Monday, August 27, 2018

Weekly update: a finish and a flimsy

Ta da!  "Cardinals in the Pines" is finished!

It's 60 x 72 and used 8-5/8 yards.

The churn dashes in the pieced back are from Barb V's swap. I've used them in the backs of three quilts and still have a couple of dozen.

I used white thread to quilt spirals.

My cutting table is also my basting table. The table is approx. 58 x 34. When I have the center of a quilt basted I remove the clamps and slide the quilt sandwich, bringing the sides or ends to the top of the table. I am careful to keep the backing taut.   Using the table this way is an incentive to finish basting because otherwise I can't cut any fabric.

And here's the new flimsy.   Judy Hoowarth's Razzle Dazzle Quilts was the inspiration for the setting.

Approx. 65 x 73,
4-1/2 yards.

I'm linking up with
Monday Making
Oh, Scrap!
Moving It Forward

Weekly update: making waves, the Lipizzans, and an anniversary

 Brisk northeast winds kicked up the waves so that Lake Michigan looked more like the ocean.

A monarch and a swallowtail stopped long enough for me to snap their photos.

Wednesday was a beautiful day to sit outdoors to see the magnificent Lipizzan stallions at  Tempel Farms .  We have intended to go to a performance for years (it's just twenty minutes away).  Our Rotary Club is hosting an exchange student and we took her and her local host sister.

After the performance we toured the stables and got up close. (The breed is fairly docile, explaining why a stable full of stallions can coexist without fighting.)

I first learned about these magnificent Viennese horses when I read  White Stallion of Lipizza by Marguerite Henry.

Thursday was our 38th wedding anniversary. We are still smiling. :)

Monday, August 20, 2018

Weekly update: inspiration strikes!

The shower for Baby Riley (well, for her parents) was Saturday.  They received several crocheted afghans but the I Spy that I made was the only quilt. They like it!

This was the first baby shower my husband had ever attended. I hadn't been to a shower for years but in April there was a wedding shower for my niece and then this one. 

# # # # # # #
Last week I wrote that I hoped for a flash of inspiration for the holiday quilt for our AAUW raffle.  The flash came, all right.  The pattern is Pinwheel Pines from McCall's Quilting, Dec. 2012.  I added a few cardinals to the forest.  (Blocks are 12" so the quilt will be 60 x 72.)

This week I will assemble the blocks and piece the backing.

Monday link ups: 
Design Wall Monday
Monday Making
Oh Scrap!
Moving It Forward

A day in the Loop

Pat and I are roommates at ALA conferences. We try to get together  at other times, too, by meeting in downtown Chicago.  Last Thursday we saw this summer's major exhibit at the  Art Institute, "John Singer Sargent and Chicago's Gilded Age."  In the 1890's and early 1900's wealthy Chicagoans acquired many of Sargent's paintings.  Charles Deering (McCormick reapers) was among Sargent's patrons. 

I was aware of Sargent's portraits, of course.  He also painted oil en plein air and watercolor. He drew charcoal sketches (much faster and cheaper), 

Works by his contemporaries (many of whom were his friends) are included in the exhibit.

We went to lunch at Cindy's Rooftop at the Chicago Athletic Association. CAA was a private club and is now a boutique hotel.  The food was good to look at as well as good to eat. The view was great! 

We've intended to visit the American Writer's Museum  since it opened last year.  We finally did!   It reviews 400 years of American writing (from Cabeza de Vaca and Capt. John Smith to contemporary authors). There are lots of interactive exhibits.  It's great fun!

The bottom right photo is a snapshot of a word waterfall. The wall is covered with words, all jumbled. When lines are illuminated you see quotations from literature.

I thought that when I retired I go downtown more often than I do.  This time I bought a 10-ride train ticket.  It's good for a year. My new resolution is to use it up! 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Weekly update: batik week

We had free tickets for a concert at Ravinia on Tuesday, but free means lawn seating and it poured. The Zion Park District's weekly concert on Thursday was also free, also outside, and it poured.   That meant two evenings to sew!

8/26/18: linking up to Elm Street Quilts/OMG finishes here !

I finished the maple leaf wall hanging. It's my OMG for August. I will donate it to the quilt guild for the silent auction at Sept. 29-30 quilt show.   24 x 36, 1-1/2 yards.

Though the maple leaves were finished I didn't put the batik FQ boxes back on the shelf.  Here's what happened;

   Thursday night.

Sunday night. (Yes, there's a hole in the bottom row. I trimmed a block too much and need to replace it.)

I'd probably have gotten the blocks set but I couldn't resist playing with batik scraps.

What I really, really, really need to do is get started on the AAUW holiday raffle quilt. "Started," as in,  "finalize the pattern/design." I have bookmarked ideas and gone through magazines . . . inspiration, please strike this week!

Link ups:  Design Wall Monday
Monday Making
Oh Scrap
Moving It Forward

Monday, August 6, 2018

Weekly update: vacation fabric, stash report, design wall

I splurged on souvenirs this vacation -- four t-shirts, two mugs, a stack of postcards, embroidered patches, and refrigerator magnets. The patches and the magnets have become a routine and the postcards are handy.  I actually needed to replenish t-shirts.  The mugs will replace some that are irredeemably stained.

Is fabric a souvenir?  I suppose not, though sometimes when I cut a particular piece I can remember when and where I bought it.  On this trip I went to three shops -- Golden Gese in Concord, NH; Quilted Threads in Henniker, NH; and Fabricate in Bar Harbor, ME.  I also went to Marden's . (Marden's is a surplus and salvage chain. I remember the very first time I heard about it -- my hairdresser in Auburn said she'd gotten wallpaper at "Maahd'ns" and I had no idea what she was talking about. I soon learned. I still have fabric and, I confess, needlework supplies, from those days. In the 24 years since I moved away they've expanded fabric departments tremendously -- imagine designer fabric (Kaufman, Michael Miller, Benartex, etc.) for $4.99/yd.!)

The Maine Quilts show had an extensive vendor mall.  Some of the sellers were familiar -- Sew Batik from North Dakota, for example -- but there were many who were new to me.

Here's the entire haul.  Batiks, novelties, some Australian prints, some typography prints, a few white-and-black prints.

Included in the stack are FQs of colorful shweshwe prints from South Africa. I have a collection of blue, red, and brown shweshwe. I didn't know it comes in other colors!  (The vendor is Susan Sato of Easy Piecing . The website doesn't include the shweshwe, but she carries it!)

The stash report for July:
Fabric in (all from vacation):  43-3/8, $263.11 (avg. $6.06)  (Is that all? It seemed like a lot more.)
Fabric out:  27-1/4
YTD in: 203-5/8, $706.37 (avg. $3.75/yd)
YTD out:  365-5/8
Net decrease: 162 yds

 It was far too hot to do anything outside this past weekend so I read and sewed. (Oh, yes, and spent much of Saturday writing the travelog blog posts.) 

When we left for New England I had six maple leaf blocks on the design wall. I used some of the new batiks in the additional blocks.  The blocks are 6" and I don't think there will be a border.  This will be a wall hanging or a runner for the silent auction at the quilt guild show in September.  Finishing it is my One Monthly Goal for August. (Whew. I linked up just in time!) 

Monday link ups: 
Monday Making
Oh Scrap!
Design Wall Monday
Moving It Forward

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Summer vacation, part 7: history on the way home

We included more sight-seeing on the final days of our trip.   

 Monday, July 30:  The Oneida Community was founded by John Humphrey Noyes in the 1840's. Noyes was a "perfectionist," saying that individuals could choose not to sin, and thus achieve holiness in life. He and his followers were evicted from Putney, Vermont, and settled in Oneida, New York.  Community members practiced gender equality to the extent that children belonged to all adults. They practiced selective reproduction. (They had "amative" and "procreative" relations.)  An early and very successful industry was manufacturing animal traps.  The community disbanded as a religious entity in 1881. The successor Oneida Corp. began making silver plate which is what Oneida is known for today.

Mansion House is 93,000 square feet. It's part museum, part lodging, and part apartments.

I was very intrigued by Community member Jessie Kinsley's braided art.  She drew the design on paper. She cut fabric (mostly silk) into thin strips and braided it, then glued the braids to make the design.

There was a wonderful album quilt awkwardly hung opposite a staircase.  It is  documented here.

I-90 pretty much follows the Erie Canal across New York. Our next stop was the Erie Canal Museum in downtown Syracuse. The museum includes the last remaining weighlock building where barges and cargo were weighed and tolls assessed accordingly.  The exhibits provide the historical and commercial context of the canal. It truly did open up the country, allowing crops and resources from the west to reach the east and allowing people and manfactured goods to go west.  Towns sprung up along the canal route.

The original canal was replaced in 1918 by a larger, deeper barge canal.  Railroad and now the highways have supplanted the canal for major transport.

Tuesday, July 31:  When we stopped at the Pennsylvania Welcome Center off I-90 about 8:30 a.m. I picked up a brochure advertising a boat tour around Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA.  The first tour of the day was 11:00 a.m.  Well, why not?
 Presque Isle is French for peninsula ("almost an island").  The park was created in 1912 and has 3,200 acres. There are several public beaches, a picnic pavilions, and campsites. The Tom Ridge Environmental Center is a new building that highlights the ecology of the park and Lake Erie. (Unfortunately we did not have enough time to tour the entire facility).   The park's historic significance goes back to the War of 1812. Admiral Perry's fleet sailed from PI to defeat the British Navy in the Battle of Lake Erie.  (We learned about that on our 2005 Road Scholar trip to South Bass Island at the western side of the lake.)   The 90-minute boat trip was informative and delightful.

Perry Monument

Presque Isle Light House 

And with that we concluded our touring.  It was pedal to the metal from then on -- after the last night outside Toledo, we got an early start and pulled into our driveway just before noon on Wednesday.   Home again!

Summer vacation, part 6: the Shakers

I first encountered the Shakers in the mid-1970's when the Bicentennial led to a renewed interest in American folk art and craft.

The religious sect began in Manchester, England, in the early 1700's.  It was formally United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing; "Shaker" came from "Shaking Quaker" because of the religious dancing during worship.  Founder Ann Lee (known as "Mother Ann") and eight followers emigrated to the colonies in 1774.   They practiced gender equality and celibacy.  They grew through conversion and, later, by adopting orphans. They were pacifists and successful entrepreneurs -- the seed and herb industries began in the 1780's. They made furniture and household accessories (baskets, boxes). They invented the squared-off broom.  Their hymns are well-known (especially "Simple Gifts"). 

[Wikipedia has this summary.]

At their peak there were 5000 Shakers in 19 societies from Maine to Kentucky. Now there are two Shakers who live at Sabbathday Lake, Maine.  The Shaker properties are individually owned and maintained by non-profit trusts

We visited three Shaker villages on this trip. What a treat!  We'd been to two of them years ago; another was new for us.  (Our 1999 Road Scholar trip was to the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, with a side trip to see the remaining Shaker dwelling at South Union, Kentucky.)

Saturday, July 21:  Canterbury, New Hampshire  (with daughter Julie and granddaughter Alyssa). Canterbury was active from 1792-1962.  The remaining sisters voted to close enrollment thinking that converts would not interpret and practice the faith as they thought it should be.  They opened the site to tourists and, until the last sister died in 1969, they conducted the tours.  We were there during arts week with performers (dance, music) and artists (sculptor, potter).

The early 20th century Canterbury Shakers installed an organ in their meetinghouse.  They had an orchestra

Saturday, July 28:  Sabbathday Lake, Maine 
The community was established in 1782.  The last two Shakers in the world live here. (We did not see them).   The tour was something of a disappointment. Only two buildings (and the visitor's center/shop) were open. Interior  photography was not allowed. 

The meeting house has the original (1794) interior paint.

Sunday, July 29:  Hancock Shaker Village, Massachusetts
As we were planning our post-Magpie route home I realized that we'd go right past Hancock. GPS told us it was only 284 miles from Poland Spring. (Ah, the compact-ness of New England.)  Despite traffic congestion from southern Maine to Worcester we made it to Hancock at 2 p.m.  There was a chair in the shade where Stevens sat while I roamed the grounds.  Founded in the 1780's, Hancock was the largest Shaker community (300 at its peak).  It was the first to become a museum, in 1960, and it is well-planned to accommodate tourists.  There are 20 authentic buildings.  It's also an active  farm. 

The round stone barn is the most distinctive building at Hancock.  Why did they build it? "Because they could," said the guide. It was an efficient way to feed and milk the cows.

A few more Shaker photos: