Thursday, October 7, 2021

I Like Thursday: trip preparation, guild rummage sale, and donation follow up

 We leave tomorrow morning for our trip east -- Road Scholar and granddaughter's wedding with sight seeing before, between, and after.  No blog posts until the end of October. . . . and no time for wildflower or even garden photos!

While I'm away my sewing machine will be in the shop for a much-needed cleaning. 

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Last evening our guild had a members' rummage sale.  $20 per table.  I split with Irene -- I had a table and a half and  she had the other half.  I packed boxes with books, patterns, notions, kits, and fabric. Every time I turned around I found something else I thought I could live without.  [Note: quite a lot came from estate sales, thrift shops, and destashings.]   

Not many people participated. The program chair said there were a number of cancellations.  Attendance at guild meetings still hasn't come back to pre-pandemic levels.  

I didn't sell out, but I returned home with less than I brought.  Out of my house are: two pairs of never-used Gingher applique scissors, a pattern, four books, a pattern, a tote bag kit, six cute greeting cards decorated with buttons, a mola, a set of vintage blocks -- and, hooray, 32-3/4 yards of fabric!   (I could not resist and bought five yards from other sellers.)   It was interesting that all the sellers priced fabric at approx. $3/yard, an independent decision.  My profit after the table fee and my purchase:  $53.50. 

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I wrote about my recent estate sale quilt rescue in this post . 

 I sold the blue bows quilt for $200. 


 I traced the origin of the signature block quilt
to Itawamba County, Mississippi, and sent it to the historical society there.  I got this lovely email acknowledgement earlier this week:  

(I'd link up with LeAnna's I Like Thursday but I'm not sure how.) 

See you all at the end of the month!

Monday, October 4, 2021

Weekly update: class reunion, quilt show, a finish, and reading

 The Glenbrook North High School Class of 1970 had not-quite a reunion on Saturday evening.  Early in 2020 we began planning.    Committee members (of which I'm one) tracked down classmates to get phone numbers and email addresses.  We created a Facebook group and used an online class reunion site to try to reach everyone we could.   In July, 2020, we realized that the pandemic wasn't going to be over by October so we cancelled the event. We began 2021 with the hope we could pull off a "Fifty Plus One" reunion for October, 2021.   Evites went out and reservations were made.  But people were hesitant -- the pandemic still hasn't gone away, we're senior citizens (a vulnerable group). We cancelled the big weekend (wine tasting, golf, school tour, and the dinner party).  Some had made travel plans and others were confident of their vaccinations.  So, we had a mini-dry-run-reunion this Saturday.  There were 26 classmates (if my photo count is correct) and 10 spouses. The weather was mild and we enjoyed drinks and heavy hors d'oeuvres outside.              [I am on the left in the second row.]

This was either brilliant or incredibly foolish -- no masks, hugs, and close proximity.   We are going to reboot the big event for next summer -- outdoors -- "The Class of 70 turns 70." 

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There were many beautiful quilts on display at the Village Quilters biennial show.  Irene and I went on Friday afternoon.  

(I have info about each quilt and the maker's name if you are interested.)

Three quilts from a workshop with Weeks Ringle.  (I really like this idea for "can't cut this" fabrics.)

From a improv workshop with Cindy Grisdela. 

There was a Quilts of Valor presentation during the show, but not when we were there.  QOV had an section of the exhibit (no photos, sorry) and a booth. They had donated fabric not suitable for QOV--put a contribution in the jar and take some. And I did! 

QOV goodies at the top.  A little stash enhancement at the bottom. 

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In the studio: 

I can boast of a finish for the month!  I made the flimsy earlier this year.  

The back uses a batik tablecloth and part of a batik sarong.   They were thrift shop or rummage sale finds. I am convinced that people buy these as souvenirs, or receive the as gifts, and never use them.

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This week's reading: 

Fox came to visit Catherine Raven's rural Montana cabin every afternoon. Raven, a biologist, knew better than to make him a pet. Her observations of his behavior -- hunting, denning, playing, and raising four kits with his mate -- are interspersed with her memoir (park ranger to grad student to professor). The story seems to zig and zag, rather like the movements of a fox. It is not sentimental but neither is it hard-edged.

A hand-written list with the titles of eight books flutters from a shelf in a branch library near London. Teenaged library assistant Aleisha  finds the list.  (She's not much of a reader; she's only taken the summer job to get out of the house and away from her severely depressed mother.)    Mukesh Patel, an 80-year-old widower, is tentatively venturing out of his house.  (His late wife was a great reader and patron of that library).  Perhaps if he finds a good book he'll have something to talk about with his bookworm granddaughter. He asks Aleisha for a recommendation and she helps him check out the first book on the list: To Kill a Mockingbird.  She realizes she should read it, too, so they can both talk about it. 

That leads to Rebecca, The Kite Runner, Life of Pi, Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, Beloved, and A Suitable Boy -- certainly an eclectic assortment. Mukesh and Aleisha pick up on different threads in each book. In their weekly conversations they get to know one another and so it is that Mukesh and his family (his three daughters and Priya) can help Aleisha and her family through a devastating time.

"Priya was reading a book he knew all about. He knew the world Priya was in right now. There was something magical in that--in sharing a world you have loved, allowing someone to see it through the same pair of spectacles you saw it through yourself." (281)

"Please try to remember that books aren't always an escape; sometimes books teach us thigs. They *show* us the world; they don't hide it." (319)

"She thought about the journey the books had taken her on, the places they had transported her to...Through the reading list's characters she'd experienced injustice...guild...terror and unease....resilience...the power of hope, faith, and community...." (361)

 This is a lovely, moving tribute to the power of books to transform lives.

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Linking up with Design Wall Monday Monday Making Oh Scrap!    

P.S.  Virginia creeper at Sand Pond on Sunday afternoon. 

Friday, October 1, 2021

Friday check in: a September finish, the stash report, and OMG October


Rabbit, rabbit!  (Here is the explanation of the good-luck legend.) 

We get our Pfizer booster shots this morning --another good luck token.

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Here's a collage of Michaelmas daisies for Michaelmas Day, September 29. (It's also Archangels Day but the other archangels don't have fall wildflowers named after them.)  

According to Wikipedia the traditional meal features goose . We're not High Church so we had chicken.  Maybe next year I'll remember to bake a version of St. Michael's bannock.  

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I quilted the tilted slab blocks. The bias I mentioned in the previous post was not a problem after all. 

When I re-rolled the quilt sandwich to quilt the borders I found piecing mistakes.  Row 3 and row 4 are tilted the same way.  Too late to change them!

The print on the lower left is a William Morris reproduction from the late 1990s. Rose & Hubble, I think.   "I can't cut this!"  "Yes, you can!"  and I did.

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The stash report:

September fabric IN  25-1/2 yards, $51.00

September fabric OUT  31-1/8 yards

YTD  fabric IN  297-1/8, $1097, average $3.69/yard

YTF fabric OUT 371-1/2

Net reduction:74 yards

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My OMG for October is to figure out a setting for the framed four-patches I've made for Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  RSC October is lime green. Because I used limes when I made green blocks earlier in the year I'm not going to make another batch.

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Linking up with Finished or Not Friday  One Monthly Goal Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Weekly update: shoes, quilt projects, OMG and reading

 I was beginning to despair that I would not find suitable shoes for our granddaughter's October 23 wedding.  I didn't want black.  I didn't want too-strappy (partly October and partly that I have bad feet). I can't wear pointy toes or high heels.  The dress (see it here) is silver-blue, further limiting the color. Why, oh why didn't I start shopping two months ago?  Anything possible on online sites was not in my size.   No luck at two DSWs (but I found a pair of navy casual shoes which will be great for fall). No luck at Rogan's. ("We've had a lot of people shopping for dress shoes," the clerk said. "Did you try J. C. Penney?" as I purchased a pair of Keen sandals (20% off).)   No luck at J. C. Penney (no purchase, either). Then I went to Chiapetta's, a full-line store that sells shoes for all sizes (a good orthopedic trade).   The salesman measured my feet (when was the last time that happened?) and brought out a stack of shoeboxes.  

Shoes for the wedding

Not what I expected but perfect. And perfectly comfortable. 

(Brand is BeautiFeel.) 

Shoes for the reception

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In the studio:  the slab blocks are all set. The tilted triangles are tricky.   Per Bonnie Hunter's instructions, the straight grain is sewn to the block. The outer edges are a slight bias. And that slight bias stretched.  Will the stretch quilt out?  I hope so. I pressed assertively. I'll baste heavily.  56 x 63, 4-1/4 yards used. 

My One Monthly Goal for September was to complete the AAUW holiday quilt. I did that and took it to LeAnn-the-quilter on Thursday.  I've shown the photo but I'll repeat it for the sake of the OMG September Finish Link Up

I'm working on more daisy-print mug rugs for a P.E.O. project.  

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I first learned about Belle da Costa Greene earlier this year when Smithsonian magazine published an article about her. The article referred to Heidi Ardizzone's biography "An Illuminated Life." I borrowed the book from the library but it was 450 +/- pages and I just couldn't concentrate on it. I was delighted to learn about The Personal Librarian -- Belle's story in an easier-to-read (and much shorter) format.

The story is fascinating and illuminating on many levels. Belle's father Richard Greener was the first Black graduate of Harvard. He was a professor at several colleges including Howard University School of Law. Belle's mother's family were well-established in the Washington Black community. The Greeners separated and Mrs. Greener took the six children to New York -- where they changed their name to Green and their family story to pass as white (of 'Portuguese' descent). When Belle worked in the rare books division of the Princeton University Library she attracted the attention of millionaire tycoon J. P. Morgan who was investing in rare books and manuscripts. He hired her as his personal librarian. As Benedict and Murray tell it, Belle was instrumental in acquiring many valuable items for Morgan. She mingled with the elite of the early 20th-century (pre-WWI) art world including the critic Bernard Berenson, with whom she had an affair. (Berenson had many secrets about his own origins.)

There's suspense -- will Belle slip up and reveal her true origins? Will she reconcile with her father? What about Berenson, after all? And how close was she to Morgan?

[My quibble is with a few anachronistic references. For example, "how close you and your dad were" (150)--dad? not father? "That's okay," p. 150. "That's part of my job description" (172) -- was that term used in the early 1900's? Frequent references to "back home in DC," "going to DC." Calling it DC without punctuation seems very 21st century.]

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See what other quilters are doing at  Oh Scrap! One Monthly Goal  Monday Making   Design Wall Monday 

Weekly update: gatherings online and in-person and two parks

 [Next post will have quilting updates and the one book I managed to finish this week.]     

The 75th International Convention of the P.E.O. Sisterhood was held virtually this week. Because it was virtual any member could 'attend' at no charge. I registered months ago and fully intended to tune in -- but Life In General intervened.  I did watch the opening ceremony on Wednesday and one of the workshops.  Now I need to go back to see the results of the voting on amendments. There were many.  Like so many organizations P.E.O. is striving to improve its diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

I did take a selfie for the online photo booth.  The seven founders' names are on my t-shirt.  

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It was wonderful to see AAUW, P.E.O., and GFWC friends at the first Clara Cummings Book Club luncheon since October, 2019.  Clara Cummings is a book club in name only -- it's a luncheon gathering with a literary-based program or historical portrayal.  (I gave a book talk several years ago). The presenter this time was Jenny Riddle who appeared as Catherine the Great based on the biography by Robert K. Massie.  Jenny dispelled a lot of "myth-information" about Catherine. 

The Zion Woman's Club participated in the 30th annual Beach Clean Up sponsored by the Alliance for the Great Lakes . We had checklists to indicated what trash we picked up--foam pieces, plastic bottles, cans, cigarette butts, etc. (Someone found the rusty barrel of a BB gun.)  21.5 pounds! 

It's been sunny, warm, and (still) dry -- great for our park explorations.  Stevens and I revisited   Fort Sheridan.  The forest preserve is adjacent to the old-new Town of Fort Sheridan. When the lakefront property was decommissioned as a fort (1992)  it provided a superb opportunity for nature preservation and historic preservation.  It's on  the flyway and there were hawk-watchers (volunteers counting and documenting the hawks they see). 


Clockwise: toadflax, a hillside of asters, tall boneset, Maximilian sunflower and asters, and vetch. 

This gives you an idea of the height that Fort Sheridan is on.  (Farther north our section of the lakefront is very flat and marshy.) 

The quarters of Fort Sheridan have been redeveloped and renovated as upscale housing -- single-family and condominium. 

   Moraine Hills State Park is just over the county line in McHenry County.  From the website: "Major acquisition of the Lake Defiance area began in 1971, and construction of park facilities took place in the spring of 1975. The present Moraine Hills State Park opened in October 1976.​ The park name is derived from a geologic formation known as a moraine, which is an accumulation of boulders, stones and other debris deposited by a glacier. The 48-acre Lake Defiance, located near the center of the park, is one of the few glacial lakes in Illinois that has remained largely undeveloped, maintaining a near-natural condition."

Clockwise:  false Solomon's seal (aka false spikenard or Solomon's plume); a gall on a goldenrod stem; oriental bittersweet vines; sunlight on a mossy log; Japanese rose hips. 

Top:  Lake Defiance.  I walked 1 mile of the north loop -- maybe half way? - and turned around.  

Where will we go next week?  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Midweek: quilt mailed off and a new scrappy project


Welcome autumn!  A cold front came through on Tuesday and the temperature dropped 10+ degrees. Our afternoon outing to Lyons Woods was very comfortable both for me to walk and for Stevens as he sat in the car.  (He's unable to walk long distances -- especially at the pace I've developed over this past year of near-daily walks!)

Oriental bittersweet or spindleberry.  The vine grew across a 2" gap (right photo) to wind around the tree trunk (left photo).  I've only seen bittersweet at Lyons Woods.

Left: the rose hips from Japanese or Seven Sisters roses look more like berries than rose hips.  It's a non-native rose with profuse white blossoms.  Right: the rose hips from native rugosa (wild roses) are larger. 

The sumac looks ready for Christmas with its red-and-green foliage. 

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Thank you all who commented on the quilts I bought at the estate sale last weekend.  An update on the signature quilt:   I did some more searching and figured out more relationships (grandmother, daughters, cousins).  I couldn't get a definitive church affiliation. Then I discovered the Itawamba Historical Society which has a museum, archives, restored buildings, and a genealogical library.  I wrote a letter explaining how and from whom I got the quilt, boxed it with the quilt, and send the package off to the historical society yesterday.  

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In the studio:  I prepped the back for the Christmas basket quilt. I'll deliver it to LeAnn tomorrow.  She quilted the Magpie Hug a couple of months ago.

I usually cut scraps into predetermined sizes (squares and strips) except when I don't feel like it. Those go into a medium-sized plastic tub. The tub was getting pretty full so I made a bunch of slab blocks.  They're 6.5" unfinished. I think I'm going to set them with topsy-turvy triangles (one sample on the wall).  

You know better than to ask if I emptied the tub.  <grin> 

Linking up with   Midweek Makers

P.S.  One more flower photo.  Field thistle.  

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Weekly update: quilt rescue and reading


Be sure to read the previous post to see the week's wildflowers and other activities.

On the way back from a lake shore walk we saw two cranes at the edge of a pond in the park.  I was able to get pretty close to them.

This weekend there was an estate sale about three blocks away.   I had walked past the house often but I didn't know the people who lived there.  (I looked them up: he died in 2012 and she died earlier this year.) I went on Saturday when  everything was 50% off.

There were three undistinguished Kenmore sewing machines, a huge bin of embroidery floss in ziploc bags, sorted and numbered by color, the usual assortment of cross-stitch leaflets and evenweave cloth.  

What caught my eye was the stack of old quilts -- $20 each but it was 50% off day, so $10!  Most were in bad shape.  I got two quilts and an unquilted top. 

I think the bow quilt is a kit. The bows look like they were die-cut and the elaborate quilting design ooks like follow-the-dotted line.

I have another quilt from the 1930's that is quilted with blue floss.  

The thread tails are expertly buried on the back.

These Lone Stars are hand-pieced. The background is osnaberg-ish (rough texture).  They all lie flat. 

 A couple of the blocks are in rough shape but I can salvage several others.   

Love the quirky substitutions!

The third quilt is very, very lumpy.  I had to buy it because of the signature blocks -- who were these people? Where did they live? How did the quilt end up in northern Illinois? 

Thanks to I was able to trace the quilt to Itawamba Co., Mississippi.  (Two of the names are Zelon Jackson and Lelon Jackson -- unusual enough to be easy to find.) 

 Beatrice "Beddie" Petty was the grandmother of the man who lived in the house.  The man's mother and three aunts also signed blocks. (Beddie had eight children.)  

Beddie's son, his wife (a block-signer), and their family were among the many people from the Tupelo, MS - Red Bay, AL area who migrated to Waukegan to work in the factories during WWII and into the 1950's.  

I think I've figured out what church all the signers went to.  It's still in business and I'm going to send it to tthem. 

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I finished just one book this week.  

Vanishing Fleece was published two years ago. I'm sure that readers who knit know all about it since Clara Parkes is a very well-known chronicler of knitting and wool.  It will be of interest to quiltmakers and anyone who works with fiber and fabric.   

Parkes’ experiment in processing a bale of wool takes her from the New York sheep farm to processors in Texas, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Maine. There is a lot that goes into the production. As a result of her investigative reporting I am more informed and far more appreciative —particularly in the science and technology involved.

It's a "shear" delight. I give it five stars!

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