Thursday, November 9, 2017

Of Recuperation, Thanksgiving Hostility, and EQ8 Quilt Designs

First of all, I am glad to report that Bernie is back home again after five miserable days in the hospital.  His ICD (Implanted Cardiac Defibrillator) is now working to pace (and if necessary, to shock) his heart out of those lethal ventricular rhythms and he's doing well; just a bit stiff and sore from the surgery.  Since I spent most of the last week either in the hospital, driving back and forth from the hospital, or driving kids around, I have no actual sewing projects to show you.  

I did, however, bring my laptop computer to the hospital, and I spent some time working on a couple of quilt designs in my newly upgraded EQ8 software while Bernie was in surgery and recovery:

Variable Block Applique
This is not necessarily a quit that I'm planning to MAKE, mind you -- just an experiment with the Variable Block layout.  Primarily I was interested in familiarizing myself with the new software interface and locating all of my favorite design tools.  But do like the idea of combining traditional applique with modern color schemes and non-traditional layouts, so I may come back to this idea later.  I'm still a long way from finishing my Frankenwhiggish Rose applique project and have no plans to start any new applique until that one is finished.

60 x 80 Charity Quilt
This second quilt is one that I might actually make.  The goal with this one was to make a 60" x 80" charity quilt that would be relatively quick and easy to make, and interesting enough to hold my attention.  (Of course I always think I'm designing something simple, and then it ends up being not simple at all...)  Anyway, this row quilt fits the size parameters for Lutheran World Relief Mission quilts, and features fifteen 12" blocks, three of each kind.  Here are the challenges:
  1. Lutheran World Relief says their Mission quilts are used by recipients primarily for warmth, so my go-to thin cotton battings wouldn't be appropriate for this one.  100% high loft polyester is probably the most practical choice, but I've never quilted with that before and I don't want to mess with raising the height of my presser foot or anything crazy like that.  Those of you who regularly make charity quilts, what do you recommend as far as batting?I don't actually have the fabrics I used in the design of this quilt. 
  2. My husband is likely to be annoyed with me if I buy all new fabric for a charity quilt when I literally have a roomful of fabric that I have bought and never used, but most of my fabric stash is either fat quarters or purchased for a specific project.  Before I could make this quilt, I would have to make as many fabric substitutions as I could from my stash and still would probably need to shop for more fabric.  I have quite a few quilts that I've designed and purchased fabric for, but never actually started -- so I'm really, really hesitant to rush out and buy STILL MORE fabric.  In fact, I really should be on Fabric Shopping Probation until I use up all of the fabric I've already purchased!
  3. I am seriously overextended right now and have no business starting any projects at all -- there is at least an 85% chance that I would buy the fabrics I needed but never get around to actually making this quilt.  At least not as a Thanksgiving project, like I had in mind.  I probably wouldn't even get to this until next Spring.  Who am I kidding?  That fabric could be stashed under my cutting table for 5 years without ever seeing the light of day.  I get stressed out over the meal preparation for Thanksgiving every year, and now I want to add a charity quilt project on top of everything else?!
Which brings me to my next topic: we in the United States will be celebrating Thanksgiving two weeks from today, and I'm feeling slightly hostile about it.  I've been reevaluating our family traditions (to the chagrin of my husband, who wants the SAME EXACT MEAL EVERY SINGLE YEAR): Roasted turkey with vast quantities of rich, high-carb side dishes and desserts that require weeks of preparation, hours of cleanup, and put us all into a food coma afterwards.  This "traditional" menu makes very little sense historically, since potatoes were not yet cultivated in North America at the time of the first Thanksgiving.  The Pilgrims had not yet built any ovens for baking, and they had completely run out of sugar so there were no desserts and no sugary cranberry sauces, either.  According to one source, the First Thanksgiving included venison, lobster, deer, swans, corn porridge, and seals on the menu.  Fascinated as I was by this bit of trivia, I shared it with my husband.  His response?  "You want me to CLUB A BABY SEAL for our Thanksgiving dinner?!"  

Seals and Swans for Thanksgiving Dinner?
But SERIOUSLY -- Since we're especially thankful for our good health and beating hearts this year, shouldn't we rein in some of that culinary excess and serve a lighter, healthier menu that doesn't require so much work?  Because how, exactly, does stuffing ourselves with carbohydrates and giving ourselves indigestion reflect a thankful heart?

What Bernie Wants for Thanksgiving
And so I'm torn.  Part of me wants to skip the next two weeks of meal prep entirely and just order my Thanksgiving meal catered from Dean & DeLuca, focusing my energies on other things (music, exercise, current UFO projects, new charity projects, staying on top of reading for a class I'm taking, Christmas cards and caroling that's about to kick off next weekend)...  But another part of me feels like these holiday memories are a gift that we bequeath to our children, and that makes me feel a strong compulsion to order a raw turkey and start making and freezing vast quantities of squash soup that no one besides Bernie wants to eat.  Because threatening to withhold pumpkin pie from my children if they don't eat their vegetables is a time-honored family tradition.

-- Will Rebecca ever actually MAKE any of the quilts she designs?  Will her family be forced to eat turkey cold cuts and frozen tortellini for Thanksgiving dinner, or will she succumb to the pressure from her recuperating heart patient husband and cook the ridiculously overblown feast everyone is expecting?  Will she eat an entire pumpkin pie by herself for breakfast the next day?  Find out next time...  ;-)

Today I'm linking up with:


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

you must put a lot more effort into Thanksgiving dinner than I ever have! I make the turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes & gravy, a veggie or two & I buy a can of cranberry jelly as only two of us eat it, pumpkin pies and deviled eggs - I make the pies the the eggs the day before, put the turkey in the oven in the morning at sometime and we eat around 1 or 2 - I say try to make things as easy on yourself as you can - think healthy make some substitutes that maybe no one well notice - as you are doing the cooking right - I buy the smallest turkey I can find also as it is only 4 of us and one of us does't eat it! now if other daughter and grandchildren etc are here I buy a larger turkey but the menu stays the same except more of it I add a pecan pie as son in law loves that. So glad Bernie is feeling well enough that he could go hunt down a baby seal :) Quilt designs are pretty

Diane in TX said...

To me, it sounds like time to re-evaluate and simplify. Holiday meals meet a lot of resistance when you try to change them, so I would try to slightly lighten everything and make less of everything too. I make the dressing/stuffing and sweet potatoes for our Thanksgiving, and have very gradually lightened both. The key seems to be small undetectable changes.
It is your holiday too, and over commitment and exhaustion could wreck anyone's holiday.
The quilts are attractive, but your goal was to learn the software, so the actual making can wait until you finish your more important and already started quilts.
Just my 2 cents, good luck.
Congrats on Bernie's successful recovery!
Maybe this is the year to go out for the Thanksgiving meal? Just suggesting.

QuiltShopGal said...

I'm glad to hear Bernie is home. I hope he soon feels 100%. I can't imagine after all the stress you guys have gone thru you are worried about thanksgiving. While I love traditional thanksgivings, I've also learned to adapt. If I had pancakes and good company I'd still be thankful. And, ordering take-out of thanksgiving dinner, or asking attendees to bring a dish is all perfectly acceptable. Just don't sign up for anything that causes unnecessary stress. It is a day to enjoy and be thankful not to stress over traditions.


PS - Due to stress on our side, we're opting for a simple BBQ Thanksgiving dinner of ribs and a simple salad. Not traditional, but works for us and we'll still be thankful.

Jenny K. Lyon said...

1. The Variable block design is fabulous-I hope to vicariously enjoy seeing you make it!
2. There is something wrong with buying fabric you will not use when your stash at home is chock full overflowing? I missed that memo.
3. Thanksgiving-that's a tough one because it is bad form to not please a Hubby who is recovering from surgery. BUT, about 20 years ago I realized that no one really liked the "traditional" meal and it was a slog to cook. So we went through a beef fondue period, about 7 years until I realized the oil went into the air and covered the house. We now do a raclette and have never looked back. Easy peasy, each person makes their own and chooses their sauces, it's delicious and it's easy.
4. No sweat, there are still opportunities to argue over trivia about the meal, best sauce, etc. I do make "traditional" deserts: pumpkin and cherry pie. Not that you need to do the same, just saying that a "non-traditional" meal, something special that your family loves, could be a winner.

Lane said...

Laughing aloud at my desk right now. We have a traditional menu that I make every year. I’m so tired of it but it’s tradition.

What if you take the fabric for a quilt you probably won’t make and use it for your donation project? BTW, took a pic of that project as I can think of a ton of different ways to make that one pattern into great donation quilts. Imitation is the highest form of flattery after all.

Glad Bernie is home and on the mend. What if he cooked thanksgiving this year? I can hear my family laughing at the mere suggestion of such a thing.


JustGail said...

I too missed the memo about no new fabric for projects if there's already fabrics that could work in the stash.

Since I'm the one that does the cooking, and since the in-laws are passed and no more big family gatherings on that side (very small ones if at all on my side), my changes have been
- no more whole turkey, I roast (or grill) several thighs (our favorite part) I still make the dressing & gravy though.
- no more sweet potato casserole, I make roasted sweet potato with just a touch of salt & chili powder
- the chocolate pie is on special request only, and it darned well better be eaten by someone besides me.
- everything else is on whatever whim I have the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

I'm glad Bernie is on the mend.

Shelina (formerly known as Shasta) said...

I have a strong feeling you are going to make a big meal. My suggestion is to be more stealthy with the change in the menu. Use yogurt instead of butter to marinate the turkey (it is just as good if not better). Make a turkey breast instead of the whole turkey. Make some extra vegetables. Do easier things - like roasted vegetables, fresh fruit, etc. I know I had a misconception that the better things are the harder things, but have learned that the tried and true recipes, and the easy things are much better for everyone and healthier and tastier too.

Our family does a potluck for every gathering and Thanksgiving is no exception. Usually the host/hostess does not have to bring the food since they have to clean/setup/decorate. One person doesn't have to do everything!

Judy Hansen said...

Will she eat an entire pumpkin pie for breakfast the day after? that sounds like a plan to me. I shall make an extra pumpkin pie just in case I feel like having it for breakfast the next morning. I loved your blog post.....I'm one of the ones that loves to make the traditional menu for Thanksgiving - same dishes every year makes me happy.

I love the baby blocks/applique design you did in Electric Quilt. I would love to see that quilt made. Thanks for linking with Design Wall Monday. Judy