A Week (plus a day) of Rallies and Marches

It’s been a long week, and I’ve felt kicked in the gut most days. While demonstrations alone won’t change anything, they are part of the tool box. So I’ve chosen several out of the multiple possibilities in Portland, OR.

It started with the rally against Fascism on inauguration day.

I didn’t stay for the whole because I also wanted to go to the Ford Gallery’s opening of “Divided We Stand,”  artists’ reactions to the election. I didn’t take any photos there because I wasn’t sure of copyright restrictions.

Then Saturday was a two march day.  First the Jobs with Justice rally. Though it supported immigrants, workers and single-payer healthcare, I photographed different signs.

That rally preceded the women’s march and marched as a group to join up with the women.

Newspapers are reporting the attendance at Portland’s Women’s March was around 100,000. I met my friends about two blocks from the stage. There were so many people that it seemed useless to try to get closer.

womens-march-official-route

Only the news-helicopter video shows the size of the crowd. People moved too quickly for me to get detailed photos of their signs, though some were witty. This was on the main route after I’d been on two overflow streets.Yes, it was raining. That didn’t feel so bad after I read of the people above the Arctic Circle out where the temp was -51.

Then Friday began the next round when Credo  orchestrated a rally against Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. Senator Jeff Merkley, one speaker, was going to deliver Credo’s 1.4 million signatures in opposition to her confirmation. He graded her performance at the hearing as F on all points, including oblivion to the Students with Disabilities Act. To highlight that one, a graduate special-needs student spoke of the importance of schooling with her peers. Other objections included DeVos’ dependence on private schools without oversight in Michigan to the detriment of quality. Maybe you can read others on the poster.

Saturday followed. I selected two from the available options. First was the March for Justice and Equality.

People have a way of ruining a photo’s composition. The obliterated phrase to replace “again” is “for once.” My friend and I marched till the group got about a block ahead of us, then we took a street car to the Stand with Standing Rock event.

This was led by Native elders. One speaker, Grandma Addie, wrapped in the green and brown blanket–last photo, reminded us of all the points in our lives marked by water and had us chanting, Water is the First Medicine. She asked us to thank water every time we saw it as in crossing a river or used it as in the shower. She and another elder speaking were in their 90s. She mentioned there being five living generations of her family.  Several speakers reminded us that decisions should be made to benefit ourselves and seven generations.

Several spoke via phone, including an onsite report from Digital Smoke Signalsand Winona LaDuke. Songs and drumming alternated with speeches. There was also a round dance. People formed two circles and greeted everyone as they moved in opposite directions.

Perhaps next week I’ll have time to sew.

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“Dreaming of Cool, Clear, Abundant Water” is Finished

It isn’t often that two posts in a row document the start and finish of one piece! But deadlines (real ones) can promote that.

water-finished

So here is the piece quilted, trimmed to 18 x 36, and faced.  The balance is back to something closer to that in the sketches. If I do something approximately this size again, I’ll add only one inch all around. It lost very little in quilting.

I had to wait a couple days to photograph the quilting–there was no sun and  my artificial light keeps the quilting from showing. The sun finally appeared yesterday–along with temperatures in the 50s.

I like the background quilting; if I had it to do over, I’d put another layer of batting under the “drops” to fill it out better. It’s okay as is, but I think puffier would be better. Puffier would be nicer for the big “pebbles” too, but that would be impossible to place extra batting since I decided on placement as I went. Maybe the whole thing needed thicker batting.

The ice finally melted so I got it to the post office in plenty of time.

I’ll be joining Friday links (buttons in sidebar). 2/3/17 ETA: Actually linking late because I spaced it the week I finished.

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Stretching Art Progress

The Stretching Art challenge was posted long ago:  This year’s theme–Dream Big; Requirements–Size 18 x 36 and try some new technique.

So I started to think on dreams. I’ll admit to censoring out options that I couldn’t imagine a design or technique for or ones that I could imagine but didn’t want to do. I prefer abstract to representational, and that seemed hard, given this theme.

About the time I was exploring ideas, I was also reading of drought and forest fires, so dreaming of water seemed a good thing. Out came the graph paper..

water-early-sketch

Grid = 1 square x inch

I doodled more than two, but kept only these. Early thoughts were flowing rivers and drops containing trees, fish, and something else. Oversized drops to convey abundance. The right sketch got me into shapes going off the edge. And the plan moved on.

water-sketch

The new technique would be inserting those drop shapes rather than appliquéing them. And I did.

water-top

The upper left drop was inserted whole, but I have since trimmed it and will trim a bit more. I had added 2-3 inches on each side so that after quilting I could trim to size. My estimates on how much measurement will be lost to quilting are never accurate.The biggest trim will be at the right and bottom.

I tried sewing the first drop by starting at one side of the point, then starting again in the other direction. It was okay but not great. Better was starting at the side of the shape, holding the clipped background on top and stopping, but not removing the piece from under the needle, to turn. Yes, there was stay stitching first. I tried the first one without pinning, just like I do circles, matching registration points. The second one I pinned very closely around the point. If I ever do this again, I will pin. There will never be a tutorial for this, because there is no way I could interrupt sewing to do photos.

So on to the quilting.

water-detail

You may notice lines near the point. Yes, it was for reinforcement as well as design. I’d sketched a possible design (too lightly to photograph), but this is what has emerged as I worked. The unquilted background is waiting for me to decide how many more “pebbles” and where among the lines. Then on to quilting the drops.

The Stretching Art project is an annual event, unjuried.  You can join the Yahoo Group, if you are interested in considering it for next year.

ETA link to Stretching Art website.

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Not the Weather Quilt but Weather

Portland, OR, isn’t used to snow, so this is noteworthy. Usually snow comes to the higher elevations and the lower get rain.

snow-patio-med

I suppose it is part of Portland’s weirdness that we have five “quadrants”: the usual NE, NW, SE, SW and North, where I live. According to the paper, North got the most snow at 12 inches last night. A few more views–in three directions:

Now back to my weather quilt and other projects in waiting.

ETA: Weather broadcast said that we had not gotten this much snow in one 24 hour period since 1980.

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Gingerbread

Time for my annual jaunt downtown to see the gingerbread creation at the Benson Hotel.

boldt-castle

I forgot to take one photo with people in it for relative perspective. This year’s creation replicated the Boldt Castle in New York. Made with 100 lbs gingerbread, 50 lbs icing, and 20 lbs of marzipan, it took 300 hours.

boldt-candelabra

I was especially intrigued with the tiny candelabra. Behind it an equally tiny “painting”-about 1 1/2 inch by 2.

Some more details:

If you ever visit Portland during December, remember to check this out.

ETA: When I was a child my family took many road trips, one was to New York State. I am sure we saw Boldt Castle because I remember the detail that it was built on Heart Island and stopped when the wife for whom it was being built died. It would have been in the 50s, before it was bought by the state and fixed up, so I am not sure how much of it we saw or even if we could go inside.

 

 

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Good Reading Weather

Etta and Otto and Russell and JamesEtta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My reaction to this novel wavered: sometimes ho-hum, sometimes put off by a stylistic decision, sometimes drawn in and fascinated. I remained puzzled throughout. There are two kinds of puzzlement (at least): 1. puzzled, confused, annoyed and 2. puzzled,intrigued,pondering–willing to reread. My experience was mostly the latter.

This is not a realistic novel, so that opens the door to the question of Why? What reality beyond reality can be conveyed through non-reality? My first answer to that was a feminist one. Etta had so melded with Otto that she needed something dramatic to regain her own identity, so she left, at age 82, on an unrealistic trek across the whole of Canada, on foot. And Otto, understanding, let her go. How else to explain his not pursuing her? Or her dreaming his war dreams? That held up for the first half, then data no longer fit. (view spoiler) I don’t yet have a second answer.

I found it interesting that she always had enough money, that her shoes wore out only once. I began to wonder if the whole novel–in spite of being told from three points of view–was all taking place in one mind. In some ways, the end supports that. (view spoiler)

Early on the pacing was tedious. I kept waiting for a revelation of why Etta left; I kept waiting for the story of a juicy triangle. Neither happened. The triangle was real, but very low key. No more reason was given than we got in the first line of the novel. Normally I like a novel that moves meaningfully between past and present. This one didn’t seem to move meaningfully, but arbitrarily. And the portions were too short. So I found it annoying, at first. I even wondered if in fact there would be no story if it were told chronologically. Gradually, however, the segments of each portion got longer, and I got more attuned to the characters, and I got to caring more about them the more I learned. I pondered who loved Etta more, Otto who let her go or Russell who pursued her.

And is it significant that the talking animal is coyote, and Coyote is a known trickster? And if so, what was the trick?

Yes, I will most likely read the novel again someday.

View all my reviews

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Toy and Joy

Some deadlines work for me–real ones. I’ve tried making fake deadlines to convince myself to work ahead. It is no use because myself knows better. Somewhere in October I had three of those self-made deadlines. Then I convinced myself that the coupon for a small discount on long arm quilting wasn’t enough to make me say, No, to events I wanted to attend. I convinced myself that the project with a real due date of January 31 had plenty of time. And I didn’t finish the Toy and Joy quilts in time to get them to last month’s meeting just in case the weather was bad this month. Luckily the weather is fine.

The meeting is tonight and the last baby quilt is now quilted. Five hours ahead of time.

Back in August, you saw most of the tops here. And earlier, the story of most of the blocks here.  There was a joke in one of my Indiana quilt guilds that a quilt could be shown at show-n-tell seven times. The history of the “rule” was that one member had actually shown seven stages of one quilt–that was before my time, so I didn’t get to see it. Thus, ~3 posts is showing restraint.

The first three are from the guild’s block of the month last year–I won three times. Only two (red-blue-gold, totally scrappy) made it to Toy and Joy quilts. The third (pink) is awaiting quilting.

The pastel block wasn’t bright enough to go with the other ‘totally scrappy’ blocks, so it became a doll quilt all by itself. (The doll quilt is about 20 x 20, the infant quilts 36 x 36.)

The doll quilt back was made from minkie scraps.

tj-doll-back

Yep, that stuff stretches.

And I had to extend one of the three other backs.

tj-infant-back

Silly me, I’d bought 3 yards of flannel for 3 36-inch tops. Then prewashed the flannel. Lesson learned. At least I had that cream strip to finish the third one off.

I did a big meander on all the quilts–the batting required quilting only every 8 inches.

tj-red-blue-gold-detail

Although plan A is to practice FMQ on charity quilts, sometimes quilts just need to be finished. So I don’t really call meandering practice. However, I am getting better at starting and stopping without a zig zag in the line, and my stitch is getting more even, so it isn’t wasted on the practice front.

The other quilt comes from Lotto blocks that I’ve won in the past. I love that heart block; however, it created an interesting design issue.

tj-heart-horizontal

When I planned it, I had it laid out horizontally. However the heart looks better on point.

tj-heart-on-point

Had I been thinking ahead, I’d have made the tans parallel and the blues parallel for this orientation. Lesson learned. Think of the final orientation when designing.

11 pm, ETA: At guild tonight it was announced that our year’s contribution to Toy and Joy is 1889 doll and infant quilts.

I will be linking with Oh Scrap! and Let’s Make Baby Quilts (buttons in sidebar) and Scrap Happy; welcome visitors.

Shall I read a book or get to one of those other two projects?

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