Sunday, January 19, 2020

Weekly update: a milestone birthday, but not much progress

Look who had a milestone birthday on Saturday!  I put out a call on Facebook and via email for in-the-mail birthday cards with the hope that there would be 80.  They've been coming for ten days, up to 130 as of this writing -- from as close as next door and across the street to Australia, Ireland (in Gaelic), and England.  There was a friend from his kindergarten days and colleagues from his library days. The youngest was three and the oldest was, well, decades older. Rotarians, Methodists, AAUWs, P.E.O.s, librarians, and a host of other friends and well-wishers.  I baked a cake and served it at church coffee hour.

Errands and appointments didn't seem to provide much sewing time.  I've made nine eleven out of the fifteen tote bags for the January OMG -- but I can't post photos yet since they are supposed to be a surprise.

I punctuated tote-bag-sewing by making more black/white 16-patches and Ohio Stars. I think I like this arrangement. "Star Crossed" or some variation of that came to mind for a name.   (Blocks are 6" fin. so this will be 54 x 66.)

The final step for Frolic, the Quiltville mystery, was released Friday morning.  I think it's the most complex design Bonnie has created.  Assembling the blocks and then the flimsy will have to wait until I've finished the tote bags and until after the ALA Midwinter Meeting. I leave this coming Thursday and return the next Wednesday. I've got documents to read and I must get my schedule in order.

Linking up with Oh Scrap!
Monday Making
 Design Wall Monday

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Weekly update: Newton's Third Law applied to quilting

"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."  That's a brief version of Isaac Newton's third law.  I learned this week that it applies to quilting -- at least to my stash.

The guild had the annual Raffle Mania at this week's meeting. That's an opportunity for members to fling no-longer-loved quilt-related stuff and, perhaps, get some new-to-them stuff in return.  It's a bucket raffle where each item has a paper bag where you put tickets for what you'd like to win. If you really want it, put in many tickets.  Members get free raffle tickets based on our attendance (one ticket) and nametag-wearing (one ticket) for the past year and we can buy more tickets for .50 each. Proceeds go to the charity fund.

There were over 100 items put out for sale, mostly in bundles (multiple books; bags of fabric). For my part I took 40+ books, a thread rack, and other notions. I took 61 yards of fabric (I weighed it: 4 yards to a pound) that I bagged by theme (30's, Christmas, etc.) I got 18 free tickets and spent $10 for 20 more tickets.

In return I won 8 books (all discards from the guild library, it turned out), a box of ribbon (why did I put a ticket in that bag?) and a LOT of fabric. I weighed it:  99 yards.  Not so equal but definitely an opposite reaction!

This was the gem.  65 FQs of African prints  (16-1/4 yards) -- some from AQS (dated 2011) and a bundle from Vogie's in Nebraska.  Plus the book Quilt Africa by Pat Parker and Jennie Williamson with great ideas for using these colorful prints.

On Friday I stopped at an estate sale (I was intrigued by the architecture of the condo/townhouse). There wasn't much of anything left but there was a bin with fabric.  I took all the cotton that looked promising and asked the price.  "How about $5?" he said.  Sold!  Back home I measured:  11-3/4 yards.

110-3/4 yards for $15 = .135 (thirteen and a half cents) per yard.  I may not be able to avoid acquiring fabric, but I do try to get bargains!

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I didn't sew very much this week.

Frolic, Part 8 involves sets of units.

The 16-patch/Ohio Star blocks are still on the design wall. I have 16 more to make for a 54" x 60" lap-sized quilt.

Progress is slow on my OMG which are the favors for the Magpies' meet up.  I've finished three out of fifteen. As I get the hang of the pattern I'm getting faster.  I'm not revealing what I'm making but here is some of the stash going into them.

I'm linking up with other quiltmakers:
 Oh Scrap!
  Monday Making
 Design Wall Monday

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Weekly update: Frolic and RSC

Part 6 of Frolic, the Quiltville mystery, was released January 1.  Part 7 was released January 3.

I am pleased to say that I've kept up with each part, though I admit that this latest was tedious. (Not hard, just a lot of counting, cutting, and sewing.)

Ever since I began participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge I've been attuned to patterns and designs that would lend themselves to all-one-color blocks.  Last year I made pinwheels in the monthly color plus gray, black, or taupe--one pinwheel for each day of that month. I haven't made anything out of them but they're a nice addition to the Parts Department.

Since I'm still not committed to an all-one-color-each-month design I began RSC 2020 with more units: 4.5" (unfinished) half-square triangles, a pair for each day of the month because otherwise I'd have leftover unsewn triangles and you have seen  what I already have .
When I read Angela's post I just saw "green," but she specifically says "light and bright green."  Dark/sage green will come along later.  But these are easy enough that I can make 31 pairs of light/bright green in the coming days and have a head start for the dark/sage green month.

I gave myself two weeks off over the Christmas holiday -- no meetings, no minutes to transcribe, no committees to nag. I pretty much succeeded -- BUT now that time off has come to an end and my to-do list is long.  There's a church committee meeting Monday morning.  I'm giving my Every Quilt Tells a Story program for two different P.E.O. chapters (Tuesday noon and Thursday evening).  The guild's annual Rafflemania is Wednesday and I have to pack up books and fabric to contribute. My chapter his hostess for the P.E.O. Round Table meeting Friday morning (I'm the RT secretary) and our chapter's regular meeting is Saturday. And I have to work on the schedule for the ALA Midwinter Meeting at the end of the month.

Linking up with
Scrap Happy Saturday
Oh Scrap!
Design Wall Monday
 Monday Making

Friday, January 3, 2020

A new home for the redwork

Historic preservation was a popular trend when I lived in Brenham, Texas, in the late 1970's.  People from Houston were discovering Brenham and Washington County for weekend and retirement living.  Both newcomers and long-timers were restoring the town's big Queen Anne houses and less-elaborate dwellings  There was new interest in late-Victorian furniture and decor.   .

Natalie and Charlie lived in what had been the Lutheran Teacherage -- where the (unmarried) women teachers at the Lutheran school had boarded.  The house originally had three rooms down and three rooms up, 16x16x16.  There was a wide hall with a very steep staircase. The wall up the stairs was lined with framed redwork pillow shams.

I was smitten.  I had discovered needlework (mostly needlepoint but also other embroidery). I loved antiques. I was earning a living and setting up housekeeping, defining my tastes and starting collections -- and redwork was among them.

Redwork has been extensively documented and described (here is just one example).  Technically I purchased "outline embroidery" because they weren't all red floss-on-white.  My collection remained modest because as much as I admired redwork it didn't fit my decor (and was not to my husband's taste).  The redwork stayed in a box in the Deep Stash.

It occurred to me that redwork would be an ideal complement to the decor at Bonnie Hunter's
Quiltville Inn .  I wrote to offer my collection to her and she said yes!   I took pictures before I put the pieces in the shipping box -- but I didn't iron them because then I'd have had second and third thoughts.

These shams are unhemmed. I always thought the child's eyes (on the right) were scary.

Some of the pieces are beautifully finished. The fabric was fine percale.

Oops -- someone's floss was not colorfast.

Peacocks were a popular motif.

The German piece is embroidered on ribcord fabric. The top piece folds over, like a reverse pillow-tuck. The housecleaning scene makes me think that this was for a daybed off a kitchen, maybe. (The ribcord is too heavy to be a curtain.)

The pieces on the right are Swedish.

This is a 100+-year-old UFO.

And some pieces I'm keeping . . . for the time being, at any rate.

When I had a guest room these were over the twin beds.

I don't always remember when/where I buy specific pieces, but I do recall this:  an antiques store in Naples, Maine, circa 1993.  The fabric is a heavy-ish twill and it must've been hard to poke the needle through.

It says:

Ring out the old
Ring in the new
Ring out the false
Ring in the true 

(In Memoriam by Tennyson)

.....certainly a good thought for the new year!

OMG for January

This will be the fifth year I'm participating in Patty's One Monthly Goal at Elm Street Quilts. (Surely I'm not the only quilter who has to double-check that she's not typing Elm Creek.)  I enjoy the make-your-own-challenge.

This is what's on my design wall.
It's a variation of this quilt . The blocks are 6 x 6 finished. I will make more of both the 16-patches and the Ohio Stars. Right now I like the scattered-ness of the stars.

But it's not my OMG for January.  I can only tell but not show what I plan to make:  favors for the February Magpie meetup at QuiltCon in Austin.

Here's a clue.  The favors will involve some deep stash reduction.

I'm linking up with the January OMG quiltmakers here

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The Annual Reckoning, looking back,and looking ahead

Postmarked  in Valley City, N.Dak. 12/28/1921 and sent to Mrs. F. Buttke, Embden, N. Dak.  "Got home O.K. Did open box from you and I thank you so very kindly for the most wonderful Gift. They're just beautiful. We are so busy celebrating out here we hardly find time to sleep. Lovingly, Miss Johnson."  Card published by The Gibson Art Company, Cincinnati, O. (later Gibson Greeting Cards; assets acquired by American Greetings in 1999). 

I appreciate all the compliments on the scrappy triangles quilt that I began last weekend. I finished quilting and binding it during our New Year's Eve TV-watching.  (No partying for us!)

The December stash report:
Fabric IN  25-3/4 yards, $78.39
Fabric OUT:  98-1/8 yards
Net reduction: 72-2-3/8
...that reduction includes a big bag of trimmings (22 yards by weight), a box that I sent to Cathy (who has already put some of the orphan blocks to use here), and extras that I sent to ALABQ project coordinators.

This is the 22nd  edition of my Annual Reckoning.  I am delighted that more fabric went out than came in.  (It's "out" if it's sewn, given away, or thrown away. It's "in" if it was purchased with cash/credit/gift card, or won, or received as a gift. Books, notions, tools, and other accessories aren't tracked.)  I pride myself on bargains so I'm dismayed by the dollar amount.
To summarize my quilting activity for 2019:  I finished 20 quilts51 tote bags, and 7 wall hangings and mug rugs.  I sold 10 flimsies (unquilted tops).   I kept up with One Monthly Goal and Block Lotto.  I coordinated quilts for the ALA Biblioquilters.   I donated finished quilts for fundraisers for AAUW, Zion Woman's Club, Rotary, Coalition for Healthy Communities, and Lake County Symphony Orchestra.  As of this writing the UFO box has four flimsies from 2018 and earlier and six flimsies from 2019. 

I didn't fare well with my other goals.  I did not download EQ8.  I did not make a garment. I still haven't inserted a zipper into anything. I bought a set of Westalee rulers and the proper presser foot but I haven't taken them out of the package.  I will keep these on the back burner. Meanwhile, I plan to use more of what I have, acquire less, seek bargains, and keep my quilting enjoyable and rewarding in 2020.

P.S. I used to count the spools I emptied.  Now I just toss them in a bag and recycle them at the new year.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Weekly update: Frolic 5, a bargain, and the triangle boxes

Christmas week has had extraordinarily mild temperatures.  This was the sunrise on December 25.

We went to my sister's house for Christmas dinner.  No photos, just a good visit.

I enjoyed a beach walk on December 26.

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Frolic, Part 5.  Easy-peasy.  I predict the next part will involve some assembly.

The stacking Snapware boxes come in handy for the mystery quilt clues.

I dropped a box off at Salvation Army and went in the store to see if there was anything interesting.  This delicious Free Spirit print  had been made into four "curtains"--the rod pocket and bottom/side hems had been fastened down with fusible web.  Ten yards in all for $8.50 with sales tax. I think I've found the backing for Frolic.

When I have leftover right-angle triangles I toss them into a shoebox. Every so often I sew a bunch of them into triangle-squares (HSTs). Both boxes were getting pretty full so I thought I'd take stock of those I'd sewn.

Here's how they sorted out: from 1-1/2" to 4-1/2".   There were more 3-1/2" (upper center) than any other.

I have boxes for 2" and 2-1/2" so I added these to those.  I put the larger and smaller sizes into ziploc bags.

 I kept the 2" box out and began piecing. Look what happened!  The blocks are 4.5" finished.   The setting fabric is a recent acquisition -- a circa 1980's Peter Pan ditsy print that I got at a rummage sale (3-3/8 yds for fifty cents).   84 x 68.

I'll post my Annual Reckoning in a couple of days.  Meanwhile, I'm joining other bloggers in the weekly link ups.
Oh Scrap!
Monday Making
 Design Wall Monday 

December OMG achieved

My One Monthly Goal for December dealt with the ALA Biblioquilters.  (ALABQers are people who work in or with libraries. We collaborate to make quilts for the scholarship auction at the ALA Annual Conference.)

Part one -- make four book blocks.  Once I got into it I ended up with a dozen! (I created the block design for Block Lotto.  Another Biblioquilter is coordinating the quilt that will use these.)

Part two -- create and post instructions for two quilts that I will coordinate.   
     (a) Wanda Hanson (Exuberant Color) showed this shadow box  a while ago.  Her blocks were 16". I rescaled the block to 8".  
     (b) Okay, so I didn't create the instructions for this one. It's a free download from the American Patchwork and Quilting site.  I've asked the ALABQ to use red and soft white for their twin stars blocks.

I am linking up with other OMGers at the December Finish page at Elm Street Quilts .   I add a **big** thanks to Patty for hosting OMG.  I have won the  monthly drawing twice in 2019 -- a six-month subscription to the online  Make Modern quilt magazine AND a 2020  Quilter's Planner .

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Weekly update: our Christmas gift, the kitchen, Frolic 4 -- and LOG CABINS!

Our Christmas gift to one another was a pair of tickets to today's matinee performance of The Light in the Piazza at the Lyric Opera in Chicago.   Soprano Renee Fleming was magnificent in the starring role. The rest of the cast was great, too.  (Signor Naccarelli was played by Alex Jennings who was the Duke of Windsor in The Crown.)

 The opera house is on the Chicago River (the white stone building on the right). We had not been downtown on a Sunday for many years. The train down and back was pretty full.

Now I'm going to borrow the original novel and try to find the 1962 movie version.
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 Here's the kitchen on Sunday morning.  I put post-its on the cupboard doors so we'll both know what's inside.   I haven't unpacked all the boxes partly because I want to make decisions about keeping things before squirreling rarely-used items into hard-to-access corners. And how much Fiesta do I need to have on display all the time?

The other reason is shelf pegs....You may recall that shelf pegs were the seed for this entire project. (Well, shelf pegs and being tired of the acres and acres of floral wallpaper.)  I read an article by a woman who was waked up in the middle of the night when a kitchen shelf collapsed because the shelf pegs had given way.  I checked the pegs on our shelves and discovered that not only were the shelves hanging on by sheer geometry, but also the cupboard walls were bowing badly due to the heavy weight of dishes on the top shelves. I removed the contents of the top shelves (stored in boxes in the basement).   The carpenter replaced the pegs with metal ones though he had to drill larger holes. Pegs held but wall still bowed. 
The deep hidden corner
The new shelves have plastic pegs that appear to be flimsy.  I went to Lowe's and got metal pegs.  I tried to insert them. Same diameter, fine. But the *length* of the peg is longer.  I asked the carpenter about that. He said that drilling the holes deeper might poke through the cupboard walls. They'd need to look into that and perhaps they'd have to plane the edges of the shelves.  The contractor is coming Monday morning to go over the punch list and I will ask.

 The drawer pulls look assertive, but my husband's arthritic fingers can grab them easily.
There is a pull-out cabinet for the wastebasket but it is in the exact corner where I do most cooking.  I can't stand in front of it when it's pulled out. I will buy a  lidded stainless steel wastebasket to park at the end of the counter (where the white wastebasket is now).  The trash can cabinet will be refitted with pull-out shelves.

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 Here is part 4 of Frolic, the Quiltville mystery. The units are sets of four sewn HSTs and four unsewn QSTs, each set from one blue and one aqua fabric.  I put each set in a sandwich bag to keep them sorted.

I have NO idea how the blocks will be put together!

A few weeks ago I found a pattern for paper-pieced 5" log cabin blocks in AmP&Q.    I didn't want to tear out all that paper so I sewed the blocks conventionally.  The strips were cut 1" and finished at 1/2". That size was not hard to work with. I trimmed each round as I went. I sewed the blocks in fours with a skinny inner sashing and a contrasting outer sashing. (By that time my design had totally deviated from the magazine pattern.) I knew I wanted a busy background. This citrusy print was not the one I originally chose but it provides just the effect I sought:  log cabins floating on a cheerful background.   The flimsy is approx. 68 x 80 and used 9-1/2 yards by weight.

I'm linking up with other bloggers at
 Oh Scrap
Monday Making
Design Wall Monday

P.S.  I culled a few food items as I put things away.