Category Archives: House quilts

Pandemic travel

Exhausting. That’s how it felt to travel during the ongoing pandemic. Oh sure, there was the altitude. There was blinding light without hat or sunglasses. One evening, there was waiting (and waiting) for friends from Denver to arrive in Boulder. But mostly we were stressed by how much time we spent around loads of PEOPLE.

I wonder how other introverts are finding society these days? Remember: Introverts are people who find being around other people draining. Ever since hearing that definition some years back, I’ve viewed my generalized reluctance to socialize through a more forgiving lens.

How has a sustained period of COVID isolation impacted the innate tendency to renew the self through long periods of being alone?

Luckily, we got out and about: hiking behind NCAR, hiking in two parks in Longmont, a day in Nederland, followed by time on Boulder Creek. And it was so, so nice to spend time with our younger son.

Rental car wipers not great!

The yard surrounding our Airbnb was cluttered. There was no view. The place couldn’t, therefore, provide the renewing rest that a place situated in beauty can.

Nevertheless, and here’s where the contrast between appearances and experience gets highlighted, it was one of the friendliest, best provisioned, and most comfortable Airbnb’s we’ve ever stayed in. Peet’s coffee! Shampoo! Couches comfortable to sit on! Circulating air and an ice maker! These are not little things, trust me.

The trip ended with the longest line for security that I have ever seen. It took TWENTY MINUTES of walking to reach its end (and that was with three large serpentine sections). I could not believe it. No one could. K, who was TSA pre-check, after a long interval texted me, “Have you been arrested?” Ha ha.

Isn’t it nice to arrive home after being away? Picking up a wildly happy Finn was simply the best!

PS. Sorry to have dropped the ball on so many comments to last two posts. I went back this morning to maybe pick up the threads but it just seemed so long ago. Please forgive!

Henri — rain only

On Friday, K and I were up in Winchester buying clethra and oak leaf hydrangea for the shady corner of the new fence. The garden staff was sliding pots into dense rows. Puzzling. I wondered what was going on.

“We’re getting ready for the hurricane.”

“What hurricane?”

You mean to tell me I consult Twitter for two hours a day and heard not a blip about Henri?

Time to add WBZ to my timeline.

Anyway, we entertained Friday night (it’s been so long!) and planted on and off on Saturday, all while keeping a close eye on the weather reports. Upgraded to hurricane! Sliding west! Not getting a direct hit here in the Boston area, as it turns out. The eastern side passes over us now, delivering intermittent, heavy rain.

It’s a nice sound, the rain. A good day for: a lap blanket, crossword puzzles, and soup!

This happened BEFORE the storm, by the way. What can I say? Fence not even two weeks old and it’s the third time a neighbor’s branch has taken out a panel. Excuse me for being annoyed.

In happier news, Deb sent me a color treasure.

I don’t know what it says about me, but untying that crocheted ribbon was the most exciting thing I’ve done in a long time!

Already applied a speckled piece to a moon in progress. Immediate elevation of the surround. Reminds me of a traditional quilter who once opined that she included a few Kaffe Fassett squares in every composition because they reliably improved the piece as a whole.

I kind of love the blue shawl’s accidental contribution here. Windows are new.

Lastly, I am more than a little surprised that I’ve continued with the Paris Collage Collective’s weekly challenge. It’s almost September! Look at me! (I abandoned Roxane Gay’s monthly book selections way back in May. Found that keeping up had a way of turning reading into homework. Who needs that?).

I’ve bounced between purely digital compositions to purely paper to amalgams. The digital layering that includes quilt-photos and/or a paper collage seems to offer the most depth.

Also, it’s getting so that when I select photos for a double exposure, previous prompt responses come up. That’s fun. I notice other contributors including past-week elements as well.

Check out #pariscollagecollective on Instagram. Almost all of the contributions are impressive.

Made the above (not a prompt response) before I knew about the hurricane. But it must have been in the ether.

Enjoy your Sunday! If you’re in the northeast, hope the storm’s impact is minimal!

Sumac stealth

“Ugh, it’s hot. My app says it’s 97.”

“My app says it’s 94. Rain at 2:00.”

“Mine’s showing it holding off ‘til 4:00”

This conversation, nearly verbatim, happens to an embarrassing degree in our house. I’m not sure whether it speaks more to being married for more than thirty years or to being over-reliant on our devices.

It was really too hot to be poking around scrub land behind retail space in search of sumac, but there we were. Finn’s tags fell off somewhere along the way this week necessitating a trip to Pet Co. We left the dog home and brought along gloves, spade, and two empty containers.

My mother was famous for plant-grabbing. She’d drive up into the woods behind our house in Pittsfield as far as the road would go, and fill the trunk with small trees which eventually, of course, became big trees. My brother claims she got permission from the landowner. I’m not so sure.

I’d seen her pull over on Route 43 or Dalton Road and dig up what to any other eye might appear to be a weed, perhaps with a spoon that she happened to have in the glove box. A little savage. Let’s just say she was a resourceful opportunist with a very good eye. This being her birth week, I figured why not honor her with my own sly acquisitions?

Last weekend, we more legitimately came by a clethra and a yew. These are all for the fence line along the back edge of the property. I also had to buy and plant two flats of pachysandra which the workers stomped to extinction on my neighbor’s property. Part of the price of our new fence.

And speaking of that neighbor. The son has come home with his girlfriend to live and turns out, the girlfriend is interested in learning how to quilt. Would I want a student? I almost said no, but I’m already thinking what I’d bring to a casual show and tell for a first lesson. And if the main reason I don’t want to proceed is because I can’t think what to charge a recent college grad with no job, then is that really a reason?

I sent my neighbor away with a few books and gave her Jude’s blog’s name. Ruth McDowell’s too. The young woman is an engineer so it occurred to me that McDowell’s precise piecing method may appeal to her. That’s a place to start, answering the question: What are you drawn to?

Meanwhile, I finished this with a little help from my friends (speaking of Jude, also Maggie and Jenn) (mostly re: a disappearing head. I think I fixed it!)

Avoidance in disguise

I could spend the rest of my life, even a long life, organizing my studio and finishing incomplete work.

Started sorting this morning and made give away piles, maybe-sell piles, village-quilt-teeny-geometric piles, and found many, many quilts half done. Also a few all the way done.

(I was in the basement because of tree work over at the school. The noise level is fairly tolerable now but just wait until they start grinding branches).

The problem with a space that affords potentially endless and productive activity is that it can serve as a sneaky tool of avoidance. You’d think my laptop was covered in cactus spines or snot the way I’m avoiding it.

So, in the school of Find the Thing You Can Say Yes To (Even If it’s Ridiculously Small) I found something I can say yes to: go through and make sure chapter headings match my table of contents. Bye!

A Pfizer Saturday

Husband just shuttled down to Longwood medical area for his second shot. He had such a reaction to a recent shingles shot that he’s kind of expecting to be laid low for a day. We’ll see. Tylenol at the ready. My second is next weekend.

As you may know, it snowed here yesterday. This morning’s walk was cold, but mainly because we were underdressed. A chilly light rain falling on bare heads is no fun. Got my two and half miles in anyway.

As soon as K buzzed off, I spent a little time in my studio. It’s really been a while. I’m looking forward to hand-quilting this larger village quilt.

The happy accident of towers / woven strips finding each other is worth pursuing, I think. I’ll cut and weave into the yellow base near the buildings’ foundations and somehow resolve the areas where the white background ends too soon.