Tuesday, March 3, 2015

"Matryoshki" Quilt Finish!

I began this quilt over a year ago using a pattern called "Bella Babushka" by Cinderberry Stitches.  Completing other projects in between, I finished this one the last day of February 2015.

You can see the beginnings and progress of my piecing in a post HERE .   

Quilt backings of 108-inches wide make for shorter work ~
love not having to piece it!

I altered the original twin size pattern to create a large queen size with extra borders for extended drape over my thick mattress and box springs,

and added an extra row of dolls along with another row of squares.

My friend Alice and I long-armed this one, during the short-lived ice storm. 

(Thank you Alice!)

I chose a leaf and flower design for border to border quilting on the squares,

 and a single daisy for the dolls' tummies.

I did backing-turned binding and machine stitched it.  Was thrilled to find this stitch pattern on the new Janome!

I've named my quilt the proper (plural) word for Russian stacking dolls...

and we shall sleep cozily under while dreaming of our years in Russia, and the life-long friends we made there.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Pandora's Vox

During most of December, every day I had Pandora playing one of the Christmas stations of choice.  I enjoy the carols and the classics, but one song in particular intrigued me:  It was an orchestral instrumental with a hauntingly sweet melody.  
I wondered what it was but never caught the title, and snippets of the tune would play in my head day after day.

The evening before New Years Eve, a tv ad had a song playing while requesting donations.  I recognized the melody and now heard words to the song in question for the first time:

In the Bleak Midwinter
Frosty wind did moan
Earth stood hard as iron
Water like a stone

Snow had fallen, snow on snow
Snow on snow
In the bleak midwinter
Long, long ago

Over thirty years ago, my dear mama did this cross-stitch.

It had adorned her house at Christmas since heck was a pup, and for the last 10 years has graced my holiday door.  I've always loved what the poetry says, and the humble little drummer there.

It turns out, it is the last verse of the song!  How is it I've never known this poem was part of a song?  And how did I never even hear this song?

It has inspired me to return to my music:  Piano, guitar, voice, flute, and to tune my Minstrel's harp, which Mama gave me for my birthday one year.  

I dusted it off and tuned it that very day, even managing to pluck out the song on it.

There are several renowned artists who have recorded the arrangement I refer to, from Susan Boyle to Dan Fogelberg, from Sissel to James Taylor, as well as plenty of choruses and boys' choirs.  Dan, Sissel, and Susan are among my favorite renditions, and it's hard to choose just one to share, as some singers include more verses.  

I do love how things are sometimes revealed multifaceted and with an unrealized history about them.  All along, Mama's handiwork - a stitched short poem - was part of a beautiful song I was unaware of. 

To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. (Ecc.3)   
A new season and a new year, may we all realize a renewed purpose.