Stuff & Nonsense: February 2010

25 February 2010

Jelly Roll Quilt-Along 2010

I was very excited to hear about Moose on the Porch Quilts's 2010 Jelly Roll Quilt-Along. Since we moved here, two years ago, I have not been quilting as much as I would like. Yes, I've made some pretty curtains and runners, but I haven't made any proper quilts. Indeed, it's been so long that, when I go in my sewing room and start sifting through patterns and fabrics, I become overwhelmed by my choices and start to doubt whether I have any idea what I'm doing.

Yes, thank you, I know I am weird.

So Moose on the Porch Quilts's 2010 Jelly Roll Quilt-Along seems right up my alley:
From March 1 to August 2, every other Monday, instructions for a new 12" block will be posted. All of the blocks will be made from jelly roll strips and yardage.

Each block will be designed by a different person. Every two weeks there will be a guest blogger on my blog introducing herself and her block. At the end, you will have made a fun quilt 58" x 72.
As every block will be different, I am unlikely to get bored and I should get lots of practice with different techniques. With two weeks to complete each block, I have a definite (but generous) deadline to meet so no shirking (I hope) but no panicking, either!

I think I will be using a jelly roll of Sandy Gervais's "Objects of Desire" for Moda, but I have not purchased the background and sashing fabric, outer border fabric, or binding fabric so I do not have a picture for you all yet.

Methinks I shall need to visit the fabric store on Saturday ...

21 February 2010

"Let the more loving one be me."


Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.
How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

"The More Loving One" by W.H.Auden (21 February 1907 - 29 September 1973)


17 February 2010

"Fair is foul, and foul is fair ..."

Mira, Mirror by Mette Ivie Harrison (Viking, 2004)

Once upon a time, there was a witch who had two apprentices. One apprentice, Amanda, was very beautiful and practiced wicked magic. The other, Mira, was neither particularly beautiful nor particularly wicked, but adored her “sister” and wished to do whatever was necessary to please her. Alas, Mira’s adoration was misplaced for her beautiful “sister” used that love to trap Mira in a magical mirror and make her a slave.

Recognize this story yet? Yes, it’s “Snow White” with Amanda as the Wicked Queen and Mira as the Magic Mirror. However, “Snow White” is just the start of Mira’s journey to freedom and redemption ...

I have to say that, while Mira’s cunning ways and manipulation of others frequently bordered on wickedness, it was hard not to sympathize with her plight. After all, Mira had not chosen to be trapped in the magic mirror and, without a body, could only attain her freedom with the assistance (willingly given or otherwise) of others.

Overall, a fast and enjoyable read for those who don’t mind a little moral ambiguity.

15 February 2010

Reading Round-Up

As I mentioned last week, I gobbled down a bunch of books while I was in the hospital. I am too lazy to flesh my notes out into a proper post for each, so here is a general summing up:
Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger

Hard Love tells the story of John Galardi -- a lonely teenager who has starting writing his own zine. He befriends another zine writer, Marisol, but their friendship is sorely tested by John's crush on her. Marisol likes girls, you see, and John ... well, John doesn't know what he likes. Except that he'd reallyreally like someone to touch him.

I read Wittlinger's Parrotfish in 2008 as part of the A-Z Reading Challenge and enjoyed it so much that, when a student came in raving about Hard Love, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. I was not disappointed. Wittlinger has perfectly captured the confusion and loneliness of young adulthood without lapsing into pure pathos.

The Dangerous World of Butterflies: The Startling Subculture of Criminals, Collectors, and Conservationists by Peter Laufer

The subtitle really gave it away -- this book was not about butterflies so much as about the ways humans (for good or ill) interact with butterflies. While interesting, it left me feeling kind of "meh." This is not Laufer's fault -- I just think I would have been happier reading Sharman Apt Russell's An Obsession with Butterflies which is more "science-y."

Nylon Road: A Graphic Memoir of Coming of Age in Iran by Parsua Bashi

Bashi recounts growing up in Iran and all the things which occurred that eventually led her to immigrate to Switzerland in 2004. Bashi pulls no punches and Nylon Road is as much an indictment of Western culture as it is of Iran's "religious" regime. A hard, but entertaining read.

The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl by Shauna Reid

Based on a blog by the same name, this book covers Reid's attempts to lose weight. It's a satisfying, if light, read and the built-in animated flip book made me grin. I would, however, not recommend purchasing this book as it is a more-or-less straight regurgitation of her blog. Just go to the dietgirl archives and start reading.

14 February 2010

"I am a draper mad with love."

"I am a draper mad with love. I love you more than all the flannelette and calico, candlewick, dimity, crash and merino, tussore, cretonne, crepon, muslin poplin, ticking and twill in the whole Cloth Hall of the world. I have come to take you away to my Emporium on the hill, where the change hums on wires. Throw away your little bedsocks and your Welsh wool knitted jacket, I will warm the sheets like an electric toaster, I will lie by your side like the Sunday roast."

(I was researching some types of cloth mentioned in the later Betsy-Tacey books when I found this quotation from Dylan Thomas's Under Milkwood ... of course, I saved it up for Valentine's Day!)

03 February 2010

Graphic Novel: Tyranny

Tyranny by Lesley Fairfield‭ (‬Tundra Books,‭ ‬2009‭)‬.

Early in her teen years,‭ ‬Anna becomes‭ ‬ convinced she is fat and begins to diet in order to‭ ‬lose‭ ‬“a few‭”‬ pounds and have her childhood ‬body back. ‬Overtime,‭ ‬this diet becomes an obsession and Anna is‭ ‬trapped in‭ ‬a steady downward spiral of misery and‭ ‬self-recrimination‭ (‬“sad‭ ‬… empty‭ ‬… lonely‭ ‬...‭ ‬who would want me anyway‭?‬”). Whenever she tries to regain her sanity and start eating again,‭ ‬her‭ ‬subconscious self‭ (‬Tyranny‭) ‬is there to stop her‭ ‬…

‭ ‬was a hard book to read.‭ ‬Yes,‭ ‬it moved along quickly‭ ‬and I found Fairfield‭’‬s illustrative‭ ‬style to be quite‭ ‬gentle‭,‭ ‬but‭ ‬the subject matter was heavy and grim.‭ ‬While‭ ‬I‭ ‬appreciated that‭ ‬Anna‭ ‬does eventually find the strength to fight Tyranny and‭ ‬rebuild her self,‭ ‬I wondered how many people never escape their Tyranny‭’‬s‭? ‬(It did not help that,‭ ‬while googling this book,‭ ‬I‭ ‬inadvertently stumbled‭ ‬upon‭ ‬several pro-anorexia blogs‭ ... is the world really so fucked up?)‬.