Ring Out, Wild Bells


Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

 Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Every New Year’s this poem, In Memoriam,  by Lord Alfred Tennyson, has been recited in Sweden to welcome in the new year.  It’s one of my favorite hymns, not only because of the arrangement (the Marsdon tune, arramged by Crawford Gates in an especially riveting D-minor key, which gives it a haunting quality) but mainly because the last stanza urges us to “Ring in the . . . larger heart, the kindlier hand,” among other things.  And while I could say that the wording might be reversed, giving us “kindlier heart and larger hand” and that would give us more chances to do quilting, I think I’ll leave it well enough alone and hope for what Tennyson wrote.


Yesterday I just finished the quilt I started one year ago.  This is a terrible, horrible blurry picture, but you get the drift.  That’s what happens when you finish up late at night, and the pin wall has all sorts of other things pinned around the edges.  Better pictures are coming.  The fabric is Countdown to Christmas by Sweetwater, and the pattern is by Angela and found on Moda Bake Shop. Since the stars and I went several rounds before I finally was declared the victor, and because I think they look beyond wonky in some blocks, I’ve been thinking about the book Star Mother’s Youngest Child, a delightful story of how a wonderfully ugly little child comes down to earth to see what Christmas is all about, and ends up sharing the hearth with a grumpy old woman (which I certainly was at one point in this quilt’s construction).  It’s okay that nobody but me will know what it means, but I like that title: Star Mother’s Youngest Child.

I’m at the point of deciding whether to just piece up the extras for the back, or to take the last steps and make the shams that could go with this so as to decorate the guest room for the holidays.  I’ll just make up two star blocks, for they measure 16″ and then border them and call it a day.  It IS New Year’s Eve tomorrow, and I don’t have much on the schedule, so why not?


This is the stack from IKEA that I finally got washed up and ironed (yes, I’m one of those), excepting the bottom red/white snowflake fabric, which I bought on my way home from Utah in a bookstore that also carried fabric.  How great is that?  Forget coffee. Give me books and fabric and I’m happy.  But that red snowflake fabric  is destined to back the wonky snowman quilt I started LAST November, which is the next to go up on the pin wall, while I can still listen to Christmas carols and before the urge to clean out closets creeps in with the New Year.

closets(Self portrait)

I’m too old for resolutions, but I try to put down some things that have me looking forward, for that is where the future is.  One is our newest theme for Four-in-Art: trees.  I took lots of photos of snowy trees while in Utah, and here’s a photo that my husband snapped of me in a lull in my photo-snapping.

ESE SnowyDay

But the one tree I remember was by the side of the highway while I was driving up north, covered in glittery frost and standing completely out in a field, all by itself.  I did see snowy trees on the way home, but most were obliterated by a huge snowstorm which had me sitting up straight in the driver’s seat, clenching the steering wheel, praying that the semi-trucks would stay in their tracks and I could stay in mine.  I don’t know how the folks do it who live in snowy climes–you have my admiration.

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Another bright spot is the Mid-Century Modern Bee.  All of us Mid-Century Modern quilters are gathered together by Cindy, of Live a Colorful Life.  She and I had fun creating the logo together when she visited in November, and I look forward to participating with such a distinguished group of quilters.

I don’t know what this New Year will hold.  Certainly the Mayan calendar is going to go for another round of days, so I guess we should too.  I hope to add to my 200 Quilts list, with another quilt just back from the quilter and awaiting the binding, then the documentation onto the list. I hope to write more, both on this blog and others that I maintain, to teach well in the classroom, to read some books, and attend some quilting conferences (next up is Road to California, with its emphasis on glitter and crystals (not a fan), but hopefully I’ll find one or two that I love).

I hope that you are gathering some bright spots together in your future, and that we are all able, like Tennyson, to “Ring in the . . . larger heart, the kindlier hand.” Happy New Year of Quilting!

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