Thursday, January 28, 2016

A blue ribbon day

"Forecast: Scrappy With a Chance of Nine-Patches" was my entry in the GFWC-IL 10th District art contest. (That's  General Federation of Women's Clubs.)  Members' entries were on display at yesterday's district luncheon.

I won a blue ribbon!

I made the quilt out of orphan blocks in early 2015. This photo shows it prior to quilting. (I did an overall meander in the center and almost-feathers in the border.)

P.S. I won last year, too.  I should add that there are only two or three entries in a category so the chances are pretty good to get an award . . . but it's gratifying to get first place.

Monday, January 25, 2016

DWM: Dancing Nines

I had a productive quilting week, as I shared in the two previous posts.  I appreciate the many comments on both Blue Coins and Postage Stamp Stars.

Last Monday I showed the 9-patch blocks on my design wall.  They are made from 2" squares and thus are 5" unfin/4.5" fin.  I was pretty sure I would set them alternately with hourglass blocks.   I made a sample. I was not excited.

I did a Google images search for "nine patch quilts" and Bonnie Hunter's Dancing Nines came up.  It was just what I wanted.  Click here to see the pattern.

Speaking of 9-patches, here are multiple mini-9's (3.5" unfin) for the Block Swappers. I didn't participate in the quarterly swaps last year and I want to replenish my supply.

If you click on flimsy completion tab at the top of the page you'll note that the to-be-quilted list is shorter. Not only have I finished three quilts this month, but I've also sold four flimsies.  I listed them on the Quilters Virtual Yard Sale Facebook group.  Selling flimsies is not a light decision. Am I giving up too easily? If I quilt it myself will it look decent? If I pay to have it quilted will I get my money's worth (particularly important for a charity donation)?  The proceeds from these sales will go into my sewing machine savings account.

I'm linking up with the usual suspects at
Patchwork Times  (Design Wall Monday)
Love Laugh Quilt  (Monday Making)
Quilting is More Fun Than Housework (Oh Scrap!)

P.S. Here's a photo of this morning's sunrise.  When I went out to the back yard to take the picture I heard bird calls . . . how many weeks until spring?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Another finish


Finish #3 for January!  I made the "framed coins" flimsy last spring. This pretty blue print backing print is by Hoffman ("Pheasant Hill" on the selvedge). I got it at this closeout sale.  Another insert strip, just because.
3-1/2 yards for the backing and binding.

And since it's blue, I'll link up to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge !

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

OMG: January goal completed

OMG = One Monthly Goal.

The OMG page on the Red Letter Quilts blog says that photos of each participant's progress should be posted the last week of the month. Well, it's the third week of the month and I have my goal completed. Next week I'll enter this post . . . but why wait to tell everyone else? Here is Postage Stamp Stars with its flying geese border.  My OMG was to piece the borders and attach them to the flimsy.

1/25/16:  click here to go to the OMG linkup.

Here's the backstory:  I made the blocks last summer and used up one dark blue print.  I used a second dark blue print (#2) for the setting triangles. I didn't have any more of #2  for the borders. I *so* wanted to avoid buying any more fabric!  I auditioned a large floral print but that detracted from the stars-in-a-night-sky idea. (See the border quandary here.) I know better than to push on a project when I'm frustrated and I put it away.  At the end of December I pulled it out.  I had a different dark blue print (#3) in sufficient quantity. I removed all of the #2 setting triangles and replaced them with #3. I cut the #3 triangles extra large, so that when I trimmed them there was a 3/4" "float." I made many of the flying geese. Uh-oh! I was running low on print #3. Fortunately I had a selvage that said "Joann's," and I bought 1-1/2 yards on Monday (50% off). Back home I found I had more of #3 after all....sigh.  Anyway: by dumb luck, that 3/4" float was jut enough to allow the geese to fit evenly on all four sides.  Hooray!  I added a 1.5" strip around the edges for stability.

The complete flimsy used 5 yards.  You may ask, "How will you quilt it?" and I will answer, "Eventually."

Monday, January 18, 2016

DWM: for the birds

"Birds in the Air" is the January Block Lotto selection.  Sophie plans to coordinate this year's lotto with Angela's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Here are my nine flocks of bluebirds.

I am making flying geese for the border of Postage Stamp Stars. Getting the borders attached is my entry for OMG (One Monthly Goal).   The geese are made with the four-at-a-time method so there are no cutaway corners. (Those make me feel guilty, whether I pitch them (wasteful!) or keep them (for years and years).)

The shoebox with 2" squares was getting full. I pulled out a handful and began using them as leaders-and-enders.  The nine-patches are 5" unfin / 4.5" fin.

I'm linking up with Monday Making
Design Wall Monday
Rainbow Scrap Challenge
 Oh, Scrap!

Midwinter report: friends, quilts, books

 The ALA Midwinter Meeting used to be a meetings-only conference.  The ALA Council (the governing body) and dozens of division committees met to conduct business.  Vendors of books, supplies, and equipment showed their wares.  Nowadays the meetings are still held, though a lot of discussion occurs online beforehand, and some committee members attend virtually.  The trade show is huge.  There are programs (geared toward ALA initiatives, rather than the great-ideas-at-my-library panels at the annual conference). There are book and media awards -- the Newbery and Caldecott Medals most famously, as well as awards for adult books.

I left a day beforehand to allow a visit with my Magpie friend Celia who lives just north of Boston. She picked me up at the airport. After lunch we went to the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell.  An exhibit from Quilts Japan opened that very day.  Here are photos of a few of the exquisite selections.   

We had our picture taken in the NEQM library.  The museum has an ongoing book and pattern sale. Both Celia and I indulged. I bought a sashiko kit in the gift shop to stitch on during the conference.

On Thursday morning we went to the Museum of Fine Arts. Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer was a superb exhibit.

That afternoon Celia took me to my hotel (the Westin, adjacent to the Boston Convention & Expo Center).  I refocused my attention to library matters, though quilts did come up a few times.  (Here is my contribution to "the library of the future.") 

A couple of years ago I redecorated a badge holder. The BiblioQuilter ribbon is sewn on. The others are stuck on and change from conference to conference.

All my committee meetings went well (Freedom to Read Foundation, Retired Members Round Table and its first-ever book discussion, University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries). I heard inspiring and interesting authors (some celebrities, some not).

This is Sen. Cory Booker.

The exhibits in full swing.
Conference attendance this year: 10,805.

Skip works for Penguin/Random House. I saw the edge of the handkerchief in his coat pocket. "Is that Tammis Keefe?" I asked. Indeed!

The conference was a great time to catch up with friends.
Liz, Jim, and I all grew up in the same town. We all became librarians. We all served on the ALA Executive Board. (Now she lives in Colorado, he lives in Virginia, and I'm back in Illinois.) [Photo taken at the Executive Board Survivors Dinner.]

Celia was my guest at the United for Libraries Gala Author Tea on Monday. Pat is my roommate. Peggy and Lila are part of our Monday evening dinner group.

This is the console table on our hotel floor, our last morning. Not only did librarians leave books they'd gotten at the exhibits, but someone also made a nice display.  The housekeepers had begun their shift. One of them said that a stack of books was left in one of the rooms with a note inviting the staff to help themselves. True librarians:  getting books to people everywhere!

Pat's last meeting ended at 10:30 Tuesday. Shortly after noon Joan picked us up (more accurately, she'd hired a driver) and we went to her house in Providence, RI.  We had a lovely day and a half there -- catching up on sleep and dining very, very well.  Wednesday evening's dinner included another long-time friend, Rose Ellen. It was so good to see her again!

 Pat and I were on the same flight from PVD-ORD. Clear skies, on-time. The limo got me home at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.  Four of the five boxes of books and conference swag arrived before I did. The fifth was delivered Friday morning.

(Winter reading with chocolate on top. The Hershey-filled silver can was a guessing-game prize.)

 Totebags, notebooks, pens . . . and an iPhone amplifier that really works, a box of matches (handy!), a flashlight/screwdriver/level, lip balm, and a car-lighter USB port.

My favorite souvenir -- a magnet from the MFA gift shop.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

OMG: one monthly goal

Heidi at has started a monthly challenge and linkup called One Monthly Goal, or OMG.    Today is the last day to enter for January. I am going to try this from my iPad.

Postage Stamp Stars is on my design wall right now, though said wall is in Illinois and I am in Massachusetts. I made and assembled the blocks last summer, then got stuck. I put it away and other projects came up. Now I think I have a solution for the border.  Getting the borders pieced and sewn on is my OMG for January.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Second finish

I don't know if anyone has a linkup for Tuesdays, but I have a finish to report!  And since the limo is coming at 5 a.m. tomorrow to take me to O'Hare for my 7:30 flight to Boston, I'm posting the photo now.

You've seen the front:  the batik nine-patch made out of the Block Swappers' birthday blocks.  It's 54 x 70.

Here's the back: a bright tropical print with two different side strips.
I didn't feel like making a more elaborate pieced insert.  The quilting is really simple -- in the ditch between the blocks and straight lines through the nine-patches. Each border triangle has two parallel V's.  2-7/8 yards for backing and binding.

My suitcase is packed, ALA documents are downloaded or printed out, and I have a big note to myself to remember to bring the phone and iPad chargers.

Now, to get a good night's sleep.

Monday, January 4, 2016

DWM: first finish

First finish for 2016!  This is Safari Strings. I pieced it in April, the month that I was "quilting in exile" while the basement floor was being replaced.  I bought the tiger-stripe backing fabric last month on the clearance table at Hobby Lobby ($3/yard). I didn't need to make an insert strip but that seems to be my practice lately, and I like the effect.

This is the flimsy (photo taken in April).

I got an email message to the "info @" (quilt guild mailbox) from a woman who offered quilt fabric and supplies. They belonged to her mother, who is now in hospice.  I went to Lake Bluff (about 15 miles away) to get them:  three big boxes with books and supplies, four black garbage bags with fabric, a nice floor stand hoop (Grace, maybe). Guess what?  I am taking it ALL to a fellow guild member to take it ALL to Wednesday's guild meeting.  I looked at the books and supplies (nothing I need) and I am NOT even taking a peek into any of the fabric bags.

I leave early Wednesday morning for the  ALA Midwinter Meeting .  I've built in time before and after for touring/visiting.

But, it's Monday: time to link up with
Oh Scrap!
Design Wall Monday
 Monday Making

Friday, January 1, 2016

A colorful end to 2015

(I meant to post this prior to the Annual Reckoning.)
Block swap, batiks, and scraps combine for a fine final flimsy for fifteen (2015, that is).
The Swamp Patch  Swamp Angel (Ohio Star variation) blocks were the other half of the Stars and Nines that were my birthday block swap choices in 2013 and 2015.  I used the Nines last week.

I put the stars up on the design wall.  They are 6.5" unfin. I made a few more.

Setting them side-by-side was too dense.  . I auditioned a few single-fabric sashings, but any one color highlighted some blocks and diminished others.  How about multi-color?  Yes!

The sashes are 2.5" unfin. The flimsy is 50 x 58 and used 3-1/8 yards.

Happy New Year! The Annual Reckoning

Postmarked Wausau, Wisconsin, Dec. 29, 1923, sent to Nora Buttke in Embden, ND. Message: "Dear Cousin, How are you all this winter we are fine we just came back from Milwaukee two weeks ago. Had a good time. Hope Santy was good to you. Goodbye from Herman and Frances." [In 1996 I bought a shoebox of postcards at a Buttke descendant's garage sale in Fargo. Some cards had been used, but many had not.  They continue to come in handy.]

Early in 1998 I was preparing to move from North Dakota to Illinois. I  realized I had almost as many boxes of fabric as boxes of books. I knew that writing down anything (money spent, food eaten, books read) made me more intentional.  And so, for 18 years, I've tracked my quiltmaking activity -- primarily in terms of fabric acquired and used, but also projects completed.  My criteria are idiosyncratic.   I do not keep track of notions, tools, batting, books, or subscriptions. I don't count vintage linens (though I do count vintage yardage).  You may think the calculations are terribly tedious but I've been doing it so long that it is routine.  

Though I used two yards less in 2015 than 2014, I acquired much less.
*  I began the year with 10 flimsies.  I sold 3.  I finished 29.  I ended the year with 23 in the box. 
*  I made 18 pillowcases and two quilts on commission.  I sold two quilts.  
*  I used 111 spools of thread. [Goodwill got a box with the accumulated empty spools from 2012-2014. They'll get the 2015 collection, too.]
Vic pointed out that I must include the six weeks of sewing-in-exile while the flooring in my studio (the basement) was replaced.  Read the posts from April here

These were my 2015 goals: 
* Bust the 30's stash. -- Stalled after four projects.
* Learn and practice a new technique. -- Nope. 
* Make decisions about the flimsies in the box (finish or abandon). -- Sold 3, quilted many. (Also sold several sets of blocks.) 
* Continue to chip away at the Deep Stash -- vintage linens and fashion fabric especially. -- Made 1 pair of pajamas. 
* Sell 100 yards.  -- Sold/gave away 62 yards.  Make 100 Care Bags. -- Nope. Make 576 HeartStrings blocks (that's 48 blocks per month) -- Yes! Each month I used a different colorway/theme and all the blocks were made from my stash. 
* Host one blog giveaway each quarter. -- Nope. 
* Enjoy the journey. Yes! 

My 2016 goals are very much the same:
*  Learn and practice a new technique.  (Bonus: use a specialty ruler.)  
*  Finish flimsies.
*  Reduce:  quilt fabric stash, books, magazines, patterns, vintage linens, fashion fabric.
*  Host one blog giveaway each quarter.
*  Make 100 Care Bags.
*  Enjoy the journey.  Yes! 

I hope your own year-end review is pleasing.  Here's to a piece-filled 2016!