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  • April Gavin

Quilt, The Beatles, + Staying Positive (er, um Negative)

Greetings all,


Back in September during a different catastrophe, I decided to make a new quilt for myself. I began by dyeing several yards of fabric in three different dye pots. The light brown is a concentrated black tea. I drink a lot of black tea so it was easy to save the tea bags. The slightly darker brown-orange is eucalyptus leaves. The high winds back then had knocked down all these branches so collecting lots of leaves was easy. The green fabric - I had read you could get green from apple leaves. The apple tree was done making apples for the year so I had access to a lot of leaves. Don't believe everything you read. I got a dull green that I didn't like so much so I added yellow + blue fiber reactive dyes to the pot. I love the green and wished I had made more or kept better notes for how to get there again.

The printed fabrics were from my stash. The fabric stash doesn't seem so silly now. It took me a few months to figure out how I wanted to piece the fabrics together. That's when the green fabric became precious. Lesson learned - if you're dyeing for a project, have a plan first. Or not, you'll be in the realm of winging it.


Anyone who has ever made a quilt, knows there is a B-side. The B-side to my quilt is random fabrics from my stash that we're too small to do anything else with. Some of the fabric is past dye projects. Some of the fabric I used as book covers and only had a wee bit left. Oddly enough, this took me the longest to decide how to piece together. Yes, it's done in 4" squares so it also took longer to sew.

The actual quilting was done by hand with this lovely, thick thread I purchased at Tinsel Trading Company. It's the kind of place where you leave your debit/credit card at home and only take the cash you're willing to part with. Doing all this by hand took the longest, but was joyful contemplation. I use an 18" quilting hoop which probably meant it took longer than if I had space/could afford a quilting frame.


Initially, I had planned to have this all done by my birthday which is next week. It's done earlier because well, hell, I can't the leave the house.


Some of you know that I have a record player that I love. The analog richness of music through this medium is unparalleled for me. Music over a digital source like a CD or computer just sounds awful - like flat tin striking my ears. It'll do in a pinch, but I'd really rather have music over an analog source.


Earlier this week, I put on an early record of The Beatles - Please, Please Me to be exact. You can tell they were having fun doing this record. Eleven of the tracks were done in a single day from 10am until 10pm usually in a single take. The last of which "Twist + Shout" was done when John's voice was shredded. He pulls it off though and if you listen, it may lift your spirits.


Last post, I was ranting on the big stupid. At the time I knew things could get worse, but not this kind of worse. It's disheartening that many nations are caught on the back foot with this and are running to catch up - including the United States. It's healthy to grieve, but you have to give it a container. There's still all this fantastic stuff happening:


Girls Garage is a Berkeley non-profit that teaches women and girls how to design and build. Their programming is open to girls as young as 9 and they do deep outreach to low-income families and convince funders to pay for it all. They've created a series of online videos to continue their mission.


Gurney Journey is a blog run by artist James Gurney. This is one of the most generous people I subscribe to. The theme of this post is "What we need is here."


May the light continue...



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