Sunday, February 28, 2021

Weekly update: Rainbow Geese, stash report, OMG, and reading

Each day brings about two more minutes of daylight. Sunrise was at 6:30 Saturday. I turned around to start for home and got a photograph of the just-beyond full moon in the western sky.The temperature got to 50!  The bulbs are beginning to poke above the soil.  (Granted, these particular bulbs were on the sunny south side.)

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Thanks again for your guesses and suggestions for the Rainbow Geese. I chose to set them in columns to emphasize each color.  

I liked these vintage prints so much that I didn't want to use them!  I told myself firmly that it was high time they got sewn into something. 

Back and binding used 3 yards.  (I counted the HSTs used for the geese when I made them for the Rainbow Scrap /Challenge last year.)

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Stash report, February:
Fabric in:  ZERO
Fabric out: 41-7/8 yards

Fabric in:  58 yards, cost nothing (a gift)
Fabric out:  103-1/4 yards
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(c) Edyta Sitar

It's time to declare my One Monthly Goal for March:   I will make elephants for F and J.  They are ALA colleagues who have collected elephants for years.  When I posted The Daily Brooch series on Facebook F took the cue and began a daily post of the elephant collection.  Hers went on longer than my brooches.  All kinds of metal, ceramic, wood, alabaster, jade.....but I noted that there was not a quilt among them.  An online search for elephant quilt patterns yielded many. I like Edyta Sitar's  best and bought the digital download.  

I don't know if I will make a whole quilt, though.   A set of placemats would be more practical. 

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This week's books:

Owls of the Eastern Ice
 Blakiston's Fish Owl is the largest owl in the world. Its habitat is far eastern Russia and northern Japan where it nests in dead old-growth trees and catches salmon in cold, free-running rivers. Logging, in particular, is destroying its habitat. Ornithologist Slaght spent a decade researching these magnificent, endangered birds. The book chronicles the challenges of his field research. The birds are scarce and elusive and maintain large territories. He had to contend with the climate (severe, snowy winters; wet springs; mosquitoey summers), the logistics (travel from his home in Minneapolis to eastern Russia), the language (he now is fluent in Russian). His patience and perseverance are rewarded.


A priest is murdered and mutilated in an Irish country house the week before Christmas, 1957.  Inspector St. John Strafford is sent to investigate. He discovers a household of assorted characters, any one of who might have committed the crime.   I figured out why the priest was killed but not who did it   It wasn't clear why the priest did not have a parish. And it was the Christmas season, but there wasn't any mention of holiday preparations / decorations / revelry.  I'm not as keen on this moody mystery as other readers are. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Friday check in: under the needle and a tasty treat

 Thank you for your guesses / votes about the rainbow geese layout.  Here is a sneak peek.  Come back Monday morning to see the final arrangement.    

I'm using two vintage prints for the backing, along with insert strips from a contemporary fabric.

It's Purim (last evening through this evening).   My hamantaschen get more triangular with each batch.  I have a tendency to put too much filling on each round so they lose their shape.  I used the recipe on the Solo label--essentially a short, not-very-sweet cookie (2 sticks of butter and 3/4 c sugar). 

It occurred to me that hamantaschen would be a good technical challenge for the Great British Baking Show.  I'm not the only one who thought that -- this post is a hoot! 

Linking up here:  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?   Finished or Not Friday

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Midweek: playing with triangles

 The latest WITB ("what's in the box?") project uses the 4.5" unf HSTs I made for last year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  

Can you guess which of these four layouts I chose?  (I have assembled the flimsy and I'm auditioning backings today.)  I'll tell you the answer in my post on Friday.  

Linking up on Midweek Makers

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Weekly update: OMG February, two finishes, a whole lot of potential, and reading

 My One Monthly Goal for February was to put labels on finished quilts.  One evening I went to work and got them done.  

I print multiple labels on printer-fabric sheets. Some include my name and others are just Hilyard Studio. I write the name, date, and occasion when those are relevant. When a quilt doesn't have a destination I don't include that information. (If I donate a quilt that I made in 2017 to an event in 2021 I don't want it to appear that I dusted off an old project, even if that's pretty much what I did. 

Here's the stack.  The February OMG Finish Link Up is here

I surprised myself and quilted two flimsies this week.  (I labeled them, too.)  

The zigzag pinwheels were shown in last week's post.  (I used the rest of the blue-green check [see it in the labeled stack, above?] and dipped into the endless supply of mini 9-patches for the pieced back. 


I used a variety of blues for the back of the jewel box quilt.  I made the top in early January as part of the Civil War Repro Stash Reduction Project.  

I think this one has a name -- New Tricks, because the setting demonstrates that you can teach an old block new tricks.  

the flimsy 

One batch of potential arrived mid-week.  Batting was on sale on the Joann's website. I had a coupon for free shipping and two gift cards.   The 40-yard bolt will wait until I've used up the rest of the previous bolt which you can see in the first photo in this post.  (That is Warm & Plush which came in a 30-yard bolt from Amazon. It's definitely "plusher" than Warm & Natural. I'll stick with the latter from now on out.  (Yes, the new bolt is Warm & White. That's fine with me.)

I remember back 25 years ago when I lived in Fargo. Joann's had W&N on sale and I splurged and bought a bolt. That was a lot of  money at the time, even with a coupon.  I thought they might never have it on sale again (was I wrong!). I also thought it would be years before I'd use it up (wrong again).

The other potential is the result of a months-long, now-and-again project.  I admire the ways that Wanda (Exuberant Color) combines simple units that burst with color. I've made two quilts that use bright-and-neutral batik  3.5" unfin HSTs (here and here).   Now I have 1,000 of them in the box, enough for several future projects.   (BTW, 1,000 3.5" HSTs = 9.5 yards. Just sayin'.)

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This week's reading and listening: 

Anne Youngson's debut Meet Me at the Museum is a lovely epistolary novel about two lonely people in late middle age.  Tina is a farmer's wife in East Anglia. Anders is a museum curator in Denmark. Over the course of sixteen months their correspondence allows both to articulate their innermost feelings. The ending is unpredictable, which is a good thing.   

Desolation Mountain is #17 in the Cork O'Connor series. I've now listened to all of them -- in order -- with the excellent narration by David Chandler. (If I ever hear William Kent Krueger speak I'm sure I'll be surprised that he doesn't sound like Chandler.)   It's been great to see the O'Connor kids grow up, to see Cork and Rainey's relationship deepen, and of course to know that the Ojibwe mide (wise man) Henry Meloux is still around.  

Krueger's most recent book, This Tender Land, is a stand-alone.  (I haven't read it yet.)  He plans to write at least three more Cork books. 

Linking up with Oh Scrap!   Monday Making    Design Wall Monday 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Weekly update: red envelopes, yellow blocks, pinwheels!, and reading

My lucky envelope had $2
Kathy, Regina, and me
 The Zion Woman's Club had a Lunar New Year dinner fundraiser on Friday.  We sold tickets in advance for pickup at a local Thai/American restaurant.  We had a Wall of  Fortune with red envelopes numbered from 1 to 85 -- pay a dollar amount equivalent to the number to win cash prizes -- at least a $2 bill but there were some $10s and $20s and one with $100.  Regina and I thought we'd be out in the parking lot selling red envelopes but, hooray!, restaurants have reopened (25% capacity) so we were inside in the restaurant's party room.  Good thing, since it's been very, very cold.   

The meal (marinated chicken on a skewer, freshly-made fried rice, spring rolls, and a fortune cookie) was good -- my neighbor said they made two meals out of theirs and another friend said she was adding meat and veggies to the leftover rice.  The club treasurer's preliminary estimate is a profit over $2500.    The proceeds benefit A Safe Place (domestic violence shelter) and other agencies that ZWC regularly supports.  

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I  made 17 framed four patch blocks in yellow for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  (I was aiming for 16 and I miscounted.)    I made two potholders for Joy's Table Scraps challenge.  

I've had fun playing with the pinwheels I made for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge in 2019. I followed up Trippy Pinwheels (last week) with this random strippy setting.    Doing the math:  360 pinwheels made.  50 used for Trippy Pinwheels and 37 here.   That leaves 263 pinwheels in the box. 
But not for long!  25 of the black/gray pinwheels have joined 216 3.5" nine patches for this as-yet-unnamed project.  The nine patches are from the Block Swappers' decade-long quarterly exchange. (There are several hundred still in the box.)  Since I took this photo on Saturday I've framed all the pinwheels and begun assembling the blocks.  I haven't figured out the border yet.      
                                    248 pinwheels to go!

Linking up with  So Scrappy   Oh Scrap   Monday Making      Design Wall Monday

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I so enjoyed Monica Wood's memoir When We Were the Kennedys (review here) that I looked up the other books she's written.  How did I miss The One-in-a-Million Boy when it was published in 2015?  Well, I'm glad I discovered it.                                                                                                 The boy is 11 and socially awkward--more comfortable with numbers, precision, and the Guinness Book of World Records than with people. His Boy Scout troop service project is to help the elderly with household chores. He is assigned to 104-year-old Ona Vitkus. Each week he records an oral history conversation with Ona. Together they plot to earn her a place in the Guinness record book. When the boy suddenly dies of an undiagnosed condition his father Quinn steps in to complete the chores. Quinn, a guitarist whose gigs provide sporadic work, is attempting to compensate for the years that he wasn't present in the boy's life. Quinn, like the boy, is pulled into Ona's orbit.

Redemption. Hope. Indomitability. Enchantment.
All these positive terms describe this utterly wonderful novel.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

In memoriam: Roberta Horton

 The Quilt Show posted the news that renowned quiltmaker Roberta Horton passed away on February 4.  Their tribute is here with a link to a TQS episode featuring Roberta and her twin sister Mary Mashuta. [It's a 57-minute show, so allow yourself some time.]

My first encounter with Roberta's work was in the mid 1990's.  I belonged to the Better Homes and Gardens Craft Club.  One month they offered a kit with woven plaids designed by Roberta.  There are 20 fat 8ths. The pattern is a simple square-in-square. The fabric is so nicely-woven and soft. I couldn't bear to cut into it.  That was 25+ years ago and I still haven't.  

I met Roberta and Mary in person in 2001.  Here's the tale: 

(Note: QFALA = Quilters' Forum of ALA. Now we are the ALA Biblioquilters.)


I have two of Roberta's books -- in fact, I have managed to acquire two copies of these two.  There is a definite appeal to the array of fabrics used in her quilts and those of her students and colleagues. Scrappy but without jarring contrasts. Nothing trendy, just comfortable.  That's a style I like!

. . . And maybe I will cut into those woven plaids from so long ago . . .

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Weekly Update: scrappy, trippy pinwheels

(c) Jen Kingwell

In 2019 I made 360 pinwheels for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. They've been in a box waiting for the right opportunity to become a quilt.  

That opportunity came when I read Jen Kingwell's book Quilt Lovely, I bought a copy after attending the virtual program she gave for NSQG last month,    The strong vertical columns on neutral really appealed to me. Note that hers has three different kinds of pinwheels. 

Each column of 6" pinwheels turned out to be about 80 x 18 inches.  I had enough neutral (subtle plaid) homespun for the setting triangles and three plain columns.  There's not much contrast between the homespun and the design wall but if you look closely you can see the difference.
*After* I had it sewn together it looked blah. What to do?  

The Magpies' current group project involves Scrappy Trips blocks.  Several 'Pies have followed up their project contributions with Scrappy Trips blocks of their own.  Bingo! I pulled out the 2" strip hamper and cut 15" strips. I turned to the stash and cut more 15" strips.  I cut, sewed, sliced, sewed, and eventually made 45 Scrappy Trips blocks.  (2" strips = 9" finished blocks.)  

Right:    81 x 80.  It still looks off-balance.  

The solution: 

I was able to get enough setting triangles out of the cut-off neutral columns to make a third pinwheel column.  With a horizontal orientation it's 80 x 90.

 I have a left over column of 8 Scrappy Trips blocks to piece into the back or use for something else.  And there are 310 pinwheels in the box hollering that it's their turn now.

Linking up with Oh Scrap    Monday Making  Design Wall Monday   So Scrappy

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 I read two good books this week.     


Recently we watched a PBS program about Agatha Christie's 1926 disappearance. This book is an imagined retelling of what might have happened. Chapters alternate with past--going from the time Agatha met Archibald Christie in 1912 -- and the "present" meaning December 1926 when the police arrive at Archie's door wanting to know if he knows where his wife (by then a best-selling author) is. The story has usually focused on Agatha's side. Here Archie is the "unreliable narrator," a literary device that Agatha used in several of her books.  
This is a good tale -- but I do encourage you to watch  the PBS show narrated by David Suchet who played Hercule Poirot.

David Heska Wanbli Weiden's debut novel has received critical acclaim. It's a thriller set on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.  Narrator/protagonist Virgil Wounded Horse is a thug-for-hire.  Got a grudge? Virgil will punch the guy out for a fee.  When his 14-year-old nephew and ward Nathan becomes a pawn for the local node of a drug cartel, Virgil is determined to get the dealers.  His girlfriend Maria, the daughter of a tribal council politician, enlists herself in the effort.  The tale is gritty, at times violent, and ultimately hopeful.  I hope that  Weiden will write more about Virgil and Maria. 

Friday, February 5, 2021

Friday check in: presenting Code Name Welcome Home

Here it is!   The quilt I've  coyly called "Code Name Welcome Home" has been sent to and received by my friends B and K.  Its real name is Labyrinth Walk.  

Labyrinth Walk, 84 x 84

The backstory: B does not sew. Not buttons, not hems, and certainly not quilts. Five years ago a picture of the Labyrinth Walk quilt popped onto her Facebook feed and she was teased about "her" quilt. It went viral--she says 40,000+ reposts--even though she clearly stated that she DID NOT MAKE the quilt. Last fall B and her husband K suffered from a house fire. They've been living in temporary quarters.

I have wanted to make the Labyrinth Walk quilt ever since I saw the pattern in Quilt Magazine (circa 2008). This was the perfect opportunity! It was not hard, but it was very, very fiddly. Mis-piecing one unit would throw the entire design off. I cut all the pieces in one session and put each piece in a plastic bag labeled with the size and the number of units so I could keep track.

The other challenge for me was working with a limited number of fabrics. I bought all the fabric in one trip to the LQS. The shop personnel helped find just-the-right tones and contrasts.

It was my One Monthly Goal for December.  Barb-the-quilter put it on her calendar last week. I picked it up Friday, added the binding and the label, and mailed it to B and K on Monday.  They got it Wednesday.

I used a thrift-shop cotton sheet for the backing (on the left in the photo).   

B wrote to say they were completely surprised ("gobsmacked," she said) and they are very grateful.  They hope they can move back to their townhome in three months. 

Their cat likes the quilt, too. 

Now I can cross Labyrinth Walk off my want-to-make-someday list!  

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