Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thinking of Others on Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!  It's been a beautiful, crisp Fall day in the Pacific Northwest.  My list of things for which I am thankful goes on and on.  Life is good.  :-)

On this day of gratitude, I'd like to share a personal story with you.... the story of an afghan... and many friends.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that quilting is my passion, but knitting is a close second.  I'm very active on the social website, Ravelry.  If you knit or crochet and have not yet discovered Ravelry, you HAVE to check it out!  Ravelry is full of patterns and yarns and best of all... chat boards and groups of people with similar interests.  I'm active on several of the group boards, one of which is a group of followers of the Knitters Brewing yarn company.  After several years of posting and chatting, you get to know people.  Much like blogging, you feel very much like you KNOW people you've never met in real life.  For many years, I chatted with a lady who shares my first name.... Sue Thomas.  Whenever Sue sent me an email, she signed it, "The Other Sue",

Sue passed away suddenly and peacefully in her sleep in August.  The ladies in the group were shocked and saddened.  We felt so empty and helpless.  When we experience loss, we have the natural desire to do something.  But when the members of a group are literally spread all over the world and only have a chat board between them- it's hard to know what to do.  You can't very well send a casserole to her husband thousands of miles away.  She had a favorite charity, so many of us donated to it, but it didn't fill our desire to do something personal.

The moderators of the chat group quickly filled our need to act on our grief and reach out to her family.  Yarn was sent by the owner of the yarn company to 42 of the knitters who had known her the longest.  There were MANY more people who would loved to have participated, but the 42 of us knitted on behalf of the whole group.  We each made one square and sent it back to the women who edged and blocked them and stitched them together.  The project was financed by the sale of a colorway of yarn that Sue loved, and all additional money was given to her favorite charity.  The afghan, which we called the "comfortghan" was sent to her beloved husband.  Her birthday fell on Thanksgiving, so this was a doubly difficult day for him.  The delivery was timed so that he would receive it this week.

I am truly thankful to have been a part of this project.  My block is the butterfly.  From the bottom left corner, it's 3 blocks up and 3 to the right.  The very first time that Sue and I chatted online was about 5 years ago when we were both working on a sock with a butterfly design.  We were both new sock knitters at the time.  So I chose to put that butterfly design on the block I contributed.  I think it's wonderful that we sent the afghan to Sue's husband, and I'm sure he will treasure it.  But this is about more than an afghan.  It's about losing a friend and feeling a void, and coming together with others who feel the same sadness to act on our feelings, and fill that void by sharing our feelings with others who understand, and then do something nice for somebody Sue loved very much. 

Birth and death... and joy and sadness and everything else we experience are a part of life.  We all know that.  But how we act on those feelings determines what kind of life we live.  My family and friends are my greatest wealth.  The people who walk through this life with me are everything to me.  On Thanksgiving, we reflect on things for which we are thankful, and in that spirit of gratitude, we often show acts of kindness toward others. Today is a day of giving thanks and for sharing (most of us with family) and generally feeling good.  But today, I also thought of my late friend, Sue.  And that made me think of all the many, many people in my life who are not family or super close friends.  I thought a lot about the hundreds of people who are, for lack of a better descriptor, the "cast of characters" who make my life as rich as it is.

Happy birthday, Sue.... from "the other Sue".  Life is better for countless people because you shared yourself with us.  We miss you and that smile of yours.... and your positive approach to life.  You always had something good to say, and you made us feel better about ourselves with your kind words.  You made life richer for all who knew you.

And happy Thanksgiving to all who read this.  Remember that we are all one of "the cast of characters" in the life of everyone we know.  Give them all an extra smile.  Life is good.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Weekend Giveaway- Apple a Day Pattern

We haven't had a giveaway in a while, so let's do a quick one.  This will run through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  I'll draw the winner on Monday, December 2, 2013.

*To be entered, just comment on THIS POST that you would like to be entered.  That's all!
**For a second chance, do a SECOND COMMENT to THIS POST and let me know that you are a follower of this blog and you'll have 2 entries. Don't assume I know- you have to post a comment because use the number of comments for the random number generator.
***Want a third entry?  Share the news.  Tweet it or post on facebook or post it on your own blog or rent space on a billboard in Times Square.  :-)  It doesn't matter how you share it, or how many times- just do another comment to THIS POST to let me know and you get a third entry.  (just one)
****For a 4th chance, send me a picture of a Thanksgiving or Autumn-themed quilt or sewing project.  Comment on THIS POST that you let me know about it.  Send the picture to me in a private message or post the link if you have in somewhere online and let me know that I am permitted to "lift" the photo and show it here.  (I'll give you credit, of course).

This pattern is published by Bigfork Bay Cotton Company and uses the fun technique of fusible applique.  If you liked paper dolls when you were a little girl- you'll love fusible applique!

Monday, November 25, 2013

New Patterns from Jacqueline de Jonge!

Are you a paper piecing fan?  Have I got news for YOU!  Jacqueline de Jonge, the Dutch quilt artist who is the creative genius behind the pattern at Be Colourful Patterns has just released 5 new patterns, plus released a new format of another.  My jaw is on the floor.  OHMYGOSH--- I only wish you could see these patterns in real life! 

You carry all of Jacqueline de Jonge's patterns and you can see them on my website.

 Brilliant Beauties of Joy is not new, but has been re-formatted.  It was previously available in 5 different patterns, designed to be a block-of-the-month.  Jacqueline has now formatted this to sell in one pattern- at HALF the price of the original set of 5 patterns!!!  WOO HOO!   If you've been drooling over the set- you can now justify the purchase.  :-)  It's a very large quilt and a very large pattern.... enough to keep you busy for a while.

And if you REALLY want to keep busy for a while... check out Catch Me if You Can.  This isn't one of the new ones, but it's pretty recent and I had to show it to you again.  I think this is one of my favorite Be Colourful patterns.  Holy Cow-- this quilt is stunning!

Now for the new ones.  This is Aurora.  How awesome would this look on your bed????  It's like a New York Beauty on steroids.

Black Beauty is actually less complicated than it looks.  It's a creative arrangement of some New York Beauty blocks... and only uses a few fabrics.  really stunning!

Endless....  Well named.  The flying geese travel in an endless path around the stars.  I love this one.  Well... I love them all.  But I super love this one.

This one is named Summer Dream.  As Be Colourful patterns go, it's one of the "less complicated" ones.  It would be a great one to start with.  It's sized right to make a table topper or wall hanging.... or a baby quilt if you're so inclined.  :-)

And last, but not least... Midnight Stars.  Such a stunning quilt!  This is a big one... and it has it all.... spikes, curves, stars, flying geese, and a medallion.  LOVE it!

If you're thinking, "I could never make one of these quilts"... you might give it another though.  I will admit that you do need to know how to paper piece and you really should LIKE to do paper piecing.  After that- all you need is time.  It's just one step after the other... keep on going... and eventually, you'll have an heirloom quilt. They're no different from any other paper pieced quilts.  You piece a lot of sections and stitch the sections together.  Simple.  Right?  OK... there are a lot of sections.  You can do it.

Just a note if you look on the website at all of the Be Colourful patterns.... some have full size printed foundation papers included and some do not.  Her older patterns don't have the printed foundation papers included, but they do have full size pattern pieces that you trace or copy onto foundation papers.  As you might expect, these are less expensive.  Her newer patterns have all full size foundation papers included and ready to use.  Also as you might expect, these are more expensive.  It's a trade-off.  I like to get started right away but I also like to save money.  You're choice. 

One last thing-- I still have a small number of three discontinued Be Colourful patterns.  When they're gone, they're gone.  Twinkle Star has lots of stars and hexis.  Sweet Melody and Sun and Shadows are a lot like Black Beauty, but are different sizes and do not include foundation papers.  You can see them along with all of the other patterns here.