Sunday, January 31, 2021

Weekly update: an unexpected gift, stash report, OMG finished and planned -- and reading

The 2021 ALA Midwinter Meeting was held virtually from January 22-26.  FLOTUS Dr. Jill Biden was the closing speaker on the 25th.  She was so vibrant!   The remarkable young poet Amanda Gorman appeared in a clip just prior to Dr. Biden's talk. 


Just a year ago I'd heard of Zoom but I'd only attended one meeting.  It does it much easier to convene groups of people who live both nearby and far away.  A perfect example:  on Saturday morning AAUW-Michigan convened a regional meeting with participants from 18 states. There was lots of good information and idea-sharing. Few would have been able to afford the time or the expense to travel (let alone risk winter weather conditions). 

Saturday evening the Magpies had their first Zoom meet up.  We all agreed it will not be the last.  (And we've begun -- with optimism -- planning for a 2022 in-person meet up.) 

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 I took Code Name Welcome Home to Barb-the-quilter on Wednesday.  "A friend gave me some quilting things she isn't able to use," Barb said.  "Can you use any of it?"  I told her I'd be happy to make it disappear.  

The top photo shows all the loot before I began to go through it.   

The original owner's name was on some of the things. I know her both from the quilt guild and AAUW, but I haven't seen her for a long time. (Barb said she is all right but slowing down and has realized she won't be able to use all of what she has.  Sounds familiar, doesn't it?) 

There were four different mini-irons, a bag of fiberfill, and notions -- including an unopened 6.5" square Omnigrid ruler that I actually had on my shopping list.  There were a couple of magazines and books.  And there were UFOs, and un-begun kits, and fabric.  

Fabric?  58 yards by weight!  The photo shows the pile of batiks on the right and all the "regular" fabric on the left.  

Look at the prices on these Keepsake charm swatches. [Tiny print at the bottom of each label.]

[I am not showing the kits or UFOs because I am finding new homes for them.]

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How did the gift affect my stash?

Here's January stash report, short and sweet:

Fabric IN:   58 yards, cost: zero

Fabric OUT:  61-3/8 yards

Net:  3-3/8 reduction  -- the right direction 

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My January OMG was  to make a mini-quilt for the Modern Quilt Guild swap.  This is Toward the Morning.

(You can see what my swap partner sent me here ) 

I pulled out a finished quilt to donate to an online auction and realized it wasn't labeled.  It turned out that I have a stack of finished quilts that aren't labeled.  My February OMG is to sew on those labels!

I'm joining other bloggers on these link parties: January Finish Link Up    Oh Scrap!    Monday Making

 Design Wall Monday   I found a new link party -- Favorite Finish hosted by Cheryl at Meadow Mist.

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This week's reading:   The Searcher is a very absorbing mystery. Retired Chicago cop Cal Hooper moves to a small village in Ireland to get away from it all.  He finds himself back in the detecting business when a local kid asks him to find his missing older brother.   

I've been gradually listening my way through the Cork Corcoran mysteries by William Kent Krueger.   David Chandler is a great narrator for the series.  Sulfur Springs is #16.  Cork and his wife Rainy go to southern Arizona when her adult son calls to say he is in trouble.  Immigration, drug smuggling, murder, and small-town politics combine for another case for the sheriff-turned-P.I. from the Minnesota Iron Range. 

P.S.  Six inches of snow Saturday night/Sunday morning.  Glad we didn't have to go anywhere today!


Saturday, January 30, 2021

January rainbow round up

 For Joy's Table Scraps challenge:  I made two pink potholders. 

I also made some framed four-patch blocks. (5.5" unfinished)

Last year I made half-square triangles in each of the 10 monthly RSC colors.  Because I used 5" squares to make the HSTs it was convenient to make two identical HSTs-- 4.5" unfinished.  One pair of squares for each day of the month meant an average of 60 HSTs.    Here is what happened to 270 of the 600.  

The blocks are 12" and the quilt is 60 x 72. 

I used up a few colorful prints for the back.  I used the walking foot to quilt straight lines in a hanging diamonds pattern. 

RSC February is yellow -- I love yellow and I'll enjoy working with it. 

Linking up with Scrap Happy Saturday      and  Table Scraps

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Weekly Update: making history (with mittens), pink and more pink, Grassy Creek!, and reading

It was beautiful at the beach when I snapped the photo but at 19 degrees I didn't linger!  The clouds have returned and there's snow in the forecast. 

Years ago I read a time management book that likened the results of procrastination to an obstacle that gets bigger around as the procrastination continues - so big that it takes more effort to go around it than it would be to just go over it.  That's how I've been with a non-quilting project this week that involved report-writing and statistics-compiling. I have to check to see that all the numbers add up and proofread the narrative before I send it off to the appropriate committee chairs. I have spent more time agonizing over it than it's taken to do it.  Will I never learn?     

We watched the inauguration on Wednesday with joy.   Wasn't poet Amanda Gorman wonderful?      This article describes the women's stylish coats -- and note the added commentary about the men's coats. <g> 

We saw Bernie Sanders and his mittens -- and so did the rest of the world.   Bernie memes have flooded Facebook.  I've paid most attention to those about libraries and quilting.   We are hopeful with the direction of the new administration. 

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On Wednesday evening the North Suburban Quilters Guild hosted  Australian quilt maker Jen Kingwell for their monthly program.  The guild boosted their Zoom license to accommodate all the guests, of  whom I was one. (One of 141 attendees.)  Just $10 for a grand quilt show and tell!   

 In the studio:  I made six 8-inch heart blocks for the RFQFA -- the Rotarian Fellowship of Quilters and Fiber Artists. 

Joy, aka the Joyful Quilter, has a Table Scraps sub-challenge for the 2021 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I wasn't up to making a table runner (especially in pink, this month's RSC color), so I made two 8" potholders.  

I made a few more pink framed four-patches.  They're 5.5" unfinished.

I saved the biggest accomplishment for last.  Grassy Creek is a flimsy!  

And big it is -- 96". Every year I say I'll make just a few blocks. Every year I get caught up in mystery quilt fever and make the whole quilt.  

The border has 28 uphill and 28 downhill blocks.  I miscounted and ended up with 44 going one way and just 12 going the other, so I had to make 16 more of "the other."  


I'll have fun fiddling around with ways to use the leftovers.

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One page in and I was hooked on Monica Wood's splendid memoir about 1963, the year that changed her life forever. No, JFK's assassination was the second event. The first, and more important, happened in April of that year: her father suffered a fatal heart attack on his way to work at the Oxford paper mill in Rumford, Maine. The unexpected, sudden death shattered the universe for Wood, for her mother, and her four siblings. Wood writes from the clearly-remembered perspective of her 9-year-old self: the neighbors who rallied around the family, her uncle (mother's brother)--the priest whose own center was rocked by the death, and details of life in a mill town when things were prosperous and ever  hopeful.

(How did I miss this when it was published in 2012? A friend recommended it after I reviewed Mill Town, Kerri Arsenault's 2020 memoir about the same town.)

Linking up with  Oh Scrap!   Scrap Happy Saturday      Design Wall Monday  Monday Making

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Weekly Update: a flimsy and three-quarters, more scraps, and two books


We revisited Pine Dunes Forest Preserve on Sunday afternoon.  A hiking stick with a carbide tip was a welcome accessory on the packed-snow (sort of melting) trail. 

The framed four-patch batik project is now a flimsy.  In retrospect the borders (made from 2.5" squares) are a little heavy. I'm not sure whether I'll change them (smaller squares? piano keys?) rush.

Grassy Creek is three-quarters of a flimsy. All the blocks and the sashing are assembled.  To come:  a different sashing around the perimeter, an inner border, and an outer border. 

I fussed around with color placement--specifically, the gold corner triangles and the gray edge triangles -- but I was able to use a wide range of fabrics in each color so they're pretty evenly distributed.

 It's certainly busy!

The framed four-patches inspired a few pink blocks. I expect I'll make them in other RSC colors. 

The Magpies are making a quilt for our dear Celia's beloved granddaughter.  Each of us got six fat quarters from Celia's stash. We're to make as many Scrappy Trip blocks from them as we can. 

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This week's reading included two 2020 novels that were very compelling.

 Gifty is a brilliant neuroscience graduate student at Stanford whose research involves stimulating the brains of laboratory mice to measure their choice and risk behavior.  She says, "In my work I am trying to ask questions that anticipate our inevitable recklessness and to find a way out but to do that I need to use mice." (p. 226) 
Her own choices/risks come from her upbringing in the urban south, the child of Ghanaian immigrants. She grew up in the shadows: of the Pentecostal faith that her mother enthusiastically embraced, of her father who could not adjust to America and returned to Ghana, and always in the shadow of her adored athletically gifted older brother who died of a drug overdose while still in high school.

Louise Erdrich draws on the true story of her grandfather, a Chippewa on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota.  In the early 1950's Congress considered major legislation to remove the tribe from the reservation.   The story is more complex than this grassroots advocacy effort (a decade before Civil Rights activism in the American south and two decades before the American Indian Movement).  The other story threads involve Patrice Paranteau who is determined to better herself and help her family.  She travels to Minneapolis to try to find her sister.  She confronts two men, one native and one white, who think they are in love with her.  There are teachers and townspeople, farmers and factory workers. The characters are memorable.  

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P.S.  Look who turns three to the fourth power (3 x 3 x 3 x 3) on Monday!  (When I showed him the photo he said, 'Boy, I'm an old guy.")

Friday, January 15, 2021

Friday check in: MQG swap reveal!

It's time to reveal the results of the Mini Swap hosted by the Modern Quilt Guild -- at least, of my part in it.  Kathy C. was my swap partner.  Here's the 24" mini quilt that she sent me.   Gray and coral are two of my current favorite colors and I love batiks.  


I used batiks for "Toward the Morning," the mini I sent to Kathy. 

This was the first time I've made a flange binding. 

The triangles-in-formation design is from a stenciled frieze at Crab Tree Farm which I toured in July, 2019 .   

The colorway was inspired by the sunrise photo I took when we were in Crisfield, Maryland, on our 2019 Road Scholar trip. (Little did we know that we wouldn't have RS trips in 2020 or 2021.)  

The swap was fun and I plan to enter next year!  

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

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Weekly update: some pink, OMG, and a squirrel

 Lynn and I have known one another since kindergarten. We reconnected last year on our high school class's 50th reunion FB group.  She joined me on Tuesday for a hike at Illinois Beach State Park. It was a pleasant 3-mile catching-up.  

Wednesday my husband and I went out to discover a new-to-us segment of the lakefront bike trail.  It was so calm -- in great contrast to the upheaval in Washington, D.C. which we watched on the news, horrified.  

(You can tell it's a different day by the color of my turtleneck. :) )

The sun was out on Saturday when we revisited Middlefork Savanna  in Lake Forest.  That's teasel on the left.  It is so photogenic but it is actually an aggressive invasive species.  (It was used to raise the nap of woolen cloth.  Read more here.)  

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In the studio: a corner of the MQG mini quilt. I will mail it to my swap partner tomorrow.  Midweek I'll show the entire quilt and share the story of the design.  

I'm fiddling with ways to arrange the HSTs I made for last year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  This month's RSC is pink.  

But, oh, those batiks! They were so happy to be let out of their wire baskets. (Remember, for two months I was devoted to the Civil War repro project.)  I had a few four-patches on hand. I had a few framed four-patch blocks on hand.  And now I have many more.  They are 5.5" unfinished and as you can see I'm considering setting them as nine-patches.  

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Nev March's debut novel, Murder in Old Bombay, is a mystery/romance set in 1890's Bombay -- the height of the British occupation.  Capt. Jim Agnihotri, an Anglo-Indian army veteran, is hired to find out who murdered two Parsee (Zoroastrian) women. It is not a clear-cut case.  Jim's life is in jeopardy as he untangles a web of blackmail and deceit.   It's entertaining and just complex enough to keep the reader going.

The All-Together Quilt is a charming addition to my collection of quilt-related picture books.  It is based on Piece-by-Piece, an intergenerational/intercultural quilt project in Norwalk, Connecticut.   Rockwell describes the process of making a quilt (how to cut the pieces and how to assemble blocks) in a straightforward, non-cutesy way.  The illustrations are of real people.  It's a gem!  

Here is the author's website.  

Here is the Quilt Alliance's story of the Piece-by-Piece project.

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

P.S.  In-person church services resumed today!