Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday evening things

* I pulled out the quilt that was in the frame (I hadn't worked on it in a long time) and did some quilting on it. I feel inspired to work on quilts again.

* I also looked up Lulu and Hazel's (the new quilt shop in town).

They offer a longarming service. No idea if one of the owners does it there or they have a home longarmer - some people do that for extra money or as a retirement career.

I'm going to go down there sometime very soon and see if they have example pieces to look at (most places do so you can see the quality of the work) and get a price list. But I'm excited by this: I have a bunch of tops that would probably do better with allover machine quilting than hand quilting - so if they are a not-too-high price and the work looks good, I will be taking some tops in for them.

I also got excited about working on tops again; I started sewing the "sashing" on the last half of the blocks.

And I dug around and found a big piece of 1930s reprint in pink that should work as a backing - I want to concentrate more on trying to work down the stash and one way to do that is to use pieces I already have for sashings and backings.

And anyway, it's nice to dig around in the stash; I find stuff I had set aside and then forgot about.

* Sometime soon - maybe the next quilt, maybe not - I'm going to do a quilt with just two fabrics - a star and square pattern using plain white as the background and a pale peach with outline birds on it. So it will be my "birb" quilt. (I like giving secret twee names to the quilts I make).

I also have a charm pack of bee-themed fabrics I want to use for a quilt; I have the two other fabrics (a golden yellow and white) to use with it. And I have another charm pack of  Kaffe Fasset fabrics that I want to use for the same pattern but with pink and some other strong color that matches (Again, I want to look in the stash to see what I have that could work.)

* To be honest, one of the things I think about more and more - as a potential "retirement career" or even as just an adjunct to my salary at some point - would be to get a longarm machine, learn to use it, and do quilts, both my own and other people's. I don't really have room for one, but they have been making smaller ones recently, and possibly, if I found a new place for some of the bookshelves in my bedroom, I could put it in the back of the bedroom, right over by the windows. Or perhaps even with some re-adjustment, I could fit a smaller one in my sewing room.

Because I can see so much good in it: I could do my own quilts. And I could make quilts for Project Linus and similar. And I could maybe do quilts for friends or even do them for money (Many longarmers do that to help pay off the machine - a good one is about as much as a small cheap car - and pay for supplies). I could totally see that as a retirement career for me. I would probably be more suited for it than one I've also considered (going to seminary for a few years and doing a chaplaincy: I have said before I can do the "God part" of the job but doing the "people part" I find hard - I don't like having to get between people who are arguing, or try to get people who are estranged to reconcile, or try to explain to someone about a loved one who is doing self-destructive things)

* But for now, it's nice to be able to take the tops to someone and pay them to do them - and then I can pick them up, put a binding on, and have another quilt to use.

* I've been reading "The Stranger in the Woods" - this is the story of the "last hermit" - I linked to an online article about this guy a couple years ago. Fundamentally, the story is this: Christopher Knight, for some reason apparently known only to him, decided to leave modern society and live in the woods. (Since 1986 - since I was in high school). He survived by stealing items - never anything of great worth, mostly practical stuff - from camps around the area. He had a deeply secluded camping spot. He survived by cooking over propane, by sleeping only short periods in the winter (sleep too long, you freeze.)

He also stole books to read - he wound up with mostly potboilers but it seems he would have preferred more intellectual stuff.

A couple of random thoughts:

- some people speculate he made it all up; that he lived indoors at least part of the time and had help. My inclination is no; Knight seems too dedicated to telling the truth and also there is no "helper" to have come forward. But yes, it does seem hard to believe he survived 20-odd years (he was arrested in 2013 after being caught burglarizing a camp) all by himself and that he managed to survive.

- There's some commentary in the book about how "noise" (in the sense of actual noise, but also "noise" in the form of distractions like tv and the internet) might be making us stupid, or at least harms our ability to speculate and concentrate. I....think there might be some truth to that. (There's also commentary on how getting out in nature does seem to have some health benefits, and I can see that too. The argument is that we evolved in the woods and the plains, and it's what our psyches are suited to, and I can see that.)

- There's also some discussion of "Does this guy have something 'wrong' with his brain" - some posit either he's on the Autism spectrum, or that he has something called schizoid personality (fundamentally: a tendency not to form close relationships; it is not the same thing as schizophrenia).

I don't know. Again, I worry about the pathologization of all oddness; of the "let's give this person a pill to make then 'normal'" when the person in question isn't exactly suffering. (Yes, if the person suffers - someone who is depressed and benefits from anti-depressants, or someone who has intrusive thoughts that are reduced on a medication, definitely that is important and they should be able to do that). But I somewhat dislike the push to "normalize" every odd person, even those who are untroubled by their oddness, and can function reasonably well in life,  and don't seem to hurt others. But after having had people armchair-psychologize me ("You'd benefit from being on an anti-anxiety med," said by someone who is not my doctor nor is a psychologist. Frankly, some days I feel like what anxiety I have is what allows me to get stuff done...)

But I can also see the autism-spectrum argument. (Heck, we're all probably on a spectrum somewhere; I know that even though the online tests I've taken - which may not be worth the electrons they're printed on - I come up "neurotypical," but I seem to have a greater love of schedule and structure than many other people I know, and I am more bothered by noise and confusion and crowds than many....)

- Mainly, I find the "Robinson Crusoe" aspect of it most interesting: How did he do it? How did he keep warm? What food was the best thing to choose? How did he make a latrine out there in the woods? How did he pass the time?

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