Sunday, July 28, 2013

DWM: a sale and some sails

I almost made it through the month of July without buying any fabric.  However....on Friday I had a RAILS board meeting in the city of La Salle, Illinois.  (That's Reaching Across Illinois Library System.  I was elected to the board this spring for a term beginning July 1.) La Salle is 140 miles from Winthrop Harbor as the highways go -- that is, to get there I could drive west, then south, then west; or south, then west -- as the crow flies, it would've been shorter.  The meeting was from 10-3.  I had never been to La Salle but rather than poking around after the meeting I drove west about 25 miles to Princeton. 

Last month my Magpie friend Sandy had driven to Princeton from her home in Texas to see family. She learned that the owner of the quilt shop there was retiring. All fabric was $2 per yard through the end of July.  It had been several weeks since Sandy stocked up and I didn't know how much would be left.  It turned out that there was a lot.  I decided to limit myself to no more than the amount I'd get in mileage reimbursement ($156).  I spent $110 with tax -- that's 51 yards.  Since it was 4:45 when I checked out, and they closed at 5:00, I figured that was enough.  I got home at 8 p.m.

It's county fair season. Lake County fair (our county) was this weekend, as was the Racine County Fair .  We opted for Racine.  We arrived in time for lunch.  The livestock exhibits were great (Racine Co. still has more farms than Lake Co.) but the "open class" exhibits were disappointing. There were only a dozen quilts!

Back home, I have lots of quilts, both actual and potential.  Here is the latest flimsy, Sail Away.  The outer border has white pindots.  It's 58 x 70 and used 3 yards of fabric. 

See what other quiltmakers are working on at Patchwork Times.

Book review: A Wilder Rose

A Wilder Rose
Susan Wittig Albert
Persevero Press, 2013
Publication date:  10/1/13

For years I have enjoyed Susan Wittig Albert’s mysteries  – particularly the China Bayles series, set in a small town in central Texas.  When I received a review copy of her memoir Together, Alone I wrote to tell her how much I enjoyed it. That led to becoming Facebook Friends, and then to her request.  If she sent me an advance copy of her new novel would I review it?   Certainly!   

# # #  

In A Wilder Rose Susan Wittig Albert explores the conflicted relationship between Rose Wilder Lane and her mother Laura Ingalls Wilder. Albert acknowledges the significant role Rose had in the creation of the Little House series. 

Rose spent much of her adult life trying to absolve her guilt from a family tragedy in her early childhood. Her desire for independence took her from the Missouri Ozarks to San Francisco to post- WWI Albania. Her success as a journalist and then as a fiction writer enabled her to “help out” her parents with a new house and other assistance. She used her success to give her the authority to edit and “polish”Laura’s memoirs and her connections to get the books published. 

A Wilder Rose provides insights into Rose and Laura’s lives which will appeal to Little House fans. It raises points for further discussion. Do daughters have different obligations to their parents than sons? What do we owe our parents? How did the idea of “career woman” evolve in the early 20th century? What family stories do we prefer to hide and what do we disclose?  

The Little House books are firmly enshrined in the pantheon of American children’s literature. A Wilder Rose is a worthy complement to tell the rest of the story.  

# # #

Note: The Ghost in the Little House is William Holtz’s 1993 biography of Rose. I recall that some people were outraged at the very suggestion that Rose rewrote Laura’s stories. That didn’t bother me at all. Susan acknowledges Bill’s scholarship as a significant source for her novel. (Bill Holtz was one of my professors in college, and his wife was in library school with me.)   

I was about 12 when I read Let the Hurricane Roar, Rose’s novel about pioneers named Charles and Caroline. I noted then that those were her grandparents’ names, and that parts of the story were very similar to the Little House books. (By that time I’d read all the LH books several times over so I was quite familiar with the chronology and the scenes.) A Wilder Rose provides the context in which Rose wrote LTHR.

Years later I acquired Rose’s book-and-pattern history of American needlework, a compilation of columns from Woman’s Day magazine. I never did make anything from any of the patterns, but I still have the book.
I think I'm like many LIW and RWL fans in that I didn't like the TV show.  It veered from the books pretty quickly and then spun into story lines that weren't true to the Ingalls' and Wilders' lives.  (And Michael Landon had way too much hair to be Pa. )  When I visited Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri, in 1978 I asked the docent if she could tell the difference between visitors who came because of the books and visitors who only knew the TV show. She said yes, indeed, and she preferred the book people. (I also remember that the kitchen linoleum at Rocky Ridge was exactly like that in my apartment in Brenham, Texas.) 





Sunday, July 21, 2013

DWM: leftover batting, finish #22, the beach, and boats

 The quilt batting that I buy by the yard is 90" wide. I have pieces left over after I have trimmed a quilt "sandwich." I toss the trimmings into a box.   When the box is full overflowing, as in this photo, I pull out the large trimmings and put them together, usually with strips of fusible interfacing, and thus create new quilt-sized batts. When trimmings are smaller that fusing is just tedious. 

It happened that I was out of Swiffer cloths -- the kind that attach to a long-handled duster. (I use them for the bathroom floor.)  I cut 8 x 11 pieces of batting leftovers -- the pile in the front in this photo -- and will try those instead of stocking up on Swiffer packages.  On the right, in the box, are large pieces to be repieced. In the bag in the back are smaller pieces that I put in the box I took to Salvation Army box. (See the post preceding this.)  
(Please do not tell me I can chop up batting scraps into littler pieces and use them to make pet beds.  I know that I can do that.  I do not want to make pet beds. I do not want to save little pieces to give to other people to make pet beds.  Whoever buys the bag from Salvation Army is welcome to chop up the scraps for her own darned pet beds.)

I had three free evenings this week and an audiobook to review, so I quilted and listened.  Here is finish #22 for 2013.  It's Four Patch X, one of Bonnie Hunter's Quiltmaker patterns. I made the flimsy in 2011.  The yellow-and-light blue is such a cheerful combination!

After a couple of days of temps in the mid 90's -- when being at the beach would only be comfortable in the water -- Sunday afternoon was beautifully temperate.   Stevens sat on driftwood while I waded in the surf.    Mid-summer wildflowers are plentiful this year because we've had so much rain. 

Not sure what this is....
Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan)

And finally, the design wall.  This uses 25 of the 39 blocks I won in the Block Lotto. I may change my mind about the sashing.  I tried red, but that's rather predictable for a nautical quilt. The green adds sparkle, don't you think?

See what other quiltmakers have been doing to beat the heat this week at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Tales in a tin

I dropped off a box of “miscellaneous household goods” at the back of the Zion Salvation Army store – and then I drove around to the front entrance and went in to see if there was anything interesting.  There was!   

This 13” tin was marked $1.54. From the artwork on the lid I estimated that it dates from the early 1960’s. I shook it – it rattled. Buttons?   I took a peek, and decided the tin needed to go home with me. 

At home I found that the Scotch tape canister had loose buttons, many with thread attached (taken off garments to discard). The plastic Corina cigar box had corroded straight pins and an aluminum thimble with the message, “Star Cleaners HUMboldt 9321.” There were spools of thread, cards of buttons, and “extra button” packets. (How many of us are able to find that spare, matching button when it’s needed? How many of those little button packets are in our button boxes, the garments they accompanied long gone?)

Why would a made-in-Germany needle threader be called Witch?  
The Service Button bag held….buttons, one of which appeared to be from a Navy uniform.


Apparently her family's zippers never broke because these fancy “magic dial” zipper pulls were never used.   

I imagine  the woman who owned this tin.  Perhaps the tin came filled with cookies one Christmas.  She thriftily cut buttons from old clothing. She was prepared to mend (the cards of snap fasteners are partially used, even if the zipper kit wasn’t).  There was at least one Navy man in the family.  In my story she passed away in 2013 at a ripe old age. Her children didn’t need much that was in the house and the grandchildren took what they liked.  The sewing tin was among the leftovers given to the Salvation Army.      

I’m sure I’ll eventually add some of her buttons to my collection (which is stored in practical transparent, rectangular plastic boxes rather than opaque, round tins).  But for the time being I’ll keep the tin intact – and embellish my story about the woman who filled it.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

DWM: a finish, lotto winnings, and next up

This was a busy week as I prepared the AAUW-IL financial reports (and trying not to get too confused by Quicken, which I have not heretofore used). The AAUW-IL summer board meeting was in Bloomington, about 240 miles from here, from mid-Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon.  The board members are a collegial group and the meeting was productive.  I did sleep well Saturday night!

Good Cheer! is finished: quilted, bound, labeled.  Back, binding, and hanging sleeve used 2-3/4 yards.
YIKES! Did anyone look closely at the label? I wrote *July, 2012*.  I have now corrected it to 2013! 

I was one of three winners in the June Block Lotto.  39 tall sailboats will dock in my studio. Here are those I have received so far.  I have a commission for a quilt for a little boy (1 year old this summer). These 6 x 9 blocks will be ideal. 

The July Block Lotto is for novelty-and-bright houses. Here are my contributions. 
Next up:  I pieced the backing and basted Four Patch X, a flimsy from 2011. 
Check out what other quiltmakers are working on at Judy's  Design Wall Monday.
Have a great week!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

DWM: mid-year report, a finish, and a flimsy

April-June acquired:  189-5/8 yards.  Cost: $530.24.  Avg./yd. = $2.79
April-June used:  56-7/8
Finished quilts, January-June:  20, plus two quilted by others = 22.
Flimsies in the box:  9.

Well, now that the confession is out of the way.....

Wendy finished quilting Orca Bay -- I picked it up June 26 (the day before I left for ALA).  I bound it this past weekend. Labeled it, too!  I will donate it, probably for the AAUW 2014 convention.

Here is a closeup of the quilting.

The Heartstrings discussion group had a question about storing strings/strips.  I have three pop-up hampers under my cutting table for 1.5, 2, and 2.5-inch strings. As I generate the scraps, I cut them up.   The photo on the right shows the plastic shoeboxes where I toss scrap squares of various sizes. (There's also a largish bin on the left with 1.5" strips that are less than about 7" long.) 

Here is Good Cheer! as a flimsy.  I found the ideal backing fabric in my stash. I bought it at Hobby Lobby more than ten years ago on final clearance -- .88/yd. (I remember the price because it was SUCH a good deal, and I bought what was on the bolt.) 

I have GC! basted and hope to start quilting this week. 
Bargain backing
See what other quiltmakers are up to this week at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Illinois Beach, early July

The four-day holiday weekend featured beautiful weather: not too hot, not too humid, and sunny!   Because I was in Chicago last week for the ALA Annual Conference, it was nice to spend the time at home.

I did make time for a beach walk, on which I found two teeny pieces of glass for my beach glass collection. (It will be a long, long time until I fill up that jar.)

 The holes in this sandbank are nesting burrows by bank swallows, aka sand martins. You can read more about these little birds  here.

July wildflowers include harebells (campanula) and silverweed.  The harebells are indeed bell-shaped, but the silverweed flowers are definitely yellow!