Sunday, February 27, 2022

Weekly update: another finish, OMG report, and reading

Early in the week we saw the new version of Death on the Nile.  It was the second in-a-theater movie we've seen since the pandemic began.  Now I want to re-watch the 2004/David Suchet version and the 1978 Peter Ustinov version to compare them.   We've watched (or re-watched) nearly all the Suchet Poirots on BritBox and enjoyed them so much.   

The 1978 film had Maggie Smith, Angela Lansbury, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, David Niven, George Kennedy, Jack Warden, and Jane Birkin.   
Saturday evening we enjoyed the Lake County Symphony Orchestra performing Mozart and Tchaikovsky.  Illinois is lifting the mask mandate March 1 so hopefully our next concert selfie will show our smiles.  
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In the studio:  a final finish for February. I made flimsy last year.  The pattern is Growing Up Odd by Wedding Dress Blue. The blocks are made up of 1 - 49p, 1 - 21p, and 3 - 9p.  Though I made units for 20 (per the pattern) I made only 16 blocks in the flimsy because that's how much sashing fabric I had and because I didn't want to make a huge quilt. This is 72 x 72.   

I used a variety of tan prints on the back. 

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It's time to recap OMG for February. I said I would assemble Rhododendron Trail and get started on the birdhouse quilt.  I accomplished the former.  I've got a pattern and a fabric pull for the latter. It will definitely be my March OMG.  
For OMG reporting purposes, here is Rhododendron Trail again. 

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Ann, who blogs at Fret Not Yourself ,
recommended The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce. I borrowed it from the library and finished it this week.  Thank you, Ann!

The aptly-named Unity Street in a grimy industrial town is the home for a group of charming misfits. Frank owns a record store (VINYL! say no to CDs!). He can prescribe music to meet every mood and assuage every anxiety. Father Frank sells religious items, the Williams Brothers are undertakers, Maud is a tattoo artist. There are neighbors and regular customers. When the mysterious German woman Ilse shows up at the record shop the fabric of the community is ripped a little. It is torn apart by change -- a developer who proposes to bulldoze the entire block, the continuing threat of those dreadful CDs -- but in the end that fabric is recut, refashioned, and hope remains.

Linking up with OMG / Elm Street Quilts  Oh Scrap!    Monday Making  

Friday, February 25, 2022

Friday check in: two blue ribbons and a quick start/finish

As Steffi and I were driving to the The GFWC Tenth District Art Show on Wednesday we turned onto an enchanted scene.  The ice-coated trees on both sides of the road just sparkled in the sunshine.

Art show results:  I won blue ribbons for both my entries.  Confession: blue ribbons were a  foregone conclusion since they were the ONLY entries in the two categories!  Attendance at the monthly D10 luncheons has dwindled due to Covid and participation in the art show is way, way down.  But, hey, I'll take blue ribbons when they're offered.

(I made Batiks by the Sea in  early 2020 quilted later that year   The Roses and Pearls wall hanging was the guild 2021 challenge.)

I am procrastinating big time on  the birdhouse quilt -- you know, the one that has both a destination and a deadline. 

 I pulled out the brights from the box of 2" (unfin.) HSTs, made pinwheels, and framed them.   I set them on-point with new fabric (last fall) for the squares and old fabric (from years and years ago) for the setting triangles and binding.  

Here's the back.  44 x 58.

I have another quilt under the needle now, because I'm still procrastinating . . .

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Linking up with Finished or Not Friday and TGIFF

P.S.  Note to self:  take the garbage cans to the street BEFORE the overnight 5" snowfall. 

Light and fluffy now. It will melt by Sunday.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Weekly update: a flimsy, sewing ahead, catching up -- and some good books!


I added an outer border to Rhododendron Trail to contain the design.  In retrospect I should have limited it to 25 blocks because it is really, really long.  Too late now!  

12-1/2 yards.

I had to buy more of the turquoise print. Fortunately Joann's had 2 yards on the bolt. And that was ALL I bought.  (At Joann's, that is. There's a DSW next door and I found these terrific shoes. I've seen them in a couple of mail-order catalogs but this way I could try them on. They also came in two-tone blue and two-tone black/brown. I went for the colorful version.)  

After the intricacies of Rhododendron Trail I wanted some mindless sewing.  I don't know what the March RSC color is but based on RSCs of previous years I know that dark blue, pink, orange, and yellow will come up.  I made 20 spinner blocks in those colors to go with the red and teal spinners for January and February. (Just watch....March will be another color entirely.)  

Each set of 20 uses 1-1/8 yards.  

I had a ziploc bag with triangles left over from the blocks I made for RSC 2016.  (That RSC project is here).   I used them in this colorful heart.  The pattern is from QuiltFolk.  I think they had a quilt-along but I didn't follow it. (I mean, how hard is it to make HSTs and arrange them according to the photo?) Their version used 6" HSTs and mine are 3" [finished].  I will likely use the block as part of a larger design that I haven't begun to work out. 

Log Cabin Basket is the February guild BOM. Marge and I are the BOM chairs this year and we're alternating months -- this is hers.   It's a clever technique.  (This week I have to write the directions for the March block which we will reveal at our meeting March 2.)

QuiltMania had a clearance sale.  I indulged in back issues that were $3 each   I would have indulged more but I had difficulty navigating their website.  I enjoy the quirky French translation and the European viewpoint as well as the quilt designs.

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I am not a knitter but because I'm a quilter I appreciate those who are obsessed with yarn, needles, and all that goes with them.   Last week there was a post to the Just Wanna Quilt FB group saying that Brenda Papadakis is even more fiercely guarding her copyright for Dear Jane -- not only the patterns but also the name.   Knitting designer Alice Starmore has a similar philosophy when it comes to her Fair Isle designs, techniques, and her custom-dyed yarns. 

In Sweater Quest Adrienne Martini documents her "year of knitting dangerously" when she set out to make Starmore's Mary Tudor pattern.  She gives the history of Fair Isle vs. other techniques    It wasn't hard to translate the  knitting terminology and experience to their quilting kin.   How the internet has built the knitting (quilting) community. The lure of the fiber/yarn festival (quilt show).  The enormity of our stashes. All the gadgets.  Practical projects vs. impractical projects. Justifying why we do what we do. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee told Martini, "I love that it is an act of transformation. I love that you're taking one thing and turning it into another thing....I love that I decide...You have to do something right thousands of times. You can congratulate yourself all of those times." 

And did she make the sweater?  Well, yes . . . but you'll need to read this tremendously entertaining book to find out the whole story!   [P.S. The book came out in 2010 but it is still relevant.] 

I finished The Secret Keeper of Jaipur in time for Tuesday's P.E.O. online book club meeting with a visit from author Alka Joshi.  It was so interesting to learn how the books came about and to hear her insights about her Indian heritage.  (#3 in the series is coming in 2023.) The Henna Artist ended with many possibilities for "what happened next?"  The characters return in this sequel set twelve years later (1969). Lakshmi (the henna artist) and her husband Dr. Jay operate a clinic in Shimla. Her ward Malik has finished school and works for the architectural firm owned by Samir, Lakshmi's one-time patron. Samir's spoiled, dissolute son Ravi also works for his father. When a movie palace designed and built by Samir's firm collapses on its opening night Malik suspects Ravi of cutting corners. The multi-character narration enhances the intrigue and the urgency to solve the mystery.

This short tale is a gem. Like a gemstone it is compressed, stripped of nonessentials. Like a gemstone the light reflects off each facet. The prose rolls with a storyteller's cadence.

Bill Furlong is the coal dealer in an Irish town. It's the mid-1980's and times are tough. As Bill delivers fuel and collects payments he reflects on his lot in life -- his mother worked for the wealthy folks outside town so he had a leg up when it came time to go into business. He and his wife have a long, loving, and comfortable marriage. Their daughters are smart, healthy, and happy. When Bill delivers coal to the convent he meets one of the teenaged girls sent there to have her illegitimate baby. He makes a decision -- a Christmas gift of hope for her future, for his family, and for him.

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Linking up with Oh Scrap!    Design Wall Monday  Monday Making

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Weekly update: the swap hits the spot, Rhododendron Trail, and reading

 On Friday afternoon it was cloudy along the lakefront here but sunny in downtown Chicago, 40 miles away.   You can see the skyline along the horizon.   


I sneaked in some sewing on Saturday as I participated in two AAUW meetings by Zoom.  Our branch met Saturday morning to hear Dr. Ada Cheng, sociology prof-turned-storyteller talk about her immigrant experience.  In the afternoon the AAUW-Illinois state board held its winter meeting.  So convenient to attend from the warmth of my studio rather than driving 200 miles to Bloomington.

We did go out Saturday night to Waukegan High School. The Lake County Community Concert Assn. presented the Thalea String Quartet. They had tremendous energy and performed an eclectic repertoire.

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My MQG swap came in Saturday's mail.  AMV in Georgia sent this beautiful batik mini-quilt.  It truly hits the spot! 

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Assembling Rhododendron Trail is one of my OMGs for February.   I spent most of Sunday putting the center together. I hope I can get to the borders this week.  

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I'd heard of Rosalind Franklin and her DNA research that was co-opted by James Watson and Francis Crick. Now I know much more. There was so much to tell that at times the detail seemed forced (I was tempted to count the number of references to Rosalind's New Look dresses) but those details add dimension to the picture of this brilliant scientist who was the victim of blatant sexism and cutthroat research competition.

Linking up with Oh Scrap!    Monday Making    Design Wall Monday

P.S.  I say this every year. 

Friday, February 11, 2022

Friday check in: two quilt history programs

I'm composing this post on the computer while my iPad is tuned into a Zoom committee meeting.  Though we gripe about the screen time, Zoom is an easier way to meet than a conference call. (My first experience with conference calls was the White House Conference on Library and Information Sciences Task Force back in the early 1990's.  A dozen people on a phone call meant prefacing comments with your name, and a lot of pauses while people tried to figure out who should talk next.) 

I attended two quilt programs by Zoom this week. 

On Tuesday the Winnetka-Northfield Public Library hosted "Faith Ringgold: The Story Quilts and Paintings" with art historian Jeff Mishur.   

NOTE:  all images are my photos of Jeff's slides. 

Two paintings and a soft sculpture.

Tar Beach is both a quilt and a book.  It was the 1992 Caldecott Honor winner.  

Tar Beach closeup.

The "story quilts" have the text written in the quilt borders. 

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On Thursday the Illinois State Museum hosted "Tales from the Vault" featuring quilts from their collection.     Again, note that these photos are my snapshots of the slides.

Lucinda Taylor Conkling was widowed at 24  and had to send her daughter to relatives "back east." She made the quilt so the daughter could remember her.                        I looked her up on Ancestry. The 1870 census shows her living with the Taylors (her parents?) with a daughter, also Lucinda, age 4, and a daughter Philena, age "4/12".   I couldn't find Lucinda Jr. but did find a death record for Philena in Scipio, NY, in 1891.  I also found a Civil War pension record for Lucinda Sr. naming the husband as Philo.   Now I'm interested in learning how the quilt got back to Illinois.

Edge triangles are red and white in the same block.

The quiltmaker solicited signatures from individuals and businesses. The blacksmith declined to make a donation.  She acknowledged his stinginess with this upside down horseshoe so "the luck runs out." 
Albert Small commented on his wife's sewing. She said if he could do better he was welcome to try.  He did and his magnificent hexagon quilts are in the ISM collection. This is the fourth.  The large photo shows the regular-sized quilting stitches and the teeny-tiny hexies.
One of the quiltmaker's sons fought for the Union and the other for the Confederacy. Pieces of both of their uniforms are in this Log Cabin.

The colors in this Amish nine-patch look contemporary.

A husband and wife effort. The stars are smaller than a hand.

Every quilt has a story! 
 P.S.  Faith Ringgold was honored at the 2015 AAUW National Convention
The AAUW Foundation staffer said, "Nann, you need to meet her! She's a quilter!" but my first thought was, "She won the Caldecott!"  

Linking up with other bloggers at Finished or Not Friday