The Lily Pad: The Journal of White Lotus Quilting


Powerless in Seattle

Posted in Quilts,Sheltie staff by whitelotusquilting on December 19, 2006
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Snow Frosted Penny
Okay so this isn’t really a story about a snow-flecked dog returning to the warmth from the cold outside — but it’s not so different.  I’m about as graceful as my dog without the heat and light (and hot water) that power provides.  And that’s an uncomfortable if not inconvenient truth.

The recent wind storm knocked out a feeder line to our island, and the whole place, even our little downtown district, went dark.  And cold, very cold.  The first night was a little romantic, and even though I wasn’t able to work on my sewing machines, I was able to knit by warm yellow candlelight.

By the next day I was missing hot water and followed my husband to work like the proverbial lamb that followed Mary to school.  I took a shower and felt human (ewe-man?) again.  The second night was more difficult.  We have only a fireplace for heat and frankly more of the heat goes up the chimney than in the house.  So we shivered under piles of wool blankets, got very little sleep, and went back into my husband’s work on the weekend for heat and hot showers.

And found a hotel for the third night.  One that would take four dogs and had power.  I never thought a warm room would feel so good (or that there could be so much dog breath in such a small enclosed space).  Or that so many other power-less people would be our companions in the other rooms of the very full hotel.

I became, suddenly, uncomfortably aware of the dependency we have as a family on our power, our heat, our light, our Internet provider (they were out of power too), our cell phones.  You can’t charge what you can’t plug in, eh?  And my heart opened for the people who suffer day in and out on the streets, homeless, their warm rooms and hot showers rare occurrences to be treasured.

Maybe it’s because of the coincidence of working on Kendra’s “Global Warming” quilt , but it also made me more determined to become carbon emissions neutral as a family, and to find a way to wean us off the power grid, one appliance (or sewing machine?) at a time, so there is more for everyone to share.  Hope you’re feeling power-ful, warm, safe, healthy, happy and at ease this holiday season.  And make sure you have enough batteries, flashlights, and well, of course, dog kibble.

The invisible woman

Posted in Quilts,vintage by whitelotusquilting on December 4, 2006
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Anne Chinnery Brady & Frank Brady ca. 1934

There’s a current TV commercial that captures how I have sometimes felt as a wife and a mother: invisible.  In the commercial, an invisible force moves a child back away from the television; it changes a diaper, it moves folded clean wash upstairs; it magically finds a sock that a husband can’t seem to place.  The invisible, all-knowing, all-powerful force.

For what an amazing and powerful influence mothers and grandmothers have over our lives, it is astonishing that more of us don’t know their names.  For artist Kendra Allen, this became particularly poignant as she worked on gathering information for her grandmother’s names quilt.  The quilt top itself she won at a raffle at a local quilting guild; perfect in its imperfections she wanted the quilting to capture a forgotten era.  So she quizzed people for their grandmother’s names, surprised and saddened by the number of people who could not answer her question.  After she commissioned me to quilt the top I joined her in the quest for names of our older generation, names that helped build a nation.  I, too, was shocked by how many people simply don’t know who their grandmothers were.

So how is it that we don’t know?  How can we forget, or worse yet, not notice, the contributions of women without whom we would not — could not — be here?  That seems a tragedy of the worst kind.

Since my own grandmother Anne Chinnery Brady recently died in September, I’ve been thinking about ways to remember her and honor the impact she had on me.  Her photo above, taken with her husband to be around 1934, reminds me of the optimism and innocence each of us begins with on the path of marriage and motherhood, before she had five children, two of which died before she did, and before her husband could die young, before seeing any of his grandchildren.  Anne (born Anna) taught me to sew and knit and passed on her love of the textile arts, and I am deeply grateful for that.  Every time I teach someone else, I am passing her gift forward.

Glance at Kendra’s quilt in the finished quilts gallery on this web site.  Think about your own grandmothers and what an impact they had on you.  And leave your mark on your family and friends — don’t be content to remain invisible.