Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Quilt in a Day

Hi! Remember me?  June has been filled with travel and family events, so there has been little quiet time for composing a blog post--or even for quilting. But the grandchildren and their parents left this morning and all is quiet, except for the washing machine.

In between trips to the pond and reading sessions, four-year-old Gemma kept herself busy creating pictures to hang on a cupboard door, since the refrigerator was already full. One of them

--"It's a house with six windows and two chimneys and smoke coming out of the chimney and a door and a fence with a gate in front of the door"--caused me to say "That would make a great quilt."  I foolishly had forgotten what the obvious response a four year old would have to that comment. We had to begin immediately.

We went up to the "messy room," where my fabric is stored, along with a rocking chair and some other items moved out of the guest room for the length of their stay, and Gemma had a great time picking out the fabrics for each of the elements in the quilt.  I had to think fast about how we were going to put this together because she wanted to be involved in all the steps and her family was leaving the next morning.  Gemma had this vision of taking the quilt with her and hanging it in her room, and a disappointed four year old is not a pleasant experience.

I quickly traced freezer paper templates for the chimney and for the top of the house, ironed the edges down and after she positioned the chimneys we moved to the sewing machine and, with Gemma on my lap, began to sew. Next we worked on the windows: she positioned the template just where she wanted certain stripes to show and then cut them out while I worked on turning the edges of the door. She loved pressing the buttons to get the zigzag stitch length just right for sewing down the windows and helped turn the fabric around the curved tops, but we got to stitch faster on the straight bottoms and that was even more fun. We cut the ziggy zaggy fence and she chose the color thread for the top stitching.  She also decided it needed some grass on the bottom. I squared up the finished top, added batting and backing, zigzagged the edges while she walked in our woods with her father, and it was done before supper!

And if you are still with me--and Gemma--thanks for the company!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Favorite Color

Some of the ubiquitous lupines in Maine

Friday, June 8, 2012

Kindred Spirit

A couple of weeks ago I began to notice a phoebe spending a lot of time on our front porch. She would sit on the railing looking up at the house for a while, hop to another point in the railing and look, and then fly away only to return later in the day and do the same thing.  Sometimes she would fly up to the top corner of our front window where a phoebe had built a nest years ago and sit there for a couple of seconds. This went on for days. She began to remind me of myself standing in front of my working wall, trying to make a decision, and then walking away and coming back a few hours or a day later.

Finally, just as we had moved the table out to the porch where we eat many of our meals in the summertime, we noticed that she had made her decision.
It's just a little pile of mud and twig bits right now. But she has continued to work and was not too disturbed by having to share the porch with us now and then.

I find something quilt-like about this nest.  It certainly seems to take on the aspect of fiber since she is weaving lots of found materials together, although I doubt the requisite three layers could be found. And could it qualify as art since she is certainly making decisions about the kind of materials she is adding and the placement of those materials?

She is possibly a truer artist than any of us because she is creating something to satisfy a need deep within her and she truly does not care a mosquito's eyelash what another bird or another creature with a bigger brain than hers says about what she is doing. The nest is still a work in progress and, as you can see, her work, like mine, can generate a bit of a mess. 

I am just hoping that she and whoever else might occupy that nest will eat lots of the many bugs that survived the poor excuse for winter we had this year.

And, if you are still with me, thanks for the company!