Monday, January 26, 2015

DWM: a finish, a start, and good-bye

"Dots, All Right" is finished: quilted, bound, labeled.   Here's a picture of the pieced back.  I had just enough of the vintage (36" wide) red/white polka dot fabric.  I thought I had centered the top on the backing but obviously the top had other ideas. Let's just call it a design element.

I posted a picture of the top last week, but if you missed it:

I have a commission to make a quilt for my friends Bill and Elaine's granddaughter Julia's high school graduation this spring. Elaine asked that I use Julia's college colors. She's going to go to the University of Virginia, so the colors are blue, orange, and white.  Do you ever have design ideas lodge themselves in your mind and not budge? When Pat Sloan posted photos of "Not Afraid to Fly," a block design by Carrie Nelson (block pattern here) I immediately imagined it made in UVA colors.  I leafed through other block and quilt patterns but I kept coming back to this one.  I realized it was high time to quit contemplating and start sewing. Here's what I have so far. 

The blocks are 12.5" unfin./12" fin. I think I am going to make 20 blocks (48"x60").  I could go "modern" and thus no border.  With a white background I think of fingermarks so I think a narrow orange border and a wider blue border.  (Or perhaps I can find a blue/orange print.) 

If you click on the "flimsy completion" tab you'll see that my to-be-quilted list is shorter. One of my 2015 goals was to decide what to do with long-time flimsies languishing in the box. I listed three of them on the Facebook group Quilters' Virtual Yard Sale. Within fifteen minutes I had ten replies. I also got a couple of semi-chiding comments saying that I set the prices too low.  I completed the transaction with the first to post and in the process learned how to receive funds from PayPal. (I already knew how to pay with PayPal! )

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

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Now showing @ the library: quilts

The quilt on the left and the quilt on the right are mine. The photo shows a part of the display at the Downers Grove Public Library. (ZBPL hosted the quilt exhibit in December.)

Google Alerts picked up this story, with the photo.
# # # # # # # # # #
by Annemarie Mannion / published in the Chicago Tribune on January 15, 2015.
(c) Annemarie Mannion/Chicago Tribune.

An exhibit of 20 quilts at the Downers Grove Public Library shows a different side of librarians.

"I think people might like to know that librarians have other interests, some of them very artistic," said Jo Mortland,.a retired librarian from the Ronald Williams Library at Northeastern Illinois University.

She and another librarian and avid quilter, Iva Freeman, who works part-time at the Glenview Public Library, came up with the idea to create a traveling quilt show that would only be displayed in libraries. The exhibit, which runs through Jan. 30, features eight quilters, all librarians.

The two hatched the idea after meeting at a workshop where they discovered their shared interest in quilting. Freeman knew of other librarians who also quilted as a hobby and who were interested in showing off their works. They decided participants must currently or previously affiliated with a library.

Melody Danley, staff artist at the Downers Grove library, who oversees exhibits, agrees that patrons appreciate knowing a little more about their local librarians.

"I think it's really nice in any workplace when you get to see another side of colleagues," she said. "It's a cool thing to expand your knowledge of that person and have fun."

Mortland, who organized rotating exhibits at the Ronald Williams library, said people also seem to enjoy viewing a bright, tactile display – particularly this time of year.

"We have found that libraries love the fiber art shows - so tactile, and so colorful, especially in winter," she said.

In addition to the Ronald Williams and Glenview libraries, the libraries represented in the exhibit are the Zion-Benton Public Library . the St. Joseph Hospital Medical Library in Chicago, and the Indian Trails Public Library.

HeartStrings, 2015: dots, all right

FQs and larger
 Most of my fabric is sorted by color but some of the stash is sorted by genre.  I love polka dots (here and here) and I've acquired quite an assortment.


This box was begun when I cut strips for this jacket back in 2009.  I've used some strips and added more.
 Here are the same contents, pressed and rolled.
 One of my 2015 goals is to make 48 HeartStrings blocks per month -- enough for a basic HS quilt. I used strips from the polka dot bin. The centers and corners are from the polka dot yardage.

I assembled the blocks without putting them up on the design wall. I managed to avoid having two of the same strips adjacent.

Here's what was left in the bin.

The flimsy used 8 yards (counting the fabric foundations).

Sunday, January 18, 2015

DWM: Blue Stars, with design notes

I joined the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year.  A different color is featured each month  Amanda says, " You just need to dig out some scraps in that color and make something--anything."

January's color is blue.  I have 600+ 3.5" nine-patches from the Block Swappers. I pulled out all that had blue corners/center and put them on the design wall.  Hmm. Nice, but nothing special.

What about grouping them? I liked the look of the double nine-patch for this month's Block Lotto (done in black-and-white). How about a double nine-patch in blue?

I made 20 double nine-patch blocks. What about sashing? What color? I posted this photo to the Quiltville Open Studio Facebook group and got many suggestions.  Several people said, "None of these. They compete for attention with the blocks. Use navy."  I thought the corners of the nine-patches would get lost with navy sashes and that the overall effect would be pretty dark.

In the end, I did use navy but I didn't use sashing. The star blocks feature light-cornered nine-patches from the Block Swappers. The flimsy is 64 x 78 and used 5 yards from my stash.

I'm linking up at Scrap Happy Saturday (a day late, but the flimsy wasn't finished until Sunday evening) and Judy's Patchwork Times.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Kriegsjahr, 1915: "When this you see, remember me"

This is my column in the January 15 issue of the Zion-Benton News.    

Autograph books were a fad when I was in sixth grade.  I bought mine at the Ben Franklin store. It had a nifty padded plastic cover and multi-colored pages.  All the girls brought theirs to school. (Did boys have autograph books? Probably they signed ours.)  We passed them around at recess or at lunch.  If the teacher caught us passing them in class, or just pulling them out of our desks to read the latest entries, they’d be confiscated for the rest of the day. 

Sentiments were simple:  “Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you.”
“Down in a meadow, carved in a rock, you will read these words: Forget me not.”

They were funny:  “Yours till Niagara Falls / till the chocolate chips / till banana splits.”
“When you are married / and have twins / don’t come to me / For safety pins.”

Grownups wrote more serious messages:  “You are a fine student. Carpe diem – seize the day.” “This above all: to thine own self be true.”

I bought an old autograph book at an estate sale in Beach Park last winter.  It was on the “special” shelf at the checkout and I scooped it up.  It’s 5 x 8 and has a green leather cover embossed with a sprig of gold flowers. 

The book begins: Kriegsjahr, 1914-15. Erna Gerlach, Kiel Hassee, HasseerStrasse No. 7.
That is, Erna lived at 7 Hasseer Street in the Hassee neighborhood of Kiel, in northwestern Germany. (I used Google Maps to pinpoint the address.)  Kriegsjahr means “war year.” When Erna began collecting her friends’ autographs World War I was underway. Halfway through the book the date changes: “Kriegsjahr, Januar, 1916.”

Erna’s book has some fifty entries written in the lovely fluid penmanship of steel-nibbed pens.  All are in German, of course, using old-style script that must be deciphered before translating.  The signatures are plain: Ella Werner, Frieda Buttner, Anni Tiedje, Elsa Hoppner, Alma Kobarg, Gertrud Freundstuck, among others. Every signature is preceded by “zur erinnerung,” which means, “to remember,” or “in remembrance.”

I translated a few phrases.  I could not discern any references to the war.  Edna’s brother Edward wrote about a bit of moss (I think), modest and pure next to a proud rose, and signed, “Always remember, from your brother.” Another friend quoted a common German proverb, “With God at the start and at the stop, this is the best resume.” (“Resume” meaning “course of action.”)

It turns out that autograph books began in 16th-century Germany when university students began to have their Bibles signed by their classmates and instructors. Soon publishers started producing books with blank pages. These “books of friends” or Stammbucher were kept over lifetimes. They fell out of fashion for a while but in the late the 19th century young women and girls revived the fad. (See this interesting article .)  

I know the “what” for this century-old treasure.  There are more questions.  Did Erna emigrate to the Chicago or Milwaukee?  When? Why? Was the estate sale for her descendants or had someone acquired the book somewhere else?  Perhaps a ZB News reader can fill in pieces of this intriguing puzzle.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

DWM: back to the 30's

The post title gives me a chuckle.  The temperatures plunged earlier in the week, with a high on Wednesday of about 6. Wednesday night's quilt guild meeting was cancelled.  Thursday was cold, snow-flurry-y, and very windy, and Rotary (7:30 a.m.), United Methodist Women (1 p.m.), and Community of Character committee (5:30 p.m.) were all cancelled.  It was still cold but sunny on Friday, so the Coalition for Healthy Communities board had its regular monthly breakfast meeting.  Just before noon I picked up Jo-An S. and Erika N. and we headed to Bloomington (243 miles) for the AAUW-Illinois winter board meeting. The interstate was clear but it was quite windy. More than a dozen cars and seven or eight tractor-trailers had skidded off the road.  We made it but I was really glad I had passengers to keep me alert and focused. The board meeting on Saturday went just fine and we got home at 6:00 p.m.

The weatherman says that the temperatures will be "back to the 30's" by the end of the coming week.

 Meanwhile it was back to the 30's in my studio.
Isn't this cheerful?   "Petal Patch" was featured in AmP&Q's Quilt Sampler, Fall-Winter 2011, for  Millstone Quilts (Mechanicsville, Virginia). The quilt in the magazine used "regular" calico prints. I thought it was just right for 30's repros.  The blocks are 8". The flimsy is 56"x72". It used 3-1/4 yds of 30's and 1-1/2 yds of white to total 4-3/4 yds.

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

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Throwback Thursday: needlework, 1975

In January, 1975, I was home in Northbrook between Alpha Gamma Delta leadership consultant assignments. I posed for this photo with most of my needlework output.

Here are the details.

* The green cross-stitch quilt was the first one I made. It's a Bucilla kit, double-bed sized.  I made it in 1973-74 when I was in graduate school (embroidery first semester, hand-quilting second semester). I like to say that I got a lot of good use out of both the quilt and the degree.  The quilt is still in pretty good condition, considering that it's been washed quite a few times.
* My mother and her brother Bob hand-pieced the sixteen-patches in the 1930's. Mother said Bob's stitches were neater because he was a year older. Someone (Mother?) set them with blue sheeting. The summer of 1974 I took the top without Mother's knowledge and embellished the blocks with feather-stitching (pastel DMC floss) and hand-quilted a wreath and heart in the blue blocks.  I had NO IDEA what I was doing, so it is very inauthentic.  I presented it to my parents at graduation. Mother loved it. After she passed away I sent it to Bob, who was terminally ill. The report was that he smiled when he saw it. (I don't know if any of my cousins have the quilt.)
* The crewel pillows above my left shoulder and under my right arm were kits.  My Alpha Gam sister Paula and I sent Kleenex or Puffs proofs-of-purchase to get them. (Circa 1972.)
* By 1974 needlepoint was all the rage. It was perfect to take on my Alpha Gam travels.
--The squirrel pillow was a finished-center ("Berlin work") piece. I first saw it at a department store in Ohio, and then again at a department store in North Carolina. It was on sale and I bought it.  (The squirrel is the Alpha Gam mascot.)
-- The red/buff roses picture (small square on the left in the picture) was also finished-center. (Alpha Gam flowers are red and buff roses).
-- The oval-framed picture is the one I don't recall at all.
-- The little railroad cars were gifts to my dad. They were Sunset kits.
-- The lemons-in-a-baset pillow was a gift to my sister, whose bedroom was citrus yellow, orange, and green.
-- The yellow-green bargello pillow was an Elsa Williams kit, made for my mother. (There was a living room chair that color.)
-- The purple-and-white pillow was made from a pattern in The Art of Needlegraph , a book I bought on my travels. I did all the counting by eye--no marking on the canvas.  This was a wedding gift for my Alpha Gam pledge daughter Janet whose favorite color was purple. She and her husband Grant will celebrate their 40th anniversary this month.

In the 40 years since this picture was taken I have stitched many pillows and pictures, sewn a lot of clothing, and of course made dozens of quilts.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

DWM and MM: Scrappy Forecast and Grand Illusion

Here's how last week's "Forecast: Scrappy With a Chance of Nine-Patches" turned out.  You may recognize the blue/white/orange units on the right from last year's Celtic Solstice. The green/gold triangle section (left center) is made from leftovers from a quilt I made for my dad in 2000. The border fabric is not a batik, though the saturated colors make it look that way. (Selvage says "Central Park / Phillip de Leon / for Alexander Henry Fabrics / (c) 1996."  I got it at a sale a couple of years ago.)  The flimsy is approx. 59 x 64 and I calculate it uses 3-1/2 yards. I still have many miscellaneous units and orphan blocks.

I finished my 12-block version of Grand Illusion  on Saturday evening. I like busy, scrappy designs and I love the colors, but this doesn't have enough value contrast. I made the sashing blocks too large, but it was easy to cut them down. I attached the yellow inner borders and the side borders with no problem. The top and bottom borders were 2" short. Rather than removing the side borders and cutting down the inner borders I chose to insert a 2" spacer (see the centers of the top and bottom). Sharp eyes will see that the center four-patches in the blocks go two different directions. I am disinclined to rip them out and rotate them. I did measure all the fabric used: 5-1/4 yards.

Here are my nine entries for the January Block Lotto. Each block is 9". I can imagine these set with bright sashing. Lime green? Turquoise?

The holiday break is over. Meetings and other activities resume this week!

Check in with other quiltmakers at Judy's Patchwork Times and Bonnie's  Mystery Monday .