Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Midweek: OMG success + the stash report


The bird houses are all set!
I wanted a busy setting and that's what I got.   Both the sashing and the border fabrics were purchased at Quiltagious last week. The sashing is Art Gallery (Bari J) and the border is Kaffe's Antwerp Flowers.  Both prints pick up all of the colors in the blocks.

5-1/4 yards by weight.  Approx. 72 x 84.

I will add two or three appliqued birds.

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I know I won't have any completions tomorrow nor do I foresee purchasing any fabric so here's the March stash report:

Fabric IN  14-3/8, $192   /    Fabric OUT    35-7/8  

YTD Fabric IN 79-1/8, $228  (avg. $2.88)  / YTD Fabric OUT 166-5/8 / Net reduction 87-5/8.

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Linking up with Midweek Makers    OMG at Elm Street Quilts  

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Weekly update: spring, a fabric excursion, progress, and the unexpected + books


Chilly but sunny, no breeze this afternoon for a walk in the ravine at the end of our block. The skunk cabbages are in bloom -- this one has leaves beginning to unfurl.

Here are my new socks from Zkano, made in Alabama. Not only do they have great designs, but the socks are very comfortable (nonbinding tops that stay up).

On Thursday I enjoyed the luncheon meeting of the Clara Cummings Book Club. The entertainment was a reenactor portraying Princess Diana. She cleverly began, "You know I am dead, of course," so we the audience knew that she knew what was coming. It was very entertaining.  It was also great to see friends from AAUW, GFWC, and P.E.O. among the 30 or so who attended.

On Friday Stevens and I took a field trip to Mukwonago, Wisconsin because I had to get fabric. Yes, I really did -- the explanation is below.  Quiltagious is a terrific quilt shop that specializes in Kaffe / Free Spirit /etc. prints, batiks, and other modern brights.  As I chatted with Sue who cut my fabric I found out that she lived in Fargo at the same time that we did. I was a novice quilter back then and not in the Fargo guild, so I never met Sue, but we did a "do you know?" and indeed we do.  Stevens and I had lunch in Mukwonago.  Love the description of the Friday special!  (He had the fish. I had a fancy club sandwich with the leftovers for supper.)

I made the 15 bird house blocks that the pattern called for.  I decided to alter the design.  Instead of the large bands of applique I will make four rows of bird houses (so I need to make one more) and sash them. I will applique two or three birds directly to bird houses.  

The color scheme for the bird houses mimics the colors in the convention logo (turquoise, coral, some red/blue/yellow). 
I had in mind low-volume sashing and auditioned one of the precious Lida Enche prints that I've been hoarding for years.

Alas, I didn't have enough and that fabric came out in 2012 -- forget about finding more.  

None of the other Enche prints will work.
I'll get to hoard/appreciate them some more.


I have been SO good about not buying fabric that this indulgence at Quiltagious was not all that bad.  Just 12-3/8! (The last 1/8 was to finish a bolt.)

Can you guess which print will become the sashing?  

The Mukwonago area quilt guild had a show this weekend, we learned, but we were there Friday and couldn't make a return trip.

The unexpected occurred the evenings between my re-design and the trip to Quiltagious.  I pulled out the bin of random scraps and started piecing crumbs.  One thing led to another and then to many more. 

I had to cut more strips and squares to get variety. (Since I cut most scraps into specific sizes my random bin isn't very large.) 

It's 80 x 56, 5 yards.  I'm calling it Creme de la Crumb. (That's not grammatical but it is alliterative.)

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The Last Bookshop in London is the April selection for an online book group I'm in. 

 A plucky young woman discovers her inner resources and life's passion in London during the Blitz.  The description of living under siege was particularly timely with the current Russian attack on Ukraine.

The story would be enhanced with an author's note about her research and the inspiration for the story. 

The historic houses that are featured on tours, written about in books and magazines, and are exemplars of architectural styes are primarily the houses of the wealthy and the upper middle class.    

Architectural historian Thomas Hubka writes about the houses that people of lesser means lived in -- most likely many of our forebears. American cities and towns still have hundreds of those houses.   Hubka traces development from two rooms (kitchen/eating/living and one bedroom) to four or five rooms and the three-fixture bathroom. I've lived in a number of the house styles he describes (bungalow in Pittsburg, KS: side-hall in Portland, ME; side-gable in Auburn, ME; four-box-with bath in Fargo).  I now understand why my mother insisted on having a dining room (a step up from eating-in-the-kitchn) and why there was a lone toilet (in an enclosure) in the cellar in our c1900 Portland house.  Zion has many of the small-to-large houses that Hubka talks about.  I learned a lot from this enjoyable and very readable history.


Linking up with  Oh Scrap!  Monday Making   Design Wall Monday

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Weekly update: small projects, construction begins, and two books


I made hamantaschen for Purim but the dough lost the triangle shape during baking. In essence I made shortbread cookies topped with jam.  Though they weren't pretty, they were tasty.

The St. Patrick's Day soda bread turned out better.   We're still enjoying it and leftover crock-pot corned beef.  . 

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Spring Comes First to the Willows is a young adult novel from the time I was a young adult.  I think of that phrase every spring when the willows green up.   I don't remember anything about the book other than its title so I've put in an ILL request.  

Photo at Illinois Beach State Park -- the willow left and bottom right, and a red dogwood.  

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I made four daisy-print mug rugs for my P.E.O. chapter's project. 

I made a tote bag on behalf of the Zion Woman's Club as a door prize for the GFWC-Illinois convention in May.  The hardcover books are new this season, donated by HarperCollins publishers.   The geranium print is Italia by P&B. I've had it for ages. And I still have 3/4 of a yard.    

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Construction on the bird house quilt has begun.  The pattern calls for 15 FQs for 15 bird house.  I finally settled on the prints -- cheerful, contemporary -- and cut all the pieces. The roofs are done. The rest will be a matter of mixing prints (my rule is "no two same touching").  

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We recently watched a documentary about horses in North America on NOVA (PBS).  There was a segment about Morgans, an American breed with a well-documented history. I immediately thought of Marguerite Henry's book and checked it out.  I hadn't read it since I was a kid.  (It's ages 8-12.)   I now appreciate the colloquialisms ("I reckon he liked the track tol'able well," "The horse may be stronger'n a ox, but good pullers be slow runners") and the good research.  It was a delight. 

We contemporary humans are conditioned from infancy to acquire knowledge from reading, and that reading comes largely from books. The format of the bound codex with printed words (made up of letters) is our paradigm. We know that it wasn't always so -- cuneiform, hieroglyph, parchment scrolls, vellum manuscripts all came before moveable type on paper. But, still we think in terms of books that have pages, chapters, tables of contents, and indexes. Those features were not always so, either, and Dennis Duncan tells us how all of those came to be. He shows us how indexes became political weapons because of the entries an indexer chose. He bridges the past -- the printed format -- to the ever-increasing electronic format. Does Google index webpages, data, and more, or does it create massive concordances and what is the difference? This is a fascinating and extremely readable history of something we take for granted.

Linking up with Oh Scrap!    Monday Making    Design Wall Monday

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Weekly update: signs of spring, almost finished, and two good books


Though it was a chilly, windy 19 yesterday, today it got up to 52.   I snapped a photo of just-emerged skunk cabbage along the trail in the ravine at the end of our block.  Spring is in the air!

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I'm up to the binding on the Double X / Old Maid's Puzzle quilt.   (I did correct the mis-turned hourglass block....see Wednesday's post.)

This wooden binding bobbin was a favor at the Magpies' 2018 meetup.  It's very handy.   I fold the binding in half as I sew it, rather than pressing it ahead of time. 

UPDATE (Monday morning):  here's the finished quilt!  

The back used up most of two blue sort-of-repro prints.  
As for the birdhouses . . . 
I did not have enough of the background fabric I thought I'd use.   I went to Joann's to find some more but they didn't have any.  I went to the quilt shop and found a good substitute.  I needed 2 yards and that what was on the bolt.  

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This is my entry in the "true crime" category for a FB reading group I've joined. 

Chicago Tribune researchers Kori Rumore and Marianne Mather combed the archives to tell the stories of four women in 1920's Chicago who were put on trial for murder. Rookie reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins covered their cases for the Trib. She used the stories as the basis for a play called "Chicago" that premiered on Broadway in 1926. It was adapted by Hollywood for a silent movie in 1927. Bob Fosse recreated it as a Broadway musical in 1975. Its 1996 revival is still playing. A 2002 movie musical received Oscar nominations.

But, back to this book: Rumore and Mather dig deeper into the backgrounds of these four women and to put their stories into context. They follow up to find out what happened after they served their time. (One died in prison; another a couple of years later. Two moved to California and died at 77 and 80.)

I am one of the few (apparently) who has never seen "Chicago" on stage or screen. I will have to rectify that. 

"The age of disappearing women did not begin with Agatha Christie. It had begun long before...and it would continue for quite a bit longer. We disappeared from schools. From our homeotwn. From our families and our jobs. One day we would be going about our business, sitting in class, or laughing with friends, or walking hand in hand with a beau. Then poof . . . The age of disappearing women. It had been going on forever. Thousands of us vanished...Only our long absences and quiet returns. If we returned at all." (p. 254)

Disappeared, forgotten. Reappeared, remembered. Those poles are at the heart of this richly-imagined retelling of the nine days in 1926 that Agatha Christie went missing. This story is told from the omniscient point of view of Nan O'Dea, Archie Christie's mistress (whom he eventually married). De Gramont puts an unexpected spin on motive (both Nan's and Agatha's) that adds intrigue and dimension. Wonderfully-written!

This is quite different from The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict which I read last year (review here).

Linking up with  Oh Scrap!  Monday Making    Design Wall Monday  

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Midweek: it's a flimsy!


I adapted a pattern titled Texas Two Step published in Fons & Porter's Scrap Quilts, June 2012.  I used 6-1/2" blocks (pattern has 7-1/2").   Most of the HSTs in the border were made from scraps from cutting the hourglass blocks. (I felt so thrifty.)

The block is called Old Maid's Puzzle, Jacks on Six, Double X 1, Three and Six, and Kindergarten Block. (Brackman #1689a)

6 yards used.

Linking up with Midweek Makers

Monday, March 7, 2022

Weekly update: out and about, in the studio, and reading

 Two years ago this week events were being cancelled right and left, there was a run on groceries and supplies (toilet paper and hand sanitizer), and a great deal of our daily routine took a sharp turn in an unknown direction.   What a long road that's been!     

The Lake County Women's Coalition held its annual Women's History Month luncheon on Saturday.  It was so nice to see AAUW and GFWC friends among the attendees. (The 2020 luncheon was one of the last in-person events before the Covid shutdown.)  

LCWC awards two "returning to learning" scholarships to the College of Lake County for women over age 30. The winners were chosen earlier this year -- by coincidence one of them is a native of Ukraine.  

Zion Woman's Club honored Miss Ellen Lloyd, the midwife who delivered 3,000 babies in Zion from 1906 to 1964.  

Leslie Goddard's portrayal of Clara Barton was informative and inspiring.   

I contributed  Batiks by the Sea to the silent auction. My friend Betsy was the high bidder.  

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On Sunday afternoon Stevens and I enjoyed another performance sponsored by the Lake County Community Concert Assn.Lake County Community Concert Assn.  Juggler Fantastik Patrick balanced a ladder on his chin, rode a 10-foot-high unicycle, and performed other tricks.   

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In the studio:  this is not the birdhouse quilt that I am supposed to be working on.

A torn-from-a-magazine pattern came to the top of the stack and in a couple of evenings I had this flimsy.  I see that one of the blocks on the top row is turned the wrong way. I will correct that before I attach the border.  (Sure, I could leave it, but it would drive me nuts.) 

The blocks are 6" finished.

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I finished two companion (sort of) quilt history books this week.  Both are by Elizabeth V. Warren, former curator at the Museum of American Folk Art which owns these quilts.  The book on the left, published in 1996, goes into detail about technique, social context, and the quilters' biographies. The book on the right, published in 2010, is a coffee-table book with large-scale photos and only brief essays for each chapter.   I got the older book for $5 and the newer for about $10. 

I've had the ARC since June, 2019....saving it for "someday." One of my book groups selected it for the March discussion so "someday" has come. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of the vagabonds Odie (narrator), Albert, Mose, and Emmy. In 1932 they escaped a Dicksensianly-awful Indian boarding school in western Minnesota and set out to find their aunt in St. Louis. The plucky, self-reliant, smart kids manage to get into and adroitly get out of bad situations. Yes, they are stereotypes and the ending has some twisted coincidence -- but overall the protagonists are appealing and the story is well-told. A delight!

Linking up with  Oh Scrap!  Monday Making   Design Wall Monday      

Weekly update: Ukraine

 We are appalled, saddened, and infuriated by the Russian attack on Ukraine. 

This post from the folks at A Mighty Girl explains the do's and don'ts of donating in a crisis.   Basically, send money rather than stuff.   We have done that.

But quilters gotta quilt and I've made a blue-and-yellow block to send to German quilter Claudia Pfeil.  My assumption is that she will get quilts to Ukraine when the time is appropriate.  Here is more information and her address.  

Be sure to see Preeti's fiercely beautiful blue-and-yellow quilt in this post  

............more Weekly Update in the next post...........

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Midweek: stash report, handkerchief baskets, and OMG


Rabbit, rabbit -- all decked out for Mardi Gras!  

I didn't get photos of the wonderful Mardi Gras-themed centerpieces at yesterday's Zion Woman's Club meeting. It was our club's turn for reciprocity when we invite representatives from other clubs in the district to join us.  We had five guests and we welcomed a new member.  The luncheon was lasagna, salad, and bread sticks from the local bakery/caterer, with Mardi Gras-frosted cookies for dessert. 

Leftover cookies!
The program was "Family Heirloom Recipes from the Illinois State Fair."   Catherine Lambrecht told us about the 10+ year project where people entered their family's memorable recipes into a state fair competition. Points were awarded not only for the recipe but also for the history and also for the presentation (period dishes, photographs, etc.)    The project is part of the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance .  Cathy's presentation was funded by a grant from the  Illinois Humanities Council Road Scholars Speakers Bureau.  

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Stash report, February:

Fabric IN:  2 yards, $9.00

Fabric OUT:  77 yards (including a box sent to a friend.)

YTD fabric IN:  54-3/4 yards, $136.00

YTD fabric OUT:  130-3/4 yards

Net REDUCTION:  76 yards

Here's the March basket for our guild Block of the Month.   I sent each participant a vintage handkerchief and the instructions. They are to provide two fabrics that coordinate with the predominant colors in the hanky.  It will be fun to see the combinations they come up with! I had such fun making the sample for the instructions that I made four more.  (Don't worry! I still have dozens of handkerchiefs.)  

The BOM blocks are 10".  I made a 7" version from leftovers. 

It's time to declare myMarch OMG.  That's easy:  the birdhouse quilt.  It will be the backdrop for the Home Fund display at the P.E.O. Illinois convention in June.  

Here are the pattern (from Connecting Threads) and a sample block. 

This is the 2021-22 logo. 

This is the fabric pull (so far).  

Linking up with OMG and Midweek Makers