Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ten years at home

Childcraft, 1949 ed., v. 2
Christopher Morley wrote Song for a Little House. It was anthologized in Childcraft which I read so many times that I instantly see this illustration when I read the poem now. (I don't think I'd welcome hovering butterflies inside, but the other imagery is very evocative.)

This week marks the 10th anniversary of my move to our house in Winthrop Harbor.*  It is the longest time I have lived in any one house/dwelling in my life.   The house in Northbrook was "home" from 1962-2002, but I actually lived there only from 1962 until I went away to college in 1970. I returned for breaks and for two summers, but from the fall of 1972 on I no longer lived there.

Growing up I lived in an apartment (Chicago), our first Northbrook house, another apartment (Glenview), and then "home" again in Northbrook.   In college I lived in a dorm room, my sorority house, and two summer apartments. As an independent adult I've lived in two apartments (Brenham), a mobile home and a house (Pittsburg), two houses (Portland and Auburn), two houses (one rented, one owned) (Fargo), and finally two houses in Illinois including the one that inspired this post.

(*MY move to OUR house because we had a commuter marriage for two decades. When Stevens retired at the end of 2008 he moved in with me.)

In 1912 Morley wrote a poem about a dream house that I think I'd like very much indeed, though "windows with small leaded panes" wouldn't be best for a quilting studio.  Perhaps the dream house could have an addition. :) 
IT should be yours, if I could build
The quaint old dwelling I desire,
With books and pictures bravely filled
And chairs beside an open fire,
White-panelled rooms with candles lit--
I lie awake to think of it!
A dial for the sunny hours,
A garden of old-fashioned flowers--
Say marigolds and lavender
And mignonette and fever-few,
And Judas-tree and maidenhair
And candytuft and thyme and rue--
All these for you to wander in.
A Chinese carp (called Mandarin)
Waving a sluggish silver fin
Deep in the moat: so tame he comes
To lip your fingers offering crumbs.
Tall chimneys, like long listening ears,
White shutters, ivy green and thick,
And walls of ruddy Tudor brick
Grown mellow with the passing years.
And windows with small leaded panes,
Broad window-seats for when it rains;
A big blue bowl of pot pourri
And--yes, a Spanish chestnut tree
To coin the autumn's minted gold.
A summer house for drinking tea--
All these (just think!) for you and me.
A staircase of the old black wood
Cut in the days of Robin Hood,
And banisters worn smooth as glass
Down which your hand will lightly pass;
A piano with pale yellow keys
For wistful twilight melodies,
And dusty bottles in a bin--
All these for you to revel in!
But when? Ah well, until that time
We'll habit in this house of rhyme.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Holiday sewing on a rainy day

Hoary puccoon at Hosah Beach (Zion)
Iris in our front garden
Outdoor activity on Memorial Day was hampered by rain and chilly temperatures.  Indoors I could have done homework (three book reviews (for the ALA conference at the end of June) and an audiobook review (due last week, but I didn't finish listening to it until this weekend)).  I chose to sew.

The HeartStrings group had a weekend sew-in.  I had 25 HS blocks already made.  I made 23 more and created this 48-block quilt. The quilting is an overall meander with lavender thread.

This is finish #18 for 2013.

I transformed a free totebag. The nylon trim (bottom and handles) is more resistant to wear than quilting-weight cotton. (I had trouble getting the lining to fit smoothly, though.....gotta work on that with the next totebag.)
Here's what's under the needle now: "Little Dipper" from early 2008.  I got it basted and began quilting it last evening.   I don't have much sewing time the rest of this week but it feels good to have this underway.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

DWM: 17th finish + quilts sold

 In December I went to an estate sale and bought, among other fabric, a log cabin UFO. I completed the last two cabins and considered several ways to set them. There was enough of the red print fabric to make just as many 3" 9-patch blocks as would fit.  The yellow plaid setting fabric and the borders came from my stash.  Here is how the 60 x 60 flimsy looked: 

Each time I thought about it, I realized I didn't like the straight furrows setting.  It was too strongly diagonal, emphasized by the strong contrast in the blocks.  

This week I un-stitched the blocks and rearranged them in a barn-raising setting.  I think it looks MUCH better.   I pieced a backing, basted it, and here is the finished result.  (The quilting is straight lines in the logs, continuous curves in the inner border, loop-and-vine in the middle border, parallel lines in the outer border.)   

This is my 17th finish for 2013.

  Chicago-area librarians have small exhibit each year shown in several area libraries.  Several of my quilts were in the most recent show.  A man who saw them at the Skokie Public Library offered to buy two!  I sold these:  Cubed Batiks ($50) and  Leftovers ($125)
The proceeds went into my savings account -- saving for a quilty day.
See what other quiltmakers are working on this Memorial Day weekend at Judy's Patchwork Times

Too late now!

Like thousands of other people, I got started with Internet photo-sharing with Webshots. It was free and easy to use.  From 2004 to 2008 I posted quilt photos in my WS album. (I used it for pictures from our 2007 trip to Newfoundland, too.) When I got a new computer in 2008 I didn't bother to download the Webshots software and instead used the an introductory (free) version of Photoshop. I started this blog in late 2008 and now post photos here (using Picasa, when Blogger decided it didn't want to accept the Photoshop pictures). 

I didn't bother to tell Webshots when I changed ISPs. Therefore I missed emails that they sent last fall.  Yesterday I tried to retrieve a quilt picture from 2006 and found out that Webshots no longer exists: " was scheduled to be closed last fall, and the company has been acquired by its original founders, who are introducing a new family photo sharing service called Smile. As of December, 2012, all photos and videos have been removed from the Webshots website and are no longer accessible. We are sorry if you did not receive our emails or see our announcements on the website, blog, and Facebook page."

If you had a Webshots account and didn't have your photos saved elsewhere, your digital photos got pruned, too!  And now I know that I *really* need to "do something" to consolidate and edit my digital photos.  I'll be spending some time with Picasa!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

UFO no longer!

This was my oldest UFO. I pieced the cake stand blocks in 2005, added the setting squares and triangles, and lived with it at that stage for a while.  Then I was given more of the green-sprigged tan and added the inner border.  I added the red print  outer border.  It sat in the box o' flimsies. I'd take it out, get scared at the prospect of quilting those blank setting squares, and I'd put it away. I bought backing fabric that would be "just right," and resisted using that fabric for any other project.  Last Sunday evening I bit the bullet -- pieced the back, got 'er basted, and guess what?  It wasn't as intimidating as I'd feared.  I did the now-trademark loopy flowers in all the blocks, a little circle-and-vine in the inner border, and almost-feathers in the outer border.  The quilt is 64 x 64.

That just-right green/gold backing
I am naming this one Victoria Grace in honor of my online New England quilting friends Victoria, whose blog is here:  Park Hill Farm  and Grace, whose blog is here: Citymouse Quilter
I haven't met either one in person but we've been correspondents for several years now (and of course we have expressed mutual admiration for our quilty endeavors).   Both Vic and Grace love Civil War reproduction fabric -- this quilt uses some CW repros though not exclusively. 

The 13th Annual Jack McElmurry Rotary Golf Outing was Friday.  The day was cool but clear.  I contributed  Bright Bento Box   to the auction. It brought $225!  In turn I bid $160 for a $250 gift certificate good toward professional painting (so I can get that bathroom finished!).  The club will net more than $25,000 from the event to fund our many local and international projects.

We took a beach/woods walk on Saturday. Here's DH taking a break.  It's finally spring time!

See what other quiltmakers are up to at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Quilt display stand

Savage Stand
A couple of times each year I need to display a quilt -- usually for a raffle.  In 2004 I invested in a portable quilt display stand from Craftguard.  This link will take you right to it.  It turned out that it is a Savage Display Stand and its more common function is as a photographer's backdrop  The stand worked just fine for several events, but then someone packed it up for me and lost one of the wing-nuts, which I was able to replace (after some frustration until both the hardware store guy and I realized that it was metric, not U.S.).  After another event one of the extension poles got lost.  Duct tape provided an inelegant but functional rescue.  Eventually the zipper on the carrying case broke. 

Calumet Stand
I decided it was time to get a new display stand.  Obviously Craftguard still sells Savage stands, but might I find another (cheaper) vendor?  I googled "photographic backdrops" and found an online review for the Calumet Heavy Duty Background Support .  I can't find the review now, but the person specifically said that the Calumet is heavier than the Savage.  And it's cheaper.  So I ordered it. 

I'm delighted.  It is indeed sturdier than the Savage.  The top bar is held in place with two brass knobs that screw into the uprights.  The carrying case is well-constructed, with individual zipper pouches for the bases and elastic bands to keep the poles from rattling around.

If you need a display stand, I recommend the Calumet!

Monday, May 13, 2013

DWM: two finishes, more stash, and a meetup

Two finishes!
 Pinwheel Ninepatch  was pieced in 2011. It is now finished! It's 74 x 86 which is about as big as I can handle on my DSM.
 Quilting detail.  Loopy stars in the 9-patches, "almost feathers" in the border, serpentine in the sashes.
The paisley backing fabric is a thrift-shop cotton sheet. (The daisy print was another thrift-shop purchase -- I think it had been used for curtains.)

This wallhanging was the last flimsy I made in 2011. (The cake stand blocks were made with leftovers from the Orca Bay mystery.)   The quilting is more loopy flowers and almost-feathers, with zig-zag in the sashes.     

This brings my count to 15 finishes in 2013!


Stash builders

Earlier in the week Judy emailed the Magpies proposing a northern Illinois meetup at Pieceful Heart, a quilt shop in Lisle that is closing.   I picked up Julie on Saturday morning and we drove down (65 miles).  Judy, Cheryl, and daughter/granddaughter Chrissie joined us at the shop.   The place was mobbed!  It was filled with a tremendous variety of prints, from 30's to Kaffe to Civil War repros to "regular" prints.  The sale was just beginning so prices were  20% off. I indulged, as you can see.   We went out to lunch after our retail therapy.  What a great get-together!  
"We must do this more often!"

 I am itching to start a new project but I don't know what I want to try.  Instead I pulled out another flimsy, pieced the back, basted it, and began quilting it last evening.

See what other quiltmakers are doing on Design Wall Monday  at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Monday, May 6, 2013

AAUW-full -- and $500 for LAF!

The AAUW IL/MO state convention was May 3-5 at the Hilton at the Ballpark in downtown St. Louis. We had a joint convention in 2001 and it was high time to try it again.  I left home early Friday and picked up AAUW friend Kate at her house in a western suburb. Despite rain the entire length of I-55, we arrived in St. Louis at noon. 

[Note: to find out more about AAUW just click here:]

I always feel so "AAUW-full" after an AAUW convention -- that's "awe-full," not "awful"! -- because our collective efforts to empower women have accomplished so much since 1881 -- and there is still much to do.  AAUW members are interested, interesting, and dedicated.

The Cubs/Cardinals walk around Busch Stadium raised $2319 (Cubs) and $1285 (Cardinals) for a total of $3606 for  the Eleanor Roosevelt Fund which honors an individual, project, organization, or institution for outstanding contributions to equality and education for women and girls.

AAUW's  Legal Advocacy Fund  (LAF) works to challenge sex discrimination in higher education and the workplace. The speaker Saturday evening was a woman who was sexually harassed and abused while she was in the National Guard, starting with the recruiter who signed her up when she was a junior in high school. The harassment, ostracism, and loneliness she endured during her Guard service (including a deployment to Iraq) were horrible.  AAUW support for a class-action lawsuit has helped both financially and emotionally.  She is now 27 and working as a pediatric nurse in Indianapolis.
I don't always dress to match my quilts!
Every spring I donate a quilt to the Waukegan Area Branch  to raffle to raise funds for AAUW projects.  This year it was Easy Street, the most recent Quiltville mystery. Ticket sales at convention were great!  The net proceeds, $500, will go to LAF.  The LAF plaintiff pulled the winning ticket -- and the winner was delighted!

I took Kate and Shirley May home on Sunday afternoon.  No rain and good company made the drive easier.

See what other quiltmakers (who presumably were at home over the weekend) are working on at Judy's Patchwork Times.