Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Sea of Serpents

WARNING! Stylized and colorful representations of snakes below!


I made a quilt. I call it The Sea of Serpents.


Are you afraid of snakes? A lot of people are. One day, I was coming home from a walk and I saw a neighbor at my door. I called out to her, and she turned around and said, breathless, "Oh, Megan! Thank goodness! Is David home?"

"Yeah, he's working from home today."

"Is he scared of snakes?"

Now, I actually have no idea whether David is scared of snakes, but I knew he didn't have time to deal with one, so I told her, "I have no idea but I'm not!"

She told me her husband was out of town and a snake had gotten into their finished basement and she couldn't get it to leave. It had crawled up and into a corner between the fireplace and a wall and nothing she did would make it come down. So I said, okay, let's see what we can do.

But as we were headed over, my neighbor Sam returned from his run and she saw him. Believing, I suppose, that a man was better equipped to brave the big, bad boa in her den than little old me, she appealed to him for help instead and he, despite being terrified of snakes himself, managed to find some sort of long tong-type things and grab the poor little guy (he was quite small) and toss him out into the backyard. There may have been high-pitched squealing, not by me.

Sigh. I really wanted to touch the snake.


There are approximately 2600 species of snakes (that we know of) in the world, and about 400 of those are venomous, or about 15% In the United States, we have about 130 snake species, and 21 of them are venomous, 16%, and these are mainly in the groups of rattlesnakes, coral snakes, water moccasins (also known as cottonmouths), and copperheads.

It is estimated that roughly 5 people per year in the United States die of snake bite. Five. To work my famous math skills again, that's like a fraction of a fraction of a percent. Now there are somewhere in the range of 1000 to 8000 bites from venomous snakes per year, and that's a slightly bigger percentage of the population, like a bigger fraction of a fraction. (Stop me if all my crazy math is too much.) Even if you get bit, you probably won't die, because anti-venom is readily available.

And some people want to kill every snake they see.

The thing is, you have a much greater chance of being hit by lightning or of dying from a bee sting than from a snake bite. Snakes, for the most part, (I can't speak for that one copperhead on my parents' deck that one time—he was looking shifty) aren't sitting around going, WHO CAN I KILL TODAY? Well, they are, but only in a what's-for-lunch sort of way, not in a murder-murder-kill sort of way. They're not legless psychopaths.


It's very easy to be afraid of every single snake that exists just because a very small number of them will bite you if they think you will do them harm. But we are human. We have consciousness and reason, and we have the capability of ameliorating our own fears through understanding.

But most of all, if they are not all out to get us (and they aren't), and if they are not a vital food source for us (you can eat snake, but not many do), then I say, let them live. Better yet, let's learn to appreciate them. They really are quite beautiful.

Especially in quilty form.


The Sea of Serpents is an appliqué quilt of my own design. The beautiful longarm quilting was done by Amy Helton, whom you can find on Instagram as @longarmyogigal. I am working on a little story that goes along with it and you may not like it. It's not even remotely funny. But when I am done with it I will link to it.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

It will.



The comedy gods smiled upon me today.

One of our toilets started running and the plumber came this morning. He's been here before and is a pretty affable guy. He rooted around in the tank for a while, and seemed to have fixed the problem, but he kept standing there looking at it and shaking his head ruefully.

"Problem?" I asked.

"How long have you had this toilet?"

"Um, we've lived here 8 years—I have no idea how long it was here before that."

He sighed. "Do you have issues with it? Like, you know, stuff not going down?"

"Oh yeah, all the time."

"Well, technically, it's fixed, but I've gotta tell you—you've got an inadequate flapper."

Dear Reader, I lost it. Just cracked up. And if you know me, you know that I'm actually quite shy in real life and I don't joke around with people I don't know. But I couldn't help myself.

"Dude! I can't believe you just called my flapper inadequate. That's a hell of a thing to say to a lady. Didn't your momma raise you better?"

Now he's laughing, but trying to explain why this particular brand and model toilet sucks, and what we should get instead if we ever need to replace it, but all I can do is think about the phrase "inadequate flapper." Finally, he leaves and tells me to have a real nice day.

"I will! Well, you know, as much as I can with an inadequate flapper." I watch him laugh and shake his head at the strange lady as he walks back out to his truck.

I tell you all this just to warn you that this phrase may pop up again here and there.

"Dammit, my machine isn't working right." "Yeah, it's probably an inadequate flapper."

"When you're paper piecing, shorten your stitch length and make sure your flapper is nice and adequate."

"Did you hear about the 20s-era woman who couldn't make it as a party girl? She was just an inadequate flapper."

And, of course:

"Thanks for the unsolicited dick pic, dude, but it looks to me like you've got yourself an inadequate flapper there."

So, now you have been duly warned. And you'll know what the hell I'm talking about if it comes up again.

Which it will.

Oh, yes. It will.



Thursday, January 5, 2017

At least the bunnies are on fire

Note: I wrote this right after spring Quilt Market LAST YEAR then tucked it away in the drafts folder. My drafts folder is strange place where posts disappear for awhile, then pop up again months later, asking, "Why have you never published me?" Well, I'm publishing you now, little bunny post.


Remember back in my April Fool's post when I said the next animal trend in quilt fabric would be bunnies?

I WASN'T KIDDING.

Behold:

House of Hoppington - Violet Craft for Michael Miller


Luna Sol - Felice Regina for Windham


Nightfall - Maureen Cracknell for Art Gallery


Dutch Treat - Betz White for Riley Blake
(okay, it's mostly birds - but the bunnies are in there!)


Thicket — Gingiber for Moda

Wonderland - Melissa Mortenson for Riley Blake

Slow and Steady - Tula Pink for Free Spirit

I've been scouring all the photos coming out of Quilt Market this past week (plus, I pay attention in general so I knew about a few of these already) to document all the bunny fabrics I could find that are debuting there. Obviously, I was not disappointed. And for all I know, there are more that I just haven't found yet.

Now, before everybody starts hippity hopping up my butt about this—I like bunnies just fine. I'm not saying you can't like bunnies. I mean, they're super cute. They're also poop factories with weird pee, but if that's your thing, I ain't judgin'. You can bunny up all your shiz and I will not say ye nay. And all of these fabrics are really quite lovely. I will most likely be getting some of them myself (those first two kinda rock and just the colors on the second one make me swoon). No, this isn't about me rolling my eyes and going, "Ugh, bunnies, amirite?" This is about one thing. I just want to know, I STILL want to know:

Is there a secret mystery society—a shadowy cabal, if you will—that decides these things? Are there confidential, closed-door meetings where cigars are smoked and whiskey is imbibed and money changes hands in locked briefcases? Is the Next Animal Trend in Quilt Fabric decided via some sort of sinister lottery, or maybe even just by the roll of a solid gold die on the naked belly of a high-priced escort? And then how does the decision about The Final Animal make its way down to the designers themselves? Are all fabric designers given a special phone, one not to be used for any other purpose, that only rings when it is time to be told The Sacred Creature? Or does it happen via subliminal messages, with images of The Chosen Beast placed seemingly at random in the designers' everyday worlds until they are each inspired, nay—COMPELLED to recreate it in quilt cotton? 

Or maybe they all have alien implants. Somebody should check that.

Now I understand that trends are trendy for a reason. I don't necessarily know what that reason is, mind you, just that in some psycho-sociological study out there I am sure one has been posited. It probably has something to do with feelings of familiarity combined with wanting to feel like a part of a special group combined with apparent novelty plus not wanting to miss out on stuff. Or something. Plus, if it looks like the quilt fabric-consuming public is eating up the rabbits with a spoon, so to speak, then more manufacturers are going to want to get on that—which is why we'll probably see even MORE fluffy bun-buns next year. It's just that, being the curious and cynical sort, I'm truly fascinated by watching the process unfold. I noted the deer trend only after it had already reached Peak Antler, so I didn't really get to see how and when it started. I didn't know, and couldn't really deduce, if it sprang from one line, one designer, or if, as may be the case here, there was a moment when several people had similar ideas at roughly the same time. Now I have a chance to see if this is truly the beginning of a major cottontail happening—if these rabbits will reproduce like, well, rabbits—and you can rest assured that I will be reporting periodically on this story as it develops.

For Incredibly Unimportant News Network, I'm Megan D. Good night, and good wabbit hunting.





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