Friday, August 22, 2008

Piecing Away!

I know I've been quiet for the past week, but the good news is that I've gotten in a significant amount of sewing. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm working on a quilt with a September deadline and am up against the fact that I will be away from home for an entire week at a conference and pre-conference workshop (hooray, San Francisco, here I come!).

Here are quick photos of some of the 120 blocks that make up this quilt - 60 light and 60 dark. I now have 115 of the 120 blocks totally done and the remaining 5 are about 2/3 pieced. One third of the quilt is totally pieced together, the remaining blocks are sewn in pairs, and the backing is in the dryer (I got smart and had the quilt shop cut it into three three yard segments to make it easier for me to manage).

Do you think I can finish in time? I'm pretty much down to tonight and tomorrow morning. I think I can... I think I can!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

iPods and Podcasts

I cashed in on my credit card points to purchase a refurbished iPod Nano, as my old iPod was no longer holding the charge well. Quite an adventure: the first shipment arrived from the vendor and the box was completely empty. Nothing inside. No inner box with the iPod, no invoice, no air-filled pouches to keep things from rattling. (Ben called me crazy when I picked up the shipment and told him I thought there was nothing inside: he reminded me that they're much smaller nowadays than back when my first one was made, so of course the box should have been light.) But I was right: no iPod. Bummer. After some waiting, the vendor did come through and shipped another iPod, thankfully.

But look at that difference in size: at left is my first iPod, purchased for my birthday in October 2002. 10 gigabytes of storage. At right, the Nano, 8 gigabytes of storage. It is SO tiny in comparison! Don't you love the case? I picked it up at the local Apple Store; made by Agent18. Brown and blue with lovely little flowers (look at the vendor site for a picture of the back of the case.) I don't think Ben will run off with mine by accident. Do you?

The first thing that I was sure to do was to download via iTunes some quilting-related podcasts to my iPod - Alex Anderson's Quilt Connection and Annie Smith's Quilting Stash. Then I had to get NPR's Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!, This American Life, and a new one Back Story with the American History Guys (I'm still not sure how I feel about the last one). Do you listen to any good podcasts, quilting-related or not? If so, what are they?

I've been madly sewing blocks and will share some photos with you soon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Quilt Exhibit - MSU

Journey to Freedom Memory Quilt, Close-Up
Boitumelo Quilting Group
South Africa
Made for an event at the University of South Africa reflecting on the demise of apartheid. Each square represents one woman's memories.

We drove to Lansing two weekends ago to visit our college friends Erica and Mark. Had a great time catching up with them and found time to fit in a few quilting-related activities, including a visit to local shop Country Stitches. I'd never been to the shop in Lansing, but had driven to their store in Jackson a number of times when we were living in Ann Arbor. Found a few more Christmas-related projects (I need more of those like I need a hole in the head) and helped Erica with some quilting questions (I hope she'll share photos when she's made headway).

We were lucky enough to catch the free exhibit Quilts and Human Rights, which is at the Michigan State University Museum, just minutes from their house. According to the museum's website, the "exhibition [explores] the role that quiltmakers have played in raising awareness of human rights issues around the world and the power of textiles to communicate important ideas and information... [featuring] inspiring and often provocative quilts made to document and express transgressions of human rights, to educate others about human rights issues, and to pay tribute to leaders of human rights movements."

Southern Heritage, Southern Shame
Gwendolyn Magee
Jackson, MS
Response to the failure of a 2001 referendum within the state of Mississippi to adopt a flag without the Confederate battle emblem.

The quilts really were inspiring and touched on a wide range of human rights issues, including apartheid, U.S. bombings abroad, lynchings in the United States, incarceration rates, AIDS, etc. In all, a nice exhibition for a museum on a college campus (although personally, I was a bit concerned about the environmental conditions in the building - it was horrendously hot and humid inside the day that we were there; certainly not good for collections).

The other images I took are available in my Picasa album.
Quilts & Human Rights

The exhibit runs through the 24th, so you still have time to check it out, if you're in the area.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Four Seasons Quilt Swap - Received

I've been monitoring the mail ever since the mailing deadline for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap, and Ben surprised me when he picked my up yesterday by bringing along a package that looked like it might be my quilt. Sure enough, it was.

Isn't this quilt absolutely gorgeous? It was made by Jeanne Mitchell of Perry, Oklahoma. Inspired by what she says are the only flowers she can get to grow: her purple coneflowers. It's almost as if she knew that purple coneflowers are my favorite flower and if I could, I'd have a whole field full of them.

I love the colors and they definitely make me think of summer. And it's handquilted. Some day I might get brave enough to try that.

I've hung the quilt in a place where I can see it regularly, and where I often find that I could use a bit of an uplift: in my cubicle at work. Jeanne also included a CD of summer songs to which I look forward to listening.

Really, this swap was a ton of fun and I would definitely do another one. I heard from Margaret, who organized this one, that she won't be doing one in the fall (I can totally understand how life gets busy), so I'll have to look for another option.