Friday, January 15, 2021

Friday check in: MQG swap reveal!

It's time to reveal the results of the Mini Swap hosted by the Modern Quilt Guild -- at least, of my part in it.  Kathy C. was my swap partner.  Here's the 24" mini quilt that she sent me.   Gray and coral are two of my current favorite colors and I love batiks.  


I used batiks for "Toward the Morning," the mini I sent to Kathy. 

This was the first time I've made a flange binding. 

The triangles-in-formation design is from a stenciled frieze at Crab Tree Farm which I toured in July, 2019 .   

The colorway was inspired by the sunrise photo I took when we were in Crisfield, Maryland, on our 2019 Road Scholar trip. (Little did we know that we wouldn't have RS trips in 2020 or 2021.)  

The swap was fun and I plan to enter next year!  

Linking up with Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? and  Finished Or Not Friday

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Weekly update: some pink, OMG, and a squirrel

 Lynn and I have known one another since kindergarten. We reconnected last year on our high school class's 50th reunion FB group.  She joined me on Tuesday for a hike at Illinois Beach State Park. It was a pleasant 3-mile catching-up.  

Wednesday my husband and I went out to discover a new-to-us segment of the lakefront bike trail.  It was so calm -- in great contrast to the upheaval in Washington, D.C. which we watched on the news, horrified.  

(You can tell it's a different day by the color of my turtleneck. :) )

The sun was out on Saturday when we revisited Middlefork Savanna  in Lake Forest.  That's teasel on the left.  It is so photogenic but it is actually an aggressive invasive species.  (It was used to raise the nap of woolen cloth.  Read more here.)  

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In the studio: a corner of the MQG mini quilt. I will mail it to my swap partner tomorrow.  Midweek I'll show the entire quilt and share the story of the design.  

I'm fiddling with ways to arrange the HSTs I made for last year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  This month's RSC is pink.  

But, oh, those batiks! They were so happy to be let out of their wire baskets. (Remember, for two months I was devoted to the Civil War repro project.)  I had a few four-patches on hand. I had a few framed four-patch blocks on hand.  And now I have many more.  They are 5.5" unfinished and as you can see I'm considering setting them as nine-patches.  

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Nev March's debut novel, Murder in Old Bombay, is a mystery/romance set in 1890's Bombay -- the height of the British occupation.  Capt. Jim Agnihotri, an Anglo-Indian army veteran, is hired to find out who murdered two Parsee (Zoroastrian) women. It is not a clear-cut case.  Jim's life is in jeopardy as he untangles a web of blackmail and deceit.   It's entertaining and just complex enough to keep the reader going.

The All-Together Quilt is a charming addition to my collection of quilt-related picture books.  It is based on Piece-by-Piece, an intergenerational/intercultural quilt project in Norwalk, Connecticut.   Rockwell describes the process of making a quilt (how to cut the pieces and how to assemble blocks) in a straightforward, non-cutesy way.  The illustrations are of real people.  It's a gem!  

Here is the author's website.  

Here is the Quilt Alliance's story of the Piece-by-Piece project.

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

P.S.  In-person church services resumed today!  

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Weekly update: project updates, OMG, and more


Our first forest preserve outings of the year -- Spring Bluff on Saturday and Van Patten Woods on Sunday.  

Enough people had walked along the trails to pack down the snow so I didn't flounder.

Left collage: red-wing blackbird nest, a gravity defying limb, horsetails.  

Right collage: gull tracks in the sand. 

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I've collected/accumulated household textiles for many years. In 2019 I sold nearly all of the aprons in a yard sale. In 2020 I cut up vintage tablecloths to make tote bags (see them here).   This year I'm assessing the dish towels.  I will keep those signed by designers (Tammis Keefe, Lois Lang) and others that have artistic potential (some day) but I am going to deploy others as actual everyday dishtowels.  Those they replace will become rags.

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Here's Clue 6 of the Grassy Creek mystery.  I sewed 1.5" strips together without foundation papers and thus I didn't have to pick out all that paper. 

I made two CW reproduction flimsies.  The nine-patch is adapted from a pattern by Connie Etherington and Mary Tesene.   

The  Jewel Box blocks just kind of happened.  I tried a variety of colors but blue and white won out.   I considered light chain or dark chain, triangles in or out. I considered a straight setting with or without sashing and a ring-shaped setting.  Then I put them on point. What a difference!  I tried pink for the setting squares but the one print I had enough of was way too intense.  I searched further and found a homespun check for the setting squares and a non-repro stripe for the setting triangles.  The outer border is a mid-1990's repro (Smithsonian Little Sister Quilt by RJR). 

This brings this chapter of the great CW Repro Stash Reduction Project to a close.  I used up just shy of 50 yards on the 12 flimsies. Don't worry!  There are more to come. 


But now it's time to declare my January One Monthly Goal.  I signed up for the Modern Quilt Guild mini-swap.  I've corresponded with my assigned partner who told me she likes bright batiks.  I have a few baskets of those.  I've switched gears from CW traditional blocks to modern designs.  I have an idea and I even managed to chart it out on EQ8. 
Here's the initial fabric pull.

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Fiona Davis writes novels about New York -- specifically, about iconic New York buildings.  The Masterpiece (2018) is about Grand Central Terminal (the technical name, as the reader learns early on). The story is set in the late 1920's when the Grand Central School of Art operated on the upper floors, and in 1974 when Grand Central was dilapidated, dangerous (muggers, etc.), and threatened with destruction.  Who was the pseudonymous artist whose work is discovered in the abandoned classroom? Why is it purloined before it can be authenticated?   There's a mix of historical education and some real suspense.

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Linking up with One Monthly Goal     Oh Scrap!    Monday Making

P.S.  I bought this at Salvation Army this week.  It's a beautifully appliqued batik flower.  The professional framing is great but the setting is dull.   I plan to un-frame it and set the block in a more interesting way.  It's signed at the bottom corner: J K Coon, 2011. 

Friday, January 1, 2021

Happy New Year! PBS mementos, the year's favorites, and the annual reckoning


Postcard from a collection I purchased in Fargo circa 1996.  Published by the Gibson Art Company, Cincinnati.  Postmarked Casselton, ND, December 30, 1924.  Sent by Louise (no surname) to Miss Nora Buttke. Message: "Dear friends: We wish you folks all a very Happy New Year. I had planned on coming out for New Years but as it happened that I was not home for Xmas as much as I would have like to be. Would like to be for New Years now. We expect the Teetz family for New Years. Thanks very much for Xmas gift. Will See you after N.Y. then.  Friend Louise." 

Does it seem that there are more "best of" and "year in review" stories than in previous years?   Not just in quilting but in books, movies, music, and all manner of topics (some of which I follow and most of which I don't).  I think we have a greater awareness--noticing, measuring, evaluating, and certainly commenting more.   

Last week Judy Woodruff, PBS Newshour anchor, invited viewers to submit their mementos of 2020.  I was among more than 200 viewers who responded.  I sent photos of Shelter in Place, the quilt I created during the first shut down (mid-March to the end of May).   My entry was one of 20 chosen for their story!  Here is the link.    

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Cheryl at Meadow Mist designs is hosting the Best of 2020 link up.  Shelter in Place was definitely my favorite quilt.  Here's a collage of other memorable sewing.

I made 500 masks from March to May.  (I've made a few more since then but no mass production.)  The collage includes the vintage bias binding I used up when elastic was in short supply. 

I made mug rugs.  Top: birthday gift for a friend (with a matching mask). Left:  P.E.O. home fund gifts. Right: retirement gifs.

I made tote bags. Those in the top and lower right photos are made from vintage tablecloths and quilting cotton -- favors for the Magpies' meet up in February. The tote on the lower left is for a P.E.O. sister. 

I made many quilts. Here are a few.    

This documentation is a good lead in to the December stash report:   78 yards in, $80  /  46-5/8 yards out.  Year to date:  916-3/8 in, $1383 / 960-3/8 out.  Net reduction: 44 yards.  Hooray!

This is the 23rd year I've tracked fabric acquired and fabric used.  Acquired means purchased (with my money or a gift card) or received for free.  Used means sewn, sold, given away, or thrown out. (This last category included trimmings -- I toss slivers and dog-ears into a big bag. When the bag is full I weigh it -- 4 yds to 1 lb -- and count that as "out." After all, those orts [morsels] were part of the yardage that I counted as "in.")  

Monday, December 28, 2020

Weekly update: hiking, feasting, quilting, reading

 Thursday evening:   the first Christmas Eve service I've attended with my sewing machine.  That was so we could watch the Lessons and Carols on our church's YouTube channel.   We fervently hope that this was a one-and-only and that next year we can worship in person.  We dimmed the lights and lit candles for  Silent Night.  

Christmas dinner: roast beef, acorn squash, braised parsnips. Pear/spinach salad.  Cranberry-pumpkin upside down cake.  The vintage tablecloth just covered the table. (The table is mid-19th century and not a standard size.)   And when was the last time you used a pickle fork?  LOL. 

We went to Lyons Woods Saturday afternoon.  Ornaments were hung -- randomly -- on trees along the trail.  Once I caught on I kept walking to see if I could find more.  Two women I passed said they'd counted more than 40.  

Though we are in a "snow drought" it's still gotten cold.  There was ice in the tree roots at Illinois Beach on Sunday.   Shoreline erosion toppled these trees within the past two years.  

Lower center:  There is a bike trail (finely-packed gravel) under about a foot of sand.

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In the studio:   Nine-Patch Churn Dash is a flimsy.   I used "All in a Row" by Kim Diehl as the starting point.  

The next CWRSRP (Civil War Repro Stash Reduction Project) is nearly a flimsy.  

The design idea is from a quilt called Blue and Gray by Etherington/Tesene.  

Here are the 9-patches, flying geese, and red units for Clue 5 of Grassy Creek.  

When I began the mystery the fabrics were neatly arranges in the box.  Five weeks in, not so much. 

It's time to post December OMG finishes.   I said I would piece the quilt code-named Welcome Home.  (This is all I will show because it's a surprise.)  It is on the long-armer's schedule for the end of January.  

The photo shows the flimsy and the backing (a black/white thrift-shop sheet).  

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Kerri Arsenault's memoir Mill Town: Reckoning With What Remains has been named to several "best of 2020" lists.  The accolades are well-deserved.  
Arsenault lovingly, critically, fearlessly, and lyrically describes the past and present of Rumford and Mexico, Maine, the community where she grew up. Her father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all worked at the paper mill that for 150 years has produced cardboard and coated stock. The bleaching process uses chlorine; its byproduct is cancer-causing dioxin -- and cancer is the primary cause of death many, many millworkers and members of their families. Arsenault probes to find documentation and to tries to get corporate admission of malfeasance. She describes growing up in the town where the smell of the mill meant the smell of money. She explores her family's journey from 17th century France to P.E.I. to early 20th century Maine. She acknowledges the challenge to Rumford/Mexico: how do company towns endure in an era of leveraged buyouts, takeovers, and offshore production? (She details how Rumford -- desperate to diversify revenue -- sold significant access to its water supply to Nestle/Poland Spring.)
An important book, all the better for Arsenault's extraordinarily fine writing.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Midweek: design epiphany

 I took a long walk Tuesday afternoon down a new-to-me trail at the north end of Illinois Beach State Park.  I wanted to go farther but I could only go until I was half-tired to save the other half for the walk home.  

A front is coming through today (Wednesday) with temperatures dropping by 40 degrees.

It was overcast both Monday and Tuesday evenings.    We're not going to see the Great Conjunction (Jupiter and Saturn). 

(Spring Bluff forest preserve is across the road from the state park.) 

Left: abandoned red-winged blackbird nest. Right: muskrat den.

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(c) Kim Diehl
In the studio:  I finished the nine-patch churn dash blocks and mulled over how I would set them. Here's Kim Diehl's pattern. My blocks are larger (10.5" fin to her 7.5" fin). 

Though I have yards of  CW repro fabric I don't have long pieces for borders, at least not in a print that I though worked with these blocks. At breakfast I had a design epiphany.  (Epiphanies are appropriate for the Christmas season, right?)  

Here's how it looked at the end of the evening. 

I made 100+ HSTs that are 3" unfinished.

Linking up with Susan and friends at Midweek Makers

and Jennifer's Wednesday Wait Loss

Monday, December 21, 2020

Weekly update: the solstice, some sewing, some reading

The first day of winter!   The sun was behind the clouds at 7:13 a.m.   The sandy bluff where I usually take sunrise pictures, such as the one six months ago for the summer solstice, is closed to vehicles for the season.  Thus this photo overlooks the empty boat slips at North Point Marina

I took the photo on the right on my Sunday afternoon walk.  The ravine is at the end of our street. The creek flows to the park adjacent to the marina. 

In the studio:  

Grassy Creek, clue 4. 

I've made 17 out of the projected 20 9P churn dash blocks.  I hope to get these to the flimsy stage this week. 

 I got the ARC (advance reader copy) of Kendra Atleework's memoir at ALA Midwinter; it was published in June.    It's a fierce and loving tribute to place and to family.   The place is Bishop, California, in the Sierras -- the water source for Los Angeles.  The family are her father, her mother (who died when Kendra was 16), and her sister and brother. Atleework went to college in Los Angeles and to graduate school in Minnesota (where the green-ness was astounding and disconcerting) -- and finally returned to Bishop. 

Linking up  with:  Oh Scrap!  Monday Making  Design Wall Monday