Sunday, March 30, 2014

DWM: Safari Stars, first quarter report, and something new

It's a flimsy! And it has a name -- Safari Stars. The border fabric is an example of shopping the stash. Specifically, it's an example of "try looking in this obscure part of the stash to see if there is something suitable." Not only was it suitable, there was enough of it!

March stash report:
Fabric used: 23-1/4 update 3/31 -- at 9:45 p.m. I finished quilting Prairie Queen Stamps, so that adds 3.5 yards to the tally:  26-3/4 used in March
Fabric acquired: 0. (Zero!)

YTD used: 69-1/8 + 3-1/2 = 72-5/8
YTD acquired: 59-1/4.


Here's my current leaders-and-enders project.  I credit Lori in South Dakota for the inspiration. You can see her version of Sundays at the Lake in this post .  I didn't have as many tone-on-tone blue batiks on hand as I thought. Since I'm going to try to stick to no-buy for Lent this project will stay at this stage for a couple more weeks. [The small squares are 2" so the nine-patches finish at 4.5"]

I have other projects to keep me busy in the spare moments I have to sew.  This coming week I have meetings MTWTh evenings, plus our Rotary 15th anniversary breakfast on Th, and the library's annual staff day on Friday, and the community Leadership Summit Saturday (8:30-noon) and the library's Books! Authors! and More! festival Saturday afternoon.

 The Block Swappers quarterly "units" swap -- 4-patches and HSTs -- and mini-9-patches came this week. Something interesting will come of them!

I'm linking up with other quiltmakers at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Contest winner and a walk in the ravine

This morning (Saturday) our Rotary Club cooked and delivered more than 100 spaghetti dinners to elderly people in Beach Park, Winthrop Harbor, and Zion. I don't have any pictures because Stevens and I went to the church (in whose kitchen the food was cooked), got our assigned recipients, picked up the food, and went forth!  All was done in 45 minutes and everyone was most appreciative.
Me, Mrs. Morales, and Sandy
After lunch I went to the library.  Sandy and I drew the winner from among the 32 quilt contest entries (see yesterday's post).  Coincidentally Mrs. Morales, the winner, was on her way to the library when Sandy called her.  She said her granddaughter's birthday is soon and this will be an ideal gift.
 I went for a walk in the ravine at the end of the block.  It's March 29 and there's still snow on the (north-facing) slope.

But here is a sign of spring: skunk cabbage. These little blossoms are high in sulfur, hence the name. 

Lichen on a log....looks like a ruffle!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Resource display: quilts!

One of ZBPL's staff development requirements this year is "to promote library resources."  The staff have paired off (mixing departments and positions). Each pair is to choose an aspect of the library -- collections, services, or both -- and create a display.  In addition to highlighting what the library offers, the project provides an opportunity for interdepartmental cooperation. 

Displays have included resources for small business; homeschooling; auto repair; crafts in general, among others.

Sandy is my partner.  She's worked at ZBPL nearly as long as I have.  We discovered early on that we're both quiltmakers.  (She helped with the Readers banner in the Youth Services department.)  She comes in about the time I leave for the day and our conversation nearly always includes quiltmaking.  We realized that since March 15 is National Quilting Day this would be a good time to feature quilt books.  Here's what we came up with. 

Our display is in the library lobby.  Sandy created the Quilt Block Scramble contest.  There is a bibliography listing a few of our quilt books, both how-to and fiction.  I made the string quilt that's the prize.   (Sandy made the flimsy that is the table cover. It's Barbara Brackman's "Drinking Gourd" from her book Facts and Fabrications.) The contest ends tomorrow and we'll draw the winner from among the all-correct entries.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

DWM: signs of spring plus stars and swaps

 Just a week ago the flowerbeds were still snow-covered. I ventured into the back yard for the first time in weeks and found the first crocus bud. This particular clutch of them is
near the clothes dryer vent.  Heat from the vent  heat may encourage them.  

Everyone is eager for spring.  We have had SUCH a cold and snowy winter (third-highest total snowfall ever).  Each morning the cardinals melodiously declare their territory. We see both males and females flying from tree to tree. There are also woodpeckers drilling away, loudly.  

On the left are thirteen stacks of blocks sent by  participants in the "dots and dashes" swap which I coordinated on behlf of the Block Swappers.  Everyone sent great combinations of polka dot and striped fabric.

On the right are the blocks I got with the addition of extras that several people sent as gifts (thank you!) and extras that I made.

My sewing time this week was devoted to DGD's high school graduation quilt. Her mother said she likes animal prints, which are not a print I have heretofore intentionally acquired. Thus it's been interesting to see how many I had in my stash.  I've also purchased a bunch. (Shopping with a purpose!)

The pattern may look familiar. It's Bonnie Hunter's  Random Ohio Stars . I made it earlier this year for Steelers Stars .  I thought I'd try it with a different block.

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

Sunday, March 16, 2014

DWM: National Quilting Day

I spent March 15, National Quilting Day, doing just that!  To be precise, I spent the day in a workshop hosted by my guild.  The presenter, Julie Jenkins of the Quilt House , gave the program at a recent guild meeting about the Square in a Square  I'd heard of SIS but because I resist gadgets I had not tried it. Square-in-a-square? I can make those easily. But Julie showed many other units and blocks made easier with the ruler. I signed up for the workshop!

SIS was developed by Jodi Barrows more than 20 years ago. Julie is one of the certified SIS instructors. 

The class project was a 25"x25" piece called Constellation.  The supplies list called for three fabrics. I pulled four different fabric combinations and cut strips for two of the combos.

Here we are at work, and with the results of the class.

Carrie finished first
 I finished the second sample at home.  What a difference color selection makes.

I look forward to trying more SIS units!

P.S.  I finished the batik tote bag.

I'm linking up with other quiltmakers at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

DWM: finishes and starts

Moral conundrum of the week:  if I order and pay for fabric before Ash Wednesday, but it arrives the day after, does that violate my plan to give up buying fabric for Lent?  That's what happened with this lovely group of batik FQs that I bought from Kathy-in-Ozarks, who is de-stashing.  She also makes soap and sent this pretty scented bar along with the fabric. (Her Etsy shop is here ).   
 I'm pleased to report that I finished quilting Lulu's Baskets .  Hooray! I had one extra basket block which was just right for the label. 

I assembled the blocks for Chevron Strings.  It's still decorating the design wall. I'm not in a hurry to quilt it.

Back in January I basted Hourglass Nine Patch. I got tired of seeing the quilt sandwich on top of the bookcase so I started to quilt it on Saturday.....and finished it on Sunday! Once I get going it's hard to stop!

On to the next projects.   My colleagues on the AAUW-Illinois board decided to give the outgoing president books as our thank-you gift for her leadership this biennium.  (Once she's left office she will have time to read!)  Each board member is selecting a book. I volunteered to make a tote bag.  Here is the beginning.  AAUW colors are blue, green, and white.  The wings of the flying geese are the lightest batik I have, but I think it's too creamy....I may remake the geese with white-on-white (non-batik). 

Here are the first two blocks for granddaughter Alyssa's graduation quilt. She likes animal prints and I have acquired quite an assortment. These are 12". I plan to make 6" and 9" blocks, too.

I'm linking up with other quiltmakers for Design Wall Monday at  Judy's Patchwork Times . 

P.S. These are the cutaway triangles from the flying geese, trimmed to 1.5". Aren't these little blocks cute?

Friday, March 7, 2014


The Chicago Botanic Garden is hosting The Orchid Show through March 16.  Stevens and I went this afternoon, figuring that it would be less busy on Friday than this weekend.  I checked out a museum pass from the library to get a discount on parking (half off, it said) -- but the guard just waved us in, so we saved the full amount!

The orchids were displayed in three greenhouses (two "tropical" (humid) and one arid) and in the connecting corridors. They were glorious!  I can understand why people become obsessive orchid-growers. (Is anyone else a Nero Wolfe fan?)

reminded me of the Chihuly glass exhibit in Seattle

another Chihuly-esque haning

sort of like pansies, but they're not

Monday, March 3, 2014

DWM: March forward!

March began with the annual Women's History Month brunch sponsored by the Lake County Women's Coalition  held on Saturday morning.  AAUW-Waukegan is one of the member organizations, each of whom nominates a "woman of distinction" for her civic and professional accomplishments and her contributions to the organzation. 

The guest speaker was Barbara Joan Zeitz, an AAUW member, who writes a column called CountHerHistory.  Each month she writes about a different woman -- some of them are familiar but most of them are not.  You can read the columns on the AAUW-Illinois website here .  ("A Thesaurus of Women from Cherry Blossoms to Cell Phones" is the first compilation of columns. Barbara's working on  second book.  You can order the book via the links on the AAUW-IL site.)

# # #

It didn't seem to me that I accomplished very much in terms of quilting in February.   Fabric out: 29-7/8.   Fabric in: 30-7/8.  Net gain: 1 yard.   20 yards of the consumption was (were?) used for pillowcases for our guild's charity project. If I'd just stayed out of the Salvation Army store and avoided that bargain fabric....

I've finished quilting the center of Lulu's Baskets!  Halfway through I didn't like how the quilting was going.  I had a design epiphany (during the LCWC brunch) and I persevered.  The borders should be easier and I ought to have the quilt finished at the end of the week.

While I was stuck on Lulu's quilting I repurposed a tote bag. I'll fill it with advance reader copies (forthcoming books) and donate it to a fundraiser for the Zion Conservatory of Music .  The black/white/red flying geese came out of two shoeboxes.  I started those units back in 2008 when the Magpies gathered in Las Cruces.  You can see me making them in this post . 

When I pulled out the black/white/red storage box I thought that I really ought to make something out of the rest of the contents.  I surveyed the rest of my studio and thought, "but not now!" I put the shoeboxes back and continued with the scraps on hand:  a box full of 1.5 x 7.5 strips. I sewed them in 6's, trimmed the blocks to 6.5", cut them diagonally, and I've begun repiecing them. (Note that some of the strips are made up of 1.5" squares.) Another quilt is born!

 I'm linking up with other quiltmakers for Design Wall Monday at Judy's Patchwork Times.