March 2011 ufo


Well, March was a fail.  Or not.

Technically, it is done.  It is bound and quilted.  It is a functional quilt.  I just don’t feel like it is done.  I feel like I need to push it to another level.  So I will continue to work on it over the next few months.  Or maybe it will be on 2012’s ufo list.


For those of us in Minnesota, spring is taking its sweet time coming.  Although this is mixed good and bad, since the heavy snowfall may cause some flooding if it doesn’t melt slowly, it is hard to be patient.   Some internal sun clock, not related to actual temperature caused my little impatiens to bloom.  I guess seeing the impatients’ little cheery blossom makes it a little easier to be patient.

Notice the snow outside.

Happy Spring!

City chicken quilt

A certain person has asked me to make a chicken quilt.  I won’t mention that person’s name to protect the innocent.  I have been holding this fabric for this project because it has two tiny chickens sitting on the top of the building.  In the process of working on this fabric, I realized that it really wouldn’t fit the mission.  So I decided to do a second chicken quilt for the mission.  I will have photos of that quilt soon, but I’m not quite there.

Valentine quilt

I have decided to get off my lazy butt and finish the Valentine quilt.  It is one of my UFO’s but I have decided not to wait until it comes up. I have a deadline involved but I won’t be clear because that deadline has to do with the CIA and I don’t want to jeopardize national security (in other words, it’s a secret).  The quilt top has been done for a while, so I needed to buy the batting and backing fabric.  I bought the batting and fabric last week.  Steve helped me pick and as always he is spot on.

I plan to get these sewn together in the next few days so I can baste it soon.

I am working on my actual ufo (Hawaii quilt)  for this month at the same time.  I don’t know if I will finish it or not.  But I say that every month.

Monday morning blues-true story

To preface this, we were very sick.  My older son got it first, then passed it to the rest of us. Steve and my younger son went in to the doctor on Friday. Steve had bronchitis and younger boy had walking pneumonia. I was just really sick.  I had been on the couch the whole weekend. I had already been sick for a week, but didn’t have time or energy to go to the doctor.  We knew the car had a fuel line that was leaking, but we thought we could still drive it.

5:00 am I got up, showered get ready for work. Even though I felt like crap, I had already missed one day the week before so I was trying to tough it out.

6:30 am I got in the car with my husband to drive to work.  We realized that AS WE ARE DRIVING,  the fuel gauge was going down.  There was no way we can get to my work without running out gas.  When I got out of the car, I saw a small line of gas.  I called in sick.

6:45am I laid down and tried to rest my head. Put a load of laundry in the washing machine.

7:20am I woke the younger boy up.  He has been out of school a whole week.  He was not too excited about going back.  He alternated between being anxious and coughing very loudly as his excuse.  Finally, I pushed him out the door at 8:05, only 5 minutes late.  I tried to maintain while remembering he managed to spend the whole day before the playing on the internet and guitar.

8:15 am The younger boy comes back.  He asked if I can I walk him to school. I got bundled up because it is 2 degrees. 2 degrees.  I coughed all the way to the school (only 3 blocks) .  I have say this walk was worth it although, because at the end he gave me hug and said, “I’ll be ok now.”  It is rare that he needs me any more now that he is 12.

8:30 am Steve took the car to the garage.

8:35 am My older boy got out of the shower and informed me he had no clean pants.  I asked him why he didn’t tell anyone yesterday or put a load in himself.  He had no answer.  I looked for pants in his closet for myself. No pants.  Looked for pants in his brother’s closet.  No pants.  I remembered that I put load of laundry in the washing machine.  I looked in the machine.  How did I wash a load of laundry with no pants?  I went upstairs and found a pair of pants out of the wash that were not visibly dirty.  I took a damp towel to put in with the pants in the dryer to refresh them a little bit more.  I opened the dryer.  Pants.  I forgot we did a load of laundry when the other boy threw up on Saturday.  I gave the pants to the boy.  He told me he already missed the city bus and another doesn’t come for an hour.

9:00 am Laid on the couched and coughed.

9:30 am Husband returned from the mechanic.

9:45 am Big boy took off for the bus.

9:50 am The younger boy called from school.  He told me he is really sick and needs to come home.  I talked to the nurse and she said he had no fever and looked fine.  I tried to shake my sick mind to clear it. Is he sick or just taking advantage? Finally, I remembered that he has a dad and he just got back from the mechanic.  I’ll let Steve decide.

9:55 am I bundled up to walk to school.  I signed boy out. I walked back, coughing and coughing.  I noticed strangely boy was not coughing at all

10:15am Laid back down.  Tried to rest.

What did I learn from this morning?  Well, I am still needed.  As my kids become more self sufficient, I forget how they still do need me sometimes.  It is a nice feeling. I also learned that I can only handle so many disruptions before I have to give something up.  My life is just that full. In this case, it was work.  If I am just sick, I can still get to work.  When I am sick, and two or three other things go wrong, something has to give.

I wrote this nearly two weeks ago, and I have been struggling with it ever since.  I want to post it because part of this blog’s purpose is to document my life, and this is one of those days that probably won’t remember in the future, but I think I will look back it on with humor.  That being said, my goodness, it is whiny!  So this is what I say:

I am so blessed.  I have a healthy family, a huge supportive extended family, a sound house.  My mom and dad are young and healthy.  I have a stable job.  So many blessings.  I have been watching the Japanese coverage with so much sadness.  Watching people lose so much is so heartbreaking and makes me appreciate what I have been given even more.

Cory Doctorow

As sometimes happens, I remember an author and then, like a crazy fan, I get every book that I haven’t read of his (or hers) from the library.  That happened when I was sick and was reading  The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection.  I read Cory Doctorow’s I, Row-Boat.  I remembered how much I liked Down and Out at the Magic Kingdom.  I put everything I couldn’t remember reading on hold.  This last weekend I indulged myself in one author, Cory Doctorow, for the whole weekend. 

I started with For the Win.  This is a book about video game players around the world working  in sweat shops bonding together for a worldwide union walkout.  Although the online game, World of Warcraft, is not specifically mentioned, there was a lot of connections.  My kids were deeply into World of Warcraft for a time. I enjoyed entering into a world that I only saw over the shoulders of my kids when they went through their World of Warcraft period. 

It was interesting to read this novel in the wake of the popular movements spreading through the middle east.  Those movements would have been nearly impossible without the technology of the modern world. Only the transparency created by the internet, makes it difficult for the leaders of these countries to react violently while the world watches.  In the same way, in the book, the technical ability of the union to disrupt the corporate game (hit them where their wallet is) makes it possible to make the corporations agree to submit to collective bargaining.  The collective bargaining issue is in the news with the situation in Wisconsin so this book is timely in several ways.

Then I read Makers.  This is a book about a group of young engineers who begin a movement of making things, starting new creative revolution in America’s deserted strip malls. I love this idea. An often discussed topic in our household is the fact that America doesn’t make hardly anything anymore.  This is not strictly true, but it seems to be for the most part.   The idea of America becoming a country of makers again is a great feel-good idea.  Unfortunately, this movement falls apart.

When that movement fails, they go on to design a carnival ride documenting its failure.  Open access allows people through a simple joystick to change the ride itself.  It’s an interesting near future, very influenced by the recession and the declining middle class in the United States. As a side narrative, he documents many people living in marginal shanty towns.  The main characters, however, seem to do ok, making me wonder if perhaps he is obliquely talking about class.  I would love to see him return this future, a la Orson Scott Card, and come back at it from the perspective of one of the minor characters in the shanty town.

The third book I read was Someone comes to town, someone leaves town. This book was different from the other two, in that it played with fantasy, within the context of the modern world.  I had actually read this book before. Even though I realized it right away, I couldn’t remember the end only the beginning and middle and that I liked it.  So I read it again.  I still don’t get all of the familial metaphors in the book, but it was riveting even a second time.  I think the metaphors amounted to this: Mom washes, cleans and comforts.  Dad shelters and gives wisdom, but is slow.  Both parents are pretty ineffectual against the real world.  Sibling violence runs deep, and no one can escape it fully unless you are an island. Children born close together tend to be seen as a group and not as individuals. When you find your lover, she will shelter you as much as you will shelter her.  Her ability to shelter you may make her unable to venture out into the world.

Overlaid on this grotesque fantasy narrative is the real world narrative of building a bootleg wi-fi network.  I didn’t find this as interesting as the grotesque fairy tale that he had going, but it seemed to be important to connect the main character concretely with the real world.

So overall, I enjoyed all the books.  They deal with a plausible near future with very plausible technology: 3d printers, for example.  It will be interesting if such near future ideas will be able to stand up against the onslaught of the real future.  I mean even though 1984 has passed, 1984 by George Orwell is still  interesting to read and important in the canon.    I struggle a little more with Martian Chronicles by  Ray Bradbury.  It is not the ideas which are still interesting, it is the “aw shucks” sort of 1950s writing that I find a little distracting.  I have to say in the case of Someone comes to town, someone leaves town, the wi-fi idea has pretty much come true, part through blanketing every coffee shop and library with free wi-fi and also through cell phone internet usage.  The novel still stands well with its liberal wild west internet ideas and almost magical narrative.  Only time will tell with the other novels if they can stand the onslaught of the future.

Hawaii quilt

Today I am going to work on my March UFO.  I actually finished this quilt in January, in the sense that it is bound and quilted.  However, I just feel like it needs more.  So today I made some copies of the image to do some sketching on.

back of silk quilt


Here it is the back of the silk quilt before I assembled it.  I love the back of unfinished quilts.  All those seams carefully pressed.  As you can see, I never quite get all my seams going the same way.  I like the ant trail of hand stitches that show up on the back. I did crazy quilt foundation piecing on this quilt.   I especially like how unfinished foundation pieced quilts look from the back. It’s like a secret part of the quilt only known the quilter and, if paper pieced, often ripped out before assembly.  In this quilt, I cut up a worn sheet to use as a stabilizer.  The quilt was really worn- to the point of being sheer -so it had almost no effect on the hand. However, together the silk and the sheet became more manageable to sew, less slippery and more likely to match up. 

March Ufo number 1

Judy pulled number one for the March Ufo. My number 1 is the Hawaii quilt.  This quilt is actually bound and complete.  Except that I don’t feel like it is complete.  I feel like it is missing something.  Possibly leaves.  Anyway, I will pull it out and take a look at it.  I bought some green fabric that I think would make nice leaves and I may start just cutting and looking.