Sunday, July 28, 2019

Weekly update: OMG and a clutch-your-pearls finish

 This is my 1,000th post! 

I had a two-part One Monthly Goal for July.  I achieved both. 
#1   Make a prototype of the tote bags I will make for Margaret's Nepal school project.
I actually made three and sent them to Margaret. She preferred one and I will use that design.

#2   Get a good start on the guild challenge, Birds of a Feather.
I  have the letters made.  Now to put them together.  (Unless I change my mind and make something completely different....)  The challenge quilts will be on display a the September 4 meeting.

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I committed quilt heresy when I selected the backing for the strippy slab quilt I finished this week.

The floral fabric I used for the center panel came from my vintage stash.  It had the right colors and visual texture to complement the blocks and the turquoise sashing.  BUT I found a tag when I ironed it -- 50% cotton, 50% polyester.  GASP.

 "Use 100% cotton fabric!"  That's the advice/rule/law of quilt teachers, quilt books, quilt patterns, and dozens of quilt makers.   But we also say that there are no quilt police!

It looks just fine.  It feels just fine.  The quilting turned out very nicely.  (And I am pleased to report that I have finally gotten the hang getting the corners of the binding nicely squared.)

The quilt will be donated to a worthy cause. If it is used to the point of falling apart that may or may not be the fault of the cotton/poly blend.

Okay, I have confessed.
You may release your grip on your pearls.

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I feel as though this is a bonus week -- fifth Monday, Tuesday, :Wednesday.  I have a lot to catch up on (quilt-wise and otherwise).

Linking up with
July OMG Finish at Elm Street Quilts
Oh Scrap
Monday Making
Design Wall Monday
Moving It Forward

Saturday field trip: Arts & Crafts at Crab Tree Farm

Crab Tree Farm is on the east side of Sheridan Rd. on the north side of Lake Bluff.  I've driven passed it many times.  On Saturday I finally got to go inside the gate when I joined six AAUW friends for a tour hosted by the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation.

These pages explain the history.   I learned about Grace Durand earlier this year in a presentation about women in Lake County history.  Here is much more about her. (Her entry in the 1914 Woman's Who's Who of America says she believes in "restricted suffrage for men and women." What restrictions, I wonder?) 

 Crab Tree Farms' current owners have significant collections of Arts and Crafts furniture and accessories -- the genuine article, no reproductions!  Unfortuately interior  photography was not allowed so I could not capture all the wonderful design elements (stencilled walls, wallpaper, Charles Rennie Mackintosh-inspired embroidery). 

Well, I did sneak some inside pictures.  (Don't turn me in, please.) 

There is an exhibit of Newcomb Pottery -- again, no photography allowed.  If you watch Antiques Roadshow you are familiar with the pottery workshop at Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans.

This article shows photos of the pottery and needlework in the Newcomb exhibit.

Union Pacific Big Boy rolls through

The Union Pacific Big Boy locomotive -- technically No. 4014 -- has traveled across the U.S. to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad.  It reached Chicagoland on Friday.

The Big Boy is "a four-cylinder 4-8-8-4 steam locmotive. Built in 1941 it is the only operating Big Boy ouf the eight in existence." It weighs 1.25 million lbs.  (Read more about it here.)

I monitored the online Steam Tracker to calculate when it would reach the nearest crossing to us ( 4 miles west of where we live).  At 10:00 a.m. we got a good parking place near the tracks.
Other people had the same idea.

I forgot to bring the folding chairs but we had books.  (Though we ended up talking with people rather than reading.)

Freight trains, wildflowers, and books:   a very Blaine tribute.  (My dad was a railroader, my mother loved wildflowers, and we all love books.)

I should have just snapped pictures instead of going for video.  (This may not upload).

Here it comes. (A still shot taken from the video attempt.)

Right:  I was TOO close!

There it goes!

I learned later that the train stopped for a half hour at the Wadsworth crossing.

I had four shiny pennies in my wallet and placed them on the track. I forgot to retrieve them when the crowd dispersed.  I went back an hour and a half later and found two of them, smashed but still shiny!  I will make them into earrings.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Weekly update: accomplishments while procrastinating . . . and a meet up (with fabric!)

I caught the sunrise over Lake Michigan early in the week.  A few days later we had the hottest temperatures of the year.   The heat wave broke Saturday evening.  We are grateful for central air conditioning! 

I'm still stuck on the guild challenge, but being stuck does not mean no sewing.  Here's Purple Peaks.  It's 60 x 72 with 6" blocks.  (The batik version I showed last week has 9" blocks.) The pattern is by Amy Ellis.

I made the penultimate block for the guild Wonky House BOM.

The AAUW-IL state board met in Bloomington on Friday afternoon and Saturday.  I'm co-v.p. of membership for the 2019-21 term.

 I left very early Friday morning -- it's 180 miles -- in order to visit a fabric shop or two and to have lunch with long-time online quilting friend Kathleen who lives in Normal and works in Bloomington.  (We've known one another for many years but hadn't met in person.)

Before lunch I went to Bolines. Wow!  Regular fabric is $7.99/yard and batiks are $8.99/yard.  (They used to vend at big quilt shows with 5-yard bundles as their specialty, but they no longer do shows.)

After lunch Kathleen and I went to The Treadle. Wow again!  The prices vary but there's a 20% discount for cash. And there were clearance tables in front of the store.

The AAUW board meeting was expeditious and ended just after lunch Saturday. That gave me time to stop at Peace & Applique, a shop on the west side of Bloomington.  This is P&A's second location (I discovered the older shop a couple of months ago).  They were having an event when I stopped in so it was rather hectic. (Also, I had gotten such terrific bargains at the other two shops that I didn't have a compelling need to buy anything -- though their array of crisp, fresh, modern prints is wonderful.)

Here's what I bought:  66 yards, now happily at home in my stash. 

This week:  I promise I will make progress on that challenge quilt!

Linking up with
Oh Scrap!
Design Wall Monday
 Monday Making
Moving It Forward

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