Friday, June 29, 2012

Fire is a river that runs uphill redux

Eric from Colorado sends this item:
...and when it gets to the top of the hill, it stops (usually)

Boulder's Flagstaff Fire - Timelapse from Dustin Henderlong on Vimeo.

In the linked video, you can see time lapse photography from about an hour after the fire started until about 2 days later. The fire covers 1.5 miles over ground in the first few hours (you can't see this in the video, but you see the huge burst of smoke pouring over the ridge line) then, just as the fire crests the ridge that runs  north and south from the peak of Bear Mountain, it grinds to a halt. In the next 36 hours, it basically only advances a few hundred yards downhill.  

[...] at the peak of Bear Mountain, the vegetation is pretty thin, mostly rock.  That, plus the difficulty of going downhill, makes a very nice fire break. Today, we could see plumes of smoke on the slopes just east of Bear peak, but they were only from backfires lit to clean up patches of vegetation that represented possible leaks in the firebreak that the fire created for itself when it stalled coming over the ridge.

Read the original Fire is a river that runs uphill post.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Whale Story

The stuff diet is complicated.

Iris found this stuffed whale in a recent toy roundup. I thought it would make a fine starting point for another read me a quilt. Unbelievably, I didn't have any whale fabric in my stash collection and Hancock's of Paducah was offering a free shipping promotion.  Therefore, this whale batik leapt into my virtual shopping cart.

How did a stuff diet lead to purchasing more fabric?
Moreover, the READ part of read me a quilt required a whale-themed book.

How did a stuff diet lead to book shopping?

I couldn't find anything suitable.  Fortunately, a non-quilter that attended our guild's quilt show donated Down to the Sea with Mr Magee to our guild for the program.
Near the end of the book, the whales wave bye-bye with their tails.  A Google image search for whale flukes turned up this iconic image and the quilt designed itself.
I got the idea after lunch one day, found the image, designed the layout and selected fabrics by 3 PM, and finished binding it at 2:30 AM that night.  There was a 2-3 hour break to prepare, eat and clean up dinner, but otherwise the creative fever wouldn't let me quit.

The stuff diet will take forever if I put this much effort into every little stuffed animal.  On the bright side, I only used one yard of newly-purchased fabric and found a good use for yards of fabric, batting and thread cluttering up my sewing room.
  • Finished size 41" by 52.5".
  • Imagery courtesy The Smithsonian Institution. which acknowledged NOAA for exhibit materials.  I infer that the image originated from NOAA.  (In my prior job, I interviewed the NOAA historian and he said that the NOAA photo library is free for public use.  I should send him a link to this post.)
  • 2010 read me a quilt
  • 2011 read me a quilt
  • the first 2012 read me a quilt
  • It had been my habit to make only one read me a quilt per year, but CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) had appealed for more gifts and clothing.  During this recession, they are seeing an increase in children entering the foster care system because of parental drug addiction.  Please consider donating cash and time to help CASA.
  • Is anyone interested in posts about digital object preservation such as my notes from interviews with NOAA and NASA archivists and historians?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hope and Water

Chance of Rain linked to a wonderful podcast of a conversation about water with philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore, essayist Craig Childs and historian William Deverell. She has her favorite outtakes.

I especially like the part near the end of the Q & A session when Moore told a story about one of her graduate students running into her office shouting, "Dr Moore, the only statistically significant thing is hope!"

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Swing District

Our family's last three addresses before this one were in Boulder, Colorado; Berkeley, California and Cambridge, Massachusetts.  You know you live in a swing district when your local precinct is set up for the primary with two stations each for the Democratic and Republican parties and one each for the Green and Libertarian parties.

Monday, June 04, 2012

S.A.B.L.E. Solution

Have you reached S.A.B.L.E. (Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy)?  If so, you are not alone.  The South Bay Quilters' Guild receives hundreds of yards of fabric donations per month from heirs who don't know what to do with their loved ones' fabric stashes.

Quilting fabrics are cut up into 6.5 inch squares and turned into baby quilts.  We make 80 quilts a month, using over 160 yards, and the fabric keeps piling up.  And that's just the quilting fabrics.  The apparel fabrics are separated and sent out to other organizations that teach sewing or sew for charity.

Judging by the quality of the fabrics, our local stashers/fabric collectors have good taste in fabrics.  Here is a trio of quilts I pieced last month from pre-cut kits put together by our community services volunteers.  (Please follow the link and contact them if you would like to help make the quilts or donate materials.  We are swimming in fabric, but always need more batting and good quality thread.)

Surfing themes are popular by the beach.

 Making these quilts is like fabric archeology; the fabrics span different eras and styles.   Check out the mix of 1960s and 1970s orange prints, mixed with today's Indonesian batiks and machine-printed fabric made to mimic the mottled look of hand dyes.

Occasionally, the pre-cut kits come with extra scraps to use for the backings.  I pull scraps from my scrap bin and piece coordinating quilt backs for those.

I hope my heirs don't have to contend with my stash.  I plan to use up all my fabric.  Which means I either have to live a long, long, long time, I have to sew faster, or I need to collect fewer fabrics.  ;-)

Most of us who are already sewing and collecting fabric have been over-consuming--purchasing more fabric than we can sew.  We can't afford the space to collect more fabric, yet we can't afford to let the remaining shops go out of business.  (In our local area, we have already lost the nationally famous Treadle Art and Florence Fabrics stores, regionally famous The Cotton Shop, and the excellent Luella's and Sew Fun quilt shops.)

The only thing to do is to spread the sewing and fabric buying habit among more participants.  Does that make me a fabric proselytizer or a pusher?