Thursday, January 31, 2013

Are you sure about that?

 They keep asking these questions, and I give them an answer, and then they disagree.  I don't know about big people; they're way too complicated for me.

I'm stuffed. Now what should I do?

Maybe watch some action TV?  Hey, Mommie, wanna play?  Nah, maybe I'll just plop here for a while and meditate on life.

I'm sooooo bored.


Ya think it's easy to be a month old? think again.  All I do is hang out.  No toys, no fancy restaurants, no iPads, no nuttin!  What a guy gotta do to get some excitement around here?  I can't even get into trouble yet. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Design table Monday

Card Tricks!

I think this is such a neat block.  I've always loved how the cards fold into each other.  But, I think I like the first variation even more, the one with the solid middle.  At any rate, here are some ideas on how to join these together.  I'm planning on making more of each type.

Which arrangement do you like more?

I have plenty of fabric and won't join everybody together until all the blocks are made. 

I could alternate solid center blocks with the other blocks.  What do you think?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thinking about language - Very long post which no one will read, but I need to write it.

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and I am thinking as usual about my parents' families. My mom's mom came here in the '20s, became a citizen and then sent for her 3 kids who were back home in Romania (the Hungarian part of the country.)  My grandfather died of TB when Grandma was pregnant with her youngest (Mom was the middle child).  Much of the family left behind in Transylvania, managed to survive the Holocaust, but only because Righteous Gentiles in their town sheltered them.

My dad's family, on the other hand, was decimated.  His immediate family (all of whom lived in Vienna), siblings and their spouses, and his parents all got out, some very much under the wire.  Uncle Alfred went to Palestine, then came to the US and built a life.  He was very musical and wanted to be a conductor, but the Austrians had a different idea.  At any rate, he got out under barbed wire. 

Tante Grete and Uncle Longy (called Longy because he was tall) applied for visas to the UK.  The Nazis arrested my uncle and were about to deport him to Bergen Belsen, when his visa arrived.  My aunt made it to the railroad station in time, and somehow my uncle was let go, and they went to the UK.  Uncle Longy served in the British air force; he was told to change his name just in case he was ever capture by the Nazis, and so he did.  Fortunately, he came out of the war unharmed.  Tante Lotte, who later married Uncle Alfred, also made it to the UK.

My dad, who was the sole support for his elderly parents (in those days, elderly meant early 60's!) took one look at the Anschluss, and immediately applied for a visa to the US.  My father was a very smart man!  He knew when to get out, and he was very very lucky.

The rest of the family:  a few escaped, some to China and then to Australia, some to Costa Rica, some to Argentina.  The rest, and my dad's family was large, all perished.

OK, so that's the basics on the Mommie and Dad.  Their native languages were Hungarian (The Mommie was the Short Hungarian Lady), and German with a Viennese accent.  My father's folks originally lived in Hungary, but many of them moved to Vienna sometime in the 1800's.

So what does this all have to do with my thinking about language.  Well, I grew up in a multilingual family.  They all spoke English perfectly.  Went to night school, high school, and learned proper English.  No grammatical mistakes, no slang, simply perfect English.  So perfect in fact that kids in school used to ask me where I came from because my English was so good. (I grew up in a city where everyone came from somewhere else, and everyone's parents had accents.)  English was the language spoken at home.  When they didn't want us to know what they were talking about, they spoke in German.  So of course, my sister and I quickly figured that out.  Then they switched to Hungarian.  I managed to figure out important words such as "nagy" , which referred to big (aka me, the older kid) and I could count to ten (which made my mother giggle since my pronunciation was not great).

The truth was that I knew my parents had accents, but so did every one else's parents.  Within my family, we had the German speakers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, so they all sounded a bit different.  It just was the way it was.

My dad passed away a little over 40 years ago, and I totally forgot his accent.  My sister had managed to tape him speaking, but I never heard that tape.  Then, at some point, she found the tape and we all listened to it.  OMG!  OMG doubled!  My father sounded like a German, like a Nazi, like the people who wanted my people dead.  That kind of German!  Whoever knew he sounded like that?  Not me; he was my father with some goofy Viennese expressions.  But did he sound German?  Of course not.  How could he?  The amazing thing was that all the relatives and friends on that side of the family sounded like Germans or Austrians or Swiss.  Did this ever sink into my little brain?  Nah; they just sounded normal. 

But how could my beloved father who got out of Vienna right after the Anschluss, who knew first hand how rotten those Austrian Nazis could be,  how could he have a German accent?

It made me think, and I'm still thinking more than 40 years later.  When I was a kid, I was surrounded by people with German accents, so I just took it for granted.  I knew my Holocaust history very well, but somehow the German accent just never bothered me.  Then I grew up, met people whose folks were native born and had no accents, married one of those folks.  The only time I heard a German accent was either with my family or watching some World War II movie.  Oh, that German accent.  That horrible accent.  The accent of war, of hate, of concentration camps, of slaughter.  If I never heard it again, it would be too soon.  If I were on the subway, and heard a couple of women speaking English with a German accent, I assumed that they were German.  And after hearing that tape, I knew now that my father and his brother and sister, all had German accents.  They sounded exactly like The Enemy.

So maybe those women in the subway were not in fact Nazis?  Maybe the embroidery teacher I had, the one who came from Argentina, the one with the German accent who said she originally came from Switzerland, maybe she wasn't a Nazi either.  Well, I think her parents were, but then again, I had relatives who emigrated to Argentina, and they had German accents.  Or what about the Danish lady who really sounds German (might be all those gutterals?), was she from Germany?  It makes your head spin.

So maybe an accent doesn't tell you anything at all?  I loved my parents' accents; I loved that they came from somewhere else.  I love hearing accents.  One of the things that I most like about going into New York City, is hearing accents, and then trying to figure out where the people are from.  But do the accents really tell you everything? Could there be stories we know nothing about?  I don't know.  But I will say this:  We are all so fortunate to live in a country of immigrants.  And when you live in the New York metro area, you are doubly blessed.  There are so many people from so many different places that they have to get along. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Happy Birthday, Baby Benjamin Bunny!

You are 4 weeks old today!

Of course, you silly baby, you were born 3 1/2 weeks early, so you were actually due this past Tues.  You were kind of half-baked and very sleepy.

Not any more!  You're wide awake and eating like a little piggy.
Now you look around and check out the world and get fussy, and do all those things that babies do and with expertise.  

How does Gramma know these things?  Skype!

These pics are from 2 weeks ago, but they are all I have, and anyhow, you are so delicious that I can't stop looking at you.
I have a confession to make:  I love babies, and am enchanted with them, but I really really really adore kids as they get older.  BUT, BBB (Baby Benjamin Bunny), you've taken me by surprise.  Who knew I could so totally fall in love with you?

Grammie-hood is the best thing ever!  6 of them, 3 boys & 3 girls.  From 12 - 4 weeks.  What a crew!  What a collection!  The 2 oldest (12 & 10) stay with us for a week or two.  The 8 year old is getting ready for our craziness.  The 7  year old kid is ready for a weekend with us.  The almost-4 year old is sooooo cute.  What a collection!  What a crew!  

Sometimes I toy with the idea of owning or renting an RV, picking up a grand, and then going someplace for a week.  Wouldn't that be fun?

Look at all you have to look forward to, BBB!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Card Tricks

Here's what's on my design floor as of this morning:  Card Tricks.  As usual, I'm doing this with English paper piecing.  Yep, I know, it takes forever and sewing it on the machine would just zip along, but I love this method, and can do it any place and any time and am not dependent on the machine.  It's sort of like knuckle ballers in the baseball world:  we EPP folk love our weird little method.  We're not the norm, but who cares?

Dyeing:  I'm doing a large job for Sock Madness 7.  Three colors to choose from, and priced very very well.  Unfortunately, first class international shipping is going up drastically on Sat, and that affects my international customers.  The rates are doubled, which is just awful.  Domestic is fine as it is.  If you're on Ravelry and are in the SM7 group, you can buy in my Etsy shop.  You know the password for the good price.

Knitting:  Making a baby jacket for the Bunny Child.  No pics yet.  But it's very cute.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

HeLP for Hexie-aholics

I started this just before flying out to meet our little Benjamin Bunny.  It's a variation on Card Trick.  The next block will have the normal center, rather than the solid.  I think I'll alternate them like this.

The lighting is not great.  So it goes.

If you want to see what other Hexie folks are doing, check out Sarah did it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Benjamin Bunny

 Need I say anymore?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Nuts & Bolts! Finished!

My first finished project of 2013.  Finished.  Binding attached, washed, dried, adorable crinkly.  I hope Baby Ben will like it.  As if he has any choice in the matter.

I'm very pleased with how the turquoise binding plays up against the border.  I think it ties it all together.  Kind of sophisticated for a new born, but he doesn't know the difference. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Almost finished

Whoo hoo!  A bit more binding stitching, a good wash and dry, and it is finished!  Done!  Fertrig!

It is, of course, totally wonky.  Never mind The Yarnarian; I'm the Wonkarian.  Cannot sew a straight row on the machine, to say nothing of my goofy hand stitching.  Can't really call it hand quilting, because it's too odd for that.  But, still, I really love this baby quilt.  

I've learned a lot from this quilt.

1.  Next time I hand quilt anything, I have to put in lines to stitch on.  Freeform stitching is kind of wonky.

2.  The Hubz and I got the walking foot to work.  I'm not sure if it did anything, but it walked.

2.  Took the Engineer Hubz and me together to look at MSQ's binding tutorial at least 5 times to understand how the binding tool works.  But now we have it, and my binding was exactly the right size.

3.  I'm never, ever, ever going to make a large bed quilt.  Wrestling this 39" square under the machine to machine quilt the borders was enough.   I have no idea how people can manage large quilts under a regular sewing machine.

4.  I'm going to work on quilt-as-you-go for anything that I start.  I have a few flimsies in varying stages, but except for one of them, none are qayg.  

5.  I really love English paper piecing, and want to do it many many more times.

6.  I'm not interested much in speed; I am a process knitter, and I think also a process quilter.  It's the working on the project that's fun for me.

So today I finish it up and wash it and dry it, and one little baby boy will get a goofy quilt to sleep on, or under or later on maybe make a little tent.

And now what shall I start next?  Yep, I have UFOs, but that's normal for me. 


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Heeeeeere's Mister!

He doesn't resemble anyone I know.  The mystery Mister.  I can't wait to give those cheeks a good smooch, and plant little kissies on top of his head.

The blankie at the bottom was woven by his big sister, and then sewn together. 


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