Stepping Back in Time

New Year’s Eve 2013 at The Hook in Capitola, California…..

At first I titled this post Like Stepping Back in Time, then I backspaced the Like; today I totally felt as if years had melted away, in writing an entire chapter of The Hawk.  But beyond the word count, another sensation loomed, that of authorial joy, wordy pleasure, novelistic thrill.  These elements used to be commonplace when I sat at my computer.  Lately they have seemed mostly absent.

The moon in November, 2013….

But yesterday I noticed a giddy fictional exuberance that was wholly real, and it continued today, much to my blissful surprise.  It was as if I dwelled in 2015, 2014, or 2013 when I first began writing this book.  It’s turned into several sections, but started innocently enough.  At times over the last two years I had to wonder if I might ever complete it.  And while The End still eludes, my sense of purpose has returned.  Talk about one happy grandma!

Another shot of the moon, November 2013….

Ha ha, a grandma, really?  Um yeah, dude….  When I became an abuela is when the amount of  prose started to not suffer, but slightly decline.  In today’s work, I needed to fact-check some previous sections, and while perusing those paragraphs, I recalled how easily those scenes had emerged.  It was a different season in my life, one I recall fondly, but time is fleeting, this very day already well into the afternoon.  Each moment is meant for this or that, like working on quilts or housecleaning, what I did yesterday.  Occasionally it’s hard not to compare now with the past; better to embrace what is, and after today’s chapter, I am over the moon in celebrating the present.

An early Christmas present in 2013; these books were a part of my childhood, and now live at my grandson’s house. The nietos weren’t even a consideration then, but how life changes…..

Speaking of the moon, today’s photos are from autumn of 2013, when The Hawk burst into my brain, then onto a virtual document.  While my husband still treks about his fave park, I rarely drive to Capitola, too busy with grandkids, sewing, and thankfully still writing.  Ah writing, yes, such a blessing to again type with impunity.  Tomorrow I’ll be hanging out with my grandgirls, but come Thursday, perhaps this wave of paragraphical happiness will rush over me.  In the meantime, there’s a baby blanket in need of attention.  I’ll ponder Eric, Stanford, Lynne, and Laurie as I rock the needle, quilting style….

For the love of baby quilts (and hexies too)….

First I want to say that having basted hexagon paper pieces with glue and thread, but not on the same hexie, I find thread basting just as expedient as glue, and so much easier to sew together!  There’s more give in a thread-basted paper piece, so I’m not constantly nicking the edges of the paper.  And I can sit on the sofa to thread baste, unlike standing at my sewing table to use glue.  However, those glue-basted hexies won’t get lost in the shuffle; Little Miss, Miss Em, and their folks came to dinner tonight, and my nearly three-year-old grandgirl fell in LOVE with the glued hexies!  Oh my goodness, she was totally head over heels for them, which made this abuela very happy.  We made more hexies for her to take home, solid colours that her parents like; green and purple for dad and mum, and yellow for the nieta herself.  I think she chose red for her little sis, I was just trying to glue fabric onto paper hexagons as fast as possible.  I will see them on Wednesday, when a trip to the craft store will be in order for more paper pieces, and perhaps a wee bit of fabric too.

The initial laying-out of the fabric. Nothing I tried felt at all pleasing, just meh all round.

But this entry isn’t so much about paper piecing as it is traditional machine sewing, although this quilt for a chap due next month came together in a rather odd manner.  I thought I wasn’t going to have time for it, but I did, yet it was a little tricky to design, but then suddenly I’m ready to start quilting it.

Then voila, here’s the end result. I didn’t snap pics in between, just trying to stay in the moment, allowing Grace to do the heavy lifting.

Funny how surprises enter the equation, and even when things seems ultra-tricky, a treasure emerges.

So on Friday morning, I woke with the notion that yes, I was going to make a baby quilt for a fellow I’ll call Tibby.  Actually, his middle name is going to be Tiberius, and if you know your sci-fi, there’s only one Captain James T. Kirk which springs to mind, ahem.  I’m actually not a  Shatner fan, but as soon as I heard about Tiberius’ moniker, I knew the fabrics I wanted to employ for Tibby’s quilt.  That was if I could find the time to make it.

Late on Friday afternoon, the blowy wind made photography difficult.

As I said, Friday morning the time was NOW, um, okay….  This is what I inwardly call Quilting by the Spirit.  There’s no sense in attempting any other work, just let my actions be guided by Hands far more aware than mine.  And that’s what I did, gathering fabrics, then putting them on the quilt wall.  I didn’t want to chop that galaxy into pieces, in fact the more I played around with it, I wondered if I could pull it off.  The saving grace, and I mean literal grace, was that I KNEW it was going to work out.  I had no idea HOW, other than to just keep faffing with those cottons.  Eventually something was going to stick.

While basting today, I did want to capture the moment.

Maybe that’s why I had to start basting hexies with glue, just so Little Miss could nearly lose her ever-loving little mind over them, lol.  Grace permeates the most innocuous part of life, even quilting.  Or maybe especially quilting.

There’s something very relaxing about basting, what I also find with thread and hexagons.

Certainly grace was in force this past weekend, as Tibby’s quilt came into being.  By Friday night the top was done, flannel scraps chosen for the back.  I did some writing Saturday morning, then in the afternoon sewed up the back, also cutting strips for the binding.  That night I sewed together two large batting scraps, then watched the San Francisco Giants beat the Dodgers in like fourteen innings, oh my goodness.  I went to bed, plans for basting in my head.

Luckily the wind wasn’t as strong today, or maybe a basted quilt withstands a breeze better.

But not with glue or thread, just old fashioned safety pins; I started before we left for church, wrapping up this afternoon.  Those binding strips are attached, but in need of pressing.  However, a quilt sandwich now awaits my attention, when just days ago I wasn’t sure if this baby blanket would see the light of day.  But for the Tibster, well, let’s just say I wanted to explore strange new worlds, boldly going where I’ve never gone before.

It was nice to have a wide strip of yellow for the back, complimenting the one on the front. No new fabrics were purchased in the making of this comforter, keeping in tune with my year of using what I have.

That’s part of Grace, trusting in the certainty as well as the goodness.  It’s not easy, trust or faffing around while fabrics land correctly on the wall.  But it’s such a feeling of comfort, knowing I can rely on grace, like snuggling under a quilt, or watching as my eldest granddaughter falls in love with simple hexagons.  Hearing her say hexie was music to my ears, and how this will play into her life is just another thrill awaiting my attention.  This is why, despite many inexplicable events that cast dark shadows, life is a precious blessing.  Family and friends, paper hexagons, simple quilts, and walk-off home runs are meant to be celebrated as Grace winds its gorgeous loving way through it all.  Then a post late on a Sunday night wraps it all together, my thankful heart in awe of such goodness.  May this be a hexie-wonderful week for you too.

Easier to unpick a novel than a quilt….

New additions to my crafting collection….

Been working on The Hawk this week, although one step forward has translated to two chapters backwards.  At this stage, without proper justification I can’t blithely say, “Oh yes, Stanford will be attending the Fourth of July activities even if he has dropped the Snyders like a hot potato.”

Rummaging through scrap buckets was exhilarating; I do like me some blues.

That was what I did the last time I got some noveling accomplished.  However, hindsight is 20/20, and laying the groundwork wasn’t more than changing chapter numbers, then writing a couple thousand words which add to more than the word count.  No cheating allowed when so close to the finish line….

My first block, awaiting needle and thread.

Ahem.  But that’s not all I wish to say today, although it has been on my mind, alongside another idea that current resides as no more than a playlist.  Ah, the days of playlists and pounding out rough drafts within thirty days.  Man, that feels like ages ago, long before quilts muscled their cottony ways into my life.  And if my sewing machine wasn’t enough of a distraction, now there’s hexagons and glue sticks and English paper piecing (EPP).  What???

Block #2 awaiting assembly. The center fabric was from my very first quilt.

Over Easter, I chatted with my son-in-law’s mum about how aging has taken its toll on our creative output.  After seven or eight o’clock in the evenings, both of us are toast when it comes to fashioning crafts that take precision.  Hand-sewing doesn’t fall under that header, but there hasn’t been much to tackle since I completed the blue quilt binding, and while plenty of projects line the quilt walls, very little of it is at all close to being bound, much less hand-quilted.  I’m still finding my feet after being away for some of March, then Easter.  Other than inserting necessary backstory into my novel, the rest of my creative flow is in a muddle.

Strips of scraps awaiting the rotary cutter…..

Or maybe the better term is transition; in the evenings while my hubby watches the Warriors, I’ve been perusing blogs that focus on English paper piecing.  Don’t ask me why I’m being drawn in that direction, other than a need for nighttime relaxation.  But yesterday I pulled the trigger, picking up 1.5″ hexagons and glue sticks, and by bedtime I had one hexie block sewn.

Which leads to another designed block!

I feel a wee bit guilty, as placemats are waiting as well as a duvet cover for Little Miss, not to mention a baby quilt on my list, but a dear friend is coming next week and one of our activities will be craft-related.  She cross stitches and I’ll have these hexies and….  And for whatever purpose EPP has in my life, I need to throw caution, but not my sewing machine, to the wind.  I’ve already found that thread basting might be my preferred method, although I have yet to sew together hexies basted in that manner.

This block is a mix of glue and thread basted hexies. I wonder which will prove easier to sew….

(I found myself poking through the papers with glue-basted hexies, so we’ll see if thread basting becomes my way.)

For me, thread-basting is just as fast as using glue. Having wrangled free one glue-basted paper, these will slip much easier from the fabric.

What does this mean for The Hawk?  Not that much, as I don’t sew in the mornings, and can’t write more than grocery lists past noon.  On days when I have time, these pastimes can peacefully coexist, and for that I am truly grateful; I can’t fathom having to pick one over the other, other than to say it is much simpler to insert prose than rip out stitches.  Not that I prefer those chores, but if forced to choose….

My first sewn hexie block, waiting for friends to join it.

The day when it comes to that, I’ll be in big trouble.  For now, words and fabrics are fast friends, and we’ll see how paper piecing blends into the overall quilting scheme.  Maybe once I have a plethora of hexies basted, other cotton projects will resume course.  In the meantime, have a hexagon-ally magnificent day!

It’s a wonderful life….

I had a lovely week with my youngest and her boy, and a dog named Zelda.  Between The Burrito and a hound, I had no trouble earning my steps and sleeping well.  Now back at home I’m wrapping up the basics; laundry, a quilt binding, a novel to finish….  Well, a chapter of The Hawk was completed yesterday afternoon, and next week I plan to hit that book hard.  Another idea is brewing and I’m feeling motivated.  Spring is truly in the air.

My grandson hangs out with Zelda on a nice day.

It’s Easter week, which prompts reflection; rebirth and gratitude come together, providing me a poignantly upbeat outlook.  Recent heavy rains seem a precursor to what occurs starting today, Maundy Thursday.  I’m hoping to get to a Good Friday service tomorrow, and we’ll spend the weekend with family up north.  Easter adopts a different tenor around youngsters, and in my heart emotions are mixed, our world in such turmoil, yet balanced by Love unfathomable. That Love is also wholly accessible, part of the mystery.  How to live out that compassion is yet another project within my sphere.

Big blue quilt bound and patched. I’ll give it back to my eldest this weekend.

I pondered that yesterday, driving along a road well known for causing strife; folks cut into my lane constantly, but as I made my way down the street, mercy pounded my brain and heart.  Amid beloveds, books, and fabrics, that’s why I am here, to show compassion and to love, even to those whose skills behind a steering wheel drive me nuts, ahem.  Mulling that over made me feel small, also blessed, as well as forgiven.  And determined to share that notion with my grandchildren in all aspects.

Sisters help their mum measure a duvet for which this abuela will make a cover.

This is truly the purpose for our existences, regardless of what social media, Madison Avenue or political pundits say.  Unfettered mercy is Easter’s message, and the only judgment is what we cast upon ourselves.  How beautiful is Love given without expectation, merely hoping that such Love will be passed along to another like a quilt, a novel, a hug.  I received copious snuggles from my nieto and hija, we’re a pretty tight bunch.  This Sunday, as eggs are hunted and sweets enjoyed, I’ll embrace more of my family, especially my mom, for it was this season three years ago when Dad died.  Corporeal life is so short; Love is essential, for not only does it conquer hate, but it is the underlying reason of our beings.  We’re a forgetful species, yet Love manifests in us hope, which leads to awesome characteristics.  May your Easter week be filled with Love’s peace and Grace’s liberty, and hugs from all you hold dear.

So little relative time….

While I know all things happen in their own time, occasionally I feel as if there aren’t enough hours in the day, weeks in a year, decades in….  I’m heading to see my youngest daughter tomorrow, spending a week with her and The Burrito.  Yet, I’ve been adding to The Hawk as if a veil has been lifted, bottled-up prose liberated.  Plus there’s a big blue quilt binding to complete as well as placemats to sew, coasters to finish….

My grandson, wrapped in a scarf I made his mum years ago….

What I have to remind myself is that these tasks will be waiting for my return, along with vacuuming and mopping, ahem.  Sometimes I have the patience of Job, but not always.

I do have some fun machine quilting to share, coasters for my eldest girl.  I will blend these differing methods of sewing in a table runner that will eventually accompany the Southwest mats, waves as the horizon, straight lines as skyscrapers.

Of course, I need to design that table runner, lol.  Right now I feel like I have as many sewing projects as novel plots, which brings me back to this entry’s title.  But instead of getting my knickers in a twist, I will embrace the plethora of crafty ideas, both in cotton fabrics and fictional mischief.

My grandgirls; what blessings are all these nietos!

There truly is time for all these treasures.  And if the hoovering occurs, double bonus, hehehe!

Focusing on the task at hand….

Lately the writing has been ultra tedious; while I’m grateful for managing a few sentences, I’ve been distracted too easily, and truthfully am feeling a little beside myself.  It’s like I’m seated next to me as the writer, watching as fingers flail away on the keyboard, my scattered thoughts landing on bits of fabric, scraps of paper, or my eyes drawn to the window, enjoying the rain.

Little Miss seen through an artsy filter her grandpa likes to use.

Okay, so it’s been wet out which is great and I’ve quilted cute coasters to go along with my eldest’s Southwestern placemats and to do lists are being attended, but what about my book?  Oh yeah, I’m writing a novel, or trying to.  The last two years have allegedly been the years I was going to complete The Hawk, but due to life, those plans have been fantastically scuppered.  I won’t say spectacular fail, because I know there is a time for all things.  But time is also a precious commodity and I don’t wish to waste it.  I don’t want to keep saying, “This will be the year!”

Miss Em captured by that same abuelo.

While tackling some early morning mending, I considered just how vital is wrapping up this novel; for me personally it would be an enormous relief, ahem, but in the grand scheme, what does it matter?  I try not to take myself too seriously, yet perhaps that’s been the problem, easier to say that a quilt requires my attention, or that family is paramount.  Don’t get me wrong, my family is key, but in all that faces our world, peace matters.  Love matters.  Healing matters.  These three elements are the basic themes of The Hawk.  Maybe now more than ever completing this saga is essential.

The Burrito shares his breakfast with some friends. It is for all of these grandchildren that my stories need to be shared.

I have never consider this, but until now, I’ve not had a problem writing.  And that’s the truth; right now fashioning prose is abysmally difficult.  But right now is the most necessary moment to relay love, peace, and reconciliation.  Yes I have other responsibilities, however imparting these powerful notions cannot be ignored.  Pondering that as stitches went in and out of a quilt binding provided me with impetus, also an eager hope; I write for a greater good as well as for myself.

And of course there’s Buttercup, who I am certain would say she’s the most important one of all….

We’ll see in a couple of hours if this realization makes any difference in the word count.  But right now a light shines in the recesses of a dark tunnel.  One reason I write is to make my corner of the world a little brighter.  May a rekindling of that flame spark the creative flow into a viable groove.

Placemats and Quilt Repair

Quilted with bindings attached to the front, ready for the backs to be sewn.

Aches and pains hampered some of the hand sewing yesterday, yet I remained undaunted, machine sewing the bindings instead.  I prefer hand-sewn bindings, but didn’t wish to aggravate my right shoulder.

Straight out of the washer and dryer, crinkly and completed!

I am so pleased for how these turned out; I machine quilted them with bright orange thread, and the contrast is nice on the lighter squares.

The two bindings I hand sewed alongside one that went under the machine. We’ll see how my shoulder heals for the rest of the placemats….

Using my machine does make for faster completions, so I’m grateful for that method.  I wanted to get these placemats to my daughter today, although a big blue quilt of theirs is still hanging around my house for repair.

Two of the patches I added, as well as a new binding, which I am going to hand sew. Hopefully my shoulder will accommodate that work.

This comforter has been languishing for a few months; it needed holes fixed as well as a new binding, but over the last couple of weeks I’ve given it the proper attention.  Not sure why quilt revivals have been high on my agenda, but there’s great satisfaction in restoration.

A ragged binding in need of replacement. This will be finished over several evenings, with basketball in the background, ha ha.

This one is well loved, and with rain forecast for the coming week, I’ll happily snuggle under it while attaching that new binding.  In retrospect, another quarter inch in width would have been nice, but every project is a learning experience.  Next time I make a binding for an older quilt, I’ll remember this blanket, and plan accordingly.  Not sure what the next project will be, although some mini charm pack squares have found their way onto a quilt wall.  Perhaps that will be this week’s endeavor.

Maybe some coaster in the making? We’ll see what happens…..