F2F Top Finished

And the top is finished, just in time for the guild meeting. I asked a friend to take a photo during show ‘n tell.

1 F2F top cropped

You’ll have to imagine the strip of border at the bottom; it had to be cropped out to remove a head of the person in front of the photographer. Of course I see better places for some of the blocks–that is always the way with a sampler quilt. There is no perfect arrangement. I do like the color of the sashing/border.

The Sunny Lanes block (upper right) is one I made for everyone; here is the post where I showed it in each color way. Meanwhile, here is the post on this top’s beginning. Yep, top finished over the weekend and in two consecutive posts. It is enjoyable,  how quickly a quilt top goes together when the blocks are already made (never mind that I’ve had the blocks since 2016).

I think I’ve mentioned before that blocks came from US, France, UK, and Australia. Here is a fun location-specific print with a kangaroo crossing sign:

1 F2F oz print

For next month, the guild is requesting male-themed throw tops. I think I’ll work on Irish Stars first.

Tomorrow (15th) is scrap happy day. I’d guess some of these blocks were made from scraps–when making three, it is a good use for small amounts of fabric. I know there are scraps in my three.  And you will find a link here to other scrappy projects.

I’m also linking to the Clever ChameleonTuesday Colour Linky party.

 

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F2F Blocks Reappear

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I participated in the F2F (Foot Square Freestyle) swap. Each month we made three blocks for one member; the receiving member chose the color scheme, and we could make blocks any pattern or style we wished. I had no plan at the time, so the blocks waited for a need or an idea.

The first project (here) was for the welcome blanket project, a project that is still going. The second will be a twin top for my quilt guild. Last month twin sized was their request, and I thought of these blocks for a quick finish. (They will be doing the quilting.) So I got them out and counted. Yes, there were 20, which would be enough for a twin with sashing. So I ordered a brown that would work with all, and it has arrived.

Next the lay out. I really have fun with all that dithering and moving around.

1 F2F first

This isn’t the first layout; it is just the first one I photographed. (You didn’t really want to see all 20 variations, did you?) After studying them a bit, I moved a couple and swapped one with the “extras.”

1 F2f second

Better, but I still see a couple I might move. I’ll see what I think after I’ve cut the sashing.

And there were 5 blocks left; that will be just right for a baby quilt for the firemen.

1 crib 5

I imagine there is something in my stash that will make the four alternating blocks. It would be a pity if I had to go shopping.

(You knew I couldn’t stick with one project, didn’t you? I’ll get back to Irish Stars.)

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A Novel

The Dark Flood RisesThe Dark Flood Rises by Margaret Drabble

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As with so many good novels, the first read is but an introduction. Many more encounters will be needed before getting to know it.

There are so many characters that at first I didn’t think there was a main character (in spite of book jacket naming Fran). But as the novel progressed, I realized Fran was central. However, she is not the sort of person I like–so needing to be needed. Still, one does not have to like a character to be intrigued by their thoughts and encounters.

All the characters–or at least almost all–have some connection to aging or death. Fran is in her 70s as are Jo and Teresa, friends from her youth. Jo had a friend, Owen; Owen has a friend, Bennett. Christopher, Fran’s son, has lost his girlfriend to a sudden illness; Christopher goes to the Canary Islands to visit Bennett and Ivor. Each character has several vignettes. As I read, I began to think that if a person were named, they would eventually have a vignette. Almost true, but not quite.

So with all these old folks, we get a variety of attitudes toward aging. Yet none of the characters exist merely to be illustrations. They are developed proportionately to their space in the novel. For now I’m thinking Fran, Christopher, Jo, and Teresa as main characters, and the rest as subordinate. I may add Owen to the main list. Not sure.

Action is not a part of this novel. Everyone plods along, thinking thoughts, having conversations. Drama is minimized (having to abandon a car because of flooded roads; an evening with a daughter that could have been emotional is pretty flat).

The narration is 99% omniscient author; however, at least twice she says something like, we can’t know what happened then, or we can’t know what he thought about this. An interesting break in the pattern–in breaking expectations makes us aware of expectations and conventions.

The novel felt finished; I almost missed the “Envoi.” I don’t think it was needed.

Besides aging, two other social issues are present. Sara, the girlfriend who died young, was doing a documentary on refugees; Poppet, Fran’s daughter, is researching climate change issues. As readers we are aware of these issues, but not in a heavy handed way.

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Reading History

Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous ResistanceOur History Is the Future: Standing Rock versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance by Nick Estes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book reoriented my thinking about what I thought I knew, revealed an international aspect I had not known, and made me more hopeful for the future than I have been in quite a while.

This book belongs to the genre represented by Howard Zinn’s Peoples’ History, histories written not from the perspective of the dominant. So, as one mostly aware of traditional tellings of Anglo-Indian relations, I was exposed to a Native telling and interpretation of Indian wars and treaties and land grabs. In this version, killing off the buffalo is about more than greed; it is about choking a people to extinction by taking away their food supply. It is about ending a land promise in a treaty that was premised on “as long as the buffalo shall roam.” Damming rivers became a way to remove arable land and force an impoverished relocation.

And stereotypes were challenged: “My ancestors were tribal historians, writers, intellectuals, and fierce Indigenous nationalists at a time when Indians weren’t supposed to be anything but drunk, stupid, or dead” (12).

I had heard the phrase “sovereign nation” earlier in a talk by a Native historian but not grasped its full meaning. It was explored in Estes’ long chapter, “Internationalism.” That history traced the ongoing process from implied national identity in treaty making (treaties are made between nations), through diminishment when US government shifted from treaty making with nations to managing individuals, and on to the UN declaration of the rights of Indigenous peoples.

I am always interested in the significance of a title, and this one was particularly enigmatic. One hint appears in this statement: “There is no separation between past and present, meaning that an alternative future is also determined by our understanding of our past” (14).

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4 Stars–and Not a Book Review

When I once said I wasn’t quilting because I was reading, one of my friends chided me for not doing both. Sounded reasonable, so I tried. Yesterday I planned to read a bit then sew.  Nope. Too easy to get into one-more-chapter mode. Today I tried sewing first. Has potential (unless a due date at library looms).

So I made four stars for the Irish Stars #2 quilt. (You are not surprised that I am working on a top instead of the sandwich pinning, are you?)

1 4 stars

I guess my reading attention span is longer than my sewing span because I stopped for lunch then pulled out my book. But not before laying out a little sample of finished look.

1 star layout

I explained earlier (here) why the alternating square blocks are still in strips. (I will admit to being surprised that is has been on the back burner since April. Old blog posts keep me honest.) Mine is the 2 1/2-inch square version.  Deanna, of Wedding Dress Blue, made the 1 1/2-inch square version, and it is her header photo (here); she also has a tab for the quilt along where the tutorial can be found.

Should take a couple days to finish the stars (depending on how interesting the reading), then out comes the design bed for lots of fun layout pondering and moving of pieces. Then sewing real fast so I can have a living room again.

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A Different Sort of War Story

Last Witnesses: An Oral History of the Children of World War IILast Witnesses: An Oral History of the Children of World War II by Svetlana Alexievich

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Never having lived in a war zone, I was hardly prepared for these vignettes. I had to pause often as I read this collection of memories of those who were children during WWII. Amazingly, the style of each is poetic, so I wondered to what extent Alexievich had edited them. (Of course what I read was a translation, but I am assuming the translator retained the style of the original.) That I even asked that question may have been a way to gain distance.

Alexievich, the bio says, has spent most of her life in Belarus, and most of the vignettes referenced Minsk, though one was of the siege of Leningrad. The age range of the children at the start of the war ranges from 0-13–a few had not been born at the beginning of the war.

I did not see a pattern to the arrangement other than alternating between the very young and 10-13 year olds. Although all were deeply moving, some were more horrible than others–those were spread out, and the last several seemed to have more detail about the victory.

What amazed me most was children having to see their parents shot, then having to make decisions about what to do. Others had been left at home and had to decide between waiting for mother to return or evacuate when other neighbors were leaving. Some had an older sibling, but others (6-8 year olds) were the older sibling. Some hunted Mama. Some started out with a parent, but got separated.

Hunger was ever present: the siege of Leningrad, 900 days; hiding in the forests; orphanages making do with what they had.

Many of the 12-13 year olds wanted to help fight; some did though the official age for joining was 16. One told of shooting a man.

All telling events no child should have to experience.

And all the while, as I read, I couldn’t help think that there are children having these experiences now, caused not by Germans but by us, directly in Iraq and Afghanistan, indirectly in Yemen and Syria. This is a book all leaders should read before the choice is made to go to war. This is a book people like me who have not experienced war first hand need to read.

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Gingerbread Union Station

It is time for my (almost) annual visit to the Benson Hotel’s gingerbread creation by Chef Duffendorfer, a delightful tradition. While the castles he creates are elegant, I especially like recognizable creations like this year’s Union Station.

1 union station left s

The roof tiles, station windows, and bridge are chocolate–15 lbs of dark chocolate were used. See the snowman under the bridge?

1 snowman underpass s

The photo makes it look like a snow mouse, but it was a snowman IRL. The snow is made from white chocolate, 30 lbs of it.

Here’s a front view.

1 union station center s

The train and tracks are not made from chocolate (nor was the train running), but what is a train station without a train? IRL there is no pond, but it makes a prettier creation! I love the details: especially the decorated tree and another snowman.

 

And the chocolate “gravel” on the path! Thirty lbs of marzipan were used in various details.

The White Stag sign is a Portland landmark.

1 union station right s

The White Stag building is in the NW area, but not so close to the station as the creation looks.  But it is so Portland, that it is great to have it in the creation. Around Christmas time the white stag is turned into Rudolf. Alas, even my detail photo doesn’t show the red nose.

1 white stage detail

And gingerbread.  The creation took 200 lbs of housemade gingerbread to complete. I couldn’t smell the gingerbread this year, but I believe it was there.

 

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