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Sunday, April 19, 2015

The sew must go on

Sewing centers me. When I'm upset or I feel displaced I cut up some fabric. As I sew the pieces together I calm down and regain equilibrium.

Knowing that, and faced with the prospect of not having access to my stash for two weeks (see the previous posts for details), I created a sewing room in exile.  It's also our office, which is already full of files and books. I chose my Pfaff rather than the Featherweight or the 301 just in case I want to do zigzag. I kitted up (is "kit up" a real phrase?) some fabric to get a start on a few scrappy projects.  I made sure to include spools of thread, extra rotary cutter blades, pins, and sewing machine needles.

I pieced and assembled Safari Strings.  It is this month's HeartStrings flimsy.\ (One of my 2015 goals is to make 48 HS blocks each month, enough for a "standard" HS quilt. Click on the HeartStrings label to see the others.)  The animal prints are left over from the quilt I made for DGD's graduation last year (this one).   I didn't have enough of any one animal print for the center strips, so I used a black printed with coppery-gold suns.  Each HS top (strips plus fabric foundations) uses 8 yards.

Now underway: I'm sewing 7"x 1.5" blue strips into sixes, then trimming the blocks to 6.5".  I'm not sure how I'll assemble them.

I'm linking up with other quiltmakers at Judy's Patchwork Times and Beth's Love Laugh Quilt

Basement update

On  Monday morning the flooring contractor inspected the basement. The diagnosis: all the carpet had to go.  Also, the frames for four doors and a closet had taken on water so frames plus doors need to be replaced. He talked to the insurance agent and brought in the ServiceMaster manager. By Monday afternoon the ServiceMaster crew had boxed  the contents of my studio and hauled the boxes to the garage. They moved the larger furniture (sewing table, cutting table, treadle machine) to the laundry room.
              Note:  both the flooring contractor and the ServiceMaster mgr. *complimented me* on how well-organized the contents of the basement were. (Nothing special, just how I shelve                            fabric/magazines/books/stuff.) I asked them to repeat that to my husband. :)  They told some tales of work done in the homes of hoarders and near-hoarders.

 On Tuesday and Wednesday the flooring crew pulled up the carpet and scraped up the underlayment.  Industrial dehumidifiers were brought in.   The internet cable was stapled along the floor molding. When it was pulled to remove the damaged molding the internet/TV/phone service was cut off.  I went to the AT&T store for help and a patient service rep connected me to the repair call center. The AT&T tech came on Thursday. He was very helpful--not only did he reroute the interior wire (so it runs along the ceiling molding rather than the floor), but he also installed a new jack, upgraded the DVR box, and explained everything.

The replacement flooring is vinyl, wood-look ("elm").   When the basement is dry enough (one of the workers comes by every afternoon with a humidity measurer) they can install it and then replace the doors.

Monday, April 13, 2015

DWM: April showers bring blue fans.....and some finishes

See the water stains?
 We got 3" of badly-needed rain on Thursday. "The new sump pump runs so quietly," I observed to my husband.  After supper I went downstairs to sew. The sump pump was so quiet because the breaker had tripped and the pump wasn't pumping.   We used the shop vac to remove water from the concrete floor in the laundry room and the tile floor in the bathroom but the carpet in the family room (my studio) and the spare room (the Deep Stash + seasonal clothes storage) had taken a good soaking. I have a huge streak of optimism and I am grateful that (a) I caught the flood when I did and not a moment later, (b) it was only the circuit breaker (one click and the pump was back in business), (c) the basement floor has just enough slant that the water didn't get damage any fabric.                                            

We rented the fans from the hardware store (gratitude (d): hardware store is open until 8 p.m. on weekdays and had fans in stock that evening) and they've been blowing (noisily) ever since.

We've filed an insurance claim (we have extra coverage for sump pump failure).  What I really want to do is replace the carpet with vinyl.  The carpet was nearly new when I moved in. Of course the best time to replace any flooring is when the space is empty (as in, pre- or post-moving).  I have a LOT of stuff in those carpeted rooms. The flooring guy is coming today.
Boxes from the storage room crowding the cutting table

 BUT I did sew this week!  Pre-flood:  I finished Scrappy Joy.  Before and post-flood:  I finished Sparkling Diamonds -- quilted, bound, labeled, and presented to the AAUW past president who will present it to the AAUW outgoing president in May. (And the past president insists on compensating me (we settled on what a longarmer would have charged).)

We turned the fans off in order to be able to hear our Sunday TV shows (Call the Midwife, Mr. Selfridge, Wolf Hall).  I began setting some 30's 4- and 6-patch units that I made a few weeks ago.  I originally thought I'd use white for the setting squares. One of the boxes temporarily relocated from the storage room contains solids. This peach cotton was on top. Perfect for my project!   (Peach squares are 5" unfinished.)

It's Monday, the day to link up at Beth's Monday Making and Judy's  Patchwork Times

P.S. Lots of erosion at the beach.  I took these photos Sunday afternoon. Aren't these carrotty roots remarkable?

Monday, April 6, 2015

DWM: in between projects

We had a lovely Easter: sunny and mild.  At church there was a potluck coffee hour at 10:00 prior to the 11:00 service. (I made a casserole with hash browns/sausage/eggs.)  Mid-afernoon at home we had lamb, asparagus, and fingerling potatoes. Dessert was light cheesecake (made with low-fat cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream) with orange marmalade topping.

On the design wall:  nine Sea Glass stars (white-on-white background) for the April Block Lotto . The instructions specified that the centers are of "made fabric," with at least four different prints in each. These nine-patches have nine different blues/greens.

I am nearly finished quilting Scrappy Joy.  I have two deadlines coming up: a tote bag for the outgoing chairman of the Lulu Corkhill Williams Friendship Fund (to be presented at the state convention in June) and a quilt for the outgoing Waukegan Area Branch-AAUW president (to be presented at the May branch meeting). There is a benefit to having flimsies (unquilted tops) on hand. Sparkling Jewels will be ideal for the AAUW quilt.

Busy week this week, with a meeting every day (some evening, some daytime).

I'm linking up with other quiltmakers at Patchwork Times and Love Laugh Quilt .

P.S.  Throwback Sunday: Easter, 1987, on Gamage Avenue in Auburn. Stevens was in his first year of seminary.  I can still fit into the necklace.  (I bought the jacket on sale at J.C. Penney and wore it for years.  I made the silk blouse (we called them "shells" back then) and the poly/linen skirt.)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Bookshelf, bubbles, and bunco buddies

Bookshelf quilt #34!   Started and finished in nearly record time (Monday - Wednesday).
This one is for a recently-retired coworker from ZBPL.  (How many more of these will I make?   For other ZBPL coworkers when they retire; for ZBPL trustees for whom I worked; and for close friends (librarians) when they retire.)

I was not clear about the size of the bubble blocks I posted earlier this week.
The blocks are 15" x 15" finished. Each is made of four quarter blocks.
The CUT size of the pieces:
3" center square
2" colored strips
1.5" white strips

Also available at Amazon.comKaren DeWitt was the speaker at the Northern Lake County Quilters Guild monthly meeting last evening. Karen is an artist, a quiltmaker, a bunco player, and now a novelist.  She's published three books about a group of eight women who play bunco and make quilts. I bought the first two books from her at our guild show last fall, where she was a vendor. I read and enjoyed them both (okay, I read them last weekend in anticipation of her presentation last night!). The third book came out a month ago and I bought it last evening. If you like stories about quilters and quilting friendship you'll enjoy these.  Here is Karen's website: (  -- note that the books are available as audio downloads as well as in print.

Karen's program was about her quiltmaking journey with a trunk show of her work. She is a professional artist (MFA) and a professional picture framer. She has reproduced several of her pen-and-ink and pastel drawings on fabric (with Spoonflower ) and had them for sale along with her books.  (She's also played bunco with a group of women for about 25 years, though she insists that the characters in her books do not portray any of them.)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March stash report and the Chicago quilt show

On Sunday I went back to the estate sale where I bought the lace runner. There wasn't much left in the last hour of the four-day sale. I spent $5.00 and got 7-3/4 yards of quilting cottons. (Five pieces in all.)

Here's my stash summary:
March fabric in:  9-3/4  ($23)
March fabric used: 30-1/2
2015 to date in: 16-3/4  ($64)
2015 to date used: 90-1/8

I finished quilting the Daisy Patch quilt yesterday. I will take it to show & tell at the guild meeting, then deliver it to Linda W. who will bind it.
I made a purple bubble block for April's Rainbow Scrap Challenge . While I was at it I made blocks from the January and February colors, blue and pink, to add to the March yellow block. The blocks are 15 x 15 so a 12-month sampler will make a nice-sized quilt.

Irene and I went to the Really Big Quilt Show at Rosemont on Saturday. (Its official name is The 2015 International Quilt Festival/Chicago.)  That was the third and last day of the show. The crowds seemed thin. When I mentioned that to a couple of the vendors they said that they were busy on Friday.

What caught our attention as we entered the hall were the red and white quilts for the 40th (ruby) anniversary of the Quilt Festival.
by Yvonne Porcella

there were Dear Janes in other sections of the show, too
I didn't take many other pictures. Two of the exhibits did not allow photos: selections from 500 Traditional Quilts and the Cherrywood Fabrics "Wicked" challenge. Both exhibits had accompanying books that I didn't buy. "Midwest Marvels" was a nice local-ish exhibit with prize winners from local quilt shows. One of our guild's blue ribbon winners was featured.

The vendors had wonderful wares. I was tempted! But I restrained myself and bought four fat quarters and one one-yard cut, all for specific projects.  I also bought a Sticky Roller -- a silicon lint roller. You can see it  in this YouTube video . I've used it and, so far, it really works.

Monday, March 30, 2015

DWM: Heartstrings and a rainbow start

I plan to make 48 HeartStrings blocks every month in 2015. That's the number needed for a basic HS quilt. (Click on the label on the sidebar to see the others that I've made.) In March I turned to my homespun stash.  All the blocks have the same blue plaid for both the center strips and the corners.

I don't know why I flaked out for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge . The color is yellow, and I love yellow.  Beth at Eva Paige Quilt Designs created an off-center log cabin "bubble" that I used for my lone yellow block. My version turned out to be 16". I think I will make blocks for each RSC color this year. (January: blue; February: pink; April: purple, so far.)

 I'm linking up with  Patchwork Times and Love Laugh Quilt .