Sunday, September 27, 2015

DWM: discards, acquisitions, and a new project

As I write this the lunar eclipse is in progress. We sat out in the back yard and watched as the moon disappeared. In a few minutes I'm going to go out to see it reappear. [Note: I did!]

On the other end of celestial viewing, here's sunrise on the beach, Friday morning, a day and half after the equinox.

Though the weather has been delightfully warm -- late summer, not fall -- I put the summeriest of my summer clothing and shoes in the downstairs storage closet and brought up most of the fall/winter clothes and shoes. I sorted, too, and ended up with a box and a bag that I took to Goodwill.  Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, says Newton, and here are thrift shop bargains this month:  two all-cotton sheets (one king, one twin) that will be great quilt backs ($7 for both) and six never-used napkins in French Provencal cotton, 18"x18". I don't often buy shirts but Goodwill had a coupon. The red one is  size 4x -- a lot of fabric!  I thought I could use the plaid in my design wall project but in the end I didn't.

Here is my new project. The pattern is by Gerri Robinson and was published in the December, 2012, issue of McCall's.  So far all of the fabric is from my stash but I may need to buy fabric for the borders. It's taken some maneuvering to stitch the single-leaf appliques. The top had to be assembled before sewing them. This will be the AAUW holiday raffle quilt. I need to get it to the flimsy stage by October 10 so I can sell tickets at the AAUW fall conference.

A box with LOTS of quilty inspiration arrived this week.  I bought these at C&T's online warehouse sale. They offered free shipping for orders over $100. I selected 23 books for $101. Five came in this shipment and the rest are backordered. That's probably just as well or I'd have sensory overload.

 I'm linking up with other quiltmakers at Judy's Patchwork Times   and Beth's Love Laugh Quilt

Sunday, September 20, 2015

DWM: a day downtown, donations, postage stamp 9x9, and a finish

Lorraine, Linda, and I have been friends since grade school.  Our interests diverged in high school (Lorraine did music and sports, Linda was counterculture and social activism, and I was a bookworm scholar).   Over the years Lorraine and I maintained ties with Christmas cards, a few visits, and  P.E.O.). We re-met Linda through Facebook. Linda lives at the other end of Chicagoland from me and we hadn't been able to coordinate our schedules to meet in person.  We finally got together this past Thursday when Lorraine came from Colorado to compete in the Chicago Triathlon .  We took the architectural river cruise and had lunch at the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the Hancock.  It was delightful to catch up!
The view under the bridge

 Reflection in 333 E. Wacker 
View from the 95th floor
 * * * * * * * * *
 Our guild received a request for donations to the Chicago-area Heifer quilt auction. This is one of the reasons I have quilts on hand! I took seven quilts and wallhangings to one of the volunteers (they'd already been on display and had not sold at the library craft fair). She let me see the quilts that are filling up her house -- what a beautiful assortment!

I made six tulip blocks for this month's Block Lotto .

I finished the Postage Stamp 9x9.  I was six strips short of the sashing fabric I intended to use -- which I found out after I had cut strips from all of that yardage. I searched my stash and found another gray print and, whew, I had enough. This flimsy is 57 x 68 and used 5 yards.

And the finish? Homespun Strings, the HS top I made in March. 3-1/2 yards for the back and binding.

I'm linking up with other quiltmakers at Judy's Patchwork Times and  Beth's Love Laugh Quilt .

Monday, September 14, 2015

DWM: back in the studio + stash report

Our trip home was swift because I had to be back for the quilt guild board meeting Wednesday night.  This was the transition between outgoing and newly-elected officers and it could not be rescheduled. As it turned out I had six meetings from Wednesday through Saturday (at two of which I presided and for two of which I took notes).

I took a bunch of necktie hexies (my years-long hand-sewing project) on the trip but I didn't sew a stitch.  I went to one quilt shop -- Cotton Cupboard  in Bangor, Maine -- and bought two fat quarters and a pattern. I admired the beautiful wool tartans at the  Gaelic College in Cape Breton (Nova Scotia) but didn't need to buy any yardage.

Stash report, August:
Fabric acquired:  1/2 yd ($7)
Fabric used: 38-1/2 yds (includes donation to HeartStrings)
Fabric acquired: 81-3/8 yds ($282)
Fabric used: 235-3/8 yds
Net decrease: 154 yds

I made an orange bubble block for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Here's what's on the design wall:  more scrappy 9 x 9 postage stamps. (I found out that it's easier to make nine 9-patches and assemble them, rather than making nine rows of nine squares.)   The gray sashing fabric has a subtle leaf print.  I will use 4-patches for cornerstones.   30 blocks, 2" finished sashing, no border = 57 x 68.

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

P.E.I. and Nova Scotia: part four

Our second Road Scholar group gathered on Sunday evening, August 30, at the Quality Inn in Summerside, P/E.I.  I told myself firmly to put my Grand Manan memories on a shelf so I could fully appreciate the week ahead. 
"Coastal Communities of P.E.I., Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton" is one of the programs coordinated by  Northshore Institute (Cindy and Peter Blanding). They have worked with Elderhostel/Road Scholar for more than 25 years. Our group leader was Susan Dalziel, a retired teacher who grew up on P.E.I., now in her 8th year as a group leader. She was very deft in keeping the 22 in our group on track. She provided excellent background information to the places we visited (and about the sights we saw as we traveled between those places).   Another important person on the tour was Dale Johnstone, the bus driver, who maneuvered the big coach into parking lots and down country roads. 
P.E.I. is roughly the size of Delaware so it doesn't take long to get from one end of the province to another. Summerside was our 'headquarters' for three nights. 
 No trip to P.E.I. would be complete without seeing Green Gables, the farmhouse immortalized by Lucy Maud Montgomery in the Anne of Green Gables books. It is a national historic site visited by 175,000 people a year, including thousands of Japanese. (Here is the reason why.)   The farm was owned by LMM's aunt and uncle. She visited but didn't live there.

Lucy Mongomery's typewriter

 We spent a day in Charlottetown, the provincial capital.  We sat on the steps of Province House (closed for renovation) as historian Boyde Beck provided a precis of the Charlottetown Conference of 1864. That conference resulted in the Dominion of Canada, federating the provinces. We toured Beaconsfield, built in 1877.for a local merchant and his family. It was later a residence for nursing students. Most of the features remained intact, a boon to historic preservationists.  (I was taken by the tile floors!) 

P.E.I. is the garden spot of Canada -- dairy, potatoes, and other crops.  We visited an organic farm.

The Joggins Fossil Cliffs are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Taking souvenirs is strictly prohibited!   The car keys on this plant fossil provide an idea of the size.  We timed our visit a low tide. (Fundy's high tides cover the area where we walked.) 

 On Wednesday morning we loaded our suitcases onto the bus and headed for Nova Scotia and Cape Breton via the Confederation Bridge.  (Cape Breton is connected to Nova Scotia by a mile-long causeway.) Nova Scotia is primarily Scottish, settled by emigrants after the 1744 rebellion. Cape Breton is primarily Acadian, settled by the French, with later Scottish settlement.  Gaelic culture is alive and well! We visited the Gaelic College where we listened to fiddle music and saw step dancing -- as well as a demonstration of How to Wrap a Kilt (as modeled by one of our group).  [They make kilts to order--6,000 hand stitches, $750-$1200 depending on the weight of the fabric and hip measurement.]

I point to the Hamilton clan badge (my mother's maternal line).

Most of Cape Breton is a national park. The Cabot Trail is the main road along the coast. Gorgeous in the sunshine -- but I'm sure it would be beautiful even on a stormy day. 

 Hooked rugs are part of the Maritimes' folk art traditions.  We visited the museum in Cheticamp to see the Acadian version, called  "tapis hooke."  [The French word for "hook" is "crochet," but that would be confusing when referring to rug hooking,  hence the borrowed "hooke."] Their technique uses a very short hook, yarn, and burlap. I bought a small kit . . . just to try it out, mind you. :)

Two nights in Baddeck (ba-DECK) at the historic Telegraph House, built in 1861.

Alexander Graham Bell and his family moved to Baddeck in 1885 -- partly as a refuge from humid Washington, DC, and also to escape public demands so he could work on further experiments with electricity and aviation.  The house still belongs to the family so it is not open to the public but the National Heritage Site has a large museum.

I stopped at the Baddeck Public Library.  (Mabel Bell was among its founders.) Note the Gaelic collection!

 Saturday morning:  the Hector brought emigrants from Scotland to Nova Scotia i 1773. The ship has been replicated.

Saturday afternoon:  back to P.E.I. and a visit to the beach at PEI National Park.

At our farewell dinner:  a group photo, including our leader Susan (front, left) and driver Dale (far right).

Sunday morning:  we left Summerside at 6:55 Atlantic time. We crossed the border at Houlton, ME at noon, and got to Sturbridge, MA at 7 p.m. Eastern.  We waved to family and friends, former homes and haunts as we sped past.  No time to visit!  Monday: on the road at 7 a.m., across MA and NY --overnight at Westlake, OH (west of Cleveland). Tuesday: on the road at 7 -- pulled into our driveway at noon.   HOME! With many great memories of a wonderful, wonderful trip.