Musings from MillerQuilts

Archive for October, 2002

October 2002

Tuesday, October 1st, 2002

The Schoolhouse at the Seabeck Christian Conference Center. What a magnificent location for a weekend quilters’ workshop! The setting is gorgeous as the windows look out over Seabeck Harbor, the wood floors creak in a most friendly and nurturing way, and there’s plenty of electricity for quilters to work downstairs and up all day and all night if they want to…

As I look out the window between sentences of this newsletter, I see a glorious crisp morning, with the sunlight slowly descending the trees, bathing them with morning warmth! I am still savoring the joy of experiencing each season for the first time in this house and garden, and delighting in each surprise that process brings!

It certainly has been a busy month, even though I haven’t been traveling. One highlight was teaching a weekend workshop for the local West Sound Quilters Guild at Seabeck Conference Center, only ten miles from my home. This assemblage of historic buildings was originally a lumber mill “company town”; other historic buildings have since been moved here and it has become a lovely retreat center. There are dormitory facilities and a dining hall, and big rooms to quilt in! A neighboring building has an all-glass front — it was full of needlepointers and stitchers the weekend we were quilting! I taught in the old schoolhouse, which was built in 1854, moved to the site in 1910, and refurbished in 1990.

Another weekend I launched the new AnglePlay™ templates with the first experimental class of 12 students, in the Poulsbo Library! The students’ eyes were crossed by the end of the first day, but refocused the next morning when I put the information we had covered the previous day into categories of options for the second day. Thus fortified, all students quickly got their quilts under way on their design boards.

This group will gather again for two reunions; in the first, we will hopefully see all the quilts started in the workshop. At each gathering, I will introduce new projects and challenges using these templates…what fun!!

On the waterfront in Bremerton with good friends Pat Scoville (left) and Ann Albertson, visiting from California. Quilting brought us together over twenty years ago, and geography and my frantic travel schedule hasn’t hindered in the least the deep friendship we continue to enjoy. There is always much laughter whenever we are together, this at the site of a wonderful sculpture commemorating the centennial of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

This month has also provided time to welcome old friends to my new place; quilting friends from “across the water” as well as from my early days as a quiltmaker in southern California; international visitors, too, from England.

One of this month’s visitors was not welcome-a feral cat that attacked Patches for the second time. Tiring of the animal hospital bills that resulted from such incidents, I headed for the local Humane Society and got a “Have-a-Heart” trap, and managed to catch this unwelcome beast in less than 24 hours and return him to the authorities…so I’ve added “animal trapper” to my list of competencies…

September has been special not only because I haven’t travelled out of state for the entire month, but because of the anniversary of September 11th. As for everyone else on the Kitsap Peninsula, that Wednesday was an especially moving one for me. I had listened to a lot of NPR and seen a lot of television specials during the week leading up to that date; consequently, I didn’t want to hear or see any more coverage of such profound sadness on the day itself. If I had gotten up very early to take the first ferry of the day, I could have attended the Rolling Requiem at Safeco Field in Seattle; but Wednesday was a work day for Linda and me, and I just couldn’t bear to infuse myself with even more sadness.

Instead, I did attend a wonderful and moving “Kitsap Remembers” ceremony that night at the Bremerton High School football stadium, and was so glad I did! What a wonderful experience…I had such a good feeling being there — to get yet one more glimpse of my new Home Town, and how big its heart is! I sat in the bleachers facing the sun as it set over the Olympic Mountains; I arrived extra early, to hear the Navy Band performing. Four area people who had had a crucial role at Ground Zero or at the Pentagon were the featured speakers, and each of their messages was moving for a different reason.

And how safe I felt as was surrounded by people in so many uniforms — garb that represented how protected I am here: State Police, Highway Patrol, Sheriff’s Dept., representatives of all the military services, Veterans and SeaCadets; Red Cross volunteers clad in brilliant red, and local civic leaders who stood out by their demeanor. As we entered the stadium, the Red Cross passed out red, white and blue ribbons crossed with a straight pin for us to wear, a candle for us to light at the end of the ceremony, and a pocket pack of Kleenex…

The stage, with numerous potted yellow and purple flowering plants lining its front edge, had a GIANT American flag as a backdrop. The beautiful flag was so big it almost crowded out the view of the Fire Department ladder trucks on the opposite side of the field; their ladders were extended to the max in salute. I loved watching the people file in; from bikers with tattoos to the Cub and Girl Scouts in uniform; there were young and old, many nationalities, many races; all intent on showing pride in their country and respect for the families of those who perished.

The arrival of Ewe Too hasn’t disrupted Patches’ routine; she appears not to notice that there is now a Sentry in the Dining Area…

Two grade school boys crossed in front of me: they had plastered their hair with something that created red, white and blue scalp-skimming sections on their pates…And they fit right in, in celebration…

Though the ceremony was only an hour in duration, even the sun set with ceremony and at the right time, as candlelight spread through the crowd. While the two tartan-clad bagpipers played Amazing Grace, it felt as though this special day had had a fitting end. It was a ceremony I won’t forget for a long time.

One of the best giggles of the month was the arrival of “Ewe Too”, an earthenware sheep made by Welsh artist Jan Beeny. You may remember the story of “Ewe”, from my June newsletter. Ewe’s family, Judi and James Mendelssohn, packed up “Ewe Too” and shipped her to me, after an appropriate delay so that “Ewe” could coach Ewe Too on transoceanic flights, and on what little she knew about American Culture, having observed me during my visit! What a delight to have her here — it brings back such happy memories of my trip to Wales, and Scotland, and England last spring…And she still makes me giggle every time I catch sight of her. Patches couldn’t care less about Ewe Too’s presence, but at least she isn’t frightened by her position right by the cat door in the screen out to the back deck…

Until next month…”Got templates?”