Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I finally got around to finishing the back for my Connecticut Winter Quilt and last Saturday I pinned the three layers together.  As per my usual method, I clear out the tables and stuff from the studio, clean the floor and tape the back taunt to the floor, spread out the batting and smooth down the top then start putting safety pins all over 2-3" apart to hold all three layers together:

Bentley helped

I've been putting off starting the quilting because I haven't made up my mind how to quilt it.  I always get stuck here.  The problem is the quilt is big, which makes it difficult  to get through the machine.  I was thinking about doing a 'fan' pattern.  I've done that before on another quilt that was all squares and it really turned out nice.  It's a lot of marking the quilt, stopping and tying off, and making sure the pattern stays square with the quilt.  I decided against it because the quilt is just so darn big.  Which leaves me limited to easy patterns using the walking foot.  So that's what I did - I took the easy way out...because it's just a quilt for using, it's not a show winner.

I just followed the outside line of the 'fiddlestick' in each block, making it up where it was going the other direction.  

This is pretty easy since you can go from side to side.  Once I got one direction done I turned it and started in the other direction.

close-up of the quilting on the back on my hand-dyed fabric

a bigger section of the back

I should have it all quilted by tomorrow, then I'll start on the binding.  

Monday, March 19, 2012


Here's the story, how I know it. 
I work for King County Solid Waste as the dispatcher for the trucks.  On Thursday, March 7th, one of the drivers, Don, calls me to ask for the phone number of the gal that manages the stray cats up here at the landfill.  I told him she was downtown working today, and wasn't available.  He then told me about a stray cat at our Bowlake Transfer Station.  A gray cat had been brought to the Scalehouse by one of the contractors working there.  The contractor told the scale Operators the cat had come right up to him, meowing.  He was a very friendly cat.  The Scale Operator didn't want anything to do with him, though.  So, the contractor left the cat in the area and went back to work.  That was when Don came by in his tractor-trailer rig.  He stopped and went over to the cat, who was sitting on a wall.  The cat meowed very insistently. Don fed him some meatballs.  The cat was very appreciative - you see, the cat looked to be starving to death.  That's when Don  called me and asked me what I thought he should do.  I didn't like the idea of the cat hanging about the scalehouse, with all the traffic going in and out of there.  I told Don that when he got back I would have found a cardboard box and some food so he could catch the cat.  (I didn't realize at the time how friendly he was).
So Don came back to the landfill, dumped his load and headed back for another, armed with a box and cat food.

Don sent me this picture after he had picked up the cat on his return trip.  He said the cat wouldn't stay in the box.  Like I said, he was a very friendly, social and appreciative cat.

When he got back here, he handed me the cat and said he had named him Bentley.  He was the thinnest creature I have ever seen.  But, very mellow and very tired and very friendly and appreciative, and with a severe kink in his tail.

We fed him a little more, gave him some water, petted him, and started calling people looking for a home for him.

I thought I knew several people that had said they wanted a cat.  But, when it came right down to it, they all bowed out.  Word soon got around here at work, and one of the mechanics, Mike,  said he'd take him home.  He could live in his shop with his other cats.  Okay.
[I thought this was a shame, because he was such an inquisitive and social beast.  He should be purring in someone's lap, making them happy.]

Well, Mike took him home that night.  And life went on.

About a week later, I got a call from the night dispatcher at work.  Mike couldn't keep Bentley because his male cat didn't want Bentley around.  It wasn't going to work out.  Did I know anyone who wanted him?

I frantically started calling people again.  This was such a great cat, he deserved a good home, but no one wanted to take him.

I called my husband (he was out of town for the weekend).  Could we maybe take him?  He could live in the shop at our house.  What about our dog Lucy?  She hates cats.  She spends her days laying in wait for the neighborhood cats to come into the yard so she can chase them out.   He agreed it would be nice to have a cat in the shop.  We'd have to make it work.

I met with Mike on Saturday morning and he gave me possession of Bentley.  Having absolutely no 'cat supplies'  I immediately headed over to the PetsMart.  I had fun picking out bowls, a bed, a litter pan and had a lengthy discussion with one of the workers there about the kind of litter to use.  Then we discussed food.  My oh my.  What about treats or toys?  And, hey, this nice little cat-scratcher/perch would be perfect in front of the window, and it's on sale!  I practically filled up the back of my car with the $228 worth of 'stuff' we had to have.

Once home, I made a quick check of the shop to cat-proof it.  Blocked off the dog door to the outside and set Bentley free into his new home.  I showed him where the litter box was, the food and water was put out.  He immediately began to check the place out.

I didn't want to leave him alone, so I got to work on a quilt project I'd been putting off.  Bentley eventually came up and helped me as I pinned the quilt on the floor.

He found his bed by the window and seemed to settle right in.  I went in for the night and didn't mention him to Lucy.

I spent half of the day on Sunday up in my studio quilting on the recently pinned quilt.  Bentley split his time between eating, sleeping and exploring.  He seemed to be very content, but without a lot of energy.

He found the window above my cutting table where he could see out the other side of the studio from, so I cleared my junk off the sill for him.

This is my first cat.  I've always had a dog or two, I am definitely a dog-person.  I think my husband is more a cat-person.  So, hopefully, this will be his cat. 

I spent the weekend feeling good about giving Bentley a good home, and feeling guilty about leaving him in the shop alone (in the dark) and feeling guilty about spending time with him because then I was leaving Lucy shut out of the shop.  I'm a dog person (I don't trust cats).   Nothing personal, Bentley, I just don't know you well enough yet.  With a little luck, it will all work out for everyone.   Welcome home.

And Lucy still doesn't know he's here.

Thursday, March 08, 2012


I sketched while they fiddled

Darrell's granddaughter Victoria exclaimed the other week, that her class was going on a field trip to Benaroya Hall (home of Seattle Symphony) and they needed some parents to volunteer to be chaperons.  Would he like to volunteer?  Darrell said he would if he wasn't the only one.  Well, next day she says no other parents had I said I could take a day off and go (I love the symphony and Benaroya Hall).  
I can even remember going with my class in elementary school.  I thought it was such a thrill at the time.  (That was back in the olden days when the symphony played at a little hall on the Seattle Center grounds.)
After we returned the proper paperwork, with all the proper boxes checked, we were deemed acceptable and invited to join them.  Today was the day.  It turned out to be one of the nicest days in a long while, sun was out and it warmed up enough to leave the heavy coat at home and wear a light jacket.

The hardest thing about this was that we only knew one of the kids, Victoria and a couple of her friends by sight.  The rest we didn't know at all.  So, when we got off the bus where there were dozens of other buses, and everyone was filing into the hall, it was impossible for us to know which ones were which.  We just stayed in line and kept an eye on Victoria.

Victoria and her friend

Filling up

We sat in the 5th row

There was a big screen showing closeups of orchestra
We've been in this hall quite a lot of times.  Usually the audience is so quiet you can hear a pin drop...on stage... (really).  This time was totally different!  It was unbelievable loud.  The hall sits 2500 people and it was packed full with students from districts all over the county.  All in all though, they were a good audience, if somewhat fidgety.  They quieted down eventually.  Luckily the program was only about an hour.  There was an excellent celloist, 14 year old Jeremy Steele from Garfield High School.  They kids were impressed.  

We had a great time.  I don't think we were the best 'chaperons' they've had (we got separated from the group on the way back to the buses,  shhh, I don't think the teacher noticed).  They counted the kids on the bus and since there was one extra we closed the doors and headed home (at least we didn't lose anyone).