One evening last week I was puttering about with quilt bits at the dining table (which sees dining only when there’s company, I’m ashamed to say… general-purpose work table would be a more accurate name for it, as it is currently covered in quilting supplies, leftover jetsam from our tax preparation, a vase of anemones and tulips that are beginning to drop petals, a friend’s novel draft, sundry medical devices, and goodness knows what else) when my eye was caught by a glow at the window.
A real photographer might have stood a chance at capturing the beauty of the last light slipping beneath the rain clouds to gild the tulip tree. I wish I could give you the peachy russet and ochre glow.
I love this hundred-year-old queen of the neighborhood, with her graceful branches and proud stature, her distinctive four-lobed leaf and outlandish flower. Even her name is beautiful: Liriodendron. She isn’t a true poplar, but she’s partly behind my rather arbitrary decision that my newly unvented quilt blocks are poplars.
This is only a dummy block to make sure I was getting the hang of the technique; the real blocks are more visually stimulating and I’ll show them to you soon because on the whole they’re pleasing me. But actually I like this scrapwork dummy enough that I may make it eleven or fourteen companions to produce a more sedate version of my little niece’s Poplar Blocks. I had planned to do this quilt with appliqué, but I had concerns about how my little hand-stitches would hold up to the repeated washings a baby quilt is likely to require. Just at the most felicitous time, some ladies in a local fabric shop mentioned Dale Fleming’s “six-minute circle” technique for piecing circles, and I thought I could easily adapt it to make my tree shapes. They take me longer than six minutes. The first one took forty, and I’d guess the following blocks have taken fifteen or twenty per tree. But it’s a darn sight faster than hand-sewing is for me and really should be sturdier. And I get to use a glue stick, which just makes me chortle. I have derided the glue stick as an inferior form of stickum since grade school, and here it’s exactly what you need.
I had a productive Saturday and the piecing for the blocks is almost half finished. I also managed time to take a class on encaustic wax painting from one of my favorite eighth graders (she’s been studying the art form all year for her independent project, a graduation requirement at our school) and to throw a couple of skeins of wool into a Kool-Aid dye bath to improve their color. That’s three new art forms for me in one day! Whew! And sure enough I woke up on Sunday with no energy and had to take a long afternoon nap again. Some days I feel so vigorous that I just want to make the most of it, but then I have to pay the piper. C’est la vie enceinte, I guess.