Saturday, September 17, 2016

Changing Seasons

Although the Farmer's Market is rich with tomatoes, eggplant, and watermelon, last night's full moon rose earlier. Light shifts toward autumn as the heat begins to relent. Evenings, I brew a cup of hot tea before I sit down to knit. Autumn is my favorite season. I am ready for the flavors of butternut squash, apple, pumpkin, ginger, and cinnamon as well as long walks among the changing colors.

Two of our four grandsons have begun new school years. The seventh grader attends school in Texas and is busy with sports, orchestra, and the Civil Air Patrol where he learns about flight. The next youngest grandson is a big kindergartener in Connecticut. He is meeting new friends and learning about the ocean. Our daughter and son-in-law took advantage of a wonderful opportunity and moved to the East Coast.

As we travel this Fall to visit both families, we will share new experiences with them. Meanwhile, thank goodness for technology and snail mail. We play the little boys' favorite game of hide and seek via Where's Waldo postcards. As is my custom, I sent a book as a birthday present. I chose Fall Walk, a story about a Grammy and a grandchild taking a walk to identify leaves from various trees. This past summer, the little boys and I enjoyed this book, sitting together on the couch. Now we will read it over Face Time. My local library has a great selection of children's book so with a little planning, I can check out the books the boys have in their home and we can read them together. While distance in miles changes, distance between hearts remains the same.

Other things also remain the same. Wherever they live, boys grow. If they live in cold climates, they need warm hats. I can knit hats. Dashing through my local yarn shop, I thought the color of this fingering weight yarn would make a cute pumpkin hat. So I bought the yarn and started a hat for my youngest grandson. At seven months, he will not be able to scoff at being cast as a sweet little pumpkin. Most patterns for the vegetable and fruit hats are knit in worsted weight so I am making up a pattern for this lighter weight yarn. Whether these boys live across town or the country, knitting a hat that fits is a gamble. I'll be finished shortly and that is a good thing. This hat won't fit anyone next year.

Wherever you are, I hope the change of season is full of possibilities. Happy Autumn.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Some of my projects take longer than others. This bright crazy Apron Strings Quilt has been in progress since 1995. Some years I put the box away and worked on other handwork. I may not work quickly but I am persistent. This past weekend, I sewed the last stitches of the binding.

My copy of the Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, circa 1980, that published the pattern is long gone. As I recall, there was a line drawing of a block without any specific instructions for overall design. No matter, I began piecing scraps. I sewed the four patches and half square triangles by machine and then hand stitched the four units into blocks. About midway through piecing, I decided to arrange small squares of the four patches so the colors marched diagonally across the quilt. I numbered the color combinations, made a diagram, and pieced accordingly. I sewed rows of blocks together by hand and sewed rows together by machine. After finishing the top, I cobbled together a backing from large leftover pieces of fabric with parts of a quilt that never fit together.

Most of the scraps in the quilt come from other sewing projects and quilts. Several blocks contain a red, white, and blue print from a quilt my Mom made for our son. She pieced an Ohio Star crib quilt for him in 1981-1982. Other scraps come from a good teacher friend, now in her 80's. On the first day of a teaching assignment, I walked by her first grade classroom. She was reading the picture book, Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt to her class. At the end of the day, I introduced myself and we have been friends ever since. I pieced blocks on a trip my daughter and I took to commemorate her 21st birthday and my 50th birthday. My mother and I sat in the shade at Mahoney State Park as I stitched on blocks and she worked on counted cross stitch. Our extended family was together celebrating my parents' forty-fifth anniversary with my siblings and families.

This summer I took the quilt to a woman who does beautiful machine quilting. The drive out to her old gracious farmhouse is part of finished the quilt. After she finished, I sewed scraps together to make the binding. Two long pieces of binding are leftover from a quilt I made for my daughter when she was five years old. The day I finished stitching the binding, our son and oldest grandson arrived for the weekend. My husband joined them as A. attended his first Nebraska football game. The next morning, he helped me hold the quilt over the railing for a photo.

Lives and quilts stitched from pieces and memories are so very good.