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Sunday, April 6, 2014

DWM: quilt in progress

As I wrote last Sunday, this week was very busy indeed.  I had a Woman's Club committee dinner Monday, P.E.O. birthday potluck Tuesday, quilt guild Wednesday evening, our Rotary Club's 15th anniversary breakfast Thursday (at the library, which meant I needed to be there at 6:15 a.m. to let the caterer in), and a book talk Thursday (see previous post). The library's annual in-service day was Friday. The Zion-Benton Leadership Summit breakfast was Saturday morning, followed by the library's first BAM! celebration (that's Books, Authors, and More).

The quilt guild program on Wednesday was given by Patricia Simmons and her father from Quilter's Rule in Watertown, Wisconsin.  They make molded rulers, acrylic templates, and silk-screened cutting mats. They also silk-screen acrylic rulers for other designers.  Patricia showed photos from the factory: the molds, the styrene pellets, the screens, and the finishing.  It was very interesting!  She also showed how to use the templates to create quilting designs.

In and around all of these activities I made time to sew. (I am listening to Americanah, a novel by Chiminanda Ngozi Adichie, to review for Library Journal. It is long but very interesting.)

When I posted the initial photo of my version of Sundays at the Lake I wrote that I was combing my batik stash for medium-to-dark blues for the 5" squares that separate the 9-patch blocks.  I didn't have much.  My self-imposed limit is that I am not going to buy any fabric during Lent. Well, I got all the 9-patch blocks made.  I tried a few 5" blue squares. They were awfully dark.  Then I tried another color entirely.  I didn't have quite enough of the twisty flying geese batik print, but I thad another in very similar colors.  The setting triangles are another fabric.  (I think I'll have to give it a different name, though....Sundays at the Volcano?

dark blue pulls it down
as pictured in the book

I am grateful to Wanda Hansen for the inspiration.  You can see her beautiful quilts, many made from batiks, at her blog, Exuberant Color .

I'm linking up with other quiltmakers at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Book talk: spring, 2014

For the past five years or so I have given a book talk for the Women's Club of Our Lady of Humility , the Roman Catholic church in our community.  At first I look forward to it, then I groan as I read-with-a-purpose (that purpose being reading books that will be suitable for booktalking), then I'm frantic ("what am I going to say?").   Then it's the first Thursday of April and time for my presentation.  Invariably all goes well!  In fact, I'm very flattered when club members say how much they look forward to the program.  One woman commented, "You know, we own a tax service so this is our busy season.  I left a dozen returns on my desk and told my husband I'm taking the night off to hear your book talk."

Here are the books on my spring list.  I hope some of them appeal to you, too!
A Wilder Rose, by Susan Witting Albert. (Reviewed in this post)  The story of Rose Wilder Lane and her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Parlor Games, by Maryka Biaggio.  The Pinkerton Agency considered May Dugas "the most dangerous woman in the world." As she tells her story she tries to gain your sympathy, too. 

On the Rocks, by Sue Hallgarth. (Reviewed in this post)  Willa Cather and Edith Lewis solve a murder on Grand Manan Island.

Under the Wide and Starry Sky, by Nancy Horan.  The story of Fanny Osbourne and Robert Louis Stevenson, by the author of Loving Frank.

The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd.  Abolitionist Sarah Grimke and her servant (slave) Hetty.

A Circle of Wives, by Alice LaPlante.   When a prominent surgeon dies in mysterious circumstances, his three wives find out about the existence of one another.

The Impersonator, by Mary Miley.  (Reviewed in this post )  Jessie Carr takes on the role of a lifetime to keep family fortune from being distributed.

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin.  "Books can change your life" is true indeed for a bookseller in a small island town.

and nonfiction

The Girls of Atomic City, by Denise Kiernan. The women who worked on the Manhattan project at the top-secret plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett.  Essays by the acclaimed novelist (and bookstore owner).

Fifty Children, by Stephen Pressman.  In 1939 Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus went to Vienna and rescued 50 Jewish children from the Nazis.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

DWM: Safari Stars, first quarter report, and something new

It's a flimsy! And it has a name -- Safari Stars. The border fabric is an example of shopping the stash. Specifically, it's an example of "try looking in this obscure part of the stash to see if there is something suitable." Not only was it suitable, there was enough of it!

March stash report:
Fabric used: 23-1/4 update 3/31 -- at 9:45 p.m. I finished quilting Prairie Queen Stamps, so that adds 3.5 yards to the tally:  26-3/4 used in March
Fabric acquired: 0. (Zero!)

YTD used: 69-1/8 + 3-1/2 = 72-5/8
YTD acquired: 59-1/4.


Here's my current leaders-and-enders project.  I credit Lori in South Dakota for the inspiration. You can see her version of Sundays at the Lake in this post .  I didn't have as many tone-on-tone blue batiks on hand as I thought. Since I'm going to try to stick to no-buy for Lent this project will stay at this stage for a couple more weeks. [The small squares are 2" so the nine-patches finish at 4.5"]

I have other projects to keep me busy in the spare moments I have to sew.  This coming week I have meetings MTWTh evenings, plus our Rotary 15th anniversary breakfast on Th, and the library's annual staff day on Friday, and the community Leadership Summit Saturday (8:30-noon) and the library's Books! Authors! and More! festival Saturday afternoon.

 The Block Swappers quarterly "units" swap -- 4-patches and HSTs -- and mini-9-patches came this week. Something interesting will come of them!

I'm linking up with other quiltmakers at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Contest winner and a walk in the ravine

This morning (Saturday) our Rotary Club cooked and delivered more than 100 spaghetti dinners to elderly people in Beach Park, Winthrop Harbor, and Zion. I don't have any pictures because Stevens and I went to the church (in whose kitchen the food was cooked), got our assigned recipients, picked up the food, and went forth!  All was done in 45 minutes and everyone was most appreciative.
Me, Mrs. Morales, and Sandy
After lunch I went to the library.  Sandy and I drew the winner from among the 32 quilt contest entries (see yesterday's post).  Coincidentally Mrs. Morales, the winner, was on her way to the library when Sandy called her.  She said her granddaughter's birthday is soon and this will be an ideal gift.
 I went for a walk in the ravine at the end of the block.  It's March 29 and there's still snow on the (north-facing) slope.

But here is a sign of spring: skunk cabbage. These little blossoms are high in sulfur, hence the name. 

Lichen on a log....looks like a ruffle!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Resource display: quilts!

One of ZBPL's staff development requirements this year is "to promote library resources."  The staff have paired off (mixing departments and positions). Each pair is to choose an aspect of the library -- collections, services, or both -- and create a display.  In addition to highlighting what the library offers, the project provides an opportunity for interdepartmental cooperation. 

Displays have included resources for small business; homeschooling; auto repair; crafts in general, among others.

Sandy is my partner.  She's worked at ZBPL nearly as long as I have.  We discovered early on that we're both quiltmakers.  (She helped with the Readers banner in the Youth Services department.)  She comes in about the time I leave for the day and our conversation nearly always includes quiltmaking.  We realized that since March 15 is National Quilting Day this would be a good time to feature quilt books.  Here's what we came up with. 

Our display is in the library lobby.  Sandy created the Quilt Block Scramble contest.  There is a bibliography listing a few of our quilt books, both how-to and fiction.  I made the string quilt that's the prize.   (Sandy made the flimsy that is the table cover. It's Barbara Brackman's "Drinking Gourd" from her book Facts and Fabrications.) The contest ends tomorrow and we'll draw the winner from among the all-correct entries.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

DWM: signs of spring plus stars and swaps

 Just a week ago the flowerbeds were still snow-covered. I ventured into the back yard for the first time in weeks and found the first crocus bud. This particular clutch of them is
near the clothes dryer vent.  Heat from the vent  heat may encourage them.  

Everyone is eager for spring.  We have had SUCH a cold and snowy winter (third-highest total snowfall ever).  Each morning the cardinals melodiously declare their territory. We see both males and females flying from tree to tree. There are also woodpeckers drilling away, loudly.  

On the left are thirteen stacks of blocks sent by  participants in the "dots and dashes" swap which I coordinated on behlf of the Block Swappers.  Everyone sent great combinations of polka dot and striped fabric.

On the right are the blocks I got with the addition of extras that several people sent as gifts (thank you!) and extras that I made.

My sewing time this week was devoted to DGD's high school graduation quilt. Her mother said she likes animal prints, which are not a print I have heretofore intentionally acquired. Thus it's been interesting to see how many I had in my stash.  I've also purchased a bunch. (Shopping with a purpose!)

The pattern may look familiar. It's Bonnie Hunter's  Random Ohio Stars . I made it earlier this year for Steelers Stars .  I thought I'd try it with a different block.

See what other quiltmakers are working on at Judy's Patchwork Times .

Sunday, March 16, 2014

DWM: National Quilting Day

I spent March 15, National Quilting Day, doing just that!  To be precise, I spent the day in a workshop hosted by my guild.  The presenter, Julie Jenkins of the Quilt House , gave the program at a recent guild meeting about the Square in a Square  I'd heard of SIS but because I resist gadgets I had not tried it. Square-in-a-square? I can make those easily. But Julie showed many other units and blocks made easier with the ruler. I signed up for the workshop!

SIS was developed by Jodi Barrows more than 20 years ago. Julie is one of the certified SIS instructors. 

The class project was a 25"x25" piece called Constellation.  The supplies list called for three fabrics. I pulled four different fabric combinations and cut strips for two of the combos.

Here we are at work, and with the results of the class.

Carrie finished first
 I finished the second sample at home.  What a difference color selection makes.

I look forward to trying more SIS units!

P.S.  I finished the batik tote bag.

I'm linking up with other quiltmakers at Judy's Patchwork Times.