Monday, November 30, 2009

Pink Gloves Dance

Watch this fabulous YouTube video from the staff of Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Portland Oregon. It features 200 staff members...everybody from nurses, to cafeteria workers, to sanitation patrol to securty. With the help of Emily MacInnes Somers, who created the idea, choreographed and then directed Pink Glove Dance it promotes Breast Cancer Awareness through the use of pink gloves....a new color for hospital supply company Medline.

A friend mailed me the video link (thanks, Sue!) and I couldn't believe that there were this many wonderfully entertaining dancers in one hospital!

As the Huffington Post wrote:

There are lots of ways people decide to promote awareness of breast cancer: by wearing little ribbon pins, buying sponsored pink products, doing a run/walk with friends. But this one is new to us -- The entire staff of the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Ore. donned pink gloves and recorded a dance to Jay Sean's "Down." Then they posted it on YouTube to the delight of anyone who secretly hopes that working at a hospital is exactly like an episode of "Scrubs."

And yes, Medline is absolutely donating a portion of all sales of its pink gloves to promote Breast Cancer Awareness. No, it is not true as it states in the viral emails that they will donate a huge amount of money went Youtube gets 1 million hits on the video. That is another one of those viral email urban myths that gets spread from friend to friend. But yes, indeed, money is being donated with every pair purchased! And even better, the video is opening eyes and hearts in a brand new way.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black, Red, Blue, and Spotted Friday

In the United States, the term Black Friday refers to the day after Thanksgiving and the first 'official' shopping day for the Christmas season. The day was originally so named because of the heavy traffic on that day, when all one could see was massive amounts of shoppers in stores, and cars on highways. And to the referencing of the beginning of the period in which retailers are "in the black "(i.e., turning a profit) as opposed to "in the red", when they are not.

Long gone are the wonderful days of running into long lost friends in endless shopping aisles clutching my 50 pairs of half-price socks, and towering stacks of half price towel sets, bathrobes, slippers and of course, my free cup of coffee and donut! My crazy days of guerilla shopping as a crazed bag lady have transformed into manic and maniacal quilter, instead!

Now, it's relaxing in my bathrobe and jammies with my own endless cups of coffee, breaks to check out the 150 blogs on my favorites list ;) and lots and lots of sewing. I've been up since 2 a.m. (yes, still crazed and crazy) reading blogs and working on projects...and no I don't go to bed early...I just don't sleep!

a little teddy quilt, made from the tiniest of leftover scraps from Howdy, Pardner! and Heart Felt Wishes for Comfort and Care .

I've been gifted with an abundance of cow, cowboy, and cowgirl fabrics from many different sources, lately. And after a childhood spent growing up on an island in Alaska, and never even seeing a horse, much less cows and cowboys and girls, I was asked repeatedly in my 20's while in college (here in Oregon) if I was 'so and so... a rodeo princess'. I found it absolutely hilarious and never did meet my rodeo twin.

I figure an alternate reality persona must have finally had the chance to emerge. Howdy to all!... on this black, red, and spotted 'Black Friday'!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

We Give Thanks

During a time, when America was in turmoil, when citizens doubted the abilities of their President, and when hope for a brighter future was fading...our President, Abraham Lincoln...issued a proclamation and began the American tradition of the official holiday known as 'Thanksgiving.'



"The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October, A.D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth."

(proclaimed, decreed and signed by ABRAHAM LINCOLN)

Lincoln's original 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation came - spiritually speaking - at a pivotal point in his life. During the first week of July of that year, the Battle of Gettysburg occurred, resulting in the loss of some 60,000 American lives. Four months later in November, Lincoln delivered his famous "Gettsysburg Address." It was while Lincoln was walking among the thousands of graves there at Gettysburg that he committed to life as a man of faith. As he explained to a friend:

"When I left Springfield [to assume the Presidency] I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ."

As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving each year,we hope they will retain the original gratefulness to God displayed by the Pilgrims and many other founding fathers , and remember that it is to those early and courageous Pilgrims that they owe not only the traditional Thanksgiving holiday but also the concepts of self-government, the "hard-work" ethic, self-reliant communities, and devout religious faith.

And that instead of complaining, and seeking to destroy and to bring down, that instead, we work together to raise up, bring in the light of unity and understanding, and work together for the common good.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It is in the giving....

.....that I receive.

And each and every one of these small items given forth to another this year, brings me blessings at the mere thought of being able to give to another.

I feel so blessed to have had enough, to be able to give what I could, and to have received so much more back again...tenfold, times ten, and more.

((((( Happiest of Thanksgivings )))))

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Whirlygigs, Whirlygiggles and Scrappy Cartwheels Tutorial

Whirlygiggles have been turning their scrappy little cartwheels across my sewing studio floor, tables, and sewing machine all week long. Also known as Scrappy Cartwheels, the template based quilt block is an oldie but goodie, with a new twist and a slightly different turn.

The carefree term 'whirlygiggles' has actually been around since 2002, but it was used by computer geeks, video game players, and home brew makers for various techniques or concepts as a modern twist on whirlygigs. Used as a twist of the tongue malapropism, it makes for a cute name for an old favorite...a variation of the pinwheel or windmill block, known as the scrappy cartwheel.

In the quilting world, the basic quilting designs for pinwheels, cartwheels, whirlygigs, and their name variation, whirlygiggles, have been around for a long time, as have templates and the much newer strip cutting techniques.

And of course, 'everything old is new again'. So, when whirlygigs and whirlygiggles(aka scrappy cartwheels) made a resurgence in popularity...and just re-purposed into its newer, more liberated version.

Patterns and templates have long been created and used for many versions of pinwheels of all kinds. Our our own mothers and grandmothers had already made quilts from the pattern using cereal box cardboard and pencil drawings for those very same blocks and turned them into beautiful and varied quilts.

Still, the free-wheeling spirit of all of the pinwheel and cartwheel shapes brought in a resurgence of its popularity. And, while credit may have been given many times (for the both the name and the pattern design) just like all of our memes or transmissions of information that mutate as they spread, the cute little whirlygig changed derivation, creation, and accreditation, as it whirled, gigged, and no doubt giggled, through time.

Similar to a basic pinwheel block, but with slanted, unequal fans or blades, it requires either template or pieced cuts, and not just strip cutting and piecing. It's a bit more work, but creates such a fun look that it's almost worth the extra work ;)

My whirlygiggles were made with the traditional template most of you have used, rather than the paper piecing that some have put out this year as an alternate variation to scrappy cartwheels. Using simple cutting and piecing, with a similar, but still different look.

Directions/Photo Tutorial: How to make a pinwheel, scrappy cartwheel, whirlygig, or whirlygiggle quilt:

Step 1. Design
Make a pattern/templates from cardboard or plastic. I made 3" individual sections, 4 of them go into one finished 5" block.

There are four sections to a block. Each section consists of a blade and a background. I used dots versus plain wedges to show the use of contrasting fabric sections. Each section is drawn by making a dissecting line across the mid-line. (see photo above) On one side the dissecting point is 1/4" above the mid-line. On the other side, the dissecting point is 1/4" below the mid-line.

Each segment requires 2 light wedges, and 2 dark wedges. A total of 4 each per block. My 36" quilt required 6 blocks x 6 blocks or 36 blocks. 4 x 36 = 144 lights, 144 darks.
A 42" quilt would require 7 blocks across x 7 blocks down. Repeat the math.

Step 2: Cutting
Rotary or scissor cut 3" strips of both focus (print) and background (dots) fabrics. (Be sure to check quilting assistants for missing pieces.)

Now using your print or focus fabric cut wedges by hand with scissors, from layered strips. I cut 4 at a time, moving wedges down the strip as you cut.

For my quilt I needed a total of 144 light dots, and 144 dark print wedges. Continue to cut all of each set of wedges.

Step 3: Sewing of first segments
Begin sewing one light wedge to one dark wedge on one side as shown. I chain sewed the sets and then snipped the sections apart from the chain and pressed them each open.

Step 4: Sewing of block formation
Once all of the individual wedge sections are finished you then sew sets of two to another set of two as shown. This creates the windmill affect.

Step 5: Trimming and design placement of blocks

Each finished block should be trimmed down evenly. Mine became a 5" block, which were then placed into block formation in preparation for sashing strips around all sides of the block.

Step 6: Add sashings and borders and a backing piece

Sashings are cut and sewed on as for any quilt. Mine are 2 1/2" strips placed both vertically and horizontally to further enhance the spinning effect. I added 3" borders to the sides and later used, a deeper binding seam for stability with the flannel sashing.

Again, check your multiplying quilt assistants for any missing sections!

 My two assistants work as "liberated front freedom fighters".....rather than members of the quilt police.... and not only make quilting more interesting, but keep me working on the forefront of task at hand and not on perfection. That translates to a lot of trouble and extra work with these two quilt loving cats ;)

Step 7: Quilting
I choose to use black crochet cotton and tied my quilt. I wanted that old fashioned soft look and because I loved the look of black on the black and white with brown and gold, I did get what has been called 'little flies' on the back. Mine are tied in the center of each whirlygig. I loved the quirkiness of little black flies with all of my 2 x 2 animals in the whirlygigs.

(I named my quilt 'Shoo Flies, Don't Bother Me' and laughed the whole time I was tying them ;)

Step 8: Binding
 My binding is sewn front over to back, with a naturally mitering corner that is extra deep. A look that I love in old quilts made without rules. Using my 3" binding strips gave me the soft rounded corners I wanted in contrast to the geometric look of the whirlygigs.

To keep the corners rounded without caving in, I simply inserted a small 1" square of batting into each corner to maintain each corner's shape. Add your own homemade label...mine are photo paper transfers I made myself...and you're done! My finished quilt is 47" x 47"of fun.

'Shoo Flies, Don't Bother Me'...a fun, quirky, free-wheeling quilt made entirely from scraps.... cartwheeling and whirlygiggling with great action and soft rounded corners, bringing delight to my quilting assistants and myself...all across my studio floor.

Now, if I can only keep the liberated freedom fighters off the quilt, maybe some little one can play with this quilt and enjoy the fun!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bereavement Quilts

Often, when babies are born far too soon, and don't survive their transition, they are either wrapped in a tiny quilt, or the family is given the opportunity to choose one to bring home with them. ...they become precious mementos of caring and love, extended by a stranger, expressing connection and caring. And if you include plain or very simple fabrics, their precious, names and birth date or messages of love and caring can also be written in by family members showing their own love and support.

Bereavement quilts are usually about 14"-18" and can be simply made from orphan blocks, a simple nine patch quilt or appliqued with a place for messages to be handwritten by the family. Looking barely large enough for any use, they still serve and a fulfill a far deeper purpose and in spite of their tender size, are filled with so many more invisible stitches of love.

Our hospital, here in Salem, has an on-going needs for such tiny quilts, and while that need is not advertised, most hospitals gratefully accept donations of quilts for preemies, babies, or for burial cloths. There are also wonderful patterns available for tiny clothing/wraps that can be made for the littlest ones, either for burial or as a precious memento.

shown above:
Making baby bereavement quilts for the tiniest of the tiniest, meant for the the neo-natal nursery or as blessings for little ones we send off with love and mourn, forever. These two are ready to be donated, and I have three more in progress for next week. Note: many hospitals suggest no batting be used. It makes it so much easier to fold up such a tiny quilt, especially the 12" ones.

Memorial & Mourning Quilts Throughout American History
It's My Heart ( a mother's story of loss)
Blankets of Love
Bereavement Quiltlet
Angel Wrap
Lay on Dress
Lay on Vest and Pants
Fetal Demise Robe

See my very latest post with newest links at:

Michele Bilyeu Quilts With Heart and Hands for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) Join in my Liberated Quilting Challenge...and buy or donate a quilt, today!! We are changing the little quilt at a time.Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join in the Liberated Quilting Challenge and make or donate small art quilts to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) Help us change the world, one little quilt at a time!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Veterans Day: A Day Meant to Honor Peace

Veterans Day wasn’t always “Veterans Day.” It used to be called by another name.

In the year 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the Allies and Germany came together at Rethondes, France, and signed an armistice that ended hostilities on the Western Front.

“The War to End All Wars” was finally over. Roughly 20 million had perished, but the November 11 peace lasted and the soldiers went home.

In the United States and other allied countries, November 11 became an official holiday called Armistice Day as declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. Several years later, an act of Congress made November 11 a federal legal holiday, calling Armistice Day, “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace.”

All around the globe, people embraced the tradition of pausing for two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. on Armistice Day as a tribute to all those who fought in the Great War, as well as to give thanks for peace.

The holiday began to lose its significance in 1939. As Britain and other western countries prepared for the impending war against Germany, it became clear that the “War to End All Wars” would soon need a new name. In some countries, the two-minute Armistice Day silence was moved to the Sunday nearest November 11 to prevent it from interfering with wartime production.

Over 60 million people died in World War II -- the deadliest conflict in human history. In the 1950’s, Armistice Day in the United States was changed to Veterans Day to remember all those that had served. The original language about the holiday being dedicated to ‘world peace’ was dropped.

American novelist Kurt Vonnegut mentioned the holiday in “Breakfast of Champions." As an American WWII veteran and former prisoner of war, he wrote:

“When I was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one and another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind. Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not."

An outspoken humanist and anti-war activist, the establishment of Veterans Day disappointed him. A holiday dedicated to peace and those who fought in the “War to End All Wars” was replaced by a holiday to honor a continually growing population of war veterans. The name ‘Veterans Day’ itself suggests that we will always have living war veterans to honor -- that war will never be eradicated.

On Veterans Day 2009, we find ourselves at war again. I would like to truly honor the memory and the intent of this day. Place take a few minutes...perhaps at 11 am as in tradition or perhaps at 11:11 on today the 11th month and the 11th day to increase by the power of synchronicity......and honor peace.

May the peace we pray for be sent forward to manifest into a universe of peace where Veteran's Day once again honors that original day of complete peace. And pray for nations to be at peace, with soldiers once more come home again.

Be in a place of peace, today, tomorrow, the next day and the day after that...and maybe make and donate a patriotic quilt of comfort. For our veterans, past and present, for our soldiers, of for the dead and wounded at Fort Hood.

Patriotic Heartstrings Quilting Project
Donating a Quilt: Fort Hood

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Donating a Quilt: Fort Hood

Cherri, of Cherry House Quilts, has a son Spc. Luke House, who is the command executive assistant, STB, III Corp, at Fort Hood, who was working on base, when the Ford Hood tragedy killed 12 people and wounded 31.

Cherri has spent her life making sure that others feel loved and included and Cherri is a fabric artist and magician who happens to make quilts. Along with her daughter, Lizzy, they have designed and created the patterns of Cherry House Quilts.

And because she has a big heart, and because her son is at Fort Hood, and because she can quilt, then of course her great big quilter's heart wants to give a quilt to each of the 31 wounded survivors of this terrible tragedy. A number of quilts, in a variety of colors, have already been offered, but she could use a few dozen more as the wounded are divided between three hospitals in the area, and those that didn't survive, have families and lives that they touched, everywhere.

Please visit her at Cherry House Quilts, where I visited via Debi of Debi Quilts, and help these wonderful women by making or donating an already made quilt.