Do we not bleed?

From Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, Act III, Scene 1 (with minor adjustment for topicality):

“I am a Man of Colour. Hath not a Man of Colour eyes? Hath not a Man of Colour hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a White Man is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die?”

“And if you wrong us shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that….”

“If a White Man wrong a Man of Colour, what should his sufferance be by White Man’s example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me, I will execute…”

We have not deserved the forbearance of our Brothers and Sisters of Colour. Despite our example of centuries of oppression, torture, rape, slavery and theft, they have not returned to us our just deserts. Our arrogant, stiff-necked Christianity has not shown them the example of loving kindness towards our fellow men they have deserved of us, despite our cramming it down the necks of people we have oppressed. What they ask is not mercy, but justice. Mercy is shown by the strong to the weak. Justice is for equals.

I ask forgiveness for my assumptions, my arrogance, my ignorance, my unintended blindness to the suffering of my fellow man. I don’t feel prejudice against any colour and I try not to make assumptions; we are all the same under the skin, but I am ashamed because I have not seen, I have not called out and I have not fought for your rights – because they are just as important as mine

I am a privileged white woman, and I am sorry for it.

BM&I #46: Parterre block 13

Block 13, and a day late, sorry!

I have no idea why I couldn’t have got a couple done this month, but laziness took over. And mending. And hand stitching the Anemone quilt. And so on. I really love the bright greens, combined with yellow on one side and with turquoise on the other. And the scrap I used for the flower was begging to be paired with them! I mean, they both sing at the tops of their voices, right?

So, Block 13 of the Parterre quilt:

Bee, Myself and I is a forum for ‘selfish sewing’; any stitchery which is purely for pleasure and not to a deadline or for anyone else. The original concept belongs to Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl. To find out more, you can click through on either her blog link, or using the button a fair way down in the left hand column of this blog.

Until next time…

F2F5: May round-up

Where is the time going? Time for our monthly round-up again.

And again, all the ladies have come in on time with their blocks. I wonder if that’ll all change once we’re allowed to venture out to eat, shop, work, visit and holiday? I won’t mind too much, as it’ll mean we’re slowly returning to the world we all know. This time out has been an interesting period of self-discovery and creativity for many of us. For others, it has been hard and stressful, and for them, I am glad we are moving towards a degree of normality.

It was Susan’s month, and as in previous F²F sessions, she is making use of her blocks to construct American Hero Quilts. It’s safe now for her to go and look in the gallery to see what she has to work with, and I think she’s going to be pleasantly surprised!

Not surprisingly, her colours were red, white and blue, in any combination except red/blue only. Three colours I suspect most of us have in our stashes most of the time!

June is Monike’s month. This is the first year she has joined us, and I hope it’s being an enjoyable experience! I’ve loved seeing the photos of her original and creative blocks coming in. She has asked for blocks in indigo prints with golden yellow and accents of magenta (hot pink), with an optional white background. You can see her reference image if you go to the Members & Their Colours page on the F2F blog.

If you’re new to this blog and don’t know anything about F²F, do head over to the dedicated F2F blog and read all about it. The first ever session can be found on this blog, but for subsequent years I set F²F up with its own blog due to the image-heavy nature of the work. You’ll find a rich, varied and vibrant source of inspiration in all the blocks shown in the galleries for the various years. Enjoy!

I like the summery colours we’ll be using this June…


Mend it Monday #7

An idea devised by The Snail of Happiness

Oh joy, not one but three pairs of the Husband’s work pants to repair…

I’ve told him that it’s probably time to consider a couple of new pairs; many of the existing ones now have multiple patches on the seat, and once they start giving out, there’s only so much you can do to resurrect them. The legs will make useful future patches.

Right, that’s my mending basket empty.

That’s better.

Mend it Monday #6

An idea devised by The Snail of Happiness

This is an odd one. First, a little background. I like a windchime, something that makes a melodious noise when the wind rises. I’m not a huge fan of the enormous cathedral chimes that bong away loudly in a minor key, I like a gentle tinkle. The Husband and I went on a delayed honeymoon years ago to the West Indies, Barbados to be precise. It’s where my oldest friend lives, and we had a fabulous time. One of the souvenirs we brought back from our trip (apart from amazing photos and memories) is a windchime. It’s small and pretty; hand-made unglazed ceramic birds interspersed with ‘rustic’ ceramic beads, strung from a ceramic doughnut ring by fishing line. It has a lot of sentimental value for us both.

Over the years, it has suffered the effects of cyclones and the extremes of heat. The fishing line deteriorated and broke. Birds fell and clashed hard, and also broke. I decided enough was enough: time to repair it before I lost any more bits and it became a pointless piece of debris.

First on the list was heavy gauge fishing line, much stronger than the existing stuff and also UV-resistant. Then I took it all apart and laid it out to see what I still had. Over time, I’ve lost the equivalent of two whole strings; there should be 6 and I only had enough birds for 4. So, OK, I’d make 4. They’d still sound pretty. I replaced the rusted hanging ring with a steel curtain ring. That’ll rust over time too, but it’s easy enough to replace.

I started each string with a bird, tied onto the line with a uni-knot. This is easy to form, slips until you need it to lock, and is designed to work with fishing line as well as other forms of string or line.

Loop the line through the hole and hold the two parts together, with a long tail on the looped part.

Double the tail back, and wind it round the doubled part 3-5 times, depending on how strong you need the knot to be.

Pull the tail gently, till the knot starts to form. Slide it down towards the hole without pulling it tight yet.

When it reaches the hole, pull the tail with a pair of pliers (you may not need these for string or nylon cord, but you definitely do for fishing line) until the knot is tight. Clip off the end of the tail.

Between the three birds in each string I threaded a bead, plus an extra one at the top. Each string was then threaded through a hole in the ring, and held tight by another bead on top, knotted down. The strings were finished at the top by threading them all through single beads and knotting off, forming a loop with the tails to hold the curtain ring. Job done. I tested it in the stiffish breeze we have this morning, and everything held.

That’s better.

A long-distance hug

Family is still family, no matter how far away.

My eldest sister phoned me out of the blue at the end of March to catch up. It was unexpected, but not surprising. We talked about the obvious things: coronavirus, health, family doings, and then on to the important stuff: what we were making. She is a demon knitter. She can knit anything, and always has something amazingly beautiful and complicated on her needles. She’d just finished making a fabulous jacket. I said I wished I could knit, as I’d make myself a shawl for sitting up in bed in winter or with the aircon cranked up high, the way the Husband likes it. We talked about colour. She said she’d have a think about making one for me. And that was that. I didn’t think any more about it.

Yesterday, a box arrived. Strange… I hadn’t ordered anything, and nor had the Husband. But when I opened it, Oh.My.Word. It’s the most gorgeous triangular shawl.

The colours are perfect. The design (her own) is perfect. The size and shape are perfect. The wool is untreated Finlandia Shetland, light, soft and warm. It’s almost as if she’s peeked into my brain and found the most perfect combination. I can’t believe how much work she’s put into it. Apparently, when she reached 600 stitches on her 1.5m circular needle, she stopped counting… It’s worked two-handed, Fair Isle style, apparently. Right over my head, that…

Don’t you love the birds and leaves in the design? And the intarsia on the back is immaculate, making a soft, mottled linear landscape effect. I’d be happy to wear it either side out, except I love the birds best!

I can’t wait for the weather to get cooler so I can wear it all the time. It goes with everything – and look how wonderful it looks with my lovely Bougie Nights quilt!

I don’t need knitwear much in this climate, but a shawl is cosy and versatile, and where a pullover is too hot, this will keep my chilly neck and shoulders warm. It’s a perfect hug from an wonderful sister, who knew exactly what I’d like.

In the end, sisters know you best.

ScrapHappy May: not even $11!

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

Those of you who’ve been around this blog a while will remember my scrappy quilt The $11 Rainbow, so called because that’s all it cost to make. A few months ago, the Dowager (aka my MIL), asked if I’d give it to her, as she really liked it. Despite the fact that it’s one of my favourites, I did. On the very day we were first allowed to visit each other again with a slight easing of restrictions, she came by for coffee and home made bickies. During the visit, she asked if I’d make her a cushion cover to match it. She has a memory-foam pillow in her chair, and wanted a cover that matches the quilt, also quilted and ideally with a zipper. Certainly, ma’am.

Scrappy colour selection in progress

$11R was made from my brightest scraps, bordered with an inky dark blue. She didn’t want the dark blue, though. So I made the entire front from bright scraps, shading from blue through purple, red, pink, orange and yellow. I wasn’t even going to try hiding the joins between the colour strips – for this application, life was definitely just too short!

The colours actually blend a little better in real life; that hard line down the centre doesn’t show so much

The back itself is a little more conservative in colour scheme, using some of my pretty red and green scraps in a larger size than on the front. Because this is wrapping an actual bed pillow rather than a cushion form, I needed to put the zip at one end so it could be put on like a pillowcase, instead of my preferred position across the centre back. The zipper is also a scrap, recycled from an old work jacket of the Husband’s. It was too long, so I shortened it by cutting the end off and wrapping the cut end with a strip of fabric.

What can I say? I didn’t spend a cent, let alone $11!

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). If you’ve copied this list from previous posts, please use the one below as it’s the most up to date. We have a new member, welcome Vera.

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin and Vera

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

Mend it Monday #5

An idea devised by The Snail of Happiness

Another shopping bag has succumbed to wear and tear. One of the handles has stretched and torn beyond repair, and the one on the other side is heading the same way.

Time for new handles.

I bought this fabric in the John Lewis department store in London in the 1990s, to make a roman blind for the bathroom in my flat. I dearly loved the colours and the rich, nubbly texture, and I was happy about 10 years later to make myself a simple shoulder bag from the same stuff (I’d bought lots, the end of a bolt). I still hadn’t finished it up by the time I emigrated to Australia, and it came with me. The offcut from the earlier blind project was just right for making bag handles. It’s not the neatest job ever, but it works.

And do you know what?  I still have some left!

That’s better.

Best forgotten

It has not been a good couple of days.

I definitely don’t need a knot in my hankie to help me remember…

My father, recently turned 97 and in a nursing home on lockdown in the UK, had the latest in a series of TIAs (Transient Ischaemic Attack, or mini-stroke). The nursing home, which has been wonderful throughout his stay there, picked up on it very quickly, and he was put on aspirin and monitored closely. Thankfully, it never developed into a full stroke, and he is now back to normal. But it was distressing, since visitors were not allowed (with the proviso that if things took a turn for the worse, my brother could visit in full PPE). A worrying time for everyone.

After tearing the ligaments in my ankle several days ago, now on the mend, I forgot my anti-migraine medication again and this time went into full-blown Creature of the Night mode. I get very, very light sensitive, the pain is relentless and nowhere is dark or quiet enough. All I lack is the long fingernails and fangs… The ‘migraine hangover’ is no great picnic either. The arthritis in my hands and hips has flared. The car battery won’t hold a charge, The poor old doggo has a stiff leg and hobbles around like a geriatric unless there’s a walkies or bone in the offing (in which case, the limp is forgotten and he bounds around like Zebedee). I could go on.

On the upside, the weather is cooler, our restrictions are slowly being lifted and it looks as if our July holiday up north is on again, the sun is shining, I managed to get a haircut, and Mouse has a new friend, a pretty greyhound girl called Lottie who lives a few streets away.

I can never feel miserable for too long 🙂

Scrappy solution

Our coffee machine gets a lot of use.

I move it backwards and forwards on the bench several times a day, filling the reservoir with water and the drip filter with freshly ground coffee. I hadn’t fully appreciated that the coffee machine didn’t have the usual little rubber feet…. My new (well, year-old) butcher block bench is scratched 😦 Click on the photo and you’ll see what I mean.

I discovered this when I was clearing the benchtops off to re-wax them. They’re looking a little dry and thirsty. I use a food-safe wood wax with lemon oil in it, which produces a nice sheen and a good smell when you buff it up. Anyway, I saw these scratches and I realised I had to do something about the machine as well as fix the bench.

Look, you know what’s coming, don’t you?  I am a quilter, after all.

Yup. It’s a monster grown-up mug-rug for the coffee machine. I went rummaging in my scraps and discovered these four strips sets, left over from when I made extra blocks for the Heaven for Beginners quilt. Perfect. I made a backing from fabric left over from a quilt I made 10 years ago. I sandwiched, and wiggle-quilted, and bound with more leftovers from Heaven for Beginners, this time from the joining strips for the back. The folded strip was exactly the right size to make a nice skinny binding.

The whole thing took me an hour, including hand-stitching the binding down on the back.

By the way, do you see the tile and paint chip in the background? Coming soon to this kitchen. The tile is only one of 6 or 7 grey and white designs in the pack of 35, and I have two packs to do the splashback all round, so it’s going to be a proper ‘sampler quilt’ effect. The paint colour is one I love, it’s a Dulux colour called ‘Geyser’, and will go on the walls above the splashback, and on the recycled cupboards which currently have brown fake wood-effect doors. The new white cupboard doors will stay white. It’s been a while since I did any renovation. Time to get things moving again!

Anyway, scratching… sorted.