Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Blog hop winners!

202 people commented on my Blog Hop giveaway post. 

It was gratifying to hear from so many people -- and to read what they had to say about their public libraries. 

I used the Random Number Generator to pick three winners. They are

LORI in South Dakota, who wrote, "Parkston Public Library. My sister was head librarian for 29?? years. She's retired now. Our library is special because we are a small town with a progressive modern library and my sister always hit me up for fundraisers!"   Lori's blog is Dakota City Quilter  
and her library is here.

ODDBJORG in Norway, who wrote, "My library is Leirfjorden Folkebibliotek. It's a very little library, but the librarian (she's my neighbour) is very kind and helpful. If I ask for a book she doesn't have, she always orders it from another one, and a few days later I can be sure to have the book on the door. Thanks for the chance."  Oddbjorg's blog is My Creative Corner and her library is here .

SYLVIA in Utah, who wrote, "My library is the Ephraim City Library. Factoid: it was originally built using Carnegie funds, so it is a Carnegie library. Thanks for the chance to win."  Sheila has several blogs, writes about her quilts at Bunchberry Studio , and her library is here.

Congratulations to everyone!  And thanks to Michele at Quilting Gallery for hosting the blog hop.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

DWM: almost finished

Here's the Framed 9-Patch, all set except the borders. The coral setting triangles are a Jinny Beyer blender that I got at a sale this past summer. Unfortunately I didn't get enough for the border. I'm still auditioning border fabric. This one seems to have the best combination of light-but-not-too-light with some tan and some coral.  (Now that I look at it, I'm thinking about a skinny border of the print and a wider dark brown border.....)
[Can you spot my piecing errors?  I found them Monday evening when I started to trim the setting triangles. Look at the top row, three blocks on the right, and at the bottom left corner.]

See what other quiltmakers are up to at  Judy's Patchwork Times .
P.S. The Blog Hop Party continues until Tuesday, November 26. See this post to enter to win my giveaway.
P.S. 2  This chair was at an estate sale I went to Saturday. The story is that the husband always put his clothes on this chair, so the wife used his ties, a suit jacket, and a shirt to reupholster it.     

A trip west, with libraries and fabric (and some fraternity history)

The RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System -- board met at the Galesburg Public Library  on Friday afternoon.  Galesburg is 243 miles west-southwest of where I live. RAILS offered to pay for a hotel stay as well as mileage, so I left Thursday morning. I took my time and visited two quilt shops en route:  Quilter's Garden in Princeton and Quilt Box in Kewanee. 

I was on Route 34, getting close to Galesburg, when I saw the familiar blue and white library symbol . I pulled off the highway. 

"Library Hall" is above the doorway. The lights were on and the "open" flag was out, so I went in.  It's the Altona Public Library, housed in the 1886 building for which Mr. Ransom donated $6000. Only the lower floor is used because upstairs is not accessible.  It reminded me very much of New England libraries.

These two quilts hung in the center hall.

Librarians of a certain age know exactly what this is: a Gaylord Model C charger.  It uses inked metal plates for the date due and for the borrowers' cards. This is how Mrs. N, APL's librarian (and sole employee) checks out materials. (Her daughter has an MLS and is the head of circulation at Galesburg PL. I met her on Friday afternoon.)  

After that pleasant interlude, I got to Galesburg without incident.  Six of us on the RAILS board and staff enjoyed dinner and conversation.  The meeting began at 1 p.m. Friday, and I had two errands Friday morning. First stop:  Quilting Bee, Galesburg's quilt shop. (No photos, but:  they use old baby cribs for their fabric displays! Very clever.  And wonderful, wonderful batiks.)   First detour:  an old brick church had a "half price downstairs" sign out. A thrift shop! I stopped and went in.  The basement was full of stuff. I got some (see below). I asked the ladies at the checkout what denomination -- United Church of Christ.  I explained that my husband is a retired UCC pastor and asked if I could see the sanctuary. Certainly! And I had a tour. The woman explained that the congregation is now very small. The thrift shop pays for the church's utilities.  Bless them for their faithfulness.

Next: to Monmouth, the next city west of Galesburg. I stopped there in 2011 (see this post).  This time I called ahead to be sure that Stewart House would be open, and it was.  This is where   Kappa Kappa Gamma women's fraternity was founded in 1870.  (I realize that if you're not interested in the history of women's organizations this will not be a big deal to you, but I was thrilled. And it's not even my fraternity!)   The picture on the right shows the founders and one of the original badges.   The resident manager, Jane, is a P.E.O. (and a member of Pi Beta Phi, which was also founded at Monmouth College).

I was back at GPL for the meeting, which went smoothly and adjourned at 4 p.m. I headed home (confession: I stopped at thrift shop in downtown Galesburg and bought stuff) and pulled into the driveway just before 8 p.m.

Here's what I got: 

Not-new fabric, from the thrift shops. On the left are, yes, three shirts: size XL and XXL, .75 each, destined for a scrappy quilt.  (All of this cost about $10.)  

New fabric. Each of the three shops packages fat quarters differently.  (All of this cost much more than $10!!)

In summary:  a productive trip on many levels.  Lovely late-autumn scenery.  "Just outside of Chicago there's a place called Illinois," and I need to make time to explore more of it.   

Thursday, November 21, 2013

11/22/13: where were you when you heard the news?

(My column for the Zion-Benton News, 11/21/13)

This weekend we observe the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination. Magazines and newspapers, and TV specials are recounting the story. The Zapruder film – footage taken by a man in the crowd – will be replayed. Was it a conspiracy? Did Oswald act alone? What about Ruby? Wasn’t Mrs. Kennedy brave! That photo of John-John saluting! How would the Civil Rights Act, the War in Vietnam, the Great Society have been different had JFK been able to finish his term and perhaps win reelection?

In addition to what-if speculation, the assassination has provided an ice-breaker for five decades. “Where were you when you heard that Kennedy was killed?” If you were alive then, of course you know.
I was in sixth grade at Crestwood School in Northbrook. We had just come back inside from noon recess. Someone in our class had gone home for lunch and had heard the news. A message from the principal’s office soon confirmed the report. Mrs. Diemer, our teacher, began to cry. Some of the other kids did, too. My parents had an out-of-town trip that weekend and my sister and I stayed with our neighbors, the Bakers. I remember that the assassination was the only thing on any of the four television stations (channels 2, 5, 7, and 9). By contrast, that day my husband was in class at the University of Michigan where he was a graduate student.

In January, 2012, I attended a library conference in downtown Dallas. My hotel was just across the railroad tracks from the famed grassy knoll and the Texas School Book Depository. The city street still goes under the tracks at Dealey Plaza, just as it did in 1963. I took advantage of a meeting-free afternoon and went to the Sixth Floor Museum in the Depository Building. I was relieved to discover that it was not a tourist trap. The exhibits tell Kennedy’s life and career in in detail – his boyhood in Boston, his WWII service (and the PT 109). He was elected to the Senate in 1952 at the young age of 35. He won the 1960 presidential election by the closest margin since 1916. The museum exhibits also show the global social and political context for the issues Kennedy dealt with: the Cold War and Communism abroad, the segregated South at home.

I observed the other museum visitors that day. People around my age, those who knew exactly where they’d been when they heard the news, were reflective and a little teary-eyed. But for teenagers there on field trips it was another museum. Important stuff, sure, but it was ancient history!

And indeed, it is history. The United States and the world were profoundly affected by the events that day. But we have moved on – some steps forward, some steps back, and some steps to the side.

Now we have another ice breaker for the ages: “Where were you on September 11, 2001, and heard the news about the Twin Towers?” But that is a story for another day.
Sixth Floor Musuem in the Depository Building.

Blog hop: a book and a bundle

Thanks for stopping during the Thanksgiving blog hop party!

I'm giving away three "book and bundle" packages.  Each has quilt-themed fiction (a novel, an anthology, and a mystery) and  four fat quarters of Christmas/winter fabric (cut from my pre-washed stash).

You can enter to win one of the packages by leaving a comment.  I'd like to know the name of your public library and what makes it special.  Is there a staff member who provides exceptional service?  Are there programs that you enjoy? Can they easily get the books you'd like to read or the movies you'd like to watch? Are you a trustee or a member of the Friends? Is it in an historic building or set in a well-landscaped garden?

Note: for your comment to qualify for the drawing you'll need to give your library's name and say something about it.

Entries will be accepted until midnight, Tuesday, November 26.  I will draw three names from among the commenters and email you to let you know you've won. (Be sure that your comment links back to your email address or that you include your email address in the body of your note.  If I can't reach you I will draw another name.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Update: framed nine-patch

Two evenings without meetings provided me with time to sew!

I appreciate the comments about my sashing and setting choices for the framed nine-patch blocks. I decided to go scrappy, as you can see.
 Rather than piecing long rows of sashing, I've added sashes to two sides of each block. Here is an expanded view.

I have a particular print in mind for the setting triangles and another one for the borders.

Monday, November 18, 2013

DWM: nifty accessory, flock completed, on the wall, new project

 The library craft fair was Saturday. I didn't sell any quilts, but  I bought several Christmas gifts.  Can you tell what these are?  (See the end of the post for the answer.) Update! I sold two quilts, for $100 and $125, which is more than I spent with other crafters ($145 total).

 Here is the flock of 65 red bird ornaments. These will be given to library staff, volunteers, and trustees.  (I used DMC floss for the hangers.)

The framed 9-patch blocks stayed on the design wall all week. I made some more blocks.  I experimented with ways to set them.

Scrappy sashes?

I am partial to on-point settings.

 I'm leaning toward sashes made out of one neutral-ish print with scrappy cornerstones.

But I may change my mind....stay tuned!

This is the project I need to get started. It's a commission for a family of Pittsburgh Steelers fans -- thus, black/gold/white. I have a pattern in mind.  Here is an initial assortment of fabric.

The accessory:  a compact smartphone or tablet stylus.
It attaches to the earphone socket.  Pull it out to use it.
Two of these are made out of turned acrylic and three are turned box elder.  From the same vendor I bought a seam ripper with a beautiful box elder handle (for myself) and a zebra-wood pen (for a gift.) 

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

It is hard to hold the camera in one hand while taking a picture of the other hand.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

A tour of tea towels

I was sorry to miss the Bumble Beans Tea Towel Challenge (because I didn't know about it). I was delighted when Sophie said she'd like to have a 2014 edition: this challenge

Though it won't begin until January -- and in the meantime I have Christmas gifts to sew, a commission quilt to begin and end, and other obligations in between -- I used Sophie's announcement as an excuse to pull out my box of vintage dish towels and try to make a choice for the challenge.    (I call them dish towels. She calls them tea towels.)

I have come to some conclusions about dish towels.  They are often purchased as souvenirs. They are often never used:  by the traveler or by the recipient.

Salvation Army purchase:  .90 each. 
Purchased at the V&A? Or at a U.S. museum store?

German "wetterregeln" -- weather proverbs.

Labels still attached.

Christmas, including a never-used towel-and-potholder set.

All of these from the Antipodes.
Signed by the designers.  Note upper right -- Tammis Keefe, one of my favorites.  You can read more about her here

I'm not big on calendar towels -- these are all I have. I should look up when the first such towels were issued. 
Update:  here's what Google found for me.   
January 01, 2010|By TERRY KOVEL
Q: I have a small collection of calendar plates from the early 1900s. I've just come across some calendar towels and wonder if you know anything about their history.
A: Stevens Linen Associates of Dudley, Mass., which was founded in 1846, claims to have made the first calendar towels in 1954. The company is still at it and wholesales to various online and on-land stores across the country. Each towel has a picture and a full 12-month calendar. Colorful calendar towels from the 1950s through the '70s sell  for about $30 each.
Trust me, I paid nowhere near $30 for these.

Leaning Tower -- another designer signature. (Pat Pritchard.  You can see her other work  here)
This is typical of the souvenir-scene towels in my collection. 

Two-way prints probably won't work for the design challenge. The one on the left features a thread spool box.

I bought these Martha Stewart bandanna-print towels new, at K-Mart. (Well, they were on clearance.)

Old vintage towels:  these were cut from yardage but never hemmed.
This gem was a gift from my friend Celia.  It is a 10-yard bolt of Startex screen-printed toweling.  See the label?  No, I am NOT going to cut into this.  I am going to own it.
Startex is still around:

I have narrowed my choices for the Tea Towel Challenge to two.  But I'm not going to reveal them yet!

Friday, November 15, 2013

The winning word

The winning word was
Sarah, Nann, Steffi

Last evening (November 14) seventeen teams competed in the 8th annual Corporate Community Spelling Bee to benefit the Coalition for Healthy Communities.  We went through several rounds before anyone misspelled....then it got down to four teams....then to two:  The Zion-Benton Public Library Spellbinders vs. the Zion-Benton Township High School Bees.  We went back and forth for three rounds.  We'd both spell our words wrong, we'd both spell the next words right.  In Round 15 we got gymkhana right.  They got carpaccio wrong. 

ZBPL won the trophy in 2007 and 2010.  Do we have an every-third-year pattern established?

P.S. I contributed Diamond Stamps as a raffle prize. When I made it  the fall colors put me in mind of the Spelling Bee which is always in November.  In turn, I won a portrait sitting from a local photographer, which will be great since DH and I have not had a professional portrait taken for many years.

*  In case you haven't read many 1950's-era juvie novels about horseback riding lately, here's the definition:    a meet featuring sports contests or athletic skills
a: competitive games on horseback
b: a timed contest for automobiles featuring a series of events designed to test driving skill
Origin:  probably modification of Hindi gẽdkhāna & Urdu gendkhāna, literally, ball court
First Known Use: 1877

(I didn't know about the automobiles until I looked it up.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

DWM: a finish, an idea, ornaments, and apples

Finish #32:  the Daisy Basket wallhanging I made in September. Members of our chapter signed signature blocks that I quilted into the back.

These 5" blocks are left over from Postage Stamp Stars .  I am still making scrappy 3" nine patches as leaders-and-enders.  Here is the set-up next to my sewing machine. (The base is the bottom of a Whitman's Sampler box.)

On Tuesday morning I went to Tuesday Morning (the overstock store). There were a dozen different Leisure Arts titles in the book section for $2.50 each (original price $19.95).  Of course I bought several.  In one, by Debbie Mumm, I found the ideal pattern for this year's Christmas ornament.  (I make 60 of them for all the library staff, trustees, and volunteers.)   These will be 4" when they're finished.

The lower picture shows the cutout shapes with the fusible web backing removed. 
There's an apple tree in the hedge in front of a currently-empty, for-sale house about two blocks away along my walking route. I picked up a windfall, tasted it, and found it wonderfully sweet. I gathered a bag and made an apple crisp and then a pie.  They're small, about 2" in diameter, too tedious to peel.  This afternoon we went back with a big bag and harvested all of these.  We're going to have a hard frost in the next couple of days so we were just in time.

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

Quilt show report

The Chicago Botanic Garden attracted more than the usual Sunday-afternoon visitors on this beautiful November weekend.  There were quilters!  (And their cousins: embroiderers and weavers.)  It was the annual Fine Art of Fiber show.  My husband came along with me.

(Sorry: I didn't get all the names or artists' statements.)

New York Beauty cats

half-inch hexies, a work in progress

Love this setting for neckties!

This has been on my want-to-do list for years

Postage stamps!