Saturday, October 31, 2015

Title IX: Fair play on and off the court

My column, published in the Zion-Benton News on October 29. 

When I mentioned that I was going to write about Title IX a friend commented, “Oh, that’s the ruling that opened up college sports to women.” Well, yes, but that’s only part of the story.

To state it succinctly, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits gender discrimination in education programs and activities in schools and colleges that receive Federal funding for any purpose.   It applies to students and employees, and applicants for admission or employment.  It means that an institution may not “exclude, separate, deny benefits to, or otherwise treat differently any person on the basis of sex” unless the regulations specifically authorize.” (Title IX Resource Guide, 2015.)

Title IX is not an entitlement program.   Yes, it benefits girls and women – and it also benefits boys and men.  It is gender-neutral, ensuring equality in education for all students. 
1.  It protects all students and all staff, male and female, from sex-based discrimination.
2.  It requires schools to provide equal opportunities for male and female students to participate in athletics. It does not set quotas or demand equal funding.    In the forty years since Title IX, girls’ participation in high school sports has increased tenfold and six times as many women participate in college sports.   Over the same period boys’ and men’s participation and athletics has continued to rise.   Competitive cheering and competitive dance are now classified as sports.
3. It mandates equity in career and technical education programs.   Boys take home ec and girls take shop.         
4. It protects equity in scientific and technical education, including equal access to institutional resources.   Examples include science laboratories, field research, art studios, or music practice rooms.
5. It offers both male and female students protection from sex-based harassment from teachers, school staff, other students, and school visitors.  Claims cannot be dismissed as being trivial or “boys being boys.”   
6. It sets limits on programs that segregate girls and boys.  Gender stereotypes are challenged in textbooks and curriculum resources.
7.  It protects students from being refused enrollment or excluded from school activities because of pregnancy or parenting status.  Programs for student-parents must be comparable to the normal school curriculum and enrollment must be voluntary.
8. It requires schools to adopt and disseminate policies prohibiting sex discrimination and develop procedures to address grievances. Every district must designate a compliance officer.
Winthrop Harbor District 1, Beach Park District 3, Zion District 6, and Zion-Benton Township High School District 126 have compliance officers.
9. It protects students and staff from retaliation for reporting violations.

Title IX has been in area news recently.  A transgender student in High School District 211, Palatine, who plays sports cannot use the locker room. The school provides a private dressing room near the gym. The ACLU has filed suit saying that the she should be treated like any other student, not given “separate but equal” facilities.  The Chicago Tribune editorializes that a simple solution is privacy stalls in the locker rooms, available to any student.

Title IX is not a restricted, narrow path. It opens up the roadway to students, faculty, and staff so that everyone can achieve the best.  We all gain with fair play!

Sources:  “Title IX at 40,” NCWGE, 2012; “Title IX Resource Guide,” U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 2015.

Monday, October 26, 2015

DWM: swap blocks and a new flimsy (with design notes)

Erika and I spent Saturday morning as observers at the Palos-Orland AAUW STEM conference for 5th graders. That's 60 miles from here (50 miles from Erika), not a part of Chicagoland we are familiar with.  We'd like to have a similar event for girls in our area and we wanted to see how they do it.

I went to breakout sessions on subjects I was interested in.  Prof. Morag Kersel, the archaeologist, was great! She had the girls practice "excavating" by searching for chocolate chips in cookies and plotting where the chips were found.  Her research site is Follow the Pots .

"This is AWESOME!" one of the 5th graders said to a friend as they moved from one workshop to another.
In the studio this week:

"Twinkle Star" is this month's block for Block Lotto.  They look complicated, but because of Sophie's great instructions they were easy to make.  (9.5" unfinished)

Last Monday I had 20 batik HST blocks on the design wall. I was going to let them sit while I attended to other quilting obligations (such as the Twinkle Stars, guild BOM, potholders for the UMW holiday fair) . . . but one block led to another and another until I'd made 16more blocks. I admit I was getting tired of HSTs.  I chose the background fabric as I went without deliberately selecting "this green" to go with "that red."   How to set them?  Side-by-side, alternating light and dark backgrounds, was too busy.  I tried simple sashing, but that 'framed' each block and made it hard to focus on the strong direction of the HSTs.  I've used two sizes of sashing for previous quilts (here and here).  That was the solution for this design.  Note that I did plan the skinny sashing -- dark and light alternate -- and the cornerstones are directional. I decided that to add a border to 'corral' the blocks.  736 HSTs, 7-1/4 yards used (and hardly a dent in my batik stash).

BTW, here is a picture of the quilt that inspired this one.
Quilt (c) by Pam Buda
It's by Pam Buda and was featured in the October issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. She used CW reproduction fabric, made 7.5" blocks, and a strippy setting. Obviously I took the idea and ran in another direction. Pam's story of the AmP&Q photo shoot is here .

This is a fairly unscheduled week for me -- hope I can catch up and rest up before a very, very busy beginning of November.

See what other quiltmakers are working on with these link-ups:
 Patchwork Times
 Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Love Laugh Quilt .

Monday, October 19, 2015

DWM: doesn't look like much

Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of A Man, His Wife, and Her AlligatorOur plans for the weekend changed lanes.  Our granddaughters' long-anticipated visit was cancelled when the younger (19) got the flu.  Rebooking fees of $200 each plus next-day fare change of $253 each was prohibitive, and the older (21) had limited time off.  We'll hang onto the tickets and try for spring.  Among the activities we'd planned was going to see the musical "October Sky" at the Marriott Theatre. I won a pair of tickets for any 2015 performance and needed to use them, and I bought two more.  So we really didn't lose anything, except for the girls' company, and the play was great.  (It is based on the movie of the same name, in turn based on Homer Hickam's memoir/novel Rocket Boys.   Both Stevens and I have just finished Hickam's new book, Carrying Albert Home, which is a prequel to Rocket Boys.  It is WONDERFUL!   Here is Homer Hickam's website.)

The Zion Woman's Club's annual ladies' night bunco party was Saturday evening. Two friends were able to use the granddaughters' tickets.  Everyone had a great time.  I had never played bunco until ZWC began this fundraiser. It really is a lot of fun. I contributed this quilt to the silent auction. It sold for $50, so the buyer got a bargain . . . and before you cluck your tongue, consider that it was going to be donated sooner or later.)

Before quilting 
The back
Quilting accomplishments this week don't look like much, but I am pleased.  I got Peppermint and Holly quilted and bound. This is the AAUW holiday raffle quilt, with proceeds going to the Waukegan Area Branch STEM scholarship and the AAUW Fund.  (Tickets are $5 each or 3 for $10 and the drawing is December 12.)   The back is a 56"w Cranston print with a contrast strip to make it just wide enough.

I made more batik blocks. I'm aiming for 36 blocks -- that's 60 x 60.  Can you find the two blocks with the same background?

My new leaders-and-enders:  2.5" (unfin) HSTs from neutral + anything.  I have a project in mind.

I washed and ironed yards and yards of Lillian's fabric. I'm still debating just how much to keep.  

See what other quiltmakers are working on at Patchwork Times .

Monday, October 12, 2015

DWM: a finish, guild winnings, a new project

I finished the I Spy commission quilt -- delivered and paid.  Check that off the to-do list and add 3-1/2 yards to the "used" column.

I was one of the block of the month winners at Wednesday's guild meeting.  I will use these clever 12" pencil blocks for Care Bags (with some of Lillian's fabric).

I was intrigued by a design by Pam Buda in the new AmP&Q. She specializes in 19th century reproductions. I thought I'd try batiks. (How am I doing, Wanda ?)  Each block is 10" and has 20 HSTs which are rather tedious to sew and trim.

See what other quiltmakers are working on at Patchwork Times and Love Laugh Quilt .

Lillian's legacy

What treasures lie within?
Last week I wrote about the haul from Fred's storage unit:  fabric, craft supplies, and sewing machines that belonged to his aunt Lillian. Lillian had Alzheimer's in her final years. She died last year at age 98. Fred had been storing her stuff for more than a decade.

  It wasn't until Monday afternoon that I could begin opening the boxes to see the treasures.  There was very little yuckiness -- one exception being craft burlap. It smells kind of dusty/musty even when it's new and does not improve in storage.  In addition to fabric there were many, many, many spools of thread, some old (wooden spools) and a lot from the 70's/89's (white plastic spools). Lots of Wright's and Talon bias tape and seam binding (1970's -- poly and poly/cotton).  Lots of straight pins, which I pitched. (Pins can corrode -- keeping them is not worth the risk of  infection.)   Lots and lots of buttons.

Lillian went to Mexico. The suitcase was filled with ethnic fabric -- and five banknotes, 22 pesos, dated 1943.

There was more money -- a Kennedy half dollar, two dimes, eight pennies.

And, in the last box of notions:  two $50 gold pieces, dated 1999, mint in the coin dealer's sleeve. I looked them up -- at the least they are worth least $50 each but more likely they are worth $1000 or more.

On Wednesday Stevens and I met Fred at the storage unit to get the rest of the stuff. I told Fred, "I found some things of value."  I gave him Lillian's diploma from Chicago Teachers College, the pesos, the change, and then the gold pieces. His jaw dropped, and then he grinned.

There were seven sewing machines.

#1  Montgomery Ward in sewing cabinet.
 #2  Pfaff 6. This is a heavy-duty straight-stitch machine. It needs a cabinet or a base -- it is not free-standing.

#3  Singer 66 treadle. Serial number dates it to 1925.

#4 and #5   Montgomery Ward zig-zag with cams. #5 was never used-- the foot pedal and the accessory box were still in the original plastic wrap. #4 had been plugged in, but the extra feet and bobbins were in the plastic bag.   Manual and warranty (good for 30 years!) still in their plastic bags.

Note the ad for this model.

These Japanese-made machines are all-metal and made to last.
(I gave #5 to my next door neighbor who needed a basic sewing machine. This is basic and a little more.)

#6  Admiration -- a Japanese clone of a Singer 15.  It has been used a lot. There was a pin-keeper around the arm made out of a cut-off flannel cuff.  With a little cleaning and oil I'll bet it's good to go for a long time to come.

#7  Singer.  I didn't get the model or serial.  Another cam machine, though the cams are missing. All-metal, probably late 60's.

Lillian did a lot of shopping at Ward's 
And the fabric?  Wow.  Fashion fabric -- woolen yardage, linen, rayon.  A couple of bolts of a Waverly cotton drapery/home dec print in three colorways. Felt. Corduroy. The aforementioned burlap. And lots of cotton made for garments and home dec but certainly usable for quilts.  I filled boxes for our church textile drive (twice a year a recycler picks up any kind of textiles), for the Salvation Army, and for the quilt guild.  I took three boxes to the guild meeting Wednesday and have more for next month.

And for me?  Here's my initial haul.  I am NOT going to keep ALL of this -- more sorting to come.

Fred said that Lillian, who never married, taught visually impaired students for the Chicago Public Schools. She used a lot of crafts with her classes.

I will think of Lillian when I use the fabrics from her legacy.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Newbery Reviews

I set the Newbery Medal project aside when we went on vacation.  I'm getting back on track this fall.  In earlier reviews I noted that the older Newbery books did not have references or explanations to provide context to the stories. I found that omission frustrating.  These contemporary winners have afterwords that do provide helpful context.  

Front CoverMOON OVER MANIFEST  (2011)
by Clare Vanderpool

I wanted to like this story more than I did.  After all, Manifest, Kansas, is based on Frontenac. I've been there -- we lived in that part of southeast Kansas, in Pittsburg (the city next to Frontenac).  The book is set in the Depression and features plucky girls and an intriguing family mystery.  ("Manifest" refers to both the noun ("a roster") and the verb ("to reveal").)

In 1936 Abilene Tucker's drifter father sends her to Manifest to spend the summer with his old pal Shady. Abilene finds a box hidden under the floorboards with 'treasures'--a key, a fishing lure--and letters from 1918 with reference to the Rattler, a mysterious spy. Miss Sadie is a diviner, a fortune teller, who tells the stories behind the treasures and the letters.

I got stuck early. In one of the WWI flashback episodes Mrs. Eugene Larkin, president of the DAR, announces a fundraising quilt project to raise money for Liberty Bonds.  Point 1: would Manifest/Frontenac, a mining town with a large immigrant population, have had a DAR chapter? Pittsburg did (and still does).  Point 2:  the description of the quilt project is not what a WWI fundraiser would have been.  One of the characters "waves a swatch of paisley fabric."  "You'd better just stitch up your little quilt square."  What?    Here is a description of the fundraiser quilts. The fabric would have been plain muslin or percale, not paisley!

I know that that is just a minor scene. The book is not about quilting. There is much more to the story.  But I couldn't get the inauthenticity out of my head.  (There may be inauthenticity or anachronism in other books  that I don't notice because they're not subjects I know as much about.)

Cover of The One and Only IvanTHE ONE AND ONLY IVAN (2013)
by Katherine Applegate

Ivan is a gorilla who has been part of a menagerie at a shopping mall for 27 years. "It is not as easy as it looks," he says.  His companions are Stella the elephant and Bob the smart-aleck stray mutt.  There are humans, too -- Mack the mall owner, George the janitor, and Julia, George's daughter.  Ivan is an artist whose sketches are sold ("twenty dollars, twenty-five with frame") at a gift shop in the mall.  But the animals are no longer the crowd-getters and Mack is considering getting rid of them. Ivan makes a bold move to save them all.

Ivan tells his own story in short sentences. There is tragedy (Stella is mistreated, sickens, and dies). There is comedy (Bob's wisecracks). There is courage (Ivan's daring). There is hope (baby elephant Ruby). There is triumph (the animals are released to a zoo ("where humans make amends").)

This is a charming story. I smiled. I cried. I cheered.

by Kate DiCamillo
illustrated by K. G. Campbell

Flora Belle Buckman is a 10-year-old cynic (so her mother labels her) who loves comics, especially those about the Great Incandesto! (with an exclamation point).  When a squirrel is inadvertently swept up by a vacuum cleaner Flora rescues him and names him Ulysses. The vacuum trauma transforms Ulysses into a superhero like Incandesto!.  His superhero character is  unappreciated by some of the adults in Flora's life -- her romance-novel-writer mother, her socially clueless father, and especially the waitress at a pancake house (into whose beehive hairdo Ulysses leaps).  On the other hand, Tootie Tickham (who vacuumed Ulysses to superherodom) and her nephew William are more understanding. So is the elderly widow Dr. Meescham (a doctor of philosophy).

This is a fast-paced, witty, and memorable story with terrific exaggerated turns-of-phrase and a great vocabulary.  As Incandesto! would say, "Holy bagumba!"

Monday, October 5, 2015

DWM: workshop + quilt show + fabric haul + commission

I spent Sunday in a guild workshop given by Mary Fons . The project was "A Quilt Called Whisper" from her book Make Love Quilts . She showed us how she assembles a palette for a scrappy quilt. The pattern is a one-block, equilateral triangle, and she provided tips to match the pieces easily.  She recommends the Fons & Porter 60-degree ruler (of course). I remembered that I purchased a 60-degree ruler years ago (Clearview Triangle by Sara Nephew). The difference between it and F&P is that the latter has the top tip cut off (makes easy matching). I decided I'd make the Clearview work, and I did.

The workshop instructions were to bring 15 fat quarters with light/medium/dark. I chose purples. Here's what I got done.

Mary will be the speaker at the guild meeting on Wednesday.

Scraps . . .

 In my last post I wrote that Irene and I were going to pick up a fabric donation and then go to a quilt show.  The Village Quilters is an area guild. Their show featured many wonderful quilts and a good number of vendors. I didn't take many photos.  I did buy fabric. (Those fat quarters accumulate . . . Indonesian batiks at 20 FQs for $30!....)  We were there when they did a Quilts of Valor presentation to veterans. It was very moving.

Here is the fabric haul!   Fred (whom we had never met prior to Saturday) is cleaning out the storage locker where he has kept stuff from his family -- mother and aunts, and from the looks of it, his own stuff. His mother was a tailor, knitter, crafter.   There were two vintage sewing machines--a New Home treadle in a repainted cabinet and a Singer 99 (he provided that info later)--and two 1960's/70's Montgomery Ward models (which means they are all-metal, made in Japan). We filled my car with fabric and I will go back this week for what's left.  The photo shows the fabric in my garage. I will be sorting this week.

And the commission? Cindy, for whom I made all the pillowcases last summer, asked me to make two more pillowcases and a dog bed cover. (Actually, a pillowcase for the dog bed.) She brought the fabric to me a couple of weeks ago. She also commissioned an I Spy baby quilt.  I had units on hand for my default I Spy pattern ( here and here ).  I made more.

I'm linking up at Judy's Patchwork Times  and Beth's Love Laugh Quilt  Have a good Monday and a great week, everyone!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

HeartStrings + RSC, October

One of my goals in 2015 is to make one 48-block HeartStrings quilt each month.  That means making the blocks and assembling them; the actual quilting is optional. The further challenge is that I will use only fabric from my stash.  I've used various fabric collections (animal-skin prints, solids, homespun plaids, 30's, polka dots) and assembled colorways (purple/lime, brown/aqua "chocqua," soft green w/ blue). [Click on the "HeartStrings" label to see them all.] For the September version I used 1.5" strips rather than the usual 2". 

This month I again departed from the usual size. I went larger with 2.5" strips from the 2.5" hamper. I had a lot of the red-orange tone-on-tone so I used it for both the centers and the corners. The piecing goes very quickly with such wide strips!

This adds 8 yards to the "used" column. (That counts the fabric foundations.)

This month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge color is brown. Here's my bubble block.  Two more to go for the year!

Today's adventure:  Irene and I are going to collect boxes of fabric offered to the guild by a man who is clearing out his mother's things. He says there are sewing machines, too.  Then we're going to the Village Quilters' biennial show.

P.S. There are still a lot of 2.5" strips in the hamper . . .

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Stash report: September

I broke down and bought border fabric for the Holly Pinwheel quilt -- just the red, though. (Oh, and three other FQ, two for my ongoing typeface collection and another . . .)

Stash report, September 
Fabric acquired:   17-7/8
Fabric used: 16-1/4
Fabric acquired:  99-1/4 ($324.60)
Fabric used: 251-5/8 
Net decrease: 152-3/8

I met with fellow guild members at Buttons and Bolts to begin our 2016 raffle quilt. I was tempted by the beautiful fabric that Heather stocks, but I resisted. However, I stopped at an antiques mall across the road and bought this 1932 Dresden Plate quilt for $76.00. It has some stains, mostly on the back. It was obvious that the quilt had been washed many times before so I didn't hesitate to wash it again. The stains did not come out. So be it. 

I posted the photos on the Vintage Quilts FB page and a helpful list member looked up the names on   She found out that the women lived in Mattoon, Illinois (Coles County), some on the same street.  (What is "CYB"? More research!)

Note the blue quilting thread.

I'll use the quilt in my "Every Quilt Tells a Story" programs this season. After that I may send it to the Coles County Historical Society (unless I change my mind!).