Sunday, March 25, 2012

DWM: Sewing Expo, a finish, and simply scrappy

On Saturday my friend Irene and I went to the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo at the convention center in northwest suburban Schaumburg. We'd never been to the show before. According to the website ( it's been around since 1995. As I recall it used to emphasize garment sewing, with a wave to quiltmaking. The website says that the brand/company is now owned by Creative Crafts Group, which also owns Quilters Newsletter, McCall's Quilting, Fons & Porter, and their "easy/quick" offshoots, as well as the Keepsake Quilting shop. New ownership + market changes (more quilters than fashion sewers) + the departure of the Quilts Inc. show (which used to be at Rosemont/Chicago, this year again in Cincinnati) = more emphasis on quilting. 
Admission was just $10.00 and parking was free. There were several quilt exhibits  -- quilts from Quiltmaker and Fons & Porter magazines; art quilts by Susan Shie; art quilts about racism (thought-provoking) <>; ; a selecton of 'modern' quilts; and a PAQA (Professional Art Quilt Alliance) series of small quilts on different kinds of science (mitochondrial DNA to oceanography).  [There were big signs warning, "No photography."] 
What we both noted was how uncrowded it was compared to the Rosemont show. We had lunch at the concessions stand on the exhibit floor and had no trouble getting a seat. We didn't sign up for any classes. There were more than 100 vendors but the aisles were not jam-packed. The traffic seemed so light that I asked a couple of the vendors how business was. They did not seem to be disappointed, though they both said Friday was busier than Saturday. 
Lime and other bright green; gray and black
Batiks and some that I just had to have
I don't need another t-shirt but I do like this slogan
We did our part to keep the vendors in business. I spent under $200 -- 15-7/8 yds of fabric, a t-shirt (see photo), and a jacket pattern (Tabula Rasa by Fit for Art Patterns ). (This is the third "last jacket pattern you'll ever need" I have; maybe this one will be.)  I was a piker compared to Irene who reckoned she spent nearly $800. I need to go to more quilt shows with her. :) 
I finished the Kaleidoscope quilt Saturday evening -- quilted and bound!  While tidying up I found three panels of 2.5" (2" finished) squares sewn as leaders-and-enders.  I considered sewing more squares...but got to thinking.  I went to the 2.5" HST box and here is what resulted.  When I add the bottom rows of HSTs this will be 64 x 56. (Or 56 x 64 when it's vertical. )   
See what other quiltmakers are working on thisDesign Wall Monday.                                  

Sunday, March 18, 2012

DWM: Bag Lady Swap

I've joined five online friends in a Bag Lady Swap. The guidelines are simple:  choose some fabric and make a couple of blocks from it. Then send the blocks, some additional fabric, and notes with design suggestions to the next person on the list.  Those suggestions may be strictly or loosely interpreted as the Bag Lady sees fit.  The packages are sent from person to person so that eventually the other five participants will contribute to the mix. (It's like a Round Robin quilt but unassembled.)   I was supposed to get my blocks and fabric sent out at the beginning of March. The person sending to me was on the ball and her box arrived a week ago. 

I auditioned fabrics.  I looked at books of quilt blocks. I made a sample block and decided that I wouldn't like a whole quilt based around it.  In short, I was stressing a lot over something that is supposed to be fun.  When that happens I turn around twice (figuratively speaking) and take a deep breath. 

Eureka! I chose the Cake Stand block and polka dot fabric. It was hard to stop at three sample blocks! These are 8".

I figured out that one block can be made from two 10" squares (with scraps left over). So I'm sending an assortment of polka dot squares that the Bag Ladies can use, or mix with their own, or not use.

I'm sending strips in case the Bag Ladies want to make alternate blocks or sashing or something.

I'm adding gifts as an inspirational incentive. :)

Meanwhile, here are the fabrics and the two starter blocks that Carla sent me. Her theme is Girl Scouts. I am nearly finished with the blocks I'm making for her, but I'm not showing them. It's a surprise!

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

Sunday, March 11, 2012

DWM: Kaleidoscope

Our granddaughter will graduate from high school this June, which provides the occasion for a quilt!  Her favorite colors are purple and turquoise.  Both are in good supply in my fabric stash. I did have to buy the outer border fabric (though it was the only thing I bought that shopping trip). 
The 8" (finished) kaleidoscope blocks are paper pieced using a pattern from a 2008 issue of Fons & Porter.  The trimmings yielded a quantity of triangles that will find their way into another project.
The flimsy is 70 x 70.  (One of the blocks is placed incorrectly. Can you find it?  I didn't until I took the photograph.)
You can see what other quiltmakers are up to at Judy's Patchwork Times !

Book review: Textiles: the Whole Story

Textiles: the Whole Story
By Beverly Gordon
Thames & Hudson, 2011  

Fiber, and the textiles made from it, is all around us.  Beverly Gordon’s splendid new book provides a comprehensive analysis of that fact.  She acknowledges that there are millions of people for whom textile-making is a hobby or a craft profession: quiltmakers, weavers, knitters, basketmakers, seamsters, and others. Gordon goes deeper and in so doing enriches our understanding of the fiber that supports our lives.
·         Textiles in human consciousness
n  Language and imagery – we use textile terms as metaphors (“tie up loose ends,” “cut from the same cloth”)
n  Myth and legend – the three Fates; Penelope’s weaving as she waited for Odysseus; and similar stories from other cultures
n  Textiles for weddings (the chuppa) and funerals (the pall)
·         Textiles and human survival
n  Clothing and shelter (tents, draperies, hammocks)
n  Food preparation and storage (nets, baskets)
n  Hygiene, medicine, protection
n  Transportation
      ·         Social meaning of textiles
n  Quilting bees
n  Performing arts and sports (costumes and equipment, e.g. hot air balloons)
·         Cloth and power (money, trade, status, control)
n  Value of cloth:  “cloth of gold” and “cloth of silver” with real metals; the cost of dye (murex for purple, cochineal for red)
n  How the silk and cotton trades created economies (East to West; U.S. and Europe; slavery)
n  Power:  the yellow stars Jews had to wear in Nazi Europe; embroidered shoes for bound feet in China
·         Cloth expression (meaning, messages, and beauty)
n  Peruvian knotted strings for record-keeping
n  Signal flags
n  Embroidered samplers and their verses
n  Tapestries
·         Sacred, spiritual, and healing significance of cloth
n  Symbolism of white cloth
n  Sacred garments (Jewish tallit)
n  Prayer flags and prayer shawls

Extensive color illustrations show examples from around the world, historical and contemporary. I have noted several (too many!) books in the bibliography that I’d like to read.  (Kathleen Curtis Wilson was writing  Irish People, Irish Linen   as Prof. Gordon was writing this book. I hope they have read one another’s work by now.) 

Gordon is professor emerita in the Design Studies  Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (Design Studies incorporates interior design and textile design. The department is in the School of Human Ecology, which was originally the School of Home Economics).   

This book will be of interest to anyone who works with any kind of fiber and to anyone who is interested in history.  I enthusiastically recommend it!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Swap goodies!

What a treat awaited me when I got home this afternoon!  The Sew Many Swaps group had a Jelly Bean Swap. My Canadian secret partner sent fabric to represent "blueberry pie" and "mint sorbet" made-up jelly bean flavo(u)rs.  A Block Swapper sent the Christmas Ohio Star and some of the lime green and purple FQs. And one of the LibQuilters sent a whole parcel of reds, purples, and yellows in exchange for The Living End  by Robert Leleux, who spoke about his book at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. (I highly recommend the book.)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

DWM: quilting designs

Nine Patch Cross: continuous curves
As I posted last week, I've been on a get-em-quilted binge. Since December I've quilted 15 flimsies and I've had 4 flimsies "sent out" to be professionally quilted.  These photos show some of the quilting.

I hate to mark. One reason is that many years ago I had a couple of bad experiences where marking lines just did not come out. (I even tried carpet cleaner on one quilt to no avail.) 
Ohio Stars: loopy flowers
Another reason is that most marking requires deciding on the quilting design before basting. I find that I figure out how I'll do the quilting while I'm basting. 

Visit Judy's Patchwork Times  to see what other quiltmakers are working on this week.    
Loose Coins:  straight lines and bubbles

Homespun Heartstrings:  meandering

Rusty Bows:  big and little loopy flowers

Happy birthday to ZBPL!

The Zion Public Library opened its doors on Wednesday, March 3, 1937.   March 3 fell on a Saturday this year, just right for the Zion-Benton Public Library's 75th anniversary party.  A good time was had by all!  

Zion-Benton Public Library’s Diamond Anniversary is one for the books!
(my "Perspectives" column for the Zion-Benton News, 2/23/12) 
Getting a shave at the corner barbershop. Making a deposit at the town bank.   Reading a book from the library.  Scenes from a bygone era?  The world has not changed beyond all recognition.  
Walk into the Zion-Benton Public Library.  You’ll find row upon row of books, a lively youth services room, and library staff who are happy to assist you.  It’s the place to come whether you are a student or a senior citizen, searching for a bestseller, consumer information, or term paper help.  
Since the library first opened in 1937,  our dedication to informing and educating the
people of Zion, Beach Park, and Winthrop Harbor has never wavered. Even in lean financial times, we have made an effort  to stock the shelves with up-to-date materials in all subject areas. The consistent expertise of the library staff has helped customers get even more from their trips to the library.
          What has changed over time is how information is delivered. When the Zion Public Library opened on March 3, 1937, its stock was print:  books, newspapers, and magazines. In the 1960’s the Zion Memorial Public Library added records, art prints, and microfilm.  In 1975 the Zion-Benton Public Library added Beach Park and Winthrop Harbor to the service area. The bookmobile took the library to neighborhoods and school yards.  Movies went from film to VHS to DVD.  Music and spoken books  went from LPs to cassettes to CDs, MP3s and, now, to digital downloads.  Reference sources, once exclusively print, now encompass extensive online databases.  And books, that mainstay, include hard cover, paperback, and large print, plus downloadable ebooks.  
Customers will always be able to find their favorite books at the library. Technology can never replace an afternoon curled up with a good mystery novel.   Children learn about books and also about interacting with other children when they come to preschool storytime.   Traditional materials provide a depth that is often impossible online, and the Internet supplies an immediacy and timeliness that the publishing process does not allow.
“Can you recommend a book?”   ZBPL’s librarians answer that question every day. But now they’ll also point you towards the most useful and entertaining web sites.    Librarians are experienced at refining searches to get the most accurate information quickly.  Librarians are like telephone operators, making connections for customers. Operators have had to adapt from manually plugging in connections to overseeing networks of fiber optics.   
            Whether you come to the library looking for literary reviews, recipes or business advice, our librarians can help you find what you’re looking for online and on-shelf.    It seems that computer searches only scratch the surface.  A website citation leads to one book and then another…..and the books that ZBPL doesn’t own can be borrowed from other libraries.  
The library does more than provide the tools.  We introduce people to a process of discovery that can change lives.    We give you the power to acquire new skills, knowledge and confidence.   We provide public-access computers and a high speed connection.    With free equipment and free instruction, we level the technological playing field. This translates into greater opportunities
for our workforce and our local businesses. 
The world of the future will hold more changes, more technological innovations and more revolutions in thought.   How can you keep up with all this progress? The same way you always have – at the Zion-Benton Public Library.