Saturday, November 23, 2019

Patchwork People

Coco moving the massage table

My quilting world takes me to many of interesting places. I meet  like minded creative people who crave all things quilting. Some of us shop with abandon while others clip coupons to extract a little extra cash from the grocery bill for fabric. I'm somewhere in the middle of that dynamic. The sum of our fabric stashes can create quilts more valuable in many ways than the pieces we started with. Imagine any genre of quilts from baby blankets to exhibit halls. You get a positive and powerful answer. Do I believe Quilting is the original mindfulness. Recently another mindfulness challenge became Coco.

Recently Coco, a shy Chinese woman, sublet the Chinese massage studio and its contents located across the hall from my studio. We had to communicate with lots of smiling and her phone translator app. This went on for weeks as she tried to establish herself here. We tried to talk about the building rules.  We have a microwave and coffee pot and occasionally plug in a crock pot in the winter. It was an awkward situation since she wasn't supposed to be cooking food on the premises and always did. I was stressed about food smells lingering when my students arrived and my fabric stash. 

However she made some awesome dumplings and knocked on my door to share them with me even after I just as I asked her to stop cooking. Customers came and went and she spent many hours waiting for more. 

Consequently in her spare time. Coco became interested in my quilting and popped into my studio as soon as I arrived.
I was happy to explain a little bit about the process and invited her to see what was happening in my studio and classroom. She said hello and smiled back at my class. Note: there are few words in Chinese that translate correctly to our quilting terminology. She liked to look at all my quilts.  I think she wanted me to give her one.

English was still a problem as she managed to tell me a couple of her male customers shortchanged since she couldn't argue about the numbers of the payment accurately. The woman who sublet her the business was supposed to share her client list and advice didn't come through. To help her business keep going I drove Coco around town and put up flyers In English and Chinese at all the local small businesses in the area. I'm not sure if it helped. I was trying to balance helping another woman in business, her habits of doing whatever she wanted when cooking, or interrupting my coveted studio time.

The situation abruptly changed itself. That morning a male customer arrived asking for more than a massage and said  he had several friends who would also be interested in her services. Her translator was smoking as she tried to explain.
She sprung into action. She was done with this business. 
We went to our landlord and reported the situation while demanding her deposit back. I piped up "in cash today".
He agreed and suggested she just leave everything the way she found it. I assumed he was thinking of renting the space again.

By end of the day Coco had deposited everything except the massage table into the dumpster. She was complaining that someone could easily drag the massage table back into the space and start this bad business again. What else could I do? Without a word, I mindfully handed her my sharpest scissors which, without a word she slashed the massage table beyond repair and dragged it off to the dumpster. 

When her ride came to collect her and her belongings she 
winked, embraced me and sweetly, then whispered in my ear in perfect English, how much she enjoyed my company and all of my help. She also added our landlord was a jerk, I needed to learn how to look out for myself, I was too nice, and lock the door. 

The previous owner returned to find not only an empty business which she had to refurnish and establish again but Coco refused to give her the phone number of her business back.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Happy Spring - Quilters Help Create a New Tradition!

Worldwide generations of people have celebrated the changing of the seasons. Many cultures celebrated and practiced  ancient customs we can only guess at. Stonehenge and Easter Island come to mind. Today at 5:58PM EST we officially welcomed Spring and the full Worm Moon. It seems we too should have a  special custom for   quilters to practice starting today. 
So my Tribe of Quilters I suggest our new custom to welcome Spring is to to give some of your favorite fabric a smooch! 
That's right quilters our new welcome Spring custom is kissing some fabric because what do quilters love? FABRIC, FABRIC, and FABRIC and of course Spring.

Happy Spring Quilters,

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Our Favorite Quilting Tools and The Jelly Glass.

Jelly Jars & Glasses

Wonder Clips, Pkg of 10
Clover Wonder Clips
The benefit teaching a two day class, bedside the fact we get to quilt for two days, is that we are able to settle uninterrupted into our projects. Over the hours our conversation covers some interesting topics.

We began discussing the best inventions or tools in quilting and agreed that the rotary cutter, acrylic ruler, the self healing cutting mat and freezer paper were high on our list of all time great quilting tools that revolutionized how we quilt. Note that these items are all over 30 years old. One of the newest notions on the block are Clover's Wonder Clips which made our "we cant live without it" list. We all had several ways in which we used these clips and will definitely find a few more.They're a keeper.
As we sewed I saw a student reach for a lid to draw a circle. I asked her what she was doing. She showed me her circles she had traced onto freezer paper from lids and glasses! Using a jelly jar as a circle template is even older than all of our chosen innovative quilting tools. She said "it's easier than finding and digging out her circle templates".  A jelly glass!  They're accurate, transparent, easy to hold, and very easy to find. 


In the early1900's jelly jars and glasses were affordable and collectable items available on most grocery store shelves. This meant if you had it, the fine china and glasses could be safely tucked away in the cupboard. And there are even older references of a tea cup and saucer being used for quilting designs. If you study older quilts you will notice the multiple combinations of circles traced from glasses and plates to make templates and quilting designs. 
Although I wouldn't want to give up my improved quilting tools I'm also open to the tried an true tools because some day the rotary cutting tools and Wonder Clips we use today could be the next vintage jelly glasses.