Sunday, June 20, 2021

Weekly update: estate sale, a finish, and reading

 But first, a few wildflowers at Camp Logan/Illinois Beach (June 15).  The wild flag iris is still in bloom (but about over now). Also: hedge bindweed aka "bell bind"; flowering spurge; rudbeckia aka Blackeyed Susan; green bulrush; bird's-foot trefoil; spiderwort aka Bluejacket or Widow's Tears; oxeye daisy.

On Friday I picked up Erika and we drove to Nordstrom's at Woodfield Mall to have lunch with six other AAUW friends from the northern suburbs.  It was SO wonderful to see everyone in person!!   (We've met at Nordstrom's cafe a couple of times before. I don't ordinarily think of a department store as a luncheon venue, though of course in years past women who spent a day shopping would do that at Marshall Field's and other stores.)

I went to an estate sale Saturday afternoon. They were winding down and there wasn’t much left. I chose a couple of pieces of fabric. “Oh, we had much more earlier,” the woman said. (Keep me from temptation….) When I went to check out she added to my stack. “This is Thai silk,” she said, “and I think you will appreciate it.” The sticker said $10 and she charged me $1. She added the Easter egg print for free. (30 years ago I made eight napkins from that Cranston print. I still have them. A friend made Easter outfits for her five children from that print. Another friend made a table topper that she still uses....did YOU buy that print? What did you make out of it?)

The red-and-bronze Thai silk is 4 metres. The blue is hemmed as a scarf. Here is the backstory about the silk company.

I'm sure both the yardage and the scarf were souvenirs. I have no plans to make anything out of either one, but I will give them a good home in my Exotic Fabrics Stash. (That sounds much nicer than "why in the world did I buy this and why do I still have it?")

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In the studio: I am stuck on the Positivity Plaids. I ran out of the two subtle homespun backgrounds. The less subtle backgrounds don't go with them. I went to both Joann's and Hobby Lobby but neither had very light tan-on-neutral check. I'll put the blocks aside and hope that an alternative presents itself.

Meanwhile, I quilted the batik Snaps that I made several weeks ago. The back is a wonderful Marimekko print (thrift shop purchase, 3 yards for $3.99 in 2018). It's 58" wide so I didn't have to piece it.

I hope to finish sewing the binding during Sunday PBS-time.

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The Sunflower Sisters

Martha Hall Kelly blends historical personages with fictional characters in her third novel about the women of the Ferriday/Woolsey family. 

When the Civil War breaks out Georganna "Georgy" Woolsey is among the first women to sign up for nurses' training. She was posted to a hospital ship and later served in New York City. Her family--widowed mother, six sisters, and a brother--were staunch abolitionists.

In sharp contrast, Louisiana-born Anne-May Watson is living miserably on the Maryland tobacco plantation she inherited from her aunt. She is spoiled and petulant and can't stand her husband (a mild-mannered amateur scientist who enlists in the Union Army). Anne-May regularly abuses her house slave Jemma.
Jemma is smart and literate -- she acts as a scribe to Anne-May. Her parents work the tobacco fields. Her sister lives on an adjoining plantation. They are all desperate to escape. Jemma succeeds and is taken in by the Woolseys -- but in 1864 Anne-May travels to New York to reclaim her property.

I very much wanted to "really like" this book. I enjoyed its predecessors (Lilac Girls--WWII and Lost Roses--WWI/Russian Revolution) and the Ferriday/Woolsey family story. But I got the impression that the author had so much to say (interesting and true) but only so much space in which to say it, so that there seems to be a lot of coincidence.  Helpful details are missing. [Example: how could a slaveowner reclaim a slave in New York City in 1864? Why would Yankee Pinkerton agents side with the slaveowner? That may be true but why make the reader go look it up?]

The Liar's Dictionary 
The fictional Swansby's Encyclopaedic Dictionary, begun at the end of the 19th century, was the greatest dictionary that never happened. When this charming novel begins in the 21st century Swansby's is known as the incomplete oddity, a quirk of scholarship.  There are still two people toiling on the upper floors of Swansby House (lower floors available for conferences, receptions, and parties). Elegant, eccentric David Swansby hired Mallory on an internship (now into a third year) to assist in preparation for a digitized, online version of the Dictionary. But first Mallory must review and verify the authenticity of every single entry -- thousands and thousands of handwritten index cards.

In 1899 Peter Winceworth is one of dozens of lexicographers at Swansby's. He is bullied by the others but he persists. His contribution is a rebellion: he creates dozens of "mountweazels," words that don't actually exist --each with its own handwritten index card.

Mallory finds one mountweazel, then another, then another. These singular neologisms (=new words) are intriguing. Intriguing but more scary are the phone calls she fields daily from an unknown person threatening to blow up Swansby House to end the digitization project.

"Discovery" is the key: not only lexicographical but also personal, as Mallory and Peter come to terms with their identities.

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Linking up with Oh Scrap! Monday Making Design Wall Monday


cityquilter grace said...

exotic fabric stash??? lol...wish i could help with your light plaids but since i'm not driving....

Megan said...

Thank you Nann. I've just put a reserve on my local library's copy of The Liar's Dictionary. I enjoyed The Dictionary of Lost Words earlier this year, and am looking forward to this one also.

Sydney, Australia

Sara said...

Exotic fabric stash - that caught my interest and my marination. That sounds like it could become a whole post by itself.

I read Lilac Girls, but haven’t read the others.

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

Oh Nann, your are correct. That backing fabric is amazing! Great finish.
Thanks for sharing with Oh Scrap!

Bonnie said...

Interesting books as usual. Although neither strike my fancy to actually read. Hum, the estate sale I went to had an old treadle sewing machine but no fabric. (Saved from temptation.) I recognized that Easter egg fabric but don't think I ever bought it. I went back and took a look at yourPositivity Plaids. I may have some of those lighter homespun backgrounds. I'll take a look and see. I know I started a quilt with them earlier this year but I need to buy some go with fabric. (not homespun) I'm not motivated to finish it yet although one of these days I will be. Great backing fabric. How great is it that it was WIDE?

Caroline M said...

It shouldn't be a surprise to find that I recognised the easter egg fabric, I have (or had) a fat quarter of that.

The Joyful Quilter said...

I may have a light neutral homespun, Nann. I haven't checked that drawer in a while, but if I do, I would be happy to share!

Cathy said...

Haven’t we ALL had that Easter Egg fabric? I can’t even remember what I did with it, but I do still see it now and then.

Cathy said...

I appreciate and love your wildflower postings. I cleared an area here last year for a native wildflower area and have done a lot of research on native wildflowers which are mostly the same as IL. I'm actually surprised the bindweed hasn't strangled everything in sight. In some areas here I pull it out by the wheelbarrow full.

No, I didn't have that particular Easter Egg fabric. I think I had a lighter version and made Easter Baskets and pillowcases for the grandkids out of it. Someone gave me a similar Easter Egg fabric and there was just enough to use for a colorful quilt binding.

FabricDiva54 said...

I loved that Easter Egg print! I may still have some stashed somewhere. I made my daughter a dress with a different Easter Egg print which she wore for years. Thank you for stirring up those happy memories.

Julie in GA said...

Yes, I definitely had that same Easter egg print, plus a more pastel version of it. I wouldn't be surprised to find some of it around here still.
I love your batik quilt and the fantastic backing fabric! Good luck finding more background fabrics for your Positivity blocks.