Sending Quilts to Texas?

Quilting and knitting friends, this is important information–know when, where, and how to donate!

Catbird Quilt Studio

The hurricane disaster in Texas may displace people from more than 100,000 homes for at least several weeks. They need housing, food, water, and some way to replace all the goods lost to water damage, or simply washed or blown away. Should you send replacement items? Should you send quilts?

It’s tempting, isn’t it? A quilt is a tangible item to show your concern, to offer both comfort and warmth. I’ve already seen a number of requests for quilts for Texans. I’ve also seen one of those requests in a Facebook group called a fraud, and deleted after the group moderator couldn’t affirm its legitimacy.

In the past I’ve made quilts to give post-disaster. But unless a disaster is local, I won’t do it again. Why not? Very simply, if a community is facing the scale of tragedy that Houston and other Texas cities are facing, figuring out how…

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Political Art, Abstract Art

Sometimes a blog post is a way to place a marker for articles I want to refer back to later. This is one of those.

People who have read this blog for a while know of my interest in abstract design. A short look back for new followers: This was my first attempt (ignoring the fact that most traditional quilts are abstract).

finished quilt

24 x 30

It started with a photograph of my street.  (Its history, reverse order, starts here.)

Then there was “Hole in the Safety Net,” which started as mere shapes and evolved into concept.

feb cla draft 2

And was helped by title to make a statement beyond what mere shapes could say. Its history is here along with a link to the finished product.

Enough background. On to the articles.

The first responds to an exhibit of abstract works of 12 black female artists and tells of their struggle to be recognized in a white male art world, a world where even black art critics considered abstract art to be white art. “Women of Color Find Their Rightful Place in the History of American Abstraction.

The second does two things. It places black artists firmly in both abstract and political (racial in this context) camps and makes a profound statement about race: “How to Embed a Shout: A New Generation of Black Artists Contends with Racism.”

And the statement: “Adrienne Edwards, curator at Performa, the Walker Art Center, and a scholar who has written a good deal about Pendleton’s work, professes: ‘Blackness is the original abstraction; people are living abstractions, meaning [they are] made up, conjured.’ Yes. I have to agree. For others, this sign of dark skin might symbolize anything and its opposite: strength, weakness, triumph, and debacle, membership or exile. The racial imaginary conditions all of us raised under its auspices to project onto black people one’s fears or desires, so that it becomes difficult to be seen as a human being rather than a space for projection. Lowery Stokes Sims, a curator and former director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, adds the historical fact: ‘If you take the track that abstraction came out of African art, then we are just claiming our birthright.’

“Blackness is the original abstraction”: think on that . . .

And yes, I remember that I promised to do the whiteness syllabus (here); it is still on the back burner where my subconscious can work on it while I finish up a few other projects.

 

 

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Thread Color on Welcome “Blanket”

Six blocks are quilted using an Angela Walters approach (so it is taking longer than an all-over design would.) I’d considered all-over paisley, then thought this was a great time to try custom quilting a slightly different design on each block.

As I usually do, I started in the center.

40 center q

Most quilting designs here are Angela Walters inspired. The center is from her first Shape by Shape book. (I don’t remember how she named the nesting squares.) Yep, I know the center isn’t square–I stitched the square then did the design.  I’d decided that the nesting square would be in each block as a unifying feature. The pear print prompted paisley after outlining them. This block was done with thread that matched the brown background.

The edge blocks are quilted with light beige thread, Aurofil 50 weight. Another of Angela’s ideas is that a single color of 50-weight thread will sink in and not show contrast much.  It speeds things up by eliminating thread changes. So I tried it.

My first thought, while quilting, was that it doesn’t hide well enough.

40 red close q

The center here begins to show how bold the thread looks up close (though in real life it is much more of a contrast). I began to think Angela had misled me, or maybe I had more contrast than she had intended. Then I saw it from a distance.

40 quilted stars

And the thread was much less visible. I think when the quilt is washed the thread will be even less visible.

For unity, I decided not to use too many different motifs. So I limited myself to spiral, pebble, and paisley at first. Those didn’t quite fit the background of the star to the right, so I did a  modified feather with pebbles at the one edge.  And I added ribbon candy to some of the wider log cabin like strips that don’t show here.

I tried to do as few stops and starts as possible so combined outlining he points with moving into the background, something I couldn’t have done had I been changing colors of thread.

Here’s a look at the two blocks with similar brown fabric.

40 two browns close q

The lighter thread does a pretty good job of disappearing.

Three blocks and binding yet to do and a welcome letter to write. Luckily the due date has been extended to November 7.

First post about this quilt with information about the Welcome Blanket project here.

You can view the project’s progress at the Twitter site and (if you live near Chicago) find days to go and knit or sew at the Smart Museum installation of welcome blankets. https://twitter.com/WelcomeBlanket

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August 6 and August 9

August 6, the day Little Boy fell on Hiroshima, and August 9, the day Fat Man fell on Nagasaki, have become haunting days for me. Oblivious until the 80s, I became involved when Church Women United planned a Ribbon project. They sought a mile’s worth of individual yard-long muslin pieces decorated with a peace message to be held hand to hand around the pentagon.  More than a mile of ribbon and people converged on Washington.DC for that march.

For me the most profound part of that weekend was sitting in the park across from the White House observing the annual moment of silence concurrent with the people of Hiroshima at exactly the time, their time, the bomb had fallen..

That moment has been surpassed by this year’s installation, Suspended Moment. It’s the first time I’ve attended an installation enacted and not just one in a museum with a continual loop video.  The artist, a third generation Hiroshima survivor, made a sculpture, a cloth version, to size, of Fat Man, the Nagasaki bomb. She made it from silk from her grandmother’s kimono studio and stitched her hair into it to meld the generations.

D setting

The installation, lasted half an hour. The action was a poem read at the beginning and end that consisted of words from Obama’s speech at Hiroshima. Single words. First in English then in Japanese, as chanted dialog, each word repeated several times. The two walking toward each other, then together, then apart. “Mirror.” “Suffering.” “We look.”  “We survive,”  “We survive fear.”  (I don’t remember them all.) In between a butoh dance (somewhat like mime). In the Q and A afterwards, the choreographer said he’d aimed to create moments rather than a narrative, moments like combing hair, putting on lipstick. And there were more obvious moments of fear.

Dance 1
The sound was part vocal and part computerized music, haunting, along with occasional voices of children playing and an almost continual drone of planes.

Suspended Moment has been performed at Los Alamos, where the atomic bomb was developed, and at Hanford, where nuclear waste is awaiting cleanup.
The atrocity of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings (and all the health/environmental aspects of nuclear programs) is certainly one of the “Never again” moments of history. To that end, 122 nations recently ratified the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (info here and here)

It is not a big surprise that the nuclear holding nations boycotted the negotiations. However, the hope is that making nuclear as illegal as biological and chemical weapons will change the discussion. To that end we can communicate with our representatives.

The memorial event was sponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibility . They are concerned with other problems (“we must prevent what we cannot cure”) as well and are worth following.

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Reading The Hundred Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey

The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian OdysseyThe Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey by Dawn Anahid MacKeen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I knew of the Armenian Genocide in an abstract way. This telling, largely based on journals of one involved, made it so harrowing and vivid. It is hard to imagine marching on while one’s companions drop out to die, being unable to help.  Not only leaving companions behind but marching by bodies of those who had died days before. Thirty plus died in a day.

It is also hard to imagine the thirst, the hunger, the lack of clothing.

And the ruse that they were going back home when they were actually going to be executed, which eventually the deportees realized.

The grandfather’s story was so well told that even though I knew he came out alive, I was on pins and needles as I read challenge after challenge, betrayal after betrayal.

The weakest part was the narration of the author’s journey retracing the grandfather’s. It was a good idea, an important link, but fell flat to my ear. There were a few places where it livened up a bit: in the shop with the women dressing her in a scarf to go into a mosque and the meeting of the family of the Sheikh who saved the grandfather.

View all my reviews

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Many Peoples’ Scraps and a New Leader-Ender Project

I brought home one kit that I put together from the pieces remaining at the end of the recent Sunshine Retreat.  And I’ve been itching to see what it will produce. So I laid the pieces out and did my usual rearranging thing and ended up with this:

Omaha arrangement

These squares and rectangles came from the offerings of many Sunshine members who started cutting their scraps as soon as the block pattern was announced. While selecting, I’d decided on a floral theme. First I pulled all the BIG floral squares. There were not 24–it was near the end and the piles had been picked over many times.  So I added medium size and then small. Finally I added the monochrome green and I had my 24. After selecting the big squares, it was just a case of finding colors that would work for the other parts.

I debated between making blocks and then arranging or arranging from parts since I could. I chose the latter, the better to switch colors of the big square around without ending up with with smaller pieces where I didn’t want them.

Having decided on this arrangement, I’ve now gathered the squares by row and labeled them so that when I am ready to sew, I can just start sewing. No more planning and re-plannng. No forgetting what I had in mind should significant time pass.

On another note, Leader-Ender projects.  I’ve had only short ones lately, relatively without a project goal. Just assembling parts that await future inspiration. But Deanna of Wedding-Dress Blue has come to the rescue with Irish Stars. Maybe you’ll want to play too.

I’ll try to remember to link with other scrap projects, one (Oh Scrap!) is in the sidebar. The other, Scrap Happy deserves that you check it monthly on the 15th.

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Bias Project–Green Added

I left off here, wanting to shop for yellows and to add green.

I bought seven tints of yellow. Even if I don’t do the checkerboard on this piece, I have another yellow start that needs pieced borders. A project for the future. So I added dark green and laid the blocks out on the new fabric.

bias-plain centr

It helped that I trimmed the tails of bias. I’m not going to consider the checkerboard anymore as I am liking this. But one more try.

bias print centr

How about a cornerstone of the yellow print fabric? I think I like it.

One more thing. In the interest of variation, I’d moved the wider red from bottom to middle to top, but I don’t like it in the top position in the upper right block. Easy enough to fix; I had a piece of left over dark green, just the right size.

bias more green added

It was a tight fit, but it did two things. Even though I wanted variety, having the top of each quarter circle green adds a nice symmetry. And nods to difference by being a different shade of green. It also adds some curve where the wide red had ended up too straight.

You can barely tell that the width of the two greens is 1/8 inch different. In the future I don’t think I’ll work with such small differences.  The 1/4-inch bias is easy to sew, but I had a bit of problem pressing. One side wanted to flatten instead of fold. I noticed that there was wiggle room, the bias maker being wider than double the finished width. Luckily I’d not cut but one piece. I cut the next one 3/8 inch instead of  1/2 inch. And it worked like a charm.

Now I’ll set this project aside till I’ve prewashed the new yellow fabrics and get back to the Welcome Blanket project (the one time I am willing to call a “quilt” a “blanket”).

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