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Monday, December 5, 2016

Weekly update: stash report and plaid flimsy

Sunday brought the first snowfall of the season. This is the view out the front door, late afternoon.

Stash report for November:
Fabric in:  33 yds, $15 (scrap bags at the quilt show)
Fabric out:  21-7/8
YTD fabric in: 378-1/4, $1353 ($3.57/yd)
YTD fabric out: 280

In order to come out even for the year I'll need to use (or sell or otherwise de-accession) 98 yards this month.  I don't think I'll manage to do that, but I may get close.

On Thursday evening, before the second surgery, I attached all the borders for Paths and Stiles. (5-1/8 yards, part of the December stash count.)

I kept my foot elevated most of the weekend.  I sewed some (see the previous post about my OMG handwork) and read a lot.  The post op appointment is Tuesday afternoon.

The weekly linkups:
Main Crush Monday
Design Wall Monday
Monday Making
Oh Scrap!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

OMG for December

All this year I have been an enthusiastic participant in One Monthly Goal.  I am pleased that I have finished the stated goal each month. December is problematic because I don't know when I will be able to return to my studio with the full range of activities (selecting fabric, cutting, sewing, pressing, basting, quilting).

Thus my OMG is handwork: specifically, completing the embroidery for the 36 lily units in Coastal Lily. The pattern is by Minick and Simpson. The colorway I am making is by Thelma Childers. It was published in American Quilter, July 2015.  Each lily has three stamens. The anthers will be appliqued. The rest of the quilt is pieced. 

As I write this post I have 22 units finished. 14 to go. I am doing outline stitch with DMC 414.
I am listening to semi finalists for the annual Audie awards.  Here is  my setup.

I am linking up to OMG at its new home on the Elm Creek Quilts blog:  here

Newbery reviews: Onion John

Original cover
Onion John (1960 Newbery Medal winner)

A library-bound copy of Joseph Krumgold's second Newbery-Medal-winning book was on the library booksale shelf. I'm sure the collection retained one copy with newer cover art and that one copy is sufficient. I doubt this gets checked out very often. 

I read Onion John when I was ten or eleven. All I could recall was that I didn't like it. Upon re-reading it I have changed my mind. 

This story of twelve-year-old Andy and Onion John, the eccentric Eastern European immigrant who becomes his friend, is poignant and charming. The townspeople, led by members of the Rotary Club, decide that Onion John needs a modern house, not the cottage he has cobbled together out of leftovers and junk.  

Andy's dad owns the hardware store. He projects his own unrealized dreams on his only son.  He urges     Andy to take a job at a nearby manufacturing plant to better prepare to go to M.I.T. and have a career in engineering.  Andy really likes helping out at the hardware store.  [Whoa, Dad! Andy is only 12!] 

The book can be viewed as a period piece -- late 1950's, small town (everyone is white).  It's a time when the eccentric guy is just that (nowadays we'd be afraid of a criminal or pervert).  Fifty-five years later the object lesson is still relevant: no matter how well-intended we are, we need to consider the wants/needs/preferences of the person, or people, for whom we want to do good things.  

P.S. I am a Rotarian so I appreciated the service effort! 
New cover 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

More indulgences: nutcrackers and thread

Most years on the Sunday after Thanksgiving I bring up the boxes of Christmas decorations from the basement storeroom. This year I managed to bring up two of them before my foot protested.  But I got the nutcrackers arranged on the mantel!   The greenery and mini-lights I put around their feet are still in storage. Since I am now forbidden from going up or down the stairs At All it will be a while before  I complete the arrangement.

The nutcrackers are all German-made by Erzegebirge, Steinbach, or Ulbricht.   My mother gave us four of them on four Christmases in the 80's and 90's. (By chance this year they're all on the left.)  The two on the far right were garage-sale finds. [Can you find the twins?] All of the others are from Marshall's or T. J. Maxx -- far cheaper than full price.  Those stores have a limited selection and some years they don't have any that I like.

This year I indulged and bought two!  These little guys are now in the center.  (Technically the one on the right is a smoker, not a nutcracker.)

Craftsy had a sale on selected sets of Aurifil -- $71.50, regularly $120.00 -- and free shipping.  I indulged!   The sets are named for designers who presumably use these colors -- from  left, Pat Sloan ("perfect box of neutrals"), Ann Kelle, and Angela Walters. Only one color is duplicated among the three sets.  Alas, I won't be able to break open any of the spools and sew with them until I can navigate the stairs!

[Tomorrow I have to go to my primary care physician for a pre-op physical. Mind you, I had a pre-op physical on October 25 for last week's surgery. The hospital requires that the physical be within 30 days of the surgery. Thus I am out of the 30-day window for the December 1 procedure.  And when I have the other foot done -- late January, I hope -- I'll need yet another physical.  Sigh.]

Monday, November 28, 2016

Weekly update: left-footed sewing and and indulgence

Our Thanksgiving weekend was pleasant and purposely uneventful:  no company, no shopping. Lots of turkey, accompanied by roasted root vegetables, our favorite cranberry relish,* green salad, and pumpkin pie.

The pumpkin puree came from one of our uncarved Halloween pumpkins. I know that pie pumpkins are sweeter but by the time I add spices and sugar to the puree it tastes just fine. And I feel thrifty.

Pepto-Bismol pink!

*It's Mama Stamberg's relish. NPR special correspondent Susan Stamberg recites it on Morning Edition the Friday before Thanksgiving.  Here is this year

Just before Thanksgiving in 1990 one of my coworkers raced into the library  saying she'd heard a great recipe on NPR on her way to work. She wrote it on a catalog card and photocopied it. I still refer to that photocopy when I make the relish. 

My right foot is healing nicely, I think. I can't see it under the splint and bandage, but the only pain I've had is in my heel because I rest my weight on it.  Well, it's not. At the post op visit this afternoon I was informed that I overused my foot this week. I need to keep it elevated and iced as much as possible.  I am scheduled to go back to the hospital at the crack of dawn Friday for a follow up procedure to realign the metatarsal.  Sigh.  However, the restriction has reminded how much I usually move around when I sew -- bending over to get fabric from the shelf, standing up at the cutting table, going to the ironing board, returning to sit at the sewing machine.  (Add to that going up and down the stairs since my studio is in the basement.)

Martingale had a warehouse sale. I indulged!  These 20 books were $5 each and free shipping. (I still have some of the quilting books I got from their warehouse sale back in the 1990's when the company was called That Patchwork Place. I remember ordering copies for myself and for the library.)

Here's my work-in-progress.  The block is a variation of Path and Stiles. Evelyn Sloppy used homespuns in her example in Forty Fabulous Quick Cut Quilts . I made it several years ago (here) .   My blocks are 9" finished.

I had two long strips of nine-patches left over from this quilt . That made shorter work for the border.

I have outer border strips cut and ready to attach.

See how other quiltmakers are working off Thanksgiving calories:
Oh, Scrap!
Main Crush Monday
Design Wall Monday
Monday Making

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ideals are timeless

(My column in the Zion-Benton News, 11/24/16.)

                “Two is a pair. Three is a collection,” goes the saying. I have several collections.  Fortunately I manage to contain and control them even as I augment them.   Searching for additions to my collections provides me with a reason to go to estate sales, rummage sales, and thrift shops.  I set restrictions (“no more than fifty cents for an XYZ,” “only editions published before my birth year”).  That forces me to search for bargains and ensures that I will not complete a collection any too soon.

                Ideals magazine is one of my slow-growing collections.  I bought a dozen more issues at a sale in Winthrop Harbor earlier this month.  (They met the fifty-cent restriction.) 

                I first encountered Ideals in the 1950’s when my mother subscribed to it.   I was learning to read in those days and I was drawn to the colorful photos and scrapbook-like format of the quarterly magazine.   Some pages had illustrations like those in picture books. Other pages featured poems or Bible verses with beautiful lettering and ornate borders.  (Years later I learned the terms “calligraphy” and “engrossed”). 

                This week as I interfiled my new acquisitions with those I’d gotten earlier I wondered about the origin of the magazine.

                In the 1940’s Van B. Hooper was the public relations manager for the Louis Allis Co. in Milwaukee.  He liked to supplement the in-house newsletter, the Messenger, with poetry and inspirational quotations.   The additions made a big hit with employees.  Friends of employees who saw the publication wanted copies, too.     In 1944 he published a Christmas anthology of those bits and pieces.   Nostalgia and homespun wisdom were welcome in the dark days of wartime.  Hooper struck a chord with readers and Ideals magazine was launched.

                Each issue of Ideals had a theme.  Christmas was the standard-bearer, joined each year by Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Thanksgiving.  Other themes varied from year to year with topics like “Neighborly,” “Hometown,” and “Candleglow.”  An article titled “The Corner Grocery” might be followed by a poem by Walt Whitman and a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge.  A Christmas issue had a meditation about winter, a retelling of the Nativity story, and a description of Yuletide in Scandinavia. There was no advertising, making Ideals seem more like a book to keep and re-read.  The covers were plastic-coated and the interior pages were printed on heavyweight paper, contributing to that feeling of permanence. 

                Maryjane Hooper Tonn succeeded her father as Ideals editor and publisher until the late 1980’s. Under new management the company relocated from Milwaukee to Nashville, TN, and in 2000 it was acquired by Guideposts.  It is now produced by Worthy Publishing .  Though it is no longer available by subscription, Christmas and Easter issues are sold at bookstores including Barnes & Noble and  (In my opinion the old (Milwaukee) issues are a lot more interesting than the newer ones.) 

                Perhaps there are a few copies of Ideals on your bookshelf or in your attic.  Dust them off and enjoy some homespun nostalgia this holiday season!

# # #

Note 1: there is little information online about Ideals.  There's a Facebook group.  I have one article:  "A Merry Magazine," by Donald-Brian Johnson, published in Treasures Magazine, December, 2013, which I photocopied at the library.  I called the Milwaukee Public Library local history department. The librarian said they have a file folder of clippings, but nothing has been digitized.  I didn't have time to go to MPL.  (I'm surprised that no one has written about Ideals for the Wisconsin Magazine of History .)

Note 2:  As I leafed through the back issues I was very much aware that the nostalgic world Ideals romanticizes is very white, Eurocentric, and Protestant. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Quilting result . . . and Tuesday surgery

Here is  my new footwear.  I had a bunionectomy at 7:30 this morning. That necessitated our checking in at the hospital at 6 a.m. which in turn meant we woke up at 4:30.   I came out of the anesthesia at 9:30 and we were home by 10:30.  It took a couple of hours for me to sleep it off.  As I write this (late afternoon) the local anesthesia is starting to wear away. Guess I won't escape the predicted pain after all.

I plan to sew left-footed until I get the all-clear (a month, maybe?).

In anticipation of the surgery I hustled to get the batik log/rail flimsy assembled.  I did use the lime green sashing thanks to your encouragement.  The pattern name is "Solidly Built."  Maybe I will call this "Path to the Cabin."  Any other suggestions?

It is 72 x 78 and used 4-3/8 yards.