Bronchitis 2015

Yes, winter is a relative thing. And a matter of perspective. The moo.com website is predicting major shipping delays as the northeast braces for another snow storm. And, again, it’s been grey and wet and bone chillingly cold in Atlanta.

The head cold, which has stalked Bill relentlessly since Thanksgiving, has now become my case of bronchitis. This is not unfamiliar territory! A couple of things are different this time.

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Why Food

It’s 4:15 am, in the midst of the 30 Days of Writing challenge I joined and the very early days of blog writing. I’m curled up in one of my quilts, sipping tea and scribbling recipes. Recipes which are not, by the way, related to the writing prompt for whichever day this is! It’s worth pondering why.

When my first granddaughter was born, just before I turned 50, I noticed a surprising thing. In the midst of making baby quilts and packing glass baby bottles for the trip across the pond, I began to get an inkling that things were changing inside me. Suddenly, things that had been sort of philosophically important to me for years began to seem more urgent. This tiny person, this wee image of my son, this huge new spark of love in my heart had to grow up in this world. And if we’re honest, this world could use some work!

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Shopping in the parking lot!

While much of America is buried under a thick blanket of snow, here it Atlanta it’s wake up every day and find out if it’s winter or spring time! I prefer spring, myself, and spring it has been for a couple of days. Sunny. And still quite cold for shopping in parking lots!

Most of our local farmers’ markets are closed for the winter. One intrepid farmer, however, runs a pre-ordered delivery service. This system would have amazed Elsie, my farm grandmother.

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Take a deep breath, please.

Take a deep breath, please. That’s right. And another. Now, allow yourself, in whatever way is comfortable for you, to be led into that imaginal space where each path leads to many layers of meaning.

Perhaps, as you walk along, you can feel the sun on your face, and the dust between your toes, even as you notice a quilt, tattered at the edges, and faded just a bit, drying on a split rail fence. Bits and pieces of calico and homespun cloth, cut and pieced just so, form patterns as old as the ages.

Oddly, quilts can form maps of the future as well, for, as the story goes, they were used as signposts on the Underground Railroad. Signposts on the road to freedom.

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Blog…Day One.

As it happens, I’m participating in “30 Days of Writing” led by Tyler Knott Gregson and Andréa Balt, from writeyourselfalive.org It started this morning. Imagine my amazement when I poured my second cup of tea, logged in, and encountered the writing prompt for today:

“Reflect over the past 10 years of your life and write the decade- younger YOU a letter, as if you were catching up with an old friend. Include 5-10 life lessons learned so far that you would share with this younger version of you.”

The moon is in the seventh house!
Here’s mine…What about you???

Dear Sue,

Have been thinking about you a lot lately. There are so many new things going on. But first, you were right!

Remember all that reflecting you did just after your surgery? I know that was a hard time and looking for new models and metaphors was really important. Then you did all that work figuring out what you wanted to do with the next part of your life. I actually still have some of your notes from that time. You said that you wanted to do the counseling, leading, training work you loved, make things, and—when the time came—be a cool grandma.

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Taylor’s Big Girl Quilt

This one was a challenge! Another move, and another big girl quilt, twin sized. Taylor wanted pink. Mama said pink and purple. I like polka dots. I learned a lot!

One night I got online and started buying up juvenile-type pinky prints. Also lots of dots. Then the box came. The next morning I was off to Intown Quilters. I needed help!

I walked into the store, past the register, into the second room, and literally almost tripped over the fabric that turned out to be the focus fabric for this quilt. And, immediately, I knew the perfect pattern. Back to the “Geese in the Fields” block by Carolyn Griffin I had re-worked for my Liberated Wild Geese quilt.

Then things got exciting! I was busy laying out the pieces on my homemade “design wall” which is simply a flannel sheet cut to fit, hung through the top hem on a broomstick that fits perfectly on top of my fabric cupboard. Enter Sarah, our Newfoundland rescue, who had been with us just two days. She wanted to be by me so laid down just at the bottom of my flannel sheet, rolled over, and pulled all my carefully positioned blocks right down on top of her! I started again and added quilting to the list of things Sarah needed to learn!

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For this quilt, I added a gorgeous batik border and then a scrappy striped border with lots of my favorite fabrics. Fun. Easy. Lots of movement. Not at all juvenile. Perfect!

Again, backing and binding cut from a good quality, pre-washed flannel sheet. This one’s a binding fiddler, too!

Then I gave all the kids’ prints away!

Behave Yourself, Barely!

In 2014, my friends at Intown Quilters had a birthday challenge to honor Kaffe Fassett, who designs some of my very favorite fabrics and quilts. The directions were simple and terrifying. Entrants were to choose one of Kaffe’s older quilt designs and update it, while also using some of Kaffe’s more recent fabrics. In a moment of wild optimism, I signed up!

I’m so glad I did! Let’s get the suspense over with up front. I didn’t win. Red seemed to be a popular theme among the lovely quilts that were recognized. Mine’s not so red. And it’s possible that I updated a bit much on the design side. But I learned a lot and wound up with a quilt I adore. Bill calls it the “winter” quilt for nights when we need two. I named it, “Behave Yourself, Barely!” in honor of a story Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Este’s tells about a favorite aunt of hers.

My fabric selections for this quilt were largely to coordinate with my first queen size quilt, “Autumn Log Cabin”.  Many are designs from Kaffe Fassett or Brandon Mably. Among my favorites are the purple Zinnia design and one of my go-to fabrics in several colorways of the Paperweights pattern, mixed with lots of dots.

I added an inner border of black and white micro dots and an outer border of a large scale, Asian looking floral. The backing is a wide width batik of larger black and white dots and the binding is the same black and white micro dot as the border. I much prefer random dot patterns to symmetrical dots. They’re way easier to work with!

I used a Hobbs 80/20 black batting on this quilt and washed it after finishing as described for my Liberated Wild Geese Quilt. Regina Carter did the wonderful long arm quilting.

You can find the “sunlight in the forest” pattern in Kaffe Fassett’s Quilts in Sweden, copyright Rowan Yarns, 2011.

Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity® Color of Woman Teacher