>> Friday, January 28, 2011

I love this quilt. Now that it's finished. As previously noted, using 1.5" strips produces a wonderful visual effect alongside a harried mind. Luckily I had more strips than necessary so the blocks that didn't quite fit together made their way to the recycling trash bin without too much worry or pain. I thought about making some "not-quite-perfect" coasters but I realized they made my eyes hurt. So I spared my eyes at the cost of a touch of fabric. In a few cases, I ripped out the seams to use the scraps in the border. Recycling thus occurred, and my green sensibilities felt better.

I just love looking at the quilt, with the deep chocolate brown and Arcadia prints twisting and turning all over. As you can see, I opted for a mix of straight line quilting, along the diagonals and along the vertical seams (which look diagonal in the picture above).

The back shows off the quilting well. It has two rows of Arcadia charm squares amidst a cocoa sea. The quilt crinkled up really well in the dryer, and it should have arrived in Stamford, CT today. I should have mailed this about a month ago, at which point it was still 6 or so weeks late. Late only if one believes in giving baby gifts that coincide with an actual birth which, for me, is more of an aspiration than a reality. As a friend reminded me, however, no kid is going to outgrow a quilt in a few weeks or even a few months. It should take Ezra Noam -- a name I really like, by the by -- at least a few years.

{Warning: Unintended Post Office tangent ahead. Read at your own risk.}

My new local post office did not extend a welcoming hand when I went to mail the quilt this week. I am well aware that the USPS faces severe deficits, and I really try to support the postal service. I think, on the whole, it does pretty well. But let me suggest that persnickety enforcement of "rules" does not help increase business. I packed the quilt in a flat-rate envelope. I fully admit that stuffing a quilt into said envelope makes it thick. But I could close the envelope on its own and didn't even add tape as I often do. The postal worker deemed it "manipulated" and thus unfit for the flat-rate because it was thicker than 1/2".

Yet the postal service website says, "When sealing a Flat Rate Box or Flat Rate Envelope, the container flaps must be able to close within the normal folds. Tape may be applied to the flaps and seams to reinforce the container; provided the design of the container is not enlarged by opening the sides and the container is not reconstructed in any way." I should have taken a picture, but this envelope was "closed with the normal folds," not "enlarged by opening the side." and was not reconstructed in any way. Moreover, I've sent many a package like this before with no trouble whatsoever. And had I paid for the mailing online or at a self-service kiosk, it wouldn't have been an issue.

What bothers me most about this situation is not that the worker made an assessment or cited a rule, but that the assessment and citation didn't actually flow from the most-available posting of the policy. If there is a new rule in place that says FREs can only be 1/2" thick -- which would be a terrible rule, in my opinion -- then that rule ought to be on the website for all to see. But it's not.

To wit, I'm well aware I am not the only person who has faced this problem. I've heard that some small fabric businesses are facing this as well -- a good fabric shop can fit 7-8 yards in a flat-rate envelope and still close it. It's thick, but it's closed. But some post offices are refusing these packages and applying an arbitrary-in-that-it's-not-posted-publicly policy of 1/2" (or so) thickness only. And I'll spare you my consternation with the obnoxious enforcement of the post office's "all credit cards must be signed" (that is, no "check ID" allowed) policy.

I didn't mean to use this post to vent, but I did. I will end with this point: blaming my packages for the postal service deficit is not exactly going to endear me to the USPS, though I will continue to use the postal service because I believe in the importance of a postal system that is accessible to all, no matter where one lives. But perhaps the Postmaster General would like to clarify the FRE thickness issue -- and I suggest adhering to the "if it can be closed, it counts" method.


Anonymous January 29, 2011 at 7:35 PM  

This is one of my most favorite quilts that you have ever made. I really, really love it. The colors, the shapes, the quilting, every aspect of it.

Ezra Noam is one lucky recipient!


Anonymous January 30, 2011 at 9:42 AM  

I love this quilt. The colors are wonderful. It's so cute and tiny. I am, leaning toward making it in Dream on with gray or maybe pink. How big did it turn out to be?

Little Ezra & his family will certainly enjoy such a beautiful quilt.

(for some reason I couldn't get blogger comment to work, so I had to post anonymous, which I am to you so its OK)

two hippos January 30, 2011 at 10:03 AM  

Thanks! In terms of size, I *think* it ended up being about 38"x44" or something pretty close to that. I bet it would look great with Dream On.

Anonymous February 9, 2011 at 1:01 PM  

I think this quilt is absolutely lovely! I especially love the tiny snippets of unexpected color in the Arcadia prints.

And to further indulge in post office tangents and rants, I have more than a few. The last time I mailed a fat quarter they told me I couldn't send it First Class because it wasn't a letter thus making it a package (Seriously.) and made me pay Parcel Post shipping which is way more expensive than the invitation stamp I usually use. I've also been told that it is "against the law" to sell individual stamps and that if I want to purchase a stamp I will need to buy a book of them. Like you, I was only agitated because I felt I was following the rules and in both instances my polite questioning of policy was met with accusations of wrongdoing.

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