Monday, February 16, 2009

Quilting Weather

This morning I awoke to the sound of pounding rain. Thank goodness the library is closed for President's Day! Mondays are my scheduled day to empty the book drop which is a real pain when it rains. We have a drive-through book drop in the parking lot which was not well designed for bad weather. (Not normally an issue in Southern California!)

Fortunately, I don't have to go to work today. This seems like lovely quilting weather, so I plan to continue with my string-pieced stars. Here's a picture of the first completely assembled one. I love the red ring which I plan to repeat in each of them.

I did not love picking out the bits of foundation paper, though my bad arm may have been a factor in how difficult I found it. I do have to admit that the paper I'm using for this project is better than some I'm tried. It's the left-over scraps of pattern tissue paper which I used to trace the different sizes I needed for the Wild Girls' Christmas Dresses. Bonnie Hunter suggests that a size 14 (90) needle helps, so that's what I'm going to try today.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Heavenly Sewing

Guess what I sewed today? It's an icon cover.

My sister emailed me the other day to ask if I could sew some covers for her two new icons. (This is the same sister who gave me her Bernina 1130 last year.) Of course I said yes. Not only do I love to use my Bernina, but I am very happy to share (in a tiny way) in her work.

An icon is a representation of a sacred personage (such as Christ, a saint, or an angel) or a scriptural event (such as the wedding feast at Cana) which is commonly painted on a wooden panel for prayer and liturgical use in the Eastern Orthodox church and the Eastern Rites of the Catholic church. Icons are painted in a very stylized manner which is deeply symbolic. They have often been described as windows into heaven.

When my sister finishes an icon, she likes to encase it in a sort of linen bag which protects it from fingerprints while it is being conveyed to the person or church which has commissioned it. Here's a picture of one of the icons that will be enclosed in the covers I made last night. Do click on the image for a closer look. The reason the gold glows so beautifully is that it's 24 carat. (Besides painting commissions, my sister also sells notecards based on her icons. Click here if you want to see her website.)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Cats and Quilts

Like many quilters, I have a quilt loving cat. Her name is Priscilla. Originally, she was my daughter's cat. But, as is too often the case, my daughter went first to college and then to grad school, and most recently to a job in the Pacific Northwest. And everyone knows that cats don't travel well. So now the cat is mine. (Or perhaps, I am hers.) She seems to have become very fond of me. When I return home after an absence of many hours, Priscilla meets me with emphatic meowing even if my son Fillius has been home all day with her. It's as if she's saying, "Where have you been, girlfriend? I have so much to talk about!" When I go to bed, she meows insistently outside my bedroom door until I open it a crack so that she can "tuck me in." (This consists of hopping onto my abdomen and kneading it; I think of it as a cat massage.) Then she settles down at the foot of my bed to sleep.

Priscilla is the reason I don't currently use any of my antique quilts on my bed. It's not just the cat fur; Priscilla loves to knead even when I'm not in bed. And I don't want tiny pinprick holes in my antique Dresden Plate or Double Wedding Ring. When daughter Fillia lived at home, I always kept my bedroom door shut. But Priscilla seems so lonely since Fillia left for good . . .

And it's not like you can train cats to stay off the bed. They'll do what they want to do even if they have to have to wait until you're not looking. Witness my ironing board this morning. Last night I ironed a yard and a half of "snow" Kona Cotton. I folded the yardage and left it on my ironing board so that it would be ready for cutting out the background patches for my string pieced stars this morning. And what did I find when I got up? Little cat footprints pressed into the fabric. I can actually see her trail where she leapt up and strolled about. Well, I suppose it hardly matters since Priscilla will be walking over the finished quilt someday. I've decided that a brand new utility quilt is just what a cat loving quilter needs on her bed.