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Eleventh Week

One event dominates this week, and it only tangentially relates to the novel coronavirus, George Floyd’s death as a policeman was filmed with his knee to Floyd’s neck. It was surreal to hear again that the plea,”I can’t breathe!” was ignored. Apparently Milwaukee ( edited to Minneapolis)police have learned nothing from the death of Eric Garner, nothing except that police can be acquitted.

The only possible reaction was to gather in vigil and protest. Milwaukee (edited to Minneapolis) did. And Louisville where grief doubled with grief and anger for the killing of Breonna Taylor. And other cities. And Portland.

I had felt safe going because of the announcement’s emphasis on space and masks. (Organizers walked among the people handing out masks to those without. ) And the bus ride was short. And it was outside on a windy day.

It started out socially distanced, though by the time they marched people looked more clustered. One paper estimated about 1000 attended and several hundred marched. By staying on the fringes to lessen contact, I didn’t hear many of the speeches. What I did hear included both somber tone and anger.

Portland has reason to be angry beyond solidarity with Milwaukee (edited to Minneapolis). We also have too many shootings (usually fatal) of unarmed people (usually black). Grief piles on grief.

I stayed about an hour then headed home. (I move too slowly to do the march portion.) On the way out I saw names of other victims chalked along the sidewalk and this observation.


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Reading and Knitting

The second book in the Aaron Falk series came available, so I dropped everything and read it. It was quite different from the first one, so that promises these books will not become boilerplate plots. My review if you want to know more:

Also, I have mentioned knitting frequently. ‘Twas gift socks that have now arrived at their destination so I can show them.

This time I made the big pair first. Made the second pair go quite quickly. The yarn is hand dyed dk weight from Hazel Knits. I love the colors and texture for warm winter socks when knitted with #2 needles.

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Back to the T-for-Terry Quilt

Back when I started the baby quilt, I had also started the T block for the quilt to honor Terry (here). In an unusual move for me, I am actually returning relatively quickly to a project that had been set aside. The first set of borders was easy.

As I was planning borders that I could double top and bottom to turn a square block into a rectangle quilt, no ideas appealed to me. I decided that two T blocks would make a nice rectangle center and solve the problem. So I made four more Ts. And finished the center.

Now I have some HSTs to trim for the next border.

And two or three competing ideas for the last three borders. Time and available fabric will tell.

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Tenth Week

First, a follow up on the Sioux Nation roadblocks, an article with details for those who are interested. As of Monday they were holding firm, as is their right, as noted last week. If anyone has more current information please add it in the comments.

I had been thinking about natural disasters even before the dam’s failing in Michigan and Cyclone Amphan. Living in Oregon, where a major earthquake is a possibility, the thought crossed my mind that this would be a rotten time for it to strike. The average time between quakes here is 400 years; the longest time between them has been 600 years. We are between those numbers, it having been a little over 400 years since the last one. It is not something I dwell on, but rather it hovers in the background, sometimes closer, sometimes farther.

At any rate, maintaining social distancing while being evacuated seems daunting. Not to mention no longer having a home to return to for some who lost homes. Convenience does not seem to be a criterion for such events.

Meanwhile, Oregon has joined states with lawsuits over stay-at-home orders. An eastern Oregon judge declared the governor’s extension of the emergency declaration illegal, thus making stay-at- home null and void. This move seems out of place with most counties entering Phase 1 of reopening. Nonetheless it happened, and the judge refused to pause it until it could be appealed. I had visions of Oregon being like Wisconsin, where anything goes. Luckily we didn’t go there. Within hours it had been appealed to the state supreme court and a stay was issued until arguments could be considered. Written arguments were to have been submitted by yesterday. No date was given for the decision.

I am in one of the counties not yet applying to open. However, there is slight loosening everywhere. Some retail (not malls) can open, for example. The transit system sent out directives. All are to wear masks including the drivers. Because all are masked, the distance apart is 3 feet instead of 6. Except all are not masked. There is an exception for people who can’t breathe while wearing them. I did ride last week. Seats were marked to maintain 3-foot separation and the driver had his mask. However on both the to and from trips, there was one person without a mask. So there goes comfortable bus travel.

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The Ninth Week

Among other things, this week I finished a novel, Mornings in Jenin.

Sometimes I need to think of something besides coronavirus.

Sometimes the something else isn’t much better. There’s the Armaud Arbery incident. Make that video. The incident happened in February. Arbery, a black man, was shot by two white men while jogging. Although the video, taken by a third white man, was available, no one was charged till the video was made public last week. What makes it possible that a video showing two men with guns waiting for, then tussling with and shooting an unarmed black man be released in the expectation of exonerating them?

Perhaps it is the same thing that would make the South Dakota Governor try to stop virus checkpoints on a Sioux reservation. The Sioux Nation had determined that their 8-bed hospital could not handle an influx of patients, so they set up 9 checkpoints to screen people seeking to enter or pass through the reservation. The Sioux had estimated, based on Navajo Nation infection rates, that a disease spread could infect up to 1200 people, so their best bet was to try to keep it out (Democracy Now! May 14). I think they said it was a 2-3 hour drive to the nearest larger hospital, but I may be mixing up two stories. )

The governor demanded the checkpoints be discontinued; the Sioux refused, as is their right. I have not heard a follow up; I hope they have continued to prevail.

Perhaps it is the same thing that justifies closing US borders to keep the virus out while ICE deports people known to be infected.


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Star Kissed #1 is Finished

Scrap Happy day and a scrappy finish, such synchronization. Started as a leader/ender indefinite project (here), this one got a nudge when I was surprised to become a great-great aunt again. It seemed good to finish while 36 x 36 is a usable size.

And the back

As I’d said earlier, I thought all that open space asked for something other than an all over design. I like dense quilting, but I usually find it daunting. However, it seemed doable on this small piece. So I started with squares in a square from Angela Walter’s book about ideas for quilting in various shapes. Then pebbles are always fun. At one stage I had planned spirals in the background so thought to add a couple among the pebbles, but stopped at one. Seemed more would look too crowded.

I’d been watching Christina Carmelli’s (afewscrapes) daily videos on Instagram. One of her ideas had been a combination of pebbles and lines. Seemed good for the star points. I had expected it to emphasize the points more than it does, but I still like it.

By the time that was quilted I could see that spirals would be too busy for the background. Earlier I had thought about Christina Carmelli’s elongated meander but abandoned it because I didn’t know how to deal with the direction change. I returned to that idea and got the idea of mitered corners and marked the diagonal with painters’ tape for a guide.

Quilting in the pieced border is my go to design when I want an angular look. ( I will look up the tutorial and add it later and credit the designer. )

You’ll notice the unquilted white border. I thought I’d try something new. I have trouble with quilting going beyond where binding will be, and I wanted the motif to be centered. So I tried binding first. And it worked.

The binding kept it firm enough that handling it with so little edge was not a problem.

The binding used up the ends of those solids, and I hope made the two-color star points look more like a design decision than a fabric shortage. Even the batting was pieced from two leftover bits.

To see other scrappy creations visit Kate’s Tall Tales from Chiconia for her post and links.

I’d love to link, as usual, to Oh Scrap and Free Motion Mavericks, but last time I tried from my so-called smartphone , it didn’t work. We’ll see this time.

And in case this is the first post you have seen about this quilt, and you want to make one too, head over to Wedding Dress Blue ‘s blog.


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Eighth Week: Disposables

First, a good thing about this week: It is primary time and I live in Oregon.

Oregon is one of five states where voting is by mail and there are very few problems. There are also drop boxes– some used to be in each library branch. But this year, libraries are closed. Our state legislature had made a timely decision: this year the return envelope came with prepaid return postage.

Beyond voting, the theme that emerged this week was disposables, disposable people. First the man in the White House intones that we can’t stay shut down for five years. That, of course, is an overstatement designed to make an atrocious statement sound reasonable–we must let stay-at-home guidelines expire even though target decreases in new covid cases have yet to materialize. Yes, that means more people will get sick. And die. Too bad.

There is a meme on Facebook to this effect: herd immunity was meant to protect the vulnerable, not to sacrifice them. Behind the meme is the idea that those who are able get vaccinated so that those who cannot are safe. Not only do we not have a vaccine yet for covid, we don’t even know what nature of immunity will be possible. It is not time to rush to get infected nor to dispose of the vulnerable.

Then the meatpacking plant fiasco continues. Nebraska won’t release infection and death counts for plants. And I forget which person from which state indicated that they needed to count only the regular people outside of the plants. Invisible working people.

So last week CDC released suggestions instead of demands for plant safety. This week the White House stifles a CDC guide that would have made reopening workplaces and social venues safer. (Totally safe is not an option, but it doesn’t have to be totally unsafe. )Disposable working class people.

And the next point was made twice, once by Majority Rising on a video forum and once in an op ed in Freedom Socialist. In both the context was the discrepancies between high percentage of white people working from home and black and brown people who don’t have that option, between population and death percentages. (Black people are 13% of population, 50% of covid cases and 60% of covid deaths–I think I remember the numbers correctly. If not exact, they are in the ballpark. ) The op ed stated that business wants essential workers, but the workers want to be seen as essential people. The forum speaker said, “Our work is essential, our black and brown bodies are disposable.”

These attitudes aren’t the result of covid; covid has simply made them more visible. Post-covid reality doesn’t have to return to this kind of thinking. It is time to begin to imagine the world we want.


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