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Monday, October 20, 2014

DWM: another Christmas project underway

Update -- the Zion Woman's Club bunco party Saturday evening was great fun. I donated the Quiltmaker BTS quilt and two tote bags (with 5 advance reader copies in each) to the silent auction.  None brought a lot of money but I was happy to contribute them (and get them out of the house).  

As far as I can reckon this will be the tenth year that I have contributed a quilt to raffle at the AAUW- Waukegan Area Branch holiday party.  Some years the designs come to me early or easily or both.  (Joyful Noise, the 2013 quilt, was assembled in March and quilted shortly thereafter.*) Other years I have a hard time choosing blocks to make or deciding on a setting.   This is one of the "other" years.  If you read my blog regularly you know that I just made a Christmas quilt for a raffle at my church. Of course I could have used the blocks in that quilt for AAUW. But then I'd have had to come up with something for the church. [Church quilt due date is November 15. AAUW party is December 13.]

I saw a pattern called Scottie Toss in the Keepsake catalog.  Hmmm. How would the blocks look in Christmas colors?  I studied the picture to figure out the sizes to cut the pieces. (They are:  6" square; 2 side strips 2.5 x 6"; 2 side strips 2.5 x 10"; center strip 1.5 x 10"  and 1.5 x 11".)   Here's what I had by the end of our Sunday evening PBS-watching.**

Other progress: I have quilted the center of the red rail fence quilt.  I don't know how much farther I will get this week because I have several non-quilt assignments that I have put off for too long.

*The 2013 winner lived in another town, so I mailed the quilt to her, insured for $200. Someone stole it from her doorstep. It turns out that the insurance has to be OVER $200 to require a signature for pickup. I claimed the loss, USPS had proof of delivery (to the doorstep). Not their fault if it got stolen.  Alas. Fortunately it was a raffle so the winner was only out the $10 she paid for tickets.

** Last evening The Paradise (BBC adaptation of Zola's novel: how much is English and how much is French?) and Masterpiece Mystery were followed by Chicago Time Machine -- a lively compendium of local history stories.

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

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday update: blue and red rails

Blue Rail Fence is quilted and bound!  There was just enough of the dark blue floral to use on the back.  I used turquoise thread for the quilting.

At the same time that I found the seven blue rail fence blocks that were the nucleus of this quilt I found a bag with 43 6.5" red rail fence blocks.  I thought about making a companion quilt but then I remembered a half-begun project (so half-begun that I didn't even count it as a flimsy).  The HBP was made of 42 red rail fence blocks that used 5 2" strips. I recalled assembling them and thinking, "Too much red," and putting them away.  Well, I combined the two.  I finagled the 6.5" blocks to fit as a border, and I sewed them on.  Way, way too much red.  So I removed the outer borders, borders, added a 1.5" black border, and reattached the outer borders.

You can never use up ALL the scraps

See what other quiltmakers have completed this Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts .

Sunday, October 12, 2014

DWM: full moon, casters, totes, and a new flimsy

The pop
Living on Lake Michigan has made it easy for me to take pictures of sunrises. I love the pink-and-gold streaks in the sky just before the sun pops over the horizon.  I had never taken a picture of the moonrise over the lake -- until this week.  Conditions were ideal: clear skies, the fact that Illinois Beach Resort has enough parking lot lighting so I could go down to the beach without stumbling in pitch dark, and a convenient time. The lake was calm and I was just a few feet from the water's edge. At 7:14 p.m., right on schedule, the a pinpoint of light appeared on the horizon.

Just a couple of minutes later

This "lunacy" was in part to compensate for the fact that I completely forgot about the lunar eclipse early Monday morning and slept through it.  

The other four wheels looked like this one
 I vacuumed my studio this week. One of these days I will do a deep-clean, moving the furniture away from the walls and dusting all around rather than just at the edges, but that day has not yet arrived.

 Have you looked at the wheels on your sewing chair lately?  I did. Look at the threads I pulled out.

I sewed 38 totebags for Carebags For Kids , a charity I have supported for a number of years. My goal is to send 100 totebags in 2014.  These use home dec yardage I got at thrift shops.

I made one new block and used one from the orphan blocks box to transform two tote bags.  The blocks cover organization logos (one, the YWCA; the other, a microbiology conference in 2005). The totes had never been used. I paid $1.50 each at a thrift shop.  They will be filled with advance reader copies of forthcoming books and used as prizes at the Zion Woman's Club bunco party next weekend.

I came across seven blue rail fence blocks a week or so ago and thought I ought to do something with them.  The "something" turned out to be making 83 more.  I have them half assembled.  (They are 6.5" unfinished. I cut the strings 1.5" x 7".)
I'm linking up with other quiltmakers at  Judy's Patchwork Times.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

DWM: auction results, a new raffle quilt, and blocks to play with

The Full Score Chamber Orchestra gala was Saturday evening. The turnout wasn't terrific, but the music certainly was!  The guest musicians, Sultans of String , were fabulous -- a Toronto-based group specializing in world music.  They give kids' concerts and will do just that this week with two performances for Zion District 6.  Our Rotary Club provided the funding.

Noteworthy, the quilt I donated to the silent auction at the gala, raised $300. (There were not many big ticket items in the entire silent auction. The quilt and the offer of a week's stay at a condo in Colorado were the biggest moneymakers.)

Here is what became of the red and green Ohio Star blocks I posted for DWM last week. It turned out bigger than I anticipated -- 78 x 90.  I had to buy the green fabric for the setting triangles and borders.

You'd think that there would have been something suitable in the red and green stash. (The picture shows reds and greens that are 1/2 yd and larger. I have fat quarters (whole and pieces) in another place.) 

Or, failing that, in the Christmas stash.


But I'm pleased I talked myself out of being stingy.  The green print works that way I envisioned.

I went to three estate sales and got these towels -- just .75 each. The Christmas/New Year and the cutwork pieces have never been used.

Nancy-near-Philadelphia hosted a swap of Lady of the Lake blocks in blue batik/white-on-white. Here are the blocks I received.  (Two blocks need some reorientation!) I'm not sure how many blocks I will add or how I will set them. For the time being I will just admire them.

I'm linking up with other quiltmakers for Design Wall Monday at Judy's Patchwork Times. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Some family history

This is the fourth post with photos from our trip.  We visited family cemeteries -- his paternal, my maternal.

Williamstown, New Jersey

Harry and Winnie were Stevens' grandparents. The Pricketts were Winnie's parents. (Older headstones are less legible.)

East McKeesport, Pennsylvania
My great-great grandparents, great-grandparents, grandparents, and uncle and aunt.

My dad began his career at Westinghouse Air Brake Co. in 1941. WABCO was headquartered in Wilmerding, PA.  The Westinghouse Castle, as the HQ building is called, is a museum-in-the-making. It was not open the Saturday morning that we were there.  Dad and other engineer-trainees lived in a boardinghouse called the Tonnaleuka Club that was across the street from the Castle. (No excuse for being late to work!)   The Tonnaleuka Club has been torn down. We saw the vacant lot that corresponds to the address.

You can read more about Westinghouse and the Tonnaleuka Club  here  

 Side entrance. Dave Blaine walked through this door!

 My parents were married in the First Methodist Church of Wilmerding . (I never asked them why, but it's curious because my mother's family were active members of the Lin-Way Presbyterian Church just down the road from their house.)

September summary (for real, this time)

Several months ago a friend and her sister wrote to ask if I could quilt a top for them. Their mother (now deceased)  made it for the sister's son. I said I'd give it a try. I named a price that was agreeable. The top/batting/backing/binding arrived about six weeks ago. On Sunday I finally opened the box. My heart sank. It was large (90 x 90 or so). The blocks were large (16"). The fabrics were read-as-solid, including the backing.  That meant that any quilting deficiencies would be very, very obvious.  This was beyond my skill.  I prayed and slept on the matter and had my decision.  Yesterday morning I sent the quilt back to the sister.  I wrote her that she will get far better results if a professional long-arm quilter does the work.

I took care of that millstone obligation.  I had a nagging need for a boost of confidence that I can machine quilt [especially when the front and back have busy prints].  So, twenty-four hours later, here is Dots and Dashes: quilted, bound, labeled!

The back is a bed sheet, one of my thrift shop bargains.

I have two quilts to make for Christmastime raffles.  These 9"
Ohio Star blocks came from a swap a couple of years ago. High time to make them into something.  

Fabric acquired in September:  26-1/2 (including a gift from my cousin whom we visited in Pennsylvania)
Fabric used in September: 39-7/8 (including a donation to a guild project)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

DWM: September summary and looking ahead

I threw caution to the winds and indulged on souvenirs on our September trip.  There was no worry about luggage weight limits because we drove.

I am gradually covering my backpack with iron-on patches. I intended to buy *one* to exemplify the entire trip but we went to other places....

Salt water taffy (delicious!), a spoon rest, note cards, a redware squirrel ornament.

There is something about buying postcards that is just part of vacation.  I took pictures of some of these very sights.  I forgot to take the list of names and addresses of the people to whom I usually send postcards. These will be added to the box of postcards for use at some future date.

I also bought fabric, but not very much. I've already put it away, so no photos. (You know what fabric looks like, anyway.)  The first purchase was in Bowling Green, Ohio. Fat quarters just $2.50, including batiks. I bought five. Hey, it was the first day of the trip!  En route from Cape May to Lancaster we had lunch in Vineland, New Jersey. The Pin Cushion is a great shop.  I got two half-yards of alphabet prints for a project I am planning.

Lancaster County is a center for quiltmaking and fabric stores.  As I posted in the  travelog our group went to a Mennonite gift/quilt shop (Family Farm Quiltswhere there were many quilts for sale along with a selection of fabric.  We also went to Kitchen Kettle Village .  Zook's Fabric is right next door. I could have spent a couple of hours and many dollars there, but I had only 20 minutes. Two more alphabet prints and a flatfold.

To compensate for the absence of fabric purchases on the trip, I stopped at Quilt Corner in Morton, Illinois. That's next door to Peoria, where I was Thursday night and Friday for a library system board meeting.  I have managed to buy fabric after many of these system meetings and this was no exception. It is a great shop and the sale room had batiks at half price!

So, what did I accomplish in September?
I finished Noteworthy. The pattern is by Hilary Bobker (find it here).  This is a donation to the Full Score Orchestra 10th anniversary gala October 4.
It is 79 x 79. I bought some of the fabric line (block and border backgrounds) but used fabric from my stash for the rest of the quilt.

This past week I wanted to get back to my sewing machine but I didn't want to tackle anything in particular. I made 48 blue-centered HeartStrings blocks and by Saturday evening I had finished that 54x72 quilt.  I even sewed on a label!

At church this morning I was reminded that I agreed to provide a book review for the United Methodist Women on October 9.  I was also asked if I could donate a quilt to raffle at the church chili supper this fall.  Retirement, did you say?

I'm linking up with other quiltmakers for Design Wall Monday at Judy's Patchwork Times .