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Still raining, Cherty Blossoms, and the Textile Museum

Sunday was equally not very nice weather, the rain today seemd to be coming sideways as it does n a hurricane—but bitterly cold.

I made my way to the conference stopping to walk through City Hall and its surround yard/garden.

I tried to get photos of what I thought might be cherry blossoms.

And here is my closeup.

Taking photos with freezing wet fingers is obviously not something within my skill set.

City Hall was bordered on three sides by a fancy wrought iron fence with interesting entrances.

I found entering to be a bit of a tight squeeze particulary since I had that jam-packed backpack on my back.

The conference concluded with a fantastic fashion show of bojagi, a Korean wrapping technique. All of hte pieces were kimono forms and made from silk; some had printed images on the silk.

Once again the weather was dreadful but I determined I was going to not spend the afternoon in my hotel room. Fortunately the Textile museum was only a block away.

The second floor is a curated gallery of work by various artists/makers. I took a lot of photos and watched all the videos.

With textiles there is an urge to touch—and I so wanted to pick this one up and look at the underneath of the embroidery.

I found the documentray of Afghan rug construction interesting—with all the story telling details.

I ran our of space on the SD card at this pont—and luckily had a second (and third) in my pocket. Those images are for tomorrow.

More Rain and the Rhinoceros Orphanage

Saturday seemed to be even colder than the tday before with more rain, fog, and mist.

I shivered and hurried through all this to get to the conference. My shoes were soaked by the time I arrived but fortunately the conference area was warm and dry.

I attended two interesting workshops n the afternoon, one on using a variety of art mediums to get desired effect, and the other on experimenting with somethng she called surface weaving—images reminding me in a distant way of MC Escher’s work.

The rest of the afternoon was devoted to museum tours—I had thought I would find a lovely spot to paint—but I don’t do cold very well—and since I had water colors-…the rain and mist wouldn’t work very well either.

So I spent my afternoon in the hotel room learning all about an orphanage for baby rhinos.

Rain I did not schedule

Since my hotel was a ‘brisk 5 minute walk” from the converence. I tended to be up fairly early.

The weather on my arrival was chilly but sunny.

This day and the next two would be dreadfully windy, rainy, and miserable.

I took photos of the mist over the tops of the buldings.

Across the street was a large silvery sculpture with lots of twining leaves. It was hard to get a good photo without standing in the middle of the street—although the Canadians tended to be quite polite in their driving–not many honking horns—I didn’t think they would appreciate a hapless tourist standing in the middle of the one lane open to traffic—road construction in spring and summer months seems to be prevalent everywhre there are seasons.

Lunch was substantial.

And with two huge trays of butter tarts.

Tulips and Toronto

I am now in the midst of the delightful task of sorting through and editing photos from the past week.

It had been a very long time since I had flown–anywhere…and it is certainly different. We decided to run down to the airport and ask about boarding passess the day before my trip betgan.

I had two carryon-ss a backpack and a weekender bag. That backpack was HEAVTY! I also had a heavy shirt and fleece vest. It feels so odd to carry winter clothing when the temperature here is in the mid 70’s,

Boarding for me was without incident although I did have to take off my two watches to clear the metal detector. Someone ahead of me argued about each item she was asked to remove—making everyone else staniding and waiting.

Arriving in Toronto, I had to answer some questions before being allowed to enter. They wanted to know my purpose in being there—I had a choice of ‘study’ ‘returning national’ ‘business’ or ‘immigration’. I decided I must be there to ‘study’.

I managed to find a place to exchange money and then made my way to the train to take me to downtown Toronto. There was plenty of graffiti to see along the way–interesting in that none of them overlapped. Of course I didn’t take any photos

All the maps to the hotel detailed ‘brisk walks’ as opposed to saunters I suppose. It was a bit windy and the streets were somewhat uphill for this person who now lives in a very flat place.

It was spring there—and there were plenty of flowers, tulips, daffodils, and grape hyacinths.

After checking into my hotel, I wandered around a bit and found this center square area.

I asked a bystander to take my photo just to prove I was there.

It was not warm enough for me to pose without all that outerwear on–you can’t see the three shirts I have on underneath or that my teeth were chattering.

Registration for the event was open and I picked up my badge, swag bag and took photos of the bojagi pieces hung on a large frame—Chunghie Lee is the keynote speaker on Sunday.

Picnicking on El Camino Real

Near the Port of Beaumont, there is a historical marker describing one of the well known cattle trails, El Camino Real.

The trail twisted through Texas near a river or two. I don’t know if the cattle were shipped by rail–we have a rail yard five blocks east of our house, so we hear the trains switiching at 4:30 in the morning—and frequently blocking access to downtown.

But then there was also a large port where presumably cattle could be shipped via boat to eastern shores and markets.

We stopped at this stie for a picnic lunch on our way to Austin for my conference.

Live oaks are always a pleasure and this spot had quite a few.

It is also customary to get photos of bluebonnets each spring. We did spy some along the roadsidem, but this was as close as I could get to them—and these are not bluebonnets-…purple being near blue on the color wheel.

And if you wondering what we had—it was sushi and fresh strawberreis.

The Boat

We spent last weekend at a medical conference in Austin. I usually attend these alone but this time, my husband deicded he would like to go with tme and sit in on the lecutres.

The lectures were quite varied with some controversial content, some exciting new advances but also some not very well thought out protocols.

We did not stay at the conference hotel but chose instead to stay about half a mile away.

We were delighted to find a very nice restauratn ‘The Boat’ almost literally in the hotel’s backyard. Instead of eating at a chain restaruant we had evening meals here.

It has an old diner/hippie charm to it–the food was excellent—but not cheap.

We were pleasantly surprised to learn our oldest son—who got his PhD from UT ate att the very same restaurant during those yeara.

And Shiner was on draft—a plus in the eyes of my husband.

Homeward Bound but there is no House

The quilt show hosts a Block of Month every year designed by a well known quilter–and this year’s is Sarah Fielke from australia. I was not familiar with her work but I am always up for a mystery and a step by step project.

This project will be a wedding quilt for one of my Grand-sons. I have five grandchildren and thus far I have two quilted, one waiting to be quilted, and have started in on this one.

The center is supposed to be this tiny little paper pieced house.

I am not fond of paper piecing.

The pieces were eensy-weensy.

I decided since this grandson is a Texan as is his dad (my son) that the center would be a star—and wherever I was supposed to put that tiny little–(but really cute) house, I would put a star.

It is my quilt and my fabric after all.

See How Far I’ve Come

I’ve always liked books–the way they felt in my hands, the stories they told, the colors, the pictures.

And I liked writing stories, usually inspried by something someone said or a childhood memory.

I made fiber books, illustrating them with novelty fabrics and images I designed.

But then there are real books, ones with paper and covers.

I took some classes at Houston Quilt Festival one year and made several.

And then I got busy with other things.

The prospect of making a ‘real’ book was still intriguing.

I decided I would make a journal for a conference I planned to attend in Toronto Ontario.

I watched Youttube and scrambled amongst the piles of stuff in my sewing room (NOT a studio–it is a sewing room)

I bought some watercolor paper, cut the backing board in two for covers and glued fabric onto those boards, folded the paper. and then tried to think of how I would put it together.

Then Covid, the conference canceled and the parts of this book put aside as an UFO—

A friend was a member of the Hnadmande Book Club—and I joned—lots of Zoom things and on-line classes during Covid—

Now that conference is rescheduled and will be this weekend. And I’m going.

And I finished that first book.

I did not know I sholdn’t glue fabric directly to the bookboard—if that is even what it is. The glue has seeped through in spots, some of the fabric is not secure—-but look at that stitching—it was EASY! Although I must confees I had to sew the first signature in three times before I figure out how to hold it so it wouldn’t fall out before I tied that first knot.

But I also worked and finished this book.

Every book I make has a lesson to learn—and this one was about not using black book cloth for the spine. It was nearly impossible to see even with good lighting—but I did finish it.

These two books will go with me to Canada for me to draw and write in—memories of my trip. There might be a photo or two of the insides–when I get back—

I might be an Engineer

Some years ago I splurged on a Gammill long arm quilting machine.

I had quilted many large quilts on my ‘domestic’ Pfaff 7570, shoving the quilt through an arm space of about 8 inches. I didn’t mind that, but I hated basting the layers together. It involved clearing the dining room table, putting down popsicle sticks to mark the center, then basting with safety pins, moving the quilt sandwich around and re=taping and basting.

In earlier years, I had participated in a group basting—someone mopped the gyme floor, the backings were taped to the floor, the batting and tops laid on top, and the more agile of us crawled on our hands and knees basting with a spoon to lift the needle from the floor. Someone not so agile sat on a chair surrounded by four quilts laid out—and threaded needles with thread. I think we basted about twenty five quilts that day—and then had a nice lunch.

But by myself, it was not so much fun and took hours.

The Gammill made it so easy—pinning on the back both top and bottom, then floating the top with magnetic tool strips to hold the top firmly in place.

I didn’t expect to like edg to edge patternis but I did–just follow the red dot along the black line. It was easy to have your mind drift to other things–as the pattern was already there–and the only hard part the first row and the last.

However, ruler work is suggested as a more advanced kind of quilting—and who wants to be elementary—it seemed to be the interim step to ‘customs’ quilting….the epitome of excellence!

Ruler work requires a stable surface large enough to firmly hold the rule in place.

Of course at one Quilt Festival in Houston, I bought several–enticed by the wonderful designs and convinced I could/would/shoud learn to do this.

My Gammill had a ruler attachment–but the spring was incredibly stiff.

I broke it!

My husbnad suggested I go to a local hardware store and buy a new one.

This particular hardware store is well known for its incredible staff who are familiar with all the products. We opened several drawers hunting for the right size spring—found one–but it did not have the proper hook on the end to fasten it in place—-but there are S-hooks.

I bought a pacvkage of 4 S hooks, my dear husband fastened the spring to the plate, and I put the plate into position.

I know you wanted to see the underneath of a Gammill Vision with new spring holding the ruler plate in place.

And now you have.

Have I done any ruler work?

Of course not—but it is there when I am ready to tackle ruler work once again.

Can’t eat just one

I’ve named this series of quilts as Cookie Crumbs—but maybe I should re-consider and call them Potato Chips or Fritos or……

The proces is simple.

I sew small pieces together, trim, add more fabric pieces or perhaps combine two previosuly combined pieces together until I have a piece of ‘fabric’ 6.5 inches square. I use that size because it is large enough to use up a lot of small pieces but not so diddley I am accumualating a lot of blocks.

I had a huge box of these squares, and I thought I had come to an end of them—but I found a box with another stack of them—so I will need to figure out yet another setting for these blocks.

This one uses a strip on each. Side—I had some leftover jelly rool strips I did not have enough to make anything, and beign miserly–after all I am sewing blocks from fabric pieces some–maybe most–would toss—I used those strips as a strip between rows of blocks.

These blocks are roughtly constructed as log cabin blocks taking care to have large pieces on the perimeter to make piecing the rows together easier.

They are always brigh and cheerful and so satisfying to create.

I take these photos on the front porch hainging them by clothespins from a clothesline I strung up along the porce overhang.

I could spend some time in cropping and making a formal portrait—but I reserve that for my art pieces—this is a functional piece–made for picnics or cuddling up in front of a fire while reading a good book.