Monday, March 24, 2008

How Much Do I Know About Aunt Becky

Today I received an email from an anonymous reader asking the question "Do you know much about Aunt Becky?" Well, sometimes my mind works in a somewhat sarcastic way, so my first thought was......well, no, what about her and who is she? Forgive me. After reading the whole email, I realized this was from a terrific person who was just interested in finding help with hand-quilting. I hate to admit it, but I am not "up" on all the latest quilting tools. I've been called archaic and a dinosaur which should tell you that I quilt "the old fashioned way." I'm pretty logical, though, and figured "Aunt Becky" was some kind of new tool or other. So I set out to find out about it. I found it is a quilting tool that you use in your off hand......the one under the quilt that you often stab with the needle. Evidently you push up on it while quilting and when the needle comes in contact with it, you then know to return to the surface of the quilt with your needle-thereby saving your fingers from the wear and tear of all those little pricks.

My anonymous reader also expressed an interest in something "joint friendly." I have not used an Aunt Becky tool, however, in times past, I have used other inventions that accomplish the same type thing. And, long ago, quilters used the bowl of a spoon for the same purpose. Being "gadgetry challenged," none of these have ever been of much use to me, but I understand they have helped other people. I am not sure there is any such thing (yet) that is joint friendly, after all - you still have to hold whatever tool you use in your hand and over time....just holding something can hurt. I, myself, have arthritis in my hands and I am being serious here....my take on it is to just keep on keeping on. Even when it hurts. My mother-in-law was told many years ago (when she became aware that she had arthritis in her hands) to "use them or lose them." She quit using them and later, could not use them, just as predicted. So, since I love to hand quilt.....I keep on stitching just like I always have, even when it hurts. Consequently, I quilt for shorter periods of time, but I do eventually finish a quilt. I do use Handeze Therapeutic Gloves (only on my right hand) when I am quilting, embroidering or doing other hand sewing...they really help. My real advice is this...try all the gadgets to see if they help you. What helps one person, fails to help another. It's personal. And, when you find something that helps...stick with it. The important thing is to keep making those quilts that you are called to make and ENJOY it. And, my best advice for hand care when quilting.......wash dishes. No kidding. The hot water not only warms your hands.....but it also keeps your fingers from getting too caloused. It's therapeutic! So, Anonymous, try one of those Aunt Becky tools. I hope it helps you. Later, show me your quilt! Pat

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sleepless in Searcy

I can't sleep! It's one of those nights where you go over and over things in your mind, toss and turn, look at the ceiling and finally decide to get up and DO something. I made that decision about 4:00 a.m., came out into the "nest" to see what I could get into. So...here I am! At 8:30 I am leaving to go to my Knot meeting and that will be FUN, so thought I would just jot down something in this blog. My son tells me that you should blog everyday. EVERYDAY! I could, of course, but like this one...I doubt I would say much of interest to anyone. Well, maybe I'm not, anyway, as I haven't received many comments. Well, time will tell, I suppose, so I will just keep on keeping on.

I'm going to see some neat things today....the members of my Knot are very talented people and I always look forward to what they have for "show and tell." There's never any way of knowing what they will bring...it's exciting and enthusiasm is catching. It never hurts to get a good dose of enthusiasm!

I will be showing an antique embroidered basket quilt made by my friend Sharon's mother. I suspect it was made in the thirties. My dear friend, Sharon, passed away last year, young at 56, with Alzheimer's. I think of her every day. Went to see her husband last week as he is now interested in doing "something" with her quilts and I am going to help him. She had told me long ago, that if anything ever happened to her....I should get the embroidered quilt that her Mom made. Sharon had no children to leave things to. We couldn't find the quilt til now. I was so happy to find it. It's in pretty sad shape as it was used and very loved so it will appreciate some TLC, which I intend to give it. It will be something this Knot group enjoys seeing, as they all loved Sharon too!

Maybe that's why I couldn't sleep....Excitement and Enthusiasm rearing their heads in the middle of the night. Well, that just means I'll have lots of energy during the day....all that sharing, talking, laughing, eating, remembering, living out loud! Yea!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Making a List, Checking It Twice

Are you a listmaker? For better or worse, I sure am. Last night, as we watched Jay Leno, there I sat with a notebook, making THE LIST! Why do I do this? I don't know, but I have this compulsion to make them. So, I thought and listed things to get done this weekend. Then, there are things to do Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Whew! Thursday is my "Knot" meeting and I've been asked to show some of the members how to bead the edges of pincushions, pillows...that kind of thing. Ok. That will require a list of things to take so I don't forget an essential item. On Friday, I am attending an event sponsored by my quilt guild which we call "Arkansas Women on the Loose" or AWOL. It starts Friday afternoon, we will work/laugh/talk all night I expect. The same on Saturday, then we go home at 5:00 in the evening. We take things we want to work on with each person having their own table. I am taking my Grace quilt frame, intending to make progress on a small quilt that has been neglected lately. I am looking forward to it...we are always inspired by all the ideas bouncing around the room and greatly enjoy visiting with each other. I will be doing a demo there about appliqueing on wool. Yes....yet another list!!! Listmaking is a blessing and a curse. On one hand, I nearly always know (even at the last minute) what I need to pack, shop for, clean, etc. On the other hand, I spend a lot of TIME making these detailed LISTS. Does it pay off? Well, who really knows, as sometimes...just sometimes...I forget a very important item. Like the time I was in a town far away from home to teach and lecture for two days and found (with the exception of what I had on) that I had left my clothes at home! Life goes on and, for me, the lists do too!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Saturday Shopping

It's Saturday and the first day we've had sunshine in quite a while. It's not warm, but warmer than it was, as we have had either rain or snow all week. Me being the way I am, I took the sunshine and the warmth to mean that I should make a quick trip to the flea market. So, I did. It's always fun and I also get a little bit of exercise while looking around. (Well, not much exercise, but let's not spoil the illusion!) As hunting/gathering goes, today was fairly productive. I found some linens, buttons, old greeting cards, a lovely pillowcase with crochet and ric/rac trim, and a sweet little silver wire basket. I have heard it said that if you have two of something...you have a collection. I guess I'm just odd, because in my mind....three of something makes an even better and more lovely collection. The basket I bought today is number three for me, so now I have a really neat silver wire basket collection! I'll take a photo of today's finds and when I find out how to actually include a photo with my posts, I'll show them to you. I'm pleased....but remember, it doesn't take a lot to get me excited over finding other people's "junk." The fact that I know there are others "out there" who also get excited about that same junk is very amusing and pleases me even further. What a nice little Saturday morning treat!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Quiet Morning, Stitching

There have been precious few quiet mornings around the Nest of late...but this morning is one of them. It IS quiet. There is a light breeze and the temperature is 67 degrees although it doesn't really feel quite that warm. Just the temperature alone makes this morning "different." We have had really cold weather...so this is delightful. Warm enough to keep the door to the Nest open so I can listen to the sounds of the neighborhood as I work. My next door neighbor is cleaning out his garage. I can hear things being thrown about, his dog barking occasionally, words being muttered under his breath as he works. I can hear cars slow down for the speed bump in front of our house, car doors closing down the street, a bird here and there. While all this is going on...I am quietly working on some embroidery. I am stitching a tree with it's limbs and leaves moving in a light breeze. I'll stitch some flowers under the tree and although there are no real flowers blooming here at the moment to inspire me, I can remember them fondly from times past. I read that God gave us memory so we could have roses in winter and that the earth laughs in flowers, so a nice laugh as I stitch will go well with the imaginary landscape I am creating. Oh, I just noticed two daffodils over by the fence! A visual treat to go along with a nice, quiet morning. One of my greatest pleasures is time spent stitching out here, imagining and remembering.

The Bird Nest on the Ground Studio

The Bird Nest on the Ground Studio
Right in My Backyard

A Bit of Heaven

A Bit of Heaven
An original designed wall quilt with my vision of heaven on earth.