Sunday, January 16, 2022

Weekly update: red baskets, red spinners, and beautiful blues + reading


(Note: see the next post for the wonderful Quiltfolk workshop with Kaffe Fassett!)

I sewed and I sewed until I'd made 41 four-patch basket blocks.  I used up ALL of the red 30's print.   I had a 3" x WOF piece of red that I cut in half and sewed back together along the long edge. That gave me enough for three large triangles and the rest of the small triangles to get the count to 41 and achieve a symmetrical layout.

I put the blocks away for the time being as I attend to other projects.

I'm making spinner blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year.  I'm going to try for 20 in the monthly color plus neutral (here, gray).  The blocks are 6.5" unfinished.

I am stuck on the border for the mini quilt. 

I've done nothing on Rhododendron Trail!

This fabric (32 yards by weight) arrived on Thursday.   It's a legacy from Celia, our beloved Magpie friend who passed away in 2020.  Her daughter is slowly cleaning out the house and has gotten to the stash.  Such a beautiful array of blues, none of which I have (or have had).

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Reading/listening to this book was like going through an old photo album and remembering past days. 

This is the 18th in the long-running Cork O'Connor series but it is the first in chronological order. (So is it #19 or #0?)  Set in the early 1960's, the summer Cork was 11, the story provides insight into how Cork becomes the man (sheriff, detective, husband, father) that we have come to know so well.

The conflicts are familiar --white people in town (wealthy mine owner, abused wife, various everyday locals) and the Ojibway on the reservation. (Compare that to the books set in the 90's and 2000's -- has very much changed?) The setting is familiar -- the house on Gooseberry Lane, the Pineview Broiler, Sam's Place, St. Agnes Church. The characters are old friends -- Cork of course.  His father Liam, former Chicago cop, now sheriff of Tamarack County. His half-Irish, half Ojibway mother.  His grandmother Dilcey, Ojibway schoolteacher. The house on Gooseberry Lane. Cork's mentors Sam Winter Moon and the mide (wise man/healer) Henry Meloux.

(Note: I listened to the audio version narrated by David Chandler. I know that if I ever meet Mr. Krueger in person I will expect him to sound like Chandler.)

Wow. Wow. Wow.  This is an important book.  Read it!

Elizabeth Packard was an exemplary wife and mother. She was also intelligent and articulate -- and because she disagreed with her preacher husband on the tenets of Presbyterianism he had her committed to the Illinois State Hospital for the Insane. That was 1860 when a husband had that kind of power over a wife.

Elizabeth lived at the Hospital for three years. Instead of settling down on the quiet ward with women like her (they did a lot of needlework and reading) she began to investigate conditions at the hospital. She was assigned to another ward with women who had pronounced mental illness. She kept investigating. She wrote down all her experiences (on scraps of paper, on the pages of a Bible) and concealed the pages (in her bonnet, behind the mirror in her room). She wrote of patient abuse by hospital staff (the installation of bathtubs seemed like a good thing but only led to waterboarding). Her nemesis was Dr. Andrew McFarland, the hospital administrator. Politics kept him in power with little regard for medicine and none at all for patients' rights. Her friends and allies persisted on her behalf and in 1863 she went on trial -- and the jury declared she was SANE.

Elizabeth spent the next 30 years as a tireless advocate for the right of women's self-determination, for mothers to have custody of their children, and for the conditions at insane asylums. This was decades before women had the right to vote. She had to convince male legislators to sponsor her bills -- and in state after state they did.

Strong. Courageous. Determined. Pioneering. Indomitable. All of these apply to Elizabeth Parsons Ward Packard. Her name should be on every list of notable women in American history.

Kudos to Kate Moore (author of Radium Girls) for bringing Elizabeth's story to a wide audience.

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Linking up with Rainbow Scrap Challenge   Oh Scrap!   Monday Making  Design Wall Monday

Next post:   the lime in the g & t!


  1. You've been busy! That book sounds like a "must read."

  2. That border fabric looks muddy. Do you have a yellow or blue to try?

    Bird 'Pie

  3. Love your baskets and spinner blocks. Thanks for sharing your reading. I’m going to look up Kate’s book.

  4. Your red spinners really show off the variety of reds. I like the grey backgrounds. Thanks for the book advice. I've read several of the books you have recommended and enjoyed them all.

  5. Wow! You have been busy! I have to try that way of putting basket’s together. Interesting reading!

  6. You have such pretty projects. And that pile of blue fabrics is wonderful. It's sad to lose a friend, but it's great that her daughter is giving it away.

  7. Oh, those beautiful baskets, Nann!! Best of luck on finding a border for the mini and a project worthy of those special blue fabrics from Celia's stash.

  8. love your spinner blocks for RSC2022!

  9. What a gorgeous collection of blue fabrics! A very generous gift that will remind you of your friend.

    I recently downloaded that Krueger book to read as well. I love his writing. My cousin in Minneapolis has actually had him speak at her book club group a few years ago. She first recommended his books to me, knowing that having grown up in Minnesota I would probably enjoy them. She was right!

  10. You've been stitching up a lot of blocks! Both books sound really interesting. Thanks for sharing.


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