Monday, August 31, 2020

Hold on to your horses! the stash report and OMG September

 I can't believe it either.  I made the blocks on Friday and Saturday and here is a finished quilt. Another no-deadline, no-destination project that went together slick as a whistle.  The back shows the curlicue quilting in the center and my go-to "almost feathers" in the border. 

Stash report:  

August fabric IN 7 yards, $6.50   -- a cotton bedsheet and a turquoise plaid XXL shirt at Salvation Army

August fabric OUT  101-1/2   -- all my quilting projects plus 6 yards flung with the Teal Swap and 50 yards flung to The Joyful Quilter for her Lutheran World Relief project. 

Year-to-date IN  693-1/4, $872, average $1.26 per yard. (Remember, I got free fabric from TWO destashings.)

Year-to-date OUT 723-5/8  / Net REDUCTION  30-3/8  

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It's time to declare my One Monthly Goal for September.  I don't have pressing must-dos right now. I've decided that I will quilt at least two of the flimsies that have been languishing, in some cases for years. I don't know WHICH flimsies. You'll just have to stay tuned!

In the photo: quilt on the left is partially quilted. The stack on the right were created as far back as 2007 and as recently as mid-August.

Linking up with other OMGers at Elm Street Quilts (when Patty opens the sign up tomorrow). 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Weekly update: current events, beautiful weather, and a new flimsy

It's been quite a week.  We live eight miles directly south of Kenosha where last Sunday evening a police officer shot a young black man seven times. Protests, looting, and fires followed.  We have not ventured to downtown Kenosha to see the damage.  We watched only snippets of the Republican National Convention and relied on the PBS Newshour for reporting and analysis. (And I watched Stephen Colbert's witty summaries, too.)

There was respite in nature.  Lake Michigan was placid and the water is still warm.   

I was going to the ravine on my walk and saw movement next to a culvert -- this frog!  It's been so dry that I don't know why the short ditch had any water in it.  You can see how low the water in the creek is. 

Despite the drought, jewel weed (aka touch-me-not) is blooming in profusion in the shady ravine. 

In the studio:  I'm caught up on quilting must-dos but I wanted to sew something. Here's the result. The churn dash blocks are 9.5" unfiinished.  It was fun to choose random contrasting fabrics.  

I finished listening to Windigo Island, #14 in the Cork Corcoran series by William Kent Krueger. Though Cork and his family live in Aurora, Minnesota (a fictional town near the Boundary Waters), the action of this tale went from the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior (Bayfield, Wisconsin) to Williston, North Dakota.  I've been to both those places but under more pleasant circumstances than this mystery which dealt with trafficking Native American girls.  (The good guys triumphed, of course.)  
One Year of Ugly is about a Venezuelan family who are illegally living in Trinidad. This was not as riotously funny as the reviewers made it out to be but it was cover of One Year of Ugly

Linking up with Oh Scrap! 
Design Wall Monday you can tell, I'm still struggling with the new Blogger.... 


Friday, August 28, 2020

Friday report: OMGs for August

August has melted away!  (So did June and July, for that matter.)  I am pleased to report that  I completed the three wall hangings that comprised my August One Monthly Goal.  


I made these two for the immediate past co-presidents of the Zion Woman's Club. (I'm the new president.) The club will not resume in-person meetings until February (and that will all depend on the pandemic and guidelines that we don't know yet) so I don't know when these will be presented -- but I'm ready!


The third wall hanging is for the Teal Mini Swap.  Beth Kerr Helfter, d/b/a Eva Paige Quilt Designs, coordinates the swap as a fundraiser for ovarian cancer research in memory of her mother, who died of the disease.  Participants send $15 and get a 10" square of the year's teal fabric. (The fabric is donated by the manufacturer. This year it's Connecting Threads.)  Swap partners are assigned. They make either a mug rug or a mini quilt using the teal fabric as part of the design.  

I used the teal fabric as the berries.  These are all regular quilt fabrics (not batiks). The border is an Australian print. The design is by Edyta Sitar and was published in Quiltmaker, July/August 2009. It's about 18 x 22.  I mailed it to my swap partner on Wednesday. 

I'm linking up with   One Monthly Goal 
and the Friday bloggers at Finished or Not Friday  and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Weekly update: I surprised myself

Today is our 40th wedding anniversary.  We are still smiling. :)  I made a quiche for a celebratory breakfast.    


# # # # # # #In the studio:  

'Taint perfect but 'tis finished!  I can't believe it, either.  I kept going and going -- no fussing, no fretting.  I think I'll call it Spontaneous Spiderweb.   

The back used up some of the larger pieces of 30's fabrics that I still had. 
Here's what's left. 

And here's what I *need* to work on:  the mini quilt for the teal swap.  The required fabric is the 10" teal square.   You get just a hint of the pattern because this is a surprise for my assigned swap partner.

This week's reading was mixed.  I didn't like The Last Tourist by Olen Steinhauer at all. I kept reading because I thought it would get better. It didn't. It's a cat-and-mouse spy thriller with too many characters to keep track of. (And not very pleasant characters at that.)
The Lady of Sing Sing by Idanna Pucci was interesting. In 1895 Maria Barbella, an Italian immigrant in New York, killed her two-timing lover. She was jailed in The Tombs (Manhattan). The trial was a shambles--she didn't speak English, the interpreters were inept, the public defenders were not helpful. She was convicted, sentenced to death, and sent to Sing Sing.  Cora Slocomb, the New Orleans-born wife of Italian count Detalmo Brazza, took up Maria's cause. She joined forces with the women's prison matron at The Tombs and the Sing Sing adminstrator's wife. They successfully advocated for a retrial.  It was determined that Maria was in the throes of an epileptic fit when she slashed her lover's throat (and that he was indeed unfaithful and did not intend to marry her). She was acquitted --and disappeared, or so it seemed. Idanna Pucci is Cora Slocomb's great-granddaughter.  This book was first published in 1995. The new edition includes an very interesting update about the discovery of Maria's descendants, thanks to the internet.  

 The Lady of Sing Sing: An American Countess, an Italian Immigrant, and Their Epic Battle for Justice in New York's Gilded Age by [Idanna Pucci]Linking up with Oh Scrap!

Friday, August 21, 2020

Friday report: string spiderweb is a flimsy


It's a flimsy!  5-3/4 yards.

The blue wedges are two different 30's prints. I didn't have enough of either for the borders but, hooray, I had a newer Aunt Grace repro (an estate sale purchase, as I recall) that worked just fine. 

The week's been busy. Outpatient elective surgery for my husband on Wednesday required us to be at the hospital at 6 a.m. and thus up and at 'em earlier than that.  (The procedure was successful and we were home by 10 a.m.) We watched the Democratic National Convention which ended at 10:30 p.m. Central each evening. 

I had two in-person (masked and distanced) meetings, a Zoom meeting, and a Zoom webinar (two 90-minute sessions).  I'm skipping Zooming today but will be back at the screen for two meetings tomorrow.  Too much to do!

Linking up at Finished or Not Friday and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Shelter in Place: finished

 Regular readers followed the progress of this quilt. I began it during the stay-at-home weeks of April and May.  It named itself.   Assembling it was my One Monthly Goal for June.  Barb-the-quilter completed the quilting last week and I finished the binding today (Monday morning).  

It was too big and heavy to pin to the design wall so I set up the quilt stand outside. 

Here are closeups of some of the blocks. I had great fun fussy-cutting novelty prints that represented meaningful things in my life. 
Yes, I'm going to use this one!

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Weekly update: spiderwebs and nearly-a-finish


Wildflowers at Camp Logan, Illinois Beach State Park.  

Left top: liatris (blazing star).  Left bottom: ?  Center top: storksbille. Center: lythrum (purple loosestrife) -- an aggressive invader though eradication efforts have reduced its spread. Center bottom:  SEDGE*  Right top: Joe Pye weed.  Right center: Two-flowered Cynthia (krigia bflora). Right bottom: either water hemlock (poisonous!) or cow parsnip.  

*thanks to those who identified this mystery

In the studio:   I'm up to 23 out of 30 spiderweb blocks.  I know, I know: I said this project didn't need to be hurried. But once I get going it's hard to stop. 


Shelter in Place is quilted!  I sewed the first half of the binding this evening (Sunday). I machine-sew the back of the binding, too, but I'll deal with that in the next day or so.


I finished two books this week.  The Coyotes of Carthage was published this spring.  It's about a political consultant who's assigned to run a "dark money" operation. The takeaways:  anything can be spun (publicity-wise),  politics are not pretty, and "to thine own self be true" isn't easy.  It's especially interesting in light of the current campaign season.

Clean: the New Science of Skin is both about our largest organ and about the ways we have come up with to care for it -- soap is only one of them. Hamblin punctures the notion that high-priced scrubs and other salon treatments do any good. In fact, exfoliating and over-cleansing make our bodies produce more oil. Basically, lather/rinse/repeat is more than we need. 

Linking up with Oh Scrap!Monday MakingDesign Wall Monday  

P.S. I make this tart a couple of times every summer.  ("Rustic" means one-crust.) 


Friday, August 14, 2020

Friday report: string spiderweb

 On Wednesday I wrote that I was in no rush to make the string spiderweb blocks. I'm using Bonnie Hunter's paper-pieced method (more info here:  String Spiderweb).  Her instructions are from 2005.  Yikes!  


I pulled a blue print from the 30's stash and got enough wedges for 14 blocks. I finished them and still had a pile of 1-1/2" strips (and lots more uncut).  I found the same print but in a slightly different blue and put that aside.  A third print is a different pattern but a similar blue to the first and there's nearly a yard of it. That should be enough to make blocks for a whole quilt. 

I will pick up Shelter in Place from the Barb, the quilter, tomorrow.  I'll drop off the wedding quilt .  There's been a change in wedding plans, however.  After a lot of debate and discussion (and I'm sure with a few tears) they've decided to call off the big party. They'll have a very small private ceremony sometime this fall. When regulations permit they'll have the celebration.  I'm going to send the quilt to them to arrive around the time of the small ceremony.  

Linking up with Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?  and Finished or Not Friday

P.S. Got Penzey's?  We do!  And now we have more.  Usually we shop at the Kenosha store but this time we restocked by mail order.  (Photo is the entire spice cabinet, new stuff and what was on hand.)   If you're not familiar with the company, here is the website.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Midweek: two finishes and a start

Tuesday afternoon:   This dragonfly stayed in place on the ornamental plum tree long enough for me to take a photo.  I love the way the leaves look bronze when the sunlight filters through them.   (I also got two feet from a hummingbird that was feasting on phlox nectar, but I didn't have my phone at hand.)   

 In the studio:  I finished the wall hangings which means that two-thirds of my August OMG are completed.   They used three yards in all. 

The new project:   when I reorganized the file of Quiltville patterns I came across Bonnie's String Spiderweb  I'm using duplicate of some of those Quiltville printouts for the foundation.  I've been trying (admittedly, not very hard) to use up all of the 30's stash.  This is what's left and I hope that a lot of it will got into the spiderwebs.

Add me to the list of those who can't figure out the new Blogger.  Gotta keep practicing! 

Linking up with Midweek Makers  

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Weekly update: wildflowers, wall hangings, and reading

I was up early Sunday morning and caught the sunrise over Lake Michigan at 5:52 a.m.  That's 38 minutes later than the solstice on June 22.

On the way home I stopped at Spring Bluff Forest Preserve and took photos of some of the wildflowers.

Left:  mullein, blue vervain, and prairie coneflower. Top right: primrose. Middle right: tall coreopsis ("tall" is part of the name).
Bottom left: a pretty array. Center: bergamot aka monarda aka bee balm. Right:  Queen Anne's lace.

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In the studio:   after I finished Triangle Endeavour (see the previous post) I began working in earnest on my OMG for August:  three wall hangings.  Two of them need to be comparable -- not identical, but the same design. 
 Last week I tried an applique pattern but I wasn't happy with the way that was going.  These 4-1/2" unf. cake stand blocks were easy and fun to make.  My aim was no duplicate fabrics in one wall hanging.  I fussed and fussed with the color balance.  Then I fussed with choosing the setting and border fabrics.  In the end, I think they turned out well. Now, to quilt them!    The flimsies are 30 x 32 and each used 1 yard each.

                                                          There are a few extra blocks. :) 

# # # # # # # # # #   I took three grocery totes of review copies to Half Price Books and got $58.90.  "These are really nice books," the clerk said.  . What I had to sell were more specialized than what the library's in-the-lobby sale rack stocks -- and it was nice to get cash for books that were sent to me to review.   I didn't buy anything at HPB but I went to DSW and bought three pairs of shoes and then to Joann's to buy a king-sized W&N batt for the wedding quilt.

My reading this week:   Frederic Hill is one of my husband's college classmates. He was a journalist and Washington, DC, political staffer. "Dereliction of Duty:the Failed Presidency of Donald J. Trump" is a compilation of newspaper columns about the current president, going back to the campaign of 2016.
"The Distant Dead" was published this spring.  It's a mystery set in a small town in northern Nevada.  Misfits, murder, earning trust, and coming to terms with the past -- all add up to a very absorbing story. I recommend it!
"The Emperor of Shoes" is an advance copy from ALA Midwinter 2018 that I finally got around to.  Alex is the heir-apparent to his family's shoe factory that originated in Eastern Europe, brought to the U.S., and for 30 years operating in China. Father/son tension, progressive ideas to improve working conditions for the Chinese laborers, and a love story.

Linking up with Oh, Scrap!
 Monday Making
 Design Wall Monday

P.S. A purple coneflower among the rudbeckia (black-eyed Susans) in our garden.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Midweek: Triangle Endeavo(u)r

On Sunday evening we watched Endeavour on PBS Masterpiece.*  I was considering fabric for the back of the HST geese quilt. 

When I pulled this off the shelf I knew I had to use it.

And here is Triangle Endeavour, finished!

I could have chosen any colorway for the back but the brown/orange Wamsutta print -- the big piece on the right -- is one I've wanted to use up for a long time.   I think I got the orange Endeavour just last year.  The floral at the bottom was part of a stash reduction. (I've been the fortunate recipient of a couple of those, including last week.) 

With hundreds of different prints in these HSTs, how did I manage to get two of the same right next to each other?

Linking up with Midweek Makers

*  My dad really enjoyed the original Inspector Morse series starring John Thaw.  I think of him when I watch this "prequel" series.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Weekly update: the stash report, what a gift!, and OMG August

This little bunny scampered across the street during my early evening walk on Friday.   I was two blocks from home when this happened so I'm confident he was not going to plunder my garden.  The encounter was right in time for "Rabbit, rabbit!" on August 1.  (Here is the explanation of the superstition.)

Stash report for July:
 Fabric IN:  280-3/8 yards for $197, average 70 cents per yard
Fabric OUT:  101 yards

YTD fabric IN:  686-1/4, $865, $1.26/yard
YTD fabric OUT:  622-1/8
Net GAIN: 64-1/8

I was doing really well with stash reduction -- but on Wednesday my AAUW friend Paula P. called me. "I'm downsizing," she said. "Would you like some fabric?"  She lives on the far north side of Chicago so we compromised and met in the parking lot at Old Orchard shopping center in Skokie.  That 30-mile drive was the farthest I've been from home since early June.  We recognized one another despite masks and sunglasses.  The handoff took ten minutes.

The five bags were neatly packed.

The fabric weighed 55 lbs so that's 220 yards.
From the way it was folded I could tell that a lot of it came from Vogue Fabrics in Evanston. They are known for fabulous fashion fabric, but in recent years their remnant section has a huge assortment of quilting fabrics.

Nearly half was batik including some really interesting Indian prints and some 3- to 4-yard pieces.

There were some oldies.

The ad is the back cover of a 1980 issue of Quilt World. (I've been going through a milk crate of Quilt Worlds from that time frame.)  The pink print was one of the Friday acquisitions.

I wish RJR would reissue the Jinny Beyer blenders of the late 1990's.   I think they'd be extremely successful.  (These are FQs.)

This 4-1/2 yard piece was fun.   Yours Truly is Marti Michell's company.  I used her "Quilting for People Who Don't Have Time to Quilt" books when I was a newbie.

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I assembled the random HST geese.  I  had enough HSTs to make almost all the blocks -- just 8 HST short. It was easy to make a few more.

It's 60 x 72 and used 5-1/8 yards.

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It's time to declare my One Monthly Goal for August. Easy:  make three wall hangings -- two for the past co-presidents of the Zion Woman's Club and one for my partner in the 2020 Teal Mini Swap hosted by Beth Helfter.   I've got one wall hanging all pieced (see Friday's post).

# # # # # # #
I finished two books this week.
Detective in the Dooryard is a compilation of Facebook posts by Tim Cotton of the Bangor, Maine, Police Department. He is the FB voice of the department and the BPD page has thousands of followers.   In this time of "defund the police" Tim provides ample evidence that many/most police departments do indeed "preserve and protect" to make our communities safe. His tales also show how officers serve other roles--like being social workers.

 The Kidnap Years is about the kidnapping spree of the 1930's. The Lindbergh case was the most high profile and the forensic investigation set a new standard for expertise.  But at the same time more than a few lawyers, doctors, and industrialists, and children, too, were kidnapped by amateur crooks as well as notorious criminals.  J. Edgar Hoover's FBI proved its worth (well, to Hoover) with their interstate searches. 
            A couple of years ago I toured the Cuneo Mansion in Libertyville, The docent pointed out the barred windows in the bedroom wing, saying they were not to keep people in but to keep kidnappers out.  Now I understand the Cuneo family's fears.

Linking up with One Monthly Goal
Oh, Scrap!
  Monday Making
Design Wall Monday

P.S.  A heron preceded me when I walked at Illinois Beach State Park early in the week.  The lakefront was closed this weekend because the beaches have gotten too crowded for good social distancing.