A powerless time

After six nights in the dark, my power returned last night. I am immensely grateful that my house escaped the widespread devastation that can be found in my community. I've posted my photos of the devastation and its aftermath to Flickr; I did not seek out damage for photography purposes, but it was everywhere I went. it took a few days to rescue Tenzing from the vet's, thanks to this mess in front of their building:

Shot from my vet's front office parking lot.Lucky house, lucky vet.

['Lucky house, lucky vet']

Tenzing was so panicked and stressed when I was finally able to get him that he'd wet himself, poor thing. I got him home, helped him clean himself up a bit, and then he sulked off to the back of the house for a few hours to calm down and regroup. After that, he was fine, but I can reassure you that he spent most of our powerless time milking his OMFG I Was Stranded At Teh Vet's drama for all it was worth:

Tenzing recovers from his horrible ordeal at the vet's.Traumatized


There was much cuddling, once he calmed down. I had candles and plenty of fabric to cut, so in the evening hours, while both the dark and the curfew were firmly in place, I got to work cutting fabrics for Pentatonic and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, my two insanely complicated quilt projects that I've been putting off for far too long.

Where I've spent my powerless nights - candlelight in my new sewing room, cutting fabric.A dark, quiet workspace

['Pentatonic in Progress']

During the days we had no power, and I had nowhere to go, I opened up the windows to the house -- thank goodness our powerless time was filled with blue skies and fresh breezes! -- and worked in my new sewing room. Cutting, cutting, cutting. I couldn't sew, but I could prepare to do so, and I got plenty done:

No power for days? Screw it. Let's cut quilt pieces.Cutting for Pentatonic

['Cutting for Pentatonic']

Last night, we had our first electrified evening since the storms, and I gave myself a treat. I had hot food! A cold drink! (Okay, I also cleaned out the fridge ... not so yummy.) I sorted through the piles and piles of rhombs I cut for Pentatonic, and started finding sets that worked together. I wanted to try sewing a medallion from Pentatonic, just to see if my custom-made acrylic templates (laser cut via ponoko.com) were as accurate as I hoped. Pentatonic is intentionally simple: two riotously multicolored fabrics plus a white background:

After nearly a week of no power, and much fabric cut, I wanted to test out my new pattern pieces. Pentatonic has sat on the back burner for quite some time, and I think I'm about ready to tackle it.

The quilt: domesticat.net/quilts/pentatonic and the blog post about the tornadoes, and reaching the point of being ready to sew this test: domesticat.net/2011/05/powerless-time

If you are unfamiliar with the pattern, it is part of a Penrose tiling -- and yes, it has fivefold symmetry, instead of the 4-, 6-, or 8-fold symmetry most quilt patterns have. For the two shapes needed to make a Penrose tiling, I had acrylic templates custom laser-cut for me through ponoko.comPerhaps, perhaps, a center star.

['Perhaps, perhaps, a center star.']

I am not fussy-cutting the fabrics, just creating pieces, and sorting them roughly by color. I'll be able to do blue stars, green stars, purple stars, pink stars -- and they'll all have a gentle coherency of color. I'm pleased to see it works when sewn the same way it worked in my head. I've got a long way to go before I'll get to this point, but it is comforting to know that my pattern pieces work as well as I'd hoped. Last night, when I was sewing, I thought back to Penmanship, and thought, "Yep, this feels familiar. It's finicky, but it's just a Penrose. I know how to do this now."

Funny ... I was so sure this needed to have a black background ... and now I'm not sure. I look at this and think about how amazing it would be if the colors flowed evenly instead of being chopped up like this.

It gives me shivers. I'm on to something here.Screenshot on white

['Screenshot on white']


Just a Penrose, she says. Hahahahaha. It's looking gorgeous, and while you obviously made good use of your time, very glad you have power again. (We lost power every five seconds when we lived in Forks and the worst part was always living without plumbing until it came back on. ARGH.)

Electricity felt like such a luxury last night. I was able to work on a quilt repair without straining my eyes, or working near candlelight (HELLO NERVOUS!) -- both good things. I had gotten a simple quilt repair for a friend about 95% done before the giant power failure, and last night I was able to finish it up -- after sunset!

I feel a little guilty posting about Pentatonic, because I know it won't be my full focus for a while, but I wanted a reward for cutting all that damn fabric. Seriously, you can cut a LOT of fabric in six days without electricity... This way, I know my little pattern pieces work the way I envisioned them, and I can leave this little medallion up on the wall to remind myself of this project.

Last Wednesday, my scary moment came when the F4 was barrelling up from Tanner, and the meteorologist's radar track put it splitting the middle between Sparkman High School and Monrovia Middle School. That's ... uh ... my house. I closed the closet door, put a pillow over my head, muttered, "Well, shit, I've had a good run..." and asked myself one question:

"Any regrets?"

I thought of Pentatonic and Seven Brides: "I should have finished those. I wanted to prove they could be done."

Ah, clarity...

Heeeeee!! Yay for new quilt :D :D :D

So is that machine pieced, or English paper piecing, or what?

Machine. A Penrose would actually lend itself pretty well to EPP, since there are just the two shapes. I've never been brave enough to try paper piecing, though.

How do I find more out about this?

I've got full, permanent info up at http://domesticat.net/quilts/penrose with links on places to get pieces (either plastic templates or EPP)