Monday, January 24, 2011

If It's January in Seattle, It Must Be REALLY BRIGHT QUILT Time!

It must have something to do with our really, really grey winters. Because I get through New Year's and need to make a quilt. And not just any quilt. A really, really, really bright quilt.

Last year it was my floral Seattle Streets. This year, though, I decided to put my new hand-dyed fabric to good use. And since I wanted something fast, I went with another version of Stained Glass Lasagna.

And yes, believe it or not, the fabrics are even brighter than is depicted in the photo. By which I mean: Really, really, really bright.

What can I say? There's just something about a Seattle winter that calls for drastic measures.

Closeup of some of the fabrics:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Isn't this Seattle Streets Quilt GORGEOUS!!

To get basic directions for this quilt, click here.

Okay, technically? I don't yet quite have permission to post this here. But I figure it's only a matter of time before she emails me back. Because if the creator of these amazing pieces of artwork didn't want them shared, she wouldn't have shared them with me. Right?

Of course right.

Ann from the East Coast has sent me photos of her versions of my Seattle Streets Quilt.

First the quilt, in African fabrics:

And if that's not enough, next we have her wall hanging, also in African fabrics, with animal applique as a focal point in each block. I absolutely love the use of borders around the applique, and also how she borders each one with a Seattle Streets strip, reversed top to bottom or side to side, and then follows up by bordering with her African fabric set off by black. It this not just absolutely, amazingly gorgeous? (Click on the photo to see a larger version.)

What I love about this pattern is that it's not set in stone. Nobody is required to do what I did; they're free to create what they want. Ann did just that, and I LOVE it!!!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Witness to the Revolution, in 140 Characters or Less

When last we met my friend Rami on these pages, he was using his trilingual linguistic skills to enable my inner word nerd.

Granted, the word "friend" is a bit of an stretch. But unfortunately there is no word for "acquaintance I occasionally interact with whose presence on the internet has somehow enriched my life." Because that's what he is.

He is Tunisian-American, probably in his mid-twenties, funny, well-educated, tech-savvy, articulate. (Polar opposite from the angry radical Muslim-American caricature who frequently appears on Fox News. But then again, most Muslims I interact with are.) He has a passion for Tunisian football, which is how our paths crossed: I'm passionate about French football, and since Tunisia is a former France colony... Well, it's complicated, but the former colonial relationship means that there still is a big connection between the two countries, and thus between their sports.

When I broke down last year and joined Twitter to keep track of breaking news, Rami was one of the people I followed. And what I got before these past couple of weeks was soccer stuff.

What I've gotten in the past two weeks, though? A fascinating, up-close view of a revolution, in 140 characters or less.

My introduction to events started well before Western media picked up the story, on the day Tunisian police started firing on unarmed protesters. The official number killed was about twenty, but eye-witnesses put it at much higher.

And so it began.

Over the next few days, Rami forwarded to his Twitter followers all of the tweets he received about Tunisia. Many came from people who were actually witnessing things as they happened.

At first it seemed to be a mirror image of what had occurred in Iran a couple of years back: Corruption in the government and unemployment among the people leading to protests in the streets, police opening fire, protesters killed... Then images broadcast through YouTube and Facebook and Twitter. Revolution in real time, brought to us live via social media.

I must admit that I expected a similar sad ending to the Tunisian crisis, given that dictators and despots in general tend to be reluctant to give up power. And if extinguishing a few lives is what it takes to retain it? Well, life is cheap. As long as it's not yours.

But then something happened, according to those tweeting from inside the country: The army was brought in to restore peace by force after the police were overrun, but, unlike the police, they refused to open fire on their fellow Tunisians. (This was not true everywhere in the country, apparently, but seems to have been true in enough areas to make a difference.) This acquiescence caused the protests to spread further and faster. The panicked Tunisian president made half-concessions ("I'll leave after my term!"), but the protests picked up strength. And now he has fled to Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia is in transition.

That's probably a huge oversimplification and maybe not entirely accurate, but that's what you get when your updates are occurring in real time and your window is only 140 characters long.

So, a victory for the common people, kind of. But it's not over. The current nominal leader is still attached to the previous regime, and violence and looting are still rampant across the country. (The twitter rumor is that much of it is being instigated by allies of the former president, but that's just a rumor.) As with all revolutions, there's a chance that Tunisia, a moderate, well-educated country, could see things go from bad to worse.

Or not.

I hope not. As a moderate Christian who wants a world of opportunity for all, I pray not. Where George W. Bush saw a moderate Arab world brought about from the outside by bombs, I see it far more likely to be brought about from the inside, by moderate people who just want better opportunities for their families. Like the people in Tunisia.

The other day, I sent Rami back a tweet. (Because yes, I tweet. I am that cool.) It read:

I've learned far more about Tunisia from you than I've learned from the legit media combined. Sending prayers to Tunisians.

So yes, because of Twitter, a moderate Christian woman in the States is praying for peace and prosperity for a Muslim country. I hope you will, too.

(And the good news is, I don't think God will hold you to that 140 character limit.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I wanted to write something about the tragedy in Tucson. But instead I think I'll just post some color.

Remember a few weeks ago, when I said I was using color to heal my soul?

This is the color.

The flannels:

The other cottons that week:

Close-ups of some of the fabric. (Click on the photo to enlarge.  No, really.  You need to.)