Sunday, July 14, 2019

Weekly update: Hamilton, flowers, and a finish

We went downtown on Wednesday to see the matinee performance of Hamilton.  It was terrific!  (It was also a test to see if Stevens could get on/off the train and to the theater (we took a cab).  The logistics worked out fine and based on that success we have tickets for a matinee for The Music Man, also downtown, next month.)

The weather Saturday was perfect for the Illinois Dunesland Garden Club's annual tour.   It begins at the library where they hand out maps to the sites -- this year, four in Zion and two in Winthrop Harbor.

We saw many friends (the center of the left collage is Stevens with one of them).

The tour is free but there is an array of raffle prizes.  I bought $40 worth of tickets and won four $5 restaurant gift cards and a big rose bush.

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In the studio:  I am procrastinating (severely) on the guild challenge but I had to sew something.
That something turned out to be quilting Piked Peaks, the flimsy I showed last week.  The backing is a thrift-shop sheet.  I assure you the insert strip was straight when I basted it.

Top: 5 yards
Backing/binding: 4 yards

The week ahead is nearly meeting-free due to a change in plans.  Maybe I can make inroads on that challenge quilt!

Linking up with
Oh Scrap!
 Monday Making
Design Wall Monday

Bargello revival

Abby Glassenberg's blog post this week  reported that Hello Bargello is a Brooklyn-based company that's bringing back bargello.  No, not the strip-pieced variety that quilters know. Rather, the 1970's needlepoint version.

My response was an immediate burst of nostalgia.  I did a lot of needlepoint in the '70's, both "regular" and bargello.  The pattern books showed canvas work made up into everything from upholstery and rugs to vests and neckties (presumably clip on!). Plus tennis racket covers, eyeglass cases, checkbook covers, and drapery tie-backs. And, of course, pillows and more pillows.   I made many pillows!  The most exotic things I made were masks that my boyfriend and I wore to a Mardi Gras party and covers for bookends.

I went right to the needlework (and vintage sewing) shelves in the Deep Stash. 

I read through these books dozens and dozens of times, contemplating what I could make.  I didn't have the art theory/history vocabulary to completely understand the design references by Elsa Williams in Bargello: Florentine Canvas Work or by Pauline Fischer and Anabel Lasker in Bargello Magic.  But, oh, boy, do I remember the patterns -- so much so that when I opened the books this week I remembered that one, and that one, and that one.

I still have Paternayan Persian yarn.  It's high and dry in the Deep Stash (hiding in the corner).
The flat box in the upper right has needlepoint canvas.

.....and, yes, that plaid box that says DMC is full of DMC floss.

If I ever want to take up bargello I can augment this stash easily.  Black Cat Stitchery is just three blocks from my house.

But first I have a quilt or two or three to work on . . . 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Piggy Bank Challenge, 2019

Valerie (d/b/a Val's Quilting Studio) created the Piggybank Challenge.  The idea is to save spare change for a year. At the end of the year you count it, report it, and spend it on something quilty.

I call my version the Change Game.  In the 1970's when I lived in a small city in Texas I noted that I'd get two nickels more often than one dime in change. People paid library fines with nickels but not dimes. I mentioned that to the assistant librarian. She laughed and explained that the German and Czech farmers preferred the heft of nickels.  I began saving all those nickels, rolling them ($2 worth), and putting them in a passbook account.

(Photo from Etsy. This is the papier-mache bank I got in high school and used until the rubber plug crumbled.  The Etsy seller says it's by Fitz & Floyd.)

Some years after that I began emptying my wallet every evening, keeping four quarters and five pennies out and putting the rest into savings.  I recall one bank teller asking if I was a waitress, thinking the coins were tips.  Decades after that I started to save bills:  $1 bills with Federal reserve B and H (my initials) and $5 bills.  Now, those add up! 
This pottery jar is now the change collector

Val's annual challenge means that my Change Game goes from July 1 - June 30.
Here are the 2018-19 totals: 
                               COIN         $50.00
                               CURRENCY   $676.00
                                TOTAL     $726
I don't have a specific quilt-related purchase planned (other than acquiring fabric when DH and I go to Shipshewana next week to meet my quilting friend Sheila and her husband). It's just nice to have a bit tucked away!

And with this post I'm tossing my hat into the ring to participate in the new Piggybank Challenge. Thanks for hosting it, Valerie!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Weekly update: a sale, a finish, a flimsy

My sister retired June 28, concluding a successful 25-year career as an environmental educator. She came up and we enjoyed a walk on the beach.   Will we get together more often?  Her retirement leisure will likely be as unleisurely as mine has turned out!

(In the photo:  cliff swallow nests in the sandbank; spiderwort; a few blue flag iris; and a leopard frog.)

The Lake County Symphony Orchestra had its July 4 concert indoors at 3 p.m. -- the air conditioning was welcome. 

We've flown this flag on holidays for 38 (almost 39) years. It was a wedding gift. It's from the Capitol Flag Program -- flown over the U.S. Capitol.  Here is the backstory. 

I sold SEVEN flimsies to JS.  She caught the text of my Facebook ad though not the photos -- that was the day of the big software glitch that didn't allow posting any photos to FB.  She emailed me (we had transacted business in the past), I sent her photos, and she bought 'em all.   Yes, she got a bargain. The way I figure it, I could keep them as flimsies forever. I could quilt them myself and give them away. I could have them professionally quilted and give them away.  By selling them I get some money back that I can invest in more quilts.

Stuff goes out, stuff comes in:  when Grace, Barbara, and I visited Marianne she offered us her latest destashing:  fabric and quilt books.  My selections were too heavy and bulky to bring on the flight home so Grace mailed them to me.  One box arrived Wednesday and the other on Friday.  Forty-four yards and nine books!

I completed one part of my July OMG:  sample tote bags for the Nepal school project. I sent them to Margaret to critique -- I need her to provide the correct dimensions before I go into mass-production.
I began the second part of OMG:  the Birds of a Feather challenge.  I didn't get very far. It's going to take more work and concentration.

"Piked Peaks" by Amy Ellis, patterned in her book Modern Neutrals, caught my eye.   Here is her design that uses 6" blocks.   I went to my box of 3.5" batik HSTs.  Having units on hand (one blogger refers to the Parts Bank) made it easy to sew 9" blocks. The flimsy is 72 x 72. (5 yards used.)

But a finish was in order!  I made the batik slab blocks in the spring and assembled the flimsy last month. Now the 50 x 60 quilt is finished.  (3-1/2 yds for the back and binding.)

This week will not be as quilty -- appointments and meetings and a day downtown coming up.  But quilts are never out of my mind. (You know that!)

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

Monday, July 1, 2019

Weekly update: the stash report, big stars, and OMG July

Fabric in, June:  39-1/8, $189
Fabric out, June: 11-3/4
Fabric in, YTD:  259-1/4, $1082
Fabric out, YTD:   249-7/8

Yikes!  I've got to get crackin' -- less time shopping, more time sewing!

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Big Stars began with the box of 2.5" squares.  I sewed them into 16-patches and put them on the design wall.  Ho-hum. I put them on point. Still not exciting. What about stars?  The Wing Clipper ruler from Deb Tucker/Studio 180 made fast work of 80 flying geese.

The blocks are 16". A vertical setting is too long for the design wall so you'll need to turn your head. :)  4 x 5 setting = 64" x 80". I'm contemplating a pieced border for the sides only. That will make the quilt a little wider.

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I have another two-part OMG for July.

(1)    Guild challenge -- design and get to the half-way stage by the end of the month.  The theme is "Birds of a Feather" and I have the idea.
(2)    Nepal project tote bags -- my friend Margaret works with a project to provide school supplies for children in Nepal. She asked if could make book bags for the children.  About 40. By December. My OMG is to make a prototype to send to Margaret.   Once she approves (or suggests changes to the size or whatever) I can get started. I can make ten a month, can't I? Sure!

Linking up with other quilters:
OMG Elm Street Quilts
Oh Scrap!
Design Wall Monday
Monday Making
Moving It Forward

Sunday, June 30, 2019

#alaac19 post-conference: Stashbusters!

Grace, Marianne, me
I've known Marianne, Grace, and Barbara for years through the Stashbusters Yahoo group.  I met them in person for the first time on Wednesday after my Mt. Vernon tour.  Marianne lives just a couple of miles from the estate.  Barbara and Grace drove through suburban and city traffic from Maryland.

Marianne provided lunch. We chatted.  We saw Marianne's stash ("the size of Montana").  We chatted.  Barbara and Grace were not about to drive home in rush hour traffic so Marianne ordered dinner and we chatted some more.  It was such fun!
Barbara, Marianne, me 

Grace's blog is City Mouse Quilter
Barbara's blog is Stash Overflow

#alaac19 post-conference: Mt. Vernon

Mt. Vernon is well-equipped to deal with hundreds of visitors every day.  Timed-entry tickets are for the twenty-minute house tour but you can spend as much time as you'd like seeing the grounds.  I didn't allow enough time to see the orientation movie before my 9:40 ticket and I had to hustle to get in line -- but fortunately they let me in with the 9:30 ticket holders just ahead of a group of twenty high school kids.  

Photography is not allowed inside the house. It would slow down the traffic flow!  

The grounds are magnificent.  The gardens are lush.  (Quince and apples in the kitchen garden.)  Washington considered himself foremost a farmer.  Mt. Vernon plantation consisted of five farms and woodlands.  His father built the original house in 1734 and Washington added two wings.  He and Martha had many houseguests in his post-presidential years.  

The outbuildings have been restored -- kitchen, stable, smokehouse, greenhouse, slave quarters.

My dad joked about George Birthington's Washday.  I have now seen George Birthington's Wash House. 

The Washington family vault was vandalized by souvenir-hunters.  George and Martha were removed and re-interred in an elaborate and much more secure tomb.

Restoration is ongoing.  This is the original siding -- not stone but wood milled to look like stone.  The last stripping and repainting was in 1980. 

I visited Mt. Vernon in 1974. Since then there have been many advances in archaeology and preservation techniques.  What is most notable is the cultural sensitivity and recognition of the enslaved people whose work made life on the plantation possible.  The museum has an excellent exhibit about the Washingtons and their slaves. Though they were relatively benevolent (both George and Martha wanted to free all of them),  the fact remains that they were still slaves. 

#alaac19 post-conference: Manassas

On Tuesday, June 25, I went to visit Pat at the hospital. I returned to the hotel, checked out, and went to the airport to pick up a rental. car.  Destination:   Manassas Battlefield National Park.  GPS kept routing me on I-66 but that is EZ Pass only and I did not have EZ Pass in the rental car. I know that every interstate highway has a parallel U.S. highway--in this case, US 29. It took a few mis-turns to get there, but I did.

I was in time to see the orientation film and to take a ranger-led walking tour.  I didn't take time to visit the site of Second Manassas (1862) which was a mile down the road. [It turned out I had plenty of time, but I didn't know that.]

Two wounded soldiers carved their names into the floor at the Stone House.

General Stonewall Jackson and me.

Detail of the Stone House.   

#alaac19: the quilts

The ALA Biblioquilters have been making quilts since 2001 to benefit the Hoy Scholarship Fund.

This year's display was front and center of the convention center. 

[They have not updated the sign. It says 15 years, but this is the 19th year.]

The silent auction proceeds this year:
$5350  -- the best ever!
There were many compliments.  The conference exhibits manager said the local workers who set up the show even commented: "These are great blankets!" :)

Several of us managed to coordinate schedules for a meet up photo.

Tonya auditions blocks for a 2020 quilt.

Who needs hanging sleeves when there are heavy-duty clamps?