt artist, a genius with color and design, who blends fabrics from her palette of thousands into extraordinary one of a kind pieces. After seeing Wanda's latest series of colorwash quilts, I knew they'd be perfect for Rejoice's worship space!

The first time I approached Wanda about making a banner she declined. But at some point, my "calling" became her "calling" too. Eventually, she looked on the project as a personal challenge and an opportunity to share her God given talents with others.

The Creation story became our theme ~ both the scriptural version:

God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw the light, and it was good.  Genesis 1:3-4  

as well as the scientific explanation for the origin of the universe ~ a kind of Bible/Big Bang mashup!
Wanda cut, arranged and sewed hundreds of luminous batiks, 356 3"x 6” rectangles to be exact, each a different color and print, to create “Let there be Light”

Wanda with the 69" x 93” banner

What better backdrop for worship could there be than this glorious riot of color, representing God's creation and His loving spirit at work inside us all?

double click to enlarge

Visit Wanda's blog, Exuberant Color.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Reality Check!

It’s been a long, lazy, uneventful summer… I’ve been sleeping a lot, reading too little, not writing at all, and taking way too much comfort in my own complacency. MS will do that to you when you start to think, “Is this as good as things are gonna get?”

I forgot that MS can still pull the rug out from under me at a moment’s notice, which it did a couple weeks ago. I haven’t had an exacerbation in years, so didn’t recognize the signs (severe pain in hands, wrists and arms) until my left hand (my only functional appendage) suddenly stopped working. That got my attention!

Three days in the hospital on IV steroids has restored function to my left hand. I can scratch my nose now, give a feeble wave, feed myself finger foods, type o-n-e  l-e-t-t-e-r  a-t  a  t-i-m-e with a pointing device on my computer, use the TV remote, and even hold a cup of coffee, if I’m lucky enough to get one. 

I've been assigned a series of challenging hand exercises to practice daily. Hopefully they’ll make me strong enough to erase “complacency” from my vocabulary and live each day with more purpose and intention.

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Perfect Cup of Coffee

I love a good cup of coffee. Brew it strong. Serve it in my favorite mug with a splash of milk and a spoonful of sugar. I’m happy. 

What could possibly make it more pleasing? How about a colorful Mug Mat? It’s like a “pick me up” for my morning “pick me up.”

My friend Mary made mine from a vibrant array of half inch squares, tiny little pieces, almost too small to use. Isn’t it fun? Thanks, Mary. I'll raise my mug to you each time I use it!

Monday, April 20, 2015

What Goes Around, Comes Around

I’ve reached an age where the only thing I want for my birthday is not to be reminded of it, unless, of course, it’s with a birthday quilt from Barb. For that, I’ll admit to each and every one of my 59 years.

Imagine my surprise, when I opened Barb’s package this year, and found a block I’d given her for her birthday a few years back. “Wait... What?” It took me a minute to process that the block was now beautifully finished and back in my hands.

The pattern is from Applique with Folded Cutwork by Anita ShackelfordBarb echo quilted it by machine, with silk thread in the traditional style of Hawaiian quilting. Such lovely work!

The backing fabric represents Barb’s old stomping ground, New York City.

Barb, I'm humbled by your thoughtfulness. Thank you for this beautiful (re)gift!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Easter!

About this time each year, I remember an Easter project I’ve always wanted to try. The trouble is, I think of it at the last minute when it actually takes several weeks of advance preparation.

What I had in mind was an Easter basket filled with live grass and a display of bunnies, chicks, colored eggs, and candies, all nestled amidst the fresh green sprouts… a springtime vignette, like those panoramic sugar eggs we had as kids. Cute, huh?

Convincing my husband to help with crafty projects like this is the tricky part. His willingness to humor my flights of fancy goes only so far, and generally does not include arranging porcelain figures into whimsical tableaux. Fortunately, an Internet search for “Living Easter Basket” helped validate my request. "See? It's not a silly idea. Come on, it'll be fun!" 

So, three weeks before Easter, my "groundskeeper" planted grass seed in an old basket. Within a week, the tender shoots began to sprout. By Easter, the grass had filled the basket entirely and was practically ready for a trim. Perfect timing! 

I’ve paired my Easter basket with a basket quilt, made from blocks I won at a guild raffle, way back in 1987. You may recognize the pattern from Fons and Porter’s book, Classic Basket Patterns, 1984 (out of print).

In every block exchange, there are some that end up too big or too small. Rather than discard them, I used them in a pillow…

and label for the back of the quilt.

Raffle Baskets
36" x 51"
machine quilted by Stover Quality Quilting

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I’m Back!

Hello! I bet you didn’t expect to see me again, not after almost two year’s absence from Persnickety Quilts. I’m as surprised as you. Once I lost my blogging mojo, I didn’t expect to get it back.

You don’t need a tedious litany of what’s kept me from posting. Basically, I lost interest in quilting. Weird, huh, after almost 35 years! I stopped dreaming of quilts, stopped lusting after fabric, stopped reading quilt blogs. Worse yet, I didn’t even care that my passion had waned.

I hadn’t stopped creating all together, just changed my focus for awhile. A decades old project of collecting, restoring, and archiving family photos kept calling for my attention. While I was at it, I rejoined and developed several new branches of our family tree.

But in the back of my mind lay those quilts that I never got around to documenting. I began to see a correlation between the ancestry I’d been researching, and my quilts, which are certainly a big part of my personal history. It’s time to get their stories down on paper (or into cyberspace) for posterity.

A few friends have encouraged me to revive my blog and offered to help make it happen. The biggest obstacle to posting has always been photography. After all, what’s a quilt blog without pictures? My friend Linda is helping with day to day stuff, including photographing my lovely new blog header, while Sherry, at Simonetti Studios, is shooting each quilt’s official portrait. I'm so lucky to have their help and support.

Most of all, I want to assuage any concerns about my health. I’m still here, not necessarily "kicking" but relieved to say my Multiple Sclerosis seems to have stopped progressing. As long as my left hand works, I can use the computer, and reconnect with you!

If you’re new to Persnickety Quilts, I encourage you to read previous posts. They go back several years and can be accessed by clicking "Older Posts" at the bottom of each page. Most photos will enlarge with a click or double-click for more detail. Also, don’t be shy about leaving comments. You don’t need to create an account in order to respond, just sign in as “Anonymous” and include your name in your comment. 

It’s good to be back!